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Subject: Detailed AAR of a solo game. rss

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Joffrey van de Wiel
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Inspired by an upcoming visit to the battlefields of Quatre Bras, Ligny and Waterloo I decided to play Clash of Arms' La Bataille de Quatre Bras for the first time in a decade. My copy is the second edition published in 2005, and I use the rules that came with the game. The AAR that follows is a work in progress and I will try to update it regularly.

The battle of Quatre Bras is a meeting engagement, with all the uncertainties that come with it. Reinforcements will not always arrive on time, but can arrive 40 to 20 minutes earlier as listed, or 40 to 20 minutes later. Both sides have to roll once on the Randomizing Reinforcements Table - the Allied player before set up, the French at 14:00 hrs. The above will guarantee that no two games are ever the same, and Quatre Bras therefore has a great replay value. The Allied player can also create false stacks (dummies) and obscure real ones, to hide his initial deployment from the French, which can confuse and possibly delay the French. This feature doesn't really come to life while playing solo, but I imagine it really shines when playing an opponent.

Victory depends on control of the crossroads at Quatre Bras and the Nivelles - Namur road, and since these locations are controlled by the Allied player at start, the burden of attack is on the French player. He needs to strike hard and fast before the superior Allied numbers can overwhelm him, and defeat the various Allied contingents piecemeal.

SET UP
The French set up first. Deployed around the village of Les Bous is the 2nd Light Cavalry Division of II Corps, commanded by General Hippolyte Marie Guillaume de Rosnyvinen Comte de Piré. Consisting of the 1st and 6th regiments of chasseurs à cheval, the 5th and 6th Lancers, and a battery of horse artillery, this division will recon to the north and report the depositions of the enemy.

To the east of the town of Frasnes is the Light Cavalry Division of the Imperial Guard, commanded by General of Division Charles, Comte Lefebvre-Desnouettes. This is an excellent and powerful formation, but the Emperor has forbidden the use of it, and it can only be released after a die roll. For now, it just stays where it is.

In Frasnes itself is the 5th Division of II Corps, under General of Division Gilbert Désiré Joseph Bachelu, Baron de l’Empire, Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur. His two brigades (four Line regiments: the 3rd, 61st, 72nd and 109th) are deployed in General Order in the town, one battalion per hex. His artillery (the 18th company of the 6th Foot Artillery Regiment) and the ammunition wagon are on a trail leading northwest and will switch to road order once the division begins its march north.

Here's a picture of the French set up. I know some people prefer photographs, but photography is not one of my skills and the auto-flash will bounce of the plexiglass and create annoying white spots. Instead I will use the VASSAL module.



I noticed the picture shows up rather small, but do not know how to enlarge it...

EDIT: Thanks to Thomas for telling me how to post a large picture

The Allies set up second, and before doing so had to roll on the Randomizing Reinforcements Table, getting a 5. This alters the historical set up. Only the 1st Brigade of the 2nd Dutch-Belgian Infantry Division of I Corps starts the game on map, while the 2nd Brigade of this same division, along with the Prince of Orange, will arrive on Game Turn 1.

The Brigade deploys near the crossroads and is commanded by Major General Willem Frederik, Count van Bijlandt, Knight Commander Military William Order. He has three battalions of Dutch Militia (5th, 7th and 8th), the 7th battalion of Belgian Line Infantry and the 27th Dutch Jaegers to call on. Fire support is provided by the horse artillery battery 'Bijleveld.' Also present is the divisional commander, Lieutenant General Hendrik George, Count de Perponcher Sedlnitsky, Knight Commander Military William Order.

All these units start the game obscured, with a blank marker on top of the stacks. I also created false stacks in and near the Grand Farms at Grand Pierrepont, Delsot, Gemioncourt and Piraumont. These dummies can't be ignored by the French, and are only revealed in accordance with rule 13.3E. In the pictures below, I have removed the blank markers to avoid confusion for you, the reader of this AAR.



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thomas fernbacker
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For Larger Photo, In the brackets type large,[12345-67890large]
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Jon
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I look forward to your report on both the game and the battlefield tour.

I have (and played) the first edition. It was my first functional experience with La Bat and I loved it. Previous efforts with Ligny were wracked by gross rule misunderstandings.
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Eric Schaefer
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Yeah, we had a whole game of Ligny wrecked with the original rule set due to a lack of specificity on what terrain that charges could take through. While common sense should have prevailed, we decided to allow the charge over the river (ah, how we tried to play God...bad young gamers! Bad!), which of course completely unhinged the entire game and we had to scrap it.

The current rule set, is much better, and prevents such silly things...
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thomas fernbacker
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I did a full AAR here of this 3 years (WOW!) ago

I was the Allies and worked up an envelopment of the French, cool
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Joffrey van de Wiel
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UPDATE: THE 11:20 AM GAME TURN

First, I have added the Allied set up to the OP, and second: thanks for the thumbs and gold, appreciated!

The Command Prephase.
In this phase, the French and Allies determine the number of available Command Points (CPs). These are used to 'buy' Manoeuvre Units (MUs). A MU is an abstraction of orders given by Army or Corps Command. A MU marker is placed on a Leader and a duplicate marker is placed in the draw cup. When the MU is drawn, the Leader and all his subordinate units that are in command activate and may move and fight. A single MU may be as small as a single Leader and the unit he is stacked with, or as large as an entire Corps. This random drawing of markers (or 'chits') adds uncertainty to the game, it is unpredictable what will happen. I like this design and think it works perfectly playing solo.

