To get you in the mood - a digitally enhanced photo of some anxious moments for British 95th Riflemen trying to retreat into the farm.
Getting under way
Our session commenced with A Company 1st Battalion 95th firing and retiring through the orchard towards the farm gate, pursued by the voltigeur company of 3/63e Ligne.......
......backed up by the rest of their battalion and 2/63e Ligne
Although if you look at the general view again there is a sad open space at the far end of the French line.
I should have been more zealous in my photography but here is the best I can do of what was there.
|Mike looks on confidently as Kevin removes the unfortunate chasseur companies|
A Company 1/95th Rifles had retired through the double gate and an officer ordered it locked while the men provided a second rank. B Company was manning the walls on the improvised fire step all the way round to the side gate, however their relatively small numbers firing made little impact on the large numbers of French. Above you can see the Voltigeurs of 2/63e Ligne are assaulting the west side walls. Below the two battalions can be appreciated - 3/63e Ligne is firing at the southern wall and inflicting just enough casualties on B Company to cause a worry.
This one shows the problem more closely as the French close assault in full force.
At the far corner wall you can just make out where casualty infliction has contracted the B Company line leaving a two-figure-wide gap. The initiative system is deliberately designed to make commanders take tough decisions about where to put their resources and Mike had reasonably supposed that his 95th, sitting in a defensive position, didn't need much leadership so failed to allocate any initiative tokens there and thus could not fill up the gap. This gave the French a chance to use my "leg-up" rule.
Another point is that the once strong column of 2/63e Ligne has been horribly weakened by canister and shrapnel fire sweeping down from the British foot battery on the ridge. The Voltigeur company was sheltered to some extent by the haystacks but the Grenadier company took the brunt of it and retired back in open order. The Fusiliers, however, carried on with the fight.
This is the view from the battery.
A bit more on the artillery
In the previous post I mentioned that the scale means that some artillery support needs to be "off table". That could be just notional units but we are preferring, if possible, to represent the guns crews and teams as models. The usual wargamers' dilemma of whether to go to the trouble and expense of having a model limber for every model gun is extant in our group, as in many others, so we have been scratching round a bit for suitable teams, extra foot crew etc and all are not completely compatible. However I was insistent that we get it as near right as possible on the day for the horse artillery so players will have a realistic option of moving the whole battery or just some of its divisions/sections.
|The French 12 pdr battery on a chest of drawers way beyond the table edge|
|A fuzzy photo of the French Horse battery on its bookshelf about 30" off table|
|The HA battery has 2 x 6 pdr guns and a howitzer and a couple of teams by Kevin.|
Paul D provided the extras
|RHA battery (mostly) by Kevin. It looks impressive but is still not complete for a 1:3 scale version|
Back to the game
As previously mentioned the French had a build up of cavalry in the centre.
They were bearing down on the 1st Company of 2nd Light Battalion KGL (2LB) who fired their rifles and then hurriedly formed a company square back on the ridge. Sadly the rather nice figure of the Cuirassier regimental colonel was one of their first casualties so he is missing from this photo!
But not to worry - the Cavalry Brigade commander was accompanying the second squadron
The KGL Hussars began to move onto the ridge to meet this threat .
But 2nd Squadron came under fire from the French HA battery, lost some casualties and decided to "lie low" behind the crest, formed in two troops one behind the other.
This of course left 1 Coy 2LB to face the 1st Squadron 4e Cuirassiers alone....except that Mike had kept his initiative tokens, lacking at the farm, for the battle in more open ground. In a rather unorthodox move he carefully judged the distances and had two companies of 2LB change formation at the quickstep into a square to help absorb the impact when the cuirassier wave broke over the ridge. 6th Company was left behind in a supporting line as he didn't have enough move distance to incorporate them in the square. I've given such highly trained light companies each a leader stand so they can act independently. Major Baring is placed so he can bring his 12 inch leadership initiative distance to bear on all 4 companies of 2LB in that vicinity. Both squadrons of 4e Cuirassiers received rifle fire on the way in from the 2LB companies, from this platoon of the Luneburg battalion.....
.....from the east facing loopholes of the farm, and from the RHA battery on the left flank which had turned now the threat to its front had gone (see photo above of RHA). Nevertheless the first squadron charged home, the small squares just held on, and we now await initiative at the start of day 2's gaming.
And what of the rest of the Luneburg Battalion?
After the first turn the Rifle company, in skirmish order, had split into two. The left platoon used the hedged field to give fire on the attacking cavalry; the right platoons filed off and began to reinforce the farm via a small gate on the North side. Strung out by channelling through the defile this took them some time, but by move three the leading elements were across the courtyard. The larger part was being targeted by French howitzers, but without success as they were out of sight therefore needing a visibility roll to keep the howitzer template on target. Ironically the die roll meant an impact on the regrouping B Coy 1/95th Rifles, sending them scurrying for cover in the building behind them. Here's an artistic rendition of the scene.
The three centre companies of Luneburg advanced, still in company column, in order to fill the space neatly between the farm wall and the hedged field, thus securing their flank from overlapping by an attacker. The Cuirassiers had diverted so ceased to be an immedate threat but their place in front of Luneburg was being taken by the Lancer squadron. A volley at that range took out 3 figures, not enough to dent the lancers morale. But, critically, the front company of Luneburg came under fire from the French 12pdrs on the distant "ridge"/chest of drawers, in scale this was about 500 yards range and near enough, even with unlucky bounce/graze dice, to cause sufficient casualties to significantly shorten the line and take out the foot command on the base with the colours. The mounted Lieutenant Colonel steadied the line and contracted both ends away from the secure flank cover. Whether this will prove a fatal error we'll have to see next time..........
|Note the gap between the farm wall and the Luneburg flank; |
there is a similar one at the other end!
And here is a final photo I could not work into the narrative but have to show you. The historical French order of battle includes a company of line engineers which were brought in late in the day to batter down the gates of La Haye Sainte. Here they are behind 63e Ligne, waiting to get to the gate if it's not forced by the infantry.
|Lively sapeurs in greatcoats from Warlord games, painted by Kevin East|
All the green-clad riflemen, the Luneburgers, and 2nd Squadron of KGL Hussars are mine.
All the remaining figures are by Kevin East with small numbers swelling the ranks from the collection of Paul D. (I suspect obtained via Ebay and based by Paul but painted by others).
A few of the extra horses in gun teams are from my 18th century collection.
Buildings - Hovels resin painted by Kevin
Trees - hand made by Kevin (multi -talented!)
Hedges - hand made by CG when I did 20mm WW2
Stream pieces - hand made by CG back in circa 1987 for my 15mm Napoleonics, it's worn well!
Cornfield - experimenting with carpet off cuts, powder paint and PVA glue (never waste anything from a house renovation!)
Plastic status trays and blocks by http://www.wargamer-aide-de-camp.com/ with grateful thanks to Martin for the discount for our Waterloo project.