An Update!

A small update.

Since the Aspern game we have had several games  where we are working through the new Black Powder ACW supplement ‘Glory,Hallelujah’. I have run 2 games based on scenarios from the book with some pictures from the ‘Bartletts Farm 1863’ scenario below. The rules have worked rather well and the games have the feel of an ACW period game. There have however been some discussions post last game around some issues which we are working through. These for us are number of guns represented on the table,we have used 1 gun per battery until now but are moving to 2 guns and 3 guns for the Union 6 guns batteries. There are also concerns around the difficulty in getting units to charge into battle but the more you read the more you understand battles were mainly firefights rather than mass hand to hand combats.

ACW1 a

 

ACW2 a

ACW3a

 

ACW4a

You may have noticed we try to have appropriate terrain in our games so ACW requires lots of trees and fences of varying types. The other night Paul G and Keith came round and we started a production line of fences. First offering in early stage picture is below. I have a Foundry ACW rulebook called ‘From Bull Run to Gettysburg’ which is just awesome with step by step instructions on how to make all types of  fences and even has tent templates.

Fences

2 types ACW fences under construction.The MDF is cut to 10cm long and 2.5cm wide. Plan is to undercoat brown,do some dry brushing,add flock,tufts etc.

 

And finally there are some pictures from an ancient game Brian Trott and I played last week using the ‘Hail Caesar’rules. Brian fielded his EIR v my Macedonians. My EIR are being rebased from WAB to ‘Hail Caesar’ so it is the unfinished and damaged from to many house moves Macedonians that were used. We fielded small armies to get a feel for the game. Standard sizes battles are fought between somewhere around 400 point armies.Brian fielded 270 points,I had 180. And yes I lost as Brian cleared both flanks of my Phalanx. Was fun and look forward more games. After loss consulted army list and identified what need to add to Macedonians to get to 400 points and also allow some variation in the army. So took advantage of Warlord Games buy 3 pay for 2 deal and ordered 3 boxes Companion cavalry. I have also assembled and undercoated a Warlord Games box 32 Macedonian Phalanx to give me a 3rd block. From Victrix I have I have added a unit of Hypastists and a box 56 skirmishers.These were ordered from Caliver as cheaper and no postage paid. Direct from Victrix I have ordered the decals.

Ancients 2a

Part of Brian’s EIR army. Back in early 2000’s we got similar forces,Craig painted and based them for PK for us. I am rebasing mine to similar sized bases.

 

Ancients 4a

Phalanx grinds on against legionnaires. Phalanx destroyed one unit but the Romans eliminated the flank supports.

 

Next week I have a game against friend Craig who is building a Greek army. It won’t be battle ready but we will use my troops and get handle of the rules.

Til next time.

Terry

 

 

 

 

Aspern-Essling refight

On Saturday 21st May 2016 a group of 7 Garage Gamers met for a refight of the Battle of Aspern-Essling which was a 2 day battle fought on 21-22 May 1809 between the Army of Napoleon and the Habsburg(Austrian) Army.

The game was played at our local club, the Wellington Warlords. The battlefield was to be 20 foot long and 6 foot wide with a further table 12 foot long and 3 foot wide where some Austrian formations including the reserve would start the battle. All formations were scaled down and it was of course a 28mm figure battle.

The French forces were:

  • Napoleon : Command Rating 9(CR9). The game is lost if Napoleon dies.
  • Napoleon commanded Curial(CR8) 4 Young Guard, rated reliable, Elite 4+ and HtoH7.
  • Oudinot: (CR8) commanded 2 Divisions, Tharreau and Claparede both (CR8) with 5 Bttns and 1 battery of conscripts each, rated unreliable.
  • Lannes (CR9) commanded 3 Divisions, St Hilaire(CR9) with 7 Veteran Bttns rated as Elite 4+ and Reliable. Boudet(CR8) with 5 Bttns , 1 battery and Lasalle(CR9 and +1 to Follow Me order) with 2 light cavalry rated reliable.
  • Massena(CR8) with the divisions of Legrand(CR8) 5 Bttns and battery, St Cyr(CR8) 6 Bttns(2 Hessiasn being Elite 4+) plus battery, Molitor (CR8) 5 Bttns ,each with 1 stamina casualty and a battery, Marulaz(CR8) with 2 light cavalry, reliable.
  • Bessieres(CR8) with the Cuirassier divisions of Nansouty, St Sulpice and d’Espagne  each of 2 Cuirassier regiments were all rated CR8.

The French commanders were :

  • John:Napoleon and Massena
  • Brian: Oudinot
  • PaulW: Lannes
  • Bessieres was subordinate to Lannes and all 3 players received 1 Cuirassier Division.

