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Monday, June 9, 2014

Quatre Bras Refight with FoG:N

ABOVE: The Battlefield at the commencement of the game.
This weekend myself and two friends decided to play a refight of Quatre Bras. With a FoG:N tournament approaching we decided that these rules would be an excellent set to use to fight the battle.
Arnaud (as usual) commanded the French Corps and would be Marshal Ney. Tyler would play the part of William, Prince of Orange and Wellington (on his arrived on the Battlefield).
The Orders of Battles I obtained from HERE.
To make the battle less predictable and more interesting I set up all of Ney's forces on the field with the exception of Jerome's Division arriving on the 2nd turn. The French heavy cavalry would arrive only on a roll of 4,5 or 6 on turn 3, on a roll of 3,4,5 or 6 on turn 4, and 2,3,4,5 or 6 any turn there after.
The Allies would start with only Perponcher two divisions on the field with all the other divisions of I Corps arriving over the next turns one division at a time
Viscount Hill's Corp, (II Corp) would arrive the next turn after the last of I Corps divisions with each division arriving as follows after rolling anything other than a 1 or a 2:
On a roll of 1 or 2 The Corps Cavalry
On a roll of 3 or 4: Sir Thomas Picton's Division
On a roll of 5 or 6: The Brunswick Infantry.
Simply put when the last of the 1st Corps arrived we roll a D6. As long as a 1 or 2 wasn't rolled the Corps commander would arrive with Wellington (Exceptional 'Charismatic') who would replace the Prince of Orange (Competent 'Charismatic').
Now another D6 was rolled. If a 1 or 2 was rolled then the following divisions from 2nd Corps would not arrived, assumed to be caught up in the traffic jam on the road leading to Quatre Bras. If a 3,4,5 or a 6 was rolled then another D6 was rolled to see WHICH division arrived.
Simple!
 ABOVE: The initial Allied deployment.
BELOW: The buildings of Quatre Bras.
 The battle opened with the two French infantry divisions advancing cautiously towards the Dutch Belgian lines. The French cavalry (a small brigade of lancers and a large brigade of Chasseurs) and their artillery support made a wide sweeping flanking move on the allies left flank.
Fortunately for the Allies just at that time the British Guards brigade arrived and quickly moved off the road to cover the allies' left flank.
This flanking movement from the French soon fizzled out to nothing. The French effort now switched to the Dutch Belgian brigades in the center to the west of the Charleroi - Brussels road.
BELOW: The French Lancers and Chasseurs a Cheval that attempted to envelope the Allies' left flank.

 BELOW: The French 5th Division
 BELOW: The French 9th Division commanded by Foy.
 As Prince Jerome's Division moved towards the French right flank in support of the now stalled cavalry movement another British division (LtGen Alten's 3rd Div) arrived consisting of the 5th Brigade of English battalions (the 33rd, 30th, 69th and 73rd Foot) and the Hanoverian Brigade consisting mainly of conscripts. The 5th Brigade moved off to support the English Guards on the allies left whilst the Hanoverians moved to support the Netherlanders and their German kin in the Nassau Brigades in reserve.
 ABOVE: The French 9th Division of Foy, Bachelu's 5th Division and in the distance the French 2nd cavalry Division of Comte Pire.
BELOW: French 2nd cavalry Division of Comte Pire. sweeping towards the allies left flank.
BELOW: The British Guards foil the French Cavalry sweep.

 ABOVE: Sporadic artillery fire in the center.
BELOW: The British Guards. Two Brigades block the French Cavalry.

 BELOW: The Hanoverian Brigade moves down the road. The British 5th Brigade moves up on the left of The Guards.

 ABOVE and BELOW: Action on the Allies' left flank.
 Impatient for a breakthrough and not willing to await the arrival of the Heavy Cavalry division that was a due to arrive Ney hurled the Guard Light Cavalry at the Netherlands Brigades and some Dutch artillery.
The Dutch Militia Brigade were in tactical formation and scrambled to form squares and the Dutch gunners ran to the British Guards for cover. 2000 Guard Chasseurs a Cheval, Mamalukes and Lancers descended upon the Dutch infantry. Their disordered squares were torn apart by the Guards just as the French heavies under General Kellerman arrived to support the developing attack in the centre. 