Only Army and Corps Commanders generate CPs. Let's have a look at the organization of the belligerents, starting with the French.

In charge of the Left Wing of the Emperor's l'Armée du Nord is 46-year-old Michel Ney, Maréchal d'Empire, Prince of Moscow, Duke of Elchingen, holder of the Grand Cross of the Legion d'Honneur and Commander in the Order of the Iron Crown. Nicknamed the "bravest of the brave" by the Emperor himself, Ney was born to be a soldier. He miraculously survived all battles and campaigns he was involved in from 1792 onward, only to be executed by the vengeful Bourbon regime on December 10th, 1815. A sad end to a remarkable life. His name will live on forever though: it is inscribed in the marble of the Arc de Triomphe (Eastern Pillar, Column 13.) He is buried in Paris at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.



Marshal Ney, when on the field of battle, will generate one CP.

Commanding Ney's I Corps is General of Division Jean Baptiste Drouet, Comte d'Erlon, Officer of the Legion of Honour. He fought with distinction in numerous battles from 1799 onward and was honored with his promotion to Marshal of France in 1843.

General Drouet, when on the field of battle, will generate one CP.

The French II Corps is under the inspiring leadership of General of Division Honoré Charles Michel Joseph, Comte Reille, holder of the Grand Cross of the Legion d'Honneur and Knight in the Order of the Iron Crown. He served as Napoleon's aide-de-camp at Friedland but surprisingly was made an inspector-general by the Bourbons after the Emperor's first abdication. He died in 1860, aged 84, and is buried at the same cemetery as Marshal Ney.

General Reille, when on the field of battle, will generate one CP.

Unfortunately, none of these fine officers start the game on map, so the French have zero CPs to spend in the upcoming Command Phase. There is a chance that General Piré of the Light Cavalry Division of II Corps will be able to activate and create his own MU, but this check is made in the next phase.

Let us now look at the Allies.

In overall command of the Allied Army of the Low Countries is Field Marshal Sir Arthur Wellesly, Duke of Wellington, Prince of Waterloo, Count Talavera, Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo, Duke of Victoria, Count of Vimeiro, Marquis of Torres Vedras, Marquess of Douro, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS. He was born Arthur Wesley in Dublin in the same year as Napoleon, 1769, as the son of the 1st Earl of Mornington and his wife, the eldest daughter of the 1st Viscount Dungannon. He joined the army in 1787 and served with increasing distinction, fighting for the first time in the Battle of Boxtel in 1794. After that, he served in India and in the Peninsular Wars. He held off Ney at Quatre Bras and defeated Napoleon at Waterloo two days later. After the Napoleonic Wars he entered politics, and served as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in 1834, as Home Secretary (1834), Foreign Secretary (1834-35) and Leader of the House of Lords. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from January 1828 until November 1830 and for one month in 1834. He is generally regarded as one of Britain's finest soldiers, second only to the Duke of Marlborough. The Duke of Wellington died in 1852, aged 83. He is buried at St.Paul's Cathedral in London, next to Lord Nelson.



The Duke of Wellington will only generate CPs through his 'ride.' I will explain this 'ride' as soon as he arrives on the field.

In command of the Allied I Corps is His Royal Highness Prince William of Orange-Nassau, heir apparent of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He served, 19 years old, as one of Wellington's aide-de-camp during the Peninsular War. He was appointed lieutenant-colonel in the British Army in June 1811 and colonel in October that same year. In 1813 he was promoted to Major General. His courage and good nature made him very popular with the British, who nicknamed him "Slender Billy." He became King William II of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Duke of Limburg in 1840. During his reign, the Netherlands became a parliamentary democracy with the new constitution of 1848. He died quite suddenly in my home town of Tilburg at the age of 56. His palace still stands however, people can get married there today, and our local soccer team is called, quite appropriately, 'Willem II.'

His Royal Highness, when on the field of battle, will generate one CP.

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton, GCB, is in charge of the Allied Reserve Corps. He was a Welshman and served as the Governor of Trinidad from 1797 to 1803. He was accused of illegally torturing a woman during his governorship and convicted, but the verdict was later overturned. Sir Thomas was a veteran of the Peninsular War, and a brave and gallant soldier. He was killed in action, aged 56, on June 18th, 1815, when he successfully led his men in a bayonet charge to repulse a French attack during the battle of Waterloo. He is buried at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Sir Thomas Picton, when on the field of battle, will generate one CP.

None of these fine officers starts on map however, and therefore the Allies have (as the French) zero CPs to spend in the upcoming Command Phase. Which will be next in my detailed AAR.
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Joffrey van de Wiel
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In my previous post I discussed the Command Prephase of the first (11:20 AM) game turn. I have finished this turn by now and here's what happened:

In Phase A of the Command Segment of the Chronology of Battle, the command interrelationship between Leaders and units is determined: they are either 'in' or 'out of command.'

An Allied Brigade Leader has a Command Span of 2 hexes. Count Bijlandt's Brigade is the only one on the map. All his units are in command (within 2 hexes of his position, or via the 'communicating battalion' rule (19.4.A.2).

