Rupert, son Eric, and daughter Elizabeth returned over the long weekend of 30th October to 1st November for an 1815 mini Napoleonic campaign. Rupert took the role of Wellington and Eric became Blucher. Elizabeth had her own separate series of adventures to undertake which took on a bit of a Halloween theme. She had to organise all the food, costumes and entertainment for a grand victory party for the Allies, as well as solving a haunted house mystery and keeping a careful eye out for Griselda the Grim, a witch hired by Napoleon to do away with Wellington and Blucher.
After an initial conversation between Rupert and Eric on strategy, the campaign kicked off with movement of forces via a map. The Allies strategy was simple. Join up all forces at Wavre and then wait for Napoleon to arrive. Napoleon (controlled by our good friend and host for the weekend, Chris Flowers) decided to move North from France in a short West to East Line of units and head towards Brussels. Meanwhile Elizabeth’s characters did some excellent scouting for her family, keeping an eye on the pesky Napoleon. Just before lunch on the first day, the advanced parties of the French came across the now connected Allied and Prussian armies and battle was joined. This first engagement was a short lived affair as once Napoleon realised that the Allies had joined up, after some initial artillery fire and some cavalry melees, he decided to retire from the field and fell back towards the South.
Day one finished with Napoleon initially falling back towards a more defensible position whilst the Allies skirted them to the West and came at them again from the flank. Napoleon’s reaction was to then push north again and headed back to Wavre. By close of play, the two opponents had met just West of Wavre with the French going into defence this time and the Allies mustering for the attack.
Day two began with setting up the battle. The Allied plan was simple enough and involved pushing down both flanks whilst holding some of their forces to pin the French in the centre. Initially cavalry elements clashed and the Allies had the better of these first engagements. The Allies massed their batteries and these quickly became demoralising for the French who did not have their full forces available straight away. They hid all their infantry in and behind woods and villages and started to withdraw their artillery. By the end of day two, and after a couple of small infantry engagements, one for the Brits and one for the Prussians, and both won, the Allies were looking in a strong position. Elizabeth was steaming her way through the party organisation, had most of the haunted house mystery solved and was engaged in fighting Griselda the Grim. Things seemed almost perfect.
Day three saw a change in leadership for the French with Chris retiring and another friend, Malcolm Taylor taking over the role of Napoleon. Griselda was quickly defeated and the Allied infantry pushes began, as did a more converted effort to engage the French cavalry. On the Allied right flank, the British infantry succeeded in routing all the French infantry and their cavalry took a heavy toll on French Cuirassiers, Dragoons and Chasseurs, all of which had been gradually softened up by the Allies artillery over the last two days. By close of play, the right hand third of the field belonged to the Anglo army. In the centre, the Brunswicks and Prussians had an entirely different affair. They attacked the central village and woods and were heartily driven off by French troops. There were a couple of moments when the tide could have turned in their favour, but the overall result was in favour of the French.
On the left flank, the Prussians tried an attack on a village which due to very bad luck for Eric, was driven off. However, Eric was successful in defeating French Guard cavalry, and this was the flank where the French were weakest, having very little else to defend it with except some Cuirassiers and Caribineers.
By the end, both sides had reserves as yet uncommitted, but the umpire’s opinion was that the Allies had done enough damage, and had enough reserves to warrant a need for the French to withdraw.
Therefore whilst not a resounding Waterloo type win, still a minor victory for Rupert, Eric and Elizabeth.
It was another terrific weekend for us to host for Rupert and his family, and we thank them for booking with us and look forward to their return in 2016. Our thanks also go to Chris for the use of his premises and collection. Whilst this weekend, like Rupert’s last one in May, was something a little different to what we would normally provide, it goes to show that we have a very versatile offering for smaller groups and all age ranges.
If your group is interested in any of our periods, or you are an individual or family looking for a more unusual weekend of entertainment, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Bookings are now being taken for 2016.