Thursday, 30 July 2015

Waterloo Project: La Haye Sainte refight at 1:3 Part One


I refer readers to my previous post -starting-line-up-for LHS as the introduction for this game which took place over 3 days 17-19 July 2015. For this post I'm delving pretty deeply into the wargaming aspects in this scale for a one-off historical refight and I hope you find it of interest before I enter into the narrative itself.

Maps
These maps are adaptations of the ones in Adkin's marvellous "Waterloo Companion". Using my photo and drawing programs I stripped them of existing troop markings and redrew them, emphasising the contours so I could build the terrain (more on that another time). The scale is shown and translated to roughly 3 metres for 1 inch on the table. Although the hedges are shown, the crops are not, so I used a lot of picture and written sources to come up with my own interpretation and you can see the result in the above referenced post. The photos also show the troops on the table at the starting point (with the exception of the 1st Light Battalion KGL still on the painting table at that time!) but these maps show all the available wargame units in the area, many off-table. They formed part of the brief to the players. (Click to enlarge all images)


Map  showing the Allied dispositions at the 1.30 pm start time
For practical purposes all historical units to right and left of the table were ignored. I told the players we would assume that as this is part of the big battle any units at either side were equally engaged and not a threat to their flanks. It made for a better game, with all available space being used.

The French map.
Only skirmishers on the table to start with and many of these
we judged had 10% casualties already from long range rifle fire.
Orders of Battle
Every unit was listed on an Excel spreadsheet together with number of figures, "10%" increment loss in figures for casualties, Number of figures per die for Firing and Melee, and the Morale Factor, a line ready to record the running total of casualties, and in many cases "orders" pre-written by me. The latter was intended to give some sense of purpose and structure at least at the start. Once players had got the more senior commanders into action then they were at liberty to change orders as they wished. Every leader from battalion commander upwards was also listed by number and name on the spreadsheet, and noted whether they were "inspiring" commanders (in my humble opinion and for the balance of the game). I won't bore you with a full Orbat but it can be gleaned from the Subordination charts below. In round numbers we had available for use about 2000 Allied figures and 2700 French of which all but about 650 made it onto the table during the 3 days' play.

Players
As previously mentioned the players and Umpires  came from Gloucestershire, Bristol, and Buckinghamshire.

Allies - James Fergusson, Mike Tovey
French -  Richard Newcombe, Pat Burden, Paul D. and Dillon Browne

Richard briefs Paul and Dillon on their arrival for the second day of play.
Pat scratches his head wondering how he can secure La Haye Sainte Farm
Umpire Kevin listens with interest
James and Mike have a horde of French to deal with on Mont Saint Jean on the third day's play
Troops
This mad idea to make authentic forces at 1 figure representing 3 men started out two years ago. At that time we realised we might be able to do this if we combined Kevin's and Paul's existing collections, added  a significant influx by co-opting me into collecting and painting about 1000, and trying to find other collaborators too. Richard and Mike from the Greatfield Group joined the fray with painting and funding, and we discovered James just by chance through post-purchase chat on Ebay. James turned into a major contributor, rules tester and general breath of fresh air to us oldies. But various factors combined to conspire against my targets and I fell short by a  few hundred. Fortuitously the posts on this blog brought forth Paul H. an established wargamer only about 5 miles from my house! Paul had recently bought a big collection of Waterloo Napoleonics and was willing to fill some of the gaps by lending some superbly painted units, even though he was pre-booked on our weekend and couldn't play. Thanks so much Paul.

I tried to match starting strengths where possible as given in Adkin so there were no standard sized units. However most French companies were 24- 32 figures making battalions of 150 -180 figures. Allied battalions were of 4, 6 or 10 companies each so battalion strengths varied from about 135 up to over 200 figures. Cavalry squadrons on both sides were very varied to try to match up similar types, resulting in the smallest being 24 figures and the largest about 55. French 1st Cuirassiers and 2nd Dragoons, and the Allied
3rd KGL Hussars each had 4 squadrons on the field.

