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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Waterloo: A refight using BLUCHER rules

Rowan and I played a great game of Blücher today refighting Waterloo.
I obtained the scenario from HERE: HONOUR BLUCHER SCENARIO BUCKET
Here is some photos of the setup:
 ABOVE: The view from the allied right and French left Flanks.
BELOW: Hougoumont closest to the camera with a view of the French deployment
 BELOW: The Allied line,..
 BELOW: The view from above and behind the Allied deployment. The French are at the top.
BELOW: Some of the Allies deployed,
 BELOW: More Allies
 BELOW: The French 1st Corps deployed
 BELOW: More French deployed.

The French began at 1100 hrs with 1st Corps and 6th Corps advancing on the Allied centre and the Ridgeline of Mont Cent Jean.
The French 2nd Corps advanced on Hougoumont.
The French 4th Cavalry Corps moved off to support 1st Corps right flank and the Imperial Guard advanced behind the 1st Corps.
1st Corps failed to rupture the Allied centre however they did lay the foundations for a reasonable chance that The Guard might succeed.
After a violent initial Bombardment of La Haye Saint by some Guard Artillery a Brigade Of Young Guard successfully stormed the farmhouse. These young guardsmen were repelled by a Brigade of KGL. However a Middle Guard Brigade then was committed and the farmhouse fell into French hands again.
Whilst this was happening in the centre the cavalry of the French 1st Corps together with the heavy Cavalry of the French 4th Cavalry Corps supported by about 6 batteries (two bases) of horse artillery overwhelm the light Cavalry Brigades of the Allied Cavalry Reserve and the Netherlands Cavalry Division on the Allied left flank.
On the Allied right flank things had gone quiet. Marshal Ney had been killed leading an assault on Hougoumont and the emperor was satisfied that the attacks by this Corps (2nd) had prevented any further support moving to the centre.
Napoleon judged the time had come to rupture the Allied centre.
The remaining Imperial Guard Regiments were committed as 6th Corps swept onto the ridge to the left and behind Hougoumont .
At the same time the French 3rd Cavalry Corps launched themselves at the Household Brigade who (together with the Union Brigade) had been launching spoiling attacks on the vulnerable junction between 1st and 6th Corps.
The Allied Line was holding on grimly but had been pierced in the centre and left! They were very close to braking with 8 Brigades effectively destroyed and the a few others terribly close to routing!
But then the Prussians arrived,...
“I should have burned Berlin when I had the chance in 1806,...”! The Emperor was heard to mutter.
The Emperor has left two massed batteries and all of the Guard Cavalry in Reserve for just such an eventuality hoping that if the allies broke before the arrival of the Prussians their pursuit would prevent any hope of Wellington’s ‘infamous’ army of rallying or to protect his right rear if a stalling action was required.
The allies had lost the garrison of La Haye Sainte and 9 other Brigades. Their break point was 11!
The French had lost a single Brigade Of Infantry and 3 Artillery Bases (about 9 actual batteries, two of which were Guard Batteries).
The French would break at the loss of 14 Brigades!
I, as French commander concede defeat as even if I could rout the allies trying to also defeat a Prussian army would be too much of an ask.
Blücher (the rules) give a fantastic game. It’s a rare thing indeed to play the battle of Waterloo on a tabletop to a reasonable conclusion in about 7 hours but we managed it quite comfortably.

A thoroughly enjoyable game.

Here is a selection of photos from the game:

 ABOVE:Turn 1. French 1st and 6th Corps immediately advance on the allied centre.
2nd Corps advances on Hougoumont.
ABOVE:French 2nd Corps advances on Hougoumont as the French 3rd Cavalry Corps moves into support of 6th Corps advance. 

 ABOVE: The British Household Brigade attacks French advancing troops in the centre just to the right of La Haye Sainte.
BELOW: The French counter attack the Household Brigade with a Brigade of Cuirassiers led by Kellerman. Kellerman is killed,... But the Household brigade retires. At the same time Dutch Light cavalry over runs a French massed Horse Artillery battery and tries to prevent 6th Corps advance.
 BELOW: The Dutch Light Cavalry cover the withdrawing Union Brigade.
 BELOW: The Young and Middle Guard are committed.
 BELOW: Cavalry (Heavies of 3rd Cavalry Corps) rupture the allied centre as a Brigade of the Middle Guard capture La Haye Sainte.
 BELOW: Success for the French, but too late as the Prussian IV Corps arrives to bolster flagging allied moral.
 BELOW: The French Heavies of 3rd Cavalry Corps pierce the allied line as Wellington looks on. As French cannon boom the Imperial Guard infantry close in on the allied held ridge-line.
 BELOW: Total French losses up until the arrival of the Prussians.
 BELOW: Some of Britains finest.
 BELOW: Allied troops deployed on Mont Cent Jean.
 BELOW: The French array for battle,...
 BELOW: Troops of the French 2nd Corps and 3rd Calvary Corps

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Napoleon's OLD GUARD INFANTRY 1815

My 'Old Guard'
Sailors of the Guard
Guard Grenadiers 
Guard Foot Chasseurs
Almost all 28mm Perry Miniatures with a handful of Warlord Games miniatures,...
Flags from 'Flag Dude' except for one from GMB

