Please note I will not be hosting any Public events from 31st January 2023. Nothing too drastic from our side, just need a break.

I’ll be providing updates when we’re back, here and on my social media platforms.

Thank you for all the custom and friendship this has brought me to date.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon, both new and old customers.

A few weeks ago a group of wargamers from the Reigate club and fellow “In the Grand Manner” gamers from London got together to refight Waterloo at the Wargames Holiday Centre. A gentleman from Austria who is a WHC regular also joined us as the main Prussian player, giving 4 players a side.

Overview of the attack on the farmhouse

We chose Waterloo as we were aware Mark Freeth had changed the old familiar set up to give a better and more realistic game. We were intrigued!

The start of the Battle with most of the protagonists.

Starting at 4pm on Friday, sides were allocated, plans discussed and agreed and initial dispositions made, together with the first few moves.
Intriguingly, the way the Anglo-Allied side went about the planning was reminiscent of history. The Allied plan was very much the product of the player taking the Duke of Wellington role. He presented the plan and the other two Allied players accepted it. Don’t worry the Allied players knew each other well; this is just how they had agreed to proceed at the outset.

Wellington in the foreground La Haye Sainte in the middle and the French in the distance.

The Duke decided to maintain the Corps integrity of the army as that gave some useful command plusses. However, it did mean the Duke of Orange would be unleashed! In the special game rules he can be useful but there is a chance his influence would be malign. The Duke decided to take the risk!
The Anglo Allied plan saw the ridge as the important defensive position to be held at all costs. The strongest formations would be here. If an attack on either or both flanks, which was feared, did actually materialise then the reserves from the centre could easily be deployed to meet those thrusts.

The Royal Artillery prepare to meet the onslaught.

1st Corps commanded by the Prince of Orange was on the Allied right with the Dutch Belgian (DB) Division of Chasse holding the Hougomont area, Cooke’s 1st Division containing the British Guards was next in the line covering the gap between Hougomont and the ridge proper. Perponcher’s D B Division and Alten’s Anglo Allied Division completed the deployment to the La Haye Sainte area. KGL Light troops garrisoned La Haye Sainte as they did in the actual battle. Trip’s Dutch Belgian cavalry division was held in reserve on the extreme right.

The eastern half of the ridge from the La Haye Sainte was held by 2nd Corps Lt Gen Lord Hill consisting of Clinton’s and Mitchells Anglo Allied Divisions supported by Vandeleur’s Cavalry Brigade and the Cumberland Hussars (more of them later!).

Behind these formations Picton’s 5th and Lambert’s 6th Anglo Allied Divisions together with the Household and Union Brigades were held in reserve.

The Allied left from the ridge to Papelotte was garrisoned by the Brunswick Corps and Nassau contingent. These formations were supported by Dornberg’s and Vivian’s Cavalry Brigades.

All the Allied artillery was put into the front line and none held in reserve.

On the French side planning was a bit more orthodox with input from all players. With the entire Guard, Lobau VI’s Corps and Domon’s Cavalry Division held in reserve until released by the umpire, their plan needed some flexibility.

In the event Napoleon decided to concentrate all his available infantry forces on taking the ridge head on. Reille’s II Corps was deployed on the French left but was ordered to ignore Hougomont and the adjacent orchard. Head for the ridge was the order of the day!
D’Erlon’s I Corps was deployed on the French right, directly facing the ridge with Milhaud’s IV Heavy Cavalry Corps covering its flank in the Papelotte area.

Milhauds Cuirassier move into position.

Crucially, at this stage it was decided to despatch the army’s strongest heavy cavalry formation Kellerman’s III Cavalry Corps to secure the Plancenoit and Frischermont areas immediately and delay any future Prussian advance here.

The game started in earnest on Saturday. Kellerman easily moved his heavy cavalry into the empty spaces around Plancenoit and Frischermont. No Prussians were to be found.

The massed Cavalry of Kellermann and Milhaud early in the battle.

Blucher was already fighting for the Allies in his absence, diverting French troops from the ridge!

British Light cavalry move forward to the ridge to counter the French advance.

Enterprisingly, the Allies despatched Vivian’s Cavalry Brigade to delay this deployment. This formation roughly handled a regiment of French Dragoons north of Frischermont. However they withdrew as French cavalry reinforcements arrived.

Vivians Light Cavalry advance to scout for the French right wing.

In the centre a terrible cannonade opened up. The French artillery, including two Guard batteries engaged in counter battery fire, whilst the Allied guns pounded the advancing French columns. All Allied infantry and cavalry formations remained sheltered behind the ridge. The exception to this was the poor KGL Light battalion in La Haye Sainte which was under severe volley fire.

The valley floor.

As the French columns made it to the valley floor and began to climb the ridge, Napoleon joined the units around La Haye Sainte, perhaps to encourage them forward, who knows? This action nearly changed the history of Europe. A volley from the KGL Light Battalion was fired in the direction of the French infantry he was with. Now Mark Freeth has rules for generals in “danger zones”. The dice was thrown and yes Napoleon was hit. (Double six rolled in the firingphase on any target results in a potential General casualty for any within 6″) Ed. Another dice needed to be thrown to see if he was slightly/badly wounded or killed. Hearts in mouth time for the French! A 6 on a D6 roll would be fatal! A hush fell, the dice was thrown and…. Napoleon’s horse went down and he just lost influence for one turn, whilst his escort provided a remount, otherwise he was unharmed. General Donzelot was also unhorsed at the same time.

The view from the Hougomont end of the ridge.

Allied joy was short lived as the sheer weight of numbers pressing in on La Haye Sainte meant the KGL were forced to abandon the farm.

The attack develops around La Haye Sainte.

Eventually, the Allied gun batteries were silenced or forced to withdraw and the French closed up to the ridge. Meanwhile, the advance units of Bulow’s Corps were arriving and advancing on Placenoit. The Prussian cavalry encountered stiff opposition from the French heavies. The French superiority in cavalry numbers and quality on this flank would make life difficult for the Prussians for the remainder of the game. Still the Allies on the ridge were pleased they were not fighting this excellent French cavalry!

The advance elements of Bulows Prussian Corps arrive.

As Bulow’s infantry Brigades arrived, Lobau’s VI Corps together with Domon’s light cavalry were released to deal with the Prussians

The assault between La Haye Sainte and Papelotte.

The battle now entered a new phase with French infantry moving up to cross the sunken road and take the ridge.

The French attack through the centre


 
Taking the action from the far French left, Reille’s Corps, obeying orders, ignored Hougomont and the Orchard. The Prince of Orange ordered the Dutch Belgian (DB) units holding orchard to re-deploy so as to be able to fire into the exposed French flank.

The fighting on the slope.

The French Corps light cavalry guarding the extreme flank of the French infantry moved away from this threat and were engaged in inconclusive melees by the D B cavalry of Trip’s Division. Jerome’s Division was also delayed by the DB light cavalry and once clear of them launched themselves against Bijleveld’s DB battery. However a battalion of British Guards had moved up and their deadly volleys forced the Frenchmen back. Meanwhile Foy’s division pressed on up the ridge.

<Clinging to the ridge from the first assault.

A French attempt to deploy artillery on the ridge met with disaster as KGL and British volleys ripped into the deploying French artillery crews. Foy’s division then deployed to make an attack but once again met stiff opposition from the British and KGL infantry and a fire fight ensued across the sunken road which the French eventually lost.

The British Guards

The coup de grace in this area was administered by the British Guards advancing onto the French flank and the French started to fall back. Into the confusion charged some DB cavalry and routed 2 French battalions, meanwhile the raw DB infantry, not to be outdone saw off a further attack on Lux’s DB foot battery which was one of the few Allied artillery units still clinging to the ridge. Foy’s first attack was over.

