Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Battle of Ligny 200

Well of course I will have to host Ligny 200 being June 16th, 2015 and all!

Yes, the game could have been it's counterpart of Quatre Bras as I placed that battlefield on the other half of my 12 foot long table and if enough players we could have done both at the same time!  But alas, only four could attend; with BobS and his side kick Ian rolling (even vs odds...) to take the Prussians (Ziethen and Pirch respectively) and new players to the rules Peter and Morgan taking (Vandamme and the Guard; Gerard and Milhaud respectively).

The battle historically was vicious town fighting and lots of artillery fire and this game was no exception with the Prussian's defensive position a cauldron for French artillery fire.  It is a also a very tight battlefield of only 2 and a half miles (4 km) or so where the main fighting occurred.  This translated very well to the tabletop and while the Prussian players complained that there was no maneuver room, and I agreed showing them several maps of the deployment corresponding to the tabletop. Our brigade big bases always translate well proportionally to the deployment maps.
The Prussian "caldron" with Ziethen's corps deployed and Pirch's Corps aligned behind the row of trees. The troops in the upper right (north-east)  of the photo shows elements of Thielemann's corps which I did chose to represent as little was fought due to the terrain and deployments in this area of the battle 

 Ziethen in the fore and Pirch in reserve well behind him and Ian rolling rather poorly for his movement initiative, the French artillery started to do execution on Ziethen's corps.  Peter's slowly developing attack by Vandamme, and Morgan's assault by Gerard on the village of Ligny, whittled Ziethen down until an unfortunate '1' roll on the Corps had him break.  Luckily Blucher suddenly aroused from his slumber extorted Ziethen's men to greater dedication "No retreat, no surrender!!" and provided that commander enough morale to at least hold on.....  or in other words I stepped in as umpire I used nearby Blucher as the excuse to arbitrary give him a few more pips on the Corps Morale so to give him hold orders to continue the game!!
Ex-Berg troops still uniformed in white with officers and some of the troops in regulation Prussian uniforms.
Gerard's corps march upon Ligny

Ironically, BobS would continue on until the French now worn down from their attacks and effective counter-battery fire from both BobS and Ian's Pirch artillery which managed to more up, had them on the brink of loss. Morgan's Gerard's 4th Corps had taken Ligny but destroyed itself doing so and could not get any more infantry to open up the town for Milhaud's cuirassiers to pass.  The Young Guard took St Amand but were weakened in the effort.  Vandamme had some losses but many of remaining elements were dangerous low combat effectiveness.

 On the Prussian side, Ziethen will collapse soon (again...) and Pirch could not defend most of the towns and so allow the fresh French Imperial Guard to move at will.

Napoleon did not get his great victory as he wanted in 1815 and nor did he in this game of 2015 but the Prussians were pounded as well. Hard fought indeed.

Thanks for boys arriving and giving a good game.

Prussian artillery 'moving up' (the large wheel marker representing it's limbered state)  Nicely dramatic gun crew by Perry Miniatures.  


  1. Gorgeous and impressive painted figures/units - marvelous games report!

    1. Having fun with creation of new units. Going to have more than Napoleon could ever dream. Well, OK may be not, but quite a few anyway....

  2. Replies
    1. Well thanks, Ray. Ever so kind.

  3. Magnificent! Love how your figures blend with the terrain. I've only done part of Ligny and had trouble getting the treatment of the stream right. This was the far eastern approaches.

    1. The "blending" is important to me. Kinda a OCD thing I guess....

      The stream can be problematic as the battle narrations are vague about how the French crossed and where. The stream itself was very small but marshy. Most rules/scenarios allow crossing but at penalty of disorder. Depending on these rules, this is either inhibiting or easy enough but both situations causing problems in allowing and providing enough room - space on the table - to allow (and for the defence of)

      I took the approach of disallowing any crossing and only using the bridges within the villages. As the villages were physically close together we could keep the tabletop smaller and in scale for our brigade stands.

      As I grew to understand the battle more, I left off the eastern end of the battlefield, that of Thielemans's Corps vs. Grouchy, as essentially this was a stand off. The Prussians were happy to maintain their defensive positions behind the stream unwilling to advance into the open areas with all of Grouchy's horse, and Grouchy meanwhile is unable to assault the towns with his cavalry. Those games I used these troops, the players seeing the situation became bored.....

      Thanks for the comment