Tuesday 12 October 2021

Quatre Bras - the first Writtle Independent Gamers (W.I.G.) weekday big game

 Now most of our group are "of a certain age" i.e., retired and gainfully unemployed (!) and enjoy big battles fought using Black Powder, we came to realise that instead of hogging all the space at our Sunday Essex Warriors club, we could afford to set up games in the hall on a week day for a very reasonable rate and spread out as much as the rear of the hall allowed.  I have to admit this idea was "cooked up" in a pub some time ago and took time to be realised - but here we are !

So, we kicked off in September with the Quatre Bras scenario in the Albion Triumphant 100 Days booklet. Four French players and four Allied.

Gemioncourt farm was garrisoned by a small Dutch-Belgian Jager unit which defied all attempts by the French to eject them - in the end, the French decided to ignore them and press on - but it had cost the French quite a few casualties before they decided on this course of action !

French brigades advance right of Gemioncourt

as a much swifter advance on the French left develops

British troops line the hedgerows and one Dutch-Belgian horse battery is up on the high ground ahead of the Allied lines

Here we can see Bob, Steve and Martin on the left (French) and Stefan, Mike and Mark (Allies) watching the action

a French brigade swings round towards woods occupied by Rifles out on the Allied left

but the main thrust, understandably, is towards the centre and Quatre Bras cross roads

Here you can see the pressure building on Kempt's and Pack's brigades situated on the Allied left

The foremost French attack is facing the Hanoverians behind the hedges out by the windmill

Both sides had reinforcements arriving at set times - and the French had to see if a brigade was called away to help elsewhere (and it did, so they chose a light cavalry brigade as this was having little impact here)

Crunch ! A French brigade charges the Allied front line to the left of Quatre Bras

as a second brigade does the same beside them

Brunswick Hussars make their way through the narrow streets of Quatre Bras

Here we see the Hanoverians holding the line right of the village

British battalions join in the fight to stem the French attacks on the Allied left

A Scots battalion gives closing fire

and now the Brunswick infantry march on with Uhlans beside them - this was a daunting sight for the French attackers !

the French have brought up artillery on their right but have little to shoot at as their infantry are fighting in front of them

this is also a problem for the French infantry brigades coming up - there is no room for them unless the brigades ahead of them falter and fall back

this is the high tide of the French attacks but the Allies refuse to budge

a French cuirassier brigade now moves up towards Quatre Bras 

as more French infantry are thrown forward towards the Hanoverian position

A rare photo from beyond the French left - the windmill is visible on the left

An impressive sight - French columns executing the Pas de Charge

The Dutch-Belgian horse battery has been destroyed and the cuirassiers are intent on charging the crossroads

Closing fire by the Hanoverians

Hold firm, lads ! (The Brunswick Hussars are unable to proceed beyond the village for some reason)

The cuirassiers charge a Dutch-Belgian battalion which gets into square just but they are disorganised

but they hold for now 

The Hanoverians have seen off the attack to their front and the French have pulled back

Dutch Hussars tangle with French Chasseurs a Cheval

The French baggage and wounded sit beside a small farmhouse back on the French start line

The cuirassiers have failed to break through and the Allies have stubbornly held on all day

At this point, the French concede as at no time have they managed to break the Allied lines - and more to the point, by this time, the Rose & Crown was expecting us !

All in all, a good day and this bodes well for the future. We hope more players will be able to attend in the future for what will be a monthly big game.

October will be an AWI game - so watch this space !