The sunken road.

However, Bachelu’s division took La Haye Sainte easily, expelling the KGL garrison in short order. The division proceeded up the ridge and once again a fire fight developed over the sunken road. This time the French managed to maintain their position, neither side giving ground. As one unit faltered it was replaced by another.

French move past La Haye Sainte.

Moving to the east of La Haye Sainte a similar battle was occurring on the ridge, across the sunken road, volleys were exchanged and units were replaced as they retired. Gradually good British units were replaced by Hanoverians and the French pressure began to tell, especially, in the area of the Brussels road near the sand pit.

Fight for the Sandpit east of La Haye Sainte.

At this point the Cumberland Hussars must get an honourable mention, despite the attendant morale minuses they had, they stayed on the battlefield and completed a number of charges against French infantry in this area, holding the French back whilst the Duke reorganised his defence. Would this be the breakthrough? You’ll need to read on!

British Hussars from Vivians Brigade charge the French heavies.

On the Allied left realising much of the French “battle” cavalry was fighting the Prussians the Allied commander here requested permission from the Duke to release Dornberg’s KGL cavalry brigade.

British Lights engage French Cuirassier.

The Duke agreed and further supported this attack with Vandeleur’s strong British Light Cavalry Brigade. The massed light cavalry charged into the French Cuirassiers and were also supported also by the remnants of Vivian’s Brigade. The melees went well for Dornberg’s cavalry with several cuirassier squadrons being routed, by the KGL troopers. The British cavalry fared less well and were roughly handled.

The French Guard Heavy regiments stream across the slopes looking for a way through.

Into one of the luckless batteries

However in the confusion, two Nassau infantry battalions caught some French Cuirassiers napping when they had advanced too close to Papelotte, the Nassauers emptying some Cuirassier saddles! The net effect here was to neutralise the French cavalry for a few turns, allowing the Brunswick and Nassau troops to advance towards the flank of D’Erlons infantry attack on the ridge. Unfortunately this advance was slowed as the French deployed artillery batteries and all the routed French cuirassiers rallied!

Meanwhile the Prussians were now arriving in force around Smohain, but these reinforcements were mainly infantry and were slow to get into action through the sea of French heavy cavalry on this flank. Both the French Reserve Cavalry Corps were now deployed to slow the Prussian/Brunswick advance. Lobau tightened his grip around Plancenoit. The Prussians waited trying to amass sufficient troops to assault the town. At this point the Young Guard were released from reserve and headed straight for the ridge down the Brussels road. This ended the activity on Saturday and we reconvened at 9.30 on Sunday morning for the climax of the battle.

Prussian Line infantry of Bulow's Corps.

The battle now entered the third and final phase and we will return to the Allied right near Hougomont first.

Prussians stream advance into the fortress of Plancenoit.

Here the Prince of Orange, defying all the odds, was putting on a very competent display of generalship. Mark Freeth has a table of actions for the young princeling which mean he can force some inadvisable actions upon his troops. The French had reinforced this area with the Guard Cavalry to prevent the Allies turning the flank. Here they made short work of the remaining DB cavalry and finally destroyed Bijleveld’s battery. However, the steady British Guards and flanking fire from the Orchard snuffed out any chance of the French exploiting this success. With Hougomont and Orchard safe Wellington began to move elements of 2nd and 3rd DB Divisions towards his threatened centre.

The Dutch Heavies mix it with the French Guard Light Cavalry.

The Carabinier are painted ans based by the master Dave Docherty(One man and His Brushes fame) while the Chasseure are from the stable of Doug Mason. All figures are Connoisseur.

Meanwhile Foy’s division had rallied and made another attack on the ridge and together with Bachelu’s division first engaged the depleted KGL infantry in a fire fight across the sunken road and slowly the KGL yielded ground. Luckily for the allies the two British battalions in Alten’s Division filled the gap and the position stabilised. The French made no further progress on this western flank.

The Brussels road and area east of La Haye Sainte now became the critical area for the French. D’Erlon’s divisions were still trading volleys with Clinton’s and Mitchell’s Divisions across the sunken road. The 95th Rifles held back the French until reduced to a shadow of their strength. Gradually the remaining British and KGL battalions weakened and some Hanoverian formations entered the line. Similarly the French battalions suffered grievous losses and some retreated and routed.

Young Guard approach the sunken road.

Hanoverian Militia assaulted by the Young Guard.

This caused a major problem to the Young Guard behind as they tried to press on through the dense mass of line battalions to their front. This lack of space was to bedevil the French for the remainder of the game. Eventually a brigade of Young Guard made it through the mass in the area of the Brussels road and the Allies yielded ground. Would this be the breakthrough?

British Guards pour fire into the advancing French infantry

Further east, along the ridge, the Allies were holding firm and were developing a limited counterattack. The Brunswickers had moved from the Papelotte area and were now moving almost at right angles to the ridge driving into the French flank. The French fell back with several line battalions retreating and routing into the valley floor.

The Prussians had now arrived in force with Ziethen’s Corps Cavalry in the lead. The Prussian infantry lagged behind and would play no part in the battle. This gave the Allied commander here the cavalry numbers to unleash a series of charges onto the remaining French Cuirassier and artillery batteries guarding this flank. The results were mixed but overall confusion was sown in the French ranks as batteries retreated through each other and an infantry battalion was routed by the Brunswick Lancers. As darkness fell, the French strove to retire in order to limit the damage.

The French Guard advance past the Farmhouse.

The eastern flank of the battlefield was now filled with Prussian infantry, however, only a small proportion of these units were able to get within fighting range of the French. The sight was impressive but the actual threat was not as great as it appeared. The French had allocated more than sufficient troops to hold Plancenoit and as night fell their grip on the town was unchallenged. It should be noted, however, that there was little to halt the Prussian infantry advancing between Frischermont and Papelotte.

The Brunswickers Advancing to support the Prussians arriving from the East.

So we must now return to the “main event” around the Brussels road on the ridge. The Old Guard had by now been sent forward by Napoleon down the Brussels road. The Young Guard on the ridge now advanced and crossed the sunken road, the only French units to do this all day. Wellington had in reserve to counter this threat Picton’s 5th Division and Lambert’s 6th Division along with the Household and Union Brigades. Initially Allied routing units from the ridge disorganised these formations but the French had no cavalry to exploit this. The crisis passed and with a few charges from the British heavy cavalry delaying the Young Guard the Allied line was reformed as darkness fell.

What happened to the Old Guard? The press of French troops around the Brussels road meant it had no room to manoeuvre in. Indeed French units routed through it four times, each time pinning it for a move. The Guard, of course, brushed these inferior units aside but the delay meant it never got into action.

The Guard move down the Brussels road unopposed


The figures are Bicorne Miniatures all painted by Doug Mason.

So what was the result, after 22 moves of hard pounding? Both sides could claim positive results.

The French held the ridge in the area of the Brussels road. Napoleon’s ultimate reserve the Old Guard was intact, although the rest of the French army had suffered heavy losses. The French line of retreat or communication, depending on your view, was secure as Plancenoit was held. The Army of the North was still a viable fighting force.

The combatants.

From an Allied perspective the rest of the ridge was in Allied hands with counterattacking forces moving in from the flanks to squeeze the French penetration. The Anglo Allied Army was intact and a continuous line maintained, although bowed in the centre. Strong reserves in the shape of 5th and 6th British Divisions and all the British heavy cavalry were still available to Wellington.

<The Prussians pour past Smohain and Frischermont.

The Prussian Army although, neutralised in the battle was massing and had linked up with the Anglo Allied Army.

The Prussians advance to link with the Allied right.

