Sunday 14th June saw the final day of a 2 day epic re-fight of Waterloo. This was fought, most appropriately at the Wellesley Club In Wellington, NZ by at least 30 NZ wargamers.
In attending, my wife and I used this as and excuse for a mini holiday. We stayed at the Wellersley itself, having spent 2 days travelling to Wellington, firstly staying with a friend in Palmerston North and then a night at Martinborough where there was nothing to do except sample the offerings of a few wineries. The arrival in Wellington on the Friday before the game gave us an opportunity to catch up with our children and my wife an opportunity to flex her credit card in the Wellington shops – after all, all is fair in love and wargaming!
The event was organised by Paul Goldstone from Wellington with considerable help from several local gamers, notably Terry Swain who not only played a large part in producing the terrain but was always on hand to assist with rule queries over the 2 days. Over the 2 days Terry took on the character of the Prince of Orange and I understand did his best to meddle with the efforts of several Allied commanders
As you see in many of the following pictures, Alan Hollows (who commanded the British 5th Division) produced some amazing scratch-built buildings for the day. These really were superb and its difficult to believe that these were card based.
For several weeks before hand not only did Russel Bryant keep the participants updated with daily “today in the Waterloo re-fight” emails containing lots of factual historical information from letters and dispatches, I’m told he played a huge part in the behind the scenes preparation for the game.
I’m sorry but it’s likely that there are several other guys whose contribution that I’ve omitted. My grateful thanks to you all
The rules used were Black Powder, the French army was represented by 70 infantry battalions, 25 artillery batteries and around 34 cavalry regiments with a similar number present on the Allied side. I hope the pictures will give an idea of the stunning quality of the figure painting. The main table was 8 meters long and at least 2.5 meters wide, the nearby Plancenoit table somewhat smaller
I played the dual roles of Jaquinot commanding the French 1st Light cavalry Division along with Durutte who commanded the 4th infantry division giving me a total of 4 x 12 figure strong cavalry regiments, 8 x 24 figure infantry battalions and 2 x 2 gun batteries. I found myself on the extreme right flank facing the Nassau Brigade occupying both Papelotte and La Haye under the command of Saxe- Weimer ( and opposed by a capable and very gentlemanly gamer Bryan Thomson)
I’m obviously a slow learner in once again not allowing sufficient time and setting myself an unrealistic painting schedules. As a consequence my infantry got their colours and the Chasseurs their final coat of paint by the light of a glow worm in a Martinborough hotel room
This is how the set up looked before the battle started, Plancenoit can be seen at the end of the second smaller table with the Prussian expected to arrive at the opposite end.
Steve Sands playing the role of Napoleon devised the battle plan, I think he must be an ex boxer because he kept on talking about a right hook and a left hook on each flank and then when Allied reserves were drawn to the flanks te plan was to punch up the middle.
Here he is, vive L’Empereur!
Some questions : –
- Does he look like a boxer?
- Where is his funny hat?
- Is he ordering Chicken Marengo from La Belle Alliance takeaway or sendiong off a modern dispatch to Ney?
Being a loyal citizen and obedient fellow I subsequently do as I’m told and leaving Papelotte to Marcognet’s 3rd Division turn right and head towards La Haye intent on ejecting the Nassauers from La Haye.
A few turns later I’ve discovered that taking a building, especially a fortified one, is not such an easy proposition under BP rules,particularly if your supporting artillery is not with you but has been commandeered for The Grand Battery!
The remainder of D’Erlon’s 1st army Corps advanced to the right of La Haye Sainte and on this side of the field. The formidable allied troops were arranged along the ridges
In the meantime on the left flank, the bulk of the attacking French moved to the left around Hougoumont and somehow some Allied troops decided to advance from their left side of Hougomont into the gap left (Don’t ask – I was 8 meters away grappling with an unfamiliar rule set)
On the other table, the Young Guard and Lobau’s corps set out to meet the expected Prussian flank attack
In the early turns of the game my first infantry brigade under Pegot kept pushing the outnumbered Nassau brigade backwards through the woods and eventually managed to overcome one of the units and break it. No such luck though for my second brigade led by Brue attempting to force his way into La Haye because of Saxe Weimar’s uncanny ability to throw sixes and disorder my attacking units
Its a bit of shame isn’t it when you have lancers and the enemy are in front of you, having itchy hooves I decided to send them forward just to worry the Allies and give them something to think about
They thought about it and retired a little way but the attention of 2 horse batteries convinced the lancers it would be wisest for them to also to retire. Apparently under BP rules charging the guns can result in an expensive horseflesh bill!
TheChasseurs on the other hand were excited by the prospect of a charge into some skirmishers and a follow on into close order infantry behind, in they went and 3 casualties later out they came!
Meanwhile back on the flank,time was of the essence for the infantry because of the impending arrival of the 15th Prussian Brigade (Mark Conroy) advancing on the Plancenoit table and about to enter through the woods at the rear of the fortified building
Despite every effort on Brue’s part it proved well nigh impossible to get into the fortified buildings of La Haye, attacking units generally being rendered impotent by the disorder caused by frequent sixes. The problem was that the Nassauers just kept on getting in the way all day: –
Note the undress uniform, rather plain medal and somewhat unusual baton
By now the balance of power on the French right had been totally changed by the arrival of the allies, it was imperative that the attack should still be pressed. Both French brigades persisted in attack with the 85th Ligne launching themselves pell mell at he leading Prussian column and catching it in column of march and halting its immediate progress
The question was where was Lobau, would he get here in time?
Part 2 to follow