The Austrian forces were:

  • Archduke Charles(CR7) with +1 rally.
  • Hiller(CR7) with Nordman(CR7) advance guard with 2 light cavalry, 1 Dragoon, 2 light infantry and battery and Vincent(CR7) with 4 infantry and a battery.
  • Bellegarde(CR7) with Fresnel(CR7) advance guard with 2 light cavalry, 1 light infantry, 1 infantry, 1 battery and  the divisions of Vogelsang(CR7),  Ulm(CR7) and Nostitz(CR7) each of 4 infantry and 1 battery.
  • Hohenzollern(CR7) with Mayer(CR7) advance guard with 1 light cavalry, 1 light infanty, 1 infantry, 1 battery, Brady(CR7) 4 infantry, 1 battery, and Weber(CR7) 6 infantry and 1 battery.
  • Rosenberg (CR8) with Klenau(CR7) 1 Uhlan, 1 Hussar, 1 Grenz, 1 battery , Dedovich(CR7) 6 infantry, 1 battery , Rohan(CR7) 2 light cavalry, 1 Grenz, 1 battery and Hohenlohe(CR7) with 4 infantry and 1 battery.
  • Lichenstein(CR7) with Homburg(CR7), Keinmayer(CR7) with 2 Kurassier each , Lindenau(CR7), D’Aspre(CR7) with 4 Grenadiers each. The reserve had 1 battery.

The Austrian commanders were:

  • Ray: Hiller and Ulm from Bellegarde
  • PaulG: Bellegarde less Ulm and Hohenzollern
  • Pete: Rosenberg
  • Terry: Charles and Lichenstein

The Austrian line battalions were large so they had 8 combat dice, 4 shots and stamina of 4. The also could form battalion masse meaning they countered as being in column, but if charged by cavalry they stood and took it rather than be required to try and form square.

We were playing day 2 from roughly 7am. By this time the French have thrown the Austrians out of the villages in some disorder. So the game commenced on a French turn with the French in control of both villages and the Austrian commands of Hiller and Rosenberg in a state of disorder so they would not be able to move forward in their turns.

a Set Up Main Table 1

Main table at set up. Rosenberg facing Essling. Humans are from left to right, Ray,Pete , John and PaulG. The village in the foreground is Essling which comprises 3 defensive zones. One being the famous grainary which for game purposes contains 1 bttn of French infantry who can fire 1 shot per down out of 3 sides. It cannot be harmed by shooting and it cannot be attacked. On the French baseline behind it the Danube makes a slight appearance and it cannot be be forded or crossed! A road then runs down the table to Aspern. French units to the south(French baseline side) are deemed to be unclear targets to Austrian artillery fire. Aspern also has 3 defensive zones and the church is treated as the same as the villages 2 zones. South of the village is the wooded/swampy area known as Germeinde au.

b Set Up Reserve Table 1

Austrian reserve table.

The game started with a French turn.

The French had Molitor in the Gemeinde Au,Legrand in Aspern and Boudet in Essling. The reminder of their forces between the villages.

St Cyr’s division on the right flank of Aspern advanced towards the Austrians, Claparedes conscripts then blundered and charged forward into the Austrians! Tharreau kept his conscripts back after seeing this. St Hiliare then advances on their right flank to fill the gap in the Austrian lines with the support of Lasalle.

g Brian blunders into a charge!

Austrians reply by Bellegarde advancing on Aspern, Hohenzollern wheels to attack French advance. Around Essling Dedovich turns his battalions to face the French troops moving through the gap in the Austrian lines.

h Lasalle on the charge!

Lasalle send Hussars into Dedovichs guns, destroys them then sweeping advances into a battalion which had failed to turn and face them. Austrian CR7’s even with the +1 for being in masse still not enough get all to pass orderes.

f The French centre!

View from French reserves, Young Guard and massed Cuirassiers.

j Hohenzollern responds to Claparede's blunder and St Cyr's advance

PaulG wheels Hohenzollern to meet advances of St Cyr and the charge of Claparedes conscripts. Paul has units in combat.

k Bellegarde advances on Aspern

Bellegarde advances on Aspern.

m Dedovitch facing St Hiliare and Lasalle, now thats a testing situation!

In centre St Hilaire wheels to face Dedovich supported by Lasalle.

n Hiller on Austrian right charges into Molitors battered troops

Hiller charges into the Gemeinde au to get at Molitors weakened troops.

p French heavies decide to come and play!

Lasalle and 2 Cuirassier Divisions flanked by Claparede and St Hilaire advance into the gap in the Austrian lines.

q French Centre

The bulge in the French lines as they advance through the gap in the Austrian lines.

r Klenau moves to centre

In the Austrian rear Klenau on orders from Charles  moves towards the Austrian centre. Bellegarde detached Ulm’s division for the same purpose but after blunders, and failed orders they never made it past Aspern!

s Hiller attacked Molitor while Bambi watches from the woods!

Hiller sends more troops in against Molitor!

t Lasalle charges flanking guns

Hohenzollern had a battery enfilading the Cuirassiers in the centre so naturally Lassale grabbed a Hussar unit and with a ‘Follow Me!’off they went, unfortunately they suffered 3 casualties and failed their break test and failed to charge home but retired.

u Heavies Time!

The French Cuirassiers charge into the Austrian Kuirassiers who counter charge!

v Hmmm Somethings missing.......

A hint who won the combats…who is missing from this picture!

w When will they learn!