Putting the battle into the context of the overall strategic situation there is some justification for claiming an Allied victory although not as emphatic as the historical result. The Anglo Allied and Prussian armies were still intact and had joined forces. Napoleon’s plan from the outset was to keep them separate and destroy both or at least one. At our Waterloo he failed to destroy the Anglo Allied Army and prevent junction with Prussians.

But think about this, with both armies still viable fighting forces what would have happened in the next few days? The French army would probably retire but would Grouchy have been able to intervene and could Napoleon then turn the tables as the Allies pursued? Another idea for a new battle at the Wargames Holiday Centre, come on Mark you know you want to!

After all the post mortems each side had their regrets. The French I think would acknowledge they despatched too many troops to deal with the Prussians. The immediate allocation of the strongest French Cavalry Corps to this flank, before any Prussians appeared, robbed the French formations attacking the Anglo Allied Army of valuable cavalry. Secondly, the failure to at least contest the Orchard at Hougomont meant the French attack on this front was pushed east to avoid flanking fire from the orchard.

Both the above caused the French attack on the ridge to become cramped with little room for the troops to manoeuvre and may have fatally delayed the Guard units from intervening decisively.

As an Allied player, I can say our tactics were conservative (how very appropriate for the Duke though!) and served us well, however, with hindsight we wish we had been a bit more adventurous. With less held in reserve, especially the British Heavy Cavalry our counterattack on the eastern side of the ridge could have been far more dangerous and perhaps given us a decisive victory. In rugby terms our defence was sound but the attack perhaps could do with an improvement!

Finally and most importantly did we enjoy ourselves? The answer must be a resounding yes!

Both sides left claiming that they could do better as French or Allied and that is the beauty of Waterloo my friends. You always think it will be the same but it never is and after each game you think, if only I’d done that or if I’d been in charge of the opposition I’d have done something different. Waterloo casts it’s spell again, a strange old world!

Our very first live WWII game was played over the last weekend. The scenario was France 1940 with an attempt by a combined force of French and British to cut off the German advance into France.

British infantry

British infantry advance toward the central main town.

The start

The beginning of the battle.

As you may know we use Flames of War as our rule set of choice with a few tweaks and adjustments to suit our large playing areas. One of the additions is a series of useful Combat unit cards, these provide an immediate oversight to the formations available to the players. The parent unit is the Division, this being A4 in size, with the various regiments that form part of these large formations then broken down into a “Top Trump” kind of card. These smaller cards have images of the units, name and statistic details for that particular unit.

Reconnaisance

German reconnaisance in the northern town.

German Panzer Schutzen

German panzer schutzen entering into the northern town.

All this means that the players have the information available to them without having to leaf through long lists of weaponry to find the weapon, or armour value for a particular tank etc. These proved very useful throughout the weekend.

German armour moving west.

Panzer IV’s moving into position to stop the Allied advance.

As this was our first “live” game using the Flames of War rules I asked my good friend Sid to design the scenario and perform the umpiring through the weekend. Sid has a wealth of experience with the rules, having several armies of various nationalities of his own.

Hotchkiss Tanks

French Hotchkiss tanks attack the German defences of the main town.

French Infantry

French infantry move forward to engage the German infantry in the town north of the main town.

British infantry advance

All along the front the allies advance, these British infantry advancing toward the southern town.

He has also run quite a few events such as these within his own club and quite frankly has a knack for creating excellent, exciting scenarios for this period. It’s something of a passion for him.

Panzer IV in cover

Panzer IV’s holding awaiting the reinforcements.

On the Friday the players all arrived at around 16.00 and as is usual here at the Wargames Holiday Centre, they chose sides and determined the best strategy for their army.

Totenkopf moving into the woodland

SS Totenkopf moving into the woodland around the town in the southwest, even after a severe mauling by the British.

As we had the Combat cards available we set up the figures on the table directly. Objective markers were laid out by the Umpire in key positions around the battlefield, these being double sided with differing values for each side.

French Cuirassier division

French Cuirassier division moving forward.

The Germans started with fifty four victory points at the start, while the allies had none. Around the table there was a large town in the centre of the table, with a village to the north of it and two villages to the south of it, one directly south and the other a little more to the southwest.

Awaiting the French

The view of the Allied advance from the town in the north.

The beginning of the battle saw the British entering the battle through the southwest village and along the southwestern table edge. The French opted for a flank march with one of their Cuirassier Divisions with an attached Mechanised battalion.

The first sight of British Infantry

The first signs of British infantry entering the southwestern town.

The rest of the French army entering from the Northwest and along the northern half of the western table edge.

French Panhard armoured cars supporting their infantry in the advance to the town in the north.

When this came on with the British army it presented quite a daunting sight for the German forces that were deployed to the east.

German armoured car and PZ IV

German recce falling back to it’s larger brethren.

One of the Panzer divisions was deployed along the eastern table; the HQ and divisional assets were deployed in the town along with a Panzer regiment. There was one battalion on the western table, the infamous SS regiment Totenkopf.

The view to the North west of the map.

The view to the northwest of the battlefield, the southern town is in the foreground.

To the north there was the rest of the division comprising several Panzer regiments of 38T’s, PzIV and PZIII’s. There were two units of Recce for the Germans on the western table as well, these gave ground rapidly in front of the allied advance.

View to the northeast

The view to the northeast of the battlefield, the southwest town is in the foreground.

It looked quite likely that the German division may be overrun in a very short space of time.

Sunday morning

The view of the battlefield from the south on Sunday morning before the players arrived.

We needed the 7th Panzer to arrive and quickly, messages were sent via radio and the news was that is was on it’s way. We looked to the southeast and began to dig in, the 88’s were unlimbered and turned toward the advancing threat. Word came in from our air support that a force of tanks and lorries were advancing from the North, so some of the German armour was moved to cover the possible entry points.

Unlimbered and ready

Luftwaffe 88’s unlimered and dug in await the allied armour advance (Figures by SHQ Miniatures).

Still the relentless advance of the allies looked to overwhelm the German defences.

moving up to the digging in area

Mk VI light tanks moving up in support of the British Infantry, the southwest town can be seen in the background.

Meanwhile in the middle of the battlefield just west of the main town, the German reconnaissance fell back to it’s main armour. The British linked up with the French advancing from the northwest and pushed east on to the waiting panzers. In the South western town the battle ensued for possession, the Totenkopf needed to hold this key position.

Moving up in support MAtilda I's and Vickers Light tanks

Mk VI light tanks supported by Matilda I’s keep up with their infantry.

The first advance saw a company of them caught advancing in the open by a squadron of Mk VI vickers light tanks. The firing saw more than fifty percent casualties but the fanatical drive of these guys saw them through and they continued into the cover of the woods. Over the next few turns the ferocious hand to hand street fighting in the town saw control sway back and forth however without support for the SS there was only one outcome and the battalion died to a man.

Through the town to the southwest

Another view of the Mk VI light tanks moving up in support of the British Infantry, the southwest town can be seen in the background.

The British infantry then pushed on supported by their light tanks.

British anti tank.

British anti-tank guns moving into position.

The north of the battlefield had a similar battle developing the French infantry, caught in the open were shelled, machine gunned and then assaulted, two battalions being either wiped out or captured. The arrival of the Char B Cuirassier regiments turning the tide, allowing the remaining French infantry to assault the Germans in the town with some success.

Aerial view of the French advance

An aerial view of the French advance on the main town.

Centre stage

A German anti tank gun and crew take up position in the main town.

One thing of note throughout the battle was the air combat. The allies rarely turned up, when they did it was fairly ineffective and the Germans, turned up and rarely took out their armoured targets.

After a successful sortie

French Fighters returning after engaging three flights of Stuka’s, somewhat unsuccessfully this time.