BELOW: The French Guard Light Cavalry move towards the center.

ABOVE: Foy's Division spars with the Belgian infantry
BELOW: The French Guard Light Cavalry commence their charge.
 After slaughtering the Dutch militia the Guard Lancers charged on again and crashed into the large Nassau Brigade (the 2nd Nassau Infantry Regiment) that was in reserve. Yet again the Prince of Orange's men could only form disordered squares and they too were swept away.
As the the French Guard cavalry was slaughtering the Dutch militia a Nassau Brigade (the 28th Orange-Nassau Regiment) was busy driving off Husson's 1st Brigade from Bachelu's 5th Division who had been caught withdrawing after a failed assault on the British artillery.
 The Allied cavalry division arrived as the French Guard cavalry had started their advance and moved off to the east in an effort to envelope the French cavalry that had now stalled in front of the British Guards.

BELOW: The all conquering Guard Lancers destroy all in their path.
 The situation was now as follows:
The French cavalry envelopment of the Allies left flank had stalled thanks to the British Guards and was now itself in danger of being enveloped by Dutch Belgian and Brunswick Cavalry.
The French Guard Light Cavalry Division had smashed both a Dutch and a Nassau brigade and was pouring into the centre whilst a Nassau Brigade had counter-attacked on the East side of the Charleroi - Brussels road and driven off a brigade of French infantry.
On the allies right flank very little had happened at all apart from the batteries exchanging some round shot.
Wellington now arrived on the battlefield to take over from The Prince of Orange. The large Hanovarian brigade was place in the center.
The Nassau brigade that had driven off the French 1st Brigade was now itself taken in the flank by counter-attacking French infantry and destroyed.

 The French Guard Chasseurs a Cheval now wheeled right and overran a battery whilst the Guard Lancers wheeled left and took the Belgian brigade in the flank and destroyed them on the edged of Bossu Wood. Only the 27th Jagers remained of the 2nd Netherlands Division!
BELOW: The Belgian Infantry Brigade is taken in flank by the Guard Lancers.
 Now the French Heavies came into action. The Cuirassiers and Dragoons charged through the gaping hole made by the Guard Light Cavalry and came charging onto the Hanovarian militia in the center.
An all to familiar pattern emerged. The Hanoverian militia failed to form solid squares and were run down by the French heavy cavalry. The British had deployed the 5th Brigade behind the Hanovarians but they suffered the same fate as the Dragoons followed through onto them. As had happened in the real Battle of Quatre Bras the British 5th Brigade had been cut to shreds by French Heavies,...





 ABOVE and BELOW: The Hanoverians meet their fate.

All the while the remaining divisions of the allies 2nd Corps had failed to arrive.
At this point Wellington conceded defeat and ordered the remains of 1st Corps to retreat towards Brussels.
It was a excellent game. The failed arrival of the Allies 2nd Corps sealed the fate or Orange\Wellington though if any of the Germans or Dutch had formed solid squares they might have held on long enough for the 2nd Corps to arrive and save the day.
It just wasn't meant to be.
Oh well,....

 ABOVE and BELOW: The destruction of the British 5th Brigade.


As usual, feel free to leave comments.
Cheers

UPDATE:
Eric asked a question that deserves a fuller explanation:
"Why do you refer to the units as Brigades when FoG:N says the units represent 'Regiments'"?

Hi Eric
I refer to the units as Brigades because that is what they are. The authors of FoG:N (for reasons I'll never understand) say the units represent Regiments. The truth is rarely did entire Regiments take to the field. Normally it was Battalions FROM regiments that would come together to form Brigades (a collection of Battalions). Let's look at a FoG:N unit in this battle. The Allied (Brit) 5th Brigade for example. 
To make a small unit in FoG:N (1200 to 2000 men) then we have 1 battalion from each of the 30th, 33rd, 69th and 73rd Foot each providing an average of about 500 men. NOT a Regiment at all. Actually 4 battalions from 4 different regiments. Now look at the French 1st Brigade from the 5th Division. 4 battalions from the 2nd Light Inf Regt and 2 battalions from the 61st Line for a total of just over 3000 men (a LARGE unit). Again, 2 different Regiments. To try and create two 'Regiments' would result in a SMALL 2nd Light Infantry but not enough (only 800 men) to make a SMALL 61st Line Regiment. So I settled on a LARGE Light Infantry unit with a SKIRMISH element due to the preponderance of Light Infantry from the 2nd Light Infantry.  
By contrast the 2nd Brigade of the  2nd Netherlands Brigade consists of 1 LARGE unit made up of 3 battalions from the 2nd Nassau Line regiment with a total of 2600 men! 
Oh and all the miniatures are either AB Miniatures and a handful of Fantassin / warmodeller figs.
I'd use FoG:N if you are trying to fight the whole battle or Lasalle if you want to fight just a part, like the fighting around Bossu Wood.

