Sunday, January 30, 2011

Napoleonic Black Powder

This past weekend our good friend Curt came up to Saskatoon for part of the weekend and ran a Napoleonic Black Powder Game for Me and John.

[Begium, late June 1815]


Waterloo did not go well for the British. Generalfeldmarschall Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher died of hemorrhaging after being pinned under his horse at Quatre Bras. Von Gneisenau, Blücher’s Chief of Staff, took command of the Prussian forces and decided not to come to the aid of the British.

In the battle at Waterloo Wellington was killed and the British and allies were soundly defeated. The British army is now in full retreat towards Antwerp. A force of British have been detailed to hold off the pursuing French to buy time.


British – hold the town of Boom and prevent the French from crossing the river.



C-in-C Lt. Gen. Frederick Adam

1st Brigade (under direct control of Adam)
1/95th Rifles
1/28th Foot
RHA section
RA section

2nd Brigade – Brigadier Brown
42nd Foot (Royal Highland Regiment)
23rd Foot (Royal Welsh Fusiliers)
RHA section

(I’m not real clear on the French Order of battle… Marshal Ney was in command, and there was two brigades, each with three infantry battalions. Then there was a cavalry regiment and a bunch of guns, but I wasn’t really clear which belonged to which brigade… They’re French… I’m not sure they’re organized enough to have any sort of real “order of battle” anyway…)


I played the British and John played the French, while Curt played referee – because John and I like to argue about rules so much – someone’s got to keep the peace and make rulings… (I’m being “funny” here…). Originally I was to have just the three battalions Curt had brought up in a single brigade. I brought along my New Highlanders and was going to try and convince Curt to let me substitute them in for one of the British battalions. John started the smack talk early and was simultaneously dissing Highlanders and British Rules writers which unfairly favour the British, so Curt just said I should just add the Highlanders and my Brigadier to the order of battle and have two brigades of two battalions plus the guns…. (lesson to be learned – JOHN! – never trash talk the referees heritage before the order of battle has been settled on..).

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

The 95th Rifles set up in a field. (You can find more pretty pictures of this unit on Curt’s Napoleonic Gallery)

The Belgian town of Boom – held by the British 28th Regiment of Foot and some guns from the Royal Artillery.

Apparently the commander of the French 1iere Brigade; General du Brigade Schmitz…?! Hmmmm… sounds German…?

The rest of the 1iere Brigade. Well… I’m not sure about the Horsies…? Could have been part of the other brigade… or, given that they’re French, It could be their lunch…

The other, presumably “2ieme”, Brigade, with the First brigade in the distance.

This second brigade got off to a bad start. The first turn they failed to do anything… The second turn they did nothing as well… The Third… or was it fourth…? They finally made one move forward. But then the following turn the Brigadier made a command blunder and they retired two moves back – knocking some of then right off the table.

Schmitz got his brigade moving on the second turn (German efficiency for you!) but was plagued with his own problems. The first being that curt had us rolling for random events throughout the game and on the second (or third?) turn one of his battalions was ordered off the table to deal with some skirmishers in the woods somewhere… The other problem was all this fancy steady advancing brought them closer to the British and they’re pretty good at shooting and stuff…

The view from the British 2nd Brigade around turn three… not much happening.

Around this time the battalion in the white started taking steady fire from two of the British gun sections as well as the Rifles and pretty much remained disordered until they broke and left the fireld of battle a few turns later…

The british firing on the French in white.

The French Guns are now deployed. Eventually Ney tired of his lethargic Frenchmen and rode to the artillery battery and cried “Follow Me!” and personally led them around the woods to where they were to deploy and pour long-range fire down for the rest of the game.

Eventually the Horse got going as well, also, I think, under Ney’s personal command. They took some fire from the guns in the village at this point and the next turn attempted to charge the Highlanders.

Some more pictures of Curt’s pretty Frenchmen.

The French guns. I’m thinking they maybe had their own brigade commander – and that’s him there with the telescope.

The French cavalry riding around on tomorrow’s lunch.

…aaaand there they are again getting ready to charge the Highlanders.

At this point the Cavalry have retired after trying to charge the Highlanders, but turned away after the Highlanders formed square. The French 2ieme Brigade has finally returned to the table and are making their way towards the British 2nd Brigade.

The French 1iere Brigade had some light infantry – they dispersed into skirmish order and made their way through the woods and fired on the 95th Rifles for a while.

The Cavalry tries to charge again and both the Highalnder and Welsh formed square so the cavalry just galloped around them.

The infantry followed hot on the hooves of the Cavalry and charged the Highlander and Welsh who were still in square. This didn’t work out so well for the British.

The Highalnders stood their ground, despite having two fighting dice to the French SIX!

Lot of shooting going on with little effect on the other side… thought this is about when the French in white broke…

The big Melee again…

The Welsh lost their first round and broke and ran. The highlnders lost their first round, and the second and the third, possibly a fourth…?! But just would NOT go away!

The French the defeated the Welsh turned to charge the guns but took some canister point blank and thought the better of it. I think it was eventually the cavalry that rode the guns down.

As it turns out I’d held off the French long enough and on turn six I was told I could retire anytime after turn eight. I think it was turn nine that I started to retire. I was a little worried that I might get ridden down by the French – but after their engagement with the 2nd British battalion I think all the Infantry and the cavalry regiment were shaken (taken hits equal to their stamina” and the Generals tried to rally them for a turn or two before charging in again – which gave me just enough time to get the 28th and the 95th and one section of horse artillery back across the bridge!


Well, it's kind of late and I'm to tired for any post game analysis... so let's just say: Totally fun game! Took a little while to get going with all the French command problems but got very exciting, very quickly thereafter.

Thanks CURT!

You should all go check out his own blog:

Analogue Hobbies

In the Naploeonic gallery you will find much better pictures of many of the units used in this battle and much more!

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Some up close pics of those new Highlanders…


  1. Does this mean you are getting into Naps now? That's great if so :) I totally need some inspiration to get to my French! Great stuff here!

  2. um... well... I don't know about "getting into"...

    maybe "going along with..."

  3. It was great to have you and your Black Watch out for the game! Apparently John's French must have been VERY lonely because as soon as they saw all those jocks in skirts they forgot that the objective was the town! A cunning plan, Mr. Tim...

  4. You Western Canadians really do not like the french!

    Great game and report.

  5. Quite the contrary, John. Both myself and JohnB (who commanded the French in this battle) are out-of-the-closet-small-'f' francophiles (Gaullophiles?). Especially when it comes to food and culture.

    Tim, on the other hand...

  6. Oh, I just do it to bug you guys... and the table smack talk just makes it's way into the game reports. If I ever got to play the French I'd be trashing... well... whoever was defeating them...