Bijlandt has to be within 6 hexes of his Corps Commander to be in command. Since the Prince of Orange starts the battle off-map, Bijlandt is out of command. Notice that the Allied Divisional Commanders have no command function in this game.

French Divisional Commanders have a Command Span of 3 hexes. All units of the three French divisions that start the game on the map are in command - either within the span of their respective Commanders (Pire, Bachelu or Lefebvre-Desnouettes) or via the 'communicating battalion' rule.

All three Divisional Commanders are out of command, since their Corps Commander, Reille, has not yet arrived on the field of battle.

This ends Phase A of the Command Phase.

In Phase B, CPs are spent to 'buy' MUs. I explained this in my previous post. Since no Allied or French Army or Corps Commanders start the turn on-map, no CPs are generated, and therefore, no MUs can be created.

However, certain Light Cavalry Commanders can test their readiness, and if they pass, create their own MU. General Pire is the only such leader on the map. He passes his readiness check by rolling a 3 or less with one die - 3 being his cavalry melee modifier, the bottom left number on the specific side of the counter. Unfortunately, I rolled a 4, and thereby failed the test: the General and his division will stay where they are for now. This is a bit of a bummer, as I had planned to recon to the north and see what is going on in Delsot and Gemioncourt. Remember, there are false stacks there, but I have to treat them as real ones until revealed.

All this means no MUs are generated and the only chits placed in the draw cup are the four Action Chits: Leaders, Artillery, Regroup and Reinforcement.

Finally, I rolled two dice to determine the early, on time, or late arrival of the French reinforcements scheduled to enter exactly one hour from now, at 12:20 AM. I got lucky and rolled a 16 (read as 16, not 7.) So the French Army Commander (Ney), the Commander of II Corps (Reille), the entire 9th Infantry Division and two artillery batteries will arrive 20 minutes earlier, at noon. I was very pleased with this result, after the disappointing roll for Pire, because Ney and Reille will generate much needed CPs. I want the army to move forward and not hang around in Frasnes all day!

This ends the Command Phase of the first turn. In the Manoeuvre Segment, the player draws chits from the draw cup. This randomizes events and is in my opinion a great design feature. The French drew the first one, the rules are unclear about who has the initiative, so I diced it off. The first chit drawn was the Reinforcement Chit. The only reinforcements scheduled to arrive were the Allied Commander of I Corps, the Prince of Orange, his ADC Major General Jean Victor baron de Constant Rebecque, and the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Dutch-Belgian Infantry Division. This brigade, commanded by Major General Prince Carl Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, consists of the 2nd Nassau Regiment (3 battalions), the 28th Nassau Regiment (2 battalions and a Jaeger company), supported by the foot artillery battery 'Stievenart.'

All battalions entered in road order, marching towards the crossroads. The maximum stacking limit for units in road order is 4 increments per hex, which means that the large battalions are spread out over two or three hexes.

The Allies drew the next chit, the Artillery Chit. This allows all unlimbered artillery to fire, but since all batteries on-map are limbered, I skipped this.

The French next drew the Regroup Chit, which allows out of command units to move back into range of their Leaders. All units were in command however, so I skipped this too.

The Allies drew the final chit, the Leader Chit. This allows commanders that are not part of a MU to move. In this case, Count van Bijlandt, having received the news that the Prince of Orange was on the way to Quatre Bras, moved to the tail of his brigade in order to be able to receive orders brought to him via a courier on horseback. In other words: he placed himself in command (within 6 hexes of his Corps Commander.)

This ends the Manoeuvre Segment. All other Segments and Phases were skipped, as no Fire Combat, Melee, or Reorganization was possible or necessary. Here's the picture of the situation at the end of the turn:

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Joffrey van de Wiel
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11.40 AM Game Turn


Command Prephase and Command Segment.


ALLIES:
The Prince of Orange, in command of I Corps, has arrived on the field and has one CP to spend. I forgot to mention that one CP can create one MU. His Royal Highness spends his CP on one MU marker, placed upon himself, with a duplicate placed in the draw cup. This does not mean the Prince is ordering himself around, but rather that he has issued orders to the Commanders of his two brigades present on the field: Count van Bijlandt, in charge of the 1st Brigade, is 600 meters away, and the Prince of Saxe-Weimar, commanding the 2nd Brigade, is within shouting distance (stacked with the Prince of Orange.)

FRENCH:
No Army or Corps Commanders are on the field, thus no CPs are available and therefore, no MUs can be created. General Pire once again rolled a 4 for his readiness check and failed to activate. Apparently, he is having an early lunch or something, it will take an Act of Congress to get him in the saddle and get moving. It annoys me tremendously, another opportunity to scout ahead lost.

Since a picture speaks a thousand words, here it is:

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Joffrey van de Wiel
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11.40 AM Game Turn


Manoeuvre Segment to Turn End


Chits were drawn as follows, with those actions that were either Not Allowed or Not Applicable listed as N/A. The Allies had the initiative and drew the first one.

1) Artillery Chit: N/A
2) Allied MU '1'
3) Reinforcement Chit: N/A
4) Leader Chit: N/A
5) Regroup Chit: N/A

Allied Movement:
In general, I took great care to keep all units and leaders in command, to prevent problems in the Command Phase of the next turn. It also speeds up play, as a quick check will suffice to determine the 'in' or 'out of' command status of all units and leaders.

