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Subject: Ligny - an illustrated replay rss

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David Murray
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The Battle of Ligny, June 16th 1815 – an illustrated solo replay.

I have never gamed the Battle of Ligny before and so have spent some time reading up on the battle, its personalities, troops and execution. Refighting new battles is one of the joys of gaming for me, to immerse oneself in the history and events of the day is always an exciting and rewarding experience.

The setup up for Ligny. Below is a photo of the historical setup for the battle.



The French strategy.
The victory conditions for the battle are clear. The French will gain victory points for the following:
• - occupation of St Amand, La Haye, le Hameau: 1 VP for the four hexes.
• - Ligny is completely French occupied : 2 VP
• - Sombreffe, Point du Jour, 3 Burettes: 1 VP each
• - Per Prussian demoralized Corps : 1 VP
• - Per Prussian Desperate Corps : 1 VP in

addition to the previous, if the total is:
• - 1 VP or less : large Prussian victory
• - 2 or 3 VP ; small Prussian victory
• - 4 to 6 VP : small French victory
• - Over 6VP : large French victory

The victory conditions will dictate the French strategy. As a minimum they will need to target 5VP as this will give them wriggle room if they fail to achieve one of their objectives and still gain a minor victory. Looking over the map the 4VP appear achievable by capturing St Amand, La Haye, le Hameau and Ligny. The final VP should come from demoralising the Prussian I Korps, who will be taking the brunt of the French attack.

The final VP is a little more difficult to pin down but might well be needed if one of the others are not earned. A second Prussian Corps becoming demoralised is possible but I do not want to be chasing them all over the board to achieve that. I think Sombreffe and Trois Burettes will be challenging to take so that just leaves Point Du Jour. Point Du Jour is on the French right flank which is where the bulk of the French cavalry are and so a flanking move to take the village could be possible.

The French will begin the battle by sending Vandamme’s III Corps across the Ruisseau de la Ligne and begin to assault St Amand and La Haye. Grouchy’s cavalry corps will advance to between Ligny and Tongrinelle and cover any attempt from the Prussians to cross the Ligne. If the Prussians do not press there then the I Cavalry Corps under Pajol will swing wide and threaten Point Du Jour from the east. Gerard’s IV Corps will be charged with assaulting Ligny. When they arrive, the Imperial Guard will be allocated orders to assault either the three villages or Ligny (it will probably be Ligny).

Initial French orders

Vandamme
Objective: Attack and take possession of the villages of St. Amand and La Haye and secure the bridges across the Ligne.
Secondary order – if objective achieved: Garrison St. Amand and La Haye. Attack and take possession of Le Hameau.
Secondary order – if objective not achieved: Attempt to maintain control of gains in the target villages. Make a defensive perimeter around all gains made during prosecution of the main objective.

Grouchy
Objective: Exelmans to make haste and secure the area just south of the Ligne between Tongrinelle and Ligny. Be prepared to repel any Prussians from III corps that attempt to cross the stream. Pajol take a position on the slopes south of Exelmans position and be prepared to support him if the Prussians attempt to cross in force
Secondary order – if objective achieved: If by 15:30 the Prussians have made no attempt to cross the Ligne then Pajol will take his cavalry cross the Ligne and take possession of the area just east of Point Du Jour.
Secondary order – if objective not achieved: If the Prussian successfully cross the Ligne in force fall back to a line west of the road leading SE from Ligny.

Gerand
Objective: March to to slopes opposite Ligny and after a short bombardemtn assault and attempt to take the eastern half of the town.
Secondary order – if objective achieved: Take up defensive positions in the eastern town and surrounding area.
Secondary order – if objective not achieved: Fall back to the slopes opposite Ligny and maintain a bombardment of the town.

Outline of the French plan



The Prussian Strategy
The Prussians are in good defensible terrain and this must be used to its utmost. Zeithen’s I Corps will no doubt take the brunt of the attack as they are defending the key locations. The concern is that the French gain victory points for demoralized and desperate Prussian Corps and so much of the Prussian strategy is going to be centred around preventing the I Corps taking too many casualties. To help achieve that the II and III Corps are going to be relatively conservative in their deployment. Pirch’s II Corps will cover the approach of the French 7th division marching from the west and take up positions around Wagenelee. This will position them to take over the defences of the three villages when the I Corps are close to demoralisation. Thielmann’s III Corps will station themselves just north of the Ligne from Ligny to Tongrinelle. They will prevent any possible breakout of the French cavalry across the stream and offer support to the defenders of Ligny when required.

Initial Prussian orders

Ziethen
Objective: Defend Ligny and the villages of St. Amand, La Haye and Le Hameau.
Secondary order – if objective achieved: Maintain position
Secondary order – if objective not achieved: Pull back and defend the north bank of the Ligne stream

Pirch
Objective: Set up a defensive perimeter east of the Ruisseau de la Ligne from La Haye to around 500 yards north of the Chaussee Romaine. Prevent any elements of the French army to flank to the north of this position.
Secondary order – if objective achieved:Support elements of the I Corps in the villages of St Amend, La Haye and Hameau, launching assaults to retake the lost villages if necessary.
Secondary order – if objective not achieved: If primary objective defensive perimeter cannot be maintained fall back to a line running from Brye to Trois Burettes and defend.

Thielmann
Objective: Set up a defensive perimeter east of the Ruisseau de la Ligne from Ligny to Tongrinelle. Prevent any French forces from crossing the stream.
Secondary order – if objective achieved: Support elements of the I Corps in Ligny, launching assaults to retake any of the town to the north of the Ligne.
Secondary order – if objective not achieved: If the French have crossed the Ligne in force then fall back and defend Sombreffe and Point Du Jour.

Outline of the Prussian plan



More to follow...
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Turn 1: 13:00 French turn.

With orders already prepared the French army moved forward.

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 1)
All the guns of the Corps unlimbered within range of the southern end of St Amand and the Prussian artillery in the farmland to west. The French guns would provide a preliminary bombardment before the infantry assaulted the village.

8th Division lead the main bulk of the infantry across the small stream of the Ligne, they had been selected as the first formation to make the assault on St Amand. To their left in echelon were the 11th Division with the chasseurs riding up the slopes to their left. The 10th Division do not cross the stream and took up positions behind the guns as a reserve.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 1)
The units entered the map between the two tributaries of the Ligne stream at the southern edge of the map and began their march towards their objective, the town of Ligny. The 13th Division at the centre with the 12th to their left and the 14th to their right. The Hussars and Dragoons rode along the lower banks of the stream. The slower artillery brought up the rear.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
I realised I had been remiss and not specified where Milhaud’s IV Cavalry should take position – I added them to Exelmanns’s orders. Milhaud entered from off-map on the road from Charleroi and rode with haste to met up with the rest of the cavalry under Grouchy’s command. Exelmann’s Dragoons rode over the undulating terrain towards the Ligne between Ligny and Tongrinelle. Pajol’s lighter cavalry made faster progress in their movement towards the slopes to the west of Tongrinelle.

The French forward movement



Fire phase
The Prussian I Corps artillery stationed outside St Amand undertook some counter battery fire (due to poor positioning they could not get a shot at the advancing infantry). This caused a half step loss to a French battery. An unexpected long range shot from the Prussian artillery stationed to the east of Ligny caught the 5th regiment of Pajol’s Hussars unawares and caused a step loss.

The mass guns of the French III Corps targeted the Prussian 12th Infantry Division in the village of St Amand and despite a significant bombardment (8 Fire factors) only caused a morale check which the Prussians easily passed. One French battery undertook some counter-battery fire and secured a half-step loss.

Melee & Rally
None.

Long range Prussian guns hit their mark



French guns pour ineffective fire into St Amand



Turn 1: 13:00 Prussian turn.

With orders already prepared the Prussian army moved into position.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 1)
With the assault from Vandamme clearly moving directly towards the three villages on the Prussian right those villages were quickly reinforced. The movement of the French 7th Division apparently straight towards Le Hameau was troubling as Pirch’s II Corps was going to be covering that area but they would not make it before the French reached the village. In response to the 7th Division’s advance, Ziethen dispatched the 2nd Dragoons, 3rd Uhlans and 1st Kurmark to cross the stream north of La Haye and stifle their advance. In addition, the 1st Westphalian cavalry left Wagonlee and joined them.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 1)
The Corps moved rapidly to their deployment area. The quick moving 5th Jagers made it to the end of the Ligne stream and deployed into line, their firepower may have been needed to the south but in its current position it would dissuade the French 7th Division from turning north. The 3rd Hussars and 2nd Uhlans moved to their right, protecting the flank of the II Corps. Moving up behind the Jagers were: the rest of the 6th division, a brigade from the 5th Division, 1st Dragoons, 4th Kurmark and 10th battery. Separated by the small rise around Wagenlee the remainder of the II Corps was moving towards the banks of the Ligne. These included: Pirch, 7th & 8th Division and batteries 6-10.

Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 1)
With the entire cavalry force of Grouchy galloping towards the Ruisseau de la Ligne to the left of the battlefield, the initial orders for the III Corps seemed to be appropriate an appropriate response as the French look like they planned on sweeping across the stream. The 12th Division took up positions, in line, opposite the marshes near the Bois de Loup. The 10th Division took up positions, in line, just north of Tongrinelle. Sufficient space was left between these two division to locate a substantial artillery force, although it would be another half an hour before they were in place and unlimbered. The 9th & 11th Infantry Regiments brought up the rear, whilst the cavalry remained on the slopes above the stream so they would not hinder further redeployment of the Corps.

Fire Phase
The Prussian guns at St Amand had swung around and fired directly at the approaching Light Regiment of the 8th Division, however their rounds fell short and no notable casualties were inflicted. The battery stationed outside Ligny fired once again at the exposed hussars to their front but this time it did not have any effect.

The mass guns of the French III Corps caused the Prussians in the village to take a step loss and undertake a morale check – with which they had little trouble passing with their +2 morale bonus for being in cover of the village. Another half loss on the Prussian guns at St Amand reduced it by a step and the gunners promptly lost their nerve and temporarily abandoned their guns.

Melee & Rally
None. The gunners that abandoned their guns could have retreated with them next movement phase, although it seemed likely that the French would overrun the guns first and eliminate them.

Prussian III Corps take up positions behind the Ruisseau de la Ligne


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Turn 2: 13:30 French turn. As both sides were now closing on each other skirmishers were placed on the map.

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 2)
Part of the 8th Division moved forward in column and prepared to overrun the abandoned guns and assault St Amand. The remainder of the 8th Division moved to assault La Haye. Behind, the 11th & 12th Division took positions on the slopes overlooking the villages. The 7th Division from the II Corps thought better at being caught in the open by the Prussian horse and moved on to the slopes to the south-west of Le Hameau and sought comfort when the chasseurs from III Corps arrived on their flank.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 2)
The Corps continued its march across the undulating countryside on their approach to Ligny.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
The artillery from the 1st and 2nd Cavalry unlimbered on the slopes east of Ligny. Exelman’s Dragoons pulled up a short distance away from the stream ready to charge any advances made by the Prussians. Milhaud halted his cavalry behind the artillery with Pajol’s Lights to his right.

Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 1)
The Guard entered in column. Their march order was to halt north-east of Napoleon’s position at Moulin Naveau and then take a defensive deployment until further orders were received.

Fire phase
On the eastern bank of the stream between St Amand and La Haye Prussian guns opened fire on the advancing French columns of the 8th Division but with little effect as the high cultivated crops made accurate targeting difficult. The approach of the French through the tall crops made any long range musket fire ineffective.

The French guns of Grouchy’s cavalry corps began firing. They were ineffective against the Prussian guns just outside Ligny but caused a step loss on the frailer 6th Kurmark of the 12th Stulpnagel Brigade who promptly fell back to the town of Sombreffe disordered. Musket fire from the advancing French infantry had no effect against the Prussians hiding behind stone wall and housed of the villages of St Amand and Le Haye.

Melee
The 8th Division assualted St Amand. The 64th Line Infantry brushed away the abandoned Prussian battery. The 15th Light Infantry attempted to assault St Amand from the west, and despite their best efforts they could make no headway. The 23rd & 32nd Line Infantry had an even tougher nut to crack as they were assaulting the fortified location of La Haye. They assaulted in two columns. Unbeknownst to the French the Prussians had recently reinforced La Haye and it was being defended by not only the 28th Infantry Regiment but Jagers as well (10 steps in total). The fight was brutal with both side suffering losses. However, the French could make no progress.

