Battle of Ligny 1815 Part I

For the upcoming HMGS-PSW’s Summer “Hit the Beach” convention, WR and his fellow group of napoleonic gamers have decided to stage a massive Ligny 1815 game on the month of the 197th anniversary. Spurred on by Bob and his energetic efforts, this is WR’s initial post giving some basic background for the Ligny battle, information web links and brief group bio. A post game AAR will follow and any corrections to this initial posting.

French infantry marching to Fleurus.

After crossing the border on the June 15th, the French army had spent the day chasing the retiring rearguard of the Prussian 1st Korps. Sharp combats at Marchienne, Charleroi and Gully had, by late evening, ended with the united Prussian 1st Korps at Fleurus faced by French divisional forces under Marshal Grouchy. As the sun rose on June 16th, Prussian pickets slowly retired back into the Ligny area villages as reinforcements arrived at noon (2nd & 3rd Korps) from their westward forced marches. The sounds of Prussian defensive preparation could be heard across the open fields as French infantry and cavalry marched up from Charleroi.

Napoleon at Fleurus mill. At the same time, Bussy mill in distance with Wellington and Blucher.

At midday, Napoleon himself arrived at the Fleurus mill to observe the Prussian positions. Determining that the Prussians intended to hold their ground, Napoleon decided to engage the Prussian army in an attritional battle and defeat the Prussians first then settle with the Allied army. He summoned his forces towards Fleurus; Imperial guard, 3rd and 4th Corps, the Reserve cavalry divisions. Plans made for Ney and the left-wing to sweep past Quatre Bras and assault the open Prussian right flank.

Meanwhile, Blucher and Wellington have met and with staffs present, discussed the possibility of Wellington’s aid during the afternoon. Viewing the battlefield as French columns deployed for battle, the two generals shook hands at Byre mill. Wellington rode back to Quatre Bras and the close battle with Ney. A modern panoramic view of the ground from same position of the generals (click on picture and scroll sideways): Fleurus Link and Bussy (Byre) mill Link.

Map of battle of Ligny 1815.

Ligny 1815 game maps:

Ligny 1815 battle map

Ligny battle map with divisional counters (starting positions)

Events will unfold to affect the final result. Ney, with the left-wing, was hard pressed by Wellington’s army at Quatre Bras during the late afternoon. The fatal peregrinations of D’Erlon marching between the two battles and the delayed arrival of Lobau’s 6th Corps added to French troubles. Still, with these difficulties, the French victory at Ligny pre-staged the final battle at Waterloo two days later. WR’s group of gamers will find out how hard this battle was for the French and Prussians, the vicious close quarter village fighting and the “final victory” advance of the Imperial guard.

Ligny game scenario; including terrain notes, special rules, battle map notes, order of battles etc..: Ligny 1815 Scenario notes

French infantry game rosters: Ligny French Infantry Rosters (.xls),  Ligny French Cavalry Rosters (.xls), CMR valuations description: CMR Value Ranking System

Prussian games rosters: Ligny Prussian Rosters (.xls)

Ligny event cards: Ligny Event Cards (.doc)  Ligny deployment YouTube video: Link

Our group’s national characteristics: Prussia, the France Imperial, and the France Imperial Guard. These are used in our monthly napoleonic games with CMR adjustment for either WR’s 10D morale system version or Bob’s percentage basis morale system.

Lots of interesting web links covering the event before and during the Ligny battle. WR’s favorites include:

The campaign of 1815: a study. Go to the 16th June 1815 pages on the left side blue menu for the battle of Ligny and Prussian 1st Korps actions before Ligny. Link

Battle of Ligny on Wikipedia. Link

Battlefield Anomalies has an interesting posting on Ligny. Link

Virtual Battlefields has several photos of the battlefield. Click under the Military section then scroll down to Virtual battlefields to find Ligny in the listings: Link

The Waterloo Campaign interface with lots of aerial and ground views: Link

Various book sources used for game design and background material.

Ligny 1815 books read and consulted for battle framework.

Ferraris 1778 map link. Sample portion of the Ferraris map around Gilly 1815 just before Ligny. These maps were used during the French Revolutionary wars by both sides. Click on the zone rectangle then click on the blue text above the zonal map of the identified map.

Ferraris map zone of the Gilly area. Gilly is about 2/3 down on left side.

Ferraris map zone of the Gilly area. Gilly is about 2/3 down on left side.

Nafziger’s Army of Lower Rhine June 1815FAG and Prussian OOB Ligny 815FBK. French Ligny army structure French OOB Ligny 815FBL 

Other battle of Ligny 1815 wargames and scenarios found on the Web:

GA scenario Ligny: Link for .pdf

Les Grognards group: AAR#1, AAR#2, AAR#3, Conclusion AAR

Micromegas at War Ligny game: Ligny

HMGS-PSW “Summer Hit the Beach” Convention information: Scheduled for June 30th, in the coastal town of Manhattan Beach CA. HMGS-PSW Link for convention information.

Written and posted on the 197th anniversary of the battle; June 16th 1815.


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