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The Battle of Quatre Bras - Part One

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Having played a couple of board games by phone it was time to play a Napoleonic miniatures game. To do this I needed a small battle which would fit on the table space I could make available, two players and a set of rules that could be adapted for this type of play.

The scenario for this battle came from Avalon Hills General Magazine Volume26 number 3. It is a Napoleons Battles scenario which I adapted for use with the Snappy Nappy rules by Russ Lockwood. Like Napoleons Battles the smallest unit in Snappy Nappy is a Brigade.

The battlefield is a 3 feet by 3 feet playing area. I drew up a mini map of the battlefield with 9 large squares each square representing one square foot I then subdivided each square into 12 smaller squares each one representing a 3” square- the area a brigade of Infantry /cavalry or Artillery unit would take up on the table top. Terrain was drawn onto the map which was then scanned and sent to each player

My players were Tony (Marshal Ney) and John (Wellington). Each player was sent an army list and advised where their units were on the mini map and the arrival times for reinforcements. They made their own counters to place on their mini maps. I set up the battle field on my table top using 25mm figures with some substitutions –Russian Jaegers represented Nassau troops and Prussian Reservists stood in for Dutch Belgian Infantry. To aid my player’s immersion in the game I sent them photos of their initial deployments- each side had a separate picture showing what their forces could see at the start of the battle.

The winner would be decided by victory points awarded for control of objectives, Generals Killed and wounded and units routed.

Victory points were awarded for Quatre Bras , Control of Bosse Wood (you had to control of both sections of Bosse Wood), Gemioncourt (Building near central bridge, Thyle building near other bridge), G Pierrepont and A2 road end . At the start of the game G Pierrepont is French controlled and all other objectives are considered controlled by the British and marked with a British Flag. A brigade could occupy Quatre Bras the other buildings could have a two man detachment from an Infantry Brigade placed in them The French player stats first each turn. At the beginning of each turn both players gave me their orders for each of their Divisions, Corp artillery etc.

I then carried out their orders moving troops on the table top according to the rules and their orders after doing so I advised the players by phone what had happened, where their units were on the mini map and also at the end of each turn I would email them a photo of the Battlefield taken from their side of battlefield. If there units could fire or melee during the turn they would roll the dice for their units and I would advise them of the outcome (I would role any morale checks for units hit) In Snappy Nappy a Hit does not cause casualties as such but causes a unit to take a moral check each time the unit fails it drops a level and you keep rolling until it passes or routs.

The game was to last 13 turns starting at 1330 hours each turn representing half an hour. The British would have an option to extend the game by two turns.

At 1330 hours Marshal Ney ordered Jerome’s 6th Division to take and secure Bosse Wood(Ney remarked to Reille There’s hardly anyone in Bosse wood we must take it at once.( Historically Ney believed unless he held the wood he would not be able to stop Wellington bypassing his position). The French 5th Infantry Division was ordered to attack the Farm Gemioncourt near the central bridge.The French 9th Division was to move in support of the 5th Division.The Corp artillery was to move up and bombard the Dutch Belgians holding the Hill whilst the Light Cavalry Division was to manoeuvre to cross the stream to the left of Gemioncourt Bridge

The Prince of Orange orders for 1330 the 2nd Dutch Belgium Division was to defend -hold your ground except for the 2nd Nassau Line who were to manoeuvre in March column towards Gemioncourt Bridge

The units moved forward the defenders of Gemioncourt Farm exchanged fire with the column of French Infantry advancing on their position whilst the Dutch Belgian Artillery on the hill supported them with artillery fire. British 240 Victory points, France 21 Victory Points

1400 hours The French Corps Artillery deployed and fired on the Dutch/ Belgian Infantry holding the hill causing them to panic and run back towards Quatre Bras passing their Commander the Prince of Orange as they do so. Ney Personally leads the leading Brigade of the 5th Division in its attack on Gemioncourt routing its defenders and the French Light Cavalry brigade crossed the stream to left of the Bridge and in doing so blocked the advance of the 2nd Nassau Line on Gemioncourt Bridge in response the Nassau troop deployed into line in front of Quatre Bras Crossroads. British 220 Victory points, France 49 Victory Points

1430 Hours The 3rd Fr Line Brigade of Jeromes 6th Division advance in column on the Nassaurs defending Boose Wood shrugged off their volley and closed with the Nassau Troops causing them to panic and run back through the woods - the French troops follow up securing the first section of Bosse Wood. The 5th Division starts crossing the bridge and stream with orders to attack the Nassau Brigade defending Quatre Bras crossroads. The French Corp artillery exchange fire with the Dutch Belgian artillery on the hill. Kellerman’s III Cavalry Corp arrive and are ordered to take Thyle. The 2nd Nassau Line defending the Cross roads form square as the French Light Cavalry watch them with a screen order British 180 Victory points, France 49 Victory Points

1500 Hours The French Light cavalry make way for the two brigades of the French 5th Division as they move forward in columns to threaten the 2nd Nassau Line defending the crossroads. Pictons 5th Division arrives in march column and force marches down the road across the front of Quatre Bras with the Highlanders leading the way. Merlin’s Dutch Belgian Brigade of Light Cavalry passes behind Quatre Bras manoeuvring towards the British left flank. Kellermans III Cav Corp approaches Thyle. Wellington arrives and joins the 2nd Nassau Brigade defending the Crossroads and they change into column from square British 180 Victory points, France 49 Victory Points

1530 Hours The French 5th Division advances on the crossroads General Reille joins the 2nd French Line Brigade of the 5th Division as it attacks the 2nd Nasaau brigade defending the Crossroads , Wellington directly commands the Nassau brigade as it opens fire on the approaching French column causing them to panic and run back to Gemioncourt Bridge taking Reille with them . Kellerman and the III Cav Corp take Thyle. The Highlanders deploy into line in front of Quatre Bras Village as Picton leads his 5th Division to support 2nd Nassau line and Defend Quatre Bras and the Crossroads. The Duke of Brunswick’s Division arrives in column of march on the road from Brussels to Quatre Bras. Merlin’s Dutch Belgium Light Cavalry Brigade advances on Thyle Bridge on the British left flank British 140 Victory points, France 105 Victory Points

1600 Hours The French Light Cavalry charge the Dutch Belgian Artillery on the hill in the Flank causing them to retreat. The French 6th Division continue their advance through Boose Wood and regain sight of the panicked 1st Nassau Line Brigade defending the wood, Prince Orange is with them trying to rally them. Kellerman leading the 1st Cuirassier Brigade crosses Thyle Bridge and is charged by Merlin’s Dutch Belgian Light Cavalry Brigade who lose the subsequent melee and fail morale so badly they rout off. Reille joins 1st French Line Brigade 5th Division who are in a firefight with the British Highlanders in front of Quatre Bras. Ney rallies the 2nd French Line Brigade of the 5th Division so their morale goes up a level whilst the French 9th Division crosses the stream and Gemioncourt Bridge in support of the 5th Division. Wellington joins the Highlanders British 140 Victory points, France 115 Victory Points



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