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Subject: Bicentennial replay rss

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Andrew Hobley
United Kingdom
Andover
Hampshire
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Quarter to five on 18 June 1815 in Belgium; the French cavalry are still attacking and a third attack on La Haye Saint is being assembled. Quarter to five on 18 June 2015 in Andover, Hampshire and, having finished the campaign of the NLB Campaign and Warve it is time for the Big One. Played solo with the original rules. No need for any introductions – if you are a wargamer and don’t know even the faintest outline of the story I don’t know where you have been!

Set up.

12 noon – After some consideration Napoleon rejected a head on attack and also trying a double envelopment – the latter would weaken his centre and risk being enveloped himself if the Prussians arrived. Wellington’s right looked weak; he would use II and VI Corps to push the Allied army back east and his right flank cavalry to amuse the allied right and keep any Prussians at bay for a while.

The initial French attack is a great success, with the Allies unable to hold the combined armed assault and Mitchell’s brigade trapped against the chateau walls and overrun.

end of 12 noon turn.

1 pm – The French left flank attack pushes on, but falters when du Plat’s KGL drive back a combined arms attack allowing the Dutch in Braine-l’Alleud to route Jamin’s brigade. Maitland’s Guards Brigade then push back Baudin and some Guard 12 pounder batteries on to du Plat, resulting in their rout. A second Guards attack on the Guard cavalry and II Corps artillery is not so fortunate and Adam’s brigade is left exposed.

On the French right an attack on Papelotte is pushed back and the cavalry skirmish.

End of 1 pm turn.

2 pm – IV Cavalry confront the Prussian advance guard at Chapelle St Lambert, the village changes hands twice to the surprise of the French. A strong attack on Papelotte takes the village and holds it against a counter-attack. On the French left attack and counter-attack see du Plat and Gauthier’s brigades both shattered and units of both sides under threat from their flanks.

End of 2 pm turn

3 pm – The left flank battle continues at an even more ferocious pace. Not long before four pm the line is much as it was, but d’Aubrme, Halket, Dornberg, and d’Hurbal, L’Herthier and II Corps artillery are no longer actively involved. The balance of losses does not favour the French. On the right Allied cavalry begin to push back the French from the Paris Wood, while out on the far right IV Cavalry may have recaptured Chapelle St Lambert, but the Prussians are marching past to the south.

End of 3 pm turn.

4 pm – On the left the French attack is finally thrown back as Tromelin’s brigade is ridden down by the British Heavy cavalry. To regain some momentum Napoleon throws in the Guard on the right of La Haye Saint. They make some progress against the Allied line, but, aided by flanking fire from La Haye Bijlant’s Dutch brigade (with Kempt’s help) repulse Friant and Michel! Allied counter-attacks are repulsed; only Ponsenby’s cavalry charging into the French masses hold up a possible breakthrough.

End of 4 pm turn – the Guard’s attack.

5 pm – French moral is now wafer thin and the Prussians are closing on Maransart. The attack on the left ends and pulls back, to avoid further casualties. On the right Ponsenby’s cavalry are shattered, but their loss stops any further French advance. On the far right the French cavalry hurry back from Chapelle St Lambert before they are cut off; the Paris Wood having been cleared of Anglo-Allied cavalry just before the Prussian cavalry arrive.

End of 5 pm turn.

6 pm – The French left pulls back to shorten their line and to allow cavalry to be transferred to the right to hold off the Prussians. On the right the only action is the destruction of the British Horse Artillery at Papelotte.

Seeing the French withdrawal Wellington advances his right flank, to shorten it and to allow the Byng’s Guards to move right and attack the Imperial Guard. Byng is thrown back, but Guye’s division of the Young Guard is routed. At the same time the Prussian attack goes in; driving back and destroying much of the French cavalry in the wood.

End of 6 pm turn.

7 pm – The French pull back, but not fast enough. KGL and Brunswick units attack from La Haye, the Old Guard is pushed back; Prussian IV Corps artillery blasts away a division from I Crops on the banks of the Lasne and the encirclement of the French right wing is almost complete. The French collapse and flee and the Allies declare a glorious victory!

“Sauve qui peut”.

Losses –

Prussian – 7 SP
Anglo-Allies – 38 SP
French - 60 SP

Technically the French lost in the 5 pm turn due to a combination of losses and the morale effect of the repulse of the Guard. But I fought on until the French hit their demoralisation level; just so Napoleon could not claim in his memoirs it was only one little action (the Guard driven back by the Dutch-Belgium troops) that lost the battle.

This is a tough one, but with some better dice (or play) the French plan might have worked. As with history the arrival of the Prussians clinched it.

So that is the end of my three day bicentennial gaming odyssey. Four quad games and the three days of the campaign, all fought on the actual 200th anniversary. Rather like Waterloo itself it was a close run thing – one hour of gaming left before I need to go out. And surprisingly tiring as well – concentrated intellectual effort I suppose. But nothing to compare with what the participants went through. Though we may all speculate about what it was like to have been there, given the chance would we REALLY go back to be blinded by smoke, trampled by horses, soaked by rain, shot at and threatened with death. No, I’ll settle for pieces of card and a quite June evening at home.

Peace at home.
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Jim F
United Kingdom
Birmingham
West Midlands
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You know with Hitler? the more I learn about that guy, the more I don't care for him
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Good stuff Andrew.
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Peter Copley
Australia
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Great work Andrew and so good triumphs over evil on the hexgrid as in real life...hehehehe
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