Napoleonic Wargame CLub

Newsletter      EDITION 06 Jan.-Feb., 1999

Publisher: Pierre Desruisseaux, Secretary of State

Editor : Chris Wattie, Royal Horse Guards (Blues), British Army

Topics (click highlight to visit):

The Front Page: General information and articles

Rules: Herr Shively's house rule suggestions

History: Could napoleon have been a scots soldier’s grandson?

Dragoon in drag: Napoleon’s lover one of the boys?

Unsinkable ensign promoted, assigned to new position

Strategy and Tactics

Dispatches: News from the four armies

Front and Centre: Promotions, Medals and Battle News

New Scenarios, games and updates

On The Internet (New!)

Next Issue


The Front Page


The Prussians have instituted a new practice within their army, which is recommended to all commanding officers seeking to sharpen their juniors’ skills and boost involvement by all. The Prussians mounted their first tactical problem in January, a practice which they hope to continue every month. Using the BGW scenario editor, Army Commander Bill Peters set up a one-turn scenario with French defenders deployed against Prussian cavalry attack. Each participant completed the Charge and Melee phase and tallied up their score, sending the game file to the Army Commander .

The problem had several cavalry regiments to use but some had fatigue and a couple of squadrons were disrupted. The French infantry were in all formations to make the challenge a bit interesting. The wily Col. Peters also mixed guns with squares to see if any of the players noticed! Some didn’t and missed out on some easy points!

Points were awarded to the officer that had the best score: 8 points for first place, second place 6 pts and third place 4 points. All who took part received 1 pt. The winner of the first contest was Capt. Bram Steijn with 115 pts. Major Mauro Crestini placed a close second with 112 pts. and Capt. Lew Fisher was third with 95 pts.

The Prussian CoA promises that next month’s problem will be a bit more involved, possibly involving more than one turn.

While the contest is open only to Prussian officers, Col. Peters has offered his assistance in setting up different problems for other armies.

To see the problem and the results go to the Prussian Army homepage.


Herr Shively's House Rule Suggestions

By Gary Shively

From the day I joined the NWC I have seen and taken part in many a debate regarding historical combat vs. the limitations of the game system.  Although many are happy with the system as it is, there are many of us who wish to fight as they did during the Napoleonic era.  I have even seen a person leave the club, disappointed, since he expected to meet opponents who wished to fight in the manner most of us have spent much time learning about.  Those of us who wish to fight using these methods would like to create a special place in the club where like minded individuals can note their understanding and agreement with a special set of rules, and still remain within the NWC.  We do not consider ourselves elitists, and have no wish to tie everyone to our way of thinking.

Previously, I had made many attempts to try to find a way to limit skirmishers to their historical role...  until today, I had failed.  Although this letter touches on all of the units used in the game sytem, I feel that now, I may have properly found the historical place of skirmishers on the battlefield.

Some of you I have addressed in this letter have never been written by me before.  All of those addressed either holds a staff billet within the club, and or has demonstrated exceptional knowledge of the Napoleonic era.  I would like to hear opinions and ideas from each of you.

Although what I have written here expresses my best understanding of Napoleonic method, I do not claim to know everything.  If at one point, we can come to an acceptable agreement on these proposed rules, we would like to submit these ideas to the club leadership for their approval for the construction of a website within the club mainframe.      Thank you for taking the time to read these ideas.  I look forward to your input.                                     

Skirmishing Tactics

Use of the skirmish line, seems to be restricted in writings to 400 to 500 yards from the main battle line.  Game wise that would be 4 or 5 hexes, if we use knowledge that the musket could fire effectively up to 200 yds (2hexes) as our measuring stick.  Then, each force would use a second line of skirmishers to replace losses or add strength to a spot where enemy skirmishers were massing.  This is fine for skirmisher vs. skirmisher combat.  Now we come to the time when the enemy battleline is moving forward.  I have read that upon the arrival of the formed bodies, the skirmishers of the defending side would withdraw to their line of formed troops, while the skirmishers of the offensive line would become part of the attacking wave. 

