Wagram 2017 – a practice game

Over the past few years the group has organised some BIG games like the Leipzig and Waterloo weekend games with 50+ gamers from around NZ at times joining in.

This year is a more modest event where 10-12 will be refighting the Battle of Wagram 1809. This particular part of the Napoleonic Wars is my personal favourite and one I have pondered for many a year.

Over the past 4 months we have been refighting various parts of the battlefield as we played around with the rules, the terrain, refined the sizes of the commands etc.

The game we played this time was based around Day 2 of the battle, 6th July 1809 and where Massena has completed his march across the Austrian front and is ready to face the corps of Kollowrat and Klenau. The time is roughly 1-2pm in the afternoon.

In the test games we have been recreating the battle as it occurred, however when we game the refight it will be different. I have always been fascinated by the idea of not punishing the Austrians by playing their commanders as they were but allowing, to a certain extent, to allow we as wargamers to be, well, US! And the ‘What if’ of Archduke John making the battlefield, and allowing the Austrians to draw upon Reuss’s 5th Corps and make it a fight to the death. So for this game I randomised one of Reuss’s divisions arriving late in the day.

The map below is from John H Gill 1809 Thunder on the Danube, Volume 3: Wagram and Zaim. The section we would game was from Sussen-brunn to just north of Aspern.

The Austrians were set up as below with Klenau(PaulG) at the far end and Ray(Kollowrat) the near end.

The French set up had Alan(Lasalle/Marulaz and Legrand) at the top, PaulW(Massena, Molitor, Saint Cyr and St Sulspice) in the centre and Keith with McDonald in the near end. PaulW had the 4 batteries from massed batteries.

Turn 1 and the French use a ‘Follow me’ order for to cavalry charge Austrian battery that PaulG had placed in advance of his line.

It seemed such a good idea, a second follow me was made!

However Lasalle was having an off day, the battery saved all 6 hits!

And 3rd Corps waits….. 

McDonald advances, the Austrian Uhlans spent the entire game doing…nothing…they would not charge!   

Klenau’s grenze formed square as French cavalry were hanging around…so the French columns came in.

Below Klenau has infantry blundering forward as the French close in.

Below Kollowrat had blundered off table, marched back on and advanced, only to suffer extreme casualties and only 1 of 4 units remained!

Kollowrat’s remaining Korps forces attack to assist Klenau’s flank.


The French grand battery maintains a no move area for the Austrians.

Not a happy sight, Austrian Hussars attacking a French line unit, and then getting Cuirassiers up their rear.

To the north the Austrian Uhlans are still refusing to move, and there is no one else left!

And that was game called as the Austrians, that remained would have been retiring and the Reuss division that should have arrived Goldie kept failing to get ordered onto the table! Both PaulG and Ray had blunders which removed units from the table, and failed orders to get units to move or charge where as the French were much agreeable to their orders. It was a major influence on the result coupled with the Austrian reserves failing to arrive.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Call to Arms 2015 – Part 2

Continuing right along.

The Allies have bought there reserves on strongly on their left flank whilst the French left is also their stronger point of attack. The Allied right is disintegrating under combined infantry and cavalry assault leaving Jerome’s Division with a clear run for the crossroads. In the centre strong Allied firepower is keeping the French at arms length and on the Allied left they are taking the fight aggressively to Bachelu’s Division.

_MG_3323a

Foys French Division in the centre where the Allied lines were disordering the attacking columns and stopping them getting into melee. Both sides were taking shooting casualties and withdrawing units from the front line to restore stamina where possible.

_MG_3325a

On the Allied left the wee jocks have fallen back and hopefully Rhys can recover some stamina before the next wave comes over the hedge(Rhys was having a REAL bad day at recovering stamina!!)

_MG_3329a

Von Altens Division takes the field!

_MG_3330a

View from the crossroads back down the road to the Farm. French columns are coming into view!

_MG_3331a

The view from village of Jerome’s Division appearing out of the haze

_MG_3332a

2 shaken Allied units within charge range of my cavalry results in 2 charges. Lancers into the shaken small Uhlan unit and Cuirassiers into the shaken Brunswick line who form square but being shaken I am still able to continue the charge. The Uhlans survive and fall back and my lancers incur another casualty so are now also shaken so they retire. The cuirassiers destroy the shaken square but incur a casualty so are also now shaken and rally back. Right corner can be seen disordered French column, an affliction for this brigade which slowed their advance.

