|The Prince of Orange with his Dutch-Belgian aide. (Perrys) Nominal commander of the Allied effort. His tactical advise was not heeded but probably should have been. The small independent Allied commands suffered as a result.|
|The early French movement by Kellerman and Quiot's Division to the left.|
[Ed. Note: I rolled for this eventuality as, while I had laid out the battle and even had DaveB’s agreement to the French deployment, I actually felt the Allies would not win such a game and so wanted to withdraw but was out-voted by the dice!]
Perponcher on the Allied right was to advance forcing Kellerman to counter thus giving Ponsonby and the British Heavies and chance to counterattack with advantage. In the centre, Alten would try to pin the French centre with Clinton following up. Chasse’s weak division of Dutch-Belgian militia would serve to pin the French force of Donzelot’s division in the village.
|Chasse's Militia advance. The figures are plastic conversions made from British bodies and French arms and packs!|
However they found some success and fought tooth and nail with the veteran French within through most of the day only to be spent by the early afternoon.
|Kellerman (the lone cuirassier wearing the bicorne hat - left-center) directs his cavalry. The green flag on the base is our command 'step-down' indicator which represents a half pip on the black die on his base.|
Ponsonby was observing these moves but was unwilling to move toward the French guns. The French numbers in guns would tell in the battle and would influence much of what happened in the battle. The early success of the artillery already weakened the Allied artillery strength concentrated in Perponcher’s command and the Allies had very little elsewhere to counter the French numbers.
Because of it’s concentration, the Dutch-Belgian artillery did have some success, notable singularly causing the loss of a cuirassier element but Kellerman’s command shrugged at that morale loss ( I rolled the required 6 on the command morale!) and continued to harass the Allied right flank commands. Perponcher’s infantry was forced into square but some already battered, succumbed to the French horse.
In the middle, in face of massed artillery fire, Alten’s Division sustained heavy casualties and decided to finally heed the PofO’s opinion and turned his command away from the French guns’ canister range. Clinton, behind Alten, halted and thus the Allied attack in the centre faltered.
Ponsonby’s horsemen wanted a chance to attack the French dragoons and to perhaps grab victory however unlikely (I rolled for the likehood than that of a controlled withdrawal…very realistically given the British cavalry’s historical record!) However the LifeGuards failed to defeat the French veterans and the Union Brigade wisely did not follow but held.
|the last important combat of the battle between the British Life Guards of Ponsonby's command and the green clad French dragoons of Kellerman.|
|Kielmannsegge's Brigade of Hanoverians. Each of the different uniforms represent the individual battalion sized regiments which constituted this formation during the historical campaign.|
In the late evening, Allied elements were breaking while the French command morale was holding (the result of my rather lopsided die rolling I am afraid. However, the slow disintegration of the Allies was a logical result nonetheless and the morale chart will always reflect this) The Allied commands one by one started to withdraw. The French continue to hold Ath and the Allies withdrew, Ponsonby’s cavalry holding a successful rearguard action against the now weakened French horsemen.
|The 52nd Light Foot Regiment and 95th Rifles of one of Clinton's brigades unengaged in this battle.|
Vandamme toasted to the victory. History will record that he did not immediately report his achievement to Napoleon. His chief-of-staff would suggest the gathering of casualty numbers and dealing with the enemy dead as the reason. Nevertheless, the length of the engagement would not allow either side to offer contingents to any of their other forces in the area.
Analysis: Because of the lack of overall command in the Allies camp, each small division had it’s only a small command morale amount. And while mathematically the modifying number is proportionally equal regardless of strength, the unified French commands did not suffer the potential morale loss as do the small Allied commands. Interesting to note for fictional play rather than historical commands which is our usual staple game.