Monday, 28 March 2016
100 Days Bicentenary - Waterloo
A fitting way to start this re-constituted blog with an after-action review for the last of my 100 Days Bicentenary wargames - even if almost a year late! Will post up the AARs for the other games in due course.
Rules were the "big battles" version of my in-house rules - Steady Lads Steady. Each hexon hex represents 200m. Figures are 6mm. Two elements used to represent a Brigade (so figure ratio of about 1:100)
[Note: Raw unedited text of notes made at the time]
4/4 Bde of micthell comes to rescue of Byngs' 2nd Gd Bde by flanking HGO and taking Baudin 1/6 Bde in flank, forcing it to retreat. Then counter charged by 2/6 under Soye. With pressure off Byng forces rest of Baudin to retreat. In centre Ducth routed back off ridge, an Ompteda's KGL under pressure at LHS.
DuPlat moves into HGO to replace Byng. Soye forces Mitchell to retreat. Pire sends Wathiez's 2/2 Cav against Grant's 5th Bde, both open ranks. Grant charges up onto Hubert's 1/2 Bde who send them packing. Wathiez blows out in front of Grant's 13LD who go to charge, but send them running home. Reilly begins a general advance with II Corps and Husson's 1/5 Bde takes casualties fm the RHA on the ridge. Kleinmensagge's Hanoverians come to the support of LHS just in time. Ompteda's KGL are forced back, but the attacking 1/1 Bde of Charlet is routed. Aulard's 2/2 Bde immediately puts in a counter-attack but the Hanoverians just hold on. D'Erlon's Corp reaches the ridge in four Bde frontage, in Bn columns. Bourgeois's 1/2 is forced back by Kempt's 8th Bde. Pack's Highlanders of 9th Bde force Schmitz's 1/2 Bde to a standstill. The French have more success against the Hanoverians where Nogues' 1/3 Bde goes against Best's 4th Hanoverians, and Grenier's 2/3 is against Vincke's 5th Hanoverians. Both German Bde's are looking very fragile.
Napoleon unleashes Kellermans III Cav Corps against the British soft W flank. They wipe Grant's 5th Cav Bde out, but the first wave washes against the squares of 1st Div and 3rd Dutch Div. Reille starts to move Jerome up in support, and the Emporer also dispatches Morand's Old Guard. Reille tries to assault the British line E of HGO but is beaten back by the fire of the RHA. Kleinmensagge's Hanoverians beat of another assault against LHS, but are so weakened and isolated that they are pulled out, and Campi's 2/5 Bde under heavy RHA fire moves in. On the French right Grenier's 2/3 Bde routs Vincke's Hanoverians, but is itself taken out Hay's 16LD of 4th Bde. Best's Hanoverians manage to beat off Nogue's French. Pack's Highlanders make the mistake of charging forward and clearing Schmitz's French from the ridge just as Milhaud's Cuirassiers of IV Cav Corp surge forward, 1/14 catches them unformed and routs them. 1/14 charges over the ridge and into the disordered Best, routing him, but then as they recover Vandeleur's 11&12LD of 4Bde charge them in the flank while disordered and rout them. Milhaud's other Bdes are pushing forward, Vial's 2/14 stalls against 16 LD but is the charged and melees with Wissells 6th Bde and their KGL Hussars. As the hour draws to a close Wellington orders the Union Bde forward to help see off Milhaud, and the Household Bde to the right flank to counter Kellerman.
With 2/12 Bde holding Byng 2nd Gd Bde in square the powerful 2/6 Bde of Soye unleashes guns and muskets and breaks the square, forcing the guards to retreat back up onto the heights, almost unnerving the Hanoverians. I and II Corps turn W to face this new threat, including 4 RHA batteries. The Dragoons of 1/11 charge into Melee with the Household Cavalry, and again superior size seems to be winning. In front of the ridge the KGL Hussars of 6th Bde and Cuirasiers of 2/14 break apart, KGL coming off worst. Cuirassier of 2/13 charge up onto the ridge and into the Union Bde. The Guard artillery moves forward ready to exploit any success, but most of Milhaud's cavalry has been committed without acheiving a breakthrough. Thhe first Prussian Bde (16) comes into site E of Placenoit. Napoleon Orders Lobau and YG to confront it. The GCaC also turns to face it, forcing the lead units into square.