Rally
None.

The Guard arrives


The 8th Division begins their assault


The French centre and right


Turn 2: 13:30 Prussian turn.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 1)
No need for the Prussian I Corps to gain fatigue this turn. If would have been interesting to use the cavalry to the north of Le Hameau to chase off the inferior French cavalry opposite, but not only would be against Ziethen’s current orders but it would only possibly increase I Corps step losses – the exact thing the Prussians were trying to avoid.

The 2nd Westphalian Infantry moved down off the slopes around the Moulin de Bussy and entered Ligny to improve its defences. Elsewhere the I Corps held its ground.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 2)
The Corps established their position on the left bank of the Ligne stream. On the extreme left the Corps cavalry were at the head of the stream where it met the Chaaussee Romaine. Moving south from there the following units were formed up in line: 5th Division with artillery support, then there was a gap in the line to enable the cavalry of the I Corps to re-cross the stream and return to their corps, finally there was 8th Division. The majority of the Corps artillery were still moving up from the rear. The 6th & 7th Division was held in reserve.

Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 2)
Thielmann’s Corps spread out along the northern bank of the Ligne, with artillery concentrated just north of Tongrinelle. The 9th Division moved up into position and the 11th carried on along the road to later deploy in front of Bois du Loup.

Fire Phase
Fire exchanges around the three villages was still ineffective. The large battery on the slopes south of St Amand fired volley after volley into the village causing the Prussian 12th Infantry to lose a step. They wavered in their morale (rolled a 10, they had 8 morale +2 bonus for the village) but the rallying call of their brigade commander Steinmetz kept them in check (no game effect just flavour). The guns of Grouchy’s Corps hit the Prussian artillery outside Ligny causing them to take a half loss. Other artillery fire towards the Prussian 8th infantry regiment was ineffective.

Prussian guns between La Haye and St Amand raked into the French 23rd Regiment as they were preparing to launch a further assault causing casualties but not repulsing them. The guns of Thielmann’s Corps ripped through the 15th Dragoons (two step losses) and another struck the 14th Dragoons but both held their ground. The French would need to think about their position facing the guns of the Prussians as those losses were only going to mount.

Melee & Rally
None.

The Prussian bolster the defence of Ligny with the 2nd Westphalian Infantry regiment


The French 23rd taking fire from the batteries across the stream.
The defenders of Ligny.


The unfortunate Dragoons who took the brunt of the Prussian artillery fire.
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Turn 3: 14:00 French turn.

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 3)
By now Vandamme realised that the assaults on the villages were going to be tough. The Prussians had put a large number of troops in each of the hamlets and with no easy way to dislodge them the French columns would have attack again and again. The majority of the 10th Division still station behind the guns on the slopes south of St Amand crossed the stream to support in the attacks on St Amand, only the 70th line Infantry remained to guard the guns.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 3)
Gerard’s orders were to bombard Ligny before assaulting and so the turn was consisted of bringing the guns into position and deploying the infantry.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
Using his defense order Grouchy pulled back much of his cavalry to beyond effective range of the Prussian guns.

Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 1)
The Guard continued it march to its marshalling area. Drouot rode to see Napoleon who gave him new orders, which were accepted immediately and would be in effect from 14:30. Napoleon noticed that Blucher had committed the majority of his I Corps to defending the villages and stream and to the defense of Ligny, leaving a tempting gap in the Prussian centre. It was here that the Guard would strike and them turn east and take the western side of Ligny. The artillery would move and begin bombardment of the Chateau at Ligny. Napoleon believed he would gain surprise on Blucher by crossing the stream when he thought the Guard was marching to assalt the east side of Ligny.

The new orders were:

Drouot
Tactic: Attack
Objective; The artillery will move up and bombard the Chateau at Ligny. The infantry to cross the Ruisseau de la Ligne through the marshes between St Amand and Ligny. Once across the Old Guard will take the western side of Ligny and support the IV Corps to take the eastern side. The Young Guard and cavalry will provide a screen west of Ligny to counter any Prussian attacks.
Secondary order – if objective achieved: Once Ligny is cleared move to support the attacks of III Corps on the villages of St Amand, Le Haye and Le Hameau.


Fire Phase
Prussian artillery caused multiple casualties. The French 23rd lost two steps and morale but still held – just - it only had a single step remaining. Combined long range fire managed to cause another dragoon unit from Grouchy’s Corp to lose a step. There was no effective musket fire from either side.

French massed artillery was eventually paying off as the Prussian 12th Infantry in St Amand took two step loses and morale declined, however, it still held. The guns of Grouchy’s Corps took out the Prussian guns outside Ligny and another battery reduces the 8th Infantry, situated just north of the stream, by a step.

Melee
The French 8th Division assaulted St Amand again. The 64th infantry attacking the south of the village with poor odds managed to catch the defenders unawares (rolled a 6) but still did not manage to dislodge them. The 15th Light to the north also manage a surprise and the Prussians who needed Steinmeitz again to steady them. It was still a stalemate at St Amand. Just further north at the village of La Haye the 23rd and battered 37th renewed their assault. Unsurprisingly the 37th fall back disorganised and was now a spent force, The 23rd achieved no progress in their assualt.

Rally
None.

Drouot receives orders from the Emperor


Gerard’s Corps deploys and Grouchy pulls back.


The 37th fall back in disorder.


Turn 3: 14:00 Prussian turn.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 2)
So far so good, loses had been not too significant – 7.5 step losses in total (60 required for demoralisation). The cavalry that an hour ago crossed the stream to confront the French 7th Division were pulled back towards the Moulin de Bussy.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 2)
The defensive line was further stabilised with cannon along the stream and the gap left for the withdrawal of the I Corps cavalry was filled by the 1st Elbe Landwehr Regiment

Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 3)
11th Division took up positions along the stream adjacent to Ligny. The rest of the Corps remained in situ.

Fire Phase
The French guns firing on the 12th Regiment in St Amand have now zeroed in and cause another two step losses and another drop in morale this finally disorganised the 12th who fell back over the bridge.

The Prussian guns between St Amand and Le Haye showered the 23rd Line Infantry as they reformed for another assault on La Haye causing two step losses and forcing it to fall back disorganised. Other Prussian fire was ineffective.

Melee & Rally
None.
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Turn 4: 14:30 French turn.

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 4)
The breakthrough in the south of St Amand was very welcomed by the assaulting French. It was only achieved by the massing of guns to the south. The guns would take an hour or so to relocate over the Ligne. The 64th outside St Amand withdrew under fire to permit the 10th Division to take up the attack moving into the village and surrounding farmland. The 10th took opportunity fire as they entered the village causing the 22nd to take a step loss.

Napoleon was aware that his left wing appeared weak as it was facing the entire Prussian II Corps and the majority of the Prussian I Corps. A plan was formulating to tempt the Prussian II Corps to commit and attack Vandamme’s Corps and while they would be doing so the Guard would cross the Ligny and be able to divide and defeat the Prussians in detail.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 3)
IV Corps continued following their written orders and this turn the artillery would be in position to begin firing on Ligny.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
The Corps would maintain its current defensive deployment. When the Guard crosses the Ligne, Thielmann might be tempted to strip some of his defending units from the stream to support Ligny, if the Prussian line weakens then Napoleon might order the Corps forward.

Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 2)
The Guard moved forward towards their crossing point. Hopefully the Prussians still believed they were heading for Ligny.

Fire Phase
Prussian artillery fire reduced the 9th Light Regiment stationed opposite Ligny and caused them to fall back disorganised. A half step from the 15th Artillery was taken and the gunners temporarily abandoned their guns. Skirmishers caught some limbered Guards artillery in the open and caused them to lose a step.

The massed French guns above Ligny failed to find their range and no casualties were recorded amongst the Prussians in Ligny.

Melee
The north end of St Amand village was assaulted by no less than five French assault columns; the 15th & 64th from the 8th Division and 22nd, 34th & 88th from the 10th Division. The defending Prussian 24th Infantry Regiment, a powerful unit with eight steps, defended fanatically and the massed French could not get a foothold in the north of the village.

Rally
None.

The Prussian 24th Infantry Regiment holding the north end of St Amand beat off the attacks from no fewer than five French assault columns.


The congested French centre – the question was will the Prussians be taken by surprise when the Guard suddenly turns north and crosses the Ligne.



Turn 4: 14:30 Prussian turn.

Tough times for Blucher. The French assault building on Ligny looked to be overwhelming and so he considered his options.



Thielmann’s Corps could move to the centre but that would give Grouchy’s cavalry opportunities to cross the stream and outflank the Prussian position. The better option appeared to be to move Pirch’s Corps across to Ligny and let the bulk of I Corps handle Vandamme’s attack. If centrally placed, Pirch’s II Corps could respond to threats from either flank. Blucher issued the following order to Pirch and handed it to an Aid de Camp:

Pirch
Tactic: March/Defense
Objective: Move to defend Ligny, support the I Corps in their defense of the town. Enter the town in force and also defend along the stream the area between I and III Corps’ position. Leave 8th Division, 2nd Uhlan, 3rd Hussars and a single supporting battery in their current position to support the defense of the three villages.
Secondary order – if objective achieved: hold and defend area.
Secondary order – if objective not achieved: If the town could not be held pull back to the slopes to the north-west of Ligny and deploy defensively.


Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 2)
Defensive positions maintained. The Jagers from La Haye relocated to the north of St Amand to bolster the 24th infantry defending there. The cavalry relocated to cover the bridge across the stream now in French hands.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 1)
Still following their current orders, the Corps maintained their defensive deployment. Bluchers Aid de Camp delivered his orders to Pirch. Pirch had an obedience rating of 4, which was rolled and the order was accepted and would be put into effect next turn.

Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 2)
The Corps maintained its position. Thielmann rode across to the disorganised 6th Kurmark to aid in their rally attempt later on in the turn.

Fire Phase
The French massed artillery opposite Ligny caused a step loss to the Prussian 2nd Westphalian Infantry defending Ligny and the Prussian cannons outside Ligny were finally silenced for good.

Return Prussian fire caused some losses to the French Guard, eliminating a limbered artillery unit that had strayed too far forward and a step loss on the 3rd Tirailleurs – which came from excellent shooting by the Prussian 3rd Jagers.

Melee
None.

Rally
Even with Thielmann’s abilities the 6th Kurmark failed to rally.

With their infantry resources stretched I Corps covers the bridge across the Ligne with their cavalry.

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Turn 5: 15:00 French turn.

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 5 – will suffer morale consequences)
The movement and assaults on St Amand and La Haye had been going on for nearly two hours and the III Corps was on the verge of a fatigue penalty. With the prize of taking the whole of St Amand into French hands, and the necessity of bringing up the guns to begin a bombardment of La Haye, Vandamme decided to push the Corps for another half hour. Then he would take a pause to regroup and recover fatigue, allow the men some respite before renewing the assaults.

Photo – the guns of III Corps unlimber ready to fire on La Haye.


Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue – improves to 3)
The Infantry rested after their march (regaining a fatigue) whilst the massed guns of IV Corps bombarded the town of Ligny.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
Grouchy’s original orders were to hold his position but if the Prussians had made no moves to cross the Ligne by 15:00 then he could act. The orders instructed that Pajol would take his light cavalry and flank the Prussians via Point Du Jour. Grouchy sent the lights but also sent Exelman’s dragoons as he wanted to make sure he got Thielmann’s attention and prevent him for going to the aid of troops holding Ligny.

Photo – the flanking movement by Pajol and Exelmans


Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 3)
The positioning of the Prussian horse south of the Moulin de Bussy made the crossing of the Ligne more problematic. After some thought Drouot decided to press ahead anyway. The 3rd Tiraillieurs of the Young Guard formed line and together with the 70th Infantry Regiment prepared to fire a volley into the Prussian 3rd Jagers who were defending a road bridge. The 1st Tiraillieurs of the Young Guard also moved up in column to push the defending Prussian Jagers back.

The movement against the 3rd Jagers guarding the road bridge.

