We played our Waterloo bicentennial game last Saturday at the club with nearly all of the historical forces present at the battlefield. The French were still missing some infantry and the Allies were missing a few Regiments of cavalry. Still we managed roughly 6000 miniatures on roughly 11 square metres of gaming area. Quite a bit of lead to be pushed around.
The battle commenced with both Reille and D'Erlon advancing their forces towards the Allied lines. After some fierce cannon fire La Haye Sainte was abandoned by the KGL troops occupying it. Sensing his chance D'Erlon immediately ordered his troops to occupy it only to see the lead Division swiftly move towards Houguemont and then retreating through the right flank of Reille's division (The wonder of two consecutive blunders in Black Powder). This was enough to allow the Brits to send in fresh troops to occupy the important farmhouse. Battle for it's possession would tie down one French brigade for much of the rest of the battle and finally lead to their destruction as well as that of the defending KGL troops.
On the French left Reille pushed back the British skirmish screen around Houguemont before ordering an assault on the farm itself. As at La Haye Sainte it would last for most of the battle itself before French forces would emerge victorious.
On the French right dire news reached Napoleon's ears. Blücher's advance guard had showed up around Plancenoit. Lobau was sent in to slow their advance. With the Prussians slowly making gains first the Young Guard was sent in to reinforce the beleaguered defenders and finally the Guards Chasseurs of the Old and Middle Guard were forced to lend their hand as well.
With the battle for La Haye Sainte in full swing the rest of D'Erlons corps advanced against the British lines slowly pushing the first troops away. This would prove to be a costly affair with both the Brits and French suffering heavily. Most of D'Erlons fighting power was spent and only the timely arrival of the Guard Grenadiers would save them and prevent the British troops from moving to reinforce their right flank and threaten Reille.
Even if D'Erlons attack proved costly he would in the end succeed in his objective to tie down one British flank and draw reinforcements there. While the battle was raging between La Haye Sainte and Papelotte Milhaud ordered his cavalry into attack through the ground between Houguemont and La Haye Sainte. The cavalry attack itself was of little effect, but forced the defending British troops to form squares. With them tied down French infantry was free to begin their work. Little by little the British right flank began to crumble and as the remnants of D'Erlons corps pushed through and captured the crossroads leading to Brussels there was little that the defenders could do. Even with the Prussians making gains in Plancenoit it was too little too late as the Allies had lost most of their cavalry while the French still had some fresh Regiments and controlled the important road to Brussels.
All in all a great game even if the result was not historically correct. Casualties were massive on both sides with the French finally gaining an upper hand. The French had managed to capture La Haye Sainte and Houguemont and cut the British army in two at separating them with the Brussels road. Pursuit would be hot as the French had some light cavalry regiments fresh and waiting for the retreat to commence. With little allied cavalry left the pursuit would be merciless. Blücher on the other hand had most of his forces intact and could retreat towards Prussia in relative safety.
D'Erlons Corps ready to commence attack.
French left wing under Reille
The Allied right flank hidden out of sight and in cover.
D'Erlon commences the attack on La Haye Sainte and Papelotte
A firefight erupts between French infantry and British skirmishers screening Houguemont.
La Haye Sainte is cleared, but alas the French brigade commanders misinterpret their orders and move towards Houguemont and finally retreat through Reille's corps when they realize their error. This would provide the Allies with enough time to reoccupy the farmhouse.
The first French troops reach Allied lines.
Milhaud's cavalry moving through the fields ready to attack.
The Allied right flank forms squares to protect themselves from the attacking French heavy cavalry.
The Union and Household Brigades had some command issues, before they could start their attack on the French lines.
Surprisingly even when failing to form squares some of the French infantry hold up in the face of the cavalry charge. Just enough to allow for Kellermann to come to their aid.
French infantry bearing down on the British squares.
Fighting in and around Plancenoit rages on.
The Guard arrives! And this time it does not recoil even though it ends up being attacked in the side by Hannoverian Landwehr.
With French cavalry breaking through the lines to threaten the Allied rear things are really starting to look dire for Wellington.
The Brussels road is completely in French control and cavalry moves in to secure the area.
Blücher has managed to take half of Plancenoit, but it's too late to save Wellington.