A further French Cuirassier unit now got charged to the front by Kuirassiers and in the flank by Dragoons. They lost the combat but were not destroyed.

x Rosenberg going in

Between the Danube and Essling Rosenberg advances to slug it out with Boudet.

y Dedovich tries get past pesky grainary

North of Essling Dedovich keeps getting slowed by disordering fire from the grainary. In centre can be seen Klenaus troops arriving along with artillery from reserve and Kuirassiers taking on more of Lasalles command.

z Bellegarde takes Aspern Church

Success! Aspern Church has fallen to Bellegarde.

z1 Austrian Cavalry on move

Austrian cavalry advance into the centre of the main table. The French are looking light on troops.

z1a who gave John those cavalry

Who gave John Cuirassiers?  Austrian Infantry masse do not form square but stand and take a cavalry charge. They have a stamina of 4.The left hand unit has 6 wounds showing. That is not good.

z1b PaulG's feeling the pressure!

PaulG’s face says it all.

z1d Massena surrounded by cavalry

View from Massena position. Austrian lines are thinning out nicely he will be thinking.

z1e Young Guard head off towards Essling!

Rosenbergs advance on Essling has the french Young Guard commited exactly where the Austrians want them,away from the centre!

z1f Dedovich charges into Essling gardens

Dedovich launches attack on Essling gardens.

z1g Molitor has enough

Further success for Hiller, Molitors command has fled the battlefield.

z1h Reserves fromboth sides committed to centre

Oops, first tharreau used to plug cente, the French Cuirassiers rally and advance but now the Young Guard get a triple move and rush north of the road. At this stage Terry(me) handed over my commands to Russ who had been playing in a Jutland refight which had just finished.

z1i Where to start!

You would think Austrian Grenadiers would go through French conscripts like a hot knife through butter. You would wouldn’t you. But being surrounded by poncy Young Guard and Cuirassiers they fought like veterans!

z1j The gap appears

Until poof,it was all to much and a decent hole was in the French centre.

z1k The End!

The day was done and the French still held Essling and Aspern was being contested. The divisions of Lasalle, Molitor, Claparede, St Hilaire and St Cyr were gone.

For the Austrians the main loss is Hohenzollerns corps where he faced the French centre. There were 3 intact divisions moving around Aspern to the centre and most of the Austrian cavalry was still combat ready.

Thats this report for now!(am sure to make some changes when ladz alert me to errors!)

Cheers

Terry

 

Somewhere north of Waterloo

Had a game last week where premise was its post Waterloo, French won it and Allies have scattered. A French mixed force is holding a position with other units arriving in support. Some Allied commands are wanting revenge…….

The forces are:

French:

Paul Goldstone – holds central village with a Division of 2 Brigades of 4 Bttns infantry each and 1 battery. His 3 commanders must be 2 rated 7 and 1 rated 8.

Russ – brings a supporting force on Pauls right – of 2 Brigades of 4 Bttns Young Guard Infantry with 1 battery. In support are 2 Large Guard Cavalry Regts, the Chasseurs and the Grenadiers.

Terry – on Pauls left at some stage French cavalry brigades would arrive. Before I could bring some on in turn 2 we had visitors. John Hutton was in town for a course so Hairy Phil bought him out. So I handed command to John. He bought on a brigade of 2 Hussar Regts. Then 2 Cuirrasier and then 2 Lancers.

On the Allied side we had:

Rhys with a full Prussian Brigade of 9 Infantry and 2 cavalry and 2 batteries. They were tasked with taking the village.

Paul Weakley – On Rhys left and opposite Russ was a mixed force of 3 Brigades. Namely 3 KGL Cavalry, 5 Hanoverian foot and 4 KGL foot plus supporting artillery.

Alan was on Rhys right and commanded a British cavalry force comprised of 1 brigade of 3 Hussars/Light Dragoons an then the Union Brigade of 3 Dragoons. Al forgot to bring on the horse artillery!

Terry 034

Central French position PaulG has a brigade either side of the road with battery on road. The hedge counts as unclear target and 6 inch penalty to cross. The small buildings are just there for aesthetics. The Church and Farmhouse on other side of road are both defensive zones where 1 Bttn can take refuge.

Terry 037

Russ commands to the right of the central village.The 2 Brigades of 4 Bttns each in front, the battery in between and the Heavies of the Guard in reserve.

Terry 035

Alans British light cavalry brigade out for revenge! In background in the centre is Rhys right hand brigade which failed to move.

Terry 036

The Prussians in the centre where left brigade advanced and right brigade failed. In background can be seen PaulW Germans!

Terry 038

As if to prove a point Prussians charging the hedge line. This Bttn had one charge to its right which took some damage from closing fire and failed morale test and withdrew.

Terry 039

The Allied left where the Germans are in the 2 farmhouses and the Young Guard look to be flowing around their left flank!

Terry 041

The left hand Young Guard brigade advances into gap between central village and flank farmhouses. Prussians have some disordered units on left while on right they are closing in on hedge line.

Terry 043

Prussian masses approach hedge line while in background a swirling cavalry engagement was going on. PaulG has a Bttn facing out into the melee giving fire support!

