Monday, 12 October 2015

100 Days Bicentenary: Quatre Bras

Gemioncourt Farm from the Allied lines looking South

After the so-so Brigade level refight of Quatre Bras it was time to do it at Bn level as intended. 6mm, with hand-drawn 40mm hexes, and custom hill contours cut from ply (and desperately in need of a jig-saw!). Rules were standard SLS.

Starting positions, looking N. Felt hexes at right show low ground.
Note Straight dump of the notes I made at the time on my iPad.

1500 (T3)
Bylandt has been able to rush 7th Belgian into Gemioncourt and 8th Militia into La Bergerie, and place 5th and 7th Militia above the Gemioncourt brook. Goedeck's 2nd Bde lines the wood and Grand Pierpont awaiting the late arrival of Jerome. Unfortunately Stevenaar's battery opposite was not supported or withdrawn by the time that Pire's 1er Chassuers a Cheval charged it and the guns were over-run. However as the 1er pursued the gunners they ran into the advancing 2/2 Nassau who formed a hasty square and repelled the Chassuers, who were now quite weakened from their two encounters and withdrew. Foy and Bachelu have advanced their divisions to the Gemioncourt brook. Merlen's cavalry is hastening towards Quatre Bras. As the hour turns Best's 4th Hanoverian Bde and Kempt's 8th Bde are just arriving from the North, but their is no sign of Jerome.

1700 (T9)
Soye has pushed the Nassaus out of Pierrepoint and back into Bossu wood. 5eme Lancers rode down 2/2 Nassau just E of the wood. Gauthier pushed 7th Belgian out of Gemincourt but lost a battalion in the process. Guathier and Baudin advancing slowly up the road towards La Bergierie, supported by Hubert's Chassuers. British reinforcements have now arrived, so Merlen shadows the French Chasseurs whilst Pack's 9th Bde establishes a new line a La Bergerie, with Best's Hanoverians lining the sunken road. Jamin has finally pushed across Gemioncourt brook after 4eme Legere took heavy losses from 28J. 1st Brunswick Bde is forming up as a 2nd line behind Perponcher. Husson has also crossed N of Pireauoment, cutting the road and delaying Wellington. kempts's 8th has hurried to the edge of the Cense wood, and 1/95th are already inflicting casualties on the skirmishes of 2/3eme. 11e and 12e Curassier Div have arrived but are being held in reserve.

Jamin finally gets across the Gemioncourt Brook

1800 (T12)
A busy hour. On the left Soye finally makes headway against Goedeck, forcing his skirmish line off the edge of the wood, but 1/2 Ligne is spent for its troubles and 3/2 is shaky. In the centre the large 6eme Chasseurs tried to break the emerging Allied line but failed to charge home against the 92nd Highlanders who stood firm in line. Guathiers 1/9 Bde has been pushed to the fore, but 1/92eme is taking heavy casualties from a Dutch foot battery, and 8th Dutch militia successfully held La Bergerie against a first assault by 2/93eme, but have now been relieved by 42nd Black Watch. Buadin's 1/6 Bde is now massing behind Gauthier. On the Gemioncourt stream Jamin's 2/9 Bde finally came to grips with Bylandt at the top of the valley. The Dutch artillery managed to stop 3/100 pressing home, and 5th Militia managed to hold 3/100 just above the Materne. But 1/4 and 3/4 managed to drive home against 7th Militia, and then fell on the gun and on 5th Militia's flank. 27th J├Ąger the counter-attacked, sending 1/100 and 1/4 packing, but they are now threatened by 2/4. 3/4's pursuit of 5th militia brought them into the path of Kempt's counter-attack and they were routed. Husson's 1/5 Bde having suffered badly from 1/95ths skirmish fire whilst reforming from crossing the screen finally went over the the offensive, but the rifles melted away to revalue a strong British line. One French Bn (2/61?) stalled in front of 79th Cameroon Highlanders, who counter charged, routed the 2/61, and then the 2/3eme for good measure. 32nd chased off 1/61 and 3/4eme. The British have now regained the road, but Campi's 2/5 Bde is now largely across the stream. All the heavy cavalry is in reserve, and hour ago with no targets, but now with potential expolitation in the centre, or stabilisation tasks on the E flank. Both Jamin and Husson's Bdes are spent and are withdrawing.

