21 October 2013

La Haie Sainte: A Lasalle AAR done Twice!

I recently got to play the latter part of this important battle within a battle twice over the last ten days. I took the scenario directly from the Lasalle rulebook. It looked interesting and I was curious what a scenario designed by the author (Sam Mustafa) of a ruleset would be like. So without further ado, lets get on with the Scenario.

The Final Push at La Haie Sainte, Battle of Waterloo, June 18, 1815

Preamble: It is 7 pm, the outcome of the battle is still in doubt, but rumour has it that the Prussians have been sighted. The farm of La Haie Sainte, the critical centre piece, has finally fallen after a 6 hour battle to the French at 1830h. The French forces are exhausted but Marshall Ney, in command of the French centre, needs to push his troops forward up the middle to take advantage of this hard fought for victory. No reinforcements are available. He urges his brigade generals to take their forces and advance up the centre. The Allies are retreating but the valiant 1/95th Rifles and the 71st Light Highlanders have rallied and have formed a defensive line just north of the farm. They have rockets! Wellington has sent his reliable KGL infantry and cavalry to support the defense.

Order of Battle:

Game: Played on a 4x4’ terrain (taken exactly from the rulebook). Twelve turns with bonus as laid out in the rulebook. The double lined roads are linear obstacles (1 BW wide) which are soft cover. The farm house can not occupied. The tree line of deciduous trees to the right of French position is soft cover, normal terrain and is on a level one hill. The coniferous tree line is a linear obstacle for movement. The French set up and move first. The French set up on either or on both sides of the farm, but not north of it. The British set up north of tree line and/or the sunken road. There is no commander in this game, the advanced rules re Officer Tactics and Casualties are in play as well as those for Rocket Batteries and Rifle Volleys. Victory is by Army Morale rules in the rule book.


I will start with the more recent game that was played in Montreal last Friday evening. I was the games master, the two players diced for the armies. Iannick ended up playing the French and Nicolas the British. All the French troops are Iannick's, with the exception the cavalry which are mine as well as the British. The photos are a little dark as they were taken in low light, if I play with them too much they look funny. I believe though, that they illustrate the game relatively well.
Both armies have taken there first couple of moves, we can see that Iannick  (the French) is advancing his troops, he is following the orders of Marchal Ney. Nicolas (the British) has kept most of his troops to the French left flank, with his KGL just to the right of the sunken road. Both players have kept their cavalry in reserve.

Looking from the south and the French point of view.

The French take advantage and fire through the sparse trees (I decided to make this unobstructed) at the KGL.

The KGL appear unfazed and form up in line to await the French.

Meanwhile on the British right flank combat was rapidly engaged with the three battalions of French légere taking on the two valiant light British battalions. A definite challenge as Iannick diced poorly.

Meanwhile on the French right flank the 4 battalions of ligne and the horse artillery are rapidly advancing through the trees.

The French horse artillery unlimber, while Nicolas withdraws the KGL slightly in order to  have room to fire a volley, while he advances his KGL Hussars in order to threaten the French artillery. Although difficult to see in the far ground the British light troops are making mince meat of the French ligne.

To the right the French advance their armoured cavalry and despite the 71st failing a discipline test and meeting the onslaught in line rather then square, poor dice throwing on behalf of the French result in an indecisive victory and the Highlanders do not break. In the foreground we can see that one of the KGL infantry battalions break after falling back through the KGL Hussars and essentially falling off the end of the world

The game played out quickly, we are now into extra turns both sides have lost 2 infantry battalions each so are approaching their breakpoints. In the far ground you can see the French cavalry have been repulsed and just two of the 4 ligne battions are left. The British light infantry line remains intact with the Warwickshire's in reserve as well as the KGL dragoons.

In the foreground we see that the KGL Hussars have overrun the French artillery and they of course fall in combat despite receiving a devastating hail of canister.  The French ligne have broken the second KGL battalion, but have lost another battalion to do so. The French have now at their Break Point (lost 3 infantry battalions and the artillery). The British have only lost 2 infantry battalions, so are still two points away from their Break Point. British turn 14 done, time to find out whether the French get to play turn 15, the players throw their dice and neither throw higher then a 3, game over. The French were relatively successful in their overall goal as they advanced north of the road but in doing so they reached their breakpoint so I felt it only reasonable to declare a draw.
The earlier game took place about 10 days ago on a Thursday evening at the Hobby Bunker in Malden, MA. Adam took the French and I took the British. In this game there was a slight difference in the terrain set up with the tree line on the French right flank being a linear obstacle all the way across, we also did not us the advanced rules for Rifle Volleys. The French ligne are Adam's, the rest are mine. You will also see that I used a 42' Rocket section at the Hobby Bunker. These are more siege rockets, I painted up an extra base of the 6' Rocket section in preparation of the Montreal game. I believe they would be more accurate to the scenario. Adam has already posted some photos and an excellent AAR of the Hobby Bunker game on his blog the Fencing Frog.
Looking from the east, a slightly different terrain set up in respect to the tree line.