So for many days before the event I was busy trying to match up figures from 6 collections to try to make coherent units of the right size for our game. Most of the green clad Allied figures were my own so were relatively easy, but all the French battalions and the Allied redcoats had to be assembled to look OK together, and with Light and Grenadier companies.  A lot of the cavalry too were made up from disparate units designed for 1:20 or 1:100 scale armies. So please forgive some of the close-up photos where, if you look hard, you'll see soldiers with different facing colours juxtaposed. However I think the consolation is that, at normal wargames distance they look pretty impressive. And I revert to my usual mantra "This is not a static diorama it's a wargame!"

Lovely mass effect but all those different portmanteaux give the game way about combining smaller units
While I mention it can anyone challenge my claim to having the most green-clad rifle types on the table at once? If you take the 95th Rifles, 1st and 2nd Light Battalions KGL, and the Luneburg Battalion at this scale it is over 600 figures all in rifle green jackets!

Across the collections we probably had some of most manufacturers in 25/28mm but by far the majority were Perry metal and plastics, which we all like. There were also representatives from Front Rank, Elite, Essex, and in view of costs, Victrix and Warlord plastics too.

Rule aspects
Those who have followed our test games reported on this blog last Summer and in May this year will know I have written a set of rules especially for this game and our 1:3 Hougoumont scheduled for September. They are called "With MacDonnell and Baring 1815". We've tried to strike a balance between the fun of single figure skirmish gaming but with the overall tactical/strategic context still in view and getting the game actually done with thousands of figures! I wanted to ensure there was some flexibility for single companies and squadrons when needed, but that full battalions posed tactical issues particularly over manoeuvre and formation changing. Fog of War had to be present as I think it was responsible for some of the major "mistakes" made on 18th June 1815. A lot of this was represented by the Initiative System. Put simply, each side had a limited amount (maximum 12 as the game progressed) of numbered tokens. These were allocated blind at whatever level of the command chain a player chose. Mounted leaders have a 12" range of influence and foot officers 6". A higher echelon officer can influence more of his units as long as they are within 12". Exceptionally a few very senior leaders were allowed notional ADCs who could carry 1 or 2 tokens up to 30" to activate a subordinate command that turn. All the tokens are turned over and units played in order from 1 upwards. Morale effects are instant and the results applied using a "free" move. Thus players had to make hard choices how to place their tokens but could often be confounded by the playing order that came out and morale effects during the turn. It creates the kind of unpredictable to and fro I wanted but generally rewards the side that put its efforts into crunch points. Without some valid command a unit could not attack or move. "Unplayed units" are dealt with simultaneously at the end of the turn with limited firing and formation change ability.
A beautifully painted French Chevaux Leger Lancier officer leads his squadrons.
The red dot on his white sticker shows I have given him "Inspiring" status.
(photo and figure by Kevin)
Commanders deemed "Inspiring" can swap their initiative token for one nearby to give them more options and they add to a unit's morale if near enough. Players could pack in Inspiring commanders to an important area and add as many as were valid in the subordination chain.

This very smart looking French officer is having difficulty
controlling his French infantry outside the LHS entrance gate,
despite his "inspiring" sticker (at left)!
(Figure by James, photo by Kevin)
Another aspect of fog of war that worked well was that any target over 36" (approx 100 yards) away could be enshrouded in smoke and might not present a good enough target for full effect shooting results that turn.
A reducing chance of good visibility on a D6 over 72" and 120" meant long range artillery targets rarely received full effect which would have been unrealistically devastating every turn.