The biggest problem I faced was to decide where to defend. This is always a problem for the defender, and especially in this particular case, where the French haven't moved an inch yet. I therefore made the assumption that the main French thrust to the north will be made along the Frasnes - Quatre Bras - Brussels road, while a secondary attack could develop in the direction of Piraumont Grand Farm and surroundings, and the village of Thyle.

My first thought was to deploy both brigades of the 2nd Netherlands Infantry Division in a line from the southwest to the northeast, anchored on the Grand Farms of Grand Pierrepont and Gemioncourt. The general idea was to stop the French advance north in and around Gemioncourt, and then swing the Allied right wing forward to strike the enemy on the flank and possibly even from the rear. After ample consideration I gave up on this 'plan' however, it seemed to be a too grandiose scheme. I estimated that the French could deploy one division to protect their left flank, and keep on pushing north with another, while a third could make a dash for Piraumont/Thyle. Other considerations were the lack of Allied cavalry in the initial stages of the battle (while the French have 4 Regiments available near Les Bous), and the quality (or the lack thereof) of some of the Dutch/Belgian battalions. The Dutch Militia in particular don't seem to be able to deal with a determined French attack.

I therefore decided to fight a delaying action, and at the same time make use of the benefits of some of the terrain features. A unit deployed in a Grand Farm is treated as being in Square formation, with all the advantages, including the morale check modifier of +6 for the better.

Based on all the above, the following orders were issued:

1st Brigade:

- 5th Dutch Militia and the Divisional Commander, General Perponcher-Sedlinitzky: move to and defend Delsot Grand Farm. Purpose: delay the enemy and prevent a swift march north.

- 7th Dutch Militia: in reserve.

- 8th Dutch Militia: set up a defense in Grand Farm Gemioncourt.

- rest of the brigade: move south of the stream and await further orders.

2nd Brigade:

- 2nd Nassau Regiment: take a route south, avoiding the main road as it is blocked by a huge traffic jam. Deploy on the right flank of 1st Brigade.

- 28th Nassau Regiment: in reserve. Prepare to move south to support 2nd Nassau Regiment or move all the way to Piraumont Grand Farm/Thyle.

- Brigade artillery battery: for now attached to 2nd Nassau Regiment. Move up and provide fire support.

Fire Combat, Melee and Reorganization Segments: N/A
Turn Adjustment Segment: marker advanced to 12:00 turn.

This ends the 11:40 turn. Below the picture of the situation after completion of all actions. Please note that the '10' markers on the map represent false stacks.

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Joffrey van de Wiel
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12:00 Game Turn


Command Prephase and Command Phase.
No changes. All units 'in' command. Prince of Orange spends his CP on one MU for both his brigades.

Still no CPs or MUs for the French. General Pire once again failed his readiness check by rolling a 6. I won't repeat what I said when he failed for the third time in a row angry

Manoeuvre Segment.
Chits were drawn as follows, with those actions that were either Not Allowed or Not Applicable listed as N/A. The French had the initiative and drew the first one.

1) Regroup Chit: N/A
2) Allied MU #1
3) Artillery Chit: N/A
4) Reinforcement Chit: French only
5) Leader Chit: N/A

Allied Movement:

1st Brigade:
The 5th Dutch Militia continued to march to its objective, Delsot, but failed to reach it - it is now located just to the north of it. The 8th Dutch Militia entered Gemioncourt Grand Farm, while the rest of the brigade took up positions half way down the road to protect the crossing of the 2nd Nassau Regiment of 2nd Brigade and delay the enemy. The battery 'Bijleveldt' (eight 6 pdr guns) unlimbered within the ranks of the 7th Dutch Militia.

2nd Brigade:
The 2nd Nassau Regiment has started to cross the stream, while the 28th Nassau Regiment has taken up a reserve position. Since it is out of range of its brigade commander, the Corps ADC, Major General de Constant Rebecque, has taken charge. The foot battery 'Stievenart' failed to keep up with the 2nd Nassau Regiment and has joined the 28th.



French movement:
The French moved under the Reinforcement Chit. Marshal Ney, his staff and the Commander of II Corps set up a temporary HQ in the tavern in Les Bous. The Marshal undoubtedly sent one of his officers to wake up General Pire .

Meanwhile the 9th Infantry Division moved up from the south. The 2nd Brigade leads with the 4th Light Infantry at the head of the column. When it approached Delsot, the Dutch artillery opened fire, but the shots fell short.

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Joffrey van de Wiel
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Are the pictures clear enough? I noticed when cutting out larger sections of the map, it generally shows up smaller compared to posting smaller cut-outs. Can you distinguish and read the counters?

Is the writing on them legible? I experimented with the lettering and colours. I first tried to use the colour of the uniform as depicted on the counters, but the dark green of the Nassau Regiment got lost in the woods and hills, so to speak
 
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Rodger Samuel
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I can make out the writing here in the thread, altho it's a bit difficult. However, all I have to do is click on the picture and view the larger picture to see everything clearly.
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Michael Parsons
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We few,we happy few,we band of brothers;For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother: be he ne’er so vile;And gentlemen in England now-abed Shall think themself accurs’d they were no here That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
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Everything is clear to me,
again, just click to enlarge the pics to see the counter info,
But with your excellent narration and notes on the pics it follows excellently

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Joffrey van de Wiel
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12:20 Game Turn


It took me quite a bit longer to write this post, because VASSAL crashed on me . It kept telling me there were bad data, whatever that means, and the save file didn't load properly. Ah well.

Command Prephase.
The Prince of Orange had 1 CP to spend, while Marshal Ney and Count Reille (commanding II Corps) each generated 1 CP. The balance has shifted in favor of the French!

Command Phase.

Phase A, Allies:Both brigade commanders were within six hexes of the Prince of Orange. All units of the 1st Brigade were within the span of its commander, Count van Bijlandt, except the 8th Dutch Militia Battalion, detached at Gemioncourt Grand Farm.

The 2nd Nassau Regiment was in command, within the span of the commander of 2nd Brigade, the Prince of Saxe-Weimar, or via the communicating battalion rule. The 28th Nassau Regiment was out of command, but could theoretically activate as General De Constant Rebecque has taken command.

Phase A, French: Count Reille was activated by being stacked with Marshal Ney (and he will stay activated as long as he remains within Ney's span of 10 hexes.) The three divisional commanders - Generals Pire of the 2nd Light Cavalry Division, Bachelu of the 5th Infantry Division and Foy of the 9th Infantry Division - were within 6 hexes of General Reille. All units were in command, but the 2nd Light Cavalry Division had been split in two by the march of the 9th Infantry. The 6th Chasseur à Cheval and the 6th Lancers were separated from General Pire to the east side of the main road. However, Marshal Ney's aide, Colonel Heymes (a future Lieutenant General and Commander of the Legion d'Honneur) temporarily took over.

Phase B, Allies: The Prince of Orange created one MU, directing both his brigade commanders. Units out of command (the 28th Nassau Regiment and the 8th Dutch Militia) can not be part of this MU and have to activate separately in a later turn.

Phase B, French: The commander of II Corps, le Comte Reille, creates one MU to direct all his three divisions, while the Prince of Moscow orders Colonel Heymes to take charge of the 6th Chasseur à Cheval and the 6th Chevau-légers Lanciers

General Pire once again failed his initiative check, but it doesn't matter that much anymore. The Marshal had a good word with him and he is in the saddle, prepared to lead his men into battle!

Finally, I rolled for the arrival of His Royal Highness Prince Jerome Bonaparte, brother of His Majesty the Emperor and former King of Westphalia. On a roll of 16 the Prince and his 6th Infantry Division will arrive 20 minutes earlier, at 13:00 hrs. Cool.

Manoeuvre Segment.
Chits were drawn as follows, with those actions that were either Not Allowed or Not Applicable listed as N/A. The Allies had the initiative and drew the first one.

1) Allied MU #1
2) Leader Chit N/A
3) Regroup Chit N/A
4) French MU #1 (Heymes)
5) Artillery Chit: Allied only
6) Reinforcement Chit N/A
7) French MU #2 (II Corps)

Allied Movement:
Encouraged by the fact that the French hadn't moved much, and perhaps misinterpreting this as a reluctance to give battle, the Prince of Orange changed his plans. Instead of fighting a delaying action near Delsot and deploying the bulk of his forces near Gemioncourt, he now decided to set up his main defenses much further to the south, with Delsot as a bastion in the center of the line.

1st Brigade:
Count van Bijlandt, a bit worried that he might get overextended, sent his battalions forward to comply with these new orders. The 5th Dutch Militia remained in Delsot, but the 7th Dutch Militia and the 7th Belgian Line marched through the tall rye and deployed to the east of the Grand Farm. Concerned about his left flank, the Count ordered his artillery battery 'Bijleveld' to limber and move to the extreme left, to a position from where it could provide fire support. Unfortunately, the gunners weren't able to comply. Instead, the 27th Dutch Jaegers deployed in skirmish formation in an attempt to protect the left flank.

2nd Brigade:
The Prince of Saxe-Weimar took the three battalions of the 2nd Nassau Regiment and led them south in column formation, in order to set up a defensive line to the west of the road. They reached the area to the west of Delsot, when suddenly French cavalry was spotted 300 meters away...




Artillery Chit:
The battery 'Bijleveld' once again fired at the French column marching north via the main road. Using the ricochet rule (17.12) it made seven separate fire attacks at ranges 5 (Medium range) to 11 (Extreme range.) Odds were 1-1 at best and 1-4 at worst. The battery of eight 6 pounders failed to score any hits, but their fire encouraged the French to get off the road asap!

French Movement:
Colonel Heymes, confronted with confusing reports on the enemy positions, decided to send the 6th Chasseurs on a reconnaissance mission.

The enemy front line looked like this:


The 6th Chasseurs adopted skirmish formation and was able to ascertain the locations of the enemy:


Next, Colonel Heymes led his two cavalry regiments to the west side of the road where they would join General Pire and the other two regiments of the 2nd Light Cavalry Division. The 1st Chasseurs had meanwhile recon'd to the northwest, exposing false and obscured stacks in the vicinity of Grand Pierrepont. The 5th Lancers followed, so now the entire Division is concentrated on the left.

The 5th Infantry Division under General the Baron Bachelu left Frasnes and started its advance north. Progress was a bit slow as an extra MP had to be expended as the battalions changed from the mandatory General Order formation into Column.

General Foy's 9th Infantry Division, confronted with cannon balls bouncing through their ranks, diverted off the road in an outflanking move of the enemy to the east of Delsot. Part of the division is still in road order however.



