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"Wellington’s Battles - Waterloo" Topic

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1,761 hits since 8 May 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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thistlebarrow208 May 2012 2:44 a.m. PST

In November 2009 my wife and I decided to wargame Wellington's battles in the Peninsula as an occasional series of fun wargames. We had just started our 1813 campaign, and these battles were planned as a break from the more serious campaign battles. It was never intended to be a serious attempt to recreate the historical battles. We would use the scenery we had on the shelves and the wargame figures available for the campaign.

I decided to start a blog to record the games, partly so that I could look back on them but also in the hope that they might prompt other wargamers to attempt something similar. We have 6mm, 18mm and 28mm but we decided to use the latter because they would photograph better.

We played 13 games from Rolica to Toulouse, and I had planned to stop there. I considered Waterloo, but decided that it was too well known. Everyone has read about it, everyone knows the main features of the battlefield, everyone knows the outcome. We could not create Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte, even if we had the buildings we did not have the table space in 28mm. We did not have the figures to field the same order of battle, and even if we did table space would be a problem. So we decided to stop the series at Toulouse.

However it seemed a little strange to end the series without Wellingtion's best known battle. So we have decided to go for it.

The wargame attempts to recreate the tactical problems faced by Wellington on 18 June 1815. There is a building with a walled garden and woods called Hougoumont. There is a nearby building called La Haye Sainte. There is a ridge, of sorts. There is no sign of the Prussians; I have the figures but not the table space. Napoleon's army is similar in size to Wellington's. This makes for a better wargame, and I justify it on the grounds that the troops available for the attack on the ridge were similar in size.

I hope that you will have a look at the blog. I hope even more that you will be tempted to try something similar. We have greatly enjoyed the games, and it would be nice to think that others were prompted (inspired is too grand a word) to try something similar having seen them.

You can find the blog here

The next step may be a series of Napoleon's battles.

seldonH08 May 2012 6:48 a.m. PST

"In November 2009 my wife and I decided to wargame Wellington's battles in the Peninsula "

Great wife, I'm in shock :) !!!

nice blog.. I read through some of the battles, will read through the others over time… very interesting


Clay the Elitist Inactive Member08 May 2012 6:53 a.m. PST

Does she have a sister?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2012 7:16 a.m. PST

I think I might have married her. Mine will follow the family to Brussels repeatedly, but draws the line at tramping through the mud south of Mt St Jean. She'll patiently trek through La Musee de l'Armee, Paris, but her only interest then was in the "gorgeous little leather purses" on display. "They are gibernes" I cried. In St Petersburg, the captured eagles in the Kazan Cathedral failed to impress as too small. Her favourite uniform is of Louis XVIII's bodyguard…the grey musketeers………the most usless bunch of……

But still we love them…and them us

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2012 8:27 a.m. PST

She just might be a keeper.

thistlebarrow218 Aug 2012 3:51 a.m. PST

We have also spent a lot of holidays walking napoleonic battlefields. We both enjoy walking, and thought it would be a good idea to combine the interest.

I did a series of blogs of our visits to Napoleonic battlefields which you an find here


We spent one particularly wet weekend walking over Austerlitz. The mud there was very thick and stuck to our boots. It soon felt like we were walking on stilts. I hate to thing what the hotel staff must have thought of us when we returned covered in mud from head to foot.

But all in all not much worse than than our last week walking in Scotland in August!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2012 9:45 a.m. PST

There is a whole book to create on what the distaff side is prepared to put up with. They love those "little fur jackets" that hussars wear. The best scene in "Waterloo" is the DoR's ball. Isn't de Lancey The Saint form the TV series?…I always fancied him (that is a quote I hasten to add)
Thistlebarrow2, I saved a few of your pictures from your website a year or two ago (nothing weird, just you have views of LHS before they rebuilt the brick wall and kept us all out!). Somehow the clothes do suggest it might have been 1971 however.

You simply have to walk across a Belgian field after a downpour to realise that we are kidding ourselves when we argue over the turnbacks, the shabraques, the sabretaches. On 18th June these guys were covered in mud from head to toe, everything was covered with oilskins where possible and I'll bet Sgt Ewart could not be distinguished from a modern English squaddie at 10 yards…OK, there was a horse!

You have to pick your ground, like the DoW did. This year I wanted to follow Napoleon in Italy. That went down domestically very well, mind you. Four star hotels throughout Northern Italy and now she knows Marengo ain't just a dead chicken……but spent more time in Florence shopping than touring the fields

thistlebarrow218 Aug 2012 2:08 p.m. PST

Napoleon in Italy is a good one to tempt a wife with only a slight interest in Napoleonic history. We spent a week in a caravan park beside Lake Garda. Lovely family sit in a wooded area beside the lake. Ideal for a BBQ in the evening, or a take away pizza from the camp cafe.

We could walk to the walled town of Sirmione, not of particular Napoleonic interest but very popular with today's tourists. You can catch a boat, a sort of water taxi, to any of the towns around the lake from here.

Lots of interesting battlefields within an hour's drive. Rivoli, Mantua, Castiglione, Lonato, Caldiero and Arcola. Half an hour will bring you to the castle of Lonato, where Bonaparte bluffed a larger Austrian force to surrender. Lovely views over Lake Garda from the walls.

What wife would not want to visit the Romeo and Juliet city of Verona, just an hour drive away. A couple of hours to reach Venice.

Better still exploring the siege of Mantua involves walking around the beautiful lakes, impressive town gardens and a lovely square to have lunch in.

Rivoli is a lovely little town, with a very friendly museum curator. A short walk will take you to the top of Mount Baldo, the scene of some of the most desperate fighting.

We spent a nice hour walking along the small river which the French had to cross at the bridge of Arcola.

I am fortunate that my wife is also interested in Napoleonic history. But what wife would not be interested in a week in such a romantic and relaxing part of Italy. A little sales talk and you might just convert her to Napoleonic battlefield walking

A little preparation is always well rewarded. I usually photocopy a few maps and descriptions of the town or battlefield we are to visit. It's great fun trying to find the exact location to sit and view the scene as you read the description of the battle.

You can find the blog of our visit to Lake Garda here

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