Thursday, January 8, 2015

Plancenoit - Take Two

This is a refight of this game.  In order to improve the Prussian's chances the woods were classified as dense (which basically made them unsuitable for defending in line), Blucher was immediately available, all batteries were corps assets (although I reduced the number of 12pdr batteries to three from four) and the wood terrain was decided as being defined by the interior of the green line, not the green line itself (this allowed for some realistic gaps to exist between terrain pieces) effectively shrinking the woods by about 10% to 20%.

Mark B and I played this on the afternoons of Sunday and Tuesday, skipping the scorcher on Monday (when it hit 44.4 degrees Centigrade).  All up seven or eight hours.

This time I deployed with the 3rd and 5th Cavalry Divisions to the fore, as per the Adkin's map 36 on page 384 of his book, The Waterloo Companion.  The photo is the end of the Prussian 1500 turn, just after they have arrived.  It is relevant to note that the time on the Adkin's map is 1630-1700.

Hiller's 16th Brigade with its regiments in three parallel march columns was too tempting a target and so the 3rd Cavalry charged. This was the French 1530 turn.  Two Prussian units were hit, both failed to form square, one was routed but the other, while suffering casualties did not break and so the French bounced out.

On the 1600 turn the 5th Cavalry charged.  This time it was Losthin's brigade to the north that was hit.  Same as before, with the two contacted landwher regiments failing to form square.  This time both were routed.  

Subervie kept his troopers under control and they went on to charge the 18IR.  This time the Prussian's formed square and the French broke off.

The situation at the end of the Prussian 1600 turn.  The 16th Brigade has recovered from its rough handling and is pushing forward.  However the Prussian cavalry, having rushed forward, is taking heavy fire from a French battery

The Prussians might have beaten off the French cavalry attacks, but they are stuck in square.

At the end of 1630 turn Losthin's 15th Brigade has rallied and Hiller keeps pushing forward with the 16th Brigade.  The Prussian cavalry has started to deploy but is taking significant casualties from the French horse artillery 

The 5th Cavalry charge again, but are foiled by the Prussians forming square.  

The 5th Cavalry's horse battery is ridden down.  It had done some impressive damage to one of von Bulow's cavalry brigades.  Worse, the Hussars who finally cleared the battery then charged uncontrollably into the French lines and were horribly shot to pieces and broke.  After this the Prussian cavalry was kept in the rear.

The end of the 1700 turn and Lobau has started to pull back.  The Prussian's have been weakened, but fresh troops are arriving in the form of the 13th and 14th Brigades.

The Prussians are advancing through the Fichermont wood and starting to come down the track by the side of the Lasne.

1730 and the French are continuing to fall back, although the 20th Division (just south west of the Fichermont wood) is experiencing some difficulties. 

1800 and the 5th Cavalry are serving as rear guard.  The 20th Division had a precipitous retreat after being charged by the Prussians while in a disordered state.

The French cavalry launch a final attempt to push back the Prussians.  They fail, but do cause a slight delay to Prussian advance.

1830 the remnants of the French cavalry have withdrawn.  The 20th is slowly getting into position along a sunken road and the 19th is doing like wise to their right.  The Young Guard have deployed in Plancenoit.

1900 and the Prussians start to engage the defenders of Plancenoit.

1930 and Prussian progress has been slow.  The French are in strong defensive positions.  The Prussians can not get their weight of numbers to bear, but are starting to cause some casualties.  We were using the "2 hits to score 1" on troops deployed in built up areas and that makes a big difference to the viability of defending towns.

2000 and the first assault goes in.

The Young Guard around the centre hold their own, but the troops on the right are disordered and Blucher leads an attack on then and they are driven from that part of the village of Plancenoit.

The end of the 2000 turn.  Time for the Old Guard.

Blucher leading the way.

2030 and the Old Guard have arrived.  The broken Young Guard were pulled further back after Duhesme failed to rally them.  The Prussians were also having trouble rallying some of their troops, but they still have plenty.  They would have also had von Pirch's II Corps by now, but for this scenario we were not using them.

In go the Guard!

Blucher leads a bloody attack on the centre of Plancenoit.

The Old Guard defeat their opponents, but have taken casulaties.  Pelet is looking to his left with some concern as the Young Guard are effectively wiped out in a devastating attack.  Both sides had major die roll modifiers and ended up being tied and took a heap of casualties and both dispersed.  The Prussians however had unit superiority and this left men over to start occupying the centre of Plancenoit

2130 and the situation remains tense.

The French 19th Divison still holds part of Plancenoit and the sunken road to the North West.

The Old Guard have lost a quarter of their strength, but are still a fighting force.

Night has fallen and other events over take the fighting in this area.

Phew!  Great game and exciting outcome.


The Prussians might be better of delaying two turns and coming on deployed at the edge of the Paris Wood.  This would mean they would enter at 1600 and the situation more likely would align with the Adkin's map of that time.  However, given the size of the playing area we had it is a pity not to have them coming on earlier.  Perhaps that should start at 1400 at Lasne (rather than 1500 at Aywiers.

This game was meant to be just a scenario based on the Prussian attack on Plancenoit, but also served as a test for the equivalent part of the overall Waterloo scenario which I am arranging for 13 June this year as part of the NWS Waterloo Bicentenary celebrations. 


  1. wow! this has to be your best after battle report ever! great photos (lots of them) great figures/units and most of all love the playing area map...brilliant!
    I really enjoyed reading your wargame article...marvelous. good to read how the Young Guards were knocked out, but typical old guard fashion hanging around until the last turn/phase of the game... they are a nuisance ;o) or annoyance!

    1. Thanks Phil, I've just put up a follow up post with links to documents with more photos in them.

      All my figures and I painted most of them - certainly 95% of the Prussians maybe 30% of the French.

      The playing area worked well (Hills are a bugger to do as even if you get them right bases are always sliding off them). Still needs some work, but I am waiting on the Fourth Edition of Napoleon's Battles for a revised scenario map.

    2. I'm also waiting for NB 4th Edition!


  2. You did good Sun of York! Very memorable, and, I now have a good appreciation of the importance of the Prussians. Without them, it's clear Bony would have won without doubt.

  3. A tense and closely fought game!
    Looks great Mark. It's interesting to see the photos, having heard you describe what you had planned. It's almost a boardgame/miniatures wargame cross-over isn't it?

    1. Thanks James. The printed terrain was a first attempt and worked well. There is scope for improvement (I'm not happy with the woods for instance), but ease of set up and play was good and in terms of "accuracy" probably not bad, although research is continuing. At this scale I think some more terrain should be left out.

      As for the rules being a crossover, I think the situation was a set of miniature rules being given the boardgame treatment. Sadly both the original authors, S Craig Taylor Jr and Robert Coggins, are dead, but I believe they were miniature gamers, not board gamers (if indeed there is a distinction - I consider myself both.) AH was bringing out Napoleon's Battles as a miniature wargames rule set, but did provide counters so it could be played straight out of the box (which I did on a few occasions when travelling).

      Were it does get boardgamey is that it is a grand-tactical set, something that is more associated with boardgames than miniatures.

      The only similar sets I have seen are Tim Gow's WW2 rules Megablitz and Fire and Fury (the original brigade level). I'm tempted to say DBA as well, but they are a different thing altogether (by which I specifically mean they are not meant for the recreation of specific battles). I am interested to see what the Blucher rules are like when they come out, as I really want a set of Napoleonic rules I can use for club nights without too much fuss, but that still lets me be Napoleon.