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Wargames are made to play for fun, but sometimes they can be more useful to illustrate History (with some approximation) so this post does not want to be a academic lesson but a different kind of real game.
I thought then use the good La Bataille de Mont Saint Jean as an useful support for writing this visual description of one of the most famous battles: WATERLOO.
Beg pardon, to English language, for my possible blunders.

First, an overall view of the event



Initial position
11:30


Dark red numbers indicate the infantry brigades, their commanders:

1 - Mitchell
2 - Du Platt
3 - H.Halkett
4 - d'Aubreme
5 - Detmers
6 - Adam
7 - Brunswick
8 - Byng
9 - Maitland
10 - C.Halkett
11 - Kielmannsegge
12 - Ompteda
13 - Kruse
14 - Lambert
15 - Kempt
16 - Bijlandt
17 - Pack
18 - Best
19 - Vinke

Blue numbers indicate the cavalry brigades, their commanders:

1 - Grant
2 - Dornberg
3 - Arenschildt
4 - Merlen
5 - Trip
6 - Somerset
7 - Ghigny
8 - Ponsonby
9 - Vandeleur
10 - Vivian

Dark blue, the major French formations.

The visually strong Allied defensive position on the right flank, leaning against Hougomont (or Goumont) is evident signal that Wellington certainly expecting the arrival of the Prussians to his left flank, clearly a little unguarded.
The lines of infantry well hidden are indicative of his great knowledge of the terrain.

The French central position is typical of Napoleon tactics, open at the possible evolution of the battle: a Corps of Infantry on each side and behind a body of Cavalry, followed by a Guard Cavalry Division and at the outer sides a light Cavalry Division to cover the flanks.
In reserve: the VI Corps, then the Young Guard; Middle and Old Guard are still lining up.



11:30 - 12:00

A note that applies to all following images: will be highlighted the key episodes (respectively blue for French, red for the Allies, yellow for the Prussian; also the times are approximate and some episodes may overlap with others).

The assault on Hougomont begins: 1st Brigade / 6th Division Pr. Jerome attacks the Wood and the Great Orchard.
Napoleon orders the formation of "Great Battery": 4 batteries of four Divisions / I Corps, 3 heavy batteries (12 pounds) of I, II, VI Corps, 3 batteries of the Guard and one battery of the 5th Division Bachelu.



12:30 - 13:00

The 2nd Brigade / 6th Division Pr. Jerome joins the 1st in to the assault on Hougomont.
The "Great Battery" opens fire ... without great success because of wet soil and excellent positions chosen by Wellington.
The Commander of the I Corps, d'Erlon, orders the advance of his Divisions: from the left 1st Quiot, 2nd Donzelot, 3rd Marcognet, 4th Durutte.



13:30

The 9th Division moves to Hougomont.
The first lines of the I Corps enter in contact with the Allies, while the 1st Division Quiot hits La Haie Sainte and the Sandpit.
Two Cuirassiers Regiments, 1st and 4th, support the left of the I Corps; in front of them the Lüneburg Battalion is sent to help the Garrison of Le Haie Sainte.
Household Brigade Somerset and Union Brigade Ponsonby are alerted.



13:45 - 14:00

The attack of the I Corps d'Erlon is at its peak.
The Lüneburg Battalion taken uncovered by the two Cuirassiers Regiments is attacked and routed.
The first news of the approach of the Prussian formations from the northeast, oblige Napoleon to a difficult choice: to send the VI Corps Lobau, 19th and 20th Cavalry Division on the right flank towards the Bois de Paris.



14:15

The crisis.

Subjected to a relentless artillery, arrived before the Allies line in uneven status, charged by Union Brigade, the I Corps gives in and enters in rout … the losses are enormous; far right, only the 1st Brigade / 4th Division Durutte retires in good order, taking the English Cavalry at bay.
On the left side, the Household Brigade charges the Cuirassiers and the 1st Division Quiot ; the 1st Dragoons captures the Eagle of 105th Ligne and the 2nd Dragoons that of 45th Ligne.
Vandeleur Brigade and Ghigny Brigade are preparing to support the Union Brigade.
The commander of the IV Cavalry Corps, Milhaud, sends the 7th, 12th, 5th and 10th Cuirassiers Regiment to help the I Corps.
The VI Corps Lobau stands east of Plancenoit.



