WATERLOO 1815 (Full Version)

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Curtis Lemay -> WATERLOO 1815 (9/15/2007 5:15:27 PM)

I’ve always thought my “Waterloo 1815” scenario made the ideal TOAW beginner’s scenario. After all, it’s tiny (12 x 14 map of only 149 map hexes, 45 French vs. 45 Allied units, and only 10 turns – of which two have all units in Garrison deployment.) Plus, there’s no armored or motorized equipment, no aircraft, and no long-ranged artillery. Movement allowances are small (4 and 6 for the Allies; 6 and 9 for the French – since they have to convert hexes). You just move a little and attack a little. And all combats are adjacent.

But, on the other hand, it has some features that make its play non-intuitive. The unit-scale vs. hex-scale (Divisions @ 2.5km/hex) results in unit-densities so high that density-penalties have more impact on combat results than combat-odds do. My arcane efforts to reduce this effect include representing infantry companies with infantry squads and cavalry platoons with cavalry squads. (The equipment edit renames them to cover this up). This makes it even stranger. And the Attrition Divider is elevated to 40, making losses occur at ¼ the pace of scenarios using the default setting of 10.

In addition, the strategic situation requires a badly outnumbered French player to take the offensive against the Allied player. Shock bonuses help him somewhat, but he still needs to be quite skillful right out of the box to knock the Allied player off balance and keep him that way. Any sort of tentative beginning from him will make his task impossible. Beginning players often get frustrated.

So I’ve created this French-side AAR to attempt to give the new player an assist in that effort. I’ll go into a little detail for the first turn, since the initial situation is always the same. I’ll try to illustrate a helpful “trick” the French player can pull-off that turn, too. Subsequent turns depend upon the Allied player’s choices, so I’ll just show the end results from a game I played recently. At least it will show that a French victory is possible.

Note that in this game, I just played both sides in Hotseat mode (“switching hats” between player-turns). The PO will not obey the “do not dig-in” house rule. So it gains a bit of an advantage from entrenchment. (Still, it is the PO. It probably needs the help. But I can’t guarantee that the scenario works against the PO, although the PO is programmed.)

Curtis Lemay -> Turn 1 (9/15/2007 5:18:18 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the initial situation. Note that Ney’s forces are still in reserve and won’t be released until next turn. Only the fight for Ligny can take place this turn. Players probably feel an impulse to rush to attack Ligny, since it’s right in front of them. But here is where that “trick” can be set up instead. With the Attrition Divider set to 40, losses from direct attacks come slowly. On the other hand, if you deny a defender a path of retreat (and thereby evaporate him), you will reap a bonanza of enemy losses. Let’s see if we can’t deny that path to the Ligny defenders.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: Turn 1 (9/15/2007 5:20:58 PM)

The first step in the “trick” is to force a cavalry unit past the enemy ZOCs into hex 13,14. That eliminates one escape route. Note that we’re also going to be attacking St. Amand (hex 11,14). Once cleared, that will eliminate another escape route. That will leave only the path through hex 12,13. But note that it already has seven units in it. If the attack on St. Amand causes two more units to retreat into it, that escape path will be blocked too. The Ligny defenders will be trapped.

An attack on hex 14,14 is also set up. Note that the guard was moved toward St. Amand, but not into the attacker’s hex, to avoid the density penalty. That always has to be a priority in this scenario. As I said above, density-penalties have more effect on the outcome than odds. Always try to spread out and never miss a chance to attack a dense enemy stack.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: Turn 1 (9/15/2007 5:23:25 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the Attack Planner for the attack on St. Amand. Note that the two attackers due south of it are making limited attacks. That’s because we want them to remain where they are to later conduct the attack on Ligny, once we have it trapped. Only the two attackers circled in red are launching full attacks. Note the artillery units are placed in “Tactical Reserve” deployment. Since all artillery units in this scenario have ranges of only one hex, that is the only way to enable them to support attacks without incurring losses. Note that the guard cavalry unit is not included in the attack – it is late.

