Monday, 30 September 2013

Quatre Bras: Part Two - Boom, Bang-a-Bang Boom for the French Jury

The Euro-Spectacular known as the Hundred Days Campaign is well under way
 The left hand French Division makes contact first
 DB Brigades advance through Bossu Wood is necessarily slow
 Full of summer joy the columns come on

 Skirmishers lead the Brigade
 Nassau skirmisher tangle with the voltigeurs. They virtually cancel each other out

 Voltigeurs get the upper hand.
 Clearly...Gemioncourt is heavily much for the earlier cavalry report.

Better give them a visiting card (wrapped around an 8pdr cannon ball)
'Old Trousers' is drummed and shouts of 'Vive l'Empruer' can be heared...
...followed by a heavy volley of Dutch cannon fire...
Meanwhile, the troops in Bossu Wood move towards the sound of the guns.
French attempt to screen off the wood as skirmishers make contact

The rest of the Division sweeps passed to Gemioncourt
Dutch gunners and the fire from the farm complex wreak havoc amongst the formerly enthusiastic Frenchmen. Two battalions lay in mangled heaps before the position
...but the columns hardly break step as they smash on and take the gun position
The evidence of the occupation of the wood cannot be ignored by the French commander and despite the slow DB advance the French must by wary.
Just as it looks like Gemioncourt will be by passed or overrun the DB Brigade breaks cover and immediately come into action.
The French are waiting...
On the other flank a more concentrated French Division sweeps around for the second arm of the outflanking manoeuvre...

Voltigeurs successfully screen the columns against the Horse Artillery...
French gunners keep up a punishing rate of fire
The DB troops hang on for the hope of Allied reinforcement...(it looks like a white Martian walker will arrive first) Give me night or give me a coffee break...
A DB Battalion goes down under the French volleys (in death they get to be British - see awards and commendations)
The Prince of Oranges troops are making the French pay dearly for this place
The French left is beginning to fold as casualties mount

The right is more successful not having to divide against two threats
The Nassaus are forced into a tighter defence...can the French take Gamioncourt?
....answers on a postcard....
The French, after surviving one check, fail and the left hand Division is thrown back...

The enemy is thrown into confusion... close yet, no coconut...
It's a kind of pyrrhic victory for the Allies at this mid-day point. The French have been held but the Allies must withdraw toward the crossroads.

Rightly though the Prince of Orange throws his hat in the air. When interviewed later he told reporters 'The boys done good, it's a game of two halves...I'm off down the bookies for me winnin's."

Still the second half is yet to be played out...
...and the French reserves are coming up...
...heavily armed...
...and in large numbers
The sledgehammer is about to try and crack this particular nut.
So, the happy DB's and Nassau's are hopping that their reinforcement... close...
...and just as impressive

My thanks to Colin and Billy for the photo's from various phones, devices and lumbar supports. And thanks to Ferdy for the advice on flag sizes, eagles and fez deportment.

Next time: Part Three - The form for the two o'clock handicap

Friday, 20 September 2013

Quatre Bras: Part One - Under Starters Orders

 And...we're off! The Prince of Orange, hoping for a good seat, deploys forward with his Corps to Quatre Bras. Meanwhile, le French, having successfully humbugged the Duke of Wellington sweep (place your bets) forward under Marshal Ney to grab the afore mentioned cross roads. Napoleon Bonaparte (odds on favourite) hopes to take the X roads and then the Prussians in the flank giving the coup de grace to Blucher and isolating the Anglo-Allied Army thus defeating the Allies piece meal before either preparing a battle or negotiations with the Russo-Austrian forces mobilising against his resurgence. So, the race is on...

Fast out of the gates are the French light Cavalry Chasseurs a Cheval
 Cuirassiers hot on their heels
 Infantry well forward but not a great deal of kit so far. Ney perhaps not showing the aggression that was expected of him by Boney.
 ...still, theirs not to reason why, etc.
 Still some way to go at this point. Lights lead the pun intended
"er' sir..."
 2nd Brigade in Gemioncourt spot the approaching French elements. How would they react? After all they were on the same side so very recently.
 2nd Brigade deployed and ready to make a fight of it

 DB cavalry Brigade on it's way to the front
 1st Brigade occupy Bossu Wood in order to get a good view of the finishing line.
 Skirmishers out...
 The gently sloping ground give a descent view of the countryside and the approach of the French.
DB gunners clear for action. Enemy still some distance away (10-12 feet)

Next time: Going for a 'each way' bet instead. DB's show their mettle.