Like Iannick, Adam (the French) has placed his larger battalion on his right flank, but has kept his guns on his left with his légere and cavalry. Interestingly, I (the British) have taken a slightly different approach then Nicolas as I put my better troops with the rockets on my left flank while leaving the KGL infantry and cavalry on my right flank just north of the sunken road.

As the French are advancing in line, the British are rapidly able to advance their best troops south of the tree line and unlimber their rockets.

As we can see combat is rapidly engaged.

On the British right flank, we can see that the KGL have also been quite agressive advancing to the sunken road rapidly breaking one of the French lére battalions and in case of the Hussars crossing over to attack the French cavalry, with little success I am afraid.

The rockets ending up being of little value but they did look impressive on the terrain.

A seesaw battle ensues on the British right, with the Cuirassiers and Carabiniers pushing back the  KGL Hussars.

On the French right flank the French have lost one of their infantry battalions as well but have been able push back the Rifles and also been able to bring over their horse cannon.

The French left flank is also showing some success, with the KGL Hussars being driven back by the heavy French cavalry and the two remaining légere battalions advancing to the road with the KGL infantry withdrawing. The French infantry on the right has also been successful breaking the Warwickshires and causing significant disruption to the Rifles. I send over the KGL Hussars in support. But unfortunately it is getting dark, remember that our scenario was set at 1900h, and the 12 turns were rapidly exhausted and by now we were into the bonus turns.

We complete British turn 15, we both have 4 Breakpoints each, so neither ready for an Army Morale test. We both fail to throw greater  then 4, so the game ends after it's 3rd of possible 5 bonus turns. Adam graciously concedes a marginal British victory to me as he has failed to get any of his troops past the road.


So two very different and challenging games, I believe we are all really enjoying Lasalle, the group in Montreal has now had three  games in a row with this ruleset and have no plans to discontinue using them. We are really starting to appreciate the nuances of the game.

I believe Adam in Massachusetts enjoys them as well. I continue to exert pressure on him to get the pdf of the ruleset, and I believe he has convinced me to try another Mustafa game.....Maurice in our next outing. I am looking quite forward to it, as I am very curious about Sam's approach to the utilization of cards in his most recent two rulesets.

13 comments:

carojon said...

Nice game report, I like these small historical scenarios with lots of replay potential . They often make good games that are worth playing again. Thanks for the post

I've got the Lasalle PDF rules but haven't played them yet. I have played Maurice and I really like them. The card mechanics are excellent

Jonathan

Andrew Saunders said...

Great AAR thanks for posting

jmilesr said...

Excellent report. I've got the LaSalle rulebook but have never played.

I also have Longstreet and have played it a few times and can say it's become my main ACW ruleset. I was a little worried about the cards but they add a real nice element of unpredictability to the game but still allow the player to influence events.

I'm very interested in hearing how Maurice works
Miles

Ian said...

Really enjoyed the game reports

Ian

Iannick said...

Good AAR John.

Those damn dice! We wuz robbed! ;-)

Gonsalvo said...

Great looking games and fine reports; looks like you're finding your groove with Lassalle!

Sam is a very interesting fellow to chat with if you ever get the chance, BTW!

Peter

Rafael Pardo said...

Welcome to Lasalle world! :-)

Chasseur said...

Thanks for the report, I'm looking forward to playing some Lasalle.

Curt C said...

Very nice report John. We quite enjoyed Maurice so I'm curious to know what you think of it.

Phil said...

Nice report and beautiful pictures, I love the rockets...

David Cooke said...

Good to see you enjoying Lasalle again. Have you finally found the rule set that suits?

lercio said...

I'm impressed by your enthusiasm and the effort you put into your games.

lercio said...

I'm impressed by your enthusiasm and the effort you put into your games.