14 comments:

Andrew Saunders said...

Superb report and pictures

Jonathan Freitag said...

Fantastic game. The French cavalry cut through the allies like a hot knife through butter. Such destruction!

Black Powder said...

Impressive looking game and collection! I especially enjoyed the Mamelukes!

edb1815 said...

Nice ARR. A couple of questions. You used the term brigade, did you alter the FOGN scale or stick with the regimental units?

I see you have AB figures - Do you have any CGM in your collection? DB, and Nassau in particular?

I am trying to decide whether to use FOGN or LaSalle for this battle - a bit less to paint for FOGN!

Thanks
Eric

Jason Meyers said...

Great looking game and write up. Thanks for sharing all the pics.

Sgt Steiner said...

Super figures and terrain

Mick said...

That looks great. Sounded like a fun day.

Trailape said...

Hi Eric
I refer to the units as Brigades because that is what they are. The authors of FoG:N for reasons I'll never understand why they say the units Represent Regiments. The truth is very rarely did entire Regiments take to the field. Normally it was Battalions FROM regiments that would come together to form Brigades (a collection of Battalions). Lets look at a FoG:N unit in this battle. The Allied (Brit) 5th Brigade for example. To make a small unit in FoG:N (12oo to 2000 men) then we have 1 battalion from each of the 30th, 33rd, 69th and 73rd Foot each providing an average of about 500 men. NOT a Regiment at all. Actually 4 battalions from 4 different regiments. Now look at the French 1st Brigade from the 5th Division. 4 battalions from the 2nd Light Inf Regt and 2 battalions from the 61st Line. again, 2 different Regiments.
By contrast the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Netherlands Brigade consists of 1 LARGE unit made up of 3 battalions from the 2nd Nassau Line regiment with a total of 2600 men!
All the Figs are either AB Miniatures or a handful of Fantassin / warmodeller figs.
I'd use FoG:N if you are trying to fight the whole battle or Lasalle if you want to fight just a part, like the fighting around Bosse Wood.

John Shoemark said...

Thanks Scott, this is a really interesting and informative aar. The table looks great and I particularly like the"smoke".

Stuart Williams said...

beautiful report and a fantastic looking battle. Just as well the french cav didn't get to take on disordered squares or the landwehr at waterloo eh ? Nice to see Ney playing true to form ! A bit optimistic to rate the Prince of Orange as "competent" though.

Great AAR, well explained and quite fascinating. Thanks

stu

Stuart Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Cooke said...

Great report and fantastic looking game.

edb1815 said...

The FOGN authors do spend considerable effort explaining the reasoning behind the Regimental scale. While the Regiment was primarily an administrative unit, you do see all the field battalions of a regiment together for the French and Austrians. The 1st and 2nd Legere at Quatre Bras for instance. In fact you could field the 2 DB brigade as 2 regimental units - 2nd Nassau and 28th ON. (I am reading a book about the 9th Legere and its' generally 3 field battalions usually operated together). After that it breaks down, as you note, for the British in particular where the individual battalions were brigaded together. Ultimately it comes down to whatever makes sense given the order of battle. I do think it is more flexible that some rules which are strictly "brigade" based.

I think you are right about LaSalle, the whole battle may just be too large for the system. I have the OOB by battalion in 6mm already, I just can't see them anymore!!

Trailape said...

Yes.
An ADMINISTRATIVE organisation.
It works neatly for SOME French Regiments, but not all and certainly not for the Brits or some of the smaller states.