Baudin's 1/6 Bde forces Halkett's 3rd Hanover square to break. The Hanoverians retreat through the RHA battery, blocking its fire and the French carry on up to the gun position. The Dragoons of 1/11 just get the upper hand on the LG who retreat off board. The Blues&Royals come through and attack the Carabiners, but again luck seems to be with the larger French units. Morand's Chasseurs swing round W of HGO and are ready to assault the ridge. Kellermans other Bdes come forward ready to take on Grant and keep him away from the captured guns. There is a lull in the centre with not enough infantry or cavalry to make headway. Dubois' 1/13 Cuirassier move up past LHS but get raked by the RHA batteries that have moved into the centre. Thhe Guard and I Corps guns move aggressively forward but are devoid of targets and not enough protection to reach the ridge. Delorts's 14 Cav Div finally gets orders to move his Lancers forward, but to help the attack on the ridge, ignoring the Prussian 15 Bde that is just reaching Haie. Prussian 16 Bde remains pinned by GCaC, but it's LW occupy the woods N and S of Placenoit, and the IV Corps guns come in. Lobau and the YG reach the edge of Placenoit. Hardly surprisingly Napoleon and Wellington are far too busy issuing formation orders to worry much about individual brigades.
The Blues and Carabiners break with almost equal damage. Byng's 2nd Gd Bde counter attacks Buaduin's men occupying the RHA gun line and forces them back. In ttheirs retreat they disorder Guiton's 2/11 Bde Cuirassier who are then charged by Arenachildts 7Bde KGL Hussars. Morand's Chasseurs try to go in against Adam's 3 Bde but are held off by the weight of his firepower. Pire's battered light cavalry moves up to help in the flanking manoeuvre, and now that the RHA has gone Reille starts to move the remnants of his Corps (Jamin) forward E of Hougoumont.
On the ridge all is quiet, Traver's 2/13 Cuirassier are beaten back by RHA fire, and d'Erlon is now bogged down with cavalry support. Bruno's 1/1 Chasseurs emerg from W of Papelotte to provide the support and are counter charged by Vandeleur's 4 Bde. Napoleon dispatches Pajol's I Cav Corps to try and block the PRUSSIANS now emerging around Papelotte. Around Placenoit the newly arrived Prussian Schwerin 1 Bde cavalry valiantly charge the GCaC and actually melee. The YG and 19 Div of Lobau move into the village, whilst 20e Div drives the 1st Schleisen LW of 16Bde (Fischer) out of the woods S of the village. On almost all fronts just a strong Division or two would probably tip the balance in Napoleon's favour, but he now has on the GD Hvy Cav and the Gd Grenadier Bde in reserve.
Left: Donop 2/12 Cuirassier relieve risk on reforming Guiton's 2/11 and take out RHA guns again, cause protecting inf to retreat and then pile into Dornberg's 3 Cav Bde. Morand's OG finally go in against Adam's 3 Bde forcing them back along the ridge. Jamin's 9 Bde moving E of HGO takes 1 St KGL Bde behind 3 Bde in the flank and also forces them back. Again just not enough Fr Inf to exploit. In centre D'Erlon still stalled. On R two more Prussian Inf and Cav Bde arrive. GCaC see off one Bde, but are blown when 2nd Cav Bde arrives. 15th RIR of 16 Bde gets into Placenoit, but is soon under attack by YG. 2/20 of VI Corps routs 1st Schlesien fm wood S of Placenoit. Pajol's 2/1 Cav Bde (Gobrecht) get to Papelotte and keeps advancing Prussian 15 Bde bottled up having routed 18th RIR.
