18 April 2012

Field of Battle Napoleonic: Plancenoit

All the posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) on TMP in reference to FoG-N have been quite interesting. I get a sense that people are looking for a grand tactical ruleset.

My last blogpost was in reference to the look of the game, did it look like a corps level game on the table? I had shoved some figures on the table, laid out some terrain and asked a simple question. Generally the response was NO! A lot of advice about using smaller scale figures or a larger terrain. I appreciate so many people responding, but I am unsure what to do with it.

I am really not going to start a new scale in Napoleonics, I have over 2000 figures painted and I like 28 mm. I had a go at 15mm in WWII and it was OK, but not really for me. Smaller then 15 mm although fascinating to look at, really does not do it for me.

I already have a 12x5' terrain, can you really fit bigger one into an attic. Would you want to!

So all the advice as appreciated as it is, just was not that helpful. A comment by MaxShadow, however, reframed the the question I should be asking: "Did it feel like a corps level action"? Better question! Well I suppose I will have to play a game at the corps level to answer that. So I agree with all the comments that were made to the last post, it indeed looks like a battalion level game. But I realize there is not really much I can do about that. After all the units on the table are notional. So I plan to do what my old mam always told me to do as a kid: Soldier on!

I had not really researched Plancenoit that much before I laid out the table, there was an OB in the book but really very little other information. So I pulled out my Adkin, and had a look. This is an enormously helpful reference for les Cent Jours. I decided to set up the units as they were on June 18, 1815 at 4:30pm (page 384). At this point Lobau had taken his small VI Corps east of Plancenoit. Both the 3rd and 5th French cavalry divisions had advanced in advance of the infantry. On the Prussian side, both the 15 and 16 Infantry brigades had debouched from the Bois de Paris and were advancing toward Placenoit. Prince Wilhelm's cavalry unit had also left the wood and were taking up position behind and in support of the IV Corps advance. Several Hussar squadrons from the cavalry division had been scouting ahead. The 13, 14 infantry brigades were advancing along a narrow track in the Bois de Paris.

So this is what I got, still on an 8x5 terrain. I cut down the size of walls around Plancenoit. I know the footprint of the town is completely off, but not much I can do about that.
I also said I would do some measurements, in order to try to get the scale correct. At 4:30pm Lobau had positioned Jeanin's division on some high ground with between 2 small woods in order to protect the flanks. Zimmer's division was slightly south. The distance between the spire of the church in Placenoit and the most forward position of the French Cavalry was around 1500m. The ground scale in FoG-N is 1"=50yds. So the distance between the spire and the most forward French cavalry unit is to scale. My impression from looking at the unison the table that there is indeed enough room on the terrain to maneuver the units and have a game.
So lets zoom in on some of these units that have so troubled every one.  Here we have the 15 Bde representing 7000 men, they are in tactical formation and are all large FoG-N units. They are also in what the FoG-N rules call self supporting (only available to large units). This means that their frontage has been narrowed in order to make them more maneuverable, and because of this they have reduced fire power, but increased tactical support in combat. The small Hussar unit is in extended line.
Here we have the 16 Bde also in tactical formation, but not self supporting. Here we can see that their frontage is wider then their depth. Two large units are leading followed by a small unit.
Here we can see the initial units of the 14Bde just emerging from the Bois de Paris, in March Formation. The Bois de Paris is not part of the terrain for the battle,and is a useful place to keep the Prussian reserves.
Here we have the French reserves, placed on the table edge west of Plancenoit. With all the units, I have made an attempt to use more then one base with a flag to give the sense that these are not battalions but indeed regiments, conglomerations of battalions or small brigades.
Well with 28 mm figures, I believe there is not much more I can do to improve the look of the game. I also will not know if it will play like a corps action. I do, however, believe that this is clearly playable game as demonstrated above.

I am not sure if I will get to play this out soon, there are no local gamers that I know of and it does take an enormous amount of time to play solo.

I do have a gaming fix coming up in about a month in Montreal of which I am quite excited. From what I understand it is going to be a 2 division aside game, using BP. What is most interesting though is that the Bye from da Rock, will be playing with 3 Frenchmen, including the famous Archduke Charles.  J'ai besoin de pratiquer mon français et de peindre des prussiens.



  1. The Idea that you can replay medium battles like Sacile or Raab make these level rules very attractive. Oh and thanks for the moment of fame!

  2. Your setup looks great, John (as usual). Have a great time in Montreal - I hope you rolls loads of 6s and give my regards to Iannick.
    - Curt (reporting in from the Dordogne)

  3. I'm due to try a second game of FOB soon so found your articles on FOB-N of interest. A slight but important point - may I suggest you amend 'Placenoit' to read 'Plancenoit?'

  4. Actualy John, 'Placenoit' is the correct original Belgic spelling please adjust it back!
    (only joking) :o)
    How did Montreal go?

  5. You had me David there for a second. Montreal is not for another 3 weeks, but I am looking forward to it.


  6. Good to see you put your Prussians to use. Go ahead, try and steal away Wellingtons fame, and finally make "Waterloo a German victory" ;-)