Monday, 9 February 2015

Waterloo 200 - Hougomont game - and some violets...

As related in my previous post yesterday, on Sunday the Hall of Heroes Waterloo 200 project team held another practice game in preparation for our weekend mega-game in June to commemorate the bicentennial of this most famous of battles.

Actually we were playing for more than simply Hougomont, as we laid out 2 of the planned 5 tables, concentrating on the Western half of the field. Although we have already played this out, this sector of the field was where Wellington had the bulk of his poly-glot army initially posted, so it would test our force marshalling the most.

However, just as Jerome did on the day, the French team succumbed to the gravitational pull of that iconic chateau, lovingly laid out for us with Philip's model. Actually, much of this model's components have been sacrificed on the altar of ground scale!

The 30th Foot standing in for the Nassau defenders of the orchard garden - well at least they had yellow facings! Still 4 more months to paint up the gallant Nassauers!
I was standing in as French C-in-C, and my intention was for only Jerome's division, led by Mick, to get stuck into Hougomont, with Foy's division in the middle of II Corps acting as link to Bachelu over on the right table. Bachelu - Vic - would make the initial running between Hougomont and the Brussels high road, taking advantage of any gaps forced by our heavy cav, and then Foy - Richard - would come up as the reserve.  

However, rather than stand idly by, Richard decided to help Mick out by occupying the Eastern side of the Chateau's defences. And he did pretty well. In fact, he felt he was on the verge of a breakthrough - just a few more battalions should do it...

Meanwhile Kellerman - Caesar - and L'Heritier - Chris - were charging the Anglo Allied lines with the massed horse of III Cavalry Corps, and forcing them into square, opening up, briefly, a gap in the thin red line...although not entirely without mishap - charging a deployed battery of guns is ever a chancy affair:

But Richard was determined to take Hougomont - just one more push... And it has to be said he and Mick were certainly drawing the Allied reserves down....

Foot Guards reinforcing Hougomont, impersonated by the Royal Irish - that's a chargeable offence! Fear not, each Guards Battalion will be lovingly recreated for the great game itself!
And eventually their efforts were rewarded, with a break in from both East and West. A virtuoso duet performance of how to take a large garrison in Black Powder!

But the opportunity to break through to Brussels was gone - the Allied team had scrambled to present an unassailable defence!

In any case, Vic had run into troubles of his own - a command blunder had withdrawn his dedicated cavalry support, and Somerset - Terry - leading the Household Cavalry brigade lost no time in taking advantage, manoeuvring to take the hapless division from the rear - you've got to watch those Guardsmen you know!

I had blundered in another way of course, completely failing to capture this blog's signature shot of Philip quaffing tea. For this report, your humble correspondent can only provide one of Terry knocking one back (blue shirt, left rear):

And so adieu, perhaps until the violets bloom again - Soldiers of my Imperial Guard! Though I love you all, I cannot kiss you all. I will kiss your flag, for it represents all of you. But know that I shall return to France when the violets will bloom.”
Look closely at the upper right of this posey...


  1. I spy with my little eye something beginning with ... ... ... Napoleon's bicorne?

    Oh yes, and more grand pictures.

    von Peter himself

  2. That looked fun. Plenty of horse flesh on the table. Great stuff.

    Ah yes the card. The British version has the posey in a Wellington boot, with a ship behind heading over the horizon and St Helena beckoning.

  3. A top-notch report, very impressive mass of troops and beautiful close-ups as well...

  4. Another great report, good job Ralph.

  5. Nice AAR! A good head start on the 200 year anniversary then :)

  6. This project is really coming together and it has been a pleasure to play with such a great bunch of wargames enthusiasts. Always jovial, always welcoming and plenty of amusing anecdotes to come home with, the Hall of Heroes is a brilliant gaming environment. The big weekend is going to be absolutely epic and I can't wait!