While we're here, lets talk about Jena-Auerstadt type instances where the enemy was skirmisher poor.  In my readings I have learned that the French light troops wreaked their havoc against the Prussians from concealed positions where Prussian musketry couldn't harm them. That is not to say that the Prussian Bn's were enveloped and captured by skirmishers.  It seems to me that this envelopment and using line upon line of skirmishers to force an opponent to stand for long periods of time under heavy artillery fire or waste precious cavalry is what most of us are against.  

If I am correct in this understanding, the rules could go as thus:

1.  Skirmishers may form a skirmish line in open terrain anywhere within 4 to 5 hexes distant from their parent battalions, but not within 2 hexes of enemy cavalry in good order.

2.  Skirmishers may maintain this skirmish line until the enemy main battle line i.e., the formed battalions, enters the same hexes as the enemy skirmish line.

3.  In the friendly movement phase, following the arrival of the enemy formed battalions, the friendly skirmish line must withdraw into the same hexes as their parent battalions or on a flank adjacent to their friendly battalions.

4.  In the case of the offensive battleline, the skirmishers must stay adjacent or within the same hex as their formed battalions.  This does not mean that a company of must be adjacent to it's own battalion, but adjacent to any friendly battalion.  This, will give the battleline a form of flank protection.  It will also prohibit an entire battleline from being surrounded, unless it is so small and isolated that it deserves to be wiped out due to poor positioning made by your oponent.

5.  Skirmishers operating outside of the skirmish line must seek cover in either buildings, villages, orchards, woods, or behind hedgerows.

6.  Skirmishers that route out of the battle area or who get separated from friendly troops are free to rejoin their friendly formed battalions as long as they are not behind the enemys front.  Otherwise they must stay in cover...  no roaming about the countryside looking for unaccompanied officers, supply wagons, or objective points.  They also must not stand in any road hexes to impede enemy movement... including road hexes that go through covered terrain.

7.  Skirmishers may advance into covered terrain within 2 hexes of and fire on undisordered enemy cavalry.  If they are to advance closer, in open terrain, they must end their phase in the same hex as a formed enemy unit.  in this case, they may also fire.   Although this is covered by the 32bit engine, there are many who prefer to use the 16bit engine.                               

Formed Battalions

It is hotly argued that there are many cases in which formed battalions marched toward enemy cavalry both in and out of square formation. Although I cannot effectively dispute this fact, I think we can put a little common sense to use in this area. Would troops be able to march in relative safety towards undisordered enemy cavalry and then form square?  I think so.  Would they be prepared to go into square if there were enemy artillery within canister range?  This, I highly doubt.  Firstly, the square was a very immobile formation.  Secondly, it has been written that squares were highly vulnerable to artillery fire, although there is no modifier in the game system to support this.  So, what do we consider canister range?

Haythornewaite has written that effective canister range was 600 yds. He also writes that British doctrine prohibited its use at distances above 350 yds, and that the French would use canister up to it's maximum effective range. We might consider 400 yards a happy medium.  That would be 4 hexes.  If we can agree on these things, the rules could be read as thus:

1.  Formed infantry may move toward and fire at enemy cavalry as long as there are no unlimbered batteries within 4 hexes of the infantry.  This also coincides with the threat range of that arm in the game system. And also puts a burden upon your opponent to act in accordance with combined arms doctrine.                                          

Cavalry Tactics

Cavalry, to my knowledge did not charge into woods, villages, and orchards to attack the enemy.  This would leave them in dire straights due to the fact that skirmishers who may be near.  In the TS games, the cavalry that do charge into these terrains can be saved by unlucky rolls of the dice by the game system.  Napoleonic cavalry didn't have this advantage.  They would also seem hard pressed to remove skirmishers from buildings with sabres and lances.  

In rule form:

1.  Cavalry may not charge into, and melee in villages, woods, or orchards.  Cavalry may also not overrun or melee skirmishers in building hexes in which there are less than 3 skirmisher companies.  It would take a sizeable building to protect more than 100 men.                                 

Artillery Restrictions     

Without much time needed for preparation, artillery would be unable to fire from chateaus.  Chateau walls were said to be quite thick, and making apertures to fire through would take a lot of time and effort. My own personal experience with the stone walls of old farmhouses shows that to economize on concrete, many fieldstones would have been dropped into the walls.  Loopholing them with bayonets and entrenching tools such as shovels would be nearly impossible.  Pickaxes and sledgehammers could be used, but again, many hours would be required.  