Fire Combat Segment:
The 27th Dutch Jaeger Battalion targeted the 2nd battalion of the 4th Light Infantry and caused the loss of one increment. The French returned fire with both the 1st and 2nd battalions, also causing a step loss. The 3rd battalion fired on the 7th Dutch Militia, causing another loss. The unit promptly disordered.

All infantry fire values were halved for skirmishers firing at range 2 and not equipped with rifles. The final odds were shifted 2 columns to the right for infantry first fire (rule 14.3.B.)

The battery 'Bijleveld' opened up on the 6th Chasseurs, deployed in skirmish formation. The barrage had little effect, but the rye caught fire and caused a huge amount of smoke. The cavalry displaced to the southwest.

Reorganization Segment:
The 7th Dutch Militia passed its Morale Check with a -3 modifier and recovered Good Order.

This ends the turn. Below a more zoomed-in look at the battlefield. Note the smoke marker!

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Michael Parsons
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We few,we happy few,we band of brothers;For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother: be he ne’er so vile;And gentlemen in England now-abed Shall think themself accurs’d they were no here That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
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Joffrey

Will you be using Ed Wimble's suggested rule change for extended line ?


https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/21945477#21945477


Excellent descriptive text

In fact there's only one thing wrong whistle
and that is you haven't got enough Geek Gold for your efforts...

Rectifying that now

cheerio
Mike
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Joffrey van de Wiel
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mixykym wrote:
Joffrey

Will you be using Ed Wimble's suggested rule change for extended line ?


https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/21945477#21945477


Excellent descriptive text

In fact there's only one thing wrong whistle
and that is you haven't got enough Geek Gold for your efforts...

Rectifying that now

cheerio
Mike


Hi Mike and thanks VERY MUCH INDEED for the gold and the kind words modest

I am at present not familiar with Ed's suggested rule change, but I will take a look - thanks for the link.

Please note I added the Fire Combat and subsequent segments to my previous post, with a final picture - an overview of the immediate front line. I zoomed in a bit compared to other pictures, to make the counters appear a little larger and more distinguishable. Still, the pictures pale in comparison with the real thing, this game is stunningly beautiful to look at. And great to play too of course.

Thanks again,
Joffrey
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We few,we happy few,we band of brothers;For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother: be he ne’er so vile;And gentlemen in England now-abed Shall think themself accurs’d they were no here That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
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Hi Joffrey

Great to see the end of turn addition

I have all four individual Waterloo games 1st edition, and even the Deluxe boxed edition , and the 2nd edition QB, eagerly awaiting 2nd edition Ligny

I agree they are extremely beautiful games when set up, although my eyesight at 53 yrs old makes reading the reverse counters a challenge, even with my 10x and 15x Magnifying Glasses

Once i'v gotten my B-17 QotS and Phantom Leader off the table, i'll set this up and follow along

keep up the good work

Vive l'Emperor

yes I know i'm English, but I always rooted for the French in this Battle

Mike
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Joffrey van de Wiel
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Hey Mike,

I once owned Auerstaedt and Eylau but in a fit of stupidity gave them both away.

QB2 is now the only La Bataille game in my collection. I would like to obtain Ligny and the Waterloo/Mont St. Jean games, but the offers here on geek market are limited to buyers in the US only.

So I had a look at Moscowa and Dresde. Have you looked at Dresde? The artwork is gorgeous, especially the maps will knock you out cold. Don't know who creates them but he/she should be awarded with a Legion d'Honneur!

I am playing QB2 now to familiarize myself with the terrain and the units, to prepare for my battlefield tour this coming fall. I am all excited about it. We've booked a nice apartment in Brussels, and can spend an entire day roaming about Quatre Bras, Ligny and Waterloo. My wife has a desire to go shopping in Brussels (I sure don't), and is worried we will get shot or blown up by terrorists. Avoid crowded places she says. Send in the Imperial Guard I say, LOL.

I will report on my journey here on BGG with a narrative and lots of photos.

I am Dutch and proud of the presence of the Prince of Orange, our future King, and Dutch troops at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. But I am a staunch admirer of the Emperor, a most remarkable man. Last year I bought Andrew Roberts' Napoleon - A Life. Roberts presented a BBC documentary on Napoleon in 2015, a 3-part series. I think one can still watch it on YouTube.

Vive l'Empereur!
Joffrey
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I am playing QB2 now to familiarize myself with the terrain and the units, to prepare for my battlefield tour this coming fall

Be forewarned. When I visited the place June a year ago the owners of the farm Gemioncourt had just bulldozed the little creek that ran around the north of it, along with the embankment it had cut into the rising ground there. The water was piped beginning where it crosses the N5 almost through to the Etang Materne. So there is no longer any trace of it above ground and that small bit of severe slope is entirely gone... it just gently rises to the plain above. Of course the Bois de Bossu across from it disappeared in Wellington's lifetime. There was also some work being done on the farm immediately at the cross-roads (NE corner). Not sure if it was in preparation to tear it down and widen the road, or if they were going to stabilize the place. (There's been a battle trying to save it going on for several years now.)