14:30

The 1st Netherlands Brigade d'Aubreme and the 2nd Neth. Brigade Detmers are called in the middle Allied deployment.
The Union Brigade Ponsonby dragged by the orgy of blood and by the typically English trend to "gallopping at everything", engages the crews of Artillery of "Great Battery" taking possession but not for long, the counter-charge of the four Cuirassiers Regiments and, especially, by the flank attack of the 1st Cavalry Division Jacquinot rejected the British Cavalry forcing her to fall into Allied lines, suffering many losses among them Ponsonby.
Part of the French infantry can be grouped nearby the 85th Ligne square remained in reserve.
At Hougomont the French have taken the Great Orchard.



15:00

The well coordinated counter-attack by the 2nd British Guards give back in their possession the Great Orchard.
The 2nd Brigade / 5th Division Bachelu came to support the units already committed in the assault on Hougomont, is rejected by the large British artillery fire.
The "Great Battery" freed from the counter-charge, renew his activities with difficulty.
Marshal Ney, advanced to observe the enemy sees a retreat of the Allies lines (Wellington ordered to better protect his troops) and misunderstood for a signal of collapse, is going to use the Cavalry.
At east, the first contact between 7th French Hussars and 6th Prussian Hussars took place.



16:00

Begins one of the unparalleled charge of the History of this world: the Light Cavalry Division of the Guard (Chasseurs à Cheval and Imperial Lancers) and eight Cuirassiers Regiments (9th, 6th, 10th, 5th, 12th, 7th, 4th and 1st) or 4,500 horsemen climb the narrow space between Hougomont and La Haie Sainte in the belief (of Ney) to find Allies in disarray if not in flight ... meantime Wellington put his units in defence on tough squares leaving to the Artillery the task to decimate the French cavalry.
From Bois de Paris the first Prussian units emerge directed to the French right flank.



17:00

The entire Allied right flank is a single checkerboard of squares, every Wellington's Cavalry Brigade is committed to repel the French ones, who retires and charge several times, reorganizing behind the French Artillery in support.
Other French Cavalry Regiments are sent to attack: the Empress Dragoons with the Grenadiers à Cheval, four Cuirassiers Regiments (3rd, 2nd, 11th and 8th) and two Dragoons Regiments (7th and 2nd) or 4,000 other horsemen; only two Regiments of the Carabiniers à Cheval are kept in reserve but not for long.
8,500 horses (losses aside) that rage in that narrow strip of wet and battered land!
Brigade Adam is sent to support the contingent defending Hougomont.
The Prussians begin to line up: 15th Brigade Losthin and 16th Brigade Hiller with various cavalry units confront the VI Corps.



18:00

While the cavalry of both sides clash in a fight without quarter, the I Corps d'Erlon, reorganized, resumed the assault of the Allied left flank.
Belatedly, the 5th Division Bachelu is sent to attack the Allies squares.
La Haie Sainte, after six hours of continuous struggle, defended strenuously in conditions of inferiority, falls into the hands of the French.
Forced by two Prussian brigades, joined quickly by two more units (13th Brigade Hack and 14th Brigade Ryssel) the French are rejected in to centre of Plancenoit village, leading fight house to house, to levels unheard of cruelty.



18:45

At Hougomont, the struggle for possession now lasted over seven hours, but the French never got anything except committing two and a half divisions in a futile and bloody assault.
Allied lines rallied, re-take the guns left by the crews during the charges, thanks to the fact that no gun in the entire front (except one on the left side) has been spiked ... mistake that the French have paid dearly.
The 5th Division Bachelu continues its march, joined by nine battalions of the Guard sent by Napoleon to exploit the charges of now exhausted cavalry.
Things at Plancenoit go wrong for the French, the Young Guard with two other battalions of the Guard are sent in support.



19:30

While two battalions of the Guard (1st and 2nd of the 1st Grenadiers Regiment) remain in reserve, Napoleon moves near La Haie Sainte to follow better the progression of the attack of the Guard.
From left: 5th Division Bachelu, a first line of battalions (5) of the Middle Guard followed by a second line of the Old Guard (3 +1 in reserve), 2nd Division Donzelot between La Haie Sainte and the rest of the 1st Corps d'Erlon launch the final assault.
The exhausted French cavalry is added locally to bring support to infantry.
The decision to advance in square formation will bring to disaster in few minutes: the 4th Grenadiers Battalion is literally disintegrated by concentrated British artillery fire and rifle fire.
It is an instant: subject to a constant and deadly fire, attacked on the left flank by 52nd Battalion / 3rd Brigade Adam, counterattacked by Brigade Detemers, the Guard "Recule" ... between 19:45 and 19:50 the attack stops, hesitates and enter into the route dragging the whole French front with him!
Plancenoit, meanwhile, went from French hand to those Prussian and then French again after the storming of the Young Guard, but before the village the IV Corps Bülow with the support of the II Corps Pirch I, is preparing to the final lunge.




