Saturday, June 27, 2015

Waterloo in Christchurch, 19-21 June 2015.

For this event quite a lot of figures had to be gathered from several collections, especially as we were to be using the General de brigade rule set, modified for this action.  To the forces involved, contributions came from Basil Moscovis, Mark Ottley, Mike Thorby, Paul Jackson, and myself. Richard Shields came up from Dunedin with several more figures from his collection. He was also resplendent as Prince of Orange in dress uniform for the occasion. I know that there were contributions from at least two others, but didn't discover who they were.

I was supposed to Napoleon for the weekend, but, still flattened by a virus that I'd already had for several days, didn't make it for the event as a whole.
Looking east, mid-afternoon 18 June 1815.  The serried ranks
of Bulow's IV Prussian Korps look menacing and powerful. 
On the Friday before the weekend I had laid out what troops were to be transported.  Entrusting the lads (some 520-odd with 11 guns) to the tender care of others for a couple of days doesn't come easy to me.  But in the event there were no losses, not too much damage, and I indeed acquired 6 extra figures somehow.  I'm not sure to whom they belong, but I think I can hazard a guess...  I stayed home, feeling like two ton of old fish heads, all day Saturday.  Finally, on Sunday afternoon I felt sufficiently recovered to crawl down to the club and observe the last hour or so. Whilst there I took some indifferent photos of the troops.
Action around the Hougoumont Chateau.  Paul was commanding in this sector,
and faced by large columns also off to the left of the picture, was treating this
as something of a holding action.

General view of the field looking eastward from west of the Hougoumont. 

Of course I had to include pix of my own troops.  Count Lobau's VI Corps
advancing towards La Haye Sainte (My guys, based in ones and twos,
 are those on sabots specially made for this event). 
 I was told that Lobau's Corps had been ordered forward from the 'Reserve Table' to exploit a success earlier won at La Haye Sainte, where Anglo-Allied defenders had been brought to the verge of collapse.  Unfortunately it took more time for the orders to take effect than had been hoped - their receipt, and action upon them, subject to a die roll.  So by the time Lobau was well on the way, the Allies had somewhat restored the situation, by the look.  At that I might have been inclined myself (who was also intended to play the role of Count Lobau in addition to Napoleon) to bring forward all thirteen battalions (312 figures) and 22 cannon (11 models) into the assault. But there was the small matter of the Prussians to influence the decision of the French command.
Prussians advancing past Frischermont into the French
right flank.

Bulow's IV Korps

More general view of the Prussian menace.  The available French resources
are not over-abundant to offer resistance.

The view from Anglo-Allied positions as Count Lobau advances.

Nassauers? At Papelotte.

British under pressure, east of La Haye Sainte.

A not well constructed photo, this.
  French cavalry at the left of the picture making a determined effort to carry the ridge...

If earlier the Anglo-Allied hold upon La Haye Sainte was
beginning to slip, they have recovered their grip by now...

Even in mid-winter the sunlight in Christchurch can be very strong.
The Anglo-Allied lines northeast of Hougoumont.  It was only when processing
the picture afterwards I noticed the rocket battery.  I want one.

The garrison at La Haye Sainte.

VI Corps.

Reille's II Corps masking the Hougoumont from the east.  Not a lot
of action on this front, but the French seem to be containing more
than their own numbers of Allies.

Allied troops in reserve behind the Hougoumont.
I think I can see at least one Guards battalion...

Action near Papelotte.  French columns closing in.

Immediately in rear of the Hougoumont, Mitchell's Brigade.
These figures were my contribution to the Allied war effort:
Minifigs, except for the light infantry of the 2nd West Riding:

Northeast of the Hougoumont.

British Footguards, eyeing the approach of the Divisions of Foy and Bachlu,
and the cavalry of Kellerman and Guyot.

The stretch of Allied ridge carried and cleared by elements of General
 d'Erlon's I Corps commanded by Tony and (I think) Nigel.  This
seemed to be a considerable success that might yet have been exploited, given time.

More French success (this might have been Nigel).  However,
this penetrations looks too localised and lacking in follow-up
to permit a lasting penetration of the Allied line.
Having taken this many pictures, the day was already far advanced and pack-up had to begin at 4pm. Although not fought to a finish, the occasion was, I am told, enjoyed by everyone, and, considering the size of the project and the absence of formal game directors to keep people focused, the thing went off very well.  I was impressed by what I saw, anyhow, in the 90 minutes or so I was there.


June 7 2015:  Practice game using General de Brigade rules.  Since this action I contracted about as vicious a virus I have ever encountered, rivalling the glandular fever I got thirty years back.  Even after two weeks, I'm still not 100%...  Hence (in part) the delays getting these postings done.
British right flank (me) facing Mike's French forces.  All the figures
I think were Basil's

British left centre.  Dave had the French, and I never did catch the British commander's name.
The sides were fairly evenly matched. French had 4 guns to the British 3;
 and better quality cavalry; British has a few more
infantry, which included an elite highlander unit.

British extreme left.  The French concentrated their cuirassiers
and lancers on this wing.  The British dragoons, heavy and light,
were on the other wing.

British form line to face the French columns.  Menaced by the heavy dragoons, the
left-most French battalion forms square. 

French square apprehensively awaits the British horse...

...which doesn't come in.  The French infantry are reduced to three battalions to attack
the highlanders.

British heavy dragoons, resisting the urge to trample down
the French infantry square...

French battery standing in the left rear.  They very soon saw off an abortive attack
by the British light horse,  There was to be no heroics by the light cavalry on this occasion...

View westwards from the extreme French right flank.

British light infantry holding the woods at the eastern end of the line.

Seemingly the Brits have reason to apprehend the approach
of French cuirassiers and lancers...

Battle is joined!  The highlander see off with extreme prejudice
the centre column, but the other two close in.

Despite their numbers and quality, the highlanders are very brusquely
thrown back in their turn.  Fortunately, they neither carry off with them
any friendly units, and are themselves rallied and brought in hand
before exiting the field.

One French column follows up the attack, whilst the British dragoons
tear into the broken centre column, enduring flanking fire from the French square.

Whilst a battle royal is taking place west of the village.
to the east, the opposing forces have yet to get to grips.

Meanwhile, a rather desultory firefight is developing in the village itself...

In this village sector both sides build up for a stern contest for the place.

British Royal Horse Artillery in action.

The French assault, having come within an ace of breaking through,
has been thrown back, but only to their original battle line.  Accompanied
by General Sir Arthur Whitbread himself, the highlanders return to the fray...

Seeing the fields north of the village swarming with enemy' the highlanders
wheel to the left to engage them.

The Rifles have been all but evicted from the village cornfield.

On the left, the British decided no longer to await the tardy Frenchmen,
and launch their own attacks,  they proved pretty successful:
 the centre of the French line crumpled at once.
Two British battalions facing on on the extreme right flank - and do you think they could
make headway against them.   Though the latter were supported by artillery,
the British were getting slightly better of the fire-fight, but not enough to
force back the enemy.  Nor were the orders switch in from ENGAGE to ASSAULT getting through...

Situation at the close of the day.  Neither side could achieve ascendancy,
 despite early successes on both sides.  The action remained deadlocked -
a tactical draw.

This was the last practice battle before the big Waterloo game on the weekend of the 20-21 June.  I was supposed to be Napoleon for that event...