There were approximately six to eight allied tanks destroyed all game in this way. The artillery was only marginally better, however the whole feeling of dread that these arms of the forces created a realistic reaction of the formations trying to space themselves out and thus avoid the dreaded bombardments.

French digging in

French infantry digging in, awaiting the expected German counter attack .

The air combat preceding the ground attack worked very well, with the French aircraft engaging, hitting and sometimes destroying their German opponents.

Stuka attack

a lone Stuka flight bears down on the unsuspecting allied troops.

After several turns awaiting the imminent attack from the French in the North it arrived, a battalion of Somua tanks would take some stopping with their mechanised infantry support. The Germans were ready though and three battalions of 38t’s and PzII’s and a battery of 88’s were waiting. Everything was thrown at this threat, eventually they were stopped however at what cost though. Vital armour had been pulled out of the German front line and now the Allied forces were bypassing the Northern town and pressing the outskirts of the main town. The 88’s outside the main town picked off a couple of Matilda’s and some Char B’s but it didn’t look to be enough to stop the Allied forces.

At last the German reserves began to arrive, coming in from the south and southeast the leading Panzer regiments turned to deal with the British pushing through the village in the southeast, while the next regiments pushed on to assist and look to drive back the British forces to the north of this village.

The panzer III defeat

Panzer III’s accompanied by panzer II’s attempted to assault the anti tank and infantry.

Several turns were spent with the Germans drawing back out of range of the allied artillery and regrouping, then once the reserves were in place the Germans counter attacked. The attack to the north pushed on first, spearheaded by PZIV and PZIII’s the British stood firm and dug in.

Digging in

Panzerschutzen moving into position in the main town, preparing for the allied assault.

The Germans in front of the southeastern town also pushed in supported by flights of Luftwaffe and artillery.

Pioneer battalion arrives with the Panzer reserves.

German assault engineers (Pioneer) troops moving through the town to the south.

The British began to pull back and regroup. The fighting to the north of the south eastern town intensified with German armour being pounded by the batteries of 25 pdr artillery and anti tank fire from the woodland in the area. The damage was such that the entire regiment was reduced to fifty percent strength in a matter of three to four turns, for the loss of an anti tank battery and a battalion of infantry.

British Infantry dug in.

British infantry dug in and regrouping.

There was some local success with a detachment of PZIII’s punching right through, nearly capturing the Divisional HQ.

The town in the southeast was contested but the drive of the PZIII’s into the infantry and MkVI’s proved to much and the British fell back, thus allowing the Germans to capture the town again. In the Northern sector of the battlefield the French were pushing on, the Germans falling back.

By the end of Sunday the allies had won the battle, the Germans having to fall back and look to get around the allied forces. The VP’s were 31 to the allies and 23 to the Germans, if the push to the Divisional HQ had succeeded and re-capturedor the German counter attack had been better co-ordinated it could have been a draw. A marginal victory for the Allies then.

The Battle of Bautzen, winning would mean a chance for Napoleon to bring the crown heads of Russia and Prussia to the peace table.

All this needed to be done before Austria entered the war.

French Line

French Line infantry advance to the attack.

Well this weekend promised a real belter, the battle has a lot of redoubts for the Allies, while the French will outnumber them by two to one ultimately. The Corps of Ney, Lauriston and Reynier turn up on the northern side of the map. The French are deployed on the western side of the battlefield while the Allies are deployed along the Kreckwitz heights to the wooded heights of the Dorhmberg.

12 Pound guns in redoubt on Krekowitz heights

Part of the Prussian defences on the Krekowitz heights.

To begin with the French are allowed to delay the entry of these flanking formations by up to five turns, the fifth turn seeing them appear right at the back of the board as far east as they can gain entry by. As it turned out, Lauriston, came on row three (in the middle of the northern table edge) on turn three and Ney was due on turn five. Reynier was en-route and due around turn eighteen on row four.

Saxon Zastrow Cuirassier

The Saxon Zastrow Cuirassier move to assault the Prussians and Russians on the Krekowitz heights.

The square holds

The charge to break the squares on the heights, little success here for the Elite troops of Latour-Maubourg’s heavies.

The deployment of the allies was such that Blucher and his Prussians were deployed to along the Kreckwitz heights and ran from the most northerly area of this due east. The Russian Corps of Barclay, Gortchakov and Miloradovich were drawn up to the south of this, with Constantine to the east of this front line in reserve.

Early Saturday morning.

Early Saturday morning, after the first turn, some of the forces still on their tiles.

The opening salvo’s from the French were somewhat limited, the eight pound batteries began bombarding the Allied defences without much effect. After turn two the general advance began, Soult and Bertrand began advancing into the large wooded hill area of the Dorhmberg, formations of the Allies were moving around in the trees but the nature of them was not known as no clear line of sight could be drawn yet. Toward the centre of the French line the Corps of Oudinot began its advance toward the allied redoubts that dotted the Russians positions here in the southern area of the battlefield. Directly behind Oudinot was Marmont and behind that at the furthest point west was the Imperial Guard., north of the river Spree was the Corps of Macdonald, who’s job it would be to link up with Ney and Lauriston as they arrived.

Oudinot's Corps

Oudinot’s Corps goes around the marshy ground.

Turn three saw the cavalry of Blucher move out to engage the French Cavalry reserve, the Prussians were backed up by the cavalry of Gortchakov’s Corps, Hussars and Kuirassier. Four regiments of Allied cavalry became embroiled in a fight with up to six regiments of French Lancers and Cuirassier, along with Saxon Cuirassier. The fighting stretched over three turns with regiments of allied cavalry being wiped out and French regiments rallying and charging on!

French heavies

Latour-Maubourg’s cuirassier move out to support the cavalry attacking Blucher.

Turn 5 Ney arrives

Ney’s leading divisions arrive on the Northern flank.

The punishment for the French troops was great indeed, the twelve pound batteries were split into three gun sections and deployed in redoubts. Each time they fired they were knocking three to five figures off battalions. The battle for the Dorhmberg picked up a pace the French infantry advancing and being swarmed by Sotnia’s of Cossacks emerging from the tree line. Russian dragoons charged the advancing columns but were repulsed, slowly the Corps of Soult and Bertrand gained ground.

Prussian Line

The Prussians from Kleist’s Division look to stop the advance of Lauriston’s troops.

Macdonald advanced across the Spree, the Prussians had a twelve pound foot battery deployed in a redoubt on the most northern section of the Kreckwitz heights and this began to pour destruction on to the troops using the bridges to cross the river.

Support for Oudinot

5th Hussars support the advance of the French infantry.

Lauriston arrived on turn three and advanced at speed toward the apex of the line running north and east for the Prussians. It wasn’t long before his lead battalions had engaged in melee with Prussian veterans holding the area just to the North of this apex. The fighting here was fairly intense with the Prussians giving ground initially as the French pushed forward but Prussian reserves turned up in order to push the unformed French back, this then spiralled into some savage fire fights.

Soult's Grenadiers

French infantry advance toward the Russians on the Southern flank, these were held up by a regiment of Dragoons for a while before pressing the attack.

To the East the Allied line deployed two of the Prussian batteries on a low long ridge and began to punish the lead elements of Ney’s Corps. The French Dragoon regiment and their Hussars brushed aside the Prussian Brandenburg Hussars, but in doing so became blown and had to retire to regroup.

On the Dorhmberg

French infantry line out to fire at the defenders in the Dohrmberg.

It was decided at this point to advance with the leading two divisions of Ney’s corps and attack this low hill. A turn after this the lead elements of Constantine’s Guard reserve began to arrive, the Russian Guard Hussars advanced to clear the French skirmisher screen, behind them the Russian Chevalier Guard began to deploy into line, preparing for the assault on the French columns.

On to the Guns

Ney’s troops beat the pas de charge.

