The scenario was simple – the Allies were holding a vital ridge and the French had to push them off it. Roy chose the Allies so I was forced to dust off Napoleon’s hat once again and command a mixed force of French, Nassauers and Swedes. Just about all my troops were on the table (including a new unit not yet seen on this blog) plus a couple of very nice French foot batteries from Roy’s collection. Here’s a summary of events:
The Allies prepare to receive the French onslaught. That sneaky fox Wellington chose to keep most of his men safe from the French guns by hiding them behind the ridge (can you spot the new addition to the Allied Order of Battle?).
The French columns looking solid and unstoppable prepare to advance towards the ridge.
On the French left flank the light cavalry and horse artillery of both sides engaged in a cat and mouse game with the Allies initially withdrawing rather than charging. Here we can see Mercer giving the French a bit of a bloody nose.
And here’s what happened when the French horse artillery replied - Mercer 'hors de combat'.
Finally we did get a proper cavalry melee and (rather nicely) it ended in rout for the Allies.
Meanwhile Napoleon ordered the Swedes on the far right of his line to start to advance.
The Allied artillery and skirmishers scored some early successes - the Swiss in particular seemed to take more than their fair share of hits including Marshal Lannes who was leading them. Lannes became one of an unusually large number of fallen leaders during this game.
Eventually the Swedes reached the foot of the ridge and attempted to charge. They did exceptionally well considering they were all classed as 3rd rate troops and even caused the Naval battalion to give ground.
The British Foots Guards were however a different kettle of fish and remained firmly planted on the ridge. They ended the game as the only infantry still at full strength – a fitting result on their first outing.
By now, although some of the Swedes had been routed, the Allied position was looking seriously threaten as the remainder of the French army pushed forward.
Wellington now ordered Ponsonby to charge with the Union Brigade and disrupt the French advance. By one of those strange fortunes of war the Scots Grey’s found themselves facing none other than the 45th Ligne – and the latter had no time to form square
The troopers thundered forward and a fierce fight was fought for possession of the 45th’s Eagle.
Meanwhile on the left, Poniatowksi charged with what remained of the French light cavalry onto the ridge, the lancers coming up against an Austrian square.
At this point we ran out of time but both agreed that the French were the most likely to win the battle if we had played on further.
The game was great fun but it was obvious that the rules need more work, particularly on the Melee and Morale sections. In the last turn we had a number of bizarre melee outcomes and my plan is to simplify things to help eliminate these anomalies in the future. It’s also important to make sure that we can play a game to a satisfying conclusion in a three-hour time slot, which is about the usual time we have available to play.
Saving the Eagle.
My thanks to Roy for another superb and entertaining game, and NO the Scots Grey’s didn’t take the Eagle of the 45th!