The driving back of the 70th Infantry regiment would open the road for the Guard Cavalry to protect the infantry after they had crossed the Ligne. The 1st & 3rd Voltigeurs of the Young Guard forded the small stream, moved through the marsh and formed square a few hundred yards west of the Chateau. The 1st Chasseurs of the Guard followed and formed up in line in the marsh, as it protected them from any cavalry charge. The line was formed facing a now exposed Prussian artillery battery. The 1st & 2nd Grenadiers passed through the marsh, crossed the stream and formed square just west of the Voltigeurs. The French squares would need to hold until the Guard cavalry could cross the stream and support them. The Prussian cavalry fell back with the unexpected appearance of the Guard.

The Guard makes its move.


Fire Phase
Long range cannon fire from the II Corps guns along the Ligne caused a step loss to the French 12th Light who were station on the slopes west of Le Hameau. Artillery fire from the south of La Haye caused a step loss to the 15th Light Infantry as they prepared to resume their assault on St Amand.

The 3rd Jagers defending the road bridge that the Imperial Guard were preparing to assault managed to reduce the 3rd Tiraillieurs by a step. Elsewhere along the line Prussian fire was ineffective.

The French guns massing outside the fortified buildings in La Haye did not trouble the defending 28th Infantry Regiment. The Prussian 3rd Jagers using all the cover they could from the crops growing either side of the road withstood the combined musket fire of the French. Despite much musket fire from the advancing Guard all the Prussians stood their ground. Three batteries fired into the Chateau causing the defending 19th Infantry Regiment to take their first loss. Three batteries also fired into the town itself causing the 2nd Westphalian to take two step losses.

Melee
The French assault on the northern end of St Amand was again attempted with the same five regiments committed to the attack. However, Prussian guns had reduced the strength of that attack and the odds were not as favourable as before. Despite the losses, the French were determined and both sides took hits (French rolled a 6) but again the morale bonus for being in a village saved the Prussians from having to pull back.

The Guard’s assault on the Prussian Jagers, guarding the road bridge, was reinforced with the 3rd & 4th Grenadiers as the Prussians had not been weakened from the earlier musket salvoes. The Guard’s attack was uncoordinated as the Grenadiers were assaulting from a marsh across the stream (a 1 was rolled for the attack) and despite losing nearly half their men, the 3rd Jagers held the road bridge. The Guards cavalry’s route to aid the Infantry north of the stream remained blocked

The brave men of the Prussian 3rd Jager’s withstood the initial assault of the Imperial Guard.


Rally
Vandamme assisted in returning the battered 37th Regiment to good order but it was still a shadow of its former self. Its equally battered sister formation the 23rd did not resume good order and fell back further.

Turn 5: 15:00 Prussian turn.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 1)
The turn did not start as the disorganised 12th Regiment pulled back from in front of the Guard’s squares they were hit by a parting shot and routed. The I Corps cavalry were relocated to the east of Moulin du Bussy to allow room for Pirch’s Corps to redeploy and to keep the Guard Infantry in square. Prussian artillery either side of the French squares swung around hoping to put down some murderous crossfire into them.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 2)
Pirch could now act on the orders he received last turn, which were quite fortuitously as it was just what the Prussian needed to do in order to react to the incursion of the Imperial Guard. Unfortunately, the closest troops to the Imperial Guard were the 8th Division whom Pirch had specific instructions to leave in position – Blucher had not expected the French to cross where they had. The rest of the Corps left their position and moved in column towards the potential French Breakthrough.

The Prussian II Corps redeploying to meet the threat of the Imperial Guard.


Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 1)
III Corps original orders stated that if the French crossed the Ligne in force them the Corps was to reform their defensive line to include Sombreffe and Point Du Jour. The 2nd Kurmark Infantry fall back to Point Du Jour. The rest of the Prussian line from the marshes east of Ligny to Tongrinelle fall back to defend along the small tributary of the Ligne that flows between Sombreffe and Point Du Jour, with the cavalry on the extreme left flank. Although it would be another half an hour before all the troops would be in position.

Thielmann’s Corps quickly tries to reform their line to protect their flank.


Fire Phase
The hard fighting Prussian Jagers guarding the road bridge fell ta a hail of fire from two French regiments. One of the artillery batteries that swung around lost a step to some lucky fire from a French square. At Ligny, the massed French guns had found their range and caused more losses in the Chateau and town. Despite the relative safety of the Chateau (+2 morale) the 19th Infantry Regiment fell back disorganised.

Prussian Guns ripped in to the French Squares causing step losses to both squares

Melee
None

Rally
The 6th Kurmark in Sombreffe regained good order.

The state of the battle at the end of the 3pm turn
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Turn 6: 15:30 French turn.

A turn begins with declaring any charges and Pajol saw an opportunity to launch one. One of the redeploying Prussian artillery units was still in the open on the wrong side of the stream, enemy cavalry were to far away to intercept the charge, and so the 1st Hussars were sent over to cut them down.

The unfortunate artillery being run down by the Hussars – their only hope was a lucky shot from the skirmishers of the 20th Infantry Regiment and then an equally unlucky morale check for the Hussars!


Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 5)
With Fatigue at 5 the Corps suffered a drop in morale. Because of the difficulty the III Corps were having in assaulting the village locations Vandamme wanted to pull his troops back for them to recover fatigue before resuming the attack. Napoleon should have sent an order a turn or two back but had completely forgotten! Napoleon immediately sent a withdraw and defense order to Vandamme. An Aid de Camp quickly delivered the order and it was accepted by Vandamme, but it would not come into effect until the following turn. The Corps would have to prosecute the attack again this turn with their fatigued morale. With a tactical attack order a 1/3 of good order units must be active, moving towards the enemy or engaging in melee or fire – artillery and cavalry are not counted (cavalry were not counted as the advanced cavalry rules were being used). The III Corps had 12 good order regiments, so at least four had to take offensive actions in order for Vandamme to comply with his orders. There were five regiments adjacent to St Amand, they were not obliged to melee, firing would be sufficient. So all in all, the III Corps should be okay this turn. It appeared very unlikely that the Prussians would leave the relative safety of the villages and launch an assault.

The 15th Light Regiment braved opportunity fire and pulled back from St Amand, giving the guns behind a clear line of fire into the village. Unfortunately, that movement was sufficient to prevent the Corps from recovering a fatigue. The 64th & 88th Infantry regiments that had been assaulting St Amand drew up in line, with the 88th to the front. No other movement was taken by the units of the III Corps.

Vandamme had pulled back his weary troops leaving just sufficient around St Amand to cover his orders.


Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 4)
Seeing that the Chateau was empty of Prussians, the 2nd & 3rd Chasseurs moved hastily through it and using a bridge crossed the Ligne. Two units of Prussian horse, on the slopes above Ligny, were so surprised by the sudden appearance of the Guard that they withdrew to over the crest of the slope. The Chasseurs then entered Ligny from the north. More infantry and cavalry crossed the Ligne by the road bridge with the 1st & 3rd Tirailleurs charged right into the flank of a Prussian artillery battery.

The Guard attacks!


Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 4)
With the Chateau temporarily vacant 13th Division moved forward in force and occupied it. The reminder of the Corps’ infantry formed into columns and moved up to the guns, ready to launch an assault on Ligny.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
In frustration, Milhaud saw the Prussians withdrawing from the banks at the Linge and realised the heavy cavalry under his command could not quite make the distance to charge. However, he moved his heavies up to the stream in preparation for future operations.

After sending the 1st Hussars to run down some wayward artillery, Pajol and Exelman swung to the right of Tongrinne looking to engage the inferior enemy cavalry force.

The French cavalry hunting down the Prussians.


Fire Phase
All along the line Prussian fire failed to find its mark.

The muskets of the Guard’s 1st Chasseurs made short work of the depleted Prussian artillery battery stationed just west of the Chateau. Massed French guns again fired into Ligny causing yet another step loss to the now heavily depleted 2nd Westphalian Infantry Regiment. Elsewhere French fire did not overly trouble the Prussians.

Melee
The 1st Hussars charged into the rear of the limbered Prussian artillery and the artillery became disorganised and just managed to escaped with half of their guns intact, they had been very close to being completely eliminated. The Hussars were marked with a post-charge marker to allow their blown horses to recover.

The panting horses of the 1st Hussars


Back in Ligny the Chasseurs of the Guard combined with the 13th Division to launch a massive attack on the greatly depleted Prussian 2nd Westphalian Infantry. Another step loss was caused and the disorganised 2nd had leave the town and pass in front of the massed French artillery which promptly reduced the regiment to nothing. The 69th & 58th Infantry advanced into the now abandoned town hex. In a single turn the French had gained control of three of the six Ligny hexes.

The French have captured half of the town of Ligny.


Over on the French left the 1st & 3rd Tirailleurs assaulted the flank of a Prussian artillery battery eliminating it in one brief and bloody attack.

Rally
The 9th Light Infantry from the 14th Division and a battery from the Cavalry Corps regained good order.

Turn 6: 15:30 Prussian turn

Blucher looked over the battlefield with some concern.

To his right I Corps were holding their own in La Haye and Le Hameau. Although the southern end of St Amand had fallen the north end was well defended. There did not look to be an immediate threat there.


Over on the left the disposition of the Prussians was a mess, but there was still sufficient time to set up a defensible perimeter behind the stream, the difficulty would be keeping the Prussian horse in good order to prevent the French turning a flank.


The situation in Ligny was serious. The presence of the Guard units on the north side of the stream was a significant blow. Units of the III Corps would be needed to garrison the town – this would put a huge strain on Thielman’s command as his Corps would be as stretched out as it could be and still function efficiently.


In the centre the decisive encounter looks like it is going to occur. This turn, the II Corps had the opportunity to smash into the Guard squares – the sacrifice of the 3rd Jager may have not been in vain.


Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 1)
Little the Corps could do but hunker down in their cover and resist any fresh French assaults. The Corps was still in relatively good order with their morale just over halfway to becoming demoralised.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 3)
Pirch personally took command of the 2nd Elbe Infantry and prepared to assault the Guard squares. To his right 9th Infantry Regiment also moved to assault the other Guard squares. The deployment of the Corps was complex. The I Corps Cavalry shifted to their left, maintaining the threat on the Guard’s squares. Artillery unlimbered on the slopes above Ligny with a line of fire to the French ensconced in the town itself. Artillery and infantry moved up to cover the advance of the Guards. The rest of the Corps moved up behind.

The I Corps simultaneously assaulting the Imperial Guard squares and forming a defensive line behind.


Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 2)
Forming a defensive perimeter was of the utmost importance this turn before the cavalry of Pajol & Exelman could wreak havoc. Point Du Jour was just not defensible and so the 2nd Kumarks pulled back over the stream towards Sombreffe. The cavalry moved to the slopes to the left of the Prussian line; 7th Uhlan in the centre, 3rd Kurmark light cavalry on the left and 5th Uhlans on the right. Moving south the Prussian defensive line were arrayed behind the stream and consisted of: 8th Infantry supported with a battery of guns, 2nd Kurmark with a battery of gun moving up to join them from behind, 1st Kurmark, 20th Infantry and then the 6th Kurmark Infantry.

Three units formed a line facing Milhaud’s heavy cavalry, who withdrew when they were approached, the 1st Cuirassiers were wrong footed by the steep bank of the stream and had to withdraw disorganised (failed morale check).

The Prussian III Corps reform the line.


Fire Phase
French guns opposite St Amand tore into the artillery and 22nd Infantry Regiment arrayed in front of the 3rd Guard Tirailleurs, causing a half step loss to the guns and two losses to the 22nd, both units stood their ground. The Guards in squares fired at the approaching French columns but causes no casualties. The massed French guns poured fire into the fortified central plaza of Ligny, causing a step loss and despite the morale bonus it provided to the defending Prussian 4th Westphalian Infantry they fell back.

The advancing Tirailleurs of the Guard were peppered with short range artillery fire but the Guard held their nerve. Other Prussian fire along the line had minimal effect.

Melee
The Prussian 9th Regiment was the first to assault the squares of the 1st & 2nd Grenadiers. The Prussian assaulted with fury but the steadfast Guard yielded no ground and both sides took loses, but the squares held. The second assault was led by Pirch himself, he led the 2nd Elbe Regiment against the squares of the Young Guard’s 1st Voltigeurs & 3rd Tirailleurs and caused considerable casualties. The sight of Generalmajor Georg Dubislav von Pirch personally leading the assault caused the Young Guard to waver and then fall back losing their cohesion as they retreated.

