Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Wargaming Waterloo 1815 : 2015 (11) The Bicentennial Game, 11:30–13:00

Last Saturday was the appointed day, 73 059 days after the original event, for part one of our bicentennial game of Waterloo.

The three of us were joined by Marks H. and B., giving us fewer than the record four Marks who were present at Mark H's version at the Napoleonic Wargaming Society on 13th June!(He has posted a wonderfully amusing account of proceedings in our game so far).

We assembled early, but with about two-thirds of the French and a reasonable proportion of the allies still to place on the table, we were not ready to go until 12:30 AWST.

An overview of the table at set-up. Firstly looking from the south-west, Hougoumont at front centre, La Haie Sainte beyond, French at right, Anglo-Allied at left and Plancenoit at far top right of photo.
Now proceeding around the table, heading south and east, around the French lines, on to a view from the La Haie, Smohain, Papelotte side of the table and ending with the view along the Mont-Saint-Jean ridge looking east to west.

It is 11:30 and with a cry of Vive l'Empereur! the game begins!

The French army advances, Donzelot's and Quiot's divisions of d'Erlon's I Corps visible advancing in the centre of this photo.

The French also began with a 'left hook', lead by Jérôme's division and Piré's cavalry.

Straight into the fray, Piré's 6e chevau-léger lanciers (disguised with yellow facings) and 1e chasseur à cheval charge Mitchell's infantry and guns. The former 'bounced' from the square, while the latter over-ran the guns and rallied back behind their comrades.

Looking across the table at 12:00.

Donzelot's division approaches the Mont-Saint-Jean ridge, their commander seemingly challenging the Duke, who is located below his elm along with his staff and Uxbridge, to single combat! Not really, since divisional commanders are chiefly 'markers' in the Shako rules.

On the Allied left, what remains of Bijlandt's brigade (front-centre of photo) seeks refuge behind the Mont-Saint-Jean ridge

The 1/13e légère and 1/19e ligne of Donzelot's division attack La Haie Sainte, engineers in support.
It's close, but, after two rounds, they are driven off with small loss (the engineers should have been lost in the attempt, so need to be removed).

Back on the Allied right, Byng's Scots Guards prepare to meet the lead units of Jérôme's division (supported by Foy's men), while their comrades the Coldstreams remain holed up in the chateau along with the 1/1st Nassau (represented by the figures arrayed around the building models).

Four big turns played so far with plenty of stretching across the table (particularly to move the divisions of d'Erlon's corps), loads of good-humoured banter and much 'drinking in' the visual feast.

I'll finish this part-one report with another 'fly' around the table, beginning with the Hougoumont area, heading east along the Mont St Jean ridge and then looking over the eastern end of the 'La Belle Alliance ridge', over the top of Marcognet's and Durutte's French divisions.

Finally, low down, looking from the Anglo-Allied left.

We pick up this Saturday with the 13:30 turn. The stage is set for action-packed, and possibly telling, turns as the major French attacks go in around Hougoumont, 'tween La Haie Sainte & Hougoumont and to the east of La Haie Sainte.

Où est Grouchy? Wo ist Blücher?

(Read on with part two of this game)

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Wargaming Waterloo 1815 : 2015 (10) Napoleonic Bicentennial Survey

A survey asking Napoleonic Wargamers to record information and experiences of the games of battles of the Napoleonic bicentennial years went live today: the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo!

This survey has been inspired by Napoleonic wargamers for Napoleonic wargamers so that we might all share the experiences of the games of these monumental years.

This post on the Wargaming Waterloo 2015 blog provides more information and a link to the questionnaire.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Wargaming Waterloo 1815 : 2015 (9) Waterloo 200 at the Napoleonic Wargaming Society

Wargaming was the clear winner at the Napoleonic Wargaming Society's 200th Anniversary 're-fight in miniature' of the Battle of Waterloo.

The day featured two games, one of the entire battle in 15 mm using Napoleon's Battles and the other in 28 mm featuring the centre of the battlefield, beginning with the attack of d'Erlon's corps.

Waterloo in 15 mm at the commencement of the game. Viewed from the west, French at right, Anglo-Allied at left.

Early in the game of Waterloo in 28 mm. This is the 'western' table, with La Haie Sainte clearly recognisable and already on fire!

The 'eastern' table of the 28 mm game showing Macognet's and Durutte's divisions.

The re-fights were centre-piece of the day, which was open to the public and was intended as an exhibition of wargaming as well as recognition of the 200th anniversary of the battle that ended the Napoleonic Wars.

The bowling club at which the NWS meet on club nights was adorned in keeping with the Napoleonic and wargaming theme.

A display case illustrating the range of periods that are wargamed by club members

A reproduction of Napoleon crossing the Alps and one of the many pull-up banners of Osprey prints that adorned the hall.

A table featuring the pamphlet that was produced for the day, some memorabilia and the raffle prizes (figures on wooden bases and the two books).

The tricoleur and Union flag were either side of a TV showing the Waterloo film on continuous loop!

A marvellous 'coup' for the event was the official opening by the French Consul in Perth, Mr Patrick Kedemos. A keen student of history, Msr. Kedemos and his colleague stayed for many hours, observing the games, discussing wargaming, history and tactics. Who knows, perhaps he may even visit again and play a game of ancients, his major historical passion?!

In addition to the 20 players who played out the two games (ten in each), I estimate that at least 50 visitors passed through the doors over the course of the day, principally in the morning. Some of these were former club members who were no longer active due to other commitments, but the vast majority were members of the 'public' who were interested to find out what it was all about. As with Msr. Kedemos, most of them stayed for a considerable time, asking heaps of questions and enjoying the 'spectacle' of a hobby that most were seeing for the first time.

Congratulations particularly to Carlo and Mark H. who did the bulk of the organising of the games. They were ably assisted by the other members of the NWS committee, Stephen, Andrew, Martin, Dave and Steve. The players on both tables put on a good 'show' for the public and still managed to play each game close to a conclusion, despite the essential 'interruptions' at such an event. This was made easier by Mike, the 'concierge' extraordinaire, who made visitors welcome and fielded the majority of the questions.

Well done to the NWS!

Below are a selection of the 66 photos that I took, to show off the two games. Not wishing to steal any thunder, I'll leave the full summary of each to Mark and Carlo.

Click this link for a full report on Mark's blog

Click this link for Carlo's first report of the day and the game in 28 mm

Waterloo in 15 mm, 13th June 2015

 Table at beginning

Early combat: the Greys vs Delort's cuirassiers

Picton encourages his men 

Reille's corps throws the French 'left hook'

Lobau and Kellermann in reserve

Overview from French side. d'Erlon's corps has made good progress with the French 'right hook'

View from the Anglo-Allied lines as the pressure mounts

 Aerial view showing the development of the consecutive left and right hooks

 Perhaps the road to Brussels is open?!

 Here come the Prussians!

The French lift the intensity of the attacks on the western flank, but the Anglo-Allied defence is stout and strong!

 Hougoumont remains in Allied hands

Napoleon sends in the guard, led by the Young Guard battalions

Jacquinot's lancers are sent to delay the Prussians

Waterloo in 28 mm, 13th June 2015

On the 'eastern' table, the British line the ridge as Marcognet's men march to their destiny

 Would that there were more of the Greys... 

Overview from the French lines

On the 'western' table, Baring's men are under pressure in La Haie Sainte 

A wider view of the same

The 'eastern' table when the game was called.