You can find some excellent information on The Guard HERE

 BELOW: Chasseurs a Pied of the Imperial Guard. (PERRY MINIATURES)

 BELOW: Grenadiers a Pied

 BELOW: Sailors of The Guard

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The French Imperial Guard Cavalry

Hi Team
Like most wargamers interested in the Napoleonic era I eventually found myself drawn to attempting to recreate at least some part of Napoleon's 'Guard Imperial'.
The main motivation for doing so was my avid interest in The 100 Days (Waterloo) Campaign of 1815.
Many gamers of the period shun this campaign due to the fact it's a rather small campaign in comparison to the campaigns or 1805-06, 1809 or 1812-14.
Also, the British and her allies (or The Allies and the British) are not the traditional 'Stovepipe Shako wearing' icons we associate with The Duke of Wellington but a rather 'ignominious army'.
But for me I find it a fascinating campaign full of 'What Ifs'. Napoleon concieved a brilliant strategy but his execution was abysmal.
Anyway, it's also a campaign where we see his Guard pitching in unlike most campaigns where its held in reserve. The exception being the 1814 Campaign for France where The Guard was heavily involved,...
My French Imperial Guard not surprisingly is based on that Guard that was involved in the Waterloo Campaign.
I've gone with using exclusively the magnificent PERRY MINIATURES range in 28mm throughout.
So here they are so far,... (I've still to add the Polish Lancers).
I've included a little blurb on each regiment obtained from Wikipedia (if you can believe that)!
 The Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde Impériale (in EnglishHorse Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard) constituted a light cavalry regiment in the Consular, then Imperial Guard during the French Consulate and First French Empire respectively. They were the second senior "Old Guard" cavalry regiment of the Imperial Guard, after the Grenadiers à Cheval. The regiment had its origins in the Guides raised by General Bonaparte during his Italian Campaign of 1796. It was the Chasseurs that usually provided personal escort to Napoleon, and he often wore the uniform of the regiment in recognition of this service. The regiment was not only known for its lavish uniform, but its combat history as well.
Chasseurs à cheval (on the left) protecting the Emperor at the Battle of Friedland, while cuirassiers salute him before their charge.The Emperor is again in his green colonel uniform of the Chasseurs à Cheval.

The Dragons de la Garde impériale (Dragoons of the Imperial Guard) was a heavy cavalry unit formed by Napoleon I through the decree of April 15, 1806. The "dragoon" regiments of the line had distinguished themselves in the German Campaign of 1805, and therefore Napoleon decided to reorganize the cavalry of the Guard and create within it a regiment of dragoon guards. This regiment was colloquially known as the Dragons de l'Impératrice (Empress' Dragoons), in honor of Empress Joséphine. Following the Bourbon Restoration, they were renamed Corps royal des Dragons de France (Dragoons of France Royal Corps) but were disbanded shortly afterwards. 

The Empress Dragoons at the battle of Hanau

The Gendarmes d'élite de la Garde impériale (English: "élite gendarmes of the Imperial Guard") was a gendarmerie unit formed in 1801 by Napoleon as part of the Consular Guard which became the Imperial Guard in 1804. In time of peace, their role was to protect official residences and palaces and to provide security to important political figures. In time of war, their role was to protect the Imperial headquarters, to escort prisoners and occasionally to enforce the law and limit civil disorder in conquered cities. The unit was renamed Gendarmes des chasses du roi during the First Bourbon Restoration but was disbanded in 1815 during the Second Restoration.

The Grenadiers à Cheval de la Garde Impériale (in English: Horse Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard) constituted a heavy cavalry regiment in the Consular, then Imperial Guard during the French Consulate and First French Empire respectively. They were the senior "Old Guard" cavalry regiment of the Imperial Guard and from 1806 were brigaded together with the Dragons de la Garde Impériale.[1]
A part of the Republican Consular Guard, the Grenadiers became the senior "Old Guard" heavy cavalry regiment when the Imperial Guard was founded, in 1804. Their maximum official complement was just over 1100 officers and troopers, commanded by a general of division or a seasoned general of brigade, with some of the most famous cavalrymen of the time as commander.
Rarely committed to battle during the Napoleonic Wars, they were usually kept in reserve, alongside the Emperor, during the most significant battles of 1804-1815. When sent into action, such as during the battles of MarengoAusterlitzEylauHanau or Waterloo, as well as during a number of actions of 1814, results were usually impressive. The regiment was disbanded in 1815, after Napoleon's downfall and the second restoration of the Bourbons.
"Heads up, gentlemen, these are bullets, not turds". Colonel Louis Lepic harangues the Grenadiers à Cheval as they are forming for a charge under intense fire at the Battle of Eylau in 1807. Painting by Édouard Detaille at the Chantilly Museum.

The 2e régiment de chevau-légers lanciers de la Garde Impériale (English: 2nd regiment of light cavalry lancers of the Imperial Guard) was a light cavalry regiment in Napoleon I's Imperial Guard.[1][2] They were formed in 1810, after the Kingdom of Holland was annexed by France, but their original purpose was to serve as hussars of the Dutch Royal Guard.[1][2] The units, who were of an elite order, were known for their loyalty and military might, as well as their professionalism in and out of battle

Col. Baron Pierre David de Colbert-Chabanais leading the Red Lancers at Waterloo