The Young Guard falls back under the assault led by Pirch


Rally
None

Overview of the battle at 3:30

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Alasdair Campbell
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Great stuff David. I love how these attritional waves of attacks are wearing down the Prussians.
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Jason Sadler
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Olney
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From the Halls of Montezuma...
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...to the Shores of Tripoli...
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I am quite taken with those counters! I might need a copy of this.

Excellent write up and pictures as well. Keep up the fire!
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Henrik Reschreiter
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Poole
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Excellent AAR - great write up, great pictures! Really, really need to get this game out again after reading this! Only ever played Quatre Bras from it.
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David Murray
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Thanks everyone, I am glad you are enjoying it. It has turned into a lot bigger project than I imagined - I doubt anyone will still be reading it by the time I get to turn 18!

Turn 7: 16:00 French turn

On the French right flank, Point Du Jour had been abandoned by the Prussians. Occupying it would have been a simple task, however, the Prussians were bringing up artillery which would make holding it extremely costly. So despite the Prussian cavalry being covered by artillery, the French launched a large cavalry charge at them. The 1st Lancers and 11th Chasseurs led by Pajol charged the Prussian 3rd Kurmark line cavalry. The Kurmark’s countercharged. The advantage the Prussian line cavalry had against the French lights was cancelled out by the presence of Pajol. Both lines met and a vicious melee ensured, with the French getting the slight upper hand, but eventually both side withdrew with no clear victor.

The cavalry action – both sides took losses, with the French gaining the slight upper hand. However, both side withdrew in reasonable order.


The rapid response of Pirch’s Prussians in response to the Guards attempted break through in the centre was troubling for Napoleon. He only considered sending his Guard in early when he believed he could catch Blucher by surprise – now the Guard looked to be facing a large body of fresh troops (I now realised why Napoleon was reluctant to commit his Guard early or at least until is could deal a conclusive blow).

Napoleon quickly sent off new orders to Drouot. The orders instructed the commander of the Guard to pull back to the south of the Ligne. Gerard’s attack into Ligny was about to launch and should, hopefully, cause the Prussians to redeploy more units there and thin the lines in front of the Guard.

Drouot
Tactic: Defense
Objective; Pull back behind the Ligne and assume a defensive position. The Guard Chasseurs in Ligny to vacate their positions to units from Gerard’s IV Corps
Secondary order – if objective achieved: Maintain position until further orders.


The Aid de Camp rode straight to Drouot and the reliable general (obedience rating 5) accepted the new orders which would come into effect next turn.

Napoleon personally rode across to the 23rd Infantry Brigade, then a short distance from the Moulin Naveau, to bring them back into good order

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 5 – continued to suffer morale consequences)
Still suffering fatigue consequences but now under a withdraw order he pulled back his infantry to behind the artillery. Only the 22nd & 34th Infantry Regiments holding the southern end of St Amand remained in contact with the enemy.

Vandamme’s Corps rests and reorganises before it renews its assaults on the lower villages once more.


Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 4)
Drouot’s new orders will not be in effect until next turn and so the Guard pressed ahead in their attack towards the west side of Ligny. The Young Guard’s 1st & 3rd Tirailleurs charged the guns and the infantry of the Prussian 22nd Infantry regiment. The artillery behind the front line began to unlimber. But Napoleon’s gaze was firmly fixed on the large Guard columns, led by Drouot, that were preparing to assault the still triumphant 2nd Elbe Landwehr Regiment who had Pirch at the head.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 4)
With the imminent withdrawal of the Guard, Gerard needed to get his infantry forward. Columns of French infantry pushed on to Ligny. The Central fortified church hex was occupied by the 30th & 59th Regiments. Four columns moved towards the last remaining portion of Ligny, east of the stream, that was still controlled by the Prussians. The 6th Light, 63rd & 96th Regiments held their positions on Gerard’s left flank to cover that positions when the Guard would withdraw next turn.

The Prussians were hard pressed in Ligny.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
The placement of a Prussian artillery battery covering their cavalry dissuaded the French from any further charging this turn but they did occupy Point Du Jour with the 1st Hussars which fulfilled their original orders. The remainder of the cavalry moved to the north to be able to engage the Prussian cavalry next turn.

Fire Phase
To the east of St Amand short range canister fire from Prussian guns was so intense that the 3rd Guard Tirailleurs simply dissolved before the guns. Long range artillery fire on the French light cavalry recovering from their recent charge did not find its mark.

The French guns of Vandamme’s Corps kept up their fire into St Amand and La Haye but with little noticeable effect. The Guard’s guns down the line were more effective as they caused two step losses from the soon to be assaulted 2nd Elbe Regiment. French guns on the slopes west of Tongrinelle reduce the Prussians, defending north of the Ligne, by a step loss.

Melee
The 1st Guard Tirailleurs outraged at the sight of their sister unit falling charged the guns and infantry to their front. The fighting was fierce but inconclusive. The four attack columns of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grenadiers and the 1st Chasseurs led by Drouot, fired a musket salvo, shouted in unison, ‘Vive l’Empereur’ into charged the 2nd Elbe led by Pirch – no quarter was asked or given. It was no real contest the power of the Guard’s attack was simply overwhelming and the 2nd Elbe fell back depleted and disorganised. Pirch hastened back to his line, unwounded. Drouot declined to follow-up the assault not wishing to leave his men exposed to possible cavalry attack.

The Guard clear the way…


In Ligny, The Guards attack became bogged down and makes no progress as did IV Corps assaults.


Rally
Napoleon easily rallied the wayward 23rd Infantry Regiment.

Turn 7: 16:00 Prussian turn

Time to unleash the cavalry on the Guard! The 2nd Dragoons, 1st Kurmark & 1st Westphalian cavalry prepare to ride down from the heights by Moulin du Bussy and dare the Grenadiers to form square in front of the massing Prussian guns. The Grenadiers delayed forming square, tempting the charge to pass in front of their guns. The Prussians wishing to maintain their cavalry force called off the charge and fall back a little disorganised. The Prussians had hoped the Guard would have formed square early but the well motivated units of the Guard were prepared to hold their ground until the last moment. The Prussian cavalry had achieved nothing.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 0)
Still no need for Zieten to do anything but holds his ground. Vandamme had pulled back and offered no immediate threat.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 2)
Pirch, still reeling from his encounter with the Imperial Guard, brought up all available guns and sited them on the slopes above the French – the Guard would soon be feeling the power of massed Prussian artillery. Not forgetting his orders to reinforce Ligny, the 5th Jagers joined the 4th Kurmark in the town with the 5th Westphalian Infantry in support just behind.

The massed Prussian artillery prepare to fire on the Imperial Guard.


Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 0)
The Corps maintained their position with a few minor adjustments. The cavalry fell back to the slopes of the hills to gain them some advantage when, or if, the French resumed their cavalry charges. Some artillery was brought up in order to fire at the 1st Hussars situated at Point Du Jour.

Fire Phase
The French maintain their incessant artillery fire on St Amand, they found their mark and the defending 24th Infantry Regiment took a step loss, but easily held their position. The Guard artillery undertook some successful counter battery fire against the Prussian on the slopes around Moulin du Bussy.

The massed guns of the Prussians then opened fire against the Imperial Guard. The 3rd Grenadiers & 1st Tirailleurs were raked with canister cutting down half the finest soldiers in the French army – but still they stood. Napoleon looked on from the opposite hill regretting sending in his Imperial Guard so early. Elsewhere along the line the Prussian guns were less effective.

The view from the Prussian artillery as the poured down fire onto the Imperial Guard below.


Melee
None

Rally
None
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Enrique Carro
Spain
La Coruña
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I, for one, plan to stick with this report till the very end. Actually, I think I'm going to make some popcorn. I've seen war movie far less engrossing and interesting than this session report.

The game sits almost unplayed in my shelf (only a couple of turns of Quatre Bras). This session, and the videos that
Enrico Viglino
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Eugene
Oregon
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Silenced - BGG's moderation policies have driven me completely from here
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made a while ago about the complete game (the four battles at the same time) are helping me enormously to get the flow and feeling of the game.

Please, keep the updates coming!
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David Murray
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Enrique thank you for your kind words, it was Caladale's video that turned me on to this system too. I am enjoying this game very much - it has plenty of dynamism.

I am not sure anyone will learn any tactical nuances from my play - I am a relative newcomer to this era. Already, Napoleon is regretting sending in his Imperial Guard so soon... That last Prussian turn was painful for the French!
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Henrik Reschreiter
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Heck, most certainly will I watch how the rest of the battle unfolds! can't wait! Please keep them coming!
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David Murray
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Turn 8: 16:30 French turn

After nearly three hours of fighting the fatigue of the French units was mounting. This turn there was a general lull in the action on the French left, as Vandamme rested before renewing the assaults on the three lower villages. Gerard’s infantry were about to pass their fatigue penalty level and the Guard were preparing to pull back behind the Ligne. Only the Cavalry Corps were preparing to engage new enemy units.

Exelman’s Cavalry Corps spurred on their horses and charged headlong at the Prussian horse opposite. The 5th & 15th Dragoons, the 15th now being greatly reduced, charged the 7th Uhlans to their front. The Uhlans spurred on their horses and met the charge. Although charging up the slopes slowed the French charge considerable, Exelmans personally led the charge (+2 combat bonus) and was confident of success. After a brief exchange in which both side took casualties the 7th Uhlans fell back disorganised.

Exelmans charge broke the 7th Uhlans


Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 4)
No movement this turn allowing the Corps to regain some fatigue and remove their morale penalty.

Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 5 - the Corps suffered from a reduced morale)
The morale drop due to fatigue was less of a concern for these already high morale troops. Nevertheless, Drouot began to implement the Guard’s new orders and pull back across the Ligne. Most of the units managed to withdraw unscathed but the 1st Tirailleurs tried to withdraw from under a shower of artillery fire and when the smoke cleared the unit had ceased to be. The Chasseurs in Ligny withdrew to be replaced with units from IV Corps. Drouot rode over to the regiments of the Young Guard who had previously fallen back from square and attempted to rally them.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 5 – the Corps suffered from a reduced morale)
Despite their fatigue, IV Corps continued in their quest to take Ligny. The 58th & 69th replaced the Guard Chasseurs who had pulled from Ligny. More infantry from the IV Corps was fed into Lingy and the corps guns limbered and began to move towards the north of the town where the last defiant Prussian defenders held out.

The reformed French line – the precipitous advance of the Imperial guard across the Ligne had cost them dearly.


Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
The cavalry on the French right flank addressed their line in preparation for future charges next turn.

Fire Phase
The massed Prussian guns on the slopes around Moulin du Bussy had only long range counter-battery opportunities, these caused two half losses to the French guns. Prussian guns were yet to find their range on the Hussars at the Point Du Jour or trouble Exelmans.

Melee
In Ligny, the French 58th & 69th Regiment assaulted the 4th Kurmark who had just recently been joined by the 5th Jagers from II Corps. The assault did not go well. The French found the streets blockaded and witheringly accurate fire was poured down on them by the Jagers. After several increasingly desperate attempts the morale of the attacking French failed and they fell back, disorganised, through the Chateau to the outskirts of the town. The 76th Infantry, in the Chateau were less than happy at having their comrades fall back through them, but they held their nerve. The west side of the town was now empty of French troops – if only the Guard had not withdrawn the outcome could have been very different.

The west side of Ligny now free of French control


In order to fulfil his orders Gerard had to launch another attack, a third of good order infantry must take offensive action. The only available option was an assault on the full strength Prussian 13th Regiment ensconced behind the stone walls of Ligny. Although that unit was surrounded by many French regiments the probability of securing a good result was slim. Not wanting to over commit, Gerard ordered a spoiling attack from the 93rd & 96th Infantry Division who were situated in the farmland outside the town. The attack had very little chance of success but would at least prevent units from within the town having to launch an attack and possible be forced to fall back, if unsuccessful. The attack went predictably badly with the Prussian brushing way the weak attack and causing the French to fall back disorganised. Next turn, Gerard will need to be issued orders to halt the assaults, at least until his artillery can soften up the Prussians in the town.

Rally
Drouot rallied the Voltigeurs and Tirailleurs of Young Guard back to good order.

An overview of the battle after the French 4pm turn.


