|Looking W from a balloon above Papelotte!|
As part of the preparations for our Waterloo60 game(s) next year (COVID willing) I’m doing a couple of test games. Nick had been wanting to do d’Erlons assault for ages, but diaries never worked out, and then COVID intervened.
Having got the central 8’ x 6’ terrain tiles done it was time to get the game on the table. Since I have mostly French (and not all of those) I couldn’t do all the units but managed about 50%, pressing some Confederation of the Rhine in as Dutch/Belgians, Hannoverians and Brunswickers.
For this first game I decided to run it as a “programmed” game, with each Act of the battle kicking off at the right time, and then letting the rules run with it to see what happened. This game would also be solo.
Act 1 - The Attack on Hougomont (Turn 1/1100 onward)
|A staunch defence of Hougomont underway|
This went pretty much as happened, Jerome just through battalion after battalion against it and failed to get anywhere. The main game learning was I’ve introduced the idea of strongpoints (the walled farms) where there is a saving through for each potential Damage, 2+ for Hougomont, and that seemed to work pretty well. We’re using 15mm models for the buildings (as against 20mm for the figures) as they feel better, but even so we’re only using half the buildings to give it a reasonable footprint.
Act 2 - Grand Battery Barrage (Turns 5-8, 1220-1320)
|Dutch/Belgians forced back as the (not so) Grand Battery opens up|
The Grand Battery opens up. Hadn’t realised how little Guard artillery was involved. As per history they maul Bylandt’s Brigade which is forced to retreat back off the board.
Act 3 - d’Erlons Corps Attack (Turns 9-15 , 1340-1540)
|I Corps ready to make the passage of lines through the guns|
The two(!) Allied batteries on the flank take a few casualties off the deep Divisional columns as they come forward thru the gun line - the more I read the less interpenetration seems to be an issue. The speed of the columns was also very fast, so I’ve upped basic rates. The 95th in the sandpit takes serious damage of Quiot’s Brigade, and eventually causes them to retreat. The KGL in La Haie Sainte also make their attackers falter.
|The Divisional Columns take casualties on their way in|
Bourgogne routs the Dutch screen but falters at the hedge. Donzelot survives the gun fire, but loses the firefight and retreats, with loss of nerve echoing back through the column. Bourgogne takes fire, the British threaten to attack and Bourgogne falls back.
|The fight at the sunken road|
With gaps now opened up the Union Brigade charges forward. The Scots Greys pile into Bourgogne who amazingly holds his ground, and its the same story for Inniskillen vs Donzalet. Failing to break through on the first round they’ll be too blown for the charge onto the ground.
|In go the Scots Greys|
Watier’s Cuirassiers come forward against the Household Brigade, marginally winning against 1LG, and evens with 2LG. The Union Bde finally wins their melees and both French divisional columns rout as panic ripples through the ranks. Jaquinot pulls his light cavalry forward, ploughing into the spent Union Brigade and sending most of them packing. Marcognet fails to go in against Best’s Bde, and Jacquinot’s Lancers take on the Royal Dragoon Guards. Vandeleur moves his light cavalry forward.
|The Life Guards go in against the Carabiners|
The Watier/Household melees break, the Household better off than historically. The Inniskillen prevail against Jacquinot’s Chasseurs, and Vandeleur clears the rest of Jacquinot’s cavalry.
|Vandeleur clears the French Lancers away|
Kruse falters Marcognet and actually counter charges, and routs it, taking any remaining French infantry with it. It’s 1600 and what is left of d’Erlons Corps is under a mandatory Withdraw order, and the attack is over, failed in pretty much the same way as historically.
|And the battle of the Allied right flank is over|
|The ongoing fight for Hougomont|
|.. and for La Haie Sainte|
Act 4 - French Cavalry Attack (Turns 16-26, 1600-1920)
|The French cavalry charges begin|
The Allied gun line starts to inflict casualties from the start as the dense mass of French heavy cavalry move forward. There are about 7 regiments moving, against 5-7 batteries. By the time they get about half way half the regiments have take 3 damage (so can't assault), and two have taken 2 damage (so can assault but little chance of success). The French try and rally a few strength points and then charge all in. Three regiments are routed, 1 is staggered and the attack is called off.
|Contact is made!|
Reinforced by Watier's cavalry from their right flank the French try again. The French guns fire in support causing some damage. The Allied guns try some counter-battery but only 1 in 4 hits. The new assault has 10 regiments in it. French guns continue to damage the squares, most taking 1 or 2 damage, a Guard square being down to 2. The Allied guns send one or two cavalry regiments home but the others begin to make contact with the squares. One gets repulsed by the guns at short range. One survives the guns, hits a square only at 2STR, but the square holds and the cavalry falters. Another square does similarly and 3 more also hold and force their attacker to retreat.
|A (venerable Airfix) Highland square holds its own - despite casualties|
The second French wave of this new attack now hits - 5 regiments riding in against squares, none opposed by guns as the crews have been forced to take cover by the first wave. The French have also brought their horse artillery right up to further pile on the pressure, and the first square is broken by short range cannister. In the cavalry attacks 2 badly damaged squares are broken, but the cavalry forced back as they hit the next squares. British Light Dragoons and Hussars clear off any lingering Cuirassiers and the cavalry attacks are over, the French well spent, and only 3 squares lost.
|Some equally venerable Airfix Hussars clear the Cuirassier|
Act 5: The Attack of the Guard (Turns 25-33, 1900-2140)
|Foy goes in|
Foy led off the attack with his infantry to the W of La Haie Sante, suffering hits along the way from the Allied artillery. At 1900/Turn 25 the Guard moved off. One battalion storms an Allied battery and piles into the square behind, but another battalion is forced to retreat and another two stalled by gun fire. Foy tries to motivate his lead battalion but the refuse to go in. The British counter-attack and Foy is sent packing.
|And in goes the Guard, to be met by the 52nd (ish) and 95th|
3rd Dutch Bde and Adams Bde deploy forward to bolster the line. A two battalions of Middle Guard charge home against poor British fire. Both melees end with both sides spent - the squares break, but the French are unable to exploit and the Middle Guard is routed next turn. Allied guns maul the Old Guard battalions but one gets in but is routed by the melee.
|Le Garde Reclu - but the damage to the Allied line is self-evident|
End of Turn 33/2140 and time to call ENDEX. The Allies got a bit more of a battering than in reality, with a few squares broken, but the French had no cavalry to exploit or reserves of infantry left to exploit.
Overall I was very happy with how the game went. The results seem pretty much in keeping with the historical outcomes, all the the actions had a reasonable narrative, and crucially I was getting through a turn every 20-30 minutes, playing both sides. So all bodes well. Next to try it with an opponent!