Monday, 15 June 2015

Battle of Waterloo 200th Anniversary - Wellington refight!

Ok here it is, the first Waterloo 200th refight report! Fought over two days, appropriately enough in the city of Wellington at the Wellesley Boutique Hotel, here in New Zealand. Blackpowder was the ruleset used.

Here's a picture of the main table, looking from Hougoumont towards La Haye Sainte. In the top right the Placenoit table can be seen.

And looking from the other end of the La Haye Sainte table.

Here's how the tables were organised for the refight:

Hanoverians on the Allied left.

The Allied centre.

Towards the Allied right flank and Hougoumont.

A photo of everything in action!

The Wellesley hotel was suitably decorated throughout, and a fine establishment for such an illustrious event!

A very well organised event by Paul Goldstone and crew, with little information cards and characterful rules for many of the commanders, in addition to lovely terrain. Here's mine!

The Battle

And so the battle is joined! The French players before the battle were instructed by Steve Sands (Napoleon) that we were to try something a bit different, with strong attacks on both flanks rather than driving up the centre. Here's the French left flank attacking around the left of Hougoumont.

On the Placenoit table, Lobau's Corp, cavalry and the Young Guard, are ordered to march and attack the Allied right.

However, the Prussians are already starting to arrive at the far end of the Placenoit table.

To the right of La Haye Sainte the French start to push forward.

The French reinforce their far left flank...

By taking reinforcements from the centre between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte.

The French grind away at La Haye Sainte, eventually capturing it. At one point it is set alight by British rockets, which also accidentally shell their own troops! 

A view down the battlefield at the end of the first turn.

On the French left the first French infantry reach the Allied line.

The Allies advance between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte given the French are now weak here.

But French cavalry reserves are sent to the rescue.

On the Placenoit table the French continue to advance.

And Guard Lancers run down the first Prussian cavalry which is caught in march column.

Looking from the Prussian end of the Placenoit table.

The French right flank on the La Haye Sainte table, where the French are forced back from their initial attack, and are close to breaking here already.

Another look down the table as the game progresses.

The French Middle Guard come on towards La Haye Sainte.

On the Placenoit table, the French move to delay the advancing Prussians which are growing more numerous every turn.

From the Prussian end of the Placenoit table.

The French left flank, to the left of Hougoumont.

Just to the right of Hougoumont, both sides are fighting furiously.

The Old Guard is committed to the right of La Haye Sainte!

Prussians arrive on the La Haye Sainte table, moving on the road from Wavre behind the Allied left.

On the Placenoit table a French Cavalry charge is beaten back.

The Young Guard also charge against the Prussians and are eventually pushed back and broken.

One of Lobau's French Brigades moves from the Placenoit table to reinforce the French right on the La Haye Sainte table.

The Old Guard reach the Allied lines in the centre and start breaking Allied units!

Here's an overview of the table setup while most people are away for lunch on the second day.

Prussians join the attack on the La Haye Sainte main table.

The Old Guard continue to be successful, with cavalry assisting.

Between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte, well, it looks like a big confused mess.

And to the left of Hougoumont.

The Guard heavy cavalry is committed just to the left of La Haye Sainte.

The French right is falling back under pressure.

Another look down the table from Hougoumont.

The Prussians are now advancing in strength on the French right on the La Haye Sainte table. 

Outnumbered 2-1 and with the situation getting worse, the French are falling back before the Prussians on the Placenoit table. 

The Old Guard has carrried the centre, which had been stripped of troops to help defend the Allied flanks. 

However the flank of the French army is crumbling and the Prussians are attacking towards La Haye Sainte.

And with time up on the second day, the French have failed to achieve their objective of breaking the Allied army by breaking 15 Allied brigades in time, and thus history is sadly repeated! Casualties are heavy though with 13 brigades broken on each side!

All up a great couple of days gaming, done in appropriate style. Thanks to all the participants and especially to Paul and the other organisers!


  1. Fantastic Mark! I was scrolling madly to read the next part of your excellent, exciting photo report. What a ripper and a close run thing indeed.
    Shame about the result, as you say (francophile to francophile!).
    A little aside to make you smile, I too got to command Lobau in a game on the weekend. We did not manage to change history either...
    To think you have another one to come in a couple of weeks too. Excellent!

  2. Excellent report and photos Mark! A beautiful sight! I wish I was there.

  3. Fantastic looking game and report cheers for posting.
    Best wishes,

  4. Brilliant! What amazing photos of a once in a lifetime game.


  5. Really amazing stuff, I believe you could not have recreated the battle any better.


  6. It was a most enjoyable weekend,

    Thanks so much for the summary- as Bijlandt and Ghigny I was too busy to get an appreciation of the whole game- the arrival of the Prussians was as much a surprise to me as to the French.

  7. Ah! So that's what happened everywhere else! I was too occuped opposing Bijiandt and Ghigny to take in much else.

    I was never worried about the Prussians. I knew you, Kerry and Reg had them under control.

    Great story well told.


  8. Great game in an outstanding venue Gentlemen - well done! Black Powder definitely lends itself to this scale of game. I also sympathise with the French skipper's decision to try something different - historical tactics we have found in our practice games just leads to early French defeat. Which is a valuable historical lesson in itself - by the time Blucher was allowed to regroup and outflank, and knowing that the Allied contingents could fight every bit as well as the Brits, attacking a superb defensive position when outnumbered and outflanked is a fool's game!

  9. Amazing games, brilliant report, well done to all involved!

  10. Magic!!! What a brilliant spread of troops and terrain in a lovely venue!!! Well done, I'll be coming back for another look time and again!!!

  11. Magnificent looking effort, well done to everyone concerned. You did well to get so much achieved on such a grand scale - full marks!

  12. Magnificent looking effort, well done to everyone concerned. You did well to get so much achieved on such a grand scale - full marks!

  13. Fantastic report Mark - sensational looking tables and figures. Excellent job by all involved.

  14. Well written report. I was not really keeping up with what was happening at the other end of the table so will have a close read of this tonite.

  15. Superb looking tables, beautiful troops, wonderful venue, and a great narrative! To bad the good guys lost again! :-)

    Looks like it all came together well, and all the many months of hard work was well worth it! Hurrah!

  16. A great-looking game and a very enjoyable write-up.

  17. Absolutely brilliant! Loved the report and photos. ..very exciting! Great to see waterloo on such a grand scale. Wish I had seen it in the flesh. Congratulations to all on a mega superlative effort.

  18. Thanks for the comments all, and yes just a brief breather and then it's on to the next refight using General de Brigade!

    1. Should be all trained up for this next go!

    2. We'll see Russell! Just heard that unfortunately our Napoleon is coming down with some sort of sickness, so looks like history might repeat again!