Initial French deployment.
The rules "Charge" which the host has been using for some years. I took the role of umpire and felt that this rather large grand battery would swamp the game if the rules were not tweaked. Therefore, range was reduced from 6 foot to 4 (still pretty eye watering in comparison with more modern rules- especially when considering that these are the original distances worked out for 30mm figures rather than 54mm)
The Duke of Wellington begins the mammoth task of deploying his army.
In keeping with historical precedent the allies deployed their army out of harms way on the reverse slope of the famous ridge. He we see Sir Thomas Picton with some of his highlanders (Irregular Miniatures)
I had painted a fair number of French cavalry - here some of them form up on the French left
That battery again with some supporting units. The table is around 25 feet long.
Long shot from the French left.
The allies prepare to meet the onslaught
La Haye Sainte was immediately garrisoned - in time this garrison grew to a size that was perhaps unrealistic and its fire devastated the French units that attempted to assault it.
The units in question begin their attack.
They are led by Marshal Ney who, perhaps suffering from PTSD, ran amok on the battlefield.
Those Dutch I lovingly painted and hardly fired a shot!
Our host, playing Napoleon - looks like he has a cunning plan!
The problems of a vast table -the centre cannot be reached and the battlefield must be scrambled across physically to move the troops.
Large bodies of French cavalry move up to the left of LHS to support the infantry assault.
On its other flank a vast column of Imperial Guardsmen moves up; supported by cavalry.
All the action revolves around the LHS farmhouse complex. There had been a battle around Hougoumont but I don't seem to have any pictures of it and it was over by the early stages of the game.
The French, under Ney, are having the worst of the firefight on their left - perhaps that cavalry will swing the balance?
Battle is joined!
The deadly grand battery, having been stymied by controversial rulings regarding its range and ability to move finally deployed within range of the allied line.
Marshal Ney breaks into LHS - ALONE!
While Ney goes wild at LHS, the Prussians have arrived and the French send light cavalry to slow their advance.
This is not entirely successful - here a unit of hussars and chasseurs are driven off as Blucher's troops begin to make their presence felt on the extreme edge of the battlefield.
Here an allied regiment is caught in the open by French cavalry but nearby units lend their support.
Field Marshal Blucher - having waited patiently for the first half of the game now has some serious numbers on the battlefield despite the desperate efforts of the French cavalry to keep him off!
A lot of pointing going on - wargaming at its most intense!
The French grand battery has pretty much wiped out the allied batteries on the ridge.
British footguards prepare to support their Hanoverian comrades.
... And painstakingly converted Dutch Carabiniers move up to deal with Ney's cavalry.
French right begins its sluggish advance - perhaps too late?
Looks nice though...
The hopes of the French Emperor now rested solely (and historically) on his huge column of guardsmen. Although they seriously out numbered the allies behind the ridge their initial onslaught did not break though. It was felt that the reinforcements that Wellington could now transfer from his flanks would enable him to enfilade the column, meaning Napoleon could not win.
The fog of war had been maintained throughout the game by the passing of orders to the umpire who diced to gauge when they were delivered and added dispatches of his own. Needless to say; Marshal Grouchy did not arrive.
It was an interesting exercise - the sheer number of troops involved and the size of the table was a challenge, as was trying to keep the action within historic bounds. It may be that in attempting the latter I slowed the game down too much and made it unwinnable for the French but we got a historic result in a battle that differed little from its historic predecessor in its narrative.
It may however, be a while before the 54mm comes back down from the loft!