Quatre Bras – 16 June 1815
an alternative scenario for Command and Colors Napoleonic
Napoleon Bonaparte’s surprise march placed his army squarely between Blucher’s Prussians at Ligny and Wellington’s Anglo-Allied army assembling around Brussels. Napoleon concentrated most of his strength against Blucher, but ordered Ney and the II Corps to capture the vital crossroads of Quatre Bras to deny Wellington the chance to reinforce Blucher. Ney procrastinated and his attack did not get underway until two in the afternoon. The delay allowed Wellington to bring fresh allied troops to support the Dutch-Belgians and the Nassau Brigade that were thinly deployed south of the crossroads. The initial French advance was greeted with musket volleys, but the outnumbered Allied troops were forced back. The Allied units in the wood, however, managed to hold. Facing three infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade, the Allied situation was fast becoming desperate, but additional troops kept arriving and Wellington, now in command, directed them to key positions on the battlefield. Ney realized that the numerical balance was shifting in favor of the Anglo-Allies and that he could only capture and hold Quatre Bras by a desperate move. He ordered General Kellermann to lead his cuirassier brigades forward and break through Wellington’s line. The cuirassiers managed to reach the crossroads, but were driven back by close range artillery and musket fire. The arrival of the British Guards Division late in the day gave Wellington sufficient strength to launch a counter-attack that forced the French to give up all of their hard fought territorial gains.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
British Army (Use brown Portuguese blocks for the Nassau, Hanover and Dutch units. Also use the Portuguese National Unit Reference card for the Allied troops with one exception: line infantry units will retreat 2 hexes for each flag.)
- Commander: Wellington
- 6 Command Cards
- Commander: Ney
- 5 Command Cards
- Move First
9 Victory Banners
- Quatre Bras is an objective hex for the French player. If a French unit occupies it at the start of the French player’s turn, then the French gain 2 Victory Banners. This applies as long as the unit remains on the objective hex. If it moves off or is eliminated, it no longer counts. The French cannot win unless they occupy Quatre Bras. If the British get 9 Victory Banners after the French have already done so but without holding Quatre Bras then the game is a draw.
- The entire stream is fordable. In addition, a unit or leader’s movement is not stopped when moving onto a stream hex.
- Reinforcements for both sides arrive immediately when a French unit comes within 5 hexes of the British edge or a British unit (including allies) comes within 3 hexes of the French edge. The British place 2 x GG and 1 x FA anywhere in the orange hexes. The French place 2 x CU and General Kellermann anywhere in the green hexes.
This scenario has been inspired by William Barnes Wollen’s painting of the battle: Black Watch at Bay. To this end the French lancers have been added and one of Picton’s units upgraded to GR to represent the highlanders. The crossroads was vital so now the French must capture it in order to win. Kellermann’s Cuirassiers and Cooke’s Foot Guards are no longer available at the start of the battle.