Over in the centre, the French columns of Oudinot’s Corps had begun to retreat, the damage wrought by the massed guns from nine twelve pound guns a battery of six pound guns and the Russo German legion’s horse battery was just too much. To make matters worse Miloradovich released his Dragoons on to the fleeing Frenchmen, although if truth were told, they did little other than harass the retiring columns.

Early Sunday

The scene early Sunday morning, before the storm.

Soult was driving the Russians before him on the Dorhmberg heights and the Russians looked to be in trouble, Marmont was forming up for the main assault across the marshy ground into the Russian centre, it was seen that the Russian Guard had now been committed far to the North, so this was a chance to smash their way through.

The 46th Line

The 46th Line of Ney’s Corps advance into the teeth of the gun line east of Krekowitz heights.

The French Guard began to mobilise around the village of Bautzen.

On the Northern part of the battlefield the Russian Grenadiers moved into position behind the low long hill, behind the Prussian batteries, the Prussian foot battery limbered up and was replaced by the Russian Guard twelve pound battery and all the while the French columns came closer.

Russian Kuirassier about to break through

The Russian Guard Kuirassier about to break through the lead division from Ney’s Corps.

The Russian Guard cavalry had stripped away all the French skirmishers from both Lauriston and Ney’s corps at some cost though, the Dragoons had lost some twenty five percent of their operational strength, while the Hussars were retiring to regroup. The Guard Kurassier were the real killers though, emerging from behind a screen of Guard Hussars the first squadron charged a square of French infantry.

Before the impact.

The Russian Guard Kuirassier move toward their targets.

The second and third squadrons charged into the flank of the Division assaulting the low ridge, this also coincided with the Russian Guard Grenadiers emerging from around the back of the low hill and charging the front of the division. In the ensuing melee, eight battalions of French were either cut-down or broke and fled. Still the guns on the hill fired!

The Krekowitz heights hold!

Blucher’s Prussians hold in square on the Krekowitz heights.

Marmont began his advance over the broken ground, casualties falling from the long range shots from the Russian twelve pound guns. The troops from Oudinot’s Corps were streaming back, pinning the troops from the Imperial Guard, Napoleon managed to rally most of these and they then joined the ranks of the Guard to advance again. On came the divisions of Marmont, through shot and shell. Still they came, the French Guard cavalry flanked the Old Guard providing protection from the Russian cavalry that was manoeuvring for a charge opportunity while on the northern flank the light cavalry of Marmont’s division protected this side. The Russian guns piled on the Pressure, opening up with Canister on the troops from Marmont’s force.

Into the Broken ground

The leading battalions from Marmont’s Corps step into the marshy ground in front of the Russian gun line, the carnage begins.

The Old Guard following one of the Young Guard divisions stepped up the pace, the Young Guard began to die! On the Guard came. There were eight battalions of Russian infantry trying to stop twelve battalions of Elite and Guard infantry! The First Young Guard division swung over to angle a charge away from the Grenadiers and Chasseurs of the Old Guard following them. This would allow the Old Guard space to make their own charge with limited casualties.

Moving into position

The Russian Guard looking to prevent Ney and Lauriston cutting off the Allied line of retreat if it proved necessary.

Marmont’s Corps hit the Russian lines first, pouring on over the redoubts, putting the gunners to the bayonet, the division of Gortchakov fought back, repulsing the first division.
The Yound Guard followed this by hitting the troops rallying after the melee, their volleys at effective range cutting down great swathes of Russian infantry, the Russians broke!

The old Guard charged the redoubts, butchered the gunners then reformed. The Russians behind the redoubts poured a short range volley into them, but the results were poor. The French Chasseurs a Pied de la Garde spoke, the resulting volley cutting down the first two ranks of the Russian infantry! The Russians held, then charged! The resulting melee was bloody, all eight battalions of Russians were committed! The Guard broke!

The allies held their position and the French would not get another chance! Victory to Wittgenstein and Blucher!

Wagram here at the Wargames Holiday Centre promised to be a real ding-dong of a game. Second only to Leipzig in size throughout the Napoleonic war this was a real clincher of a battle for Napoleon. Archduke Charles had given the French a bloody nose at Aspern-Essling, could he do it again and force them to come to the peace table.

VI Armeekorps

Infantry from VI Armeekorps advance, urged on by their General Rosenberg.

As usual with our weekend games the players all turned up on the Friday afternoon, the sides were chosen, the tiles written and the tactics discussed.

The fight intensifies

The fight for Aderklaa intensifies, this village changed hands several times during the course of the weekend.

The Austrian deployment was restricted in that two Armeekorps had to deploy to the North and East of the Russbach stream, these were the I and II Armeekorps under Bellegarde and Hohemzollern respectively, supported by a battery of twekve pound guns from the Reserve. The remaining three being the Avant Garde, IV Korps and the Reserve under Nordmann, Rosenberg and Liechtenstein respectively, deployed to the west of the stream, again with support from a twelve pound gun battery. One battalion of Austrians from one of these latter Korps could deploy in the village of Aderklaa if they so wished, it was a little out on a limb from the rest of the Austrian deployment line but it would give the French something to think about.

Trying to stop the crossing

Austrians of I Armeekorps, move to stop the first crossing.

Austrian Line

Austrians of I Armeekorps, close up.

The remaining two Armeekorps (III Kollowrath and VI Klenau) were going to come in from the Austrian right wing, driving a wedge between the French and their supply routes from the pontoons across the Danube from the Isle of Lobau from turn one.

Sunday Morning

The view of the table before the Generals turn up on Sunday morning.

French Deployment was less restricted, they formed a broad front between the villages of Leopoldau and Leopoldsdorf. There were two Corp coming in as a reserve, Wredes VII and Marmont’s XI, but these would all be on by turn six. The Reserve cavalry was on a slow release of one regiment a turn, while the Guard were to be released on the accumulative roll of three average dice and the turn number totalling more then sixteen. The French deployed Oudinot’s II Corps on their far right, Davout immediately to his left, then Massena, Eugene’s Armee d’Italie and finally the corps of Bernadotte on their extreme left.

Advancing to Aderklaa

The view of the table before the Generals turn up on Sunday morning.

The battle was joined and as always the first turn was performed on tiles, after this anything visible in line of sight was transformed into the respective units on the table.

Columns of the Line

German infantry advancing in column.

Once all the figures that could be seen were deployed the firing for the first turn was done. Here the Austrians had deployed a battalion of Grenzers in Aderklaa, the French were given a free double in front of Aderklaa (to reflect the insistence of Napoleon to capture the village back after Bernadotte had given it up the night before without a fight). So the Italians of Eugene’s Armee d’Italie advanced full tilt toward the sleepy village, six battalions including the Italian Royal Guard Grenadiers. The Grenzer opened up at effective range and shot down eleven figures with their veteran like fire. The Italians took this in their stride and came on!

The defence of the Russbach

Troops from II Armeekorps prepare to stop Davout.

Over on the western flank of the battlefield the Austrian III and VI Armeekorps arrived, storming forward toward Bernadotte’s Saxons. In front of the Russbach, the forces squared up to each other and exchanged artillery fire. Oudinot made a bold move to cross the stream, while Davout demonstrated and began the long process of whittling down the troops on the far bank.

The Austrian Reserve Kavallerie

The Cavalry from the Austrian Reserve Armeekorps.

Over the next few turns the Saxons turned some of their second line, along with some of their cavalry support to meet the Austrian flank attack. Meanwhile the French sent their Carabinier and Cuirassier down to the west to hold them off. Oudinot got some of his troops across the Russbach, only to retreat back across, rally and go again. The Austrian Avant Garde pushed forward to attempt to link up with the Austrian III and Vi Armeekorps running into stiff resistance from the Saxons.

Eugenes troops

The troops of the Armee d’Italie.