As a rule:

1.  Artillery is prohibited from unlimbering in and firing from chateaus.  In most cases, it suffers no negative modifier during ranged fire in the game, and makes taking a chateau an almost impossible and expensive task, as it can't be routed out once unlimbered.

Restrictions on Supply Wagons

Historically, supply wagons were kept well protected during battle, because their loss could mean whole divisions running out of ammunition.  Although in the TS games, you can use the ammo of captured wagons, historically this would not be the case.  The French Charleville musket was of smaller calibre than either the Brown Bess, or the Prussian pattern musket of 1809, and the Russian army had a plethora of weapons and calibres, so the French at least could not count on captured ammunition to save them in battle.  In games I have used (though ashamed to admit it) and seen them used to prohibit the retreat of enemy troops, the advance of enemy troops,  as well as screens against enemy fire.  They can also add to the defensive strength of a chateau, and will not rout out of it. 

So, as fair rules:

1.  Supply wagons may not enter chateaus.

2.  Supply wagons may not move within 2 hexes of any enemy troops unless a formed battalion is also in that same hex at the end of the movement phase.

3.  Supply wagons must move at least three hexes away, if possible, from enemy troops who have advanced near it unless formed friendly troops end that movement phase in the same hex.

  1. Unless moving on a road in company with formed troops, supply wagons may not be placed between enemy troops and friendly troops to protect them from ranged fire.




(Reprinted from The Scotsman

He was a military genius and the greatest emperor France ever had. Napoleon Bonaparte’s domination of European politics in the late 18th and early 19th century earned his native Corsica a place in world history.

But unlikely new evidence appears to suggest the Perthshire village of Balloch may soon be able to claim the man who revolutionised European history as the most famous son it never knew it had.

Bob Torrens, from Crieff, is investigating the link between Napoleon and an 18th century Scottish soldier by the name of William Bayne. Mr Torrens believes that Bayne, who left Scotland to risk his fortunes overseas, may be Napoleon’s paternal grandfather.

The Emperor’s relatives?

The source for Mr Torrens’ claims lies within the pages of a dusty, but respected tome – "Crieff: Its Traditions And Characters", by the author Macara. The book states that a hedger named Bayne and his family decided to leave Balloch shortly after the collapse of the 1745 Jacobean uprising.

The book says: "Having had a strong leaning to the Duke of Perth and Prince Charlie, after 1745 Bayne resolved to seek a home in another land. With this intent he and his family and others set sail.

"A storm came on, and they were driven onto Corsica, where they were hospitably received. They were known as Bayne or Buon and his party. In course of time his sons were called Buon-de-party.

"His grandson was named Buon-de-parte or Buonaparte and now figures in the history of the world as the great Napoleon."

Mr Torrens, an amateur historian, believes the account merits further investigation. He said: "The book dates back to 1881 ... Macara’s book was a highly thought of archive at the time and he claims the story was vouched for by some respected figures."

No descendants of the Bayne family remain in Balloch, but records at the AK Bell Library in Perth detail a William Bayne in the Duke of Perth’s regiment who became a prisoner at Carlisle. What happened to Bayne after his imprisonment south of the Border is unknown.

Professor John Renwick, of Edinburgh University’s French department, who has an interest in the 18th century, is reserving judgment. "It is true that following the various troubles in Scotland’s history, a number of Scots soldiers went overseas, and a number certainly ended up in France.

"Linguistically, it does not sound very probable that this Scots name would become Bonaparte in the way this theory suggested, but a check on how common the name Bonaparte was in France and Italy at that time should provide evidence on that one way or the other."

A spokesman for the University of Dundee history department said the account in Macara’s book "was the kind of thing which usually has an element of truth in it."

If Mr Torren’s quest to establish a link between Napoleon and Scotland is successful, the Frenchman could be honoured with a monument in Crieff.

Gillian Harrower, of Perthshire Tourist Board, said it would be keen to see further investigations into the claims. "We would be very interested to hear of any further historical evidence that exists to back up the claim."

The timing of Napoleon’s birth is favourable to the possibility of the Franco-Scottish link. Napