Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Battle of LIGNY, 1815 C&GII's 20th Anniversary Game! AAR

And so it begins! This will probably be the most in depth AAR that I've published so far.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed participating in it!

Carnage&GloryII is an easy to learn and easy to play computer moderated rule system suitable for both the novice and experienced player. There are no complex charts or book-keeping and accounting required as Carnage&GloryII maintains all the relevant information regarding the status of the combat units and general officers within the system database. Complex concepts such as variable weather and ground conditions, heat exhaustion, ammunition usage, mental and physical fatigue and variable morale are easily accommodated by the system. By eliminating the emphasis on dice and charts typical of more traditional wargames, the sole focus of the game becomes the tactical movement and engagement of the forces under your command. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable and stimulating wargame experience.

Development of the original Carnage and Glory DOS system version was begun in 1987, and the various systems have been commercially available since 1991. With the release of the new Windows version in 2001 the system has reached new heights of sophistication, playability and user friendliness.

Carnage&GloryII requires a Windows based computer running Windows operating system, a minimum of 10Mb hard disk space. Both Windows Vista and Windows 7 are supported by the system.

Carnage&GloryII is suitable for all figure and ground scales, with no requirement for rebasing of figures. This is possible because the system 'thinks' in terms of real men and real distances, not numbers of figures or distances measured in inches or millimeters.

Typical ground scales are 1" = 25 paces [1 mm = 1 pace] for 20 - 40 mm figures, and 1" = 50 paces [1 mm = 2 paces] for 6 - 18 mm figures. Alternatively, 1" = 100 paces can also be used with 6 mm figures and for the American Civil War and Franco-Prussian War, 3" = 100 paces [3 mm = 4 paces] for 20 - 40 mm figures.

Battle of Ligny
Part of the Waterloo Campaign
Battle of Ligny map.jpg
Map of the battle
Date16 June 1815
LocationLigny, present-day Belgium
ResultFrench victory
France French EmpireKingdom of Prussia Prussia
Commanders and leaders
Napoleon crop.jpg
Napoleon I
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher.jpg
Gebhard von Blücher
Casualties and losses
6,950 – 8,500 dead or wounded[2]20,000 – 30,000 dead or wounded
27 cannons

On 13 March 1815, six days before Napoleon reached Paris, the powers at the Congress of Vienna declared him an outlaw; four days later, the United Kingdom, Russia, Austria, and Prussia bound themselves to put 150,000 men each into the field to end his rule. Napoleon knew that, once his attempts at dissuading one or more of the Seventh Coalition Allies from invading France had failed, his only chance of remaining in power was to attack before the Coalition could put together an overwhelming force. If he could destroy the existing Coalition forces south of Brussels before they were reinforced, he might be able to drive the British back to the sea and knock the Prussians out of the war.

The Duke of Wellington expected Napoleon to try to envelop the Coalition armies, a manoeuvre that he had successfully used many times before, by moving through Mons to the south-west of Brussels. The roads to Mons were paved, which would have enabled a rapid flank march. This would have cut Wellington's communications with his base at Ostend, but would also have pushed his army closer to Blücher's. In fact, Napoleon planned instead to divide the two Coalition armies and defeat them separately, and he encouraged Wellington's misapprehension with false intelligence. Moving up to the frontier without alerting the Coalition, Napoleon divided his army into a left wing, commanded by Marshal Ney, a right wing commanded by Marshal Grouchy, and a reserve, which he commanded personally (although all three elements remained close enough to support one another). Crossing the frontier at Thuin near Charleroi before dawn on 15 June, the French rapidly over-ran Coalition outposts and secured Napoleon's favoured "central position" – at the junction between the area where Wellington's allied army was dispersed to his north-west, and Blücher's Prussian army to the north-east.

Only very late on the night of 15 June was Wellington certain that the Charleroi attack was the main French thrust, and he duly ordered his army to deploy near Nivelles and Quatre Bras. Early on the morning of 16 June, at the Duchess of Richmond's ball, on receiving a dispatch from the Prince of Orange, he was shocked by the speed of Napoleon's advance, and hastily sent his army in the direction of Quatre Bras, where the Prince of Orange, with the brigade of Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, was holding a tenuous position against the French left, commanded by Marshal Ney. Ney's orders were to secure the crossroads of Quatre Bras, so that if necessary, he could later swing east and reinforce Napoleon.

As Napoleon considered the concentrated Prussian army the greater threat, he moved against them first. Lieutenant-General Zieten's I Corps rearguard action on 15 June held up the French advance, giving Blücher the opportunity to concentrate his forces in the Sombreffe position, which had been selected earlier for its good defensive attributes.

Napoleon's original plan for 16 June was based on the assumption that the Coalition forces, who had been caught napping, would not attempt a risky forward concentration; and he intended therefore to push an advanced guard as far as Gembloux, for the purpose of feeling for and warding off Blücher. To assist this operation the reserve would move at first to Fleurus to reinforce Grouchy, should he need assistance in driving back Blücher's troops; but, once in possession of Sombreffe, Napoleon would swing the reserve westwards and join Ney, who, it was supposed, would have in the meantime mastered Quatre Bras.

