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Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Left Maneuver rss

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Matthew Webster
United Kingdom
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I have owned the 1977 Avalon Hill version for over 25 years but only played 2 incomplete games until last year: an event that kicked off my wargaming interest. On that occasion I played the Allies and won comfortably, twice. Now it was my turn to take the difficult role of the French. I had been reading the strategy notes ahead of the game and had chosen to pursue the “Left Maneuver” with the goal of taking Ghent.

This is my first session report and not as detailed as I would like. Next time I will take notes to be more specific about dates and times.

I played my regular opponent Steve. He chose an aggressive setup with Anglo-Dutch units in Braine le Compte, Quatre Bra, Charloi and protecting the Ghent: Renaix. Prussian forces were placed in Namur, Huy, Seraing and Ciney. The Left Maneuver seemed like the best choice.

I split my forces between Conde and Mauberge and advanced on Leuze and Ath. The Anglo-Ductch retreated to Uodengaarde. The French advanced again to Reaix and Grammont leaving a small force in Ath due to road restrictions. The Ango-Dutch retreated again, but not in the direction Ghent (was this inexperience or cunning). The French advanced again. Meanwhile the Prussian turn was used to move the units from Ciney, through France to the French rear. This was not an immediate threat but was to by my undoing later in the campaign.

The Anglo-Dutch attack Ath from Mons and Engien. While the forces are evenly matched the French have no reinforcements (a strategic error on my part). The battle continues for several turns but inevitably the single infantry unit in the Centre succumbs to repeated cavalry charges and the French are routed. They retreat to Renaix with just 2 cavalry units and horse artillery intact.

The French take Ghent unopposed with 9 units. There begins a game of cat and mouse with the Anglo-Dutch chasing the remainder of the French force while losing one unit every turn. Pursuit fire and a brief battle involving the Prussians reduce the French to 12 units: 9 in Ghent and 3 in Leuze. It’s time for something drastic.

The French take Brussels with 3 cavalry units. Now the clock is ticking for the Anglo-Dutch, with 2 units lost each turn, and the Prussians. But what about the small French force roaming the Belgian countryside?

As the Anglo-Dutch forces approach their critical minimum it’s time for the French to concentrate for the final showdown. The units occupying Ghent are force marched to Brussels and the units in Leuze are advance to Grammont. Mistake! They are attacked and eliminated leaving the French with 9 units and defeat.

In summary it was a strange game. There was only one real battle which the French lost. I took my eye of the ball and lost my last units instead of force marching them to Ninove; out of range of the allied forces. But the concentration in Brussels was too little to late: with only 4 Allied turns left the Prussians could easily have sat it out without having to engage.

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