Waterloo Replay 3

Grouchy! This time I’m trying out the Grouchy variant. Grouchy got the message and is racing to join the Grande Armee.

After my quick two turn game last replay, I thought I’d try again. I figured when the situation for a possible cavalry breakthrough move occurred, I’d decide then if I want to change the rule or not.

In the mean time, I thought I’d try the Grouchy variant that allows Grouchy’s Corps to start arriving as if the original message had called him hence. This is turn one after movement, but before combat. Bulow’s IV Prussian Corps HQ can be seen on the extreme right. If this were any other army and a major road, the whole corps would arrive in almost one turn. Instead, it is a minor road and the Prussians must have two blocks trailing each unit to show their huge baggage trains. It will take most of the game to get them on the battlefield!

Turn 1 looks very similar to last game, but note, the artillery has been completely ineffective, just like historically. Historically, there was some damage, but nothing that would affect the readiness of an entire division!

Here we see a more typical French first turn. Spent French divisions everywhere, whilst the British line remains largely intact. When the French infantry failed to reduce any opposing divisions to spent status, the cavalry road off rather than face an enemy in squares. The French lost two infantry divisions and the British had two Corps level artillery put out of action for a bit.

Renewed French attacks on turn 2 again end up ineffective and somewhat costly.
Around 3:00pm Kellerman launches what he hopes is the decisive attack. Picton and his artillery have been driven back in disarray.

This illustrates the Charge! rule that allows certain units (listed by scenario, but frequently Elites and Heavy Cavalry) to move and attack immediately! This is that moment when time seems to stop (as when the Guard is committed). In this case, everything is being thrown in, trying to create a decisive moment.

Success! Well, sort of. Picton’s troops are driven back again, but they are not out. IIIc cavalry is now blown, but another effort will be required.

I did not try to blur out Kellerman’s division, but what a cool effect my poor photography has accomplished this time! There is a Baggage Train a few hundred yards off. Even if I had decided to use my cavalry breakthrough rules, it wouldn’t have mattered, II Corps’ chit has not been drawn yet (remember, this is a Charge!, so there’s still lots chits to draw) and they will move to safety when they get a chance.

Next the Middle Guard and Guard Lancers attack, intending to sweep all before them.
The attack by the Guards was blunted and the Guards were driven back. The Dutch infantry under Chasse, the only unit available, attempts to crash into the sides of the mass of retreating French, which could have been devastating except d’Elon sends over Marcognet’s infantry and the Dutch dissolve.

The combat phase (above) shows the true chaos of war. Charge and counter-charge, desperate men putting in their last ounce of strength. Bulow’s column is cut up by Grouchy’s incoming Corps.

The French attacks have once again been halted, but the Prussians are in disarray. At this point, it would seem Napoleon should admit that his hoped for easy victory has eluded him and he should back off to fight another day. But he is Napoleon, this is Waterloo, if not today, there will not be another day.

On turn 3 Wellington unpacked a Baggage Train and that has allowed him to form a coherent line on turn 4. He had to wait until the French had a chance to either stall or break through. They stalled, and his gamble paid off. During the turn, before regular combat, the answer wasn’t so obvious. Now it can clearly be seen that it was the right thing to do.

The late afternoon looks to be a lull before one final storm towards dusk. The French troops are spent and Grouchy has not made it onto the battlefield, yet.

I have my own way of resolving multiple unit combat. The official rules do it from the inside out, first contacted to last. That works, it is the official rule, and I will support and answer any questions as to how that rule works. I happen to do it the opposite way, outside in. I do this because it keeps the suspense up. Resolving from the inside out tends to make counter-charging flankers pointless since it won’t have any affect on the main battle.

I want to take a moment to look at this combat from turn 3. A classic flank attack being itself flanked. Remember, the actual turn order does not necessarily describe the way events turn out. It is not as if Brunswick flank attacked CIV Watier as he attacked Halkett’s spent Rehnish troops, and then Quiot got the idea to flank Brunswick. That might have happened that way, but I think it is more likely that Watier had requested support and D’Erlon sent Quiot’s division who went wide and found the Brunswickers coming to the aid of the hapless Halkett. Photo effects courtesy picmonkey.

Action, reaction, and couterreaction!
Quiot and the Brunswickers get tied up in intense fighting that neither of them expected.
Watier’s Curassiers mince Halkett’s division, but the chaos to their left forces them to withdraw and reevaluate the situation.
Turn 4 ends with some scuffling on the French right by the oncoming Prussians.
Turn 5 begins with a charge by the Old Guard and the Curassiers.

The Old Guard just can’t catch a break and the Brunswickers throw them back, then to top it off, they throw back the Curassiers as well. After that effort, still fresh, they do retire across the swamp to prevent any more cavalry attacks. They leave a lone lorn attachment to warn of any more French perfidy.

Turn 5 and all 17 Corps are on the field!

At this point with all 17 Corps present on the battlefield it becomes surprising with each chit draw to see who still hasn’t moved. One more grand French effort. If they don’t break the British line this time they will be hard pressed to accomplish anything other than “desperate” measures.

Turn 5 combat complete. French reverses everywhere.

From what I can gather, the appearance of Grouchy only serves to counter-balance the Prussians, not save the day. I am beginning to come of the opinion that If the French don’t win early, they probably aren’t going to win, much like Confederates at Gettysburg.

Napoleon’s Waterloo turn 6

The Curassiers charge and the detachment scrambles across the swamp to warn the rest of the Brunswick division that the French are coming.

It is turn six and the Guard’s chit is drawn early and the blown Curassiers and spent Old Guard attempt the impossible one more time. The French use the Charge! rule again.

The Old Guard seizes destiny and crosses the swamp and scales the escarpment to decide the day.
The Old Guard is stunned by the resolute Brunswickers who say, “You shall not pass!” They fall back and Napoleon is forced to concede as his army, by the repulse of the Guard, turns and flees.

I show a stunned Guard having retreated, but in reality, they rolled three misses and the Brunswickers rolled three hits. A 1 chance out of 64 occurrence. It was not meant to be. Napoleon surrenders.

In reality, the French have nothing left to mount another attack. The oncoming Prussians don’t allow Napoleon to draw troops from anywhere else to mount another attack, and Grouchy won’t make it by night fall.

Plus, I always feel if the Old Guard is eliminated the French are done.

3 thoughts on “Waterloo Replay 3

  1. The best thing about Pub Battles is that instead of trying to tell you exactly what happened, it focuses on showing you the results of whatever happened. The system let’s you create your own narrative, which is ultimately much richer than what endless charts and pages and pages of rules could ever do.


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