20:00

With the order of general advance, Wellington gives the mortal blow to the French army: with the help of Vivian and Vandeleur Brigades, Adam and Detmers Brigades, the pursuit begins.
The French rout is complete.
Plancenoit finally taken by the Prussians will be the only point of the battlefield where the French hold out even for a short.
Napoleon in the square of his beloved Guard will soon forced to leave the battlefield.
One thing for all: Young, Middle and Old Guard have suffered from 70 to 80% losses.
The Eagle is mortally wounded.



Wellington and Blücher Meet

"Mein lieber kamerad, quelle affaire!" "My dear friend, what a business!"



Bibliography

M. Adkin - The Waterloo Companion
A. Barbero - La battaglia - Storia di Waterloo
D.G. Chandler - Waterloo - The Hundred Days
D.G. Chandler - The Campaigns of Napoleon
J. Coignet - The Note-Books of Captain Coignet
I. Fletcher - Wellington's Regiments
I. Fletcher - Galloping at Everything
Gen. Count Gneisenau - The Campaigns of Field-Marshal Prince Blücher
H. Lachouque A.S.K. Brown - The Anatomy of Glory
H. Lachouque - Waterloo
A.A. Nofi - The Waterloo Campaign - June 1815
A. Pollio - Waterloo 1815 - 2 voll
D. Smith - The Prussian Army - to 1815
D. Smith - Charge!
J. Tranié J.C. Carmignani - Napoléon et l'Angleterre

Magazine: #1 Gloire & Empire: Waterloo 18 jiun 1815 - La Garde recule - HM

Errors are mine and I'll take the weight ... until the next edit!
Criticisms and comments are welcome and Thanks for reading
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Jack Smith
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I really enjoyed those images and descriptions, thanks
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Mark Goss
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Wow! I really enjoyed reading (and watching) this post! More please!

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Michael Kotsarinis
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Very well done!
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MAURO BORNIOLI
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Bravissimo Filippo !

Very nice the images that change with the progress of the battle.

And also nice the drawings.

A good account of the battle.

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Alphonso De la Red
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Wow !
What an incredible amount of work must've gone into this.
It is just beautiful !
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Nicola Ciabatti
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What can I say... wonderful!
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That is fantastic!
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Joseph
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Today, we're all Spaniards!
.
Beautifully executed! How did you do the animation? GIFs?
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武士に二言無し
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Now it is the time for the first answer and I have only one word ... Thanks You all for your gentle appreciation.
(ok, they are six seven, but we understood each other)

Filippo

Edit: I am unforgivable ...
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武士に二言無し
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falloutfan wrote:
... How did you do the animation? GIFs?


Yes Joseph. F.
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Come on boys, can not be so perfect.
Nobody has a technical question or something to add?
My thread does not want to be absolutely closed, quite the contrary ...

A curiosity that I missed:
Image of 17:00 a counter far north-pointing the road to Brussels.
It's the Cumberland Regiment (composed by Hanoverian gentlemen but with little military experience).
Taking some casualties from artillery fire, during the crisis when La Haie Sainte fell, they began to falter and despite orders directly from Uxbridge, they refuse to move and fled the field!
Some remained on the field joining other Regiments, but the bulk of Cumberland Regiment fled to Brussels, where they caused alarm by claiming the French were just behind them.

Until the next

F.
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Steve Arthur
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THE benchmark explanation of the Battle of Waterloo as far as I'm concerned...great work Filippo
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Aries
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Nice Filippo!

