The 1815 campaign has long proved a popular campaign for wargamers, providing set piece battles fought between armies that were both different yet almost equal in battle, having honed their martial skills over twenty years of warfare. It is fitting, therefore, the Dave Brown’s first scenario supplement for General d’Armee focusses on the inconic actions. We invited Dave into Lard Island News to talke about Reisswitz Press latest release.
We first asked what six actions ae covered in 1815, The Hundred Days.
“The Hundred Days campaign has many interesting actions, but I was keen to reflect the multi-national nature of the forces involved in thwarting Napoleon’s plans whilst at the same time showing that even the biggest of actions can be broken down into smaller, discrete engagements where we focus on one chapter of a battle. As a result we begin with the Battle for Gilly near Charleroi with the Prussian General Pirch fighting a delaying action against Napoleon himself. After that we head to Quatre Bras where Marshal Ney faces the Prince of Orange in one of the most fasmous actions of the campaign. After that wehead to Ligny where von Zeithen as he and General Vandamme fight for the key village of Saint Amand.
We then move on to Waterloo itself with three more scenarios. We have played Waterloo as one huge action over the course of a whole day with General d”Armee, but that just isn’t practical for a club game. What I wanted to do here was present three distinct and key actions which break the battle down into component parts. We have the attack by D’Erlon and Ney against Picton on Mont St Jean; the attack on Plancenoit by the Prussians under Bulow and finally the attack of the Imperial Guard against Wellington on the ridge. Some of these games are presented with options for larger or smaller games as well, so there is lots of variety”
What, we wondered, was it that apepaled to Dave about the period?
“It’s the fact that the forces are varied and different but not unbalanced. The French had a solid infantry, supported by masses of heavy cavalry, guns and of course the Imperial Guard. But they are not over-powering; the famous Armee du Nord was not as proficient as its earlier predecessors in the campaigns as 1805, 1807 or even 1809. The army was dogged with uncertainly about its generals and leaders, where they experienced enough, were they worn out or worse still, were they traitors?
Wellington’s army was not longer the army of Spain, lacking many of his peninsular veteran regiments, in their pace were inexperienced allies, including Dutch, Belgium’s Nasseurs and Hanoverians. Blucher’s Prussian army, was a collection of line and reservist regiments, lacking proper heavy cavalry or guard support, but nonetheless held together by an excellent officer corps.
These elements made each army distinctive, but meant that battles tended to be close run affairs, whether fighting Quatre Bras, Ligny or Waterloo nothing is guaranteed, leading to many nail-biting moments. Will Wellington arrive at Quatre Bras in time with sufficient reserves to stop Ney, how long can the Prussian hold out in the villages at Ligny and how long can Napoleon delay the Prussians at Waterloo in order to defeat Wellington?
All these aspects lead to evocative and challenging wargames, which bring the battles of the Waterloo campaign to life. No one battle, no matter how many times it’s refought, turns out the same. In the Waterloo campaign luck and friction play a vital part and it’s the gamer who can ride his luck whilst over-coming the inevitable friction that will in the end triumph!”
1815, The Hundfred Days is 45 pages long with a historical introduction to introduce the gamer to the campaign and provide an insight into how and why things happened as they did. The six scenarios provide full lists for the forces involved, rates their commanders and provides complete briefings for each game along with victory conditions and terrain notes.
The 1815 The Hundred Days scenario supplement is available in PDF format and designed to allow you to print out the relevant pages for each scenario and use them again and again. The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs and specially commissioned maps to make the campaign come to life. It is available for £8.00 internationally or £9.60 if the dreaded VAT is charged within the UK and EU.