If you don’t understand yet how to avoid using late units in attacks or why you don’t want to do so, I suggest reading my AAR on my “France 1944 D-Day” scenario’s first turn. It’s a good primer on round management. It’s here:



Curtis Lemay -> RE: Turn 1 (9/15/2007 5:25:29 PM)

Attached is a screenshot of the Attack Planner for the attack on hex 14,14. Only the two units due south (circled in red) are launching full attacks. The rest are launching limited attacks, since, as above, we don’t want them to advance since they’ll be needed for the attack on Ligny.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: Turn 1 (9/15/2007 5:27:54 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the situation after the attack on St. Amand has succeeded. It took several rounds to clear it, so only half the turn is now left. But note that one of the St. Amand defending divisions split into three sub-components and two of those retreated into the hex above Ligny. That blocks the last escape path for the Ligny defenders. And there’s another bonus, too. The other St. Amand defending division and the remaining sub-component of the other one retreated into the trap in Ligny! We now have three and 1/3rd divisions plus a corps artillery unit trapped.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: Turn 1 (9/15/2007 5:29:53 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the Attack Planner for the attack on Ligny. Note the nine units in the hex above it prevent any retreat into that hex. All other hexes are occupied by the French. Note that because the units adjacent to Ligny launched only limited attacks last time they are therefore still in place to launch the attack on Ligny.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: Turn 1 (9/15/2007 5:32:20 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the end of the French player’s turn from the Allied player’s perspective. After the defenders in Ligny were completely destroyed due to lack of a retreat path, units in St. Amand were used to attack the red-density Allied stack in hex 12,13, to good effect. This not only garnered Allied losses, it also reduced the Allied player’s options with them by expending their movement allowances through retreating. This is an end result the French player should continue to seek. As many Allied units as possible should start their turn without movement points remaining due to retreats. Generally, the Prussians that were at Ligny can be kept in that state for the duration. With a little luck, so can the British defenders of Quatre Bras.


Curtis Lemay -> Turn 2 (9/15/2007 5:35:05 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the situation at the end of turn 2. For the rest of the AAR, I’ll not show the turn details, since they depend upon the Allied player’s response. But the general principles illustrated in the first turn have been applied here. Note that most of the Allied units are unable to move due to lack of movement points remaining or to reorganization.


Curtis Lemay -> Turn 3 (Night) (9/15/2007 5:37:49 PM)

Attached is a screenshot of the situation on turn 3. Note that turn 3 is a night turn and all units on both sides are placed in Garrison deployment. No movement is possible. This occurs again on turn 7. However, note that the French side has met the requirements for and been awarded the victory points for winning the Battle of Ligny. This has triggered the Prussian desertions.


Curtis Lemay -> Turn 4 (9/15/2007 5:40:28 PM)

Attached is a screenshot of the situation at the end of turn 4. The Prussian Ligny forces continue to weaken, but the French player must be conscious of the need to shift forces towards the coming Battle of Waterloo. To that end, note that not much of the British forces at Quatre Bras have escaped – including Wellington! That will cost the Allied player his shock bonus for him.


Curtis Lemay -> Turn 5 (9/15/2007 5:43:30 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the situation at the end of turn 5. Cut-off Prussian units near the bottom of the map, and in another pocket, have been eliminated. The French continue to try to get into position for the Battle of Waterloo.


Curtis Lemay -> Turn 7 (9/15/2007 5:46:20 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the situation in turn 7, which is also equivalent to the situation at the end of turn 6, since no movement can happen in turn 7. Like Napoleon, the French player is going to be late getting started at Waterloo. On the positive side, they’ve been successful in delaying the British Guard unit from getting to its desired Hougomont hex (where it would have been allowed to fortify). This weakens the British defense considerably.


Curtis Lemay -> Turn 8 (9/15/2007 5:49:14 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the situation at the end of turn 8. The French player has finally gotten into position for the Battle of Waterloo, which will start next turn. Prussian reinforcements are starting to show up on his flank. Note that the British Guard has finally arrived in the Hougomont hex, but in no state and without time to fortify.


Curtis Lemay -> Turn 9 (9/15/2007 5:52:03 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the situation at the end of turn 9. The attack at Waterloo has had some success, thanks possibly to the absence of Wellington and the lack of the Guard being fortified. And the right flank has been shored up a bit, perhaps enough to balk the Prussians.


Curtis Lemay -> End of Game (9/15/2007 5:55:08 PM)

The attached screenshot shows the situation at the end of the game. The French player has met the requirements and received the victory points for winning the Battle of Waterloo. His victory level is 173 of 200 – an overwhelming victory! He holds 145 objective VPs vs. 55 objective VPs for the Allies. His loss penalty is 53 vs. 89 for the Allies. And he was awarded 47 VPs by event (10 for Ligny, 20 for Wellington, 2 for Orange, and 15 for Waterloo).

Note that this was certainly not the best play or luck by the Allied side. I am not implying in any way that the French can always pull this off. I’m only showing that is within the range of possibilities.


Curtis Lemay -> Statistics (9/15/2007 5:57:33 PM)

Attached is a screenshot of a spreadsheet showing the comparative loss statistics of the game. The Allied results reflect the consequences of having units evaporated in this scenario. Contrast this with the French, whose units generally suffered losses without evaporating.


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