Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Plancenoit - The Game

I have been planning a scenario based on this part of the Battle of Waterloo using Napoleon's Battles for some time and last weekend I was able to to see it come to fruition with the help of Mark B.

The French VI Corps deployed on the high ground south from the Fichermont Wood.

The Prussians just emerging from the Bois de Paris.

1500 Turn with the French deployment of the 20th Division in the Fichemont Wood and the two brigades of the 19th Division to the south.  The cavalry of the 3rd and 5th Cavalry Division are just off the lower left hand corner.  The Prussians enter at Aywiers in march column and have spread through the wood with the 3rd and 4th Silesian Landwher while the 15th Infantry Regiment is pushing down the Lasne valley towards Plancenoit, which is over a mile away.

For this game were were using the revised scenario map that was published in the Napoleon's Battles Yahoo Group in September 2004 by Alfonso Peral.  It has been printed on two rolls of paper and saved a lot of agonising over terrain.

1530 and the Prussians start to deploy.  The 16th Brigade (Hiller) is advancing through the north of the Bois de Paris and the massive Corps Reserve Artillery is now also on the table.  Artillery in march column takes up a good amount of space (400 yards or 4") and the Prussian deployment area is quickly filling up.

General von Losthin peers over the rise.  The dark brown is the highest elevation, the yellow brown the second and the green the third, so both forces are separated by a rise.

The French feeling confident in a good defensive position.

On the banks of the Lasne the 15IR see more French arrayed in a good defensive position.

1600 turn end.  Losthin is now deployed and moving forward.  The Prussian artillery is moving up and their cavalry has arrived.

This is the start of the fighting around the Hannotelet farm

The farm is no more than a landmark.

By the end of the 1630 turn fighting has commenced.  The French artillery scores a hit on the 2nd Silesian Landwher as it appears over the rise.  Its companion regiment has been pushed forward to fire on the French in the Fichermont Wood.  

1700 and the Prussian cavalry is struggling to deploy as is the Prussian artillery.  The 2nd Silesian has suffered further accurate fire and is pulling back.  Prussian artillery has got into action disabling one of the French batteries as Losthin's troops continue the advance, trading shots with the French of the 19th Division.

1730 and the 5th Cavalry Division launches an attack before the mass of Prussian artillery can unlimber.  The 3rd Silesian Landwher protecting the artillery forms square and the French cavalry bounce harmlessly away.

The French cavalry are unable to make any impact.

However one of the French brigades of the 19th Division met the Prussian 15IR and in a sharp encounter drove it off.  There are plenty more Prussians coming as the 13th and 14th Brigades have now reached the battlefield.  Note: A Prussian brigade is a formation equivalent to other nations' divisions.

That was the end of the French 1800 turn, we had been playing for about 4 hours and decided to call a halt for the day.  At this stage of the actual battle the Young Guard were hurrying to Plancenoit.  They don't seem to be needed at present...

Not part of the Bois de Paris, but a magnificent hibiscus adjoining Mark B's wargames room.

End of the Prussian 1800 turn.  Blucher has arrived.  I had not considered him part of the scenario, but at this stage felt his presence was required.  I also ruled that single units in march column could count as a continuous column and thereby get command benefits, provided they stayed on the road (or rather muddy track).  The tracks were also considered to provide clear going for march columns through the wood.

While Blucher fails to immediately rally the 15IR the Prussians have had success with the 4th Silesian Landwher which has pressed forward and shot up the French cavalry.  The French 12pdr battery has also been hit.

The 1830 turn has seen some major developments.  The fighting in the Fichermont Wood has intensified.  Prussian artillery has now started to engage the French with some success destroying the French 12pdr battery and thus opening up the centre.  A brigade of the French 19th Division has occupied (notionally only - no combat benefit) the Hannotelet farm, but is in danger of being surrounded.  Their divisional commander has been too bold and moved outside command which will delay the rest of his division coming up to offer support.

Intense fighting for the Hannotelet farm.

1900 turn and the Prussians continue to apply pressure.  Both French flanks look like they will disintegrate soon.

The destruction of the 19th Division.  Blucher leads the newly arrived 11IR into contact.  The French, although in line, are disordered and hampered by the wood. They would need a good roll to survive, but sadly that was not the case (Note "0" reads as ten). 

1930 and the Prussians have cleared the way.

2000 but it is still slow going as troops reform and batteries limber up while the mass of Prussian cavalry still struggles to find room.

2030 while there are still two more turns to go, night has fallen and there are no fires raging in Plancenoit to illuminate the place of battle.  The bulk of the Prussians are still a mile away from the crucial town and, while weakened, the French cavalry can still provide a delaying force.

Had Napoleon held on to the Young Guard and brigade of Old Guard just in case or had he committed them to the final attack?


This is a photo from Mark B showing the final position.

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