Monday, 2 July 2018

Battle of Sombreffe - Day 2

This is the latest chapter in a Blucher 100 Days Campaign that Nick, Alan and I started, and now Nick and I continue. Previous posts under the 100 Days tag.

The story so far...

The French crossed the border on 15th June, but rather than split their forces made a bee-line for the Prussians en-masse. Luckily the Prussians were heading W will all speed to link up with the British, leaving a sole Division to guard their supply lines. A tardy Prussian picquet meant that the French caught the Prussians a day too early, and battle was given at Sombreffe on 17th. It was the reverse of Waterloo with Blucher being heard to say "Bring me Wellington or bring me night!" and Wellington duly arrived on Bluchers right flank in time to stabilise the situation with a wonderful whirling cavalry melee.

At night fall neither side was broken, and no one had all the objectives, so the troops spent the night on the field, and at dawn Napoleon attacked again.

Now read on...
Turn 2 underway
Both sides started with densely packed blinds. As French I decided to attack on the flanks, and its probably simplest to describe each sector in turn rather than tell the story chronologically. All directions relative to the French.

Eddie Izzard's Own defend against French Chasseurs (OK Hanoverian Militia!)
Far Left

Aware that yet more British were expected the French pushed fast up to and into the woods, pushing back light British opposition. However the British rolled for the reinforcements at the earliest possible time, so they counter-attacked and push the French out of the woods. A fresh French line moved forward but the British were dogged by low Momentum dice for the whole game and so were never able to capitialise on their advantage on this flank, and both sides troops pretty much then sat out the game.

Guard Horse - this was certainly a battle of forward artillery

A bit more open ground here made it ideal for Cavalry. The French cavalry pushed forward and ran into a couple of British guns. Their horse gun started inflicting damage, but was then charged by British cavalry and the whole day became a tit-for-tat of cavalry charges and artillery pushed forward, of which the French probably got the better of it, ending with all Allied guns gone, and the (weakened) Household Cavalry being seen off by a 1st (Light) Cavalry Division chasseurs!


Nothing to see here. The woods had seen a bit of fighting on the previous day, and a whole weakened Prussian Korps spent this second day hiding behind then until the very last turns. The Imperial Guard also started centrally with the idea that I could go and exploit whichever flank was going best, and so from mid-game onwards it moved to the right.

Cuirassiers about to charge the Scots Greys
Right Flank

The small hill on the Prussian line had seen a lot of blood shed the previous day, and it would be the same today. The initial French move was a bold reconnaissance by a Lt Cav Bde and a Foot Battery (!), the latter coming a cropper as it passed the edge of the wood (bottom right in table photo) and was ambushed by Prussian cavalry. Once the Lt Cav all saw each other off it was Inf and Arty from the French that pushed forward, a delay from some fresh Lt Cav that had to be cleared away, a Prussian counter-attack and then the assault on the hill , the first wave failing but the YG and MG (and even OG) finally carrying the day. One Chassuer unit it to within 2 hex of the Prussian base-line, and again all the Prussian artillery was destroyed.

The French Guard capture the hill on the last turn

At night fall there was no clear victor, a lot of casualties but certainly a sense that the Allies had come off worse as they had lost almost all their artillery and most of their cavalry was weakened.



The final bill was:

French:   4 destroyed , 5 made understrength, 10 reduced in elan (already under)
Brits:   2 destroyed , 6 made understrength, 0 reduced in elan (already under)
Prussians: 5 destroyed , 6 made understrength, 2 reduced in elan (already under)
Allies Total:   7 destroyed , 12 made understrength, 2 reduced in elan (already under)

So whilst the French suffered less damage than the Allies it was close (19 to 21), but the real hit was a) the loss of most of the allied artillery and b) the Prussians now have 14 units destroyed, once they hit 20 the French have won!

Rounding up the sheep ahead of the French advance!
A few comments:
  • Still not in love with the Blucher rules, particularly with different mechanics for firing and melee so you can't remember if your changing dice or DMs
  • Still odd how fast artillery fades
  • Should have had four M0 dice, as for most of the game large swathes of troops (esp Brits) were never activated
  • Played nice and quickly though and we were finished in time to the wives out to a pub lunch!
Rather than risk a Sombreffe Day 3 it was decided that both sides would retreat 1 square on the campaign map, and that the battlefield squares would be out of bounds for the next days moved whilst bodies were recovered or plundered.

Before the game moves on though there's a small skirmish up at Gembloux to deal with where a French flying column has hit the Prussian rear guard!

A few final photos:
Chasseurs at the charge!

The fight on the Right Flank

Prussian Guard defending the wood

Whole table shot around mid-game

Scots Greys try to take out the gun

But are counter-charged by Cuirassiers

Dutch-Belgians defend the left wood - whilst  fox sneaks away behind them!

Prussians and French clash


  1. Great looking game David, even if the rules are not for you. I particularly love seeing all those 1/72nd figures and conversions.

  2. Thanks - yes the good old days of cutting pins in half and using them to swop heads on Airfix plastics!

  3. A fine project and report!

  4. Most impressive units and pictures, sounds great!