Even though Allied light troops are surging down the forward slope of
Mont St Jean they are still unlikely to provide full effect targets for  French
batteries (on window cill) deemed to be about 500 yards away (i.e. over 120")
Each unit had a set of statistics and status markers using the
Wargamer ADC bases and tokens adapted for our rules.
Take advantage of Martin's special offer for my readers of this blog by visiting
this posting  before your purchase.
waterloo-project-record-keeping
Subordination
As you can tell from the above I was keen to limit initiative and commands to reflect the historic command structure and likelihood that units would follow known leaders. It wasn't reasonable to expect players to know this so I provided each with one of the charts below that show how the Corps/Division/Brigade/Regiment/Battalion/Battery subordination should work, assuming the commanders were actually available (see Events)

Baron Dubois uses his Initiative token to order forward the front squadron  of
1st Cuirassiers while also summoning up  another one within 12".
On reflection this limitation proved more difficult for cavalry commanders due to the size of units.
(photo by Kevin)


The French chart is fudged somewhat as the paved chausee seemed to be a dividing line between both infantry and cavalry corps and the command chain would have exceeded our officer figures available and chances on the dice!

Random Events and Command

Most wargames tend to represent a battle in its entirety but here we had taken a slice out of one of the most crowded battlefields in history, and one where some generals were notable for their personal involvement at points of crisis. I wanted to reflect firstly, the prospect that generals commanding troops elsewhere might not be present all the time, and secondly that orders might arrive adding or subtracting units due to pressures elsewhere. Occasionaly this was fun, often it was frustrating and, in a few cases, produced exultant air punching!

Each turn a different player on each side rolled two D10 and added them together. Then we applied the resulting number as far as possible. I hope you can read these by clicking and enlarging. If a general "arrived" before any of the troops in his subordination it was not wasted but was applied at the time those troops were due. The Events chart also allowed some custom made occurrences pertinent to the La Haye Sainte area which could prove to be significant game influencers if they happened at the right time.

Allied Event Chart

French Event Chart

Paul D's Wellington Command Group. For his rules each figure on the vignette base
represents a command (so 5 for Old Nosey), but he only had two with my
WMaB1815 rules (photo by Kevin)
Time Charts
I don't want to bore you with more charts, suffice it to say I looked at whatever concensus I could glean from various published works on Waterloo to arrive at times when new units could be fed into the fray. Each side was given their own copy showing timed moves from 1.30pm, optimistically up to 7 pm. but I admit I was allowing some units to arrive a bit earlier than historically as I foresaw the inevitable wargaming delays.

The French 2nd Dragoons advance up the "extra bit" having been available from 3.30pm
Behind them one of the battalions of 13th Legere came on a 4pm
Objectives
You might think the game objective for the French was obvious - take La Haye Sainte Farm! But no, that was simply a means to an end on 18th June 1815 and the real aim was to take Mont St Jean Farm and Village much further forward.  So I gave the French the game objective to dominate the crest of MSJ ridge and have seen off most opposition there by our close of play after 3 days' wargaming. I wasn't prepared to predict what game turn we might have reached by then!

Next time I'll get on to the narrative.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Waterloo Project: Starting line-up for La Haye Sainte at 1:3 scale

Well it's finally here! Two years of madness to be consumated next weekend and here are some photos of the battlefield we will be using with troops in the opening positions as at about 1.30pm on 18th June 1815. No time to explain more as there are still too many preparations to be done and I'll assume readers have been following what we are up to.  So, many photos with minimum descriptions.
View from the NE corner. At left is the "extra bit" which is separate and will be placed on
the side table to enable players access to all parts of the playing area.
Overall view from North of the Elm tree crossroads
View from the NW corner behind KGL line infantry and the advancing Luneburg battalion
Looking Northwards up the table towards Mont St Jean ridge
The front line: skirmishers from 54e and 55e Regiments de Ligne close in on
La Haye Sainte orchard. On a specially built shelf on the window cill are
three batteries forming part of the Grand Battery. Our rules allow "off-field "
artillery fire as they are 300 metres (100 inches) away.
Looking along the three French batteries
Rogers' Royal Foot Artillery battery looks down the extra bit
And in close up - one of Kevin's famous artillery vignettes in the foreground
Part of Ross' Royal Horse Artillery battery by Wellington's elm



