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Ligny and Quatre Bras 1815

The battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras were fought on 16 June 1815 two days before the decisive Battle of Waterloo that effectively ended Napoleon's return from exile.

The two battlefields are only some seven miles apart. At Quatre Bras Marshall Ney failed to drive a Dutch/Belgium division from the strategic crossroads before Brunswick and British divisions reinforced the position. This meant Ney was unable to attack the Prussian right flank at Ligny as Napoleon had planned. Even worse, due to poor staff work (and some bad luck) d'Erlon's French Corps spent the day marching and countermarching between the two battles, when his intervention at either could have won the day.

At Ligny Prussian FM Blucher with 84,000 men faced Napoleon with 64,000 men. The Prussian's held onto the line of the Ligny Brook for most of the afternoon until they eventually broke under a final attack by the Guard.

However, because their retreat was not cut off by Ney who was still at Quatre Bras, the Prussian's retreated northwards and were able to intervene, arguably decisively, at Waterloo.

For the GDWS re-fight we used Principles of War rules and 15mm figures. Tables were laid out for each battlefield. Ten GDWS members participated and the pictures are below. For the record the French at Quatre Bras did somewhat better than Ney historically although the Allied forces still tied him up all afternoon. At Ligny both sides adopted somewhat different plans than their historical counterparts. By nightfall the French had turned the Prussian right and centre left flanks leaving the Prussian's contemplating a tricky night time withdrawal.

Quatre Bras the opening move. Perponcher's Dutch/Belgian's hold the stream with Reille's Corps three French infantry divisions (Jerome, Foy, Bachelu) advancing with cavalry support.

Jerome breaks through the woods on the left and Bachelu on the right but Foy is held up in the centre.

With Allied divisions arriving the Allies hang on to the Quatre Bras crossroads.

Meanwhile at Ligny.......

The battlefield from the west with  the village of St Amand in the foreground and Ligny behind.

The massed Prussian centre                            The French attack Ligny and were held there.

But its all going badly for the Prussian's on the flanks

Thanks to all the players (sorry forgot the team photie!) Ian (Blucher) Milne, Dave S, Grahame, Derek and David M for the Allies. Bob (Nappy) Lowe, Bill, Dave W, David B and Ian for the French. Particular thanks to Bill Ramsey who designed the scenario.


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Copyright 2004 Glasgow & District Wargaming Society
Last modified: 09/21/09