Monday, 4 November 2019

Waterloo: The Prussian Bit

Yesterday we played our long-delayed semi-annual Waterloo refight. I think it was originally planned for June (obviously), then the end of October and finally now; the beginning of November.

The scenario was a portion of the battle, rather than the whole thing, which we've done in the past. It focused on the French right, and covered the Prussian advance, but I think was set up to assume a more active counter-move by Lobau's Corps.

We used Blucher.

This was the setup. In the foreground are the Prussian blinds. In the centre can be seen a ford, which was one of the objectives; Lobau's Corp would be defending this area, between the two ridges. The wooded ridge (the name of which escapes me) is impassable. The other is simply difficult.

The corner where Ralph is standing is where the British would appear. At the far end of the river you can see another objective. The bulk of the French reinforcements - D'Erlons Corps and some Guard, would appear there.

The Prussians advanced and their blinds were revealed.

Lobau's Corps defended the ridge and valley.

Action at the other end of the table was minimal at first, with both the British and French mostly off-table.

The Prussians continued to advance, positioning themselves for attacks on the ridge and along the valley. French artillery and skirmish fire caused some hits on the already shaky Landwehr.

Gary stalled against the ridge, wary of advancing onto it and receiving a close-range volley before he could assault it.

Caesar and Ralph were the French commanders, resplendent in matching outfits.

The Prussians attacked along the valley.

More Prussians moved up in support.

The Lanswehr also advanced enthusiastically down the valley ...

... and against all odds drove back the French foot in front of them

Action was hotting up on the other side of the battlefield. French cavalry seemed to have driven back the advanced British force, but British reinforcements were on the way.

Back to the Prussians (Gary and I were playing the Prussians, hence our focus on that part of the action). A second wave was preparing to advance along the valley, whilst its artillery pounded the French on the ridge.

The French were forming a formidable line against the British.

However they sent the Young Guard along the valley to relieve the objective there.

The French defending the objective were now under real pressure, mostly from Landwehr. One unit had fallen back from an infantry attack; the other was seriously mauled by Landwehr cavalry.

("Who gave Alan some cavalry?" cried Ralph.)

A long shot of the game.

The main British force appeared.

Things were looking much busier on that side of the table now.

The French were still holding the central objective, but were looking very shaky. In fact the whole French force was looking shaky; although they were still mostly in their original positions, they were in danger of breaking from casualties if a few of their units were destroyed.

And that's what started to happen. Another unit of Landwehr finally drove off both defenders of the ford in two successive charges. But the Young Guard were advancing rapidly towards the battered Prussian conscripts.

The Prussians fought well, though; they were forced to retreat, it's true, but did so in good order.

Control of the objective was now in doubt.

The fighting elsewhere was hotting up. But it was too late for the French. Already wavering, their accumulated casualties caught up with them, and the army broke. It has to be said, though, that both the British and Prussians were also in a dangerous position; the British had numerous units on their last hit, and the Prussians had some exposed troops as well, so it was a very narrow victory - a Damn Close-Run Thing, in fact.

My apologies to my fellow Prussian commander Gary; I somehow managed not to get any photos of his epic battle on our left, where the French sent a column of troops against him. When the French army broke, a lot of that Prussian wing was looking battered, but they had pretty much secured the ridge covering the objective.

Finally some shots of the magnificent wooded ridge that was the centrepiee of the battle.

Excluding setup, we played the battle to a conclusion on about four hours (including a short lunch-break), demonstrating the ability of Blucher to handle large battles.

My thanks to Ralph for putting together the scenario and driving the whole event, as well to all of the other players for providing figures and being either worthy opponents or excellent allies.


  1. Thanks Kaptain - an excellent write-up! Lovely photos too. And yes, the Landwehr cavalry, indeed all Landwehr units performed well - unfortunately!

  2. Great scenery and figures - looks like a splendid game.

  3. Landwehr bah! Well done on your hard fought victory but you didn't have the fashion sense of the French team, Monsieur :-)


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