The last throw of the dice for the Corsican upstart found the French once more attacking the Allies. The initial advantage lay with the French as they had an extra corps on table and a shorter distance for their reinforcements to travel. The Allies had a decent defensive line to hold with rivers on both flanks. The initial push came on the left of the Allied line but was held off for long enough for fresh troops to arrive. In the centre the Old Guard was massed once again to provide the finishing blow and on the right a demonstration was carried out by Graham Kelly as he patiently waited for the Saxon flank march to appear. It all looked very rosy for the French and there were some long faces on the allied side as the first few moves ticked by. Above can be seen the assault by the Westfalians on the Allied centre left in support of the Guard. To their right the Old Guard commanded by Grant Petit begin their advance to certain glory.
However there was a fatal flaw in the French plan. The village at the top right of this picture should have been captured or at least neutralized with infantry to allow the Guard to advance unmolested. Instead the Allies were able to position a British Guard battalion inside it which could fire into the flank of the grumblers. This led to several battalions peeling off to trade volleys with the British, slowing down and diluting the attack. In addition the French had little heavy cavalry and this was poorly positioned to support the main thrust.
On the French left the Saxon flank march proved fruitless and it was only on the right that there was any success. the Young Guard supported by another infantry corps and the Guard cavalry slowly forced back the Allies. Their efforts however were all for nothing, faced by the Allied combined Guard corps and the splendid Russian Guard cavalry the Old Guards assault slowed to a halt. Rather than risk its destruction Gerry Elliott issued a withdrawal command and the Guard drew off in good order to enthusiastic cries of "La Garde recule" from the jubilant and somewhat relieved Allied players. The outcome was a strategic defeat for the French and though they would live to fight another day the week was adjudged by all but the most rabid Francophiles as an allied campaign victory.
The whole thing was a huge success and was due mainly to the efforts of Gerry Elliott who set up the terrain and to Stephen Scott who designed the scenario and army lists. Next year he's looking at doing a campaign in Denmark which should be new ground to most of us. For those who attended, many thanks for a great week and if I've misrepresented you then get your own blog set up and put the world straight.
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