Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year, New Rules: Quatre Bras 1815

Hello! I do hope you all enjoyed your holidays.

For my part, spent most of November and December abed whiling away the hours mentally developing a new set of grand tactical Napoleonic rules.

These are an old school style set of rules inspired in the main by the work of Charlie Wessencraft and Paddy Griffith. Each unit is a battalion of infantry, regiment of horse, or battery of guns. Ground scale is roughly 1" = 100 yard, and each turn is about 15 minutes simulated time.

It's 3'o'clock just south of Quatre Bras.  As the Prince of Moscow, I have set Jamin to operate along the Brussels road, while Gauthier's brigade enters the Bossu wood to the west. The corps artillery is advancing to take up positions on the recently gained ridge south of Geminoncourt. To the east Campi's brigade can be seen in reserve.

Orange has not been idle, having fought a splendid delaying action spanning from the wood to the Gemioncourt ridge.

At this point the only loss has been one battalion of the 2nd Nassau-Usingen Regiment although  three of my battalions have been in turn shaken and one even routed. All three have been rallied, and its time for the advance to continue.

As befits a game played at this scale only terrain that offers significant challenges to movement and those providing a height or defensive benefit need be represented on the table.  The layout of the the Quatre Bras battlefield pictured may be thought of perhaps as the cavalryman's view of the field. This was not good country for horse, much to Ney's detriment. While a single horseman can indeed go just about anywhere a man on foot can, the same cannot be said if formed units of horse are to be employed. The numerous streams, woods, and the sunken Nivelles/Sombreffe road itself all limited proper deployment of horse to the fields nestled between the Bossu Wood and the Brussels road.

The French right. Campi, center in reserve while Bachelu's other brigadier, Husson, has just about cut the Namur road south of Thyle.

The game uses a simple I-Go-U-Go sequence of play with a contest for initiative determining who goes first each turn. Combat uses only 2 six sided dice for resolution, and command and control uses a moderate command radius for the C-in-C coupled with an activity test for brigadiers outside that radius. Brigadiers are rated Timid, Cautious, Average, Dashing, or Reckless and are given to hold back, follow orders, or advance based on a 2d6 roll. In the current game Husson held back for a turn or he would have already taken Thyle. Will this lack of initiative be telling?

The French left. Gauthier can be seen pushing Netherlands troops back through the wood while Jamin advances on the crossroads. Bottom center one can just see Pire leading his horse towards the main road.

After four turns, the game having started at 2'o'clock, I'm a bit behind Ney in advancing on the crossroads, but closer to taking Thyle on the right. My plan is to advance Husson's troops up the road to the north west and roll up Orange's line.

Of course it is at this point that the Durch cavalry, Brunswick contingent, and first British troops arrive on he scene.

I am compensated by the arrival of Kellerman's cavalry and Jeromes division. While I will maintain a superiority in cavalry throughout my infantry will soon be facing even numbers and still later greater numbers of the foe.

Can the crossroads be taken and held?

Finally while I have had great fun designing and playing this game, the rules use no Two Hour Wargames mechanics and as such will likely not see publication.

Still having fun, and perhaps developing a greater understanding of the "why and how" of significant events is the point of the thing so all is very well indeed.

Hope you enjoyed the write up, and look forward to more as it happens.

Thanks for dropping by!