Thursday, February 11, 2016

Quatre Bras 3:00-3:30

  I played out two more turns on the original table set up.  The French have been able to drive back the allied skirmish screen and secure the ridge overlooking Gemioncourt, making it untenable for continued defense.  Foy's division has been able to get a foothold in the Bossu would and Pire's light cavalry have advanced within charge range of the Dutch/Belgian infantry.  Things have become desperate for Perponcher.  But just as hope seems to be lost, two regiments of Dutch/Belgian cavalry arrive as does the vanguard of Picton's division.  So it is time to shift the battle to the next table setup.

Bachlu's division takes the ridge.  Pire's cavalry are in the foreground.
Gauthier's men drive back the 2nd Nassau

Pire's cavalry advance to attack towards Quatre Bras.
The 27th Jagers have put up a stubborn defense, but are finally driven back by superior numbers.

The 5th Dutch Militia and the 7th Belgian Infantry Regiment form a line to cover the retreat of the garrison of Gemincourt and to buy time for the allied cavalry to deploy.
Over the weekend I will shift the battle northwards and things will get busy very quickly as reinforcements are arriving for both sides.  What has been largely a skirmish and artillery duel will develop into a full scale battle in the next couple of turns.

This will serve as the map for the next phase of my battle.  My table gives me just enough room to recreate the heart of the battle.  So far, the simulation has followed history to almost a tee. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Quatre Bras 2-3 o'clock

Ney's legions stepped off to the attack this afternoon in this recreation of the battle.  Cannons blazed across the placid fields, tearing the mid afternoon calmness to shreds.  Bijveld's battery bravely held the ridge south of Gemioncourt for as long as possible, but not without the loss of a gun.  It's shot and cannister knocked 60 men out of the 2/4th Leger's ranks.  The 27th Dutch Jagers also put up a stiff fight, even after the artillery withdrew.  Despite being considerably outnumbered, the riflemen dropped several of the French skirmishers and even managed to lightly wound General de Brigade Campi.

Stevenaar's battery added to the cacophony of sound to cover the retreat of Bijveld's guns.  On the French left, Gauthier's men engaged a battalion of the 2nd Nassau that was sheltered in the Bossu Wood.  On the other end of the field, two battalions of the 2nd Legere occupied Peraumont.  Ney's assault, despite being tardy, is off to a good start.

Here is how things looked at the end of four turns, of one hour of historical time.

The 2nd Legere prepare to occupy Peraumont

Campi's men tangling with the 27th Jagers.

Gauthier's brigade about to enter the Bossu Wood

French horse artillery supporting Bachelu's Division

Jamin's Brigade driving off the allied artillery.

An overview of the battlefield looking east from the Bossu Wood.
The garrison of Gemioncourt await their fate as the battle boils over the ridge towards them.

Stevenaar's Battery in action

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Quatre Bras Historical Wargame

For Christmas my daughter got me Prelude to Waterloo: Quatre Bras by Andrew Field.  This book features the French perspective of the battle and has an excellent series of maps.  As I have the entire order of battle for both sides in this encounter at a 1:20 ratio, I thought I would try to recreate it through a series of scenarios.  My only real limitation was the size of my table, so portions of the battle may have to be broken down into two different scenarios from the same hour fought separately.

This is the full map from the book
This is the portion of the map that fits on my table.
The battle begins at 2:00.  The late start will have a very negative effect on the outcome for the French.  To start, a thinly deployed Dutch/Belgian division of fairly low grade troops will do its best to buy time for Wellington's redcoats to arrive.  Ney's first objective is to push up the road and secure a ridge that shelters the farm of Gemioncourt.  His advance is shielded by an immense swarm of skirmishers.  His artillery greatly outnumbers the allied guns.  Here is what the table looks like as the battle is about to begin.

Bachelu's Division with the targeted ridge in the background

Bachelu's artillery.
Bijveld's lone battery and the 27th Jagers will delay the French hoards for as long as possible.
Ney's secondary objective is to cut the road towards Ligny.  To that end, he wants to secure the village of Peraumont.  He sends a brigade of lancers and a large regiment of light infantry to accomplish this task.  They find the village empty.

The outskirts of Peraumont at the extreme edge of my table.

Wathier's lancers on their way to the objective.
Here are some of the other units that will be a part of the initial advance.

Two battalions of the 2nd Nassau deployed int the Bossu Wood

Campi's Brigade of Bachelu's Division

Gauthier's Brigade of Foy's division on the French left

Hubert's chasseurs on the extreme left flank

Jamin's Brigade of Foy's division ready to attack straight up the road towards Quatre Bras.
It's 2:00.  The battle is read to begin.