Terry 045

Cavalry combats are quite brutal affairs. Disorders and casualties quickly accumulate and it becomes a race to reorder, remove casualties and get units back into combat. The British are a challenge to face and play. The re roll misses and must charge on if win makes them have the effect of causing more casualties than you expect and the out of control charge if they win. It does mean that the quickly are exhausted and end up disordered or shaken but are  a lot of fun.

Terry 046

A close up of Alans heavies!(Front Rank miniatures of course…all heavy cavalry needs to be Metal Front Rank. I reckon deserve a +1 at least extra in combat)

Terry 047

The Prussians are gaining the advantage. At rear of village are PaulG’s dearly departed. Rhys eventually took this position.

Terry 048

I must admit I can’t recall Russ ever playing a defensive Nap game! Here he is still pressing forward!

Terry 050

And Goldie has bought into this idea as well….what is he doing in front of the hedge. He was meant to hold the village!!

Terry 052

Hey, Goldie……these guys are marching the wrong way! You have units in front of hedge, and now marching out the back road……I sense a firing squad in your future! So Pauls left brigade is gone berger and the right one has advanced out of the village. I seem to recall the aim was for the French TO HOLD THE VILLAGE.

Terry 054

And on the Allied left flank the Germans are pushing through the surviving Young Guard. Paul had not only stopped Russ flowing around the flank but was rolling him back up the flank in the end.

This concluded the game. Rhys was pushing into the Village in the centre right and holding PaulG/Russ push on its left. PaulW was pushing his Germans forward on the left and on the Allied right the cavalry of both sides had fought each other to a standstill.

So an Allied Victory is declared.

 

Terry 026

And here is the Garages Guard. The Big Boy on the right is my Caesar. The wee lass on the left is his sister Jasmine who we met at a big breed walk around the Wellington Waterfront. Caesar likes to make regular checks on us while we are gaming in the garage! He is a Leonberger and is 2 years 4 months old and still has to gain a bit of weight but will end up between 75 and 80kg in time. His tail can be lethal to near the table!

Addendum

The following are the observations of the Commander of the French Imperial Guard Cavalry Baron Russ de Bri

  • The Gods rode down in a single charge 2 of Paul W’s battalions that had come out of the village. In both cases there was a French infantry unit also in the charge.
  • Cavalry in the front, infantry in the flank in the initial charge and the Gods hit the flank of the second infantry that had been charged by French infantry during a sweeping advance charge.
  • The Chasseurs a Cheval of the Guard charged a shaken Hussar unit that had routed the Guards artillery and only drove them off taking 3 casualties themselves. Stamina 4 so not shaken(stamina 4 so not shaken). They spent rest of game rallying.
  • And a Blunder on a morale rally( thats a roll of 2 dice with 6’s) caused the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Guard to advance and stand in front of an artillery battery and line of infantry.. They were shot up but passed the rally test. In their next turn they used the light cavalry training to fall back disordered and spent more time rallying.

Final observations on the French Plans……by Baron Russ

  • No clear objective
  • No plan
  • Half arsed , unsupported, uncoordinated effort moving forward
  • Defeated piecemeal as should have been

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game 1 for 2016!

I got a call from John Hutton over Xmas to say he was bringing a visiting American friend with his son(who is also John’s Godson) down to Wellington from Auckland on January 5th to see the ANZAC exhibitions and he inquired if they might be able to play a game(it was that or I jumped in and suggested it, never can recall details). So a game from 1pm was booked in and John emailed the group and not surprising everyone, even those working said they would be round.

So John decided he wanted an ACW game so I set the table up with Alan’s assistance as for the Battle of Glendale. However with the paucity of Rebel troops at our disposal I decided to have them defending and the Union attacking, or rather than was my plan which of course lasted all the way until turn 1!

_MG_3618

The hall of Infamy for the game are above, from left to right is Paul G, John Hutton, Silas son of Ivan and Godson of John, Alan, Ivan father of Silas, Russ and Paul W. Paul G was working and arrived for turn 2.

_MG_3574

The Rebels were to defend the right hand side of the river. At the far end is a road exiting where reinforcements might arrive so the stream crossing and road needed to be held. Paul W had 2 infantry brigades, 2 cavalry regts and 2 batteries to hold this end. In the centre Ivan had a 2 brigades infantry and 2 batteries of 24 pounders in position. What had not told them was they only had 3 rounds of ammo for these 2 batteries. On the near end Russ had a large brigade of 5 regts and on turn 2 a further brigade would arrive. They would be elite. Russ had 2 batteries.

On the Union side Alan was at the far end with 1 brigade of infantry. Silas was in the centre with 2 brigades of infantry and John was at the near end with 2 brigades of infantry one of which was advanced over the stream and was starting in the woods.

 

_MG_3580

Silas has moved both his brigades up into a field so 8 regts are in one big mass! Risky. Johns troops are moving up to cover their right flank.

_MG_3583

Paul has arrived from work, he in the loud shirt while I am feeling the stress, already opened a rather nice wine to sip whilst resting in the sun.

_MG_3584

Johns front brigade has rushed forward allowing Russ to get a regt onto his flank…….its not going to be pretty. And it wasn’t. For some reason I have not taken any decent shots of this part battlefield. But Johns advancing Union troops discovered an abandoned rebel battery which they used against the Rebs. But all to no avail and Russ had Johns brigades destroyed by the end of the battle.

