Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Campaign Season Opens

First things first I suppose, as I reported in the previous Blog entry I headed up to the Wargames Holiday Centre last weekend for a bit of playtesting of Mark's new Waterloo game.  Mark has moved the terrain to the West so that Hougomont is now at the extreme right flank of the Allied line which has allowed him to bring the villages of La Haye and Papelotte on to the table as well as Plancenoit.  Of course this gives a greatly enhanced role to the Prussians as they arrive earlier and have a larger area to operate in than in previous incarnations of the battle.

Prussian troops from Ziethens Corps head towards La Haye.

I must have played Waterloo at least half a dozen times at the WHC and I really liked the changes that Mark had made.  In previous games there was often the feeling that the arival of the Prussians was dependent on how well the Allies were coping with the French assaults.  This time the French were forced to react to their arrival from early in the game and were unable to blindly assault the Allied ridges knowing that the Prussians would probably arrive too late to turn the tide.

Two of D'erlons divisions begin the climb up the ridge.

The French plan of attack was relatively straight forward.  Lobau's Corps would defend the right flank against the Prussians whilst D'erlon and Reille's Corps each of four divisions would carry out the main attack on the right and left of La Haye Sainte respectively.  One of Reilles divisions was tasked with tying down Hougomont while D'erlon had to detach a division to concentrate on Papelotte.
    The right of the French line was seen as the main point of attack and therefore the heavy cavalry divisions of Milhaud and Kellerman were also allotted to this crucial area. 

The Chateau D'Hougomont defended by four, yes four, British Guards battalions.

Both divisions of the Imperial Guard along with the Guard cavalry were held in reserve to carry out the final breakthrough should they be needed.  On the left Reille's Corps was given the job of assaulting Hougomont, though this quickly became a screening action once it was discovered that the chateau was defended by four, forty eight man battalions of British Guard.  Reille also had the task of holding the French left while putting pressure on La Haye Sainte.

One of Reilles' division contend with the KGL for La Haye Sainte.

In the end the French were once again victorious but it was a much closer game than most of the ones I've played before.  I say once again, because in previous games it has generally been up to the French to lose it rather than for the Allies to win.  If the French did all the right things they would usually break the Allied line and this could sometimes happen very quickly.  Considering that the majority of the experienced players were on the French side it was still a hard fought game with the French just shading it.

The Guard cavalry once released head off to give some much needed support to Reille's Corps.

Changing the subject our new campaign is now under way and we have our first battle to fight.  The French face a coalition of Prussia, Austria and Russia and have headed North from their cantonements in Bavaria in an attempt to knock Prussia out of the war before the Russians and Austrians can come to their aid.  Advancing on a broad frontage it was the intention of the French to cross the Elbe in the vicinity of Meissen and advance on Berlin thereby forcing the Prussian field army to defend it.  Unexpectedly the Prussians rather than guard the line of the Elbe have crossed to the South bank and moved towards Dresden in support of the King of Saxony who has declared for the Allies.  This has allowed the French to send one Corps Northwest and cross the Elbe closer to Wittenberg. 
    The remaining French Corps remained at Leipzig to cover the crossing and it is here that the Prussians with their allies the perfidious Saxons have decided to attack.   

The area of operations with Leipzig close to the centre.

In the South there are reports that the Austrians are attempting to bully the brave and honourable King Maximillian of Bavaria into allowing them passage through his lands though information is scarce at the moment.
    So next week it's the Battle of Leipzig and if this campaign is anything like the last one we may end up fighting there several times.




8 comments:

Iowa Grognard said...

Great stuff! I will be following its progress with much interest.

Steve's Wargame Stuff said...

Cracking post as always. I'm really envious of those figures!

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

As always, I'm very impressed with the miniature count! Will follow the campaign closely.

Christopher

Sgt Steiner said...

Hi

Looking forward to following this one as well.

Cheers

Bluewillow said...

fantastic, I will be following the campaign with interest.

cheers
Matt

friendlyfungus said...

Where did you get that excellent hex map? I've been looking all over the internet for european hex maps with no luck.

Noel said...

FF: the maps are from the following link http://www.murat.ca/maps.htm

They don't have any hexes on them at this site, ours were put on by Neil who's running the campaign. If you're interested I can ask him to send you what he's got but I'll need your email address.

Noel.

Ravenfeeder said...

The hexes were applied to the maps Noel linked to using the hex grid plugin (http://registry.gimp.org/node/15852) for GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/). The hexes Neil asked me to use were 20 pixels wide with a 1 pixel line.

The hex grid tool applies hexes to any image and is relatively easy to use. However if you are a total IT luddite GIMP can be challenging. The tool does not label the hexes so an AH style map with each hex fully referenced is not possible.