Tally Ho!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Ligny - After Action Report

The Scenario

This is the second part of our Waterloo campaign, this time featuring the Prussians. The battle is on one flank of the battlefield and features a French assault across a stream. The stream is fordable along its length but you count as disordered the move you emerge. Both sides had about 12 battalions.
Ligny Scenario

The Battle

The initial dispositions from the end of the table

Initial dispositions
Some close-ups of the defenders of both villages

St Armand defenders

St Armand Le Haye defenders
And now the attackers ranged against them

The main attackers line

No money, no Swiss - guess they got paid today

The battle opened with a general attack across the whole front from the French. On the French right this made slow progress due to the village, but on the left the attack was more successful with the cavalry making good gains against the Prussian horse

The infantry attack

The French cavalry push forward
Not wishing to be passive observers the Prussians crossed the river in several places and launched at assault of their own on the French right. It was a bold move that would decide the battle.

Prussian Reserve brigade attacks

The Prussians ford the river
The Prussian attack stalls 
Unfortunately the Prussian attack failed to make much headway and the poorer quality troops became discouraged, falling back behind the river. As we know a retreat can become a route and the Prussians found it harder to rally than to attack.
The French capture St Armand Le Haye
 With the capture of St Armand Le Haye the Prussians hit army break point and withdrew


Perhaps the key decision was the Prussian one to attack rather than withdrawing to the reverse slope. The logic was not bad - in a fire-fight on the rivers edge superior French morale would have told. Had the attack been made by a full brigade of regular troops (not landwher) it might have distracted the French enough to stall them. Also attacking brought the French artillery more into the game then might otherwise have been the case.

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