_MG_3585

Russ’s second brigade is on the table and rushing forward to fill gap to Ivans forces which are holding Silas’s mass of Union troops in the field.

_MG_3588

Paul W using cavalry to try and take advantage of the gap between Silas in centre and Alan on the Union left flank. At this stage Paul marches a brigade in beside Alan and moves forward to close the gap. Paul W was trying to get the cavalry in a position to charge the Union artillery that was galloping onto the battlefield but just could not do it!

_MG_3594

Left hand side above is Paul G first brigade with one of the 2 batteries I let the Union have the turn before. Alan got the other 1. The brigade of 5 Union regts on the right I offered to John as Union CinC to arrive anywhere on their edge. John chose to commit them here with Paul G getting allocated them. The were unreliable meaning needed to beat command roll to move. I had thought these reserves would be committed on the other side of Silas and pushed through between Ivan and Russ where would have had a straight run towards the church(objective) but alas were committed here.

_MG_3599

Above shows action on the left and centre. In woods can be seen Union and Rebel flags as they fight it out to hold stream line and take or hold the road. The Rebel batteries in prepared positions can be seen on the ridge line. Ivan has still not fired his 24 pounders! Pauls front brigade is crossing the stream. In the fields Ivan moved a regt around into Silas flank and started shooting up down the line. Russ was aggressively pushing forward to hold Johns 2nd brigade as well. Units were starting to be destroyed or fall back.

_MG_3601

Action in the fields! Action in the fences/fields slows you down as imposed 6 inch penalty for crossing the fences and 6 inch visibility in the fields.

_MG_3607

Top left can be seen Alans troops in woods, behind then some Union cavalry are arriving. Because Alan never got to threaten cutting off the road, there was no reserves rushing in from the corner to assist the Rebels, plus they did not need them in the end! In the centre Paul Gs left brigade is rushing through the corn towards the batteries. The Unreliable brigade can be seen at the stream and in the foreground are the remains of Ivans central brigade which performed rather well..

_MG_3611

Alans cavalry advancing towards the stream with Paul Gs infantry in distance advancing up the ridgeline. They had been refusing to move and 2 units units dismounted skirmishing cavalry with sharps would have come in handy!

_MG_3612

I like flag shots!

_MG_3613

And the game draws to a close.

I blame the wine because I missed taking a picture of Russ’s whipping of Johns troops(sorry John!). Russ was in a position to roll up the Union line from the woods.

In the centre Silas’s Union troops were no longer in a position to push forward thanks to Silas and Ivan pretty much taking each other out.

On the centre left Paul G had 2 basically intact brigades but there was no time left for them to achieve the objective and there were enough Rebel units around to keep them at bay until Russ came stomping down the rear.

Further over Alan and Paul W had spent the day in the woods and stream keeping each other busy and both still had their cavalry intact.

So a victory to the Confederates and I hope Ivan and Silas enjoyed their game!

Below is a picture of a Kea at Mt Hutt ski field doing what they do, destroy the trim on cars(it copied over from camera so though may as well use it)

IMG_2149

Until next time.

Terry

 

 

 

A New Year

Hello Folks.

Its 2016 and a New Year for Gaming!

Apologies for lack of activity past couple of months. Was having vision issues and after a day at work last thing could face was another computer screen. Unfortunately it also meant no painting of troops so need make up for lost time in 2016!

In the past few years the Group has presented the mega gaming weekends that were Leipzig and Waterloo. For 2016 we have an ‘inbetween year’ where we will be rearming with Austrians and French(plus allies) for my favourite Napoleonic era of 1809. Mid year we will have a refight of Aspern Essling within the group with early planning at a 50% scale of units with the aim of it being a buildup to a full blown Wagram refight in 2017.

In 2015 a number of new gamers to Napoleonic period found their way to the Garage for games and hopefully in 2016 they will come back with their own forces(please….something other than British!).

Current forces under construction as far as I know are:

  • Me(Terry) Russian Grenadier Commands to finish a brigade and ACW Union Generals then Austrian Landwher for 1809
  • Alan has been making buildings for Aspern Essling, adding the last of his Waterloo French Division units, some Belgic units and for some reason AWI unit.
  • Paul G has a Bolt Action tournie in a couple weeks and no figures painted so that and his Portugese be getting churned out
  • Paul W has gone insane and is working on WW2 Pacific Japanese Fleet for Pearl Harbour
  • Russ has joined this insanity and is working on the American Pacific Fleet(their fleets actually look pretty darn good!)
  • Ray is building an Austrian force while son
  • Michael is building a Russian force

That’s all for now.

Terry

 

 

 

 

Napcon Part 2

A bit of site maintenance.

It has been pointed out to me should really have posted a Part 2 with Russ’s tale and pictures when posting rather than add below Pauls otherwise visitors would not know was there.

So here it

Napcon part 2, Battle of Waterloo.

To Marshal Davout, Paris

From Napoleon, Brussels

My dear Davout

Ring the bells and fire 200 guns. We have put Wellington flight today for his channel ports, and our cavalry is harrying his retreat and putting as many in the bag as they can.

