Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Wargaming Waterloo 1815 : 2015 (11) The Bicentennial Game, 11:30–13:00

Last Saturday was the appointed day, 73 059 days after the original event, for part one of our bicentennial game of Waterloo.

The three of us were joined by Marks H. and B., giving us fewer than the record four Marks who were present at Mark H's version at the Napoleonic Wargaming Society on 13th June!(He has posted a wonderfully amusing account of proceedings in our game so far).

We assembled early, but with about two-thirds of the French and a reasonable proportion of the allies still to place on the table, we were not ready to go until 12:30 AWST.

An overview of the table at set-up. Firstly looking from the south-west, Hougoumont at front centre, La Haie Sainte beyond, French at right, Anglo-Allied at left and Plancenoit at far top right of photo.
Now proceeding around the table, heading south and east, around the French lines, on to a view from the La Haie, Smohain, Papelotte side of the table and ending with the view along the Mont-Saint-Jean ridge looking east to west.

It is 11:30 and with a cry of Vive l'Empereur! the game begins!

The French army advances, Donzelot's and Quiot's divisions of d'Erlon's I Corps visible advancing in the centre of this photo.

The French also began with a 'left hook', lead by Jérôme's division and Piré's cavalry.

Straight into the fray, Piré's 6e chevau-léger lanciers (disguised with yellow facings) and 1e chasseur à cheval charge Mitchell's infantry and guns. The former 'bounced' from the square, while the latter over-ran the guns and rallied back behind their comrades.

Looking across the table at 12:00.

Donzelot's division approaches the Mont-Saint-Jean ridge, their commander seemingly challenging the Duke, who is located below his elm along with his staff and Uxbridge, to single combat! Not really, since divisional commanders are chiefly 'markers' in the Shako rules.

On the Allied left, what remains of Bijlandt's brigade (front-centre of photo) seeks refuge behind the Mont-Saint-Jean ridge

The 1/13e légère and 1/19e ligne of Donzelot's division attack La Haie Sainte, engineers in support.
It's close, but, after two rounds, they are driven off with small loss (the engineers should have been lost in the attempt, so need to be removed).

Back on the Allied right, Byng's Scots Guards prepare to meet the lead units of Jérôme's division (supported by Foy's men), while their comrades the Coldstreams remain holed up in the chateau along with the 1/1st Nassau (represented by the figures arrayed around the building models).

Four big turns played so far with plenty of stretching across the table (particularly to move the divisions of d'Erlon's corps), loads of good-humoured banter and much 'drinking in' the visual feast.

I'll finish this part-one report with another 'fly' around the table, beginning with the Hougoumont area, heading east along the Mont St Jean ridge and then looking over the eastern end of the 'La Belle Alliance ridge', over the top of Marcognet's and Durutte's French divisions.

Finally, low down, looking from the Anglo-Allied left.

We pick up this Saturday with the 13:30 turn. The stage is set for action-packed, and possibly telling, turns as the major French attacks go in around Hougoumont, 'tween La Haie Sainte & Hougoumont and to the east of La Haie Sainte.

Où est Grouchy? Wo ist Blücher?

(Read on with part two of this game)


  1. Looking fantastic Fish - great figures and a superb table. Well done and I look forward to more reports from our intrepid correspondent!

    1. Thanks heaps Carlo.
      (That must be the quickest comment we've had!)

  2. Superb. Napoleonic war gaming has a magnificence all its own. I think Shako is probably a very good rule set for this kind of occasion!

    1. Thanks so much Ion. They have worked really well for us for big games of the bicentennial years.
      Speaking of which, you and your fellow Kiwis marked the occasion of Waterloo 200 in fine style with three games in three cities over three weekends! I have not been able to take the time to look at all the reports properly, but will be linking to them on the Wargaming Waterloo 2015 blog.

  3. Impressive, so impressive...this wonderful table is a pleasure for our eyes James, great looking massive attacks!

    1. Thanks Phil!
      I note that you and the other Riflemen went for a game in Spain rather than adding to those focussing on Belgium!

  4. I knew this was going to be good! Looking forward to the next post...

    1. You are too, too kind Ian.
      When is your own version? (Apologies, I'm sure that I should know the answer to that question as no doubt it's mentioned on your blog...!!)

  5. Great post James, I'm looking forward to continuing the game next Saturday.

  6. Stunning! I could look at these photos all day! Love it!

  7. Splendid! The vast serried ranks of infantry presents a very imposing sight.
    I especially enjoy the birds-eye views in the handsome fly-over photos.

    Great sights!

    1. Thanks Jonathan. Hopefully plenty more to come in part two.

  8. What a splendid look. Sounds like an wesome game!