Tuesday 7 June 2016

Volley And Bayonet: Quatre Bras

Earlier last month (or perhaps even the month before that) I arranged a game to see how the second edition of Volley and Bayonet worked. The 1815 Quatre Bras scenario was selected (with the Anglo-Dutch having a rather motley and Prussian feel to their forces).

Refurbished Airfix Hussars. French heads on British bodies.

The game was run over two days, as it would allow for a late start on Saturday, and a leisurely conclusion on the Sunday. On the first day I acted as umpire, and on the second I took over the Anglo-Dutch forces.

The Prussians Dutch defend Gemioncourt against the first of many French onslaughts

The scenario in the second edition rule book presents a rather different order of battle for the two opposing sides compared to that in the Napoleon Returns campaign book. The main differences between the two are a reduction in the number of artillery stands, and an increase in skirmisher stands. The next time I play this battle, I intend to use the order of battle from the campaign book.

A French division on the advance. The black squares representing two of the many skirmisher stands I have yet to complete.
This is in part due to the unhappiness faced by the French player in having less guns and instead having to deal with the less flexible dedicated guns that many French infantry stands gained. Keeping track of them was bad enough, but the rules regarding crossing streams seemed overly harsh. (Essentially you have to leave the dedicated gun behind, but small separate batteries can cross exactly the same stream that their dedicated brethren cannot)

The green dice represent a visual reminder of each stands dedicated gun. This, to my mind, is not the most optimal method - but I have a plan...
The battle was hard fought, with the successive waves of reinforcements for each side being committed to battle as soon as they arrived.

Confused by who is who? Well, the French are the ones advancing....
For the Anglo-Dutch, this rather seemed like feeding fresh meat into a meat grinder. The French artillery and heavy cavalry seemed unstoppable.

Guns and heavy cavalry - rather useful stuff.
And as Anglo-Dutch units were either eliminated or exhausted, the defensive perimeter around Quatre Bras shrank dramatically.

From holding on....

....To opps! the French are through the gap in the middle....
The game, which was to end after eight turns (2pm through to 9pm), only resulted in a draw because the French ran out of time to deal to the last allied reinforcements holding on around Quatre Bras. One more turn and the road the Brussels would have been secured by Ney!

If this game had been linked into a wider campaign, then the very heavy losses that I suffered would have resulted in a number of absences from the fields of Waterloo! In terms of casualties in this game versus the real battle, let's just say that the French losses were less, but the allies much higher....

I rather liked how these figures turned out. Click here to see their original state.

The game was, as like the other two recent V&B games quite fun, and has certainly spurred me into painting more - even if I am making less blog posts!