The day (15th August 2015) featured recognition of four important birthdays.
Ninety since my father, Ralph, had turned 90 on 16th July and he along with Maureen were our special guests for the day. Five as our own little wargaming group celebrated five years in existence on 8th August.
Sixty for Stephen, one of the members of the ANF's 'metro annexe', who reached that landmark on 1st August. Stephen provided the marvellous figures and two of the cakes.
Finally, and most appropriately, we were completing our bicentennial wargame of the Battle of Waterloo on the Emperor's birthday, his two hundred and forty-sixth, to be precise!
Formalities concluded, it was back to complete the fourth and final part of our bicentennial game of Waterloo.
We actually had the cakes as morning tea, at the conclusion of the first turn of the day, but I wanted to feature them appropriately in this post.
In case you have not seen them previously, you may catch up on developments to date with reports of part 1, part 2, part 3.
Duhesme's Young Guard and von Hiller's Prussians occupied half of Plancenoit each, in preparation for the contest that was to come.
The former were supported by Lefebvre Desnoüettes' guard light cav.; the lanciers Polonais in this case.
The 8th (1st Westphalian) hussars continued on their winning ways, this time against the 'blown' chasseurs à cheval who were unsupported, capturing the latter's staff officer in the process.
Wathier sent his only available regiment of cuirassiers (12e) against von Monhaupt's reserve artillery, recently deployed.
While Durutte's infantry continued their attack against von Losthin's Prussians in the vicinty of Frichermont,
In the area around Frichermont and La Haye, it was a different story.
The British horsemen were also successful against Jacquinot's lancers and hussars, were no more successful,
In the centre, Subervie's light cavalry manoeuvred around the burning La Haie Sainte, recently left vacant by Baring's KGL, in support of the grand battery of horse guns. Would Picton move his *rse from the ridge?
The 1/1st Nassau, were the sole defenders of Hougoumont, following the withdrawal and then breaking of Byng's guards (see part 3).
Chassé's 3rd Netherlands Division was making steady progress on the far Anglo-Allied right, threatening the flank of Ney's attack (seen on white horse in centre-right of photo),
The intense action which continued at either end of the battlefield and now in the Anglo-Allied centre-left, is capture in the following two photos.
continued advance of Hussey's and Saxe-Weimar's troops around Frichermont/La Haye,
Wathier's 1e cuirassiers took their turn to charge against von Monhaupt's poorly deployed artillery.
The second chasseurs à cheval de la garde 'bounced' from the square of Hiller's 2/15th Infantry Regiment.
To Picton's couter-attack was achieving mixed success.
but the infantry had more success against the artillerie de la marine (of course, since they were unpainted!) and another garde horse battery.
Working across the table from 'west' to 'east'.
The 3rd Dutch Carabiniers unsuccessfully charged a square of Jeanin's 5e légère.
The 2nd Belgian Carabiniers caught Simmer's 2/84e ligne out of square, but were 'bounced' by the square of the 2/11e ligne (part painting denotes another of my 'failures', I'm afraid!).
Despite being under Wellington's Elm, the 1st Foot could not prevail against a guard horse battery.
Prussians, Prussians everywhere, but Durutte's 85e and 2/95e ligne stand tall.
To their left the guard light cavalry have more success against the few remaining Prussian light horsemen.
Importantly, Plancenoit remains in Prussian hands as the brave 1/1st Silesian Landwehr deny the 1/2e Tirailleurs and the 1/1 Voltigeurs,
Simmer and Jeanin re-aligned their divisions to hold on to the Mont St Jean ridge.
The 1/1st Nassau, not satisfied with being the brave defenders of Hougoumont, drove the French from the stables and out-houses of the two-sector complex.
The final turn!
The 2/1e Voltigeurs were finally defeated by the 1/11th Infantry Regiment (2nd Silesian).
Nothing changed in Plancenoit though as both the 1/1st Pommeranian Landwehr, defenders of the church sector and the 2/1e Tirailleurs, defending the village sector, withstood attacks.
The 2/1e Tirailleurs combined with the recently rallied chasseurs à cheval de la garde to defeat the remaining uhlans of Prinz Wilhelm's cavalry.
On the Anglo-Allied right the stalemate continued, but Chassé's men were now joined by the Brunswickers and H. Halkett's 3rd Hanoverian Brigade.
The final turn completed, let's look around the battlefield, now far more sparsely occupied.
Swinging around to look towards the complex of Papelotte, Smohain, La Haye and Frichermont, all firmly in Allied hands.
Towards Plancenoit, with von Ryssel's Prussians facing the Young Guard and the Guard light cavalry and Wathier's cuirassiers to the left. There should have been additional Prussians behind von Ryssel's, von Tippelskirch's 5th Brigade of II Corps, but they were not placed on the table as the game was ending.
Finally a view across the entire battlefield, looking roughly east to west (Frichermont in the foreground).
The French had lost 201 points for 'broken', and demoralised divisions and the Allies 228—we allocate these as victory points to the opposite side. The Allied army held La Haie Sainte and Papelotte (worth 50 victory points each), while Hougoumont and Plancenoit were still contested. This gave a difference of 72 victory points in the Allied favour, resulting in a draw.
For an instant, we considered a second day of Waterloo, 19th June, with two and a half more corps of Prussians and Grouchy’s two infantry corps, plus Pajol’s and Excelmans’ cavalry thrown into the 'mincer’!! We decided, however, that four sessions for Waterloo was enough,... for this time!
So, after 19 turns, played over four sessions, it ended as a hard-fought draw.
An anti-climax? I don't think so. To me it was a fitting result for a marvellous game that was played in our usual friendly manner, with each side trying to bring off a win. It was an added bonus to have Ralph and Maureen there for the morning of this last session.
Concluding the Napoleonic Bicentennial
This epic wargame (for us) brought to a conclusion our bicentennial re-fights of battles of the Napoleonic Wars. We will move now to filling in some of the many 'gaps' . These will be games from some of the battles that we did not get done at the time of the bicentennial and earlier ones that pre-dated the formation of our group and hence our observance of the bicentennial.
First cab off the rank (all going well) will be our long-planned game of Leipzig at 1:50, which we hope to do over a couple of weekends in spring (Sep–Nov) of 2016.