_MG_3333a

British reinforcements advance to front of village and threaten disordered French column and Rhys alters his lines to counter threat.

_MG_3336a

Looking down table in left foreground Marks 8 Bttns have virtually open spaces in front of them. My Lancers and Cuirassiers are rallying. In front of Keiths brigades the Allies have added another line of British infantry and Brunswick has bought on 2 small Jager/AvantGarde Bttns to the right of the village. Rhys position is under mounting pressure from the Allies!

_MG_3339a

The Allied Command develop new hand semaphore system

_MG_3341a

French column on hill is destroyed by fire from flanking Allied line. More Allied units have advanced and while one has an open flank to French Hussars, the Hussars are shaken so cannot charge them.

_MG_3347a

You would think this British unit is doomed but alas no, a case of lots of powder and no shot. The French artillery commanders will have some company.

_MG_3350a

Jerome attacks from the French left!

_MG_3352a

and a 2nd brigade lines up the Allied lines

_MG_3353a

French attack! From left to right we have ongoing melee on the road, Mark gets a column with a support into Brunswick line. The Cuirassier regt in centre had charged a Dutch line which responded by forming square. Keith then launched a charge with a column into it. He was not able to get any supports up to assist it though. The Dutch unit on the road and the Brunswickers lose combat and retire. The square is destroyed.

_MG_3354a

Over in the centre another French unit has been destroyed on the hill and Paul / Pete and Daniel are throwing everything at Rhys to try and destroy the French right wing. Can the French left get the job done while Rhys holds off so many Allied units!

_MG_3358a

An apology here for the long range shot of the Allied left , camera (ok…operator) issue with the shots took from other end of table. Anyhow as can be seen Rhys has been influenced by the Dwarf players in the Warhammer Final Fling tournie and is ‘Castling Up’! The Allies can be seen positioned to try and get around Rhys flank although Rhys still has some cavalry unlike the Allies.

_MG_3355a

A shot back down the table from Rhys ‘Castle’.

_MG_3359a

The French left closes in on Quatre Bras. Brunswick AvanteGarde skirmishing with French coming from 2 sides and behind them melee between French and Dutch. The Uhlans are shaken and cannot intervene, the Brunswickers are under cannon firefrom the horse battery and the Cuirassiers have gotten a flank charge off on another Brunswick unit.

_MG_3361a

It was the last turn and I had been admiring the open flanks of some of Paul and Pete’s units so if I got successful ‘Follow Me!’ orders off it could be fun. So I tried and both went off. Cuirassiers into flank of a battery and Lancers into flank of British line(Albuera, my hearts on fire, Albuera!). The combat destroys both contacted units and the sweeping advances take out 2 more.

_MG_3364a

And a close up!

_MG_3374a

A final shot down the table at the end of the last French turn. The Allies then had there turn but I neglected to take any photos. The Allies attempted to cause more damage on the French units on the French left but a thunderstorm must have arrived as a lot of damp powder shooting occurred and no units were shaken or destroyed! Hurrah!!

_MG_3375a

And here is Quatre Bras in Allied hands still, so the French don’t get an automatic victory! All be it the defenders are a fairly shaken up bunch. The count back on Victory Points gave Victory to the French 44 v 26 Yeehaa!!

_MG_3373a

And one final picture from the game. Note Pauls expression! I asked the ladz to give me caption to accompany it…there were some rather witty ones but I have decided to let Paul have the final say. ‘I had just lost five battalions to Terry’s rampaging cavalry. So I was deciding whether to scream or cry’.

So that was our saturday spent at Call to Arms. There at 8am, turn 1 commenced at 8:47am and we were all packed up and I was driving off by 5pm.

I think it was a good game and the ladz seemed to have fun. I think as a group we have played enough games using Black Powder that the rule book is rarely opened and games tend to be played in the right friendly spirit. The scenario was fairly well balanced and you can look back at some stages and think ‘hmmm…now if that had worked or if I had done that’ perhaps the Allies would have won.

I chose to just have 2 small cavalry brigades so I could take pictures but alas I seem to have missed a few on the other flank so will get Pete(Von Peter) to send me some and will add them in. And of course I do like using cavalry although Paul is threatening to never let me use any again. He is a bad man.

The next 2 Garage Games are ACW ones so will be postings on those and then in September some of us are journeying up the coast to Mark Conroys country estate as he is hosting NapCon(Napoleonic Convention) where saturdays game is Ligny and sunday is a cut down Waterloo. Speaking of Waterloo I have a mountain of pictures from various ladz to wade through then I will do a batrep based on the diary of the characters I played, namely Prince of Orange and Uxbridge.

