Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waterloo: the Fight for Hougoumont - Part 2, The Battle

Previous post: Part 1, The Setup

Let battle commence...

The two sides are drawn up ready for battle

The French advanced with their right flank and opened fire with their artillery on the Nassau light infantry in the woods causing them to retire.

The French light infantry take casualties covering the advance of the columns of line infantry.

The Nassau infantry in the woods, moves over to stop the advance, the Nassau light infantry retreated into the safety of the orchard and Wellington orders forward troops from the ridge to secure the orchard.

The French attack the Nassau infantry so as to clear the wood, while at the same time coming under heavy fire from the British infantry guarding the orchard.
The French take the woods causing the Nassau infantry to rout, but not without heavy losses from defending infantry fire. The Allies have occupied a good defensive position and caused serious casualties, so the advance on the French right flank grinds to a halt.

The French switch their attention to the Left Flank and start by advancing with their Light Infantry to drive the Hanoverian Jaegers out of the woods.

Columns of Line Infantry advance around the flanks of the woods to support the light infantry and approach Hougoumont itself.

Both the Jaegers and the supporting horse artillery take heavy losses but cling valiantly to the woods.

The French charge the horse artillery battery which inflicts heavy losses with canister before being captured.

The way was now clear to attack the Chateau, so the French columns charged, only to be blown away by the accurate fire of the British Guards defending Hougoumont supported by the remaining few Hanoverian Jaeger and flank fire from the infantry in the walled garden.
The Allies had now occupied a strong defensive position around Hougoumont, and the French were so weakened that the could no longer break into the Chateau. 

The Result: 
Wellington's troops still held Hougoumont with a strong force of Scots Guards in the Chateau itself. The French attack was stopped and had to be content with holding the woods, from which they could skirmish with the defenders. The French generals watched the massed heavy cavalry charges off to their right, in the sure knowledge that if the cavalry couldn't break the Allied squares, then the Old Guard would surely crush all resistance before it!