Napcon 2015 – Part 1

Napcon is a 2 day convention which is held which celebrates the Napoleonic period.

This year it was being hosted by Mark Conroy at his semi rural estate just outside of Levin which is roughly a 90 minute drove north of Wellington taking it as a nanny drive(ie you have troops in the car) and a stop at McD’s for breakfast.

This year on the saturday would be on offer 2 games. Ligny and Quatre Bras and then on Sunday Waterloo. Unlike the 2 day Waterloo refight that was held in June these would be cut down commands with the aim of completing each battle in a days gaming.

The Garage Gamers attending were Russ, Paul G, Alan and Moi(Terry).

Russ was to be Napoleon at Ligny and then Waterloo. Paul G would be Wellington at both QB and Waterloo. Alan some obscure Prussian on saturday then Picton amongst others on Sunday. I was to be Ney at both QB and Waterloo.

I am still gathering the pictures and tales of woe and triumph in from the ladz, but as  a taster here are Paul G’s thoughts as Wellington!

It is with regret that the battle fought at Waterloo three days ago has resulted in our army being forced to retreat back to the Channel Coast, and Napoleon has entered Brussels.

I especially deplore the loss of Lords Ponsonby and Uxbridge, who were killed at the heads of their regiments.

The army had been arrayed on a low ridge south of Waterloo, with three farms acting as outworks in front of the main position. Fearing the French would turn our right, I had put our greatest strength there, behind the farm of Hougomont, which was held by the brigade of Guards. The French threw their main strength against our left flank. The main French advance was a mass of skirmishers, closely followed by cavalry and artillery, while the Imperial Guard marched immediately behind in dense columns.

Our cavalry on the extreme left manoeuvred into an excellent position to charge down the enemy flank, and our British battalions were readied for an immediate counterattack. But a strange lethargy gripped our commanders, perhaps amazed at the size of the French attack. The French were allowed to march forwards with our units oddly unable to move. The central farm of Le Haye Sainte was subject to a fierce bombardment, and the defenders of the King’s German Legion Light Battalion were defeated.  [Command dice all failed – no units in the army moved. An the first of our Break Tests failed.]

As the French attack crashed into Perponcher’s Dutch Division, Cole’s British Division moved forwards to support Picton’s British Division. However, their movements continued to exhibit none of the vigour I expected. Counterattacks by the Union Brigade met with disaster against French cuirassiers, and Lord Ponsonby was most unfortunately slain. As the French continued to advance, I ordered General’s Von Alten, Clinton and Cooke with their British Divisions to advance on the French left. Frustratingly, they continued to exhibit the peculiar inertness which had gripped the army. General Grant’s Hussar Brigade did not move at all. One move, by the gallant Dutch General Van Trip, at the head of his Dutch carabiniers, sought to relieve the pressure, though unsuccessfully. [Command dice continued to disappoint].

Unlike previous battles, the French did not come on in their usual style of dense columns, but instead came on in large clouds of skirmishers, with their artillery manhandled forwards amongst them, closely followed by cuirassiers. Our infantry were subjected to a terrible fire front he French tirailleurs and cannons. If our infantry charged the French skirmishers, then they would have exposed themselves to the charge of the enemy cuirassiers immediately behind.

By now the left wing had crumbled completely. A charge by the household Brigade against French cuirassiers failed, and Lord Uxbridge was killed. Shamefully, the retreat of the household Brigade precipitated a most shameful rout by a number of our British battalions in which I had placed excessive confidence in their fighting qualities. Picton’s Division was completely overrun, and Perponcher’s brave Dutch, after commendable resistance, collapsed. [What can I say – the Household Brigade broke, and then two supporting British battalions broke].

Losses have been very heavy. Given my complete inability to roll Command Dice below 9, I have placed myself under arrest and relieved myself of command, The Prince of Orange has taken command of the Allied armies.

Part 2 will be the Battle from Napoleons perspective!

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