Sunday, 21 June 2015

Battle of Waterloo 200th Anniversary - Christchurch refight!

Another full weekend of wargaming! With one refight not being enough, a few of us Christchurch gamers lept into a second refight of Waterloo this weekend. General de Brigade rules were used rather than Blackpowder that was used in last weeks Waterloo refight in Wellington.

This is looking down the table from Papelotte towards La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont. Swish looking Allies on the right, and more humbly attired Frenchman on the left! 

Looking from the Hougoumont end.

With Napoleon ill (Ion), I took over as Ney. My orders from the Emperor were clear (at least in my own mind!) We were not going to try anything clever, just a frontal assault as quickly as possible in the centre. Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte were to be kept screened with skirmishers but not assaulted.

Paul as the French commander Reille was attacking left of La Haye Sainte.

The French forces opposite La Haye Sainte.

To the right of La Haye Sainte.

 Here's Marshal Ney in the centre.

First turn and the French start advancing across the table. For some unfathomable reason the main organisers had made the table 8 foot wide in the setup the previous day! Not recommended, as it was a real stretch to the middle. Fortunately our taller participants were able to help out and it wasn't quite the disaster I was expecting.

Paul moves past Hougoumont.

 And assault columns move up past La Haye Sainte also.

Still advancing...

The allies move to oppose between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte.

A look at a few of the allied forces - Highlanders.


British infantry.

Scots Greys and Light Cavalry. After breaking a unit of French infantry, the Scots Greys ended up fleeing from Cuirassiers this time!

Rockets in the Allied centre.

The attack continues to the left and right of La Haye Sainte.

To the left of La Haye Sainte the French are beaten back by massed artillery fire, but things go better on the right.

 More French are thrown in to the right of La Haye Sainte.

Between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte the French gradually take up a holding position.

Meanwhile we establish a grand battery in the centre to the right of La Haye Sainte, though failed order rolls slow down French plans.

The French heavy cavalry, in particular IV Cavalry Corp, does wonderful things, helping the infantry attack to break many allied units.

Start of day two, and Prussians arrive on the French right flank. (Being short a few Prussians some of my Austrian Landwehr and cavalry boost their numbers, though leaving behind their distinctive flags!).

Middle Guard is thrown on by the French.

Tony in our centre gets the furthest, breaking through the Allied line between La Haye Sainte and Papelotte with his infantry attack!

Paul manages to hold on around Hougoumont.

A massive table, with far too much going on.

On the French right, our infantry is trapped in squares by advancing Allied cavalry, and taking losses.

 The Allies position in La Haye Sainte is not threatened.

The Young Guard move on to help the French right.

Masses of French guns!

By the end of day two, the French had achieved some success between La Haye Sainte and Papelotte, and were stalled elsewhere. Unfortunately we had to end there without a conclusion. Rule detail, table size, numbers of figures, and discussion with members of the public all counted against a result being achieved. But nevermind, I'm sure it was a great event we will remember for a long time anyway!

Basil and other organisers did well to get quite a lot of media attention, and there was a constant stream of interested public along throughout the weekend. This no doubt slowed the game down even further as people chatted away, but I think the public relations aspect was worthwhile! I also talked to a few Napoleonic gamers who haven't been along to the club before, but did so after seeing the media reports.

Here's the crew from this refight, only about a third of the number who attended the Wellington refight, but a similar number of toy soldiers involved! I'm forth from left in the front (next to the Alan in the hat!). To the left of me is Paul (painting little soldiers blog), who did a fine job slowing the allies up around Hougoumont all weekend. Mike and Tony behind me made the surprisingly successful frontal assault between La Haye Sainte and Papelotte. Mike managed to lose two of his generals in the first turns but carried on heroically. Not pictured is Nigel who turned up on the first day for a look, and ended up taking control of a heavy cavalry corp, winnning 17 of 18 combats he managed to get going in the centre! Well done that man. David who was slowing up the enemy on our right flank, took this photo!

Here's a look at the hall we used. This is our regular gaming room. And yes we have a bistro and bar available, just as all good wargaming clubs should!

This large photocopied map on the board also got a surprising amount of attention from the public!

We also had a welcome table with a raffle for toy soldiers, some painted figures on display and a paint your own toy solider and painting demonstration section. Falk, a new club member from Germany did an outstanding job manning this table all weekend.

So all up, the weekend was bit of a failure as a game, but a great success as a wargaming event! Well done to Basil and the other organisers for their efforts at this one.

Having spent two full weekends playing Waterloo refights, and also buying a house inbetween, I'm now ready for bit of a rest! But then there is that half completed line infantry unit on the desk that needs finishing... :)

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Marshal Ney - Perry 28mm

Well it's June 18th, and a rather momentous day in several ways as I also bought a house! Had to do the equivalent of sending in the Guard reserve to win it at the auction though. A close run thing indeed. And another of our Napoleonic fraternity is having his first child born today (provisional name "Arther Wellesley" of course).

