The Siege of Naarden: Reliving a Pivotal Moment in Dutch History Through Wargaming

For enthusiasts of history and strategy alike, the upcoming wargame battle reenactment of the Siege of Naarden promises to be an engaging and educational experience. Set against the backdrop of the Franco-Dutch War of 1672 to 1678, this battle marked a turning point in the conflict and showcased the resilience and determination of the Dutch Republic. The Amsterdam wargame club Amsterdam6shooters, with dedicated club members Eltjo and Isar, hav meticulously recreated the scenario, and will present it in the Naarden Museum, complete with a stunning wargame table and intricately detailed 28mm figures, all to be played using ‘The Pikeman’s Lament‘ rules based on the popular Lion Rampant system.

23 september 2023! PUT THAT DAY IN YOUR CALENDAR!

The Historical Context

The Franco-Dutch War had thrown the Dutch Republic into a dire situation. By mid-1672, the French, with support from other forces, had nearly overwhelmed the Dutch defenses. Naarden, a fortress town located in close proximity to Amsterdam, had been captured by the French in June 1672, pushing the Dutch into a tense stalemate. The Dutch Water Line had been their saving grace, but by August 1673, shifts in the French strategy gave the Dutch an opportunity to counter-attack.

The Road to Naarden

Led by William III of Orange, the Dutch army saw a chance to liberate their occupied lands. Naarden was strategically chosen as the target, and a clever diversionary tactic was employed. A feigned assault on Grave, executed by 1,500 cavalrymen under Godard van Reede-Ginkel, drew French troops away from Naarden, allowing the main Dutch force to besiege the town on September 6, 1673. The fortress was well-fortified, with ravelins guarding its gates, forming triangular fortress islands. The Dutch faced initial difficulties due to a shortage of gunpowder and bullets within the fortress. Despite this, the Dutch managed to gain ground, and the capture of the ravelins became a crucial turning point.

The Siege Unfolds

The Dutch forces, numbering 25,000, gathered around Naarden, poised for the assault. Their artillery pounded breaches in the walls, weakening the French’s ability to respond. A daring assault was organized, and on the night of September 11, 1673, amidst darkness and tension, the attackers charged. A fierce struggle ensued, and the Dutch and Spanish forces managed to capture the vital raveline. The next morning, as Dutch artillery was positioned on the raveline, the French’s will to fight diminished. Negotiations for surrender followed, and eventually, the Dutch and their Spanish allies entered the city. The siege concluded with the surviving French soldiers allowed to exit with the honors of war.

Significance and Aftermath

The recapture of Naarden was a monumental achievement for the Dutch side, demonstrating their resilience and pushing back against the French aggressors. On the other hand, the French were faced with the reality that their position in the Netherlands was untenable. The battle’s implications were significant, as it highlighted the stretched nature of the French front line and ultimately led to their withdrawal from the Dutch Republic. The fallout from the siege also impacted individuals, like Philippe de Pracé du Pas, the commander of Naarden, who faced disgrace and tragedy in the aftermath.

Wargaming: Reliving History

As the Naarden Museum prepares for the wargame reenactment of this pivotal battle, club members Eltjo and Isar have gone above and beyond to create an immersive experience. Isar’s fantastic wargame table, meticulously designed to mirror the topography of Naarden, promises to transport participants back to the 17th century. The 28mm figures, each a work of art in itself, add a layer of authenticity to the proceedings.

The rules chosen for this wargame, ‘The Pikeman’s Lament,’ based on the popular Lion Rampant system, offer a strategic framework that captures the essence of 17th-century warfare. Players will have the chance to step into the shoes of historical commanders, making decisions that could shape the outcome of the battle, just as it did in reality.

A Multifaceted Experience

The Siege of Naarden wargame reenactment is more than just a pastime for history buffs and wargaming enthusiasts. It’s a chance to explore a critical juncture in Dutch history, where valor and strategy clashed to determine the fate of a nation. As Eltjo and Isar take on their roles, participants can expect a thrilling and educational experience that not only tests their strategic acumen but also immerses them in a piece of history often overlooked.

Whether you’re a seasoned club member well-versed in Dutch history or a curious outsider interested in wargaming and historical battles, the upcoming Siege of Naarden reenactment promises to be an event that brings history to life, allowing participants to relive the tension, the struggle, and the ultimate triumph of the Dutch forces in 1673. It’s a unique opportunity to witness the fusion of history and strategy, all set against the backdrop of a meticulously crafted wargame table. So mark your calendars and get ready to join Eltjo, Isar, and fellow enthusiasts in an unforgettable journey back in time.

Europa, Rome en zo nog wat wargames op zomaar een zondag

We zijn eigenlijk niet zo’n bordspellen-vereniging – zegt uw lokale Amsterdamse miniaturensnob, tevens webredacteur van uw eigenste wargameclub Amsterdam6shooters. Maar dat is niet helemaal waar, of eigenlijk: helemaal niet waar.