Turn 8: 16:30 Prussian turn

Blucher looked over the battlefield and sighed with relief, only an hour ago the situation looked perilous but now the battle had stabilised. The French appeared fatigued from their hours of fighting and had pulled back to regroup. The I Corps were holding their own in the lower villages to the Prussian right. The Imperial Guard had been given a bloody nose for their reckless early assault. Massed batteries of Prussian and French guns faced each other across the centre – it would be a brave unit that advanced in there! The left was still a concern for at some point the French cavalry would drive off the Prussian horse and then the only option would be to retreat the infantry back to Sombreffe.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 1)
Again there was no need to take any action. The only movement of the Corps was to vacate Ligny with the 13th Infantry Regiment and begin moving it across to the main body of I Corps to the west. The regiments position would be covered by units from the II & III Corps. I Corps cavalry remained on the hill around Brye in case of an advance from the Guard. It was also well placed to move across to the left flank if the French cavalry there broke through.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 2)
The large 5th Westphalian Landwehr Regiment entered Ligny – now all the town areas to the west of the Ligne were in Prussian hands once more. The 14th Infantry Regiment occupied the north of the town, which had recently been vacated by I Corps. Finally, 26th Infantry formed up in line opposite the Chateau to prevent any French attempt to cross the Ligne.

Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 1)
Blucher looked across to Thielmann’s Corps and saw that it was being spread thinner and thinner as it tried to counter the moves of the French cavalry. The whole Corps was in fact facing few, but very mobile, French units. Blucher decided to issue orders for Thielmann to fall back to Sombreffe, it would mean abandoning the relative safety of defending behind the stream, with its high banks that impeded enemy cavalry charges. Yet by pulling back, the Corps would be within command range of Pirch who could in turn send his horse to help counter the French superiority in cavalry. An Aid de Camp was dispatched, but Thielmann dithered over its contents and the implementation of the order was delayed a turn. It would not go into effect until 5:30.

Thielmann
Tactic: Withdraw/Defense
Objective: Withdraw infantry to defend Sombreffe. Locate artillery with cavalry support on the hill to the north of the village.
Secondary order – if objective achieved: hold and defend area.


Following the previous orders, the defense along III Corps line remained static.

Fire Phase
French guns once again shelled St Amand but this time with little effect. The guns of the Guard resumed their artillery duel with the Prussians south of Brye. The Guards really showed their superior training by causing widespread damage to the Prussian guns. Three half-losses were caused to enemy cannon and a round from one of the Guard’s gun caught a Prussian supply wagon bringing up powder – in the explosion that followed the unfortunate 28th Regiment lost a step. Artillery to the east of Ligny caused two step losses on the 31st Infantry Regiment causing it to leave the line in disorder.

The guns of the Cavalry Corps forcing the 31st Prussian infantry to leave the line (it is in the background marked with an 8).


Prussian counter battery fire was also effective causing two step losses in return. The luck of Exelman’s 15th Dragoons ran short when they were caught by Prussian roundshot and the already heavily depleted unit lost all combat capacity (eliminated).

Melee
None

Rally
No disorganised Prussian units rallied and so they fell back further to their lines of communication.
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David Murray
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Turn 9: 17:00 French turn

The lull in French action continued. Another hour and Durette’s Division from I Corps and Jacquinot’s Cavalry would arrive on the French left, that would be the ideal time for Vandamme to resume his attack.

Pajol lead a cavalry charge of the 1st Lancers and 11th Chasseurs against the 3rd Kurmark, the Kumarks attempted to counter charge but failed and had to receive the charge whist still in column formation. The 4th & 14th Dragoons charged the 5th Uhlan but were caught in the sights of defending Prussian guns and the already frail 14th Dragoons unit was cut down. The 5th Uhlan then counter charged.

The charges of the French cavalry and the Prussian counter charge and the moment of impact…


The 5th Uhlan fell back in disorder. The French aim of eliminating the Prussian cavalry force on their right flank was nearly a reality.

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 3)
The Corps continued to rest and recover. Fatigue dropped to 3.

Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 4)
The artillery was slowly gaining the upper hand in their duel with the Prussian guns. The remainder of the Corps rested and reorganised, the Corps lost a fatigue.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 6)
Despite the fatigue penalty Gerard did not want to give up the pressure at Ligny. The artillery moved into position to fire point blank on the Prussian 14th Infantry Division stationed in the north of the town.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
Pajol and Exelman were pushing the boundaries of their orders, which were to take and secure Point Du Jour. Grouchy seeing an opportunity to turn the Prussian flank rode around to Point Du Jour with the heavy cavalry of Milhund with the Corps artillery in tow. As Grouchy could issue one order a turn he wrote the following for the Cavalry Corps, for which all his subordinates were now in command range.

Cavalry Corps
Tactic: Attack
Objective: Destroy the Prussian enemy cavalry around Sombreffe. Prevent as many Prussian infantry of the Prussian III Corps from retreating into Sombreffe. Reduce all enemy infantry out in the open with cavalry and artillery. Leave a small contingent of cavalry in Point Du Jour.
Secondary order – if/when the enemy is contained within Sombreffe swing around between Sombreffe and Brye and prevent the Prussians in Sombreffe joining with the rest of the Prussian army.


This order was automatically accepted by Grouchy (of course he gave it!) and would be in effect from 17:30.

The French cavalry flanking strategy is looking like it might eventually pay dividends


Fire Phase
The massed batteries of the Prussian conducted counter battery fire and cause considerable losses to one of the Guard batteries. Despite frantic artillery firing against the French Cavalry Corps no substantial effect was achieved.

French guns kept up their constant shelling of St Amand causing another step loss to the beleaguered 24th Infantry Regiment inside. The 24th had by now taken enough losses to reduce its morale, but it still held. The French Guard guns showered the opposing Prussian batteries with shells but achieved little. Point blank cannon fire into Ligny failed to cause a single casualty on the defending Prussians.

Melee
Pajol’s charge was resolved against the unprepared 7th Uhlan. The charge was slowed by the slope but when the cavalry clashed both sides took looses. The 11th Chasseurs ceased to be a viable fighting unit, but the French still gained the better of the engagement. However, after a fierce melee both units pulled back in good order.

The aftermath of the French charges… the Prussian have only a single good order cavalry on their left wing – the weakened 7th Uhlans.


Rally
The 1st Cuirassiers rallied, just in time to ride and join their comrades attacking the Prussian right.

Turn 9: 17:00 Prussian turn
There was an imminent danger on the Prussian left wing. Thielmann was not aware of the danger and was still questioning his recent orders to withdraw to Sombreffe. He was not prepared to act upon his new orders until next turn, believing he should still be attempting to defend Point Du Jour (currently in French hands).

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 2)
13th Infantry Regiment continued its redeployment from Ligny to the defence of the three lower villages. The I Corps Cavalry were sent across to replace the positions of the II Corps cavalry units, stationed near Le Hammeau. The purpose of this transfer was to release the cavalry from II Corps so they could cover the French advance from the direction of Sombreffe. Along the rest of the front line there was no movement.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 3)
The 3rd Elbe Regiment began its transfer from the Ligne on the Prussian right to support in the defense of Ligny. The purpose of swapping all the units from I and II Corps was to allow Pirch to extend his command further towards Sombreffe where it might be imminently needed. The cavalry of II Corps rode as close to Sombreffe as Pirch’s command would allow. In Ligny there was no movement from the defenders.

Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 2)
The slow acting Thielmann moved the 20th Infantry & 6th Kurmark Regiment north and formed square. The 8th Infantry with supporting artillery, located at the end of the Ligne stream, also formed square.

With the threat of the French cavalry running amok the Prussian infantry change into square.


Fire Phase
The French guns maintained their bombardment of St Amand causing the defending 24th Infantry to take yet another step loss. The massed artillery of the Guard pummelled the Prussian guns, causing: multiple half-step losses, the disorganisation of a battery and a loss to a supporting infantry regiment. The French were decisively winning the artillery duel and the Prussians would need to do something soon before their artillery was all but silenced. The good gunnery of the French did not stop there; the guns firing point blank into Ligny caused massive casualties to the defending 14th Infantry Regiment, who despite their losses held their position. The 5th Kurmarks stationed on the north bank of the Ligne also took a step loss. It was without doubt the finest display of gunnery seen on the field of battle all day.

The devastating fire from the massed guns of the Guard (all the 1’s beneath the Prussian artillery indicate it has been degraded).


The return Prussian fire was not as effective but scored some noticeable results. The 1st Hussars were hit and had to fall back from Point Du Jour, in addition the 5th Dragoons lost a step.

Melee
None

Rally
The number of disorganised Prussian had been build up over the last few turns but no less that three previous disorganised units returned to good order; the 2nd Dragoons, 4th Westphalian infantry and the 19th infantry Regiment.

The rallying of the units to the north of Brye will help the Prussians maintain their defences against the determined French – however, every turn Prussian numbers were being slowly worn down.


At the exact halfway mark in the scenario here are the loss sheets. Both sides have so far received relatively light losses as the fighting had been mainly preparatory in nature with neither side committing too much. That said, the French Guard had lost some significant forces, but the rest of the army was in reasonable order:


As expected the Prussian I Corps had taken most of the losses so far.
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Turn 10: 17:30 French turn

17:30 began with the bugle call of the 5th Dragoons as Exelmans lead them in a charge against the last remaining good order Prussian cavalry on the French right. The Prussian 7th Uhlan spurned on their horses and counter charged… Fierce hand to hand fighting was conducted with casualties on both sides high. Despite the French being led by Exelman and his Dragoons being line compared to the Uhlans light – the Prussians did not break and both sides fell back in reasonably good order.

The cavalry clash...


Although both units had been greatly reduced, the Prussians had succeeded in keeping a good order unit cavalry on their flank – although its chances of surviving another charge was highly doubtful.

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 2)
Napoleon had decided to wait until Vandamme was reinforced by Durutte’s Division and Jacquinot’s Cavalry which should arrive on the battle field within the hour. By then the III Corps would have been fully rested and prepared to renew their assaults on the lower villages with the utmost vigour.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 7)
There was no rest for Gerard’s troops as they maintained their attack in the streets of Ligny. Only one unit, the Prussian 14th Infantry, still stood in their way to complete their orders (which were to take control of Ligny east of the Ruisseau de la Ligne). The French guns had been shelling the Prussian 14th for over an hour and a successful assault now appeared possible. In the farmlands outside Ligny, the 44th & 111th Infantry moved into attack columns. They were then joined by the 58th Infantry and the 6th Light Regiments. Two batteries from the Corps relocated to cover elements of the Prussian III Corps across the small Ligne stream to the north, these in turn were protected by the Corps Dragoons and Hussars.

The French IV Corps form columns behind the guns and prepare to assault Ligny, to the right the relocated guns cover the approaches from the north.


Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
Napoleon was carefully watching the movements of Grouchy’s cavalry as they attempted to outflank the Prussians. This turn the cavalry’s new orders came into effect. The horse artillery occupied Point Du Jour and unlimbered opposite the Prussian line, in sight of one of their squares. Milhaud, riding with the 5th & 7th Cuirassiers, rode with haste towards Exelmans position. The newly reordered, but now out of command 1st Cuirassiers, rode towards their comrades on the French right.

Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 2)
The Guard was decisively getting the better of the artillery exchanges against the Prussians. As the Guard waited for additional orders they could look on in satisfaction as the Prussian centre weakened.

Fire Phase
The weakened Prussian guns south of Brye proved ineffective as did any spoiling musket fire from Ligny on the forming French attack columns. On the Prussian left flank the few remaining artillery pieces not protecting a square, fired at the 5th Hussars just south of Point Du Jour and drove them from the battlefield.

The French guns pounded St Amand once more causing another loss to the Prussian 24th inside – with the previous assault and nearly two hours of artillery bombardment the 24th was now at half its original strength. The guns of the Guard kept up their effective counter-battery fire causing additional half-step losses and eliminating one battery entirely.

(note: I was using the optional half-loss artillery rules – these take into account the the relatively low density of an artillery unit and made the counter-battery fire less effective. It was only the skill and accuracy of the Guard’s guns (Firepower 6 or 7) which allowed them to dominate the Prussians.)

The slopes in front of Moulin du Bussy had been nearly cleared of Prussian artillery.


