Saturday, February 7, 2015

Waterloo 2015 - Part 1.

1. First French flanking movement
2. Second French flanking movement
3. Concerted French push up the middle
4. Prussian advance
At last, I'm finally writing up the AAR for our massive 200th anniversary Waterloo weekend! I've recently returned to work after a lovely (but busy!) month-long break, so now I have to be a bit more disciplined with how I spend my time. Blogging had fallen off the radar while we traveled around the state going to the beach and visiting family etc., etc....

So, here we go with the battle report! As you can see from the image above, I've broken down the action to 4 main events, the two flanking attacks, the main thrust up the middle and the Prussian advance from the East. My explanation of the events will use the numbering system to illustrate where the action I'm describing is taking place.

Before we get into the meat of the description of the battle, I'm sure those of you we read my earlier posts before the game are aware of the revolving door of players who put their hands up to take on the role of the Duke of Wellington, only to have to pull out due to ill health, family commitments and even death! Tim B. our generous host took on the role and everything seemed hunky-dory....until the special events dice were rolled before the game actually started! Umpire Andrew B. called on Tim to roll the dice to see what special event was inflicted on...err, sorry, occurred to the Anglo-Dutch army. As I was 2IC, I was called on to witness the roll. Tim duly rolled the dice and Andrew consulted his list. The result left me stunned and not a little worried!

It transpired that while the Duke was reconnoitering the orchard south of Hougoumont amongst the Nassauer skirmishers who were cleaning their muskets by firing them off after the previous night's rain. The dice roll meant that the Duke was observed going into the orchard, followed by the sound of musket fire. He didn't come out!

There was a panicky half hour while the Anglo-Allied side thought through the implications of this news. Clearly it meant I was now in command as Wellington's 2IC (eeek!), but others brought up the possibility that the Dutch would abandon the field, as it was the Duke's personal diplomacy which held the alliance together. It was felt that the Dutch would be more likely to high-tail it for the Hague to shore up the heartland of their kingdom and await the arrival of the Russians.

After we'd ruminated on the implications for a while, it was suddenly revealed that Copenhagen had taken fright, reared and fell, pinning the Duke for a while. He extricated himself with only his dignity bruised, but otherwise unscathed. I was relieved, I can tell you!

Anyway, after that little bit of excitement, the game got underway!

The Dutch-Belgian contingent of my command around Mont St. Jean Farm

The view east with Hougoumont in the bottom right corner.

My rocket troop attached to its parent battery; My only contribution to the troops! They didn't trouble the scorer, as the weren't fired separately all game.

Out on the east flank, Vivian's and Vandeleur's brigades protect the flank while keeping a weather eye out for the Prussians

The view from the east. Jim's Dutch-Belgian troops garrisoning La Haie-Smohain-Frischemont-Papelotte hung on tenaciously for a long time, giving the French a minor headache much longer than expected!

The Imperial Guard!

The French view from La Belle Alliance

The French view from behind the Chasseurs of the Guard

Bylandt's Dutch-Belgian brigade starting on the front of the ridge, soon to be withdrawn, quick-smart, to the rear!

La Haie Sainte in the bottom left corner, with Mont St. Jean farm and village in the background.
Lots of troops in between!

KGL Light troops and 95th Rifles in the vicinity of La Haie Sainte and the Sandpit

Looking down the Anglo-Allied line at Hanoverian and British infantry

As the attacking army, the French make the 1st move! Andrew B. makes a move on La Haie Sainte. 

1. Reille (Robin) makes his move around Hougoumont to try and outflank the British position. I have brought Grant's 5th Cavalry Brigade, while Hill (Garry) ordered the KGL infantry in support. Detmers' Dutch-Belgian brigade in Merbe Braine has also deployed.

Most of the cavalry was below the contour, but the head of the column on the right was a little too enthusiastic and suffered casualties from Robin's horse battery.