Yesterday dawned wet, but not the biblical deluge of the previous day, and brought in outriders from the pickets with news that Blucher had broken clear of Grouchy so that at least some of the Prussian army would arrive today to the aid of Wellington.

The English and their militias were, miraculously, just across the valley mostly hidden behind the modest ridge stretching either side of the highway to Brussels. I didn’t think he would stop and fight this side of Brussels. But his hubris has meant that he did and that played into my hands.

Out of walled Farmsteads he had created three bastions ahead of the ridge to break up and channel our attack. This had the effect of dividing the field into left and right wings. The two end farmsteads were not important for us to hold, but taking the central one, La Haie Sainte Farm, would assist our attacks on both wings. Our artillery would be requested to issue the eviction notices to the squatters therein.

Waterloo 1

I could determine that he feared for his right because he had placed most of his artillery there, so I would fix his attention there and break him on his left.

I called together my Generals and laid out my plans.

I told them the Prussians were an irrelevance. The battle would be won before they could interfere. I ordered Lobau and his IV Corps march and defend Plancenoit and interrupt any Prussian plays for our right. I instructed my Lion to let the Prussians come to him and burn up time doing so. I suggested that the forests on his left might provide a position to enfilade attacks as they came in on that side. Of course if the Prussians made a mistake and came too close in march column, then he had the discretion to unleash the cavalry to punish such foolishness.

With the Prussians dealt with, I would give them no further thought and focus the rest of my force and attention on rolling the English off their ridge.

My general instructions was for the Leger Regiments to form a long skirmish line in front of the army and advance quickly to close range of the enemy. The artillery was to fire and move, fire and move their pieces forward, to quickly close to decisive range up on-to the ridge and then batter the English hiding behind. All these firing elements leading my advance were to, were possible, get rid of the enemy artillery first which are the bane of any attack.

The cuirassiers were to follow immediately behind the Leger to within close charge range and ride down any infantry that chose not form squares, and defeat any cavalry sent to contest our advance. The columns of the remaining infantry were to follow the cuirassiers and roll over any that did form square.

Waterloo 2

The attack must with great speed and mass as I estimated we had five hours to get the job done. It would be sufficient.

I gave Ney sole control of the pinning battle on the left. He would have Rielle’s Corps, Kellerman’s Reserve cavalry and I added the Young Guard foot and artillery. Ney proposed to ignore Hougoumont factoring it would cost more troops to capture than it was worth and he had insufficient artillery to blast them out. I said that was at his discretion.

D’Erlon’s Corps and Milhaud’s cavalry would attack the right, supported by the Old and Middle Guard infantry. I added the three Imperial Guard batteries to D’Erlon’s own batteries to create a Grand Battery to win artillery dominance over the English left. Two batteries each from Ney and the Old Guard were to first destroy the defenders of La Haie Sainte farm.

Waterloo 3

The four regiments of the Guard cavalry would form a reserve in the centre until the appropriate use for them could be determined. All other forces were to be committed immediately.

I took up a position in the small hamlet of Belle Alliance on the Brussels road to observe the attacks on the left and right. I asked the band of the Middle Guard to play the Marseilles to inspire the attacks as I unleashed them on the English. The men responded with their usual ‘Vive la Emperor!’ and the drummers beat out Pas de Charge. It was time.

At 10:00am the attack began. D’Erlon’s troops made rapid progress across the valley to their initial objectives and three Leger skirmish lines started engaging the English. One battery was quickly destroyed and another disordered.

Behind them followed the cavalry and their Line comrades in attack columns.

Lobau’s Corps started their march to Plancenoit and the Imperial Guard double timed to their assigned positions on the left and right.

By 10:30am English had almost unhinged the plan time-table by disordering D’Erlon’s left and right Leger lines – halting their progress and the units behind, but at 11:00am the middle one pressed on and the cuirassiers followed.

In the middle, three columns of infantry charged off a screen of skirmishing infantry and were able to look in to the reverse slope and observe the English units hidden behind. In less than an hour D’Erlon had taken the ridge top road and split Wellington’s first line.

To the left, one of D’Erlon’s Hussar units charged a Dutch infantry regiment to who calmly formed into square leaving the Hussars milling to their front.

Louis-Nicolas – the Dutch fought with great courage today – more-so than their vaunted allies. I am drawing up plans to reincorporate their units back into our Grand Armee.

Over by La Haie Sainte, Ney pushed his forces forwards.

And then, somewhere out of the smoke and fire my army regained the luck it had enjoyed in the glory days of 2008

Milhaud ordered the 10th cuirassier regiment to charge a line of Dutch Infantry regiment that was seeking an enfilading position on D’Erlon’s right, the breaking of which would allow my heavies to also roll over a hussar regiment behind. But the chevaliers had trouble passing through all their advancing brothers and were slowed making their charge. This allowed the Dutch to gallop forward a horse artillery battery and together with the Line unleashed a fearsome volley, hiding our horsemen in the dense smoke. Through my spy glass I expected a broken charge and empty saddles returning, but when the smoke cleared it was the Dutch Line that had been ridden down and Hussars put to flight. Milhaud has told me though the fire was heavy his men did not for a moment hesitate. The Horse Artillery was then captured by our following up infantry.