I recommend parking the car around Delsot and then walking along the right side of the road so you can get a good look at the rising ground to the east where Ney had his artillery overlooking Gemioncourt. Then once abreast the farm crossing to the walkway to the west of the road, then crossing to the Brunswick monument again on the east side and continuing up to the crossroads. Following the road there towards Nivelles has some monuments, and walking along the embankment the other way towards Ligny to where the wee brook crosses the high road is fine too. There take the path/lane to Piraumont and then obliquely back to Delsot. Back in the day the farmers didn't mind this so much as long as you didn't trample their crops. I even once kicked up a musket ball there overlooking Gemioncourt... but the place has since become a corporate farm so they may have a different attitude towards trespassers.

Here is a photo of that view from above the N5 overlooking Gemioncourt:

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.ee6c73b/27893
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12:40 Game Turn


Finally, I have some time to write another report. My summer holiday ended a couple of weeks ago, and I just didn't get around to gaming and taking notes anymore. So apologies for the long pause and if you forgot what happened previously please scroll up a bit. With that, let me proceed.

Command Prephase.
No changes compared to the 12:20 Game Turn. The Prince of Orange generates 1 CP for the Allies. The French have 2 CPs to spend, one for Marshal Ney and another for the commander of II Corps, General le Comte Reille.

Command Phase.

Phase A, French: General Reille of II Corps was within ten hexes of Marshal Ney at the start of the turn, and had been activated earlier. All three divisional commanders were within the span (6 hexes) of Reille, and all units were in command - either within the span of 3 hexes of their divisional commanders or via the communicating battalion rule.

Phase A, Allies: At 12:40, Allied command had been split up in four:

- the 1st Brigade under General Count van Bijlandt to the east of Delsot;
- its 8th Militia Battalion at Allied HQ in Gemioncourt;
- the 2nd Nassau Regiment of 2nd Brigade and its commander the Prince of Saxe-Weimar to the northwest of Delsot;
- and finally the 28th Nassau Regiment with the artillery battery of 2nd Brigade north of Gemioncourt, commanded by the Corps ADC General Rebecque.

All units were in command, but the Count van Bijlandt had strayed too far to the south and was no longer within the span of the Prince of Orange. This means he and his brigade can not be part of a MU.

Phase B, Allies: All had been quiet on the front when suddenly alarming reports reached the Prince of Orange and his staff at Gemioncourt. Message from the Prince of Saxe-Weimar: enemy cavalry spotted on the right flank! (The Chasseurs a Cheval and the Lancers of the 2nd Light Cavalry Division.) Report from the divisional commander at Delsot: enemy infantry marching north along the road to Quatre Bras and Brussels! (The lead elements of 9th Division.) A courier arrived from Count van Bijlandt: enemy threatens to turn the left flank!

Confusion at Allied HQ! What to do? It seemed the best option was to execute a fighting withdrawal to the north, to prevent a complete envelopment of both brigades and the annihilation of the entire division. Unfortunately, the commander of 1st Brigade on the vulnerable left flank was out of contact. The 2nd Nassau Regiment on the right, although facing four regiments of enemy cavalry, seemed safe for now, as the enemy had no infantry to support his Chasseurs and Lancers. Nevertheless, the right needed to be reinforced, and to this end the Prince of Orange sent an order to General Jean Victor Constant de Rebecque, in charge of the 28th Nassau Regiment and the artillery battery of 2nd Brigade. The 28th will cross the stream and deploy to the right of 2nd Nassau. At the same time, an effort will be made to re-establish contact with the Count van Bijlandt.

(In game terms, the one available CP is spent on a MU, placed on Constant de Rebecque.)


GENERAL JEAN VICTOR CONSTANT DE REBECQUE

Phase B, French: Marshal Ney had a clear picture of the situation, thanks to the reconnaissance executed earlier by elements of his 2nd Light Cavalry Division. Delsot Grand Farm is defended, probably by Dutch Militia, but it can be bypassed for now. More Dutch Militia and some Belgians on the right, Nassau infantry on the left. No enemy cavalry had been sighted yet, but an enemy battery was blasting away straight down the main Frasnes-Quatre Bras road. These guns needed to be silenced, and quickly.

The Prince of Moscow quickly realized that he could probably outmaneuver the enemy using his superior numbers. To achieve this, he sent an order to the commander of II Corps, General Honoré Charles Michel Joseph Reille, Comte d'Empire:


GENERAL REILLE OF II CORPS

- the 5th Infantry Division under General the Baron Bachelu, supported by the 2nd Light Cavalry Division and two artillery batteries will engage the enemy's right and turn his flank;
- the 9th Infantry Division under General Foy, supported by the Corps' artillery (six 12 pdr guns and two 6" howitzers of the 7th battery, 2nd artillery) will envelop the enemy's left and send a force to take out the battery to the northwest of Delsot;
- the soon-to-arrive 6th Infantry Division under His Royal Highness Prince Jerome Bonaparte, youngest brother of His Majesty, will crash through the enemy center and advance on Quatre Bras.

After receiving these orders, General Reille determined that decisive results could be achieved on the right and therefore urged General Foy to act swiftly.

Forty-year-old Maximilien Sébastien Foy was a veteran of the Peninsular War. He started his military career in the exact same way as the Emperor: as a second lieutenant in the artillery. Two of his experiences during the Napoleonic Wars stand out because of their gruesomeness. In 1809 he was captured by the hostile populace of the town of Porto, Portugal, stripped and beaten, and thrown in jail. He managed to escape with some difficulty. After the Battle of Orthez (February 27th, 1814) he was left for dead on the field, but was able to return to friendly lines. General Foy was a Count of the Empire (Comte d'Empire) and a Commander of the Legion d'Honneur. He received his fifteenth wound (!) during the Battle of Waterloo, which effectively ended his military career. In 1819 he was elected as a Member of the Chamber of Deputies, and served until his death in 1825, aged 50.