Above and below: two views of the division of Ross' battery by the abattis
on the main chausee

 Luneburg battalion, with skirmishers forward and the rest in company
column begins it's advance down the slope from the sunken road
Luneburg's view of the forward skirmish line and French skirmishers beyond
2nd Light Battalion KGL is garrisoning La Haye Sainte, with its barricade outside
 the main gate, and (below) the orchard 

1st Battalion 95th Rifles in the sunken road on MSJ crest.........
......and around the sand pit
The 32nd Regiment of Foot in two wings shelters on the reverse slope,
with light company lining the hedge
The Duke of Wellington and Earl of Uxbridge await the French onslaught

More photos of the actual game after the weekend, and, if there is any interest I'm happy  to do a posting on how I made the terrain.











Sunday, 12 July 2015

Waterloo Beers and project update

Just a quick blog to make sure my faithful followers are in the picture. But first, too good an opportunity to miss to show you some Waterloo beers.

Belgian Waterloo beers on the Waterloo  terrain in my wargames room

In the week before our "Waterloo - Le Woteef" game Kevin arrived bearing a hefty cardboard box. It contained no less than 48 bottles of "Waterloo Beer", two of which are pictured above. His intention was to commemorate our West Country Waterloo Summer by having enough bottles to donate one to each of  the participants in all our games. The majority of those at Le Woteef were beer drinkers and very grateful. Noting that it was a hefty 8% volume of alcohol some opted to take their souvenir home and keep a clearer head for the game!

Kevin and I first encountered this in the Duke of Wellington restaurant near the Lion Mound on the battlefield last year, imbibed more of it in Waterloo village that night, and that led our intrepid  figure painter extrordinaire to import a crate from Belgium especially for our events. As you see it comes in a "Triple Blond" for those who prefer a more Continental style beer and a "Strong Dark" for those like me who prefer their ale more English style. The bottles are small at 33 cl, but just as well really.

Now, completely separately, but as my liking for the hop is well known among my children, I was given a present last week from Scotland by one of my daughters and her Scottish husband.
Scottish Waterloo beer sits astride the Brussels-Charleroi chausee on our,
as yet untested, La Haye Sainte battlefield
This is made by a brewery called "Born in the Borders" and is a normal  UK 500 ml size and a more modest 4%. I have yet to try it but the next weekend should give a good opportunity......which brings me to the update.

Apologies to those looking forward to the account of how "Le Woteef" game went. For the moment I will just say that the Umpire declared it a major French victory. I will be blogging it in the next few weeks but the lack of blogs has been due to a mad rush since that last game dismantling the terrain and rebuilding the part we need in 1:3 scale - that is 1" = 3 metres for 1 figure to represent 3 men.  The terrain is done - 96 square feet of sculpted landscape, the figures for the first Act are on the table (well at least the Allies) and I'm still working on the orbats and briefings, as well as the usual last minute panic to complete essential figures!  It has taken me three weeks of nearly full time effort, and sorting out all the borrowed troops from six collections is something wargamers of modest means like me can usually only dream of. The thirteen battalions of French infantry amount to 2000 figures and the 10 squadrons of French cavalry are around 450. Kevin is coming round Thursday to help with all the vital marking up of units and I hope we manage to get them all into play over the three days we have allocated. 6 players are coming from North Gloucestershire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, and hopefully some local observers will pay a call from Stroud and Cirencester too.

I will be putting some photos on the blog shortly of the terrain and the starting line up.