Melee
Apart from the earlier cavalry charge, the only French melee during the turn was the assault on Ligny, at the last Prussian controlled area east of the stream. Previous Prussian attempts by IV Corps had met with very little success, but with the defending 14th Infantry having been shelled for over an hour and the assault personally being led by Gerard, the French were confident. The 6th Light Division spearheaded the assault and suffered terribly, losing half their total. The Prussians fought bravely but the sheer numbers of attacking French were slowly driving them back house by house. Eventually, the pressure was too much for the Prussians and they fell back seeking cover in the Bois du Loup just north of the town. Gerard entered the vacated area and had after over four hours of combat completed his orders. His Corps was fatigued but they had suffered very light actual casualties.

Gerard completes his orders…


Rally
Gerard’s 50th Infantry regained good order and readied themselves to march into Ligny. The 9th Light did not rally and fell back further.

Turn 10: 17:30 Prussian turn

Blucher looked over the battlefield and all he could see were problems – most with no obvious solution. To his right Ziethen held the majority of the lower villages. The 24th infantry holding the north of St Amand were beginning to weaken and would need relieving. It would probably not be long before Vandamme renewed his attack. Blucher also heard disturbing reports of more French arriving from the west. I Corps still had their cavalry intact and that would be needed to repel the new arrivals.

In the centre the Prussian artillery lay in ruin and the centre looked to be in trouble if the Imperial Guard pressed there. The rather stretched cavalry of the Prussians would have to try and cover that area too. The east bank of Ligny was lost but the French IV Corps appeared fatigued and so it might be a while before they resume their attack.

On the left Thielmann had been slow in pulling his forces back but still should make the safety of Sombreffe in time.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 3)
The 24th Infantry in St Amand was relieved by the 2nd Infantry Regiment from Pirch’s Corps as it was the only free unit nearby. The 3rd Uhlan, 1st Kurmark and 1st Westphalian Cavalry established themselves on a small hill north of Wagnelee in an attempt to discourage any rapid advances the French reinforcements might make down the Chaussee Romaine. Other units just returning to good order made their way west towards the three lower villages.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 4)
Apart from replacing the 24th Infantry in St Amand, there was just minor adjustment of infantry positions. The 4th Kurmark & 1st Dragoons took up position on the hill above Ligny looking down the slopes towards the Imperial Guard. The light cavalry of the Corps moved as far east as the command of Pirch would allow.

In the top left you can see the cavalry covering the Chaussee Romaine. To the top right the light cavalry are at the limit of Pirch’s command. The units between them have just returned to good order and are attempting to re-join the line.


Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 3)
With the last remaining Prussian cavalry unit keeping the French busy the order to fall back was at last given. The squares broke and all units began their fall back to Sombreffe. Only the 8th infantry Regiment couldn’t achieve it in one move and so decided to form square a few hundred yards from the village. The 7th Uhlan’s had little choice but to hold their ground as any withdrawal would have led to them being counter charged and in all likelihood eliminated.

The Prussians pull back to Sombreffe.


Fire Phase
French guns continue their bombardment of St Amand but do not trouble the newly arrived 2nd Infantry. The guns of the Guard were having to take longer range shots but still managed to eliminate a depleted battery and cause a half-step loss to another. French guns opened fire on the disorganised Prussian 14th Infantry Regiment sheltering in the Bois du Loup and routed them.

Diminished Prussian counter battery fire still manages to make an impact as they destroyed their first Guard artillery battery.

Melee
None

Rally
No successful rallies.

The situation at the end of the 5:30pm turn. The Prussian left flank unable to deal with the French cavalry have sought shelter in Sombreffe. Ligny is still in dispute. The Prussian centre is weak but the right is holding (sorry for the glare).
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Turn 11: 18:00 French turn

This turn was the calm before the storm as the French prepared for their final assault on St Amand, La Haye and Le Hameau.

The turn began with the 4th Dragoons charging the frail 7th Uhlans. The Uhlans heroically countercharged, but the result of the clash was a foregone conclusion and the Uhlans were swept away. The Prussians had lost their last good order cavalry on their left flank. The only glimmer of light this turn was that the disorganised 3rd Kurmarks and 5th Uhlans were ready for their first attempt to regain good order.

The reinforcements from d’Erlon’s I Corps entered the map: the 8th, 29th, 85th & 95th Line Infantry, 3rd Lancers & 7th Hussars, as well as a battery of foot artillery. These entered from the west along the Chaussee Romaine. All those units were under Vandamme’s command.

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 1)
With the arrival of elements of I Corps and now rested, the Emperor prepared orders for Vandamme to renew his assault on St Amand, La Haye & Le Hameau. An Aid de Camp was dispatched and arrived at Vandamme position on the same turn.

Vandamme
Tactic: Attack
Objective: Attack and occupy the villages of St Amand, La Haye & Le Hameau with the utmost vigour.
Secondary order – occupy and defend villages from all counter attacks.


Vandamme accepted the order and prepared to implement it next turn.

Durutte’s recently arrived division marched towards Le Hameau to join up with Vandamme’s Corps. The accompanying Lancers and Hussars screened them from the watching Prussian cavalry near Wagnelee.

The French reinforcements.


Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 6 – still suffering a morale penalty)
Gerard Corps rested and regained some fatigue. With their orders complete the Corps reverted to a defense command.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
With the Prussian cavalry gone, the horse artillery was brought up as close to the wayward Prussians caught in square, just outside Sombreffe, as they dared and unlimbered. Exelman changed horse and rode with the 5th Dragoons to cover the ground between the artillery and the village. Milhaud and Pajol swung to the north of Sombreffe in accordance with their orders. Grouchy hung back to aid in the rallying of 1st Hussars.

The Prussian 9th Infantry Regiment caught in no-mans land is fired upon by the fast moving horse artillery of the Cavalry Corps.


Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 1)
The Guard were still waiting for Napoleon to commit them.

Fire Phase
The now meagre Prussian counter battery fire achieve nothing. The French guns opposite St Amand found their range once more and caused a step loss on the replacement Prussian 2nd Infantry. The guns of the Guard reduced and eliminated another Prussian artillery battery. The Cavalry Corps’ horse artillery shredded the Prussian square and it broke and fell back.

Melee
None

Rally
None

Turn 11: 18:00 Prussian turn

The gap in the centre was an extreme concern for Blucher, there was little between him and the Imperial Guard. Thielmann’s Corps was pinned in Sombreffe. With the arrival of French reinforcements, the defence of the lower villages looked to have become a whole deal more difficult.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 1) & Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 3)
The recently rallied units were rushed to the front line. With insufficient time to disentangle the I and II Corps, their regiments became entangled as a defensive line was formed. The line spread from Wagnelee along the banks of the Ligne, turning east from La Haye and forming a line on the reverse slope (a trick Blucher had picked up from Wellington to protect his troops from the French guns) and across to Ligny. Not all the units were yet in line.

The Prussians forming a new defensive line.


Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 1)
Blucher considered the role of III Corps for a considerable time. They were still a powerful infantry force but were currently bottled up in Sombreffe whilst the French cavalry swarmed around them. There appeared to be insufficient time to send Pirch with his cavalry to challenge the French and then still be back in time to aid in the defense of the main line. Falling back from Sombreffe towards Brye was an option but to give up so much ground could have been catastrophic if the Prussians needed to leave the field in good order. With no clear path, Blucher did not send any additional orders and III Corps remained defending Sombreffe. Two artillery batteries, one depleted, was moved and unlimbered in farmland north of the village to cover the movements of the flanking French cavalry.

The defense of Sombreffe, note the guns to the north covering the movements of the French flanking cavalry.


Fire Phase
The French massed guns outside St Amand reduced the defending 2nd Infantry inside by another step. An extreme long range shot from the Guard artillery surprised the Prussian 1st Dragoons and caused a step loss. Elsewhere the Prussians had retreated from the view of the French gunners.

The Prussian returned the complement with a great long range shot of their own on the French left flank that spooked the 4th Chasseurs and their mounts and caused them a step loss. The Prussians had few other shots.

Melee
None

Rally
Blucher personally rallied the 9th Infantry Regiment. Elsewhere, north of Brye the 2nd Elbe Infantry regained good order. Unfortunately, Thielmann’s disorganised cavalry did not reform and fell back further.
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Turn 12: 18:30 French turn

5th Dragoons saw an opportunity to run down the disorganised Prussian 8th Infantry Division as it fell back just before it entered Sombreffe.

The Dragoons aim to rout the Prussian 8th Infantry Regiment.


Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 2)
The Corps on mass moved forward, brushing aside Prussian skirmishers as they approached their objectives, the lower villages of St Amand, La Haye & Le Hameau. The Corps held little back, as wave after wave of French attack columns converged on the villages. Only the 85th & 95th were held in reserve. The I & III Corps cavalry crossed the Ligne opposite Wagnelee.

The massed attack columns of the French III Corps storm St Amand, La Haye & Le Hameau.


Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 5 – still suffering a morale penalty)
The Corps maintained its defensive positions.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
Pajol and Milhaud swing around to the north of Sombreffe to threaten Prussian rear lines of communication. The Horse artillery rapidly relocated to begin shelling the southern end of the Sombreffe, whilst the 1st Hussars stood guarding them.

Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 1)
Napoleon decided that it was the moment to send in the Guard and deliver the knock out blow. He personally rode over to Drouot, accompanied by the Gendarmes of the Guard, and delivered the following order which was immediately accepted:

Drouot
Tactic: Attack
Objective: Attack and clear the hill on which stands Moulin de Bussy. Press the attack as far as Brye.
Secondary order – when cleared turn and aid IV Corps clear Ligny if areas of the town are still Prussian controlled.


Fire Phase
As the French columns pressed on on La Haye, the Prussian 28th Infantry Division, with aid from their Voltigeurs, caused some losses to the advancing French 12th Infantry. On the French right, desperate musket fire from the 1st Kurmark at the 5th Dragoons as they mounted their charge cut them down and Exelmans was lucky to escape with his life.

Guns from the Guard targetted the retreating 24th Infantry causing a step loss. Already depleted from its defence of St Amand and as it took fire form its rear, the unit fell back disorganised. More long range fire forced the Prussian 1st Dragoons to fall back disorganised. At the north end of Ligny French guns forced the 3rd Kurmark Regiment to fall back. Opposite Sombreffe the French discovered they had unlimbered their guns too far back on the slopes to have a clear line of fire at the village (Napoleon would not have been impressed).

Melee
With the French 5th Dragoons falling to close range musket fire, the eyes of both commanders looked to the huge melee breaking out all around the lower villages.

The first village attacked was St Amand, six French regiments were involved in the assault. The leading regiment, the 37th, within minutes suffered severe casualties and ceased to be a viable fighting unit. Many Prussians from the 2nd Infantry Regiment fell in bitter house to house fighting but they held their ground and managed to expel the French from the village perimeter. The French withdrew in good order ready to reform and resume the attack next turn.

Next, was the fortified location of La Haye. Here Vandamme personally lead the attack. Four regiments assaulted in column. The French managed to break through the outer perimeter but at a heavy cost. Casualties on both sides soon mounted. Once again the French were driven back but maintained good order.

The final assault was on Le Hameau. Six French regiments tried to forced their way into the village but were driven back with three of the six regiments falling back in disorder: the 4th, 29th and the 12th Light.

All the initial French assault are repelled


Rally
None

Turn 11: 18:30 Prussian turn

The 2nd Dragoons & 3rd Uhlan of the I Corps immediately charged the two French Chasseurs units which had just crossed the Ligne. However, the steep banks of the stream delayed the 4th Chasseurs and they failed in their counter charge.

The cavalry charge south of Wagnelee


The French 4th Chasseurs shattered but their sacrifice was not in vain as the Prussians were forced back disorganised.

The Prussian 3rd Hussars & 2nd Uhlans swung around and charged Pajol and his Lancers which had just appeared to the north. The Lancers lowered their lances and counter charged.

The Lancers 1st counter charge.


The lancers were heavily outnumbered but under Pajol’s leadership they hold their own and after some inconclusive skirmishing both sides withdraw in good order.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 2)
So far so good, the Prussians maintained their hold on the lower villages. The defensive line on the hill behind the lower villages continued to be established, now with many units deployed in line on a reverse slope.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 4)
All is quite in Ligny, but elsewhere along the line the defense was being created.

The Prussian line is formed. From left to right (starting at the Ligne): 13th, 19th , 9th 21st, 3rd Elbe Infantry Regiments and the mounted 4th Kurmarks.


Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 1)
Following orders Thielmann remained defending the village of Sombreffe. The artillery having missed their firing opportunity on the French cavalry limbered up and retired into the relative safety of the village.

Fire Phase
French musket fire into the villages would have had no effect and so the troops saved their shot. The guns of the Guards had few shooting opportunities but one that they did have on the Prussian 13th Infantry found its mark.

The Prussians in the lower villages sniped at the French as they reformed their lines for their next assault. Outside of Le Hameau, this strategy succeeded causing the 8th Infantry a loss and ensuring it pulled back disorganised.

Melee
None

Rally
31st Infantry Regiment at Trois Burettes rallied.

Overview of the battle. The first French assaults on the lower villages of St Amand, La Haye & Le Hameau had failed. The Prussian had reformed their centre and managed to challenge the flanking French cavalry.
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Turn 13: 19:00 French turn

Milhaud launched his heavies at the Prussian Hussars and Uhlans, who fought Pajol last turn. The French 5th & 7th Cuirassiers looked magnificent as they thundered towards the far more numerous Prussian lights. The Prussians quickly formed ‘en bataille’ and rode to meet them.

The more numerous Prussian Hussars and Uhlans counter charged the French Cuirassiers.


The initial impact of the French heavies cut down swathes of Prussians, but as the melee ensured the fewer numbers of the Cuirassiers began to count against them as the lighter Hussars and Uhlans swarmed all around them. Finally, a tipping point was reached and the 7th Cuirassiers fell back in disorder. Not wishing to find themselves isolated the 5th Cuirassiers voluntarily fell back as well.

Mouton’s VI Corps arrived and were given a march order to deploy on the hill south-east of Ligny.


Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 2)
Artillery was brought up to aid in the assault on St Amand which was about to be renewed by five French Regiments: the 22nd & 34th from inside the village from the south, and the 64th & 88th Line & 15th Light Infantry from farmland outside the village. The fortified location of La Haye was proving to be just too difficult to assault and so the French infantry there were joined by artillery to soften up the defenders before another assault was launched. The defiant Prussian 1st Westphalian Infantry at Le Hameau had driven off most of the attacking French forces last turn. Only the 82nd remained in good order ready to continue the assault, they were joined by the reserves of the 85th, 95th and the 2nd Suisse. Later on a Foot artillery from I Corps advanced on La Hameau and prepared to unlimber. The 23rd and 70th Infantry that were the only III Corps units east of the Ligne moved to assault the flank of the Prussian 22nd Infantry and their artillery support.

Vandamme launches his second assault on the lower villages, but this time with close artillery support. To the right of the Ligne the 23rd & 70th Infantry can be seen attacking the flank of the Prussian 22nd and an artillery battery.


Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 4)
IV Corps continued their skirmishing with the Prussians across the stream in Ligny – but no major engagement was undertaken.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
Pajol pulled back and waited for Grouchy to arrive with fresh troops before they launched another charge on the Prussian cavalry. Exelmans after his brush with death rode back to join the other commanders. The Horse artillery and 1st Hussars were now out of contact with their command and so limbered up and began to make their way towards the rest of the Corps stationed between Sombreffe and Trois Burettes.

Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 2)
The Imperial Guard acted on their orders from the Emperor and begin moving forward. The Guard crossed the Ligne in force. The cavalry of the Grenadier and Dragoons lead the troops across the road bridge, this caused quite a consternation amongst the Prussians whose cavalry was being greatly stretched by the French. The only cavalry unit that remained in the centre was the 4th Kurmark.

The Guard’s advanced across the Ligne was arranged from left to right thus: Artillery battery 7 – unlimbered ready to fire at point blank into St Amand, the Guard’s cavalry and just behind them the 2nd & 3rd Chasseurs Infantry, 2nd Grenadiers with artillery support, moving through the marshes 3rd Grenadiers & 1st Chasseurs infantry with the 4th Chasseurs in front in line deployment and finally the 4th Grenadiers with artillery support.

The Guard advances…


Mouton VI Corps (Fatigue 1)
VI Corps marched onto the map towards their deployment area on the hill opposite Ligny.

19th Division lead the march followed by the 20th and 21st. Napoleon can also be seen attempting to halt the rout of the 69th Infantry Regiment

Fire Phase
Close range musket fire from Le Hameau was once again effective – this time against the 2nd Suisse, who promptly fall back disorganised. At La Haye, the French gunners discovered they had unlimbered to close to the Prussians and suffered a step lost. Elsewhere the Prussians did not have any good firing opportunities.

The French guns outside St Amand could now fire on it from both the left and right banks of the Ligne. The fire devastated parts of the village causing many fires and casualties. In spite of the intense fire, the Prussian 2nd Infantry held their ground. The guns outside La Haye pounded the thick stone walls and managed to reduce the defending Prussians by a step.

Melee
Once again the large French assault columns attack the villages.

First in to St Amand was the 64th Infantry, supported by four other regiments. The defending 2nd Infantry Regiment and 1st Jagers had been shaken by the previous artillery bombardment and were forced to fall back, disorganised. The triumphant 64th & 88th occupied the village.

At La Haye, the assault was being led by Vandamme. Once again the French battered on the walls of the fortified hex but failed to make any progress and fell back in good order.

At La Hameau, the ferocity of the 82nd, 85th, 95th Line and the 11th Light Infantry assault quickly drove the Prussian 1st Westphalian out of the village and back across the Ligny. The 85th & 95th occupied the village.

The success of the French assaults did not end there as the 23rd & 70th, east of the Ligne, destroyed the Prussian artillery caused the 22nd Infantry Regiment to fall back. The 22nd fell back through the 3rd causing them to become disordered and also fall back.

The French assault on St Amand & Le Hameau had been successful. Only La Haye defied the French but how much longer it could be held was in question

Rally
Napoleon called the routing 69th Infantry.

Turn 13: 19:00 Prussian turn

The loss of some of the villages was to be anticipated but the French attack east of the Ligne which destroyed a battery and caused two regiments to fall back was not.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 2)
The options for Zieten were few. The 28th Infantry in the fortified buildings of La Haye had lost nearly half their men and could do with being relieved. However, there was no way so many many men could cross through the narrow streets of the village with the French pressing on all sides. The fortified location could have been abandoned but that would have only accelerated the French advance and so was dismissed.

The line needed to be addressed but with the Guard cavalry waiting for an opportunity to run down any infantry advance it was problematic. Forming square in front of the advancing cannon and infantry of the Guards appeared to be a poor tactical choice. At the start of the turn, Blucher had momentarily considered charging the Guard cavalry with his own Kurmark line horse – but in order to do so the Prussians would have had to gallop across the front of a French regiment deployed in line and also an artillery battery – and only then have the opportunity to take on the elite French cavalry. That plan was soon dismissed. Ultimately, the deployment of the Prussians infantry was limited; they had little choice but to take any cavalry charge in line and hope for the best! The Prussians addressed their line as best they could.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 4)
II Corps’ cavalry had initially done well in containing Grouchy’s force but they were still fighting a rear-guard action. The Prussian horse were withdrawn to the eastern slopes of the hill near Brye. The remainder of the forces, intermingled with I Corps, moved into the main line.

Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 1)
Blucher now took a momentous decision. III Corps were currently achieving nothing. He would order them to leave a small force in Sombreffe and with the remainder of the Corps strike south across the Ligne to relieve the Prussian forces in Ligny. This was a high risk strategy but at the very least it could distract the newly arrived French VI Corps and maybe prevent them for supporting the central French attack – which by now appeared decisive.

Thielmann
Tactic: Attack
Objective: Cross the Ligne south of Sombreffe and attack French forces in Ligny. Leave a small force to defend Sombreffe.
Secondary order – If hard pressed by the enemy (i.e the Corps reaches half their demoralization total) retreat back towards Sombreffe.


The aid De Camp reached Thielmann during the turn but again he questioned the order and would not act upon it until 20:00

Fire Phase
More disastrous news reached Blucher. The 2nd Infantry Regiment that had been disorganised and forced out of St Amand found itself in the open facing two batteries of French guns. The 2nd was immediately routed, taking the 1st Jager’s with them (it was not clear in the rules what happens to a unit that is stacked with a unit that is routed – I decided to extend the contamination rule to include such units). The routing units fled across the stream and into the 4th Westphalians causing them to routing also. By Ligny the guns of the Guard with supporting fire from the 76th forced the Prussian 26th Regiment back in disorder.

Return Prussian fire was mostly ineffective apart from a step loss on the French 95th at Le Hameau from artillery fire.

Melee
None

Rally
Thielmann’s 8th Infantry Regiment resumed good order.

A disastrous turn for the Prussians. St Amand and Le Haye fell and several regiments from the main line of defence have routed. The Prussian I Corps are now only ten points away from demoralisation.
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Enrique Carro
Spain
La Coruña
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"I love the smell of powder in the morning"

Napoleon

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David Murray
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Thanks Enrique.

Overview of the game at 7:00pm

Before the start of the 14th Turn – 7:30pm I looked at the current game situation as there were only five game turns left. It was now beyond doubt the Prussian position was failing, but that didn’t mean the French had won, not yet anyway. At the beginning of this action report I stated the victory conditions; the French needed at least 4VP to gain a marginal victory. Of the four VP needed the French currently did not have any – they temporarily gained 1 for occupying Point Du Jour but had since abandoned that location in search of the Prussian cavalry.

Assuming the French remember to reoccupy Point Du Jour, where were they most likely to earn the remaining VPs? The victory conditions state that 1VP is gained by the French for occupying the four hexes of St. Amand, La Haye & Le Hameau (there are actually five hexes covered by those villages so I presumed that four hexes really meant all five). St Amand and Le Hameau were already in French hands and it was highly probable that the Prussians would not be able to hold out at La Haye for another two and a half hours. Once captured that would give the French a total 2 VPs. Defending La Haye and against the Guard’s assault meant it was also highly probably that the Prussian I Corps would become demoralised, therefore giving the French yet another VP.

The key for the Prussians in preventing a French victory appeared to be maintaining at least some control of Ligny – hence Blucher’s courageous (foolish?) order for Theilmann to cross the Ligne and assault it from the south. It would be a tough call for the Prussians to maintain a presence in Ligny for the remainder of the game, but it is their best hope for victory. The Prussians also needed to be mindful of losing Trois Burettes, it was garrisoned by the 31st Infantry Regiment but with the French Horse active to the rear it could be easily targeted.

Now back to battle…

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David Murray
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Turn 14: 19:30 French turn

This turn was the tipping point in the battle…

Sensing the tide of battle had turned, the French 3rd Lancers & 7th Hussars thundered through the streets of Wagnelee and made contact with the Prussian Landwehr cavalry to the east, who, due to their poor training, failed to organise their counter charge and had to receive the charge in column.

The 1st Westphalian & 1 Kurmark Landwehr cavalry were taken by surprise by the French appearing suddenly from the village of Wagnelee.


Grouchy led the 1st Cuirassiers & 4th Dragoons in a charge uphill towards the Prussian light cavalry. The 2nd Prussian Uhlans counter charged but the 3rd Hussars hesitated. This resulted in the Uhlans being pushed back and disorganised. However, the 3rd Hussars held their nerve and their ground. Grouchy retreated his cavalry back.

Next saw Pajol lead the 5th Lancers into the disorganised mass of the Prussian 5th Uhlans & 3rd Kurmark. The Prussian evaporated on contact and the Lancers. The elan of Pajol and the 5th Lancers enabled them to slice through the disorganised ranks of the Prussian cavalry and ride over the routing 4th Infantry Regiment, cutting them down to a man. The Lancers then pulled back so as to be not too exposed.


The Guard cavalry then took centre stage. The Grenadiers charged the Prussian 19th Infantry Regiment, who had little choice but to receive it in line due to the close presence of enemy infantry and cannon, not helped by its its poor training and morale (Landwehr 7). The Guard Dragoons thundered up the slopes towards the 9th Infantry Regiment, taking opportunity fire on the way none of which troubled the Dragoons. The 9th Infantry quickly formed square, the Dragoons pulled up their horses and withdrew in some disorder – leaving the 9th Infantry to their fate in the face of the advancing Guard artillery and infantry.

The point at which the Guard Dragoons pulled up when they saw the Prussian 9th infantry had successfully formed square.


Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 2)
As many guns as were available were pushed forward as close to La Haye as the gunners dared to go. No less that 8 regiments moved into the vicinity of the the fortified section of La Haye and prepared to launch an assault. The Prussian artillery and 23rd Infantry just north of La Haye faced a two pronged attack from Vandamme’s troops. Straight towards them advancing along the road were the 23rd & 70th Infantry, whilst on their right flank the 82nd Line & 11th Light forded the stream and attacked. The advancing 23rd & 70th forced the already routed Prussian 2nd Infantry & 1st Jagers to rout further north.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 3)
Napoleon sensing victory sent the following orders to Gerard.

Gerard
Tactic: Attack
Objective: Renew attack to take control of Ligny
Secondary order – when the town is secured, garrison it and maintain control.


Gerard was just within riding distance for an Aid de Camp to reach him that turn. The order was received and understood – next turn Gerard would begin to implement it.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
With most of the cavalry having already charged, Exelmans with the 1st Hussars and horse artillery rode up to join the rest of the Corps north-west of Sombreffe.

Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 3)
With the cavalry having already played their part, the infantry pushed forward. The mass of the Guards advanced in echelon: the 7th & 8th Chasseurs on the left, to their right the 2nd Grenadiers & 4th Chasseurs, to their right the 3rd Grenadiers & 1st Chasseurs. Behind them the remainder of the infantry crossed the Ligne. The artillery began to limber preparing for the advance.

The attacking columns of the finest troops in Europe (at least in their own opinion!).


Mouton VI Corps (Fatigue 1)
The Corps continued their deployment.

Fire Phase
Near La Haye, the Prussian guns under assault fired canister into the advancing French 23rd Infantry causing multiple step losses and eliminating it completely. The Prussian infantry, shaken by being attacked by the Guard, fired their muskets with ill-discipline and failed to cause any casualties.

French guns surrounding La Haye blasted the stout walls with such tremendous force that the 28th Infantry taking shelter inside took a step loss, but they held their nerve and prepared for the coming melee. Fire from the Guard’s cannon routed an already disorganised 26th Infantry Regiment.

Melee
The French 3rd Lancers & 7th Hussars charged into the unprepared Prussian horse just outside Wagnelee. The 1st Westphalian Cavalry fell back disordered but the 1st Kurmark Cavalry held their ground and good order. The attacking French pulled back into the village of Wagnelee.

The fortified buildings of La Haye were once again attacked, no less than eight regiments were involved in the assault. This time the French attack was too strong for the Prussians and they fell back in disorder. Unfortunately, as they fell back they caused a chain reaction of disorganisation as its only path free of enemy units caused massive overstacking. The panic spread and before long the all the defenders of La Haye had fallen back over the Ligne. The 12th and 56th Regiments advanced into the fortified location.

As if the turn could not get any worse for the Prussians panic spread throughout La Haye. All the units marked with a ‘14’ in the picture were affected by the disorganisation of the Prussian 28th Infantry Regiment.


The 19th Infantry Regiment prepared to receive the charge of the Grenadier Cavalry and the attack of the 2nd & 3rd Chasseurs Infantry following behind. The 28th crumbled under the onslaught and fell back in disorder. The next attack in the echelon was the 2nd Grenadiers & 4th Chasseurs attacking the square of the Prussian 9th Infantry. The Square was rolled over with little trouble and fell back in disorder after taking significant casualties. Further up the slope the 3rd Grenadiers & 1st Chasseurs struck the Prussian 21st Infantry Regiment forcing them to first give ground and then to fall back in disorder.

Everywhere the French had been successful. The Guard had driven back all before them…


Rally
The 29th & 4th Infantry Regiments, on the hill west of La Haye regained good order.

Turn 14: 19:30 Prussian turn

The I Corps morale was at 58, 2 more and they would become demoralised. Blucher looked over the field and realised all was lost. The field was littered with Prussian dead and disorganised Prussian units. Any hope of holding Ligny had long passed. Blucher sent out a General Retreat order for the army to fall back to Quatre Bras – the presence of Grouchy’s Cavalry Corps between the Prussians and Wavre meant that was not a viable option.

All the commanders received the order and would be prepared to carry it out starting next turn.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 3) & Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 4)
All disorganised and routing units started falling back to Quatre Bras. The remaining good order units attempted to form a defensive screen around Brye in order to cover the retreat.

Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 1)
Maintained his current orders and defend Sombreffe.

Fire Phase
French firing opportunities were limited as the Prussians had pull back.

From the cover of the woods just south of Brye, the Prussian 1st Elbe Infantry fired their muskets at the approaching Guard infantry. They reduce the ranks of the 1st Chasseurs Infantry but the do not halt the formidable advance of the Imperial Guard.

Melee
None

Rally
No units rallied this turn.

The Prussians begin to leave the field (note the use of the ‘4’ markers for ‘14’ markers as the Prussians run out of disorder markers.)
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David Murray
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Turn 15: 20:00 French turn

Vandamme III Corps (Fatigue 3)
The corps consolidated its gains in the lower villages of St Amand, Le Haye and Le Hameau and switched to a defense order.

Gerard IV Corps (Fatigue 4)
IV Corps renewed its assault to take full control of Ligny. All the available corps infantry filed into the town. Eleven regiments were pressed into the narrow streets and prepared to assault across the steep-sided Linge. Outside the town the artillery limbered and begin to make their way north to cross the stream. The corps’ Dragoons and Hussars kept a watchful eye on the artillery as they redeployed.

Grouchy I, II & IV Cavalry
The majority of the cavalry were either blown (marked with a post charge marker) or recovering from voluntary disorganisation and so little was achieved during the turn. The artillery unlimbered on a small rise just north-west of Sombreffe. Grouchy & Pajol appeared a little exposed but their only movement option with their disorganised cavalry was to move closer to their lines of communication, which would have moved them closer to the Prussians – they would have to hope they rallied at the end of their turn.

The horse artillery unlimbers overlooking the village of Sombreffe. Grouchy looks somewhat exposed.


Drouot Imperial Guard (Fatigue 4)
The Guard columns continued their advance as they attempted to drive the Prussians from the hill south of Brye. The 2nd Grenadiers & 4th Chasseurs reached a crest and saw below them the 1st Kurmark cavalry. The Kurmark’s attempted to countercharge but their courage failed. In hindsight a cavalry withdrawal might have been a wiser choice. The 3rd Grenadiers & 1st Chasseurs advanced to tackle the Prussian 3rd Elbe Infantry in the woods just south of Brye. On their right the 2nd & 3rd Chasseurs moved to assault the 1st Elbe Infantry, also defending the treeline. And to their right, the 1st & 4th Grenadiers attacked the 2nd Elbe Infantry. The Guard artillery moved up onto the hill and unlimbered where it could.

The Guard continues its assault on the hill south of Brye.


Mouton VI Corps (Fatigue 1)
Continued it deployment but it was looking like they would not be needed today.

Fire Phase
The Prussian Elbe infantry fired at the advancing columns of the Imperial Guard thinning their ranks, but still the Guard advanced.

French guns near Brye fired causing the Prussian 5th Jagers to retreat. The guns above Sombreffe shelled the village causing an artillery half step loss and a step loss to the 30th Infantry regiment.

Melee
South of Brye the Imperial Guard attacked all along the line. The 2nd Grenadiers & 4th Chasseurs attacked the surprised Prussian cavalry sheltering behind the hill. A brief combat occurred with both sides taking casualties, eventually the Prussians broke off the engagement but both sides retained good order.

Next, the 2nd & 3rd Chasseurs attacked the 1st Elbe Infantry in the wood. The 1st Elbe were still a fresh unit and put up a spirited defence of the treeline. The Chasseurs pushed hard but could not make any ground. Suddenly, a shout went up in the ranks of the 3rd Chasseurs that Drouot had fallen, in the confusion that followed that false rumour the 3rd Chasseurs retreated in disorder (due to 12 being rolled). The 2nd Chasseurs maintained their discipline but could not make any headway against the stubborn Prussians.

Further up the hill, the 3rd Grenadiers & 1st Chasseurs were also attacking the treeline. The fight here was just as intense with both sides taking considerable losses, but still the Guard could not dislodge the Prussians.

In the cultivated fields on the outskirts of Brye, the 1st & 4th Grenadiers were fighting with the 2nd Elbe Infantry. Here the French attack faltered. The Prussians making full use of the high summer crops kept constant musket fire on the advancing Guard. When the Guard eventually made contact with the Prussians it was already so shaken that it retreated in disorder.

What had last turn appeared to be a job already done, the fresh Elbe infantry troops in good defensive positions halted the advance of the Guard.


In Ligny, waves of French infantry poured over the Ligne seeking to expel the Prussians from the town once and for all. The French 63rd & 96th Infantry attacked over a bridge towards the 5th Westphalian. The bridge afforded a very narrow avenue of attack but was still preferable to the murderous fire that would happen if an assault attempted to cross the stream. The French were easily repelled and forced into disorder.

(House rule – a disordered attacker in a town, village or fortified hex does not have to retreat when disorganised, although it does have the option to do so. In the current situation it would not make sense to me that the French assaulted across the bridge and would be forced to rout out of their original town, village or fortified hex location).

Next, Gerard led the 6th Light Infantry with the 30th & 59th Infantry across another bridge into the Prussians. This time they swept all before them (due to a roll of 6 +1 for Gerard). The Prussians retreated from the town and the French advanced.

Ligny, now within the grasp of Napoleon…


Rally
The cavalry all rallied.

8th Infantry near Le Hameau returned to good order.

Turn 15: 20:00 Prussian turn

The General Retreat order was now in effect.

Zieten I Corps (Fatigue 4)
All of I Corps was in command and so all units moved directly towards Quatre Bras. Disorganised units that exit the map were considered eliminated and this in turn triggered the corps to become demoralised. The outcome of that was the only remaining good order unit in the corps, the 1st Kurmark Cavalry, becoming disorganised.

Pirch II Corps (Fatigue 5)
Some units were not in command and were therefore required to move towards Pirch. In preparation for this movement he rode towards Quatre Bras in order to lead his disorganised troops in that direction. The 9th Infantry Regiments fell back in front of French artillery who promptly routed it. An artillery battery retreated near French light cavalry who in turn countercharged and eliminated it.

Thielmann III Corps (Fatigue 1)
With artillery and cavalry blocking the corps retreat order towards Quatre Bras, Thielmann took an initiative check in order to change his order. He succeeded and changed the direction of his retreat to Wavre. However, the previous orders have already gone out to his units and so they would try first to withdraw to Quatre Bras.

First though, the 4th Kurmark Cavalry were out of command and whilst trying to return to their lines they were fired upon by French artillery. The artillery caused them to retreat and in doing so they ran across the face of Grouchy’s heavy and line cavalry. The French countercharged and routed the unfortunate Prussians.

Prussian guns and infantry tried to leave Sombreffe but were immediately countercharged by Pajol’s Lancers (Light cavalry can countercharge up to two hexes away). The hapless Prussians tried to form square but failed and the lancers routed both the infantry and the guns.

Pajol’s Lancers rout the Prussians trying to leave Sombreffe.


The routed Prussians ran passed the French guns who caused another morale check and the unit disintegration. More Prussian units attempted to leave Sombreffe all under constant French artillery fire. Pajol countercharged every unit that attempted to leave the village disordering and causing them to retreat back through the barrage of French guns. Eventually, the Lancers were so exhausted from their constant countercharges that the 1st & 5th Kurmark Infantry manage to escape the village. The 20th Infantry regiment so incensed by the slaughter caused by the French guns charged up the slopes to assault them head on.

The desperate situation at Sombreffe. In the centre of the picture can be seen the frantic 20th Infantry Regiment assaulting the French guns.


Fire Phase
With the Prussians in headlong retreat there was only one fire action to resolve – the desperate charge of the Prussian 20th Infantry on the massed French gun west of Sombreffe. The guns fired their canister cutting down ranks of Prussians – but when the smoke cleared the Prussian were on the guns!

Melee
The 20th overran the French guns to the cheers of their comrades back down in the town. The Prussians 20th had achieved a very noteworthy action, which unfortunately, would be just a footnote in this already lost battle.

Rally
None.

A mass of routing and disorganised Prussian stream from the field of battle. The Prussian that had managed to leave Sombreffe from the west receive their new orders to retreat to the east!

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Alasdair Campbell
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Great stuff again David. Is there a way to link the battles into one grand campaign, taking account of losses in the previous engagements?

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