Saturday, 25 September 2021

Lasalle II - Ne Pas Quatre Bras!


So this lockdown solo game of Lasalle second edition was definitely not a Quatre Bras scenario - just want to be clear on that. Inspired by ? - maybe! But I don't have anything like near enough Dutch Belgian models yet - well, painted and based - to do justice to the Netherlands contribution to this battle.

But I was very keen to put together some new terrain I have acquired, not least some wonderful terrain mats from Cigar Box Battle, to see how well I could reflect that particular 'champ d'honneur'...

So the key aspect of the battle I wanted to reflect was the slow but steady build up of forces, so that every turn the Allies would bring on a brigade, the French a couple, to recreate this classic bluffing defensive encounter.

Again limited by the nascent aspect of my 15mm collection, the French had a decided superiority in cavalry, and put that to good effect attempting to push out deep on the eastern flank, towards Ligny...

At the same time going in early against the Netherlands garrison of Gemioncourt, which was divided into 3 'town squares' - somewhat over scale, but perhaps reflecting adjacent hamlets also... 

One of the significant strengths of Lasalle is the neat process for recycling different brigades against key points, pushing a brigade of troops hard,

then withdrawing it and rallying it back up to strength to go in again, or send in fresh troops to deliver the coup de grace against an exhausted garrison...so there was no time to waste - the twin objectives of Gemioncourt and Quatre Bras itself had to be captured by the French within 8 turns in this scenario...

With their preponderance of cavalry, the French were also able to support the infantry pushing up on the western flank, forcing the newly arrived British infantry into square, limiting the support that could be given to the Gemioncourt garrison.

However on the French eastern flank, the British Infantry arrived with a cavalry brigade to cover its flank, so was able to advance deeper into the field...before also being forced into square!

Meanwhile on the edge of the Bois de Bossu a fierce exchange of fire was taking place. Skirmishing is abstracted in Lasalle II, but there's no reason not to base up some of your infantry units to look like your favourite 'light bobs' - so long as the frontage is the same, that's all that matters!

With all forces now on table and the British wings immobilised, the French mustered for that second assault on the Gemioncourt garrisons, this time with fresh troops...


The weakened garrisons were forced to evacuate, but the 5th Dutch National Militia recreated the immediate counter attack that was historically successful...

But on this occasion history did not repeat itself and the gallant 5th retired back to Quatre Bras to move into garrison there...

On the eastern flank the French infantry had come up to attack the British squares...


But, nicely seizing the change of initiative that is so characteristic of Lasalle II, the British deployed into line in time to deliver a stinging volley!


Similarly on the other flank a British battalion deployed into line and was able to repulse the French infantry for a while.


However, with the French cavalry that had ventured deep into the flank now threatening the British rear, the perimeter had to tighten virtually into Quatre Bras itself, which was now amply garrisoned in 4 'town squares'...


With the French only having secured one of the two objectives by turn 8 however, the game was a draw.

This is the first time, as a solo game, that I've really had the opportunity to mull over the finer points of Lasalle as a ruleset, and the more I play it the more I like it - principally because the combat dynamic is so quick and elegant, yet delivering authentic outcomes - but also because the constant handover of initiative delivers that 'see-saw' effect you read about in Napoleonic battles - it just feels right!

5 comments:

  1. Thanks, I enjoyed that. QB is one of my favourite battles, so I liked your ‘inspired’ table :-)

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    1. Thanks Norm - yes, agree, its a great battle to try to recreate...

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  2. Interesting; thanks. Love the wargames room! I shall be venturing into Napoleonics soon so your comments on how well Lasalle works will be useful as I am looking for a god Napoleonic rules set.

    Cheers,

    David.

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    1. Thanks David! Yes, highly recommended. May I suggest you visit the Sam Mustafa Honour site and listen to his podcast on Lasalle?

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    2. Thanks; will do!

      Cheers,

      David.

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