Quatre Bras (early stages)

A report from Dave Morris

Played a multiplayer Napoleonic game at Wyre Forest club this afternoon (March 2017), using the newish "Over the Hills" set. Scenario was based on early stages of Quatre Bras and organised by Gordon, who also provided most of the figures.  Two allied infantry brigades, with 1.5 batteries deployed in front of the woods and in and around the farm. More were lurking just off the table. 

The French had two weakish infantry brigades, with 6pdr battery and two cavalry brigades, one with three chasseur units, the other with two lancer units. The French attacked with infantry; the  lancer brigade supported the central brigade of infantry and discovered Allied light infantry lurking in a cornfield. The infantry obligingly formed an emergency square, just as the best French infantry brigade reached the field. A round of fire and an assault by attack column saw the square break, the infantry attack continued, broke the Allied battery and thus the central brigade. The lancers meanwhile rejoined the rest of the cavalry division, which positioned horse artillery to shoot up the broken brigade whilst the cavalry fought a couple of combats with Dutch Belgian cavalry, which had rapidly moved onto the table. They just as rapidly moved off again!  

Meanwhile, on the French left things were not going so well. The French brigade which had broken its opponents took on a strong Nassau regiment; the resulting losses were enough to break the French brigade, which fell back in disorder. The extreme left French brigade found themselves facing more strong Nassau infantry, supported by a very mobile half battery of British horse artillery. With fresh British infantry appearing on the table, the French commander decided to pull back and wait for reinforcements ( where's d'Erlon when you need him?) so a morale victory for the Allies, in spite of losing two of their brigades.

With three people having no experience of the rules and the other three having only played a couple of games each,progress was a little slow at times, but we still got a result within three hours and there was general agreement that the rules worked well, in spite of Barry and I applying some of the advanced rules, which we have been using in our own games!  

Using cavalry to pin infantry in squares, to be finished off by shooting and infantry assault, is proving a successful tactic, IF you can achieve local cavalry superiority. We used half distances with 15mm figures, as the units only had about half the frontage of corresponding 28mm units, those of us who had played with the full moves felt it did impact the flow of the game and we will probably stick to full moves in future, especially if we use the 32 strong infantry units, as it gives a more exciting and unpredictable game.

There were a few questions about the rules,  some of which we easily resolved, but one that we are still puzzled about is " enfilade fire". In the infantry fire chart there is a +1 for "target fired on from flank or rear". A little further down there is a +4 for enfilade fire. Neither of these modifiers appears on the artillery chart. Has the enfilade +4 been misplaced? We also feel the enfilade arc is rather generous, perhaps because most rules we play need the fire to be directly into a flank.