Saturday, 24 March 2018

Battle of Wavre, 18th June 1815

Mark and I played this game of Wavre back on 25th November 2017, using the Fields of Glory scenario.

Julian has a scenario that he calls 'Pont du bois' which he likes to use as a test of rules. We played out the scenario as a nostalgic game of the Quarrie rules in one of our early games. That left us thinking of 'Pont du bois' as a tough scenario, then we played Wavre. It's Pont du bois 'on steroids'...!

The scenario begins with Vandamme's (whom we always attribute with JCvD, of course!) divisions of III Corps facing the Prussians of Luck and Kamphen who are well-ensconced in Wavre, loop-holes and all, on the other side of the unfordable River Dyle. Dominique (to his friends, but certainly not Czar Alexander) is supported by Excelmans' dragoons while Hulot's 14th division of IV Corps faces off Schulpnagel's Prussians in Bierge and Teste's 21st division of VI Corps is opposed by a small detachment under Stengel.

Map of the tabletop from Fields of Glory (above) and view across the table looking east towards Wavre in the distance (below).

As required by the scenario, Vandamme immediately attacked Wavre.

A bucket-load of luck is required if such attacks, made by only one 'unit' against troops in defensive positions, are to succeed.

Over on the western flank, there was a heap of luck for the French, as Teste's testie boys triumphed in the test of wills, driving off Stengel's men to cross the Dyle.
(Such was my excitement that I focussed the camera on the town of Limal rather than the troops!)

Schulpnagel's Prussians in Bierge as yet unaware of a potential threat to their right flank.

The futile attacks on Wavre continued. JCvD is getting frustrated!

For Teste it seems to be just a quiet summer's day spent crossing the bridge.

Grouchy sent Berthezene's division of III Corps to attack Bierge.

Sending in more good after bad in Wavre.

The 6e hussars take up position on Teste's left flank. Hmmm, what's that in the distance?

Ah, 'tis Hobe's Silesian hussars come to spoil the summer picnic.

The first attack on Bierge was driven back by Prussian musketry.

Troops on Habert's right flank look on, helpless, while waiting their turn in the Wavre mincer.

Hobe's men did indeed spoil Teste's ideas for a quick victory. The 6e will never live down their dishonour.

The Prussian hussars rallied back to recover, putting their uhlan mates in the front line.
"En carré!"

Things were going really badly for Vandamme's men. Not only could they not break into Wavre, the Prussians had audaciously crossed the river to the (previous) 'French sector'!

Berthezene got his troops better organised before Bierge.

Back on the French left, Teste's squares had seen off the uhlans, so the infantry resumed their advance; cautiously with the Silesian hussars still about.

The hussars in turn charged, but Teste's infantry formed square and saw them off too.

Thielmann jumped in his balloon to survey the battlefield. Looking over Wavre, he liked what he saw. Prussians in complete control.

Dropping in over the Dyle, it seemed all peace & calm.

Flying west, it was not looking so good. The French had taken Bierge.

Then over on the right it was 'bad news Prussians'. Teste's testing had developed into a full-blown flank attack, now supported by Pecheux.

So, turn 12 and end of scenario reached, it was time for the Prussians to retire from the board.

The game had largely followed the history. The 
French took Limal and slowly outflanked the Prussian right, aided by a last turn capture of Brieges, but the Prussians remained firmly ensconced in Wavre.
Result: a 'limited victory' to the French.

Another fine scenario from the Fields of Glory scenario book. It had been great to get back into Napoleonics after a lay-off of 18 months (since Friedland in July 2016!).


  1. Splendid looking battle! Was Wavre fought using Quarrie?

    1. No, no Jonathan, Shako. We re-visited Quarrie once only!

  2. Thanks Phil. It was an interesting game and a challenging and somewhat frustrating scenario!

  3. Nice report, James, Wavre was on my to do list for 2015, but in the end I ran out of gas!

    1. Thank you Peter.
      There are so many to go back to aren't there? Part of the fun, of course.
      Actually, you'll be pleased to hear that the next project as my part of our group's activities is the 1809 campaign. I hope to do as many games as possible, beginning modestly in June this year with Raszyn and either Teugen-Hausen or Sacile and culminating in Wagram in July of 2019. Your own "Blunders on the Danube" is a key starting point. I have begun at the end, doing the order of battle for Wagram, mainly using Gill's volume 3.

    2. The 1809 campaign sounds great. Jared and I are talking about perhaps doing Wagram for his game club in the next year or two. That sent me scurrying for my oen OOB's, and recalling that to run that game we used troops from 5 different gamers. I have since added more French and Austrians... but not nearly enough for that battle!

  4. What a satisfying bit of Prussian bashing. Many thanks, James. Your battle reports and soldiers are terrific.

    1. Thanks Matthew.
      Actually, the bashing was a bit evenly distributed!