Thursday, June 25, 2015

Many Shades of Quatre Bras

Over the past 10 days I have had opportunity to play out the Quatre Bras scenario a few times.

Ney in command at Geminoncourt Farm
With a Garden Wars game, I laid out the troops to do a solo game, to examine the battlefield and get a better sense of what challenges there were that day.

Sadly my own challenges included a call out to drive for the family, so the game was suspended early.

Then I had opportunity to do a game demonstration at my son's high school.

With four lab tables pushed together we had a fine battlefield.

field as seen from Picton's left rear, Bossu Wood to the top center of the image

Anglo-Duch lines of Pciton, with Wellinton's command just behind Quatre-Bras

The French prepare to cross the stream

By turn six the situation had gone poorly for the French attackers

Jerome was stuck in the woods

Dutch units were standing firm in the face of French assaults

French units in Bossu wood were taking hits and not pressing forward

By turn nine the situation had further deteriorated, Bachelu had retreated his whole division and Pire was not able to pick up the slack.  Picton's force was going to hold their ground.

Not all was perfect for the Anglo-Dutch though, as the Brunswick division had also retreated...

Picton had gone over to the attack to drive off Bachelu
By turn 10 it was clear that the French could not dislodge Picton's division and with the collapse of Bachelu and Pire it would not be possible to reach the crossroads at all.  We ended the game at this point.

Then on Sunday 21 June, I did a game demonstration at the local farmer's market.

smaller table, so only the center/right of the field was represented

Bachelu's Division charged into the woods in three columns

The Brusnwick force was deployed in a series of lines

The field on turn two as seen from the French left, Foy's division in the foreground

by turn five, the Brusnwick force was coming under attack on the flank, as the battalion covering the woods had fled the field, leaving a gap in the dark black line

on the French right, Bachelu had smashed through the woods and was now coming onto the flank of Picton's forces

the broken flank of the Brunswickers, their nerve gave way as the Duke of Brunswick rolled a "2" for the Division morale and they fled en-mass

by the end of the turn, Merlen's cavalry had also been pushed into action against Pire's lancers, half of the formation was gone and again a "2" was rolled ... again the result was a retreat from the field ... Wellington was running out of troops.

By turn eight the action was decided as the Guards under Picton were hit enfilade in the flank by a French column and the melee went all for the French a 6-1 die roll sealed the guardsmen's fate and Picton's Division left the field with 80% battalions broken.

The center of the field, littered with dead men & horses

French battalions surged into Quatre Bras, long before any re-enforcement could come up
Many thanks to Jeremy, and his wife, for good sportsmanship and patience on the hot day.

Now only one more Quatre-Bras game is planned for this bi-centennial year at the InCon event in August.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sean Bean On Waterloo Episode 2

A view from the ground of the battle of Waterloo, with emphasis on cavalry weapons and more firing from 200+ year old artillery.

Sean Bean On Waterloo Episode 1

A ground level view, looking back at the evidence from the battlefield and an opportunity to fire and examine the effects of 200+ year old firearms and cannon.

Bicentenaire de la bataille de Waterloo Juin 2015

Re-enactors take to the field two-centuries on.

This video with a reasonable sound track.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The French Revolution


Map of the action area for the 100 days Campaign by Columbia Games
At half past two on the morning of June 15, the first French troops were roused from their bivouacs.  Headed by the twelve regiments of cavalry screen, three great columns began to converge systematically on the River Sambre: Reille and d'Erlon toward Marchienne and Thuin respectively; Vandamme, Gerard, Lobau and the Guard on Charleroi.  The timetable was carefully regulated in an attempt to avoid congestion and confusion on the crowded roads.  Every thirty minutes a new formation was set in motion towards the front; the last units were to be on their way by eight o'clock.  All surplus transport -- including the coaches of senior officers -- was ordered to be left behind, the sappers were stationed behind the leading regiment of each column to ensure that the road surfaces and bridges could take the heavy traffic.  The marching plans of the various corps were timed to ensure that the heads of the columns reached the Sambre simultaneously on a narrow front of barely five kilometers.  Once the crossing had been safely accomplished, the two wings were under orders to push ahead for Fleurus and Frasnes respectively, while the reserve concentrated in and around Charleroi itself.  It is important to note that no specific mention was made in the Movement Order (June 14) of the need to physically occupy either Quatre Bras or Sombreffe on the vital lateral road.  Doubtless the Emperor would have been quite happy to see his adversaries concentrate still further forward, should they be so foolhardy.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 1026

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Edgehill Extra - English Civil War troops close up!

We're ready for our closeup Mr. P.

a great close up showing the different painting of my cavalry (left) and Jeff (right)

Rob P. was with his camera at the May 30th game of Edgehill that Jeff and I put together.

the lines in action ...

His photos from the tripod of the whole field and a few close-ups are excellent.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Edgehill - For God, King and Country - playtest one part IV

A Second day of game was called for and we assembled, with a guest at Jeff's.

a scramble of a hand to hand combat - that was not done correctly

wide view of the field

dragoons that later mounted up to attack through the hedges on the Parliament left

center was getting blasted to bits - started 20% or more lower value than the Royalists

view down the Royalist line

some of Jeff's Dragoons

looking over the field from the Parliament right

deployment was everything, as this battle line just did not move

Dragoons mount up to attack in turn 9

The Shepherds

The King

by turn 11 only one formation of horse was available to either side on the Parliament right

So we left the table at a 10-10 tie in Turn 11.

I was unable to attend the final session, which Rob took over the Parliament, in this playtest.

needless to say that the use of the rules was a bit loose and that resulted in both forces being permitted to 'fire muskets' without using a command order.  I was wondering about the high values for the Royalist morale ... now I understand why they were given such high numbers, the Royalists were much less likely to shoot every turn.

Read about the end here:  PROJECT ECW