Last weekend a number of local players came together under the direction of James O and myself to refight the battle of Ligny. We agreed to focus on the fights for the village of Ligny itself and St Armand. The aim was to use as closely as practical the orders of battle, using a scale of one ‘unit’ to the infantry battalion, cavalry squadron or artillery battery. We used the Black Powder rule set.
We had a slight upset to our plans, despite booking the hall over a year in advance, we found that the hall had been double booked by ballet dancers in the morning! Our planned start of 9am set up therefore ended up being moved until 12.30pm. Despite these difficulties, we managed to set up and get playing at 1.30pm. The game continued until 8pm in the evening and was started again the next morning at 10am, played till 4pm.
The game opened on both flanks with the French having a 2 to 1 superiority - 18 batallions to 9 and deploying their artillery reserve evenly between the two boards. The French attack started slowly - at St Armand the French left stalled while the right under General Rossco ploughed ahead across the river. The Prussians rapidly sent out calls for reinforcements as the French took half of St Armand. Meanwhile the French attack stalled at Ligny in bitter fighting. While some of the outer buildings were taken in the intial assault, the Prussians stubbornly held the centre of the town and the chateau.
Seeing the Prussian reinforcements arrive, ‘Napoleon’ Nathan ordered the Imperial Guard to attack at Ligny and the remainder of the cavalry to attack at St Armand. A massive cavalry battle ensued on the St Armand table with neither side gaining the advantage. The French under the direction of Marshall Eogan finally took the Chateau and Ligny church (making it a French ‘win’ at Ligny) but Marshal Malcolm was finally pushed back and failed to take the church at St Armand (making that table a Prussian ‘win’).
So who won in the final reckoning? With one table each, it was down to broken brigades. Each side had the surprisingly low number of two broken brigades each - this counted as another draw. Finally we looked at slain generals, which worked out as one each side as well! On every level the game was a draw… So we declared it an honourable draw for both sides. As Ligny had fallen the Prussians wisely withdrew in good order as they did historically.
All in all it was an excellent weekend. My sincere thanks to all the players and particulary to James O for having the original idea and organising the event. My thanks to 4Ground and Sarissa Precision for helping out with the scenery and for Warbases for providing the bases we needed at short notice.