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Steve
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Wow!
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M Stumptner
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Fantastic piece of work, although I have one quibble with the presentation of history. Like most traditional Chandler-driven explanations (and that includes Adkin) it does however leave out Ziethen's attack in the Smohain gap that routed Durutte's division on the French right before Wellington ordered his counterattack. It therefore makes it looks as if the Prussians only fought around Plancenoit and played no role in breaking the center. (You quoted Chandler's Hundred Days volume; in that book he has a one-sentence reference to Ziethen's attack that points out that it was the second Prussian attack, in the north, that got the French to the point where Wellington ordered the counterattack. The only place where I've seen Chandler allude to that fact.)
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武士に二言無し
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Thank "M St",

Thank you for the specification and I should agree with your opinion.
The first fact is that I concentrated on major events of the battle and that really have had an influence.
In the books the I have cited very few do refer to the impact I Prussian Corps had in the Battle.
In "Gen. Count Gneisenau - The Campaigns of Field-Marshal Prince Blücher", a non suspect source, not even the autor does not mention ... and those few that do, give the entry of Ziethen's Corps around 19:30.
I've omited deliberately the entry of this Prussian Corps, not for change the History or for play down the importance of the Prussian Army in the Waterloo Battlefield.
Any serious historian must never deny facts, but I can understand the point of views of the three Nations: UK won alone, Prussia defeated France and without his presence UK would never have won, France lost, by a hair, for Grouchy's fault, etc etc.
At the end I have really appreciated your quibble!

F.
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武士に二言無し
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One last curiosity about the accuracy of the rifles of the Napoleonic Era.

The Prussian Army carried out a test simulating the effectiveness of the shots of rifles fired at a target (sheet of tissue) simulating an infantry platoon.

Here are the results (obtained hits on two hundred shots fired)

Range (yards) are: 80 160 240 320

Nothardt musket 1805...................145 97 56 67
"New Prussian"musket 1809..........153 113 70 42
French Charleville 1777..................151 99 53 55
British Brown Bess..........................94 116 75 55

It should be clarified that the test was made under optimal conditions, clean rifle's barrels, quiet and rested soldiers and, especially, not under enemy fire ... and that a sheet was not a man!

From "G. Nafzinger - Imperial Bayonets"

Bye bye

F.
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Joe Forjan
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Filippo

This is great. Amazing visual sequences. Don't know if you remember, you posted some advice about La Bat rules and games for me on my thread,
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/637321/learning-masterin...

Now, I even get to watch a game in action. I, and I'm sure everyone else, appreciate the time and effort you put into this.
BTW, I decided to take the plunge and started setting up Quatre Bras using the XXII rules.

Thanks again
Joe
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Peter Stubner
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Englewood
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Wonderful Post! The amount of effort is astonshing!

Besides the sheer effort of this illustration, this captures how the wargame experience is tops in the gaming world. Playing through a game like this is something you will never forget.

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武士に二言無し
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jforjan wrote:
BTW, I decided to take the plunge and started setting up Quatre Bras using the XXII rules.

Thanks again
Joe


Surely, I remember! Thank You for the gentle comment and for QB+XXII: good choice!

Happy wargaming Joe.

F.
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Barry Kendall
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I believe this is the best photographic game-narration of a battle I've ever seen.

Thank you for your research and your efforts, down to the neat tidy arrangements of the counters. Meticulous and beautifully presented.

Now . . . might we tempt you to do it all again, this time gaming the battle with the player-generals choosing the actions as the battle unfolds rather than modeling the historical thrusts and counterthrusts?

Comparing the two approaches would be fascinating to me.

In any case, thank you for this wonderful study!
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武士に二言無し
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Hi Barry,

Thank You, modest

The temptation is ... not great ... is huge!!
The only thing I need is other three "grognard", at least one month of evenings of play ... and surely I'd love to write the AAR of "my" Waterloo.

I remember the far 1994, when with my friend-wargamer we played for the first time the entire battle, I think it took us an eternity to see the end!!
We were young and impulsive, but my friend even more: he chose to attack with the British troops down to the French line as first move and at the end of the day was Wellington that retired from the battlefield, closed in his Guard's square and his famous "nose" scratched!

But that was another history ...

again thk u,

F.
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Steve Norton
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Excuse the necropost, but I'd love to read/watch this account of the battle.
Is there anyway to make the images/gifs live again?
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武士に二言無し
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WOW!!!

After three years and half there is still someone that reads my work, I'm honored!

GIFs are a problem now on BGG, we can not use them like I did, no more.
I know it'll be a boring thing, but you can see them in my imgs gallery one by one for now.
I'll try a new solution, like an avi or similar for re-editing the imgs sequence.
Suggestions will be very appreciated!! I own photoshop/images-ready, but I suppose there are other more efficient solutions .

Thanks for your patience,

F.
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