Sunday, 21 June 2015

Battle of Waterloo 200th Anniversary - Christchurch refight!

Another full weekend of wargaming! With one refight not being enough, a few of us Christchurch gamers lept into a second refight of Waterloo this weekend. General de Brigade rules were used rather than Blackpowder that was used in last weeks Waterloo refight in Wellington.

This is looking down the table from Papelotte towards La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont. Swish looking Allies on the right, and more humbly attired Frenchman on the left! 

Looking from the Hougoumont end.

With Napoleon ill (Ion), I took over as Ney. My orders from the Emperor were clear (at least in my own mind!) We were not going to try anything clever, just a frontal assault as quickly as possible in the centre. Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte were to be kept screened with skirmishers but not assaulted.

Paul as the French commander Reille was attacking left of La Haye Sainte.

The French forces opposite La Haye Sainte.

To the right of La Haye Sainte.

 Here's Marshal Ney in the centre.

First turn and the French start advancing across the table. For some unfathomable reason the main organisers had made the table 8 foot wide in the setup the previous day! Not recommended, as it was a real stretch to the middle. Fortunately our taller participants were able to help out and it wasn't quite the disaster I was expecting.

Paul moves past Hougoumont.

 And assault columns move up past La Haye Sainte also.

Still advancing...

The allies move to oppose between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte.

A look at a few of the allied forces - Highlanders.


British infantry.

Scots Greys and Light Cavalry. After breaking a unit of French infantry, the Scots Greys ended up fleeing from Cuirassiers this time!

Rockets in the Allied centre.

The attack continues to the left and right of La Haye Sainte.

To the left of La Haye Sainte the French are beaten back by massed artillery fire, but things go better on the right.

 More French are thrown in to the right of La Haye Sainte.

Between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte the French gradually take up a holding position.

Meanwhile we establish a grand battery in the centre to the right of La Haye Sainte, though failed order rolls slow down French plans.

The French heavy cavalry, in particular IV Cavalry Corp, does wonderful things, helping the infantry attack to break many allied units.

Start of day two, and Prussians arrive on the French right flank. (Being short a few Prussians some of my Austrian Landwehr and cavalry boost their numbers, though leaving behind their distinctive flags!).

Middle Guard is thrown on by the French.

Tony in our centre gets the furthest, breaking through the Allied line between La Haye Sainte and Papelotte with his infantry attack!

Paul manages to hold on around Hougoumont.

A massive table, with far too much going on.

On the French right, our infantry is trapped in squares by advancing Allied cavalry, and taking losses.

 The Allies position in La Haye Sainte is not threatened.

The Young Guard move on to help the French right.

Masses of French guns!

By the end of day two, the French had achieved some success between La Haye Sainte and Papelotte, and were stalled elsewhere. Unfortunately we had to end there without a conclusion. Rule detail, table size, numbers of figures, and discussion with members of the public all counted against a result being achieved. But nevermind, I'm sure it was a great event we will remember for a long time anyway!

Basil and other organisers did well to get quite a lot of media attention, and there was a constant stream of interested public along throughout the weekend. This no doubt slowed the game down even further as people chatted away, but I think the public relations aspect was worthwhile! I also talked to a few Napoleonic gamers who haven't been along to the club before, but did so after seeing the media reports.

Here's the crew from this refight, only about a third of the number who attended the Wellington refight, but a similar number of toy soldiers involved! I'm forth from left in the front (next to the Alan in the hat!). To the left of me is Paul (painting little soldiers blog), who did a fine job slowing the allies up around Hougoumont all weekend. Mike and Tony behind me made the surprisingly successful frontal assault between La Haye Sainte and Papelotte. Mike managed to lose two of his generals in the first turns but carried on heroically. Not pictured is Nigel who turned up on the first day for a look, and ended up taking control of a heavy cavalry corp, winnning 17 of 18 combats he managed to get going in the centre! Well done that man. David who was slowing up the enemy on our right flank, took this photo!

Here's a look at the hall we used. This is our regular gaming room. And yes we have a bistro and bar available, just as all good wargaming clubs should!

This large photocopied map on the board also got a surprising amount of attention from the public!

We also had a welcome table with a raffle for toy soldiers, some painted figures on display and a paint your own toy solider and painting demonstration section. Falk, a new club member from Germany did an outstanding job manning this table all weekend.

So all up, the weekend was bit of a failure as a game, but a great success as a wargaming event! Well done to Basil and the other organisers for their efforts at this one.

Having spent two full weekends playing Waterloo refights, and also buying a house inbetween, I'm now ready for bit of a rest! But then there is that half completed line infantry unit on the desk that needs finishing... :)


  1. Well done Mark! Huge effort to control the game. Looked fantastic!

  2. Awesome effort, and beautiful game. The publicity and the Welcoming Table were great ideas. You just don't see much of this in the US at all.

    Like Borodino, Waterloo has a very high troop density!

    1. Cheers Peter, yes I thought the organisers added some nice touches!

  3. Brilliant chasseur, must have been a huge effort to get all the kit on the table! How did the rockets fair? Ours eventually blew themselves up!

  4. Impressive Chasseur, very impressive, a great looking game!