In the village of Aderklaa the buildings changed hands several times. The Italian Royal Guard exchanging volleys at close range with the Austrians occupying the buildings. Eventually the Grenzer retreated, the Italians awaited the next luckless Austrians to move in and reformed their lines. Massena’s Corps pushed past the east side of Aderklaa and tried to drive a wedge between the Russbach and the village. The six pounder battery from the Austrian IV Armeekorps cutting swathes in the columns.

Crossing the Russbach

Hessians crossing the Russbach stream.

Still, on they came now taking fire from the village of Wagram as well.

Bessieres Cavalry

The Cuirassier advance to the western flank.

Cuirassier

The entire Cavalry reserve heads to the western flank.

As the casualties mounted the Corps of Oudinot and Davout began to test the defenders of the Russbach. Bellegarde and Hohenzollern were both taking a large number of casualties in trying to hold the line.

The attempt at Wagram Bridge

French troops press Wagram bridge and the defenders of the village.

Turn six and the last of the French reserves had arrived. Vandamme begam to move his Corps from the centre on to Aderklaa while the Old and Young Guard, now released, move west to shore up the Saxons. The Austrian flank attack piled on the pressure, advancing then forming square in the face of the French Heavy cavalry regiments. The French artillery then began to wreak havoc among the dense Austrian formations, with VI Armeekorps taking the brunt of the punishment.

Saxon Heavies and Austrian lights

Saxon heavy cavalry melee Austrian Hussars.

Still the Avant Garde pushed on, supported now by regiments of Uhlans, Dragoons and Cuirassier. The Saxons began to give ground.

Column of March for speed.

Austrian Uhlans, dash forward from the Reserve Korps, to close the distance to the fighting around Aderklaa.

Over the next few turns the Corps of Oudinot got a foot hold on the northern bank of the Russbach and Davout managed to get some of his Corps and the supporting cavalry across.

Outside Wagram

The Hesse Darmstadt Lieb Regiment give fire to the defenders of Wagram.

The Austrian reserve moved up to plug the gap between Aderklaa and the bend in the Russbach. Opening fire on the French troops of Massena’s Corps, then charging into the mass. The resulting melee was huge, over three hundred Austrians in the last round and just a few less in the French columns. The Austrians won through though! The troops of Massena’s Corps falling back on the Guard cavalry that was moving up to support them. The infantry rallied, letting the Grenadiers a Cheval through, while the Austrians quickly deployed int two battalion frontage in line and four ranks deep, these were Elite troops, they would stop the “Big Heels” in their tracks. The resulting charge from the French Guard Heavies was blasted, however, the Grenadiers fired too early, what remained of the Heavies squadrons hit home, smashing through the Austrian lines, breaking the front two battalions.

French troops manoeuvre

French troops moving in column of march.

The troops in Aderklaa, blasted the remaining Italians from in front of them and then swapped facing in the village, firing out of the east face into the French Guard cavalry. Stll this was not enough, the second wave of Guard Heavies thundered onto the remaining, unformed Austrian Grenadiers, they broke, pinning the remaining battalions, on came the Grenadiers a Cheval, supported by the Chasseurs a Cheval, cutting their way through the panicked mob!
On the western flank the Saxons finally succumbed, but the French Cuirassier were holding the advancing Austrians back.

Another view of Sunday morning

Another view of the battlefield before the Generals get here.

Overall the French had crossed the Russbach, protected their lines of communication and pushed the support for Adderklaa back. However the western half of the battlefield was still firmly in the hands of the Austrians, Bellegarde and Hohenzollern were able to withdraw from the Russbach, while the rest of the Austrians would surely live to fight another day.

Dragoon support

Dragoons supporting Davout’s corps.

Preparing to cross

Troops lining out from Davout’s corps.

The columns advance

Davout’s corps advancing early in the battle.

Great game, the whole battle panned out quite historically after all, just with different formations in their place.

Gettysburg re-played 22-24th May 2011.

Sedgewick on the Ridge

Sedgewick bolsters the defence line on Cemetery Ridge on the 3rd July, second day here at the Wargames Holiday Centre.

I think I need to offer a measure of explanation in this Battle Report. Those of you that have played at the Wargames Holiday Centre will already be familiar with the methods we use. It goes without saying that we provide the stage, the backdrop, the props and you the public provide the WOW factor. Well this weekend was no exception. The rules are a slant on a mixture of Fire & Fury, along with Fire & Fury regimental. The weapon statistics, movement and command are from the new ruleset, while the makeup of the Orders of Battle are all brigades.

Bufords Cavalry

Bufords Cavalry Division in reserve.

After setting up the battlefield of Gettysburg the guys were given their Orders of Battle. Advised on deployment, reserves and special rules for terrain. In order to facilitate the “Fog of War” the armies were set up on tiles initially. The Confederates were allowed six “dummy” tiles to deploy as a division as well, in lieu of the Division hidden in the woods in front of Culp’s Hill.

View of the battlefield Saturday

A view of the battlefield on Saturday as the Union push forward to support Sickles Corps.

As we started the battle on the Friday night conducting the first move on tiles it certainly had a WOW factor. The Confederate Army of Virginia, conscious of it’s lack of manpower converged the best part of two Corps opposite the angle. Pickett was en-route and one of Ewell’s divisions (Early) was hidden in the woods north of Culp’s hill, due to burst forth on turn five. The Rebs needed a hammer blow.

Attacking I Corps

Taken on the Sunday, this photo shows the determined efforts of Hill’s boys to drive back Reynolds Corps.

A.P. Hill’s Corps was deployed along the Peach Orchard and The Wheat field and was ordered to press an attack against Sickles III Corps, this being out on a salient of high ground, proud of the Union line.

Attacking Sickles

Heth’s division attacks Union III Corps near the Wheatfield.

On the Union side the guys were a little stretched with their deployment initially, Sedgewick was coming in from the east, Pleasonton was out to the North East battling with Stuart and remnants of his Corps.

Cut them off

Heth’s division looks to cut Sickles off.

So with the scene set and the deployment available to the remaining Corps it was over to the Generals for the weekend.

Early in the day the Union began moving their troops from Reynold’s I Corps on to Round top, Little Round top was garrisoned by the artillery of I corps and a couple of brigades from the same corps.

The rest of the Union line stretched along the Cemetery ridge down to the Angle, then around and over Cemetery Hill and along to Culps Hill. The Confederates as mentioned earlier had converged two of their Corps under Longstreet and Ewell and began driving hard at the “Angle”, brigade after brigade began to “doublequick” toward the Union line. Howard’s XI Corps braced itself for the inevitable crunch and began moving the rest of their Corps west from Culp’s Hill to bolster the defence of Cemetery Hill and the Angle. This could be an ideal opportunity for Jubal Early’s division to arrive through the trees in front of Culp’s Hill.

Howards division

Howards men manning the defences on top of Culp’s Hill.

Over on the Union left the troops began to manoeuvre to support Sickles III Corps, who instead of falling back, began to attack the Confederate divisions coming toward them. The Union V Corps was coming forward in direct support, while the I Corps came down from the Roundtops into the Devils Den and began advancing toward the Confederate divisions of A.P.Hill’s III Corps.

Battle in the Peach Orchard

Fighting begins for the Peach Orchard.

The Union forces under Hancock massed on and behind Cemetery ridge began to pound the advancing Brigades from Longstreet’s Corps, the Union reserve batteries slowly moving into position in support of the II Corps.

Over on the Confederate right opposite the Angle the Divisions of Ewell’s Corps were pressing on, the terrain mean’t that they were coming in on a narrow front, but these were some of the best troops with many Crack and Veteran troops in their ranks.

