"The Final Struggle" Demo - D'Erlon's Attack

"The Final Struggle" is a multiple scenario demo of the Battle of Waterloo.  It is a great way to preview John Tiller's Napoleonic system.
I am playing the 12 turn scenario called "D'Erlon Attacks" in the Napoleonic battles demo called "The Final Struggle."  The scenario was designed by Rich Hamilton and details the fighting for the ridge beyond La-Haye Sainte and Papelotte.  I am playing solo as the French.

The scenario description follows:

Small scenario depicting the attack of the French I Corps on the Allied defensive positions along the ridge between La Haie Sainte and Papelotte. This version starts at 1:00 pm, the first phase of the attack. The Grand Battery was shelling during this time and the infantry was just beginning to move up. This scenario has no fixed units. Also visability is set to 6 hexes for the entire match to simulate the dense smoke created by the firing of the Grand Battery and the Allied response.

My game so far:

1PM -- Heavy smoke has limited visibility on the field.  The 4e Division with GDiv Durutte leading, moves forward towards Chateau Papelotte.  Almost 400 skirmishers are sent forward of the advance, with tough line infantry following behind in tight columns.  Cannon fire is thudding heavily to their left flank as D’Erlon’s guns are shelling the ridge beyond the Sand Pit.  

Colonel Garnier of the 2nd brigade is on the extreme right watching the follow-on cavalry division of lancers.  He knows they will follow the 4e Division through the hole they make up the road and onto the ridge.

130PM -- The 4e Division is determined to open the drover’s track up onto the ridge for the Lancers to follow through.  Over five hundred soldiers are melee-ing with the defenders at Chateau Papelotte. 
1:30 PM situation on the right.

Colonel Masson and 1/85e has pushed past the Chateau by 100 meters climbing up the ridge under fire.

Over 400 men from the 4th Division lay dead on the roads and slopes around Papelotte.  Over 30% of the division’s 2e Brigade have fallen so far.

Behind, the Lancers and Chasseurs e Cheval are riding in a disordered fashion towards the fighting, the road to the ridge almost open.  In the center of D’Erlon’s line, the 2e and 3e Divisions are moving into position behind the Grand Battery ahead.  

British guns are beginning to target them.

1:45PM -- GDiv Durutte is struck in the temple with a musket ball from the British line ahead.  The smoke is very heavy here.  Pegot has assumed command of the 4e.  Everyone is determined still.

The 4e Division grapples with the Allied Left for Papelotte.

A follow-on column from the 1e Bde Cavalry has passed Papelotte, taking heavy casualties from the Dutch rifles there.  They have slowed on the road, trapping the lancers of the division on the lane behind them.  The fire from the Chateau is fierce, disordering two squadrons of Lancers.

Napoleon at La Belle Alliance watches the 2e Division move off into the smoke behind the batteries in the center of the field.  The firing is picking up to the right flank, but the Chateau is obscured by heavy smoke.  Suddenly a 4e Division orderly appears, riding hard towards him.

From the orderly, he learns that less than 40% of the establishment of the 4e Division is left. The firing has reached a crescendo on the right and multiple melees have taken a heavy toll on both of the division's brigades.  Over 300 of the division’s soldiers are dead just in the orchards around the chateau.

A cheer goes up from the top of the ridge, as 2/95e grabs a battery of guns there. It carries over the field, heartening the 2e and 3e Divisions as they move forward into action.

Perhaps things are not as bad now.

2PM – Crisis has hit the right flank of D’Erlon’s corps. Pegot is killed on the ridge crest and the division splits, with what’s left of 1e brigade streaming back towards the rear.

Frustrated, The Emperor rides forward with an escort of 50 men.  He is waving his Curaissiers forward emphatically, while looking towards the ridge where the 2e Brigade is clinging to the crest. 
The 3e Division is losing its cohesion as it surges forward to relive the pressure on the right with a timed attack in the middle of the field.  In the smoke they have made a wrong turn and reached a hedge they cannot cross easily, so they turn back towards the center.

Napoleon senses the tide turning against him on the right.  He is looking to his left towards La Haye-Sainte.  Perhaps, he should send the 1e Division against the Chateau.  He is indecisive for a moment.

With a wave of his hand, he sends the Cuirassiers forward instead clattering down the road to Papelotte.  They will swing around the batteries and charge the middle as he originally planned.  
The Heavies are ordered into action.
2:15 PM - A column of the 4e division is routing towards him.  Napoleon stands in the middle of the road to intercept them, raising both hands for calm.  His escorts eyeing the men nervously.  “They are all dead!” They cry to him, frantic to push past the Emperor.

"Who is dead?" he asks frantically, fearful the division is gone.

“Durutte, Pegot, Masson, Roussellot.”  Napoleon nods.  He has thrown the dice with their lives, he knows.  But what is the wreck of a division compared to a restoration of France.  He will lead these men personally if he has to, he brings order to their chaos as the 1e Brigade from the 4e Division reforms around him again.

The firing picks up on the ridge beyond Papelotte.  The smoke clears briefly for Napoleon who trains his looking glass there.  He sees more of the 4e running for their lives through the orchards.  British dragoons chasing them down. He has no reserves for them.  Instead he looks to the center, it was always there where the battle will be won or lost.

The Emperor greets the men of the 4e Division streaming down the road from Papelotte.
230PM - Shouts and a crescendo of gunfire from Lay Haye Sainte.  A French flag is draped out the window of the Chateau.  1e Division has covered themselves in glory!

Napoleon shouts to the soldiers around him.  “If only the Guard were here and the ridge would be ours.”

2:45 – The smoke is clearing significantly.  In the center the ridge is almost carried. His plan is working, but Napoleon knows the next moves may determine the success of the battle.

2:45 PM. Turn 8 of 12 in game time.
Stay tuned...


Popular Posts