Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quatres Bras Redux

Reille's Corps advances.
Quatre Bras is one of those scenarios that I keep coming back to for various reasons. This time it was the acquisition of the Irregular Miniatures LTD. Napoleonic Boxed Rules and order counters for A.G.S. available from Angel Barracks.

This also spurred the completion or rather first table use of another approach to built up areas on the wargames table.
Thyle, foreground right, Quatre Bras, background right and the settlements of Piraumont,  
Gemioncourt, and Pierrepoint, center foreground to background.

I love nice building models but for games where the ground scale is 1" to 25 yards or more (the game pictured is 1"=100 yards) the building foot print is all wrong. 

The standard solution  is usually to call a single building a town, or complex. Others prefer to use buildings of a smaller scale than the figures being used, for example 15mm buildings with 25mm figures. However neither approach has proved very satisfying.

It occurred to me that card facades stood around an open area would work and would also allow for figure placement within the built up areas. As it turns out there is precious little 28mm card Napoleonic buildings out there and if you know of any please drop me a line or leave a comment : )

Armed with scans from Mike Robinson's excellent "The Battle of Quatre Bras 1815", I cobbled together a couple of villages from period art work depicting Quatres Bras and a farm from photos of Gemioncourt. 

Would love to make similar built up areas for the other theaters of the Napoleonic Wars but as yet have not had much luck finding suitable illustrations.

While I am sure this approach will not win any scenic grandeur awards, it works and looks quite tidy on the table.
Dutch Belgian militia rout as the Prince of Orange rides to join the defenders of Grand Pierrepoint

As for the went quite well actually. The opening cannonade took the head off Saxe-Weimar but his troops fought with great tenacity, routing Marbais' brigade before being forced to retire into the Bois de Bossu.

Bylandt's brigdade was routed by Campy's and flanked to the left by Husson who took up position in Piraumont.

Ney then sent Jerome's Division supported by the cavalry straight up the road to Brussels where they are about to collide with Picton's men who are arriving a bit tardy.

As for the rules they are quite simple although require a good deal of addition and subtraction which can get tedious after a while. Units are organized into brigades and each brigade is rated for its manpower down the tens, and cohesion which is generated using an average dice and some factors. Units lose both headcount and cohesion as a result of combat. Losses will eventually render a brigade a mere shell if not routed completely off the table..

Turns run thus: Approach movement, Artillery, Musketry, Maneuver, Melee, and finally checking to see if any units increased their cohesion by resting. 

Approach movement is basically straight ahead and used to get within 150 yards of the enemy. New orders are also issued and sent on their way to the target brigades at this time.

Artillery fire uses the poundage of the battery multiplied by the number of pieces to determine casualties inflicted and these may be doubled or halved by a number of factors.

Musketry uses cohesion plus a few modifiers to generate a factor that is cross referenced with the percent of the brigade able to fire as indicated by the brigade's formation.

Maneuver is used to adjust formations and heading as well as to close for melee. This can be quite tricky as suits the period as firefights may result in loss of cohesion stalling the advance.

Melee again cross references cohesion and modifiers with headcount modified by formation.

Finally units that have not been in combat this turn, and are a certain distance from the enemy may slowly regain lost cohesion.

All in all it works quite well. There are a few iffy areas that any experienced wargamer should be able to hash out and of course there is a good deal of bookkeeping.

Well that's all for now and as always thanks for stopping by.


  1. That´s a neat solution to the buildings problem...good one.
    here´s a link to some buildings...the medieval ones could be pressed into service as well.
    and some very expensive ones!!!
    You could try making your own from foam insulating matts

  2. Hello Paul,


    Yes, I love the Grand Manner buildings. Very nice indeed.