In pursuance of this object Ney, to whom III Cavalry Corps (Kellermann) was now attached, was to mass at Quatre Bras and push an advanced guard 10 kilometres (6 miles) northward of that place, with a connecting division at Marbais to link him with Grouchy. The centre and left wing together would then make a night-march to Brussels. The Coalition forces would thus be irremediably sundered, and all that remained would be to destroy them in detail. Napoleon now awaited further information from his wing commanders at Charleroi, where he massed the VI Corps (Lobau), to save it, if possible, from a harassing countermarch, as it appeared likely that it would only be wanted for the march to Brussels. Ney spent the morning in massing his I and II corps, and in reconnoitring the enemy at Quatre Bras, who, as he was informed, had been reinforced. But up till noon he took no serious step to capture the cross-roads, which then lay at his mercy. Grouchy meantime reported from Fleurus that Prussians were coming up from Namur, but Napoleon does not appear to have attached much importance to this report. He was still at Charleroi when, between 09:00 and 10:00, further news reached him from the left that considerable hostile forces were visible at Quatre Bras. He at once wrote to Ney saying that these could only be some of Wellington's troops, and that Ney was to concentrate his force and crush what was in front of him, adding that he was to send all reports to Fleurus. Then, keeping Lobau provisionally at Charleroi, Napoleon hastened to Fleurus, arriving about 11:00.

C&GII 20th Anniversary Game, June 18, 2011, Norwalk, CT

NAP - Ligny, June 16, 1815 - The Attack on St. Amand: 28mm 9 AM [GM Nigel P. Marsh]

This past weekend I hosted a refight of the assault on St. Amand for fourteen friends and we had an excellent time!

The French players were lead by David Bonk [Vandamme], and included John
Manning, Dan Druckman [Dn.Lefol], Rob Walter [Dn.Berthezene], Paul Crouch [Dn.Habert], Guy Gormley and Guy Jr.,[Dn.Girard].

The Prussian players were lead by John Snead [Ziethen], and included Todd
Kauderer, Scott Monteith [Dn.Steimetz], Jon Davenport, Tom Ballou [Dn.Pirch II],Tom Cusa and Chris Maine [Dn.Tippelskirch].

The Battle weary Prussians & French victors. Can you tell who is who? (Smiles)

St.Amand – Assaulted by Dn.Lefol and defended by Bde.Steinmetz. The French
eventually captured both strong points [Church and wooden building defending bridge], also capturing virtually the entire strength of two Fusilier battalions and the attached Schutzen battalion. Steinmetz was wounded and captured himself in the village square outside of the church. The Prussians attempted to retake and relieve Steinmetz's isolated battalions within St.Amand by attacking across the bridge now defended by the French, but failed in each attempt, losing engineer officer Beyer to a severe wound as a consequence. The French committed fifteen battalions to the assault, the Prussians nine to the defense and counterattack.

St.Amand-Long-Prez/Ferme La Haye – Assaulted by Dn.Berthezene and Dn.Habert and defended by Bde.Pirch II. The French successfully captured both strong points south of the Ligny Brook, but were unable to press their advantage to capture the ferme La Haye beyond the brook. The defensive efforts of Bde.Pirch II resulted in the highest percentage casualties amongst any Prussian brigade, six of nine battalions amongst Pirch II's force being used up in their spirited defense. At one point Napoleon himself made an appearance with the gardens of St. Amand-Long-Prez in a successful effort to rally several French battalions – the cries of Vive L'Empereur can still be heard. The French committed twenty battalions to the assault, and the Prussians twelve to the defense.

Wagnelee – Assaulted by Dn.Girard and Bde.Tippelskirch. In advance of the Prussian arrival in this area, the French seized the initiative by advancing upon the village of Wagnelee and the bridge to its east, which was masked by a Prussian 12 pdr battery from Pirch I's corps reserve artillery. The opposing artillery engaged in counterbattery fire, with one French half battery losing a cannon and caisson, before being forced to retire. The Prussian infantry occupied the church luring the French to assault across the bridge. On their second attempt, led by GB Piat they were counterattacked by a Prussian Landwehr battalion who successfully pushed the French back from the bridge. The French committed eight battalions against nine Prussian battalions in this area.

Napoleon released one brigade of the Young Guard to assist in the assault on St. Amand detaching a second to observe a mystery force arriving from the west, whilst Blucher called up three battalions of Bde.Kraft to counterattack the French hold on St. Amand-Long-Prez, detaching a further six to observe the French redeployment to the west. But at this point it was clear that the Prussians were tiring and their morale sinking and Blucher took the only course open to him and ordered a withdrawal from their positions. The French were themselves exhausted by their efforts, and would need time to consolidate and form up ready to continue their assault. But with losses heavily against the Prussians Napoleon was in a position to claim a major victory.

I am really looking forward to reprise this very different engagement at H'con in a few weeks.

The initial setup was waiting for us upon arrival!

This was great as it allowed for the participants to get straight into the game!

The early arrivers survey the battlefield and soon to be Carnage & Glory.

The sides are given 30 minutes to survey their options and develop a plan.