Jonathan Hobbs's blog

Dunkirk Little Ships

On Saturday 11.9.21 The Little ships which helped evacuate the British Army from Dunkirk passed through Staines with Veterans and Naval personnel on board , myself and Ann watched them go by while sitting outside the Thames side Brewery(close to Staines Bridge) drinking Cider whilst a young singer called Matt Kent standing on top of a Moored Barge Onionmusic sang the White Cliffs of Dover as each batch of boats went by. We think he was an American singer he was using his phone for the Lyrics , non the less he did a good performance.

Battle of Quatre Bras Part Two

The Battle continues

1800 Hours
Reille joins the 4th French Line Brigade In Boose Wood to try and bolters its morale in its fight with the advancing British Light brigade in the ensuing firefight Reille is shot dead and Wellington suffers a glancing hit and falls back out of the wood leaving the Light Brigade which in his absence presses home its attack causing the French Brigade to fall back disrupted in front of them. The British 1st Division (2 Brigades of Guards and Horse artillery) arrives and forms into columns with orders to help clear Boose wood.
The Brunswick artillery opened fire on the Cuirassiers on the hill whilst the French Horse Artillery continues to target the Hanoverian square
British 155 Victory points, France 191 Victory Points

1830 Hours
Jerome a Divisional General struggles to assert his authority over the French army after the demise of his Corp Commander Reille. The 6th and 9th Infantry Divisions and the Corp Cavalry Division hesitate and will not move. Jerome joins the disrupted 4th French Line Brigade in Boose Wood but cannot prevent the Brigade routing under fire from the British Light Brigade, losing control of a section of Boose wood which is now disputed with each side controlling one section of the wood. The light Brigade advances towards the French controlled section of the wood. To the right of Boose wood Wellington leads the 1st British Line Brigade of the 3rd Division in its firefight with the 3rd French line Brigade of the 6th Division, The French are deployed in line and open fire causing the British brigade to rout whilst Wellington can only watch them run away. Picton joins the Hanoverian Landwehr part of his 5th Division who are in square under fire from French horse artillery the Brigade routs and Picton is wounded.
The Brunswick Foot Artillery continues to fire on the Cuirassier Brigade causing it to rout and Kellerman retires from the field wounded.
British 187 Victory points, France 158 Victory Points

1900 Hours
Heritier takes command of the French III Cav Corp and joins the Corps Horse Artillery. The two Brigades of French 5th Division and the French Light Cavalry Brigade holding the hill fall back. The 5th French Infantry Brigade of the 9th Division wheels and moves into the British controlled section of Boose wood. The French III Corps Foot artillery behind the stream by Gemioncourt bridge have sight of the British light Brigade in Boose wood and fire upon them causing them to retire disrupted deeper into the wood. The Hanoverian Brigade of the British 3rd Division advances in line on the 3rd French Line Brigade exchanges fire with the French unit causing it to fall back disrupted towards the French Controlled section of Boose Wood. Wellington joins the British Light Brigade of the 3rd Division in Boose wood and rallies them up a level
British 187 Victory points, France 158 Victory Points

1930 Hours final turn
The Light Brigade of the British 3rd Division led by Wellington attacks and routs the French 5th Infantry Brigade clearing the British controlled section of the wood.
British 199 Victory points, France 158 Victory Points

The British Player chooses not to use the two extra turns and the Battle ends in a British victory

The turning point of the Battle was 1830 hours. The French player intended to unleash his Light Cavalry and Cuirassiers upon the British left flank as soon as the Hanoverian Landwehr Brigade in square had been routed by his horse artillery ( if this happened the British left flank would have been vulnerable with only the Brunswick Artillery and inferior Brunswick cavalry to oppose them) However although the Hanoverians were routed and Picton wounded Kellerman was also wounded and the Cuirassier Brigade routed under artillery fire from the Brunswick artillery(A series of bad morale rolls) . The French also lost control of Boose wood which was now disputed with each side controlling one section.

British Victory Points

Holding Road end A2 and Quatre Bras 140 points + Routing 1 French Veteran Line Infantry Unit, 1 French Veteran Cuirassier Unit and 1 French Elite Infantry unit 39 points + Killing/Wounding Ney, Reille and Kellerman 20 points - for a grand total of 199 points

French Victory Points

Holding Gemioncourt, Thyle and G Pierrepont 105 points + Routing 1 Hanoverian LW Militia Infantry unit, 1 Nassau Line Seasoned Infantry unit , 1 Db seasoned Artillery unit, 1 Db Seasoned Light Cavalry unit and 1 British Line Veteran Unit 48 points + wounding Picton 5 points- for a grand total of 158 points

Ownership Boose Wood was disputed neither side got any points for it

The British won the Battle by 199 points to 158 points

Unit of the Match for the British 2nd Br Lt Brigade from the 3rd Division it Killed Reille with musket fire 1800 hours , routed 4th Fr Ln 1830 hours and routed 5th Fr Ln 1930 hours . Honourable mention to 1st Bw Foot Artillery 9# who with one round of fire wounded Kellerman and routed the 1st Cuirassier Brigade

Unit of the match for the French 1st Cuirassier Brigade from III Cav Corp - they routed 1st Db Light Cavalry 1600 hours and routed 1st Db Foot Artillery 1630 hours. Honourable mention French 3rd Ln from 6th Division who panics 1st Ns Ln securing part of Boose Wood 1430 hours and routed 1st Br Ln with musket fire 1830 hours

The Battle of Quatre Bras - Part One

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.

