Monday, September 7, 2015

Games 2015 - The Crisis at Waterloo

Battered Belgians and British.

The last weekend of August saw the annual NWA Games open day at the club. I was introducing an ex-work colleague and friend, Vince, to the wonderful world of wargaming. As he was very keen to see the Napoleonic event, we only had the most cursory of looks at the other excellent display games, so no pictures of them, sorry!

Darren had worked out the scenario base on our re-fight of Waterloo earlier this year. He made several conditions to reflect the stress the defenders were under eg. all British batteries fired as 4 guns due to lack of ammunition/weariness and all Allied infantry had 4 disorders, reducing their effectiveness accordingly. Facing the Allies was, of course, the invincible Imperial Guard, supported by a couple of divisions of line infantry around La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont, respectively. Also in support were some cuirassiers and Guard cavalry and a couple of Guard artillery batteries.

While the Allies had a much bigger force, the quality was not nearly as good as their opposition. In the second playing of the scenario, Vince and I took command of the Allied left wing, while Quinny took the right. As Vince and I had the hodge-podge of Nassauers, Dutch-Belgians and Brunswickers, that's where Darren concentrated most of his energy in attack. Vince got quite a good lesson in what happens to weak units with bad morale and disorders being charged by fresh supermen of the Imperial Guard!

First of all Darren concentrated on the artillery on the ridge-line and then used an effective combined arms attack on our left to spook one battalion into square, then crush it with an infantry charge. After he'd whittled our artillery with some long range counter-battery fire, he launched his Guard infantry into our poor old polyglot infantry who melted like the snow in springtime. A stupid maneuver of an artillery battery in opportunity charge range caused a charge by the Grenadiers a Cheval, who ran down the batteries like they weren't even there. The British Guard infantry were made of sterner stuff, though, and coolly formed square and gave the Frenchies what-for!

In all the excitement, I'd taken my eye off our cavalry, but prompted by Quinny, finally began moving them into a position to counter-attack the French, who, having broken through the thin crust of the Allied line, now lay open to a counter-attack. Would this have worked? We never found out, as at this interesting stage time ran out and we had to end the game on a cliff hanger!

Thanks to Darren for organising the scenario, and to Tim and Andrew B. for the use of their figures.

This shows the depth of the Allied defence with cavalry to the rear

The fresh Brunswicker horse battery stands to their guns and knocks off 50% of the attacking French  column. Darren rolled the worst he could roll in the resulting morale test, but still managed to follow through with the charge into the battery!

Two columns of Guard infantry have broken through, facing one anxious looking battalion of Brunswickers.

French line infantry force the KGL to retire in a fierce firefight.

More Guard infantry and artillery advance in support of the breakthrough

The artillery which moved to fire on the advancing infantry now caused the Grenadiers a Cheval to take the opportunity charge. One battalion of  British Guards infantry has made it into square...

...followed by the second.

The battery that moved is crushed, while the gunners from the second scramble into the square.


  1. Sounds and looks like a great game Ben, pity that it did not quite come to a conclusion, but it does not seem to have detracted from the enjoyment in the least. Is Vince a new convert?
    p.s. What happened in the first playing?

  2. Does Napoleonic wargaming look any better? I don't think so.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Shelfari Bookshelf