Saturday, 24 October 2015

Quatre Bras - LFS

A little while ago (just before I went on holiday) I played this game, based on Quatre Bras using the Le Feu Sacre rules. These rules have a lot going for them in my opinion and I was pleased with how well the game ran. In fact it's probably the most ambitious game I've done yet; I did stretch the play over two days playing solo.

Here's a view of the battlefield from the South-East (French side). In the background you can see Gemioncourt, beyond the stream Quatre Bras itself & to the left of that the Bossu woods. (The buildings btw are by Tiger Terrain.)

Here is a view from the Dutch side. Perponcher's Division is deployed to defend around Gemioncourt farm. 

Ney's French (Foy and Bachelu's infantry divisions and Pire's cavalry) approach. Three artillery batteries were quickly unlimbered to support an assault on Gemioncourt.

On turn 2 the Foy launched the assault on Gemioncourt, defended by the 5th Belgian militia. The artillery batteries did their work...

...and soon the Belgians were ejected and the French took control of the farm.

Meanwhile on the, Bachelu's troops advanced towards battlions of Dutch Light infantry and Nassauers. The Dutch had chosen to try to defend the line of the stream rather than standing in the trees of the Bossu. A brave decision.

The next turn saw the French continue their advance and on Foy's right, Jerome Bonaparte's division was spotted. The Dutch look quite outnumbered here but the flag across the stream (next to Wellington in fact) is a 'blind' which conceals Picton's Division.

On turn 4 Foy's troops crossed the stream and attacked more Belgians. The personal support of Foy who committed to the fight (unlike Perponcher who was too far away or Bjilandt) helped ensure that the Belgians were pushed back (though not broken).

Meanwhile Picton's Division was spotted. Behind them is another 'blind' which conceals the Brunswickers.

Turn 5 would prove to be a decisive time. The French attack develops on the left and their cavalry superiority was key. First, one unit of chasseurs forces the Nassauers into square

Then another charges across the stream against the the Dutch lights (who did not have time to form square). The Dutch unit breaks and shortly afterwards so does the unit of Orange-Nassau infantry who were supporting as the chasseurs breakthrough onto them.

On the French right, Jerome's troops start to cross by the Merle pond and take on the Black Watch. Crisis for the Brits as Picton goes down. (A very lucky & key result for the French this one).

More bad news for the allies on the left as Bachelu's columns now close on the Nassauers' square which has already taken casualties.

By the end of the turn Perponcher's defence of the Bossu has gone. There is little between the French and Quatre Bras it seems.

Not quite so. The Brunswickers are revealed as the next line of defense  while in the centre Van Merlen's cavalry party with the French lancers. (This was one of several not very decisive cavalry engagements here).

Turn 6 saw Jerome continue to press hard against Picton's divsion...

... and with considerable success. It begins to look as though the Brits were badly demoralised by the loss of Picton.

Turn 7 and Bachelu &Pire continue to advance towards Quatre Bras. However, there are now some defenders deployed in among the trees (Alten's Division).

On the far side Kellerman's cuirassiers, who had chosen to delay their entry, arrive.

By turn 8 Foy's troops are within striking distance of Quatre Bras. Here they are pushing into the last troops of Perponcher's division; a militia battalion.

Then the cuirassiers charge against Picton's Hanoverian militia and the inevitable happens.

Meanwhile Cooke's Division of Guards arrives hoping to stiffen the defence.

Turn 9 sees fierce fighting in the Bossu but Alten is pushed back by Bachelu.

While in the centre the French break the Brunswickers opening the way to an assault on Quatre Bras  itself 

And  L'Heritier turns up with a Division of dragoons; the last of the reinforcements.

At this point I called the game having run out of time. Although the French had not actually taken the cross-roads, they had all but done so and it was hard to see them really being stopped in the next couple of turns. Though Cooke's guards might have been able to counter-attack the rest of the allied defense was looking very depleted.

