Back to Lee's safe in the knowledge that Lee would have read my post and possibly started the plan to undermine my master plan. I was met with a "your early" as I walked in on the battle. This you understand is Lee for I'm not ready but in truth I was a little early.
The battle for Bossu woods continued to heat up as the close range musket fire was slowly reap results with the Nassau starting to loose cohesion and thus it was almost time to give them the bayonet charge.
In the distance you can see one Allied cavalry regiment in rout (blue token) with a second retreating towards the rear. Just in the front of them is a French Hussar regiment ready to put the shaken cavalry to flight. I have three other good order regiments of horse ready to sweep into the now open left flank of the Brunswick infantry. Lee leads the way towards Quatre Bras with his last two cavalry regiments (one just a few troops) with Picton leads his infantry towards the all important crossroads but can he afford to advance beyond the village?
With my right flank not being considered vital at this point, it is often the last moved Division meaning that often as not it does not get activated so it's moves stutter along. Here it is still held up by five Battalions and a few guns.
A breakthrough, even though one of my battalions is close to collapse I have finally sent an enemy battalion in retreat which will allow me to charge his remaining three with a good advantage. Support is coming but I am confident I can gain the woods before these troops can come to the battered defenders aid.
In an attempt to relieve the pressure in the centre Lee chargers with his two remaining cavalry regiments after I had routed his second regiment. One of his chargers was into a infantry battalion and I took the risk of not trying to form square due to the close proximity of Brunswick infantry and artillery. The poor infantry were routed but at least they dropped the enemy cavalry cohesion by one.
The poor infantry running for the rear and exposing more infantry but at least the charge has exposed his flank. The other cavalry were having the best of the cavalry fight.
Through marching along the edge of the stream and up against the pond and turning to face the hill. This is a dangerous move as they have no where to go if forced back but it will force the defenders on my right to take notice.
Centre right view from the field. The buildings on the left were painted for me by my father so very long ago and it was great to get it on the table again.
I get to go first in the following turn and charge home all along the line. This disorders the line battalions due to charging in light woods but the result was a landslide victory with two battalions routed whilst a third was badly shaken and left unsupported, nothing would help them stand against a whole Division! This was going to leave the two remaining battalions in the woods in a difficult position.
Meanwhile I play the guns of three batteries onto these two battalions in the woods as the French cavalry fail to take full advantage of the flank opportunity on the Brunswick cavalry though they push them dangerously close to being forced to retreat with no cavalry support whilst one of my cavalry regiments is forced to retreat behind the gun line where Ney himself waits to bring them back to order.
Lee seeing the dangerous position my right hand battalion is in charges and whilst he devastates them with a ferocious charge they themselves take a pounding. The melee was to go on for several turns before both units were routed from the field through mutual destruction, a first for us.
Neither of us could lend the fight support, itself an unusual situation but the hill meant that any units turning to join the fight would expose themselves to a charge so we watched each hoping the other would be driven back.
The forgotten flank seems to be low on the priority at the moment for both of us but when we had the chance we traded shots between the artillery though I was starting to gain the upper hand. Lee had moved away from the bridge. Possibly to try and draw me into attacking and thus changing my priority from the other flank and centre.
Lee chargers his remaining battalions in Bossu Woods but suffers a serious reverse as I win both melee's first round forcing two levels of cohesion loss which means they will fight at a disadvantage in the coming round. Whilst we move to contact and use the term melee a lot of this would in fact be very close quarter firing, with actual routing or forced retirements actually being the final physical charge.
With the rout of the last of Lee's cavalry I was in position to attack his infantry in the flank whilst another regiment had passed behind the hapless infantry. My plan to force the flank was now coming into reality though Picton was peeping around the corner of Quatre Bras, it was possible Picton could save the Brunswick's for Waterloo.
The cavalry regiment whilst blown was in a great position to charge the Horse Artillery way to the rear. Well being Lancers they kicked their tired horses into another gallop and charged through the canister to crash home and scatter the hapless gunners. Now all they had to do was return to their lines.
With the left flank now holding Bossu Woods I decided to rest them and regain cohesion and order before descending on the reinforcements. This allowed me to start the attack over the bridge as my cavalry started to work the other flank. Now it was possible I would be able to crush the Brunswick and Belgium forces between to fairly intact Brigades before the British could attack the flank of the centre Division.
I was able to force into retreat the two standing battalions in Bossu Woods but in my moment of triumph I rolled boxcars and another healthy battalion turned tail and routed from the table, of the disgrace.
The guns guarding the bridge having suffered losses to the guns could only slow down the French Infantry as they charged forward once over the bridge and another battery was silenced. The infantry holding the hill opposite failing to move down in support now has the difficult choice of attacking the bridgehead or withdrawing onto Pictons support.
Still a little worse for wear the Bossu Woods regiments start to descend onto the plain beyond whilst the Nassau are still disordered and their line broken. I need to also get more battalions down the hill from the rear ready for reinforcing my battered battalions as they take cohesion losses. Meanwhile Lee is bringing two strong Battalions into the woods but that will be nought if I can force his formation to crack. This Division is under no advance orders, one more rout or forced retreat will force them all to retire until he gets some of the forced retreats to be reduced to shaken. Not easy if your being attacked with vigour. This will be the first true test of the army break rules. One a Division is lost it weakens the army and it can have the domino effect so Lee needs to try and recover the Division but on doing so then really needs to remove it from the front line to further recover cohesion before daring to send it back into the line.
View from the Brunswick central position, Lee is stating to withdraw from the hill and hopes to get back to Picton, this is a major win for me as I get the hill and remain in good order and still have the opportunity to catch them as they try and withdraw. If I do it could be very messy.
The Nassau look up at Bossu seeing mostly good order French stream down the hill. The Nassau need to form up quick and face an opponent who has already beaten them on better defensive ground. This could be a long day if they do not get more help, especially if they remain unable to advance.
Through Quatre Bras yet more Allied troops pour. Lots more troops await their turn to enter the battle, it's all going well for the French at the moment but the allies have a lot more fresh troops to throw into the fight but now the defensive terrain is in French hands. The battle is in the balance, if Lee can keep his two weakened formations on the table and extract his cornered troops from near the ponds (or give me a bloody nose sending me back over the bridge) then he has every chance of giving me a bloody nose.