One Fine Day in Belgium ~ 1815

One Fine Day in Belgium ~ 1815

We played another game of General d’Armee this week. Once again it was French v’s Prussians and I played the Prussians again. There was a twist this time around. I re-based my figures to better represent line formations. Whilst I do like the convenience of double ranked figures the formations don’t really represent the long lines of the Napoleonic battlefield. Would it work? Let’s see…

My opponent was Mike this day and it was decided sometime during deployment, that my troops were a bit under the weather due to the over imbibing of Belgian beer. I can’t remember why but if it was Belgium: then it must be 1815!

The situation was: The Prussians are deployed around a chateau with a deep river on their right flank. There are reinforcements coming from that direction but the bridge is the only crossing point. They would start arriving on turn 2 or 3, depending on a dice roll.

Prussian deployment from left to right: 4 battalions of landwehr with a squadron of uhlans on the flank. The Leib Regiment to the left of the chateau (3 battalions with the Thuringian Battalion attached). the 12th Reserve Regt defending the chateau and the bridge with a foot battery in support.

The French had a heavy infantry deployment on their left and centre. On their right: a dragoon brigade with a horse battery and infantry brigade in support.

My reinforcements (Lutzow’s Frei Korp) were coming up the road. This means that I need to keep the bridgehead clear for them to cross and deploy. Come to think of it: if it’s 1815 then my reinforcements must be the 25th Infantry Regt and the 6th Uhlans. Still lead by Lutzow.

I also had an Uhlan regiment towards the rear in reserve.

The first moves of the battle saw both sides putting their skirmishers forward whilst the French advanced. The first shots saw part of the Prussian skirmish screen hit hard by the French and driven back beyond the chateau to regroup. They lost a skirmisher-stand in the process.

Things were not starting out well for my brave Prussian lads but, luckily Lutzow’s chaps arrived early. I needed to get these troops up fast but for some reason I decided to get the artillery battery up first at the expense of the cavalry. This would prove to be a mistake.

My skirmish line, however regrouped and once again headed into the rye field to trade shots with their French adversaries.

In the centre the French advanced but the Prussian skirmish line pushed far forward as a skirmish battle ensued. The Leib were facing a veteran leger regiment and a converged grenadier battalion. A hard enemy! On the left the landwehr brigade advanced to try and stall the enemy in their sector.

As the skirmish battle in the centre raged on the Leib Battalion’s skirmish line began to get the worst of it as they were targeted by the skirmishers of two brigades. The landwehr riflemen in the wood on the left proved to be somewhat ineffective. More effective was the horse artillery battery posted on a hill behind the Lieb. They targeted the French grenadiers and hit them effectively several times as they advanced.

The Leib skirmish line were slowly being pushed back to their own lines, as were the skirmishers of the  12the Reserve’s. My men were inflicting casualties on the French but they were taking much higher losses themselves.

As the French advanced my reinforcements were making their way towards the bridge. Because I preferenced the gun battery first, in front of the uhlans, I was slowed down. I was hoping that the guns would intimidate my opponent when I deployed them, on my side of the river, into second guessing his own plans which consisted of charging the 12th Reserve with his dragoon brigade. 

I did manage to get the 6th Uhlans across the bridge but they were in a very precarious position behind an infantry column. A juicy target for a brigade of enemy dragoons.

The dragoons were ready to charge but before they did a French horse battery fired one last salvo into my column. This was enough to bring them up to 5 casualties. This was significant because as a reserve battalion they are considered to behave as line infantry up until they receive 4+ casualties whereupon they are declassified to Recruit status. 

Because the column was now classified Recruit they failed their discipline Test to form square and so, became unformed. The infantry couldn’t shoot in their own defence but the guns could. However, they failed to do any significant damage and the dragoons charged home. At least the infantry stood to fight and hold up the dragoons so that Lutzow’s uhlans could turn to face the enemy. Even so, this was not going to end well for the infantry.

On my left flank the Landwehr brigade continued their slow advance.

In the centre the Leib skirmish line, once again took heavy casualties and were forced to give way as the veteran leger regiment charged into the line of waiting musketeers.

The Lieb musketeers fired and caused significant casualties against the leger. In the ensuing „Charge Results“ phase they rolled very well for their defence and halted the French attack in it’s tracks. 

I told you they rolled well.
But the French were far from done in the centre. The attack against the Leib Regiment may have faltered but they were also preparing for a thrust towards the chateau itself.

The charge of the dragoons went as expected and the reserve infantry battalion dispersed causing the entire brigade to Falter. At this stage we were a bit perplexed with the rules: We expected the dragoons to continue their charge into the gun battery and the waiting uhlans. But it didn’t happen. Instead they were recalled to their own lines in good order. We’re still not sure if this was the correct result and I may not be recalling it accurately. Either way: it wasn’t what we expected.

With the French sill on the offensive they next assaulted the chateau. The Faltering brigade had steadied again in the Command Phase but were still Hesitant and this wasn’t good for the defenders in the chateau. They were forced back and the French took the stronghold.

With the French in the chateau the Prussian line was effectively split with only a badly mauled reserve brigade to hold them off.

The Leib Fusilier battalion attempted a local counter attack against the converged grenadiers but were repulsed by accurate musketry. The grenadiers had taken a decent pounding by my horse artillery but their salvo was too much for the fusiliers who retired back, almost into the barrels of their own guns.

The 6th Uhlans attempted to charge the enemy infantry supporting the dragoons to make way for the rest of my troops to cross the bridge. However one of the dragoon regiments counter charged and halted their attack. 

Then the unexpected happened. The leger columns opened fire with devastating results (Mike was on a jag of rolling 10’s and 11’s like it was nobodies business). The third lot of musketry from a regular line battalion (I think he rolled a 12 this time) saw the Leib musketeers crumble and disperse. This left a huge gap in my defence as well as causing my veteran brigade to Falter.

My own attempts to return fire were dismal with the Thuringian Battalion performing so poorly that they became disordered and lost Fire Discipline.

I did manage to get the Brandenberg Uhlan Regiment out of Reserve to counter the French dragoons which had thrown back the 6th Uhlans in disorder after their brief stouch. But they were too little too late. The Reserve regiment was once again Faltering after a second battalion was forced to fall back.

The little landwehr attack on the flank came to nothing as one battalion lost fire disciple when attempting to shoot and another battalion took heavy casualties from French musketry. At least the volunteer rifles eventually did some good work during the battle.

And that was it. It was getting late and the Prussians were beaten up. I couldn’t get my reinforcements over the river due to my own mistakes and my premier brigade was in disarray due to excellent French musketry.
A French victory.
On to Ligny!
It was a good game. The long infantry lines need some work in my opinion. They are much too vulnerable to massed columns shooting at them and this shouldn’t be the case. The line should have much more firepower than a column. In the rules the results from a column shooting is halved. I believe this is too much and it should be 1/3 or maybe even a 1/4 of the result (depending on the percentage of the column facing an shooting). Admittedly Mike did roll very well and his veteran troops were using the Superior shooting line; But so was I!
This isn’t a game breaker but we need to house rule this a bit if we’re going to diverge from the formations that the rules are designed for (ie: short stubby double ranked lines as opposed to the more realistic long „thin red line“ type of formations that we’re looking at). It’s very old school but we come from the era of Bruce Quarrie so it makes perfect sense.

Some bonus photo’s care of Stephen:
Mike checking his dispositions on the flank.
The French chasseur regiment didn’t play much part until the
very end where they attempted to charge my central gun battery.
Hold up at the bridge.

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Autor: / This 28mm Life

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