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The Battle For Papelotte

One way or another, March has been a beast of a month! What with two bouts of snowy weather causing disruption both at home and work, a radiator bursting ( old age not cold…) flooding the bedroom and dining room, a brace and a half of significant Family Birthdays (Father in Laws 80th, Wifes 60th and Granddaughter’s 5th) all topped off with yours truly going down with a nasty dose of man flu, Hobby time has been at a premium.

Despite all of that, the month started with my attendance at the Bingham Napoleonic weekend on 3rd March. I was there with my two gaming buddies , Pete and Andy to run a demo wargame based on the action around Papelotte, Waterloo 1815. The previous year we had run a similar game based on the action at Quatre Bras with some success, so we thought a continuation into the next day would be fun. Andy, who does the organisation & research had decided that the action around Papelotte is very much under represented in favour of the other ‘big’ moments in the battle. I also had a very nice Sarissa Precision model of Papelotte lying unfinished in my garage so it was an excuse to get on with the model for the day!

You can read how I went about finishing the model for the Demo game here:

PAPELOTTE IN PROGRESS

The other attraction of basing a game around Papelotte was that most of the Allied Soldiers fighting there were actually Allies, not British Redcoats, so a force of Nassau, Dutch-Belgium’s and Hanoverian troops would be taking on the might of France. Of course, we didn’t follow the exact script or order of battle. Andy likes to have a bit of ‘what if’ in his battles – it gives us armchair generals something to pontificate about whilst munching our mid morning bacon cobs….

The rest of the blog is a bit picture heavy but should guide you through the battle as it unfolded.

Dutch Jaeger deployed outside of Papelotte.

Dutch Jaeger deployed outside of Papelotte.

2nd Nassau were deployed inside the farmhouse - hold at all costs!

2nd Nassau were deployed inside the farmhouse – hold at all costs!

French cavalry scout the battlefield

French cavalry scout the battlefield

Once the French Cavalry had scouted the area, the French Columns deployed to take the Farm house and capture the ridge, pushing Wellingtons left flank back and preventing him from reinforcing his centre.

The French Advance!

The French Advance!

Despite reaching the road running across the ridge, the French advance is held by the Hanoverian Landwehr.

Hannoverian Landwehr hold the line!

Hannoverian Landwehr hold the line!

At Papelotte farmhouse, the light Jaegers were quickly overcome and the assult of the farmhouse began.

The skirmishers are overcome

The skirmishers are overcome

Despite taking casualties, the Nassau hold on.

Despite taking casualties, the Nassau hold on.

The road was fiecely contested!

The road was fiercely contested!

The French were very determined!

The French were very determined!

Meanwhile, the Dutch & Belgian troops had managed to redeploy and march to relieve the pressure on Papelotte.

Dutch - Belgians save the day

Dutch – Belgians save the day

Catching the French attackers in the flank, they push them back, and Papelotte is held!

Papelotte is secure!

Papelotte is secure!

If Papelotte is secured and with it, the corridor for Prussian reinforcements to arrive, the battle is still in the balance. The French General decides to ignore the farmhouse in favour of a push on the ridge.

Take the ridge!

Take the ridge!

Advance!

Advance!

French Pressure begins to win

French Pressure begins to win

The determined French attack on the ridge now began to have it’s effect and despite reinforcements, the Hanoverians were pushed back. As yet, there were no signs of the Prussians arriving to help out either. Clearly they had be delayed!  Wellington would be forced to shore up his left wing to hold the French back. Would this have made a difference to the overall battle? Well, it was a good time to stop for cakes & coffee and consider the position!

The battle is ours!

The battle is ours!

And so the battle drew to an end. We had played the game at a very lazy pace although we had few opportunities to talk to visitors – the bad snow fall had meant that visitor numbers to the show were very low. The show had been held on the same day as Hammerhead and despite Hammerhead being cancelled, this seemed to have the effect of dissuading anyone from travelling to Bingham, even though the major roads were open.

It was a shame that the event was so quiet as there were some very interesting speakers and guests on through out the day. Perhaps if you are free next year, you might like to pop along, weather permitting!

 

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