The Battle of Leuze
during the 100.5 Days Campaign
A gasping courier galloped up to Uxbridge as he and Cole, who commanded Hanoverian militia and the elite 27th Foot, stared at the masses of French arraigned against them.
Uxbridge did not need to read the couriers note. The French had crossed the border to start the campaign and this would be the first battle.
He turned to his aide, "Please tell The Duke that a corps of heavy cavalry followed by at least a corps of French infantry are making to Leuze. We cannot stop them and will retire north but they are upon us. We shall de everything to delay them and protect the baggage. Go now!"
To Cole he said, "I shall be needing your artillery assets. The horse artillery may prove useful. Hold as long as possible then retire. Hopefully my boys will hold the Frenchies for a while."
Cole just nodded and moved away to get things moving.......
Wanting to run through our miniatures rules for the upcoming convention game and, frankly, to give myself some interesting solo games, I asked DaveB to be ‘the other player’ for the strategic maneuvers to generate the scenarios. We using the block game of “Napoleon” by Columbia Games [based on the famous 100 Days Campaign in modern Belgium which produced a few large battles including the biggie of Waterloo] which DaveB introduced to me a few years ago. As it is only between the two of us, and he is in a distant city, we both know it will be a genteel affair with moves done when we can.
After some minor sorting out of the campaign rules, maneuver conditions and overall concept, Dave as L’Empereur made the opening moves concentrating his forces in the east against the Prussians and advancing upon the foremost of the Allied forces at Leuze on the way to Ghent held by the British light cavalry under Uxbridge and the infantry division of Cole represented by the Inniskillen Regiment and Hanoverian Militia.
|French commander Kellerman once again urges his heavy cavalry forward|
The French were led by Kellerman’s Heavy Cavalry Corps followed closely by d’Erlons Infantry Corps thus heavily outnumbering the Allied units. Seeing these numbers, the Allies quickly decided to retire northward using their light horse to slow the advance in order to get the baggage onto the road north.
|French deployment somewhat hampered by the woods and small village to each side|
|The Allies deployment. Cole's command had to deal with the wagons which needed to be moved and protected|
Dave indicated that he wanted to cause disruption and capture baggage etc so I added three wagons to Cole’s command (without the additional command PiPs!) to add to the difficulties of the British withdrawal as the rules do a poor job simulating this aspect of a battle - not having been designed for this level of the battle
|The Allied commander Cole trying to direct traffic. the small green flag is a step-down indicator for his command's morale.|
Uxbridge as a senior commander requisitioned Cole’s artillery, being handy horse artillery, to be attached to the light horse and deployed in a rough semi-circle to face the heavies of Kellerman.
While 4 elements of light horse might be equals to the three elements of the French heavies, d’Erlon pushed forward his light horse lancers to help.
Aside: As the game map is not detailed, for the scenarios, I would dice for tabletop terrain with each square foot having a slight possibility of having woods or a small village decorating the battlefield. In this case, a woods and a small village would funnel the French to a narrow frontage.
It was up to the French heavies to clear the way for the following infantry to advance. To counter this, Dornberg’s brigade represented by the 2nd KGL Light Dragoons, immediately attacked the Carabiniers protecting the Royal Horse Artillery which did good service of weakening the other French heavy horse. A few minutes later the battery will come under attack by the 11th Cuirassiers in fine style. The 11th would do sterling work this day but at what cost for the campaign....
|The 11th Cuirassiers overrunning the RHA rocket battery. Their charges will no doubt be the subject of glorious paintings in the future but cost them a great deal of strength for the rest of the campaign.|
Meanwhile Cole was not doing well organizing the retreat (he rolled 1 twice consecutively for command activation!)
In further action in the open fields before Leuze, the fatigued 11th French cuirassiers (rated heavies despite having no cuirass as historically they were not armoured during the campaign) held off a flanking attack by the British 7th Hussars (rolling 3 vs 0 in combat!).
This remarkable result had the 7th fall back into the path of the French Lancers who damaged them in their own flanking attack!
Uxbridge’s command with the loss of half his numbers fell back as a result of command morale, which ironically helped his tactical situation. Kellerman, in contrast, while also having large losses, was not fazed in his determination (rolling a 6!) and continued to press. However, his troopers, were close to collapse having few combat efforts left in them most down to only 1 left in their combat rolls.
|The advance by d'Erlon's infantry was steady but they did not engage the quickly retreating Allies.|
With a temporary separation and finally getting organized (rolling a 6 for command PiPs….) Cole, somewhat jingoistically, had the elite 27th Foot (Inniskillens) about face and race north. The Hanoverians having been in square with the French heavies about, were later order to retreat north but were caught by the 11th Cuirassiers and decimated.
The bulk of the British baggage had escaped however and the French heavies had some losses with two of the brigades having substantial losses. d’Erlon’s corps had not entered the action except in a support role for the horse. One element of foot artillery however managed to deploy and after a round of concentrated fire, caused substantial combat loss to the 18th Hussars which were the only British untouched element up to that point; at which Uxbridge had all units retreat. With Kellerman’s horsemen exhausted and the following infantry unable to advance faster, the battle came to a close in the late afternoon.
|The British in retreat.|