Oldmeldrum Wargames Group demonstration game @ Targe 2015, Kirriemuir, 21st November 2015.

 

The “Bravest of the Brave”

Ney

 

Ney enlisted as a hussar in 1787 and was commissioned in 1792. Rising to General de Division in 1799, he was made Marshal in 1804, serving with great distinction. During the retreat from Russia, he saved the rearguard from extinction, earning the nickname as “bravest of the brave.” Battle fatigue took its toll. In 1813, he was wounded and mentally worn out and was sent home to recover.

In 1814, Ney urged Napoleon to abdicate and switched allegiance to King Louis. After the Hundred Days, he was shot by a firing squad on the 7th December after being found guilty of treason.

Ney has been criticised for his conduct at the Battle of Quatre Bras. What would you have done? Are you a better general than Ney?

 

Why did Napoleon choose Ney for such an important command?

Ney was useful for propaganda but Napoleon knew his capabilities. He said that his grasp of strategy was like the “latest-joined drummer boy.”

 

Considering his ambiguous orders, what were Ney’s options?

The orders and their time of arrival from HQ are summaries of real ones. Comments from Reille (II Corps) and La Croix (his CoS) are conjectural.

 

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Rules 

The rules we used today are ‘Blucher’, a fast-play set by Sam Mustafa, who has written other rules for the Horse and Musket period, such as Maurice, La Grande Armée and Lasalle. They are designed to be played with cards on a map or mat surface but a. group of figures can be used to represent the brigade-sized units, although all the information needed is still on the cards.

‘Blucher’ firmly places the player in the role of high command. For example, marches by an army group (reserve moves) cover many miles in one turn and may change the strategic picture faced by the commander completely. As the rules place the emphasis on the strategic decisions, they are highly recommended for the large-scale battles and campaigns that typified the Napoleonic period.

 

Scenario

The scenario and the strategic options for play were independently researched by club members (it is not the scenario given in the HONOUR website for the Hundred Days.)

 

Credits

The terrain was constructed and the figures used in the battle were painted by Mike Travis.

 

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