Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bonaparte's Day June 16, 1815 (fictional) part 1 - Yvoir

Within the Hundred Days Campaign that I have been adjudicating over the past few months, the forces under direct order of Napoleon Bonaparte had taken a flank march, crossing at Dinant on the 15th.

This was mostly unknown to the Prussian command as the message of the crossing and further penetrations would take almost a day to reach the ears of Blucher.

Then a day later Bonaparte himself could command a force of the Guard Heavy Cavalry in support of an assault by VI Corps of the French Armee Norde.

Now the battlefield would be set up for that morning ...

view from the south from behind the French lines

Prussians of III Korps make ready to hold off the French

along the French line viewed from the west looking east

Loubou was commanding and knew that his commander Bonaparte would be coming from the east later that morning, so took advantage of firing into the limited numbers of Prussians that could be used to block the one good crossing.

by 08h30 the battle for the crossing was started in earnest

while only one brigade was able to hold off the French infantry, it could not hope to keep them away indefinitely with the massed artillery moving up
by 10h00 the arrival of Bonaparte occurred

now the whole field would be brought into use

leading his black horse, Bonaparte himself was identified by Thielmann and messengers were sent to Blucher

Three brigades of the Imperial Guard Heavy Cavalry made for a terrifying sight to the Prussian light horse of III Korps

the field at 10h33

wasting no time the heavies were lined up against the light Prussian horse

a splendid sight - the whole of the Guard Heavy Cavalry

with Bonaparte looking on ...

The black horse charged in!

Shattering many Prussian horse, though not quite wiping them out, some Prussian foot were able to fill the gap in time before the Heavies could press on

meanwhile at the river the guns had started to pound out their deadly beat

within minutes of his arrival, Bonaparte had shifted the Prussians into a hopeless defensive stand.

Barely even an hour after Bonaparte's arrival on the scene the battle started looking already won for the French ...

the field tilted towards French Victory early

Prussian horsemen fought on valiantly just barely able to score some small victories against the superior French Guard Heavy horse

Thielmann could see the 'hat' of the hated French Emperor, yet was not in command of enough men to effect anything more than a gory delay of the inevitable

as the sun reached its zenith, Bonaparte took a number of ADC messengers from outside the tactical field of action.  Snapping shut his telescope a final message was sent off to Loubou, informing him of the Guard Heavy Cavalry success and that the horse would remain here at Yvoir under Loubou's command.  With that Bonaparte and his petit GHQ rode eastwards away from the field of action ... presumably some other action now needed his personal attention.
Still the action at Yvoir was not done.

A lull descended over the action, and it was not till 14h00 that the next significant events took place.

the river was nearly breached

while combined attacks by Prussian Horse and Foot delivered significant casualties to the French Heavies

Prussian Cavalry Commander Hobe was not going to surrender his command without a fight!

though the river crossing was temporarily held by the French, the Prussians did not stop with counter-attacks

Loubou realized that this was going to be a battle that could take all day

Guard Heavy Cavalry continued relentless attacks

French Artillery was also non-stop in their firing

Prussian numbers dwindled to a few wounded brigades and militia were pressed into hot action with regulars
undeterred the Prussians had resolved to fight to the end

Loubou had begun to withdraw wounded brigades from the river crossing and feed in new fresh units

the body count grew for the Prussians

still the French had not forced the crossing

Thielmann was down to only a remnant of his forces ...
At long last the casualty count had forced the Prussian troops into considering a retreat.

the river line was held to the very last man

outnumbered 4:1 this final brigade takes its last gasp in vain attempt to stop the French

not enough in the end though as the Prusians failed their 'army morale' check and the rout was on
Some more Prussians were lost in the rout that followed, they were unable to cross the river to the west and were forced to flee north in the forests of the western Ardennes.

The final surviving forces:

Guard Heavies lost 1/3

VI Corps was reduced to two under-strength divisions

All of Prussian III Korps was cut to one Landwher Brigade!
One bright spot for the Prussians, now they knew where Bonaparte WAS!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

War in the Window

Way back in 2001, I helped to organize a game being played in the display window of a local game shop.

With the recent re-organization of my office/work space I came across copies of the rules and some other documents about this game.

So here I share a few of them and some frame grabs from the video that we made.

Lord of Light in action

the infamous group - the Mummies

a wider-angle shot of the battle

Front Gates of the Castle
The rules were dead simple:

Each troop has their own card, here are a few of them:

I had taken shots of the miniatures borrowed for the game and mixed with my own to fill out the units.

I made up a deck of spell cards, to make the 'magic' work.

Finally there was a summary card to tell the story of the game and left in the window for an extra week.

It was a neat few months of game demonstrations.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


The anniversary of June 14 marks 371'st of the Battle of Naseby

Monday, May 01, 2017

Hundred Days

I had the opportunity to present the whole of the Hundred Days at my son's school, working with a Grade 12 Military History class.

 With only four hours to run the whole game it was a non-stop run of actions and count-actions on the part of the three main commanders.

start map

the French only have a 'hint' of where the allies are ...

no matter to the French who devised a 1-2 punch process, where Grouchy was on the right flank going up the center towards Brussels and drawing as much early fire as possible, while Ney and Bonaparte delayed for the morning of the 15th of June, then hit hard on the road to Ghent.

Grouchy did his job well and ended up surrounded at Waterloo

Utterly crushed by both Anglo-Dutch and Prussian forces

There were no survivors

The victors then had the difficult job of re-organizing and re-deploying their armies to the flank in time to intercept Bonaparte

Ultimately, Uxbridge was unable to delay the advance of Bonaparte

Massive forces trapped Uxbridge at Ghent, then delivered a 35% loss to those forces in a forced river crossing

Wellington and Blucher were unable to reach the French main body as flank guard forces were dispatched to delay their columns
All the players were impressed with the system and the visual impact drew in many observers during the lunch break period
No word yet from the Military History teacher, I am hoping for an opportunity at a repeat performance next year?