Until next time

Terry

and will sign off with a cute picture that was on my daughters camera

IMG_2094a

Call to Arms 2015 – Part 1

The Wellington Warlords is the Wargaming Club based in Central Wellington and in August each year they host a 2 day convention called ‘Call to Arms’. I have attended most of them since around 2000 and apart from 2 years running a Warhammer Ancient Battles competition these have been playing Demonstration games of either 7 Years War, ACW, Ancients using Piquet rules or Napoleonics(Black Powder). Last year we gamed the Southern sector of Leipzig 1813 and this year following on from the success of the Waterloo weekend, we presented Quatre Bras.

The rule set was our set of choice being ‘Black Powder’ with the scenario being taken from the Supplement ‘Albion Triumphant’. The table was 16 x 6 foot and we kept the hedge lines and trees to a minimum to aid easier play.

The players would be Paul, Pete, Daniel and Grant on the Allied side and Rhys, Keith, Mark and Moi(Terry) on the French side. The only change to the scenario was that all Command ratings would be 8 except for Wellington(9) and Orange who would be 7 with the special rule of any failed role would be re rolled and a second fail was a blunder.

For the Allies Paul was Wellington/Orange and also commanded Vinke(4 Hanoverian Landwher and 1 battery) and Von Alten’s forces(Halket and Kielmansegge’s brigades of 3 KGL Bttns each and 1 battery). Grant was Bylandt(5 Dutch/Belgian Bttns and a horse battery), Van Merlin( Dutch Hussars and a small Belgian light Dragoon) and Von Godecke(5 Nassau Bttns). Pete was Best(4 Hanoverian Landwher) and Pack(2 British and 2 Highland Bttns). Daniel was Brunswick(4 Bttns with 1 large Hussar and a small Uhlan Regt and later a small Jager and Avante Garde) and Kempt( 1 Bttn rifles and 3 British line plus a battery).

For the French Terry was Ney, Reille(12 pdr battery) ,Pirie and 2 of the cavalry brigades, Walthiez(2 Lancer and horse battery) and Kellerman(2 Cuirassier). Rhys was Bachelu(brigade of 4 Bttns and brigade of 5 Bttns and 1 battery) and also Huber( 2 Chasseur a Cheval Regts). Keith was Foy(brigade of 5 Bttns and brigade of 6 Bttns and 1 battery) and Mark was Jerome Bonaparte(2 brigades of 4 Btts each and a battery). Mark and Keith would both be arriving late so I started out commanding their forces. Mark arrived during Turn 2 and Keith shortly there after.

The game would be 8 turns and victory points were:

  • 6 points for holding the crossroads
  • 2 points per destroyed enemy unit
  • 1 point for shaken enemy unit

The French win outright if they take and hold the crossroads for 2 turns, this means 2 units within 4 inches of the crossroads and no Allied units closer.

The French get to move first.

_MG_3266a

Grant sets up with his Nassau brigade closest to the table side extending from wood out with the Dutch brigade and the battery then extending to the village/crossroads.

_MG_3271

Turn 1 and the French Divisions of Rhys and Keith march on. Rhys to the right of the Germioncourt Farm and Keith in front of and to the left. Mark and Keith would both be late arriving so initially I commanded their divisions. I gave Rhys the Chasseur brigade to command and I commanded my Polish lancers(as French!).

_MG_3272a

View from Quatre Bras down road to Farm and Foy.

_MG_3273a

View from behind Dutch to French left where Wathiez Lancers guard flank.

_MG_3275a

Picton’s Division of Kempt/Pack/Best and Vinke march on to the left of Quatre Bras!

_MG_3276a

Allied lines

_MG_3278a

Brunswicker’s move up in support of Dutch around village.

_MG_3280a

Turn 2 and Jerome marches on in position on the extreme French left.

_MG_3281a

French right where Rhys has Chasseurs between his and Keith’s Divisions

_MG_3283a

Black Powder can get you into action quickly! Rhys has a brigade in bottom right of picture crossing hedge line to get into Allied flank. In the centre a Hussar unit has charged a Dutch unit on hill, which has formed square, so the Hussars retire and then a French column of Keith’s charges it! On the French left the Lancers have charged a Nassau unit which has formed square so they have retired back to 12 inches distance. On the Allied side Van Merlins cavalry have marched on to the Allied right flank.