The opening salvo’s from Cemetery ridge cut great swathes through the Confederate troops, the inferno of Cannon fire depleting the batteries ammunition on the ridge very quickly. So much so that three of the batteries had to stop firing to replenish their supplies. This wasn’t a problem though as the reserve batteries then took up the fight. The chap controlling the Cemetery ridge had a tremendous amount of luck, rolling “9” and “0”’s in rapid succession, causing the Rebs to remove two stands at a time from their Brigades. On the Rebs came, very much in the style of Pickett!

The Ridge

Into the wall of death came the rebel lines.

McLaws Division was linking the I Corps with II Corps, the Angle becoming a Hotbed of fire fights, the low wall providing a buttress for the Union defenders of Howards Corps. Ewells Boys pressed on supported by McLaws and Hood. It was at this point that Hood caught a shrapnel burst tearing his arm from his body. While this brave Confederate was removed from the field his division pressed up the slope to Cemetery ridge and the Angle.

Johnson’s Division pressed North past the Angle on to Cemetery Hill, Rodes linked with McLaws and charged into the Angle pressing the end of Cemetery ridge. The first turns of combat were desperate, with the Confederates temporarily capturing the Angle, only to be repulsed by Howard’s boys in blue! The Confederates rallied and went at it again, over the wall and on to the Union reserves in Howards Corps. It was around this time that news arrives from scouts of Pleasonton’s Corps of Confederates in the woods north of Culp’s Hill (due to the majority of the Union Cavalry remaining off table, this enhanced the spot by this force for any covert manoeuvring)

Battle at Culp's hill

Early springs from the cover of the woods outside the defences of Culp’s Hill but is repulsed.

Howard’s remaining Divisions swung back to the defence of the hill, rushing back into their temporary bulwarks.

Meanwhile over in Devils Den, the Wheat field and the Peach Orchard, the battle raged on. Sickles Corps was conducting a desperate last stand while the Union’s I and V Corps pressed on in support. A.P.Hill was suffering something of a bloody nose, but his boys were pressing home the attack, pushing the Union III Corps back on it’s supports.

Lee began sending out requests for Stuart, where was he, what were the movements of the Union Cavalry?

The day closed with the Union holding all along the original line except for the round tops and the Angle, the former being bypassed on to the other side of Devils Den. Facing Hill’s Boys and drawing a line north east to the base of Cemetery ridge.

The Confederates held the Angle!

Just as the light faded, the troops of Sykes V Corps reported large bodies of Confederate Cavalry moving in behing Hill’s Corps, while on Cemetery ridge the troops of Hancock’s Corps reported firing upon Pickett’s division at extreme range.

Overnight the armies re-dressed their lines, the Union falling back on to the round tops and maintaining a line due North along Cemetery Ridge up to the Angle then North East to Cemetery Hill, then east along Culp’s Hill. During the night Early’s division was seen moving west to link up with the rest of Ewell’s Corps. The Union responded by manoeuvring parallel to them and supporting the rest of Howard’s Corps.

Sunday Morning, before the teams arrive.

The battlefield early on Sunday morning, just before the players arrive and before the redeployment and collecting of stragglers.

A number of stragglers and lightly wounded came back to the colours over night and the battle began again in earnest. The Angle was attacked again, Lee overseeing the proceedings, both I and II Corps of the Army of Virginia thrust in to Howard’s defenders, the fighting was desperate.

Johnsons Division

Johnson’s Division pushing past the outskirts of Gettysburg, in an attept to capture Cemetery Hill.

Pickett took up Hood’s position opposite the Cemetery ridge, while Jeb Stuarts mounted brigades moved into a more central role preparing to take the ridge at a gallop! Pickett advanced to support the troops attacking the Union defenders of the Angle and all hell let loose as the lead brigades of Stuarts cavalry rode forward into range of the Union gun line on the ridge.

To the right of Stuart the troops of V Corps under Sykes began to swing on to the flank of the advancing cavalry, who themselves became flanked by the infantry from McLaws division who were looking to support the bold move of the confederates.

Over on the far right of the Confederate line opposite the round tops the Union again descended into the Den and began exchanging Volleys with the troops in Hill’s Corps, the exchange here became very bloody with Hill giving ground gradually.

Stuart

Stuarts charge!

The Confederates believed their chance was to take cemetery ridge with the massed cavalry charge along with infantry support. Once again they stormed the bloody Angle and pushed up on to the Ridge, again they were thrown back. The first brigades of Reb cavalry closed on the Union line, and the very first brigade checked, pulled up then retreated out of close range. The brigade beside this passed them and smashed into the Union line, pushing the blue clad infantry back. On came the rest of Stuarts cavalry.

Pickett Supports Stuart

Pickett’s division attacks in support of Stuarts charge.

Now was the time for the Union to commit all their reserves, the gun line strengthened, Sedgewick, (who had been held in reserve all day) stepped up onto the ridge and opened fire on to the luckless cavalry. The firing was so intense that a whole brigade seemed to disappear. The rest of the Cavalry retired out of close range and a desultory exchange of fire began to take place.

Reynolds on Roundtop

The Union I Corps takes up position early on Saturday morning.

Pickett’s division was knocked back but Rodes division made some headway, faltering just at the top of the ridge.

Ewell’s Corps attacked the defenders of Cemetery Hill but again were repulsed from the ridge!

Johnson

Johnson’s division battling it’s way toward Cemetery Hill

All in all the Union had won the day, holding the Confederates from their ridge, the idea of closing up the Corps, refusing their right flank and pushing in to the Angle nearly won it but the numbers told. In a valiant attempt the cavalry of Jeb Stuart looked as thought they were going to make it but they just couldn’t force the Union line back far enough.

All in all a great weekend, all the generals enjoyed their fight and went home talking of coming back for more!

The New Waterloo was played out last weekend at the Wargames Holiday Centre, as always the protagonists turned up for the game late Friday afternoon.

This version of Waterloo was going to be far different to any other I had played or indeed run before. We turned the whole battlefield around 180 degrees, this means that the new position for Plancenoit would be far more historical locating it more south of south-east from the French front line. Hougomont would also be better located geographically, being nearer the French deployment.

The French assault

The French assault the Papelotte area and ridge.

While I am on the subject of change, I’ve looked at some of the “In the Grand Manner” rulings and taken advice from people out there who play a great deal and made a few changes. Key ones being that there is no more “doubling” unless routing or charging, (people always forget whether it was two or three turns since they last doubled). This has been encompassed with the “tactical march” formations are allowed to make a tactical march move anywhere on the table. The whole turn must be in this manoeuvre, the change of formation being in the following turn, unless the unit is receiving a charge.

moving to occupy Plancenoit

The French move on Plancenoit.

This means reserves can be brought into place quickly while losing nothing of the feel of the game.

British Hussars

British Light Cavalry.

The sides were chosen, the tiles written and the tactics discussed and put into practice.

Veterans outside Frischermont

French Veterans line out just outside Plancenoit, near Frischermont.

We have had some new additions at the WHC in the last few weeks, Dave Docherty of One man and his brushes fame has painted a beautiful new battalion of British Foot Guards specifically for the replay on the anniversary. He also put a surprise into play by presenting us with a scratch built Rocket troop using Front Rank RHA, converting the gunners to hold rockets and building a rocket launcher from wire. Fantastic!!!!

Massed French Troops pour forward

French Troops from D’Erlos Corps and Kellermanns Cavalry pour forward on Saturday afternoon.

The French deployment was fairly historical with limitations put on them by me, the Umpire. All the Guard were held in reserve, either side of the Brussels highway south of La Belle Alliance along with Lobau’s Vi Corps. The Allies were deployed in the usual place behind the ridge, the British Guards being deployed at Hougomont with the rest of the army being deployed right down to Papelotte. Any divisions held behind the ridge were to be represented by a single tile, thus giving nothing away to the French.