Thursday, 18 June 2015

West Country Waterloo: The First Refight - Part 3

Thank you to all those who have read, and especially commented on, the previous post waterloo-first-refight Part 2. The foregoing represents only 7 moves which is all we managed on our first day. The initiative system does produce delays while each command goes in turn, some take longer than others of course. I also got chastised for the time taken by wanting to clear the decks for photos and get a briefing for my notes each turn - you happy readers  are getting the benefit of that!  Everyone benefited by allowing Paul to adjudicate most of the time to avoid mistakes or overlooking some nuance he had introduced especially for Waterloo (such as soft ground affecting round shot for the first hour).  I did some adjudication on the peripheries where it made sense to keep up momentum. Luckily we had scheduled two days to ensure some kind of result. That meant that for Day 2 we lost Owain as Uxbridge and Tony as Prince of Orange, but we gained young Freddie sharing some of those responsibilities. The French were content to keep the good natured, historically flavoured, bickering among the same generals! Despite the lulls, and my suggestion to even out some of the workloads during Day 2, everyone seemed to be enjoying the slower pace and the commands that they had. That might have had something to do with the previous evening's pub meal followed by wine and cakes supplied by D'Erlon and Wellington into the small hours!
The umpire supervises Napoleon inspecting his reserves on the back table........
.....while Wellington briefs the young Prince of Orange 
By this time Wellington had built up an impressive gun line on the West end of MSJ
3pm - 3.30pm
On the French left the Belgian cavalry pushed the French Carabiniers right back to join the rest of Kellerman's Corps. The intact brigades of Dragoons and Cuirassiers still looked dangerous and neither side's cavalry seemed to have the upper hand, so Uxbridge called up the Household Brigade and the Union Brigade to the North-West of Hougoumont to try to make a difference. 
In the background can be seen the Household brigade (Life Guards) attacking.
The Union Brigade (Scots Greys) are on the right. Jerome's Division faces
Alten on the chausee. Hougoumont burns.
In the Hougoumont area Lobau continued artillery fire on the chateau and was now backed up by the advance of the Guard Heavy cavalry and artillery followed by the Old and Middle Guard infantry on the Eastern side of the chausee. 
Napoleon is at last on the main table
The Guard Heavy Cavalry
 This turn's rocket salvo rolled "1" which meant the French got to choose the target! So they were directed on Hougoumont and set more of it ablaze. The British Guards held firm despite a loss from the"friendly fire".

On Mont St Jean (MSJ) the Highlanders weakened, but maddened by fire from the Grand Battery, charged down the slope but losses due to the melee meant the morale of both sides failed. So Donzelot's attack was temporarily halted but the Highland brigade retreated hastily back over the ridge.
Before their charge - the Highland Brigade in square above LHS under artillery fire from
 the Grand Battery and with a yellow counter. At bottom left a Nassau brigade
 has also formed square because of the nearby Cuirassiers; the French HA fire
made sure they would regret it.
And afterwards the Highlanders back behind the crest with a red counter (exhausted)
and a small casualty stand (shaken) and under assault by French infantry
Two views from the Grand Battery

Among the Frischermont woods a gap in the trees was covered by Vivian's Horse Artillery, now exposed to the full fury of Jacquinot's renewed assault. They failed to see off the Lancers with canister and abandoned the guns but, as so often happens in wargames, this very success proved a final, fatal morale test for Jacquinot's Lancer brigade. To counter-balance that another KGL Hussar brigade was destroyed by the Guard Light Cavalry.
Another KGL  cavalry brigade about to be destroyed. Abandoned gun in
background
3.30pm - 4pm
Collaert's Belgian Carabiniers got beaten in their attack on Kellerman's Cuirassiers and Uxbridge led the Household Brigade and Belgian Hussars to try to rectify the situation.