My friend – As you and I have discussed give a man a big horse, a steel cuirass and tell him he is invincible and he will believe you and ride through all of the religion’s hells.  [Cuirassiers took two artillery and a musket hit and passed all the morale tests with their +1 bonus]

Luck cast us her favour extravagantly and without ration yesterday.

The story of D’Erlon’s flank was a general engagement along the ridge from La Haie Sainte Farm to La Haie, precipitating a progressive collapse of the English from right to left. And all of Wellington’s efforts to prise our hands from his throat came to nothing.

At 11:35, the English King’s Guardsmen abandoned La Haie Sainte.

At 11:42 am the Duke sent his Greys heavy cavalry and a gallant young general against our 5th cuirassiers, only to see them break and the General, Ponsonby, unhorsed and captured. I imagine the English think him dead. I will write to them and tell them he is gravely wounded but in the care of Chief Surgeon Larrey.

Scots greys Die

At midday the lead Prussian units are seen from Plancenoit. Lobau sends me a note of their arrival by adjutant but is otherwise untroubled.

On the Brussels Road near a distinctive Elm, the English set up and start firing one of their infernal fire work batteries that they hold such store in. But when the second salvo lands on some unfortunate Dutch Militia and throws them into a panic the English pack down the contraption and start shooting cannon until they are overrun in the mid-afternoon.

By 12:11 D’Erlon has horse artillery on the ridge road firing into Wellington’s left flank on the reverse slope of the hill. We have gained possession of 4/5th of this feature, throwing back or breaking the infantry that had been behind its hedges.

At the same time, Ney’s middle columns have reached the sunken road, and though the fighting here is more in the balance, Ney was playing the perfect cape to hold the attention of the English bull.

By 1:00pm the English left had retired off the ridge all together and the flank is only being held by some battered and nervous Dutch militia and light cavalry, entirely inadequate to stop what is about to roll over them. Wellington and his generals are trying to send fresh troops to close the rupture but there I now so much confusion in their lines that the messengers are not getting through to the intended units.

Wellington does succeed in scraping together three batteries to interdict Ney’s right and some Riflemen to harass D’Erlon’s left, but that isn’t where the Duchess is holding the Ball (have you heard that Wellington and his Generals were absent from their posts at a soirée in Brussels when Ney had arrived at Quatre Bras. Even Murat wasn’t that derelict in his duties – but I digress).

At 1:00pm, the Prussians had yet to close to musket range of Lobau – as if they had time to dally.

At that time I sent the Chasseurs a Cheval and Dutch Lancers of the Guard to assist D’Erlon to the right of La Haie Sainte as Ney marched a column in to repossess the farm.

At 1:40pm I invited the Empress Dragoon Guards and the Grenadiers a Cheval to ride around the English left flank and complete the destruction the cuirassiers had begun.

At that time the Old and Middle Guard marched their columns up to the ridge road flanked by their foot artillery. This unsurprisingly transfixed the English units who knew their reputation far outshone their own. So much so that they could not take any assertive action to clear their front of one more of Milhaud’s ubiquitous cuirassiers, the 12th. Even nearby old Tom Picton, dressed in the most unmilitary of garb, could not frighten or inspire them out of their stupor.

Meanwhile, Ney has his Leger pouring fire into the middle of the English line. The English are so far taking it but doing little to make it stop.

At 10 past 2, a fellow every bit as flamboyant at the King of Naples, with a tiger skin saddle cloth decides to lead the English Household Cavalry in a charge to throw back the Cuirassiers who are hypnotising the English Foot. The cuirassiers dig in their spurs and meet the Aristocrat’s sons head on. It is not a contest. The scions of the peerage are destroyed and their popinjay Commander is amongst their dead. I am informed this is the, till now, vaunted Uxbridge. The English will need a new commander of their cavalry.

This was all too much for the English Foot despite the high reputation they hold amongst some of my generals. Two regiments swept were swept away in the rout of the King’s courtiers. The Dutch fought longer and harder throughout the day.

By 2:15pm the Prussians put in a charge that Lobau holds this with ease.

By 2:35pm the English left completely collapses, and units there start streaming off the battle field. Wellington’s cavalry is in open mutiny. There is no inducement or punishment he can give to make them charge up that terrible hill into our cannon and the Guards that are marching magnificently over the crest. One spittle flecked General, his eyes bulging and his face the colour of the finest Burgundy is seen to be laying about these gentlemen with the flat of his sword, until a the guard of a sabre smashed into his nose unseats him and they turn their horses and canter to the rear.

By 2:43pm the English have lost the entire ridge – up-slope, crest-top and down-slope – from the sand pit east. The Imperial Guard Horse artillery has dismounted within canister range of the last remaining English Heavy cavalry still on this side of the field, backed up by all of the Old and Middle Guard.

Waterloo the end

Further blood loss is futile, particularly amongst my Dutch, Belgian and Rhineland subjects who throw down their arms and beg for forgiveness, while the English and Hanoverians flee for their ships.

