The 2nd Dutch Belgian division is thinly deployed to face the dense mass of French. The only thing in their favour is the terrain (that stream disorders cavalry) and that I am factoring Ney as a wing commander, meaning he has to roll for command (with a 40% chance of achieving a full move, or otherwise half move). The Prince of Orange has a similar handicap (60% in his case), but Wellington is not so limited.
13:30 Ney gets off to a slow start. The French cavalry also doesn't fit in the deployment area and has to enter from off table. Ney sends it to cross the stream at Thyle. The Dutch artillery makes a mess of the 72e and 108e Ligne.
The view from the allied lines.
14:00 and Jerome has massed his division to bring maximum fire on the 2nd Nassau is Bossu Wood, while carefully keeping out of range of their fire. Thyle is jammed with French cavalry.
14:30 and Ney personally leads the attack on Gemioncourt Farm. However his commanders, Reille (5), Kellerman (8) and Lefbre (8) all fail their command rolls and the French have a tardy advance. Maybe they don't trust the newly arrived Marshall. No wonder Ney takes things into his own hands.
Jerome's men blast the Nassau out of the woods, but they are soon rallied by the Prince of Orange.
By the end of the 14:30 turn Merlin has arrived with the Dutch cavalry. The French infantry have been held up by the stream.
15:00 and Picton has arrived. Ney has lead another successful attack, this time leading Foy's division across the stream and up the rise to disperse the Dutch Belgian militia.
The Guard Chasseur a Cheval are finally across the stream. I now realise they should be disordered as per the scenario terrain rules.
Jerome advances on the Bossu Woods. The Orange Nassau Regiment has come up to stop the French.
It is 15:30 and Ney leads the 2e Legere to attack the Orange Nassau.
This is where it got a bit tricky playing solitaire. The Orange Nassau retreated from Ney's onslaught. The 5e and 6e Lancers were ready. They would have run down the newly arrived 8th Brigade which I had pushed a bit too far forward. I adjusted the Orange Nassau to cover the British and miraculously they formed square and repulsed the lancers. (While disordered they did have Perponcher's assistance, the British being in march column don't have the option to attempt to form emergency square).
The end of the 15:30 term. Jerome has captured the wood, the cavalry which should be disordered is slowly crossing the stream near Thyle. Wellington is busy bringing on reinforcements.
The newly arrived British are disordered by the fire coming from the wood.
Not one to miss an opportunity, Ney this time leads the 1e Legere in an attack.
The Brunswickers have arrived just in time as the two Legere regiments in Jerome's division have driven off all the defenders before them. Worse the Guard Chasseurs (who I was told Ney had been forbidden to use) have ridden down the Dutch cavalry.
Picton, aided by the Brunswickers, takes on the Guard Chasseurs a Cheval in a desperate attack to push back the French and provide room for the Allies to deploy.
Picton succeeded, but at the end of 16:00 turn he looks a little isolated.
Ney leads yet another attack. Picton and the 9th Brigade are assailed by Kellerman's Dragoons (who I'm also told shouldn't be there) as well as the mighty 2e Legere.
Jerome advances on Quatre Bras.
The end of the French 16:30 turn.
In the Allied turn Alten's 3rd Division arrives. The Brunswickers inflict significant long range fire on leading French units disordering them and hopefully stalling their attack.
However, at 17:00 Ney begins his long ride to victory at the head of the Chasseurs a Cheval.
Here he is at the end having ridden down all the allied rear area troops
The situation at the end of the 17:00 turn. Ney is at the very top left hand corner, just a few millimetres of his base can be seen. Ney's charge has allowed time for the French to regroup.
17:30 and the French attack Quatre Bras and the surrounding defenders. This time Ney wasn't leading any of the attacks.
At the end of the 17:30 turn the French have captured Quatre Bras, but are disordered by their efforts. Picton is still holding out.
18:00 and the British Guards go straight into action.
Picton is dissolving under weight of fire. Wellington had a lucky escape after his horse was shot out from under him.
18:30 and the British have retaken Quatre Bras. (As the French defenders were not deployed, when they were ejected by the 2nd Guards Brigade, the Guards were not penalised by becoming disordered upon occupying the ground)..
Ney launches a counterattack against the Guards counterattack. Regardless of the right or wrongs of becoming disordered when occupying a BUA after combat, the dice Gods saw that French fire, particularly from the Guard artillery to the east of Quatre Bras, was particularly telling, even though the British did have advantage of cover.
At the end of 18:30 Quatre Bras is back in French hands and the 5e and 6e Lancers have swept round the rear of the Allied forces whose morale has understandably collapsed. Wellington escapes a close encounter with the lancers with a wound to his sword arm.
Marshall Ney celebrates his victory in Quatre Bras, he had one Free Roll marker left.
Phew! It hadn't been my intention to play this scenario solitaire, but after a bit of correspondence with James I decided I better do a bit of play testing. It took most of Wednesday to do and it was a race to get it finished before packing up and getting to the club for the actual game.
Observations and the play of the game at the NWS will be in my next post.
In retrospect the scenario played well solitaire much more so than I expected. Hopefully that will be inspiration for me to raise the missing allied forces for my collection (as it was, my Prussians filled in for a lot of the Allies).