Lobau's Corps was biding its time trying to weaken the resolve of the Hougoumont defenders by artillery fire. In this effort they were now joined by Imperial Guard artillery and the fire spread to cover the woods and orchard  not just the buildings. The Guard infantry and Heavy cavalry moved towards the West of Hougoumont.
Hougoumont burns more! Imperial Guard approaching in the background
Mixed fortunes on the main part of MSJ where more of D'Erlon's infantry surged forward and the Highland Brigade fought till it finally died. However the Brunswick Hussars now made a surprise attack over the crest riding down the chausee and pushed back one of the weakened Cuirassier brigades but was in turn trounced with a "Total slaughter" melee result thanks to poor dice! 
Brunswick Hussars at left. Highlanders receiving their last onslaught at top left
The same action from along MSJ
On the French right flank the Guard Light Cavalry finally got rid of all Vivian's cavalry but reached tired and exhausted status themselves. Around that time the first Prussians (Hack's Brigade of IV Corps) began to arrive on the table at the Lasne Brook road but quickly formed squares due to the apparent threat from the French cavalry.
Reforming French Guard cavalry with Prussian squares at left rear
4pm - 4.30pm
More Prussians began to arrive, with the squares protecting columns from the potential attention of the now-regrouping Guard Light Cavalry.

Red Lancers threaten the Prussian arrival
On the opposite flank the Household Brigade was getting the better of Kellerman's men, and Subervie's cavalry began to approach the lower slopes of MSJ under artillery fire.
Subervie's Light Cavalry Division near La Haye Sainte
The main French gains appeared to be in the centre where D'Erlon's troops were pushing over the crest of MSJ where the Highlanders had been. 
Things temporarily look better for the French on the MSJ crest
Wellington ordered a counter-attacked with Brunswick infantry and pushed them back. The young Brunswickers suffered badly in this process from French musketry but the subsequent Morale dice were two "1"s - the best possible result to retain the crest for Wellington!
Above and Below: Raushenplatt leads the Brunswick Contingent in a counter-attack

For his part D'Erlon used his Vivandiere vignette to replenish some of Donzelot's fatigue for one final struggle.
D'Erlon's Vivandiere Corps asset
4.30pm - 5pm
This turn was to prove the most significant of the battle.
The Household Brigade finally got rid of all Kellerman's heavy cavalry but were counter attacked by the French Guard Dragoons and pushed back in an "exhausted" state (below).

 Subervie's cavalry put in a charge up the Western end of MSJ and attacked the guns on the crest, but they got poor dice and both brigades were forced back. 
Subervie's Lancers are partially successful by disrupting the Allied gun line.
Two of Alten's brigades are sufficiently distracted to head back up the ridge
French infantry and Cuirassiers once more surged over MSJ to the East of La Haye Sainte but Wellington's and Picton's personal supervision held some of them to a draw in melee and others were seen off by musketry.
View down the chausee from the elm tree crossroads
Riflemen manned the sandpit by LHS  all day
This led to a voluntary withdrawal of Durutte's and Donzelot's Divisions by James as many brigades were within one or two fatigue points of breakdown and he wanted to deny the Allies of those VPs. It was to prove a sensible, as well as realistic decision. Nevertheless, Wellington perceived continuing danger to the Brussels road and ordered two of Alten's brigades to return up MSJ.

The real game changer came at Hougoumont between Kevin and Freddie. The British Guards had been continuously weakened by artillery, skirmisher fire and burning embers, and a combined assault by both the Middle Guard and the Old Guard infantry proved too much for them now and they were pushed out of the woods and prepared to defend the burning buildings.
First attack by French Guard on Hougoumont
On the French right near Papelotte  constant fire from horse artillery batteries finally destroyed a Nassau brigade which had been manning the hedges and broken ground next to the farm. The Prussians continued to advance towards Plancenoit as weak French cavalry brigades hurried back to reform (below).

5pm - 5.30pm
D'Erlon's infantry continued an orderly retreat back past the Grand Battery which gave covering fire (below), though Wellington's line was weakened to the extent that he had nothing there fit to pursue.

