Friday, June 12, 2015

Quatre Bras

by Ken Kaergard, Guest Blogger

On Saturday, June 6, Bill Garrett hosted a game in Belvedere IL where we re-fought Quatre Bras. We were 10 days short of the 200th anniversary of the battle. The rules we used were Bill's modification of Column, Line & Square.

Bill and Al Hulton commanded the French left and right respectively,  and Mike Beers and I commanded the Dutch/Belgian troops, Mike opposing Al and Bill being opposed by Ken.

The first photo shows Al's French starting their approach, with lights in the lead. 

The second photo shows Bill's French beginning their push through the woods, searching for the defenders, seeking a path to outflank the Allies.

In photo 3, Bill is closing in on the walled farm while Al closes the gap with Mike.

Photo 4 shows Al engaging Mike and beginning to suffer some losses, and it starts to appear that Bill is screening the farm and passing it by.

Bill's skirmishers have engaged the Dutch lights in the woods in photo 5, while his line infantry has emerged from the edge of the woods and begin their race around the woods.

It becomes more clear in photo 6 that Bill's lights are wearing down the defenders of the farmyard while the French columns continue to bypass it. Dutch/Belgian artillery near Quatre Bras in the center rear of the Allied position continue to exact vengeance on the approaching French columns.

In photo 7 the French strike home on the Allied left, and the defenders on the hill take tremendous losses from French artillery, while Mike conducts a fighting withdrawal through the village on the left.

At the same time, photo 8 reflects the Dutch militia charging to stem the approach of Bill's French, who have been further weakened by artillery. The French have also charged, and the two sides grapple in desperation.

As seen in photo 9, the artillery losses were more than the Belgians on the hill could endure. As they decided to run to fight another day, neighboring units saw the wisdom of doing so and fled the field as well, leaving Mike's remaining troops isolated in the village on the left.

The final photo instructs us that Dutch Militia is not likely to survive an engagement with veteran Frenchmen. Although they inflicted heavy losses on the French, there was little doubt that the outcome would be what you see - the French have pierced the Allied line here as well.

With the entire Allied center destroyed, there was little point in continuing. The French would certainly seize Quatre Bras before Allied reinforcements would come effectively into play.

The game moved smoothly, and we were able to fight through to a clear conclusion. We're looking forward to finding out if the next game is a re-fight of this one, or Ligny.

Miniatures mostly by Minifigs. Troop scale: 1 miniature = 30 real troops.

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