GENERAL FOY

(In game terms this means that Ney spends his CP on a MU placed on Reille, who in turn uses his CP to create a MU for Foy.)

General Pire of the 2nd Light Cavalry Division again failed his readiness check - no surprise here. It doesn't matter anymore though, he and his division will activate as a part of II Corps.

At the end of the Command Segment the Allied player rolled on the Variable Reinforcement Table, getting a 33. This means that Sir Thomas Picton, the 8th British Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division and the 2nd Light Cavalry Brigade commanded by General van Merlen will arrive on time, at 1340 hrs.

Okay that is it for now. I will try to update this AAR asap with the report on the rest of the turn.

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12:40 Game Turn


Maneuver Segment to Turn End


Chits were drawn as follows, with those actions that were either Not Allowed or Not Applicable listed as N/A. The French had the initiative and drew the first one.

1) Reinforcements: N/A
2) Allied MU #1, General Constant de Rebecque and the 28th Nassau Rgt.
3) French MU #2, General Foy and his 9th Infantry Division
4) Leader chit
5) French MU #1, General Reille and all units of II Corps,except the 9th Infantry Division that activated earlier
6) Artillery chit
7) Regroup chit

Movement and combat. (From the Allied perspective.)
General Constant de Rebecque led the 28th Nassau Regiment, together with the brigade's artillery battery 'Stievenart' across the stream in order to deploy on the extreme right flank. All went well at first, until the moment enemy cavalry was spotted about 300 to 400 meters away: the 5th Regiment de Chevau-Legers-Lanciers.


5th FRENCH LANCERS

The first battalion of the 28th successfully formed square, but the second battalion panicked and decided it was better to be somewhere else. It routed to the north. Alarmed by reports of enemy cavalry on the right, the Prince of Orange left Gemioncourt and joined the 1st battalion of the 2nd Nassau Regiment for a much needed morale boost. The entire regiment adopted square formation when the 6th Regiment de Chevau-Legers-Lanciers appeared on the scene.

The situation on the right developed into a stand-off, when suddenly one of Prince William's staff officers noticed a shimmer in the distance: it was the sun reflecting off the golden imperial eagles atop the standards of the 3rd, 61st, 72nd and 108th Regiments of the French 5th Infantry Division.



The arrival of enemy infantry worsened the situation on the Allied right.

Meanwhile, the enemy had sent the 2nd Brigade of his 9th Infantry Division (the 4th Regiment of Light Infantry deployed as tirailleurs and the 100th Regiment of Line Infantry) in an outflanking manoeuvre of the left flank, while his 1st Brigade marched up from the south. Pretty soon, the sound of musketry and canon fire drowned down the regimental band playing the Pas de Charge de Grenadiers.



The battery 'Bijleveldt', confronted with fast approaching enemy infantry quickly limbered and prepared to move north, while the divisional and brigade commanders took personal charge of the most threatened battalions on the left. The 27th Dutch Jaeger Battalion got shot up pretty bad and was forced out of the houses it defended when they caught fire. The 7th Belgian Line lost over 25% of its strength when it became the target of the enemy heavy artillery, but was able to maintain good order.



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13:00 Game Turn

GAME CALLED


Half way through the Manoeuvre Segment of the 13:00 hrs Game Turn I called the game. If you want to now why, just look at the picture below:



Analysis:

It was my first QB2 game in over a decade. I read the rules once but had to consult them regularly as I was doing things. The rules aren't extraordinarily difficult, the various procedures (like cavalry charges and rolling to close) are clearly described and the index on the back is a great help. When in doubt I used common sense, or posted a question on consimworld - I always got a quick response. I feel familiar enough now with the basic concepts to try the Regs XXX next; in this respect, my efforts are not completely wasted.

It is clear that the Allied advance to the south was a major error. The French were able to use their numerical superiority to outmaneuver the Allies and envelop them in a deadly embrace. A big help for the French was that all their scheduled reinforcements arrived ahead of time (in the pic above their 6th Division is marching up in road order 20 minutes earlier.) I think the Allies can win this battle when properly commanded. In a next game I will deploy much closer to the crossroads and give battle there, closer to the depot locations.

Despite all this, I hope you haven't found it a complete waste of time to follow this AAR.

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This was one of my first battles in the series and I used MLRules. I went through the 4 one map battles before graduating myself to Regs XXX. Right now it's Preussisch-Eylau.

Very Nice AAR
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Nice AAR Joffrey. Onwards to the Regs XXX rules and then a rematch of LaBat de QB.
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We few,we happy few,we band of brothers;For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother: be he ne’er so vile;And gentlemen in England now-abed Shall think themself accurs’d they were no here That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
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Duke of Wellington, Old Nosey, slaps his palm against his forehead..

The Prince did what ?
Bravery cannot undo what foolhardy brashness begins..

Sending those fine Dutch Troops forward to meet the French , all on their own...

Those troops and guns will be sorely missed....


But wait..
As the Duke ponders over the Quatre Bras map, he begins to move the pieces back to their starting positions ..
Thank goodness for card board battles
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