The die was cast and battle was set, the first turn on tiles was completed and people retired for an evening of merriment at the local.

Saturday morning saw the battle begin in earnest, with the Prussians now having so much room to deploy and a nine to ten foot distance to get to Plancenoit they were seen right from the off! Lobau began manoeuvring toward Plancenoit. The Corps of Reille began the bombardment of the ridge, while Jerome’s division began the attack on Hougomont.

D’Erlons Corps began to probe the Papelotte position and the ridge to the west of this farm. All the French Heavy Cavalry corps were held in reserve waiting for the moment to smash through.

KGL engage the Cuirassier

The Cuirassier of Milhaud’s Corps take on the KGL brigade of cavalry early on Saturday afternoon.

Along the Allied line the British and Hanoverian troops awaited the impending assault, the light battalion of the KGL opened fire on the French Division of Girard as it started into the garden of the farm house, all the skirmish screen being shot away in short order.

The assault on Hougomont was getting tense for the allies, the Guard battalion holding the Orchard was reinforced by another battalion of Guards and the initial exchanges saw the first battalion of Guards become decimated by close range fire from Reilles artillery. The resulting melee in the Orchard saw the Guards give ground, being reduced to half strength!

Early on the Saturday

Prussian Cavalry push on to Plancenoit.

Around Papelotte the news that the Prussians were arriving gave the commanders there confidence. Vandeleurs light cavalry brigade pushed forward to link up with the Prussian brigades freshly arrived. This prompted Milhaud’s Cavalry Corps moving west to counter this while Kellermanns Cavalry supported the two divisions of D’Erlons corps that was fast approaching the ridge.

Prussian Horse Battery goes down!

A Prussian Horse Battery is overrun by French infantry near Plancenoit.

By lunch time on Saturday, the Prussians were fully engaged with Lobau’s troops and the fighting east of Plancenoit and Frischermont began in earnest. The battle raged back and forth! More Prussians were arriving all the time and the French needed to hold, so some talk of the Young Guard being released was mentioned.

A view of the Massed French attack.

The French Assault on the Allied ridge.

Vandeleur’s Light Dragoon regiments ran into the lead regiments of Milhaud’s Cuirassier and the bloody engagement saw several squadrons drawn into the fight. A flippant remark by the Umpire saw all the brigade of plucky Light Dragoons committed against a full regiment of Cuirassier, poor Bob only managed one six out of twenty four though and the Cuirassier squadron threw four out of his twelve. Vandeleur scurried back to the ridge with his tail between his legs. (Sorry Bob, I’ll keep my mouth shut next time).

Carabinier and Dragoons

Heavy cavalry from Kellermanns Corps.

L'Heritiers Dragoons

L’Heritiers Dragoons, probably the most successful cavalry of the battle.

The ridge to the east of La Haye Sainte was fast being approached by the two French divisions from D’Erlons Corps amd the Allies responded by sending the 95th Rifles out to enfilade the advancing mass in the flank. The plucky commander of the divisions pressed his attack home though and beat the Highlanders holding the ridge here. The Dragoons and Carabinier from Kellermanns Corps were preparing to ride down the resulting mass of unformed infantry when the Union brigade emerged from behind the ridge.

Scots Greys emerge from over the ridge and into the Fray.

Deathhhhh!

Scots Greys meet their match.

The Scots Greys and Inniskilling Dragoons led the charge and the two cavalry forces collided in the biggest cavalry melee of the weekend. The fight went the full three rounds with all the reserves being drawn in. The infantry were saved, but the Union brigade was shattered, then Kellermann rallied the Carabinier and Dragoons and roused them for another charge, this time running down the Brunswick Foot Artillery and the remaining cavalry from Vandeluer’s brigade.

Lobau

Commander of the French VI Corps, Lobau.

Still the Prussians pushed on, there were now four brigades on the table and still more on their way, could the French hold?

Time for a well earned pint and a slap up meal.

Sunday dawned, the guys turned up bright eyed and bushy tailed and we set off again. The casualties from the area of Hougomont were light on both sides. La Haye had not been troubled, however, at the eastern end of the battlefield Papelotte, Frischermont, Smohain and Plancenoit were carnage.

The French commanders decided to release the Young Guard and the Guard cavalry. To the east of Hougomont the Household cavalry had shown their face in support of the Dutch and Belgian cavalry and the Cavalry of the French Guard were moving to stop them and support the taking of the Chateau. The British Life Guards had got lucky and managed to ride down two battalions of Frenchmen just outside the Orchard to the east of Hougomont!

Outside Plancenoit the Prussians again poured forward, volleys from Lobau’s Corps crashing into the Blue and Black ranks of Germans. One of the Prussian artillery batteries from Bulow’s corps was overrun during a counter attack by the French infantry. There were now six brigades of Prussians on the field, stretching from east of Plancenoit, north through Frischermont to Smohain and now linking up with the British division occupying Papelotte.

The French divisions of Durutte and Marcognet renewed the assault in the Papelotte area, covered by the Cuirassier of Milhaud’s Cavalry Corps. The melee saw the French repulsed but they rallied and readied themselves again.

Overview of Papelotte ridge

The Papelotte area on the Sunday.

Will this be enough?

The Brunswick Corps along with their British Allies move to plug the gap.

At this point in the battle Duhesme and the divisions of the Young Guard were seen moving toward the Papelotte area, column of attack they marched resolutely on. The British realised they didn’t have anything to stop them now, they needed the Prussians to press the attack and put the French on the back foot in the Papelotte and Smohain area. It was slow work but the Prussians were trying.

In Hougomont the Guards moved to the edge of the Orchard, opening up on the French infantry of Jerome’s division. The French held their ground, these brave Frenchmen were holding up one Guards division and two of the Dutch/Belgian divisions in the area not to mention the Dutch/Belgian cavalry and the Household Cavalry that were committed here!

The Farmhouse of La Haye Sainte, still sat unmolested, the French division sitting on the Garden of the farmhouse trading shots with the KGL Lights inside.

Lunchtime on the Sunday saw the Old Guard released, the mass of nine battalion of Bearskins started their inexorable advance to the Allied ridge. By the time the Young Guard had finished with what remained of the defenders of the ridge between Papelotte and La Haye Sainte, it would be easy for the Grumblers.

The Young Guard advance.

So the battle came to a natural finish, the Allied forces had nothing to stop the French advance, their infantry around Papelotte had been decimated, the French cavalry had won the day and punched a large hole in the Allied line. The Prussians were slowly making headway but only around Smohain and Plancenoit.

The Young Guard advance to the ridge.

At the end of Sunday it was agreed that the French had won the day.

It was a new way of fighting the battle, the Prussians had started on turn 2, which may seem early but historically they were seen on the field as early as 13.30, Prussian Hussars being captured. Napoleon had seen them from the heights of Rossomme.

Advancing over nine feet means that the French can manoeuvre to stop them, should the Prussians succeed in getting their brigades on in force early it may have been a different story, but the first three brigades of Bulow were followed by a belated brigade from Pirch and then Ziethen, finally their last brigade arriving into the melting pot around lunchtime.

French Cuirassier

French Cuirassier pressing the Prussians at Smohain.

I decided to allow the French to make their own decision as to when they could release the Guard. I explained that the key features would carry victory points which would increase or decrease in value, depending on the arrival of the Prussians. There was a negative effect to these “victory points” if the various Guard units were released and when. So it was up to them if they wanted to throw the Old Guard in on turn 2, it would carry massive minuses and may have cost them the battle. This is in an effort to make it their decision and bring something of the campaign effect into the game. The players all agreed that it worked very well and these are from the more seasoned campaigners!

Good news, so until the Gettysburg write up, roll high!