1900 (T15)
The tide is turning. In the west though Soye continues to push through the Bossu Wood with Goedeck withdrawing before him. But Goedeck's reserves are coming up and Maitland has just arrived from Nivelle. In the centre Hubert's Chasseurs have twined thrown themselves against the 92nd Highlanders but been pushed back, as has Gauthier's 1/92eme. Most of Gauthier's Bde is now spent, and 3/93eme was repulsed from La Bergerie, and Baudin's 1/6 Bde is now making what might be the final attempt to break through as Halkett's 5th Bde is hurrying to support Pack, who has anyway now pushed forward of La Bergerie. East of centre Bylandt's rallied forces have chased Jamin back over the Gemioncourt brook, and Merlen is moving forward to exploit the large gap between Bachelu's 5e Division in the east and the rest of Ney's forces. Butlar's Brunswickers have also been ordered forward. The French heavy cavalry has been sat passively waiting and has only now had orders from Ney to make their own attempt to fill the gap left by Jamin. In the East Kempt's 8th Bde has now cleared the road of Husson's 1/5 Bde, and Campi's 2/5 Bde, and Wellington has finally made it up from Ligny. In the fight for the road Campi pushed two battalions up against the advancing British line. Both stalled, and the 79th counter-charged, wiping out one Bn and then charging on into the 2nd, routing that as well. This precipitated a rout of most of the rest of the French troops on this flank. Campi's one remaining battalion is now in full retreat.

2000 (T18)
Ney is now pretty well spent, and Wellington's best forces are only just arriving. In the W Soye continues to press through the Bossu Wood, but 3/1eme fails to go home against 2nd Dutch LW (huge unit), and Kleimansagge is now entering the wood from the N with 1st Hanoverians. In the centre the Brussels road has been held valiantly by the 92nd, and the 42nd in La Bergerie. The 92nd repulsed 1 & 3 eme Bn of 1eme Legere. The they held both 3/1 Legere and 2/2eme, unitil a charge In their rear by 3/2eme finally routed them. Meanwhile 6eme Chasseurs saw an opportunity and charged the run to the W of the 92nd, and then surprised the 44th who were sheltering on the reverse slope and were soundly routed. At La Bergerie 42nd still hold out against 1/2eme, and bounced 2/92eme. 3/2eme saw an opportunity to charge 1st Royal Regt, between the two highlanders, which it forced to retreat before turning on the 92nd. But although Pack's line is crumbling Halkett's 5th Bde has now come in behind it, and Maitlands 1st Guards is coming out of Quatre Bras. Against this Ney has almost no ffresh infantry. On the Gemioncourt brook Bylandt has reached the brook and stopped as the last of Jamin's troops race away. However 27th Jaeger and 4th LD stepped over the brook and were caught by Hubert's 8eme Cuirassier which had been sent to stabilise the flank along with Donop. The LD were mauled and chased back across the brook, and the 27th massacred in it. Butlar's 1st Brunswick Bde which had been heading to support Bylandt has now been swung W to take the French in the flank. Out on the E flank Kempt is now across the Pireamont brook, but Donop's 2/12 Bde of Carabiners is coming to meet him.

ENDEX - Ney's forces are spent and the Allies have regained their start line

2040 (T20)
A marginal victory to the Allies, and a decisive victory had Wellington focussed on helping Blucher rather than defeating Ney. In the West Soye continues to push through Bossu Wood, oblivious to the bigger battle - but the 2nd Dutch Militia managed to push back 3/1eme, and Kleinmansagge is now up in support. On the Brussels Road Butlar's 1st Brunswick Bde were swung away from helping Bylandt and instead advanced through the crops to take the French line N of Gemioncourt in the flank, 3rd Brunswickers penetrating furthest, sending two of Buadin's bn packing, but then being mauled by Hubert's horse gun on the rise, and then charged and massacred in the dying minutes by 5th Lancers. However Halkett's Bde had also joined the fray, with the 30th holding off both 1/1 and 3/1 Legere. Behind Halkett even Maitlands Guards are almost ready to join the fight, and Ney has no battalions with less than 3 damage - Gauthier's 1/9 Bde is already withdrawing, although his albeit battered cavalry is probably strong enough to cover the retreat. Even though Wellington did not quite reach Gemioncourt farm, Bylandt is sitting comfortably on Gemioncourt brook, and Kempt is across the brook and belatedly heading in Bluchers direction.