To commemorate the day, here's Marshal Ney ready for the second Waterloo refight (happening this weekend). This is quite a characterful and popular set. Also much commented upon is the hair style which the Perry's have sculpted as bald on top with comb over. I searched for records on the state of his hair, and apparently it is quite likely that he was bald by this time. I also chose quite a ginger colour for his hair to make him stand out, though in reality it was probably more chestnut coloured. Going for the colour and emphasis as with all my figures for reasons I've remarked upon before, i.e. the effects of scale and light perception. 

I might rebase my generals on circular bases later as I quite like that look, but I only had rectangular and square ones available when I did these.

This Perry set is based on this painting by Demoulin of the Charge of Donops Cavalry Led by Marshal Ney at Waterloo. A brilliant translation of it into miniature.

However I switched the position of the ADC's around to better protect the sword of the one in red!

Report on the second Waterloo refight using General de Brigade will be up next week! As Ney I will no doubt be running around taking control of vast swathes of the French army and ordering poorly timed but impressive charges. Especially since our Napoleon is unfortunately (but appropriately) in ill health at present. Get well soon Ion! It will be a complete disaster if I'm let loose on the field I'm sure...

Monday, 15 June 2015

Battle of Waterloo 200th Anniversary - Wellington refight!

Ok here it is, the first Waterloo 200th refight report! Fought over two days, appropriately enough in the city of Wellington at the Wellesley Boutique Hotel, here in New Zealand. Blackpowder was the ruleset used.

Here's a picture of the main table, looking from Hougoumont towards La Haye Sainte. In the top right the Placenoit table can be seen.

And looking from the other end of the La Haye Sainte table.

Here's how the tables were organised for the refight:

Hanoverians on the Allied left.

The Allied centre.

Towards the Allied right flank and Hougoumont.

A photo of everything in action!

The Wellesley hotel was suitably decorated throughout, and a fine establishment for such an illustrious event!

A very well organised event by Paul Goldstone and crew, with little information cards and characterful rules for many of the commanders, in addition to lovely terrain. Here's mine!

The Battle

And so the battle is joined! The French players before the battle were instructed by Steve Sands (Napoleon) that we were to try something a bit different, with strong attacks on both flanks rather than driving up the centre. Here's the French left flank attacking around the left of Hougoumont.

On the Placenoit table, Lobau's Corp, cavalry and the Young Guard, are ordered to march and attack the Allied right.

However, the Prussians are already starting to arrive at the far end of the Placenoit table.

To the right of La Haye Sainte the French start to push forward.

The French reinforce their far left flank...

By taking reinforcements from the centre between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte.

The French grind away at La Haye Sainte, eventually capturing it. At one point it is set alight by British rockets, which also accidentally shell their own troops! 

A view down the battlefield at the end of the first turn.

On the French left the first French infantry reach the Allied line.

The Allies advance between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte given the French are now weak here.

But French cavalry reserves are sent to the rescue.

On the Placenoit table the French continue to advance.

And Guard Lancers run down the first Prussian cavalry which is caught in march column.

Looking from the Prussian end of the Placenoit table.

The French right flank on the La Haye Sainte table, where the French are forced back from their initial attack, and are close to breaking here already.

Another look down the table as the game progresses.

The French Middle Guard come on towards La Haye Sainte.

On the Placenoit table, the French move to delay the advancing Prussians which are growing more numerous every turn.

From the Prussian end of the Placenoit table.

The French left flank, to the left of Hougoumont.

Just to the right of Hougoumont, both sides are fighting furiously.

The Old Guard is committed to the right of La Haye Sainte!

Prussians arrive on the La Haye Sainte table, moving on the road from Wavre behind the Allied left.

On the Placenoit table a French Cavalry charge is beaten back.

The Young Guard also charge against the Prussians and are eventually pushed back and broken.

One of Lobau's French Brigades moves from the Placenoit table to reinforce the French right on the La Haye Sainte table.

The Old Guard reach the Allied lines in the centre and start breaking Allied units!

Here's an overview of the table setup while most people are away for lunch on the second day.

Prussians join the attack on the La Haye Sainte main table.

The Old Guard continue to be successful, with cavalry assisting.

Between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte, well, it looks like a big confused mess.

And to the left of Hougoumont.

The Guard heavy cavalry is committed just to the left of La Haye Sainte.

The French right is falling back under pressure.

Another look down the table from Hougoumont.

The Prussians are now advancing in strength on the French right on the La Haye Sainte table. 

Outnumbered 2-1 and with the situation getting worse, the French are falling back before the Prussians on the Placenoit table. 

The Old Guard has carrried the centre, which had been stripped of troops to help defend the Allied flanks. 

However the flank of the French army is crumbling and the Prussians are attacking towards La Haye Sainte.

And with time up on the second day, the French have failed to achieve their objective of breaking the Allied army by breaking 15 Allied brigades in time, and thus history is sadly repeated! Casualties are heavy though with 13 brigades broken on each side!

All up a great couple of days gaming, done in appropriate style. Thanks to all the participants and especially to Paul and the other organisers!