Sunday 21 June 2020

Waterloo Anniversary Game, er.......sort of.

  • June 18 was of course the anniversary of Waterloo. It's also the anniversary of the Battle of Kolin in 1757. The first was impossible for me to recreate at this time. The second I've done so many times before and I wasn't in a SYW bubble. So what better way to mark the anniversary than refighting the Battle of Wavre also on 18 June. I also decided to reproduce the armies involved as closely as I could, but using my Bismark's Wars collection of Prussians and French, setting the game in the summer of 1870. Prussian Landwehr would become unwilling German Confederation and or Bavarian allies. It worked. Other than that the troops were represented with what figures I own, therefore, for example, Exellmann's dragoons were actually represented by four regiments of cuirassiers as thats all I had. Equally dubious in value in 1870.

The 'technology'
Despite the usual techy problems, overcome thanks to my wife's expertise and determination setting up the webcam (and getting me to calm down) plus two wireless tablets and a wireless ear bud and microphone. 

The Prussian objective was to delay the French as long as possible (4pm on the day we fought the battle) and prevent their army departing the table on their baseline. The French were required to defeat the Prussians and get half their army off the table to go and aid the Emperor at Waterloo. Steve, John the Red and Shaun were the French, while Conrad, Dave and Paul were the Prussians.

Here's how it panned out, and I hope the photos tell the story well enough, although they can't convey the confusion in both camps and my inner smile as things developed. The French plan was to demonstrate against Wavre, ignore the bridge in the centre and push EVERYTHING over the unguarded bridge on the left. The Prussians decided they'd hold Wavre and the centre and rush their reserves to the right as quickly as they could. Mmmmm?

Zouaves, Turcos and some of the best French infantry demonstrating (?) outside Wavre.
Exelmann's cuirassiers moving to the left as fast as possible.
More Turcos and Marine infantry head to the left, keeping out of sight of the Prussian guns. 
Pajol's light cavalry (John), lead by the Chasseurs d'Afrique cross the bridge on the Prussian right.
In turn one the Prussians under Dave forgot send their reserves to the right!
The woefully inadequate French artillery bravely or foolishly deployed in range of the Prussian batteries and soon paid the price.
The French army resembled the crowd at St James' Park when the cry "The Pies are Here!" is heard as they rushed towards the bridge. 
The Chasseurs d'Afrique charged a regiment of Bavarian cuirassier standing in for Landwehr cavalry.
Shaun's demonstration outside Wavre continues......
My favourite French cavalry unit lost the melee against a plucky (lucky) enemy.
And then John managed to throw four and break! Thankfully their supports stood firm.
The Prussian reserve cavalry move rapidly ('ish) from the left to the right wing. The reserve infantry brigade have  finally moved to the right to engage the French.
This is the view of the routing Chasseurs d'Afrique, plus my sheep, from the mobile cam.
Some handsome silver fox and the battlefield as seen from the static wired webcam, taking in the whole battlefield. 
John ordered a battalion of Colonial infantry to cover the central bridge but they soon fell foul of Prussian artillery fire and the not so deadly needle guns firing from the farm.
The Prussian right.
Dave's reserve, a brigade of allied German battalions representing Landwehr (my Prussians are organised around the 1866 campaign, hence the Brunswickers, Anhalt and Sax-Coberg battalions). The Saxe-Coberg battalion had already run away.
Pajol's light cavalry had been forced to pull back, leaving an opportunity for Exellmans and his cuirassiers to show what they could do.
The Prussian reserve cavalry had by now made it to the right wing.
Shaun's French STILL demonstrating outside Wavre.
The cuirassiers charge, sweeping away the Anhalt regiment before clashing with Prussian cavalry.
Finally Wavre is stormed and taken by the bayonets of the Turcos and Zouaves. 
Defeated jager popurig back over the bridge.
The melee on the Prussian right was big and confusing. One Prussian brigade was  broken and both cavalry brigades were on the verge of breaking. The cuirassiers however had failed to break the Prussians and had taken heavy casualties.
Another hopeless charge through the cornfields.
The Colonial infantry holding in the centre.
Stalemate on the French left/Prussian right. Weight of numbers will prevail, helped along by  chassepot-armed French lining the river bank!
The French pout off the table, forgetting that they also had to defeat the Prussians before doing so.
This was the last turn as we had reached 4pm. I judged it a slim French win, as they would be able to exit half their troops from the table and still have plenty to hold off the Prussians and probably break another brigade or two. Of course, the Emperor was by now well on the road to defeat so it had all been a bit pointless.......

It is surprisingly knackering facilitating a game this way (and frustrating when the tech dies, but we coped), and I must have hobbled round the table enough to actually march to Paris! I used my own house rules and adaptations to Black Powder II to make them fit more accurately into an 1870 setting.  Good game. Great to get my Franco-Prussian War armies out again after a very long break. Next time I shall field the 1866 Austrians.

I have a fortnight to clear the table and set up for what might be the next battle in my French Revolution campaign. Till then, back to painting and basing up Italian wars stuff.


  1. Excellent looking game and presented so high tech too. Good to see a French win.
    Although in one pic it stated a colonial battalion was shot up by chassepot fire. Tell me those dastardly Germanic sorts were not using French rifles. :)

  2. A splendid looking game Colin...
    You have a fine collection of Franco-Prussian/Austro-Prussian War figures...
    I am about to have a much smaller Franco-Prussian affair with my daughter...
    I will no doubt come second...

    All the best. Aly

  3. Beautiful figures and terrain, Colin! One day, I hope to take a stab at Bismark's wars myself. Until then, I can enjoy your set-up vicariously. Great stuff!

    Best Regards,


    1. Parenthetically, my wife too provides any needed technical support when computers, phones, and tablets refuse to cooperate here. Her skill is really quite amazing. I just don't have the patience when these so called 'conveniences' act up. As I remarked to my wife while we watched a movie set in the 1970s a few nights ago, I really miss rotary phones!

      Best Regards,


    2. Thanks Stokes. The annoying thing is that when I was working all the technology was fine and I had lots of kit and could make it do what it was supposed to do. Nearly eight years on my brain has gone to must when it comes to technology!

  4. G'Day Colin you've really got the hang of this virtual wargaming technology. Well done! We met on Phil's VWC so I thought I would add myself as a followers. Love your set-up. Cheers Greg (Delta Coy)

  5. Splendid looking affair there Colin, but moreso your enthusiasm and energy shine through.

  6. Looks wonderful Colin. I too benefit from spousal tech advice (and calming down)

  7. Wives! What would we do without them?!

    That looks like a lot of work Colin, but worth it. Inspiring photos and great table )as always). Right cheered me up.