Garry's shooting from a Dutch battery in front of Merbe Braine down the flank of  the French deployment was spectacular, forcing Robin's battery to decamp behind the infantry line

The KGL infantry and light cavalry hold the French in place, while Dornberg's KGL light cavalry sweep around to the right at the bottom of the picture.

The view for Merbe Braine.
Dornberg's cavalry has gone further around to the west with Garry's death dealing Dutch guns just in the picture on the right. The Dutch infantry on the left all have yellow tags which indicate that they haven't yet come under fire. Select Dutch infantry units like militia and new line infantry all had to take a morale test the first time under fire. Once the first fire morale test was taken, the yellow tag was removed.

Garry has made a line stretching from Hougoumont up to Merbe Braine on the roads. The road closest to Hougoumont was a sunken road lined with hedges, a formidable obstacle lined in itself. British musketry behind it made it almost impregnable! The lines were solidifying and any chance the French had of sneaking around the flank was gone.

2. John W. sends the French cavalry of Delort's and Jacquinot's divisions on a march around Frischermont while the artillery makes life uncomfortable for the Dutch in garrison.

The French heavies enter the same board as Vivian's division!

The Duke sends Bylandt's brigade to help Vivian and Vandeleur hold the eastern flank

The KGL hussars on the extreme left flank of the army. Looking for the Prussians!
The Duke is busy conversing with Vivian in the background.

A panoramic view of the battlefield from my eastern flank.
In the backgound, Boney (Jenko) instructs Lobau and Reille (,Darren and Robin) 

Bylandt's brigade marches under the cover of the contours to position themselves along the hedges at the bottom of the picture. It's up to Jim and me to hold the eastern flank!

3. In the centre, the battle heats up with the French assembling a mass of artillery to pound away at La Haie Sainte, while the skirmishers of both armies bicker in the valley between the ridges.

A panoramic view of the centre, with La Haie Sainte in the centre right. Jenko measures the distance a messenger can travel from him to Reille

The KGL light bobs in La Haie Sainte feeling the pressure!

Behind the ridge, around the Mont St. Jean farm wait the mass of cavalry, mainly British and Dutch-Belgian heavy cavalry divisions

The pressure got too much and the KGL light bobs were forced to retreat after failing a morale test after losing one too many casualties from the artillery fire.

The KGL light bobs re-garrisoned the farm with the support of KGL line infantry, just in time for an infantry attack!

2. Back on the eastern flank, my horse battery attempts to keep the cuirassiers at bay.

Most of the cavalry lurked behind the ridge, with the guns and vedettes on the ridge.

In a style that Pete would have approved of, one of my first shots killed General Delort!

So far, so good; The French started moving on both flanks, with the western flank more or less closed to the French with a strong defensive line back from Hougoumont. The attack in the centre was ominous, with a strong attack on La Haie Sainte by artillery and infantry. Tim, as Picton (as well as the Duke) was husbanding his forces, awaiting the full French onslaught. The eastern flank, held by two division of my light cavalry and Jim's Dutch infantry was looking dicey with the long snake of enemy forces approaching. I was just hoping that after a promising start that lady-luck would continue to help my dice rolling, and that I wouldn't do anything silly to give that cunning fox Johnny W. an opening.

Stay tuned to see if my wishes were granted!


  1. What a massive, beautiful game! This table looks so huge, did you manage to move your troops without any problem? A fantastic report, with an interesting attack on the wings...Oh, I forgot, great looking rockets, your contribution is really nice..."Vive l'Empereur"!

  2. Absolutely love the look of this game!

  3. Absolutely awesome sight! Fantastic looking table and troops. Great work guys!

  4. Spectacular and it looks as though reasonably fast moving, too! Great pix.

  5. Looks fantastic! I really like how you have done the buildings (and all the other terrain for that matter). Good to see those troops moving about as well. Most interesting AAR.

  6. Magnificent AAR and the table look fantastic. Await the 2nd installment and photos. Hope our group game comes close to your group efforts.

    Michael aka WR

  7. Impressive sight. You know what we say here in Southern Indiana, "Get close, roll good dice!"


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