Wellington (centre) surveys a rather thinly held Mont St Jean
Picton's Brigade containing the 28th Foot fought their Cuirassier opponents to mutual destruction so the French had nothing left on the crest to exploit what success they had had.
The final surge of Milhaud's Cuirassiers. Picton stoically defends the crest
Subervie's Lancers had rallied on the ridge above Hougoumont and drove back a Royal Foot Artillery battery but in the process overreached so they were easy prey for the Irish brigade, and being weak by now were destroyed.
Subervie's Lancers short lived success
Uxbridge continued to lead a vigorous cavalry attack with the Union and Household brigades now doing battle with the Horse Grenadiers of the Old Guard, with no conclusive result as yet.
Horse Grenadiers fight the Scots Greys
In the distance The Life Guards are still battling with the French Empress Dragoons
The Duke of Cumberlands Hussars managed to re-enact their original Waterloo when they suffered some casualties from artillery fire, checked Morale and promptly fled the field!

At the other end of the battlefield Prussian cavalry under Prince William now arrived on the road near Frischermont and promptly attacked the Imperial Guard Light Cavalry. They managed a draw against the Red Lancers but were repulsed by the Chasseurs a Cheval.(below)


At Hougoumont the French Guard infantry still pressed on their attack. The Old Guard won by 3 - a "Marginal Win" and enough to press the British Guards back across the courtyard. The Middle Guard attacked winning by 7 - a "Total Win" pushing that brigade, exhausted, right out of Hougoumont.  Now the other British Guards brigade counter-attacked from the orchard and were beaten back by a French "Major Win".
French bearskins can be seen in the Hougoumont courtyard!
That meant the French Guard had suffered another hit so another Morale check. But the buildings were still burning and it would be the French turn now to be weakened by the accompanying "fatigue". This was enough for them to fail Morale and one brigade retreated out of Hougoumont leaving a bit of empty space in the middle!

I'm sorry to say I have to end the narrative there as we'd played through to 1830 real time and it was time to pack up :-(.


Conclusion
I must say that from a strategic point of view the French had lost yet again. The key area of Mont St Jean and the road to Brussels was still in Allied hands and the arrival of the Prussians inevitably shifted the weight advantage to the Allies. The Young Guard still held Plancenoit and all the artillery of the Grand Battery was intact. I argued that given the poorer quality of the Prussians against the built up area supported by strong artillery the French could have inflicted a very bloody nose on Blucher. But Paul, weighing up the state of fatigue of the rest of Napoleon's Army du Nord decided that was unlikely to make enough difference. He ruled that, unlike their historical counterparts the French would be able to make an orderly withdrawal and sue for peace on fairly favourable terms.

For the players though the Victory Points were the clinching evidence. When we totted them up they were as follows:
Allies   -  10 VP for terrain, 17 VP for units destroyed = 27
French -  12 VP for terrain, 15 VP for units destroyed = 27

So a real "close run thing" and one that all decreed brought honour to all the players involved, and judging by the spontaneous applause, for Paul the organiser too.

This is a magnificent achievement by Paul to get such a nail biting result. Even though we didn't finish properly there was a convincing result, but one which left everyone feeling satisfied by a marvelous weekend's eb and flow of battle. There was a very happy atmosphere, lots of laughter and a few mock tears, and no cross words that I detected.  It was a  very suitable way for me to be able to celebrate exactly 50 years doing "proper" wargaming since I was wowed by the Waterloo of Peter Gilder and Don Featherstone in London in 1965. On reflection they probably didn't have many more figures than we used ourselves but how times have changed - now our battle with 1800 figures was just modest compared to some.  Oh, and I got a few compliments for my terrain too, which seemed to suit the purpose admirably.
Some silliness before the big pack-up. From left - Mike, Richard, James, Pat, CG, Kevin.
Picture taken modestly by Paul - thank you for a great weekend
Next weekend Paul is giving us "Waterloo - Le Woteef Scenario". Using the same terrain and probably similar orders of battle but Richard, as Napoleon this time, will face James, promoted to the Duke  of Wellington, with the opportunity to do things differently, and with a largely different cast of players.