_MG_3286a

Turn 3 and Rhys has Allied units moving to him. There are Rifles on his flank. In centre the Dutch square lost the combat and retired to village. The French column also retired.

_MG_3292a

French lancer unit was within 12 inches of Nassau foot unit so is able to charge and they cannot form square. It will and does hurt, unit is destroyed. However the lancers are shaken by the combat(that means they have taken 3 wounds and with a stamina of 3 they are now shaken) which means they cannot do a sweeping advance forward into their frontal arch but instead retire back 18 inches.

_MG_3298a

On the French right Rhys moves his 2nd brigade up to pull more Allies away from the village whilst a Chasseur a Cheval unit heads for the flank.

_MG_3304a

Daniel takes advantage of my lancers being shaken and does a ‘Follow Me’ order with his large unit of Brunswick Hussars. The ‘Follow Me’ order requires a commander to attach to a unit and roll to equal or get less than his command rating. If you manage this then the unit has a triple move to accomplish what ever you want within that restriction. So in this case the Hussars charged my shaken lancers and as they were shaken they could not counter charge. The effect being in combat I hit on 4’s and not 3’s and Daniel then does not get a -1 on his saving throws from being charged by lancers. Its not looking good for me!

_MG_3307a

So Daniel has 9 attacks hitting on 3’s and I save on 4’s. I have 7 attacks hitting on 5’s and Daniel saves on 4’s. We do 1 wound each, I have 2 supports and Daniel has none. I win…yes I won campers. Daniel rolls for the break test on the 2 blue dice which come up with a 2 and 1. That adds up to 3, and the unit and General are destroyed. I was almost embarrassed ……….almost!

_MG_3305a

On French right Rhys’s 2nd brigade had a rude shock when 2 Bttns of wee Jocks jumped over the hedge and came towards him! What was Pete up to!!

_MG_3306a

On Allied extreme left a successful ‘Follow me’ order and Rhys’s flank attack looks like stalling with a Bttn in his flank and a battery also looking to help out and the rifles that blundered off table are coming back!

_MG_3308a

And a close up. ‘Ouch’ is probably not doing justice to the fate about to befall the 2 French Bttns here.

_MG_3311a

The Dutch foot are suffering from Keith’s skirmishers and the barrage from the 8 and 12 pdr batteries which are now at medium range(footnote – from 12 shots from cannons in 3 turns of shooting Keith managed 2 hits at medium range. The artillery commander has been placed up against a wall). Daniel has moved his Brunswicker’s up to allow the Dutch time to regain some stamina.

_MG_3312a

The Allied right waits as Jerome’s Division advances towards them.

_MG_3313a

Turn 4 and Kellermans Cuirassier’s march onto the table on ‘Follow Me’ orders from Pirie and Kellerman. They charge Dutch Light cavalry and a small unit of Brunswick Uhlans. Each has 10 combat dice, hitting on 3’s, saving on 3’s(4’s against Uhlans). As payback for defeating the Brunswick Hussars one unit is shaken and the other fails to destroy the Uhlan’s so both rally back as do the Allied cavalry units. Now that did not go to plan!!

_MG_3314a

Position on left is one brigade French line is chasing fairies in the woods(ok…its really a bttn of Nassau), second brigade is advancing slowly up road(ie failed command to move), my cavalry are bit battered and need turn or 2 to recover some stamina and Keiths big brigade is letting his skirmishers inflict more pain before he charges in. The Nassau and Dutch brigades are slowly accumulating casualties(as are Keiths!)

_MG_3315a

On the Allied left the wee jocks who crossed the hedge are now both shaken as are the 2 French bttns to there front(this means all have sustained 3 casualties). The Hussar unit is still refusing to move!

_MG_3317a

On the extreme Allied left one of the flanked French columns is still holding on. I can see 3 casualty markers so they are not feeling very happy. The front Bttn has been destroyed.

_MG_3320a

The temptation of a shaken cavalry unit(who cannot counter charge) was to much for my fresh lancer unit so they charged them. The horse battery moved up to blast some infantry!

_MG_3321a

After the dust settles from the Dutch cavalry being destroyed and failed morale tests from shaken units who were close to the combat, the Allied right flank is not looking to healthy! One brigade French infantry is still chasing fairies in the woods but another is advancing and hopefully can now turn and roll up the Allied line

And this is probably a good time to stop the First part of the Report!