All in all an excellent game. The French attacked decisively and the Allies were never really able to organise a coherent defense. Interestingly the result came out pretty similar to when I played QB with Age of Eagles rules about a year before. I plan next to do some LFS in the Peninsular, though it might be a while before I get organised.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

GBCoC in the Peninsular

This weekend we played a Peninsular game based on a General de Brigade Vimiero scenario. Coincidentally we were almost on the anniversary of the battle (20 August 1808). Derek took the British while Marcus & John teamed up as the French (most unfair). This was an 'interesting scenario which did not exactly turn out as expected but was fun nevertheless.

Here we see Fane's Brigade deployed on Vimiero hill. They chose to deploy on the forward rather than the reverse slope. (Conveniently saving me from having to work out how to adjudicate the reverse slope). Anstruther's brigade would deploy further over to the right (out of shot).

And here we see a view from the other side with British artillery in the foreground and Vimiero village in the background.

The French deployed Charlot in the centre and Thomiere's brigade (pictured above) on their extreme right flank beyond the woods. This made the game all the more interesting and it turned out to be a smart move.

Here we see the main French force: Charlot and some distance behind them in the background the French Grenadiers. The French did not have enough command dice to activate them initially so, very reasonably they stayed in reserve.

Charlot here has advanced. There is actually nothing much on the ridge in front of them. Fane's brigade have come forward off the hill to try to outflank the French (which looked as though it might work for a while).

A little later and the riflemen wheeled round to fire on the French flank. The shock is starting to amount on the further of the two battalions.

Meanwhile on the British right, Anstruther's brigade is outnumbered as two of Charlot's battalions swung across to link up with Thomieres. Anstruther was not though giving up without a fight; two of his battalions the 52nd and 43rd were elite.

The Swiss however elite too and they broke the 9th, (though they were themselves ultimately broken by the 52nd).

Things begin to get desperate on the right as as the flank of the 43rd is now threatened.

In the centre the French played their masterstroke, using 'En Avant' to bring their two battalions of grenadiers into play against the 60th rifles. With effective support from their artillery, the riflemen were soon defeated.

The 50th Regt who had been in support now faced the grenadiers. They did not though wait for the French to close but withdrew under the weight of artillery fire and musketry from the French.

At this point we called the game as it was clear that the French had a clear victory. The British had some reinforcements approaching Vimiero village but the command dice were such that they never got into the action. We reckon they withdrew when they saw what had happened. All in all a good game. The first time I've used the British in GBCoC, And yes this scenario was entirely cavalry free!

Finally many thanks to John for these custom dice which I intend to use to show the accumulation of 'special 5' points.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

One Two Twelve Kickstarter

Those of you are more observant may have noted that at the top of this page there is a link to 'My wife's art page':

Jackie is an artist and illustrator and she has just launched a new Kickstarter campaign: One Two Twelve (that's one artist, two eyes, twelve months). This will be a series of 12 limited edition linocut 'postcards' produced over the next twelve months (so one per month). Many of these will be inspired by places we visit over the coming year or have recently visited. If you are at all interested, please do take a look at the kickstarter page:

At least one of these will be inspired by our recent trip to Waterloo; she spent a lot of her time while there furiously sketching. Here are a couple of very quick sketches which she did of the bivouacs:

Many thanks for reading this and a special thanks to any of you who add your support.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Waterloo 2015: The Battle

To finish off my review of Waterloo 2015, here are some pictures of the actual re-enactment of the Battle. You can get an idea from the first picture of how big the 'arena' was. There were over 5,000 re-enactors and it was big enough to give an authentic feel of confusion.  It wasn't easy to really follow what was happening and there was quite a lot of smoke; I understand there was even more smoke the next night as there was very little wind then.

Mostly of these were taken with my telephoto lens, but even so the action still looks quite 'far-away'. I will no try to give a narrative; it did not follow the historic battle exactly. From where we were sitting could you see any not Prussians (or  French starting positions or artillery). 

It was though pretty epic; not something I will forget in hurry. Enjoy...

No doubt you will have spotted the stunt La Haye Sainte and Hougomont but just for good measure here are a couple of photos of the real ones and one of the Lion Mound at night (after the end of the re-enactment).