Neem om te beginnen Blood Bowl, gisteren een mooi toernooi van gehad, prachtige miniaturen: maar wel op een bord.

X-Wing, oude klassieker, nu niet op tafel, eigenlijk een vet wargame: een bordspel.

Rommel, ooit nog eens spelen, een echt wargame voor echte wargamers: maar toch eigenlijk wel op een schaakbord.

En vandaag hadden we dus (en trouwens niet voor de eerste keer) Europa Universalis, Risk grand scale, Diplomacy voor sluweriken, iets met kaarten en fiches en figuurtjes – de schaal is indrukwekkend.

Om je mouwen bij op te stropen.

En om je vingers bij af te likken, ik moet zeggen dat ik als miniaturensnob best geïnteresseerd ben in dit soort spellen, juist omdat ze hebben wat ik in wargames mis: multiplayer en grand strategy. Desondanks blijf ik nog even doorgaan met figuurtjes schilderen :-). Snobisme stopt niet op een zondagmiddagje.

Er was ook Team Yankee, Warhammer 40K en Mortem & Gloriam:

M&G ging mij en mijn tegenstander nog niet vloeiend af terwijl de ontwerper dat wel belooft. De beweging snap ik nou wel, de volgende hobbel is de combat die net wel maar toch weer net niet DBx is. Het is wel soort van wennen aan een systeem met kleurendobbelstenen en subfases die het spel dynamischer en tegelijkertijd ingewikkelder maken. Recensie volgt later dit jaar.

Blood Bowl Match report: FC Zombielona vs Bayern Ogerz 2-1

Our Blood Bowl vets Dennis ‘Pep’ the Menace and Dan ‘Ten Hack’ the Deadman recently played a Blood Bowl match in our Amsterdam6shooters Arena. Here’s the report.

[by Faek Nijuz, our sports editor]

To June’s Skull & Bones Cup triumph Dan The Deadman adds the gilded prize of ChampionZ League qualification, and his first year in charge of FC Zombielona could still end with Blood Bowler Hat Cup glory too.

The coup de grace versus the Bayern Ogerz was applied by the irrepressible Count Dracula in the closing stages. The Transsylvanian nutmegged Von Punzkicker, who clipped his ankle. The referee, Allseeing Ai, awarded a penalty: Count Dracula took the spot-kick by waiting for Niecht Yetzt to commit himself, then aimed the ball straight and in.

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Cue some needless contretemps from each set of players for reasons unclear before Count Dracula turned creator. The hapless Oger Von Punzkicker decided to clear a regulation ball straight to his nemesis. He fed Uncle Fester Adams, who dummied Krunzher Volkswagen finished for his 30th goal of the season.

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Zombielona hunted for the point they needed to seal qualification with Uncle Fester Adams a substitute after illness and the momentum of two wins in a row pushing them forward. There was, too, a snap in the challenge of Count Dracula on Mürderoch Munich that led to a corner, as Zombielona attacked the Bayern Ogers in waves.

After the match, the victorious Dan The Deadman impressed everybody with original insights like “we keep focused and not get injuries … our team has a good spirit … we are in the right direction … we know we are still not where we want to be … but if you want to be successful you have to be in the ChampionZ League”.

While losing coach Dennis The Menace had a hard time with the sewer rats that call themselves journalists. ” It’s a bad year for the club … it needs a reboot … the club will move on … generally everything has to be improved … it’s for someone else to take on … if you ask me what I’ve learned [since returning to the Bayern Ogerz] in terms of coaching, not so much”.

Paul Hodson wins Dutch DBA international outdoor open!

After a long hard struggle Paul Hodson, member or the Amsterdam6shooters, was crowned champion of the Unofficial Dutch DBA International Outdoor Wargaming Tournament in Amsterdam. He won with two Roman armies against three Caledonian commands.

The Dutch Unofficial DBA Outdoor Open is a wargame tournament that takes place every year when the 18th of June falls on a Saturday, for a select group of international elite players, in the garden of Eden backyard of one of our super rich sponsors who was on his yacht in Monaco this weekend.

We played one game which was also the final. We had a player from Portugal who was born in Angola (Henrique), a Dutch player (me) who has spent holidays in the USA and Japan, and Paul; born in the British Empire and now a soon-to-be-retired employee of the European Commission. So the whole world was present.

The all-important final was a replay of the Mons Graupius Battle, 83 AD. Again, civilization won and barbarians were chased back “deep down to Caledonia back to Aberdeen/ Way back up in the woods among the evergreens/ There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood/ Where lived a country boy named Calgalus B. Goode/ Who never ever learned to read or write so well/ But he could play bagpipes just like a-ringin’ a bell

Henrique (left), Paul (right)

Roman soldiers cheered to their triumphant general.

Paul and this game will get ‘Legendary’ status from the International Association of Amateur Outdoor Wargame Players and get an automatic invitation for the second edition, in the backyard of a certain Calgalus near Aberdeen. Better be good, then!