Sunday, 30 June 2019

The Battle of Ohain, June 1815 - a BBB AAR.

As planned Dave and I were able to meet up for a 'what if?' continuation game of Wavre from the previous week. Dave had cobbled together a scenario where basically Grouchy and the French have been tasked with destroying the Prussians fleeing from Wavre, whilst also disrupting any reinforcements that the Allies might be sending.

For the Prussians, it was a case of saving their forces that survived Wavre and to stop any French pursuit towards the Allies flanks and rear in and around Waterloo. The Prussians knew that aid was on its way, but not what, when and where it might arrive.

So a nice challenge for both sides. Dave had brought along a colleague, Steve, who had played in his Waterloo game he put on at Northwood a few months ago. I took on the roll of the Prussians, Steve the Allies and Dave the dastardly French. Much fun and good natured banter was had through out, meaning that I took fewer pics than normal and once again no notes.

We used the map from a Volley & Bayonet scenario book as a guide to setting up the table.

An overview of the table. The French would arrive from the SW corner, the Allies on random points from the Northern or Eastern edges. The Prussians have decided to form their defensive line between the villages of Ohain and Geneval, with a stream to their front and the supporting artillery on the ridgeline to their rear.

Two French Corps arriving on the table. My first thought was that there's an awful lot of them.

In contrast there were just two Prussian Brigades with supporting artillery to stop them.

Due to failed command rolls, the French left wing has advanced forward whilst their right wing is still held up in and around the woods. This is fortunate for the Prussians as they would probably have been unable to hold off both Corps. Some re-inforcements have arrived, just one unit of Uxbridg'es Light Cavalry and some artillery.

The Prussians alter their lines slightly to face the French threat on their right flank.

A view from the French side towards the river valley and the awaiting Prussians.

The French left wing has made contact with the Prussians and a furious firefight develops, with the Prussian and Allied artillery helping hold them off.

The Prussian Brigades are under a lot of pressure from the French Corps, especially over on their right.

The French right wing is finally making contact with the Prussians.

The Prussians have lost their Jager, but the artillery support is allowing them to hold off the French.

The French finally are able to bring the full weight of their attacks to bear on the Prussians. After much fighting and some effective assaults, the Prussians are finally broken.

In the end the two French Corps simply overwhelmed the two Prussian Brigades with sheer weight of numbers. However the Prussians had held on for 7 Turns and had given several French Brigades a bloody nose, so pretty good given what they were facing.

Post Game Thoughts
Importantly we all had a great game and Steve proved to be a great chap and a good Allied player. We did tease him a bit as he wanted to charge his cavalry in at any opportunity, which wouldn't have been good, so nick-named him Lord Raglan! As always some thoughts on the game etc:
  • For a 'non-historical' scenario, the rules worked really well. This was helped by Dave coming up with a plausible scenario, but I can see these being used with some of my scenario books in place of Black Powder etc. Only time will tell if they work but it looks promising.
  • This was only Steve's second game with the rules, but it picked up the mechanics really quickly and made some good decisions on how best to place his troops etc. I think this speaks volumes about these rules and if he's down this way again I'm sure he would like to give them another run out.
  • The scenario worked well, but we all agreed that the Allied re-inforcements needed to have something arrive each Turn, rather than no re-roll if the unit was already on the table. Afterall, if the French right Wing hadn't been so tardy in leaving the woods, the battle might have been  over before it had even begun.
  • Once again the Allied artillery really helped keep the Prussian Brigades in the game. The gun line on the ridge made it hard for the French to press home their numerical advantage in terms of infantry and cavalry.
  • Never having been a fan of Napoleonics, the BBB rules have kindled an interest in this period, which I'm sure I will explore at a future date. The recently expanded Pendraken range has some really nice troops and, given my recent games with the Prussians, I'm sure they will feature too.

As we're in the BBB groove as it were, our next game will be 'The Battle of Dioran, July 1913' from the Bloody Big Balkan Battles supplement by Konstantinos Travlos and Chris Pringle. This is an easily manageable battle for a mid-week game and with relatively simple terrain. I'm really looking forward to this as it will feel very modern in comprison to all the other BBB games we have played. So until next time...


  1. Nice to see a game built up around an Ohain situation, good idea. I don’t think I have ever heard a bad word said about these rules.

    1. I think there are many battles that have some good 'what if?' situations the day after etc. As you can tell, I really love these rules as they are elegantly simple yet give a game full of depth.

  2. Very nice creative 'what-if', thanks, Steve. I'm glad BBB's opened up Napoleonics for you - there's a world of good gaming to be had there. And I'm excited to see you're planning to dabble in the Balkan Wars next; I expect you'll make Konstantinos very happy to have his great project being appreciated. You'll find the tactics required are very different so beware of 'fighting the last war'.


    Bloody Big BATTLES!

  3. Really looking forward to fighting a very different war. IIRC we may even use these rules for the opening battles of WWI.

  4. Actually I play a lot of early WW1 battles with my 1914 French and Germans and our local group uses BBB rules. They work well though we do have a few modifications such as lengthening the artillery ranges some.

    Nice AAR!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Joseph and nice to know your WWI games have worked well with these rules.