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

Memoir 44 Hellfire Pass 15.6.1941

In this time of lockdowns myself and John played a Memoir 44 game Hellfire Pass by telephone.

In this game I played the German/Italian forces defending the Pass and John played the British. The historical battle took place on 15 6 1941 and lasted 3 days.
Halfaya Pass is a route through a 600 foot high escarpment- whoever held the Pass controlled the main westward route into Libya and is the key to the relief of the besieged garrison at Tobruk.
The pass was held by the Germans and Italians. Under pressure from Churchill, General Wavell launches Operation Battleaxe . On 15.6.1941 the 11th Indian Brigade supported by the 4th Royal Tank Regiment advances on what became known as Hellfire Pass.

John started the British attack with a barrage and then committed some infantry and armour down the road leading to the Pass and discovered that it had been mined - his armour took casualties. He then attacked the Dug in German infantry on the German left of centre and this attack was beaten off. John switched his infantry attack to the Italians defending the Axis right flank caused some loses but took casualties in return. At this stage the British were losing 4 victory points to 0 all his loses being British Infantry

He then launched an armoured assault using his strong armoured units to overrun the two Italian Infantry units defending the German right Flank and a German Infantry unit defending the centre. The Axis had lost 3 units in one turn and John had narrowed the gap to 4-3 (Axis 4 victory points British 3 victory points).
The Axis countered this attack using Artillery fire and brought up their own armour in a counter attack. The Axis were winning by 5 to 3 and needed to destroy one more unit for victory. The Axis pushed there unsupported armour to far forward trying to deliver a knockout blow and nearly paid the price as they came under attack from 3 British armoured units surviving by the skin of their teeth (john was unlucky the armour survived just). The Axis knockout blow came not from armour but a German Infantry unit fixing bayonets and charging in to destroy a British Infantry unit (using the card Behind Enemy Lines). The game ended in a 6-3 Victory for the Axis.

We both enjoyed the game and intend to try playing another game by phone in the future.

Napoleon 250th Birthday

Napoleon Bonaparte was born 250 years ago on 15.8.1769. One version says On Assumption Day his mother gave birth on a threadbare rug on which were woven heroic scenes and figures from the Iliad. Letizia Bonaparte dismissed the story with a laugh and said there home contained nothing as luxurious as rugs and even if it had they certainly would have been taken up.

The next pictures are from another Waterloo refight played a month later. This game was played using Napoleon's Battles rules and scenario. The short scenario was used ending before the Prussians arrive lasting 12 turns between 1130 and 1700 hours. The French army was represented in full but substitutions had to be made for the British a mix of British, Austrian, bits of card and some traitorous French were used. To win the French had to break the Anglo- Allied army’s morale by games end otherwise the British win. It was a great game and went down the line. The French army employed a pincer attack Reille’s II Corp supported by cavalry attacked the British right flank bypassing Hougmont , Whilst D’ Erlon’s I Corp supported by cavalry attacked the British left flank, The French Guard artillery pounded the British centre until 4 brigades of Imperial Guard passed through it to attack the British centre. The time limitation mean the French could not hang around. Time was running out, the British were close to breaking, their flanks were buckling when Divisional General Friant was shot of his horse whilst leading two Brigades of old Guard forward in the Centre, and his demise stalled their advance as they were out of command. On the last turn of the game Wellington had a great round rallying enough of his routing troops to secure victory. If Friant had not gone down the Old Guard could have pressed their attack to break Allied morale but there was not enough time left to get his brigades back under command. The Napoleon Figure is an old Minfigs 15mm figure. Tony Played Napoleon, I supported him and John played Wellington.

Please note a Napoleon figure did appear in all the pictures before I uploaded them but cropping of the pictures when uploaded may make him disappear from some pictures.

The Final batch of pictures come from 2017 when I took part in an 1813 Campaign. Napoleon played by John attacked Berlin. The Imperial Guard were marching to the Battle but arrived too late to play an effective part as they had got delayed crossing a bridge. One Prussian Corp and a Russian Corp were defending Berlin (Berlin was represented by 3 adjacent built up areas) another Prussian Corp arrived on the table during the course of the game. I commanded the Russians who were placed in and around Berlin. We played the game using Blucher rules. The French could win by breaking the Allied armies’ morale as per Blucher rules or achieve an instant win by taking Berlin itself. The French player concentrated all his efforts on taking Berlin making repeated attacks which the Russians held off. As Allied players we were worried he would attack the Troops around Berlin breaking the Allied Armies Morale.
Napoleon failed to take Berlin or break the Allied Armies Morale which meant the French had to fall back. As Allied players we felt if the Imperial Guard had arrived on time these fresh troops may have taken Berlin giving him an instant win. In the pictures Napoleon is watching over the attack on Berlin. The Napoleon figure is I believe a Minfigs figure but I am not 100% on this. The other figures are a mix of 25mm Minifig, Garrison and Hinchcliffe


Subscribe to RSS - Jonathan Hobbs's blog