Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Battle of Quatre Bras - Blucher AAR

Well we've played our second Napoleonic game using Blucher rules, the Battle of Quatre Bras. We repeated history with the French being forestalled and the Allied army securing a victory by holding the vital crossroads.

We played with a couple of 'house' variations on the rules:

Units retained hidden/concealed status when activated as long as they stayed over 8 BWs from the enemy or closer than that but out of the enemy's line of sight (don't retain reserve movement).
Artillery units remained on the table when they reached their last ammo value and were able to continue firing at that rate, the player still retained the option to retire them if they wished.

Both sides victory conditions were:

Breaking the enemy army
Occupying Quatre Bras, Gemioncourt & Thyle at the end of the game (in red on map below)

An Overview of the battle:

the above map is the Cigar Box product

1. Foy & Jeromes Infantry Divisions, captured Gemioncourt late in the game, Foys Division took heavy casulaties, Pires Light Cavalry Division deployed to their left.

2. Bachelus Infantry Division attempted to capture Thyle they were stalled by Allied Brigades and by the end of the game they were spent taking heavy losses.

3. Pires Light Cavalry Division & Guitons Cuirassiers charged the Allied army Hubers Brigade breaking through as far as Quarte Bras scattering Kielmansegge Brigade in the process heavy losses were inflicted and taken!

4. Lefebvre-Desouettes Guard Light Cavalry Division arrived on the last French turn and deployed in the centre of the French line strengthening it against the Allied armies general counter attack.

Bylandt & Bernards Brigades were deployed initially defending Gemioncourt they were pushed back Blyandts Brigade was dispersed as it retreated by Hubers Brigade.

I. Merlens Cavalry, Kempt & Bests Infantry Brigades covered Thyle, Merlens Cavalry deployed to the French centre hampering their attacks on Gemioncourt, Packs Brigade garrisoned Quatre Bras it later assisted recapturing Gemioncourt on the penultimate turn of the game.

II. Halkett, Kielmansegge & Brunswick Brigades defended line between Bossu Wood and Gemioncourt, they took heavy losses but stopped the french attenpt to successfully advance on Quatre Bras.

III. Guards Division arriving late in the battle deployed to the allied centre and assisted in recapture of Gemioncourt.

IV. The Allied attack to recapture of Gemioncourt Halketts reduced Brigade taking the prize. Hussah!

The initial set up Neys troops in  the foreground with Quatre Bras in the (far) distance! Its 2:00pm let the battle begin!

The French IInd Corps lines up to take on the 'lonely' 2nd Butch Division holding Gemioncourt Farm.

Their infantry repulsed from Gemioncourt farm the French cavalry deploy to their left to outflank the Allied forces. Top centre of the picture concealed is the Merlens Cavalry, Kempt & Bests Infantry Brigades heading to Thyle. In the top right Bachelus Infantry Division is advancing on the same objective!

The Duke of Brunswick deploys Buttlars infantry and Cramms Cavalry to block the French advance on Quatre Bras as a brigade from the 2nd Dutch Division withdraws.

The face off in the vicinity of Thyle.

Foys Division in the centre attack Gemioncourt again! To their right Jeromes infantry Division are attempting to attack Gemioncourt while covering Merlens cavalry just out of picture. To Foys left the French cavalry charged with varying degrees of success!

5:00pm Wellington and more Allied reinforcements arrive around to support the Brunswick troops in their battle with the French horsemen.

With the 'fate of France' in his hands Foy captures Gemioncourt!

Hubers horsemen ignoring Packs Brigade in Quatre Bras routes Kielmansegge Brigade but it leaves them isolated (sort of replicating Guitons Cuirassiers actual charge in the battle they hammered two Allied brigades and reached Quarte Bras but were left in a dangerous position)! Wellingtons command retinue is in the foreground of the pictured...

The face off at Thyle continues!

The French cavalry are spent, both of Pires brigades have been dispersed, the French artillery battery is running low on ammunition and Foys men at Gemioncourt now face the resurgent Allies freshly reinforced with the British Guards Division...Merde!

A final attack by Bachelus Infantry on the French left results in disaster! Hitting on 4's with three dice they got TRIPLE ONE! they got zero hits to the Allies four...lucky an attacking unit can only take a maximum of two losses!

The centre of the battlefield at the end of the game, Halketts brigade has retaken Gemioncourt and is supported by four more brigades two of which are the fresh British Guardsmen! Ney in the foreground to the right now has Lefebvre-Desouettes Guard Light Cavalry Division on hand to assist in halting the allied counter attack!

As a group we enjoy these rules and are going to revisit the Battle of Raab scenario soon to ensure we have our heads around them and the best tactics for the period. Personally I think given the balance of 'playabililty' vs realism Blucher gives gamers a set of rules that allows large battles to be recreated in a reasonable amount of time...