There is over six hours of sunlight and I unleashed the still fresh cavalry units and horse artillery after them. Most not mounted on English thoroughbreds did not get half-way to Antwerp.

The Prussians retire in better order, but sandwiched between me and Grouchy, and having been beaten twice in three days, most will not regain Prussian soil.

Ney rode up to me and told me he had even captured Hougoumont without a fight. He said he gulled the English Foot Guards defending to sally forth by trailing an exposed flank. He then invited my brother Jerome to take a column of infantry and march through the southern gate. Sublime.

Our losses have been astonishingly light, but this is no more than I foresaw.

Please come by fast postal carriage. I need your help to instruct (guide) Soult in how to write marching orders to get our Corps across France to fall on Schwarzenberg, before he hears of our victory.

Wellington, Je lui ai cassé frère!

(Wellington. I smashed em Bro!)

N

Secret dispatché to Marshal Ney.

How lucky we were Michal that the English fought in the same-old-manner.

How would we have fared if Wellington had pulled back his batteries from the ridge line so we could not pick them off as we came up. How would we have fared if they had been set up in mass to bombard our forces as they came over the crest.

And what if he had formed up his squares in checker board so that each face was swept by supporting musket or artillery fire, and he had held his cavalry behind to charge through on our approaching infantry.

Then it might have been a near-run-thing.

N

Napcon 2015 – Part 1

Napcon is a 2 day convention which is held which celebrates the Napoleonic period.

This year it was being hosted by Mark Conroy at his semi rural estate just outside of Levin which is roughly a 90 minute drove north of Wellington taking it as a nanny drive(ie you have troops in the car) and a stop at McD’s for breakfast.

This year on the saturday would be on offer 2 games. Ligny and Quatre Bras and then on Sunday Waterloo. Unlike the 2 day Waterloo refight that was held in June these would be cut down commands with the aim of completing each battle in a days gaming.

The Garage Gamers attending were Russ, Paul G, Alan and Moi(Terry).

Russ was to be Napoleon at Ligny and then Waterloo. Paul G would be Wellington at both QB and Waterloo. Alan some obscure Prussian on saturday then Picton amongst others on Sunday. I was to be Ney at both QB and Waterloo.

I am still gathering the pictures and tales of woe and triumph in from the ladz, but as  a taster here are Paul G’s thoughts as Wellington!

It is with regret that the battle fought at Waterloo three days ago has resulted in our army being forced to retreat back to the Channel Coast, and Napoleon has entered Brussels.

I especially deplore the loss of Lords Ponsonby and Uxbridge, who were killed at the heads of their regiments.

The army had been arrayed on a low ridge south of Waterloo, with three farms acting as outworks in front of the main position. Fearing the French would turn our right, I had put our greatest strength there, behind the farm of Hougomont, which was held by the brigade of Guards. The French threw their main strength against our left flank. The main French advance was a mass of skirmishers, closely followed by cavalry and artillery, while the Imperial Guard marched immediately behind in dense columns.

Our cavalry on the extreme left manoeuvred into an excellent position to charge down the enemy flank, and our British battalions were readied for an immediate counterattack. But a strange lethargy gripped our commanders, perhaps amazed at the size of the French attack. The French were allowed to march forwards with our units oddly unable to move. The central farm of Le Haye Sainte was subject to a fierce bombardment, and the defenders of the King’s German Legion Light Battalion were defeated.  [Command dice all failed – no units in the army moved. An the first of our Break Tests failed.]

As the French attack crashed into Perponcher’s Dutch Division, Cole’s British Division moved forwards to support Picton’s British Division. However, their movements continued to exhibit none of the vigour I expected. Counterattacks by the Union Brigade met with disaster against French cuirassiers, and Lord Ponsonby was most unfortunately slain. As the French continued to advance, I ordered General’s Von Alten, Clinton and Cooke with their British Divisions to advance on the French left. Frustratingly, they continued to exhibit the peculiar inertness which had gripped the army. General Grant’s Hussar Brigade did not move at all. One move, by the gallant Dutch General Van Trip, at the head of his Dutch carabiniers, sought to relieve the pressure, though unsuccessfully. [Command dice continued to disappoint].

Unlike previous battles, the French did not come on in their usual style of dense columns, but instead came on in large clouds of skirmishers, with their artillery manhandled forwards amongst them, closely followed by cuirassiers. Our infantry were subjected to a terrible fire front he French tirailleurs and cannons. If our infantry charged the French skirmishers, then they would have exposed themselves to the charge of the enemy cuirassiers immediately behind.

By now the left wing had crumbled completely. A charge by the household Brigade against French cuirassiers failed, and Lord Uxbridge was killed. Shamefully, the retreat of the household Brigade precipitated a most shameful rout by a number of our British battalions in which I had placed excessive confidence in their fighting qualities. Picton’s Division was completely overrun, and Perponcher’s brave Dutch, after commendable resistance, collapsed. [What can I say – the Household Brigade broke, and then two supporting British battalions broke].

Losses have been very heavy. Given my complete inability to roll Command Dice below 9, I have placed myself under arrest and relieved myself of command, The Prince of Orange has taken command of the Allied armies.

Part 2 will be the Battle from Napoleons perspective!