Sunday, 30 March 2014

Ausgezeichnet! Prussian Army Falls upon Plancenoit: Part One

As part of our '100 Days Campaign' preparations we had a recce to the site. This is the practice game that followed on from that. It was a long, difficult and odorous (not a typo) task...the trip and the game...but the results were worth it from an appreciation of the ground point of view.
This is the view from Napoleons' OP towards the approaching Prussians on his extreme right of arc. In fact, when Ziethen and his Ist Corps broached the hill in the distance at the centre of this photo, the General saw, with great clarity, the whole battle laid out before him. On his left (off the right end of this picture) came Bulow and his IVth Corps arriving actually behind the French lines and heading for.....
 .....Plancenoit. This is the church at same where so much desperate action took place. The church itself is all but a rebuild but the foundations and the wall around the graveyard are the originals.
 A slightly clearer piccie of the wall with the slope up to it. If you go past the church from this point you'll come, eventually, Napoleons' OP and then to La Belle Alliance a couple of hundred metres yet further on.
 So, we laid out Plancenoit as Napoleon would have seen it via video link from his drone.
 We made some grave stones to add to the ambience, don't figures were buried during the making of this scenery.
 We started the action around 5:30-6pm on the day of the battle. Lobau has retreated in front of Bulow for most of the day. The Prussian Army had set off from Wavre at 4am (the holiday traffic was a nightmare) and despite ambush, lousy lateral comms and burning bakery's, had made steady progress towards Waterloo.
 The Nassau's are in Papelotte and La Haie farms (which are but spitting distance from each other) at the end of the Allied line in a defile almost hidden from the front view but clearly seen from the Lion Mound....Lion Mound not pictured.
 Picton's Division is in forward defence on the high ground between Papelotte and the cross roads at Mont St. Jean.
 Emerging from the trees is a man crucial to the events of the day. The official liaison officer of the Prussian Army to the Allied HQ General von Muffling. He moves like an ADC in Shako rules except for the roll-a-one-and-you-die rule revised to roll-a-one-and-have-a-kip rule.
 The French of Lobau's Corps put up a very spirited rearguard action in the valley in front of Plancenoit...
 They are not as battered as they probably should be by this point (note to self)
 On comes IVth Corps....15th and 18th Brigades...
 ...flanked by the cavalry of the Prince of Wilhelm of Prussia.
 It's a bit of a (shiny) per the day.
 The Nassau's come under heavy pressure in the farms
 D'Erlon is determined to have them out (some problem over rent)
 A whole division is battering at these fortifications with but two Nassau Bn's in residence.
 Desperate multiple attack columns divide the defenders fire so that they are unable to cover each other. This lack of support would be the case with this rules set anyway but it seems more realistic to attack simultaneously.

 Success for the French as la Haie falls.
 The Prussians are arriving in ever greater numbers...
 More pressure is now applied to Papelotte.
 von Muffling makes his way along the lines. For a portly gent his movements are surprisingly swift.
 Ziethen begins to arrive (with large flags) and his IVth Corps closes with the end of the line...
 The Prussians are looking for revenge...
 Unfortunately, the French like appearance of the Nassau's confuses the Prussian attackers. A disastrous 'blue-on-blue' own goal occurs and the Nassau's, hoping to recapture  La Haie, are attacked from behind and destroyed....personally, I blame just can't get the staff nowadays.
 Meanwhile, in the valley Lobau and Bulow are merrily kicking lumps out of each other...
 The view from the church tower. Time, thinks the verger, to empty the collection plate, grab the silver and get out of Dodge.
 Despite being outnumbered the French are holding back the Prussian tide for the moment.
von Muffling sees General Ziethen and rushes to greet him with a vital request....

Will von Muffling succeed?
Can the French foil the plan to take Plancenoit?
Is 'B' the capital of Bulgaria?

Tune in and find out in the next exciting episode of 'What are all you people doing in my shed?'


  1. Wonderful. Looks great and i can almost smell the powder.

    This segment of the battle (more French VI Corps faces Prussian IV Corps) is something I am trying to work out as a small game for Napoleon's Battles. Only needs two foot by four foot table and the command and marching order of the Prussians makes it a challenge for them although they do have the numbers.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Best of luck with the action. It seems to be all down to timing at this stage of the battle. Events further up the line will decide the outcome despite what happens once Ziethen disobeys Gneisenau and, de facto, releases the Allied cavalry.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Paul. Like your idea for the casualty figures. I may pinch it.

  3. A splendid spectacle once again! :-)