Left: zoulandt's 1st Dutch Cav Bde drives through and starts clearing the W flank of the weakened remains of Kellerman and Pire's cavalry. Morands OG attacks Maitlands Guards but one Bde is repulsed. Reille also pulls back. The French appear to be past their high water mark on the flank. D'Erlon finally starts to push forward again now that Pajol's Cav are operating on his flank. Placenoit is still firmly in French hands but 11th IR has pushed into the wood S of the village. GD cavalry is still engaging PRUSSIANS, whose superior numbers are telling, but it is delaying any serious push against Placenoit. Watzdorffs 2nd Bde has been sent round to Papelotte to unstick the situation there. 13th Bde and Corps Arty is pushing W down the ridge between the two valleys to a relatively empty corridor through to La Belle Alliance. Ghigny's 2nd Dutch Light dispatched the final regiment of Mildhauds curassiers.
L: Repeated charges by Zoulandt's cavalry and 7th Bde succeed in clearing almost all Fr cavalry from the W flank, with Br Cav now back past HGO - in which the remains of Jerome's 6e Div are sheltering. Morand pulls back the OG after a failed attack on Maitland, and this causes Wellington to issue a call for a general advance. D'Erlon makes a final assault on the ridge with 3 & 4 div but is beaten off by 8th and 10th div. Ghigny's Dutch cavalry and a rested Union Bde clear most of the Cav from the E flank. The Gd Arty pulls back to the French ridge. Most of the PRUSSIANS are now on the board, with 5,14, 7 and 13 Bde against Placenoit, supported by IV Corps Arty, with 10th IR of 13 Bde managing to push Thevents 2/19 Bde out of the village so that they can move in and immediately engages 1/19. 1st Cav Bde fm II corps falls on 3 Cav div reforming E of Belle Alliance and sends them packing. 2 Cav Bde IV Corps finally unblock Papelotte, pushing Gobrechts 2/1 Bde back, and Perponchers troops come streaming out of the settlements and start heading back W. Steinmetz's 1 Bde/I Corps is swinging now needlessly N of Papelotte.
L: OG try to establish a defensive line with remnants of II Corps along Fr ridge. Dutch Carabiners try to outflank round back of HGO but are repulsed by quick action of elms of Foy. 3Bde has far more success, charging and routing elms of II Corp by the NS road, then charging on into another spent unit, which Percipitation a huge rout of spent units, clearing a couple of divisions worth of spent Inf and Cav. D'Erlon makes one final attempt to take the ridge but gets repulsed again by 10Bde. D'Erlon pulls his Bdes back, but on the way they are cut up by charges from Union Bde and 2nd Dutch. On R 1 Cav/II Corps does a good job of clearing troops from the ridge N of Placenoit. although GCaC counter attacks pushing some Prusssian back. 10 IR/13 Bde and 25th RIR/5 Bde are in a struggle for Placenoit, and 2nd Elbe LW of 7 Bde fails to go home against the YG. 2nd Pommeranian LE finally go home against 1/20 div in the wood.
Morand's Chasseurs manage to hold the line, seeing off attacks by 1st Gds and 5 Bde and bombardment by the RHA. 3 Bde manage to extract themselves as Friant's Grenadiers finally advance. Von Treskow's 1 Cav Bde/II Corps manages to rout several spent Bde's by La Belle Alliance, and a battery of the Guard. 2nd Elbe LW finally joins the fray at Placenoit, seizing the church from the YG after its decimation by 25th RIR, but a counter attack by Chatrand's 1/ YG pushes them back out. Lettow's 10th IR finally wins the battle with Belair's 1/19 Bde, so the village is held one each and one zone vacant. Bony's 1/20 is still ensconced in the wood. A whole fresh bde, 6 Bde, is too late to join the battle. Interestingly about the only operational French units in the end are Guard, inf (5 Bdes), and Cav (2 Bde) and Arty (1 Grand Bty). In fact the are only two operational line Bdes, and no Cav.
The French end in a marginally better position than in real life, but only just. They still hold Placenoit, but their only really operational Brigades are the Imperial Guard. Decisive Victory for the Allies.