Thursday, 12 November 2015

100 Days Bicentenary: Ligny

Nick at the Ligne Brook in Ligny itself, 2015

After Quatre-Bras it was time to play Ligny. When Nick and I visited the village in 2015 it was deathly quiet and quite heavily built up. The small museum was worth a visit though.

The wargame was played solo using SLS Brigade-scale rules, with 200m per hex hexon terrain and 6mm figures (two element per bde).

The notes below are verbatim from my notes at the time. Will tidy up if I get bored sometime.

Starting deployments, view from South

3.30pm (T2)

A bloody and poor start for the French. Lefol's 8eme Div gets pushed back from St Amand with heavy losses by Jagow's 7th IR. Berthezene's 1/11eme is now engaged, but 2/11 faltered. Habert's 10eme is moving up to exploit once 11eme breaks in. In the E Vichery's 13eme Div tried to cross W of Ligny but was decimated by the Grand Battery of I Corps on the heights W of Ligny. Pechoux's 12eme Division took heavy casualties assault Ligny itself with 2e Bde being forced back, but 13th RIR withdrew back in the face of 1e Bde's follow up assault - the Bde having faltered on the original assault. Rome's 1e Bde is left in position of SE Ligny, but totally isolated.

4.30pm (T4)
An hour of stalemate. Berthezene's 11e Division finally routs 7th IR, with Dufour's 1e Bde moving into S St. Armand. For the next hour Jagow's 29th RIR tries to counter attack but fails. Habert's fresh 10e Div waits patiently. Likewise in Ligny Henckel's 19th RIR and 4th Westfalen Landwehr fail to stage an effective counter- attack, and even the guns of I Corps are having less effect, so Rome holds tight as Vichery and Schoeffer rally their troops and move back up to his support. Blucher gives orders to Pirch II's 2nd Bde to move forward to support Jagow.

5.30pm (T6)
Berthezene's 11e Div fails to go home against 29th RIR in St Armand so Habert's 10e takes over, but 1e Bde falters and only 2e Bde goes in, and the fight continues. Rome's 1e Bde of 12e Div tries to break out of Ligny against 4th Westfalen Landwehr but is pushed back, and then 19th RIR delivers the killer blow and ejects them from Ligny and back across the river. 19th RIR takes up on position on the bridge as 2e/12e gets ready to assault, supported by Vichery and 13e Div. No sign yet of the guard.

6pm (T7)
Guard arrives!

7pm (T9)
With the Guard now available Napoleon begins to force his way across the Ligny between St Armand and Ligny itself. Habert's 10e Div fails to force its way through St Armand, being held by 3rd Westfalen LW. The Guard guns force 2nd Westfalen LW holding the Ligny E of St Armand to retreat, allowing Duhesme's 2e Bde YG to cross, and Dubois' Cuirassier of 1/13e also cross in good order. Chatrands 1e Bde YG is prevented from crossing by the stout defence of 6th IR and Rohl's guns of I Corps. Vichery's Bdes make a joint attack on Ligny, but although their attack falters 19th RIR is forced to retreat. Pechoux's 1/12 under Rome then rushes through into the village, but at cost, and are rapidly fowear back out by a counter attack from 21st RIR from 8 Bde, with 23rd RIR from 8Bde also moving into the village. Blucher orders up I Corps Cav and 7 Bde ready to fill the hole that now threatens to open up between Ligny and St Armand.
The French begin to get across Ligny Brook.

8pm (T11)
Duhesme's 2e Bde YG tries to take the I Corps guns in the flank, but after repeated attempts is routed. The 1e YG makes it across the Ligny in St Armand but is also forced to retreat by the guns in front of Brye mill. There place is taken by 1/11 Bde, and 1/10 Bde also make it across, but still the guns hold out. The Guard guns force both 2e Westfalen and an elm of 1st Cav Bde back, and Morands Chasseurs form square and force back the rest of 1st Cav Bde, but don't have time to move against the guns. The rest of the Chaseurs and Grenadiers also come across the Ligny, but generally in poor order, which hampers immediate exploitation of the gap that is opening up. 2e YG has more success against the II Corps guns, and takes out their supporting infantry, but they are then counter-charged and routed by Lutzow's 2nd Cav Bde, which pursues them across the Ligny but into the face of the just arrived 1/14 Cav Bde under de Creux, who even at the halt force them back across the Ligny and up the slope. 2/14 also crosses. 13 Bde had already been routed by the gun fire from II Corps.Vichery can only maintain a watch on Ligny itself which is now held strongly by 8 Bde, and Steinmetz in Wagnele is still untroubled.

9pm (T13)
The Chasseurs of the Guard lead the assault on the guns by Byre mill, carrying them and the infantry beyond with no trouble. Du Creux's Cuirassier get the better of Lutzow's cavalry, and their rout causes a chain reaction in the Prussian rear with many spent units taking flight. Blucher orders 7 Bde to form a protective line from the windmill to Ligny, but Friant's Grenadiers then move against it, supported by Morand's 2e Bde and the whole line is sent into retreat, and the French finally take the mill. 2e Grenadier under Roguet pile into a recovering Prussian unit NW of Ligny (there most forward unit), sending that into a rout, which takes all the remaining recovering units with it. Colbert's 1/15e Cav comes up to support the now exposed Grenadiers but find the Prussian 4th Westfalen LW too tempting a target behind Ligny, but the LW form square in time and an ineffectual melee commences. Blucher now sees that all is lost and so moves his II Corps cavalry up to screen his retreat as night falls. There is a last minute attempt by Gengoult's 1/10e Bde to get into S Armand La Haie but they are beaten off by 24th RIR. At Ligny the Guard Artillery commence a bombardment, taking casualties off 23rd RIR, but Vichery doesn't have the strength to attack, but the village ends surrounded. Night falls with French secure on the N ridge line and holding St Armand, whilst Blucher's cavalry screen the retreat of the remnants of his Army, 1 Bde slipping out of La Haie and Wagnelez, but the 8th Bde in Ligny being abandoned to its fate.
ENDEX - The French, led by the Guard, are across but the Prussians are still putting up a fight

 At the end:
  • The French had 4 div at spent or worse. (3 spent, 1 routed)
  • The Prussians had 7 div equiv spent of worse ( 3 spent, 4 routed, 1 surrounded)
  • This gives the French a score of  7x2-3x4 = 2
  • And the Prussians a score of  4 x 2 - 3 x 7 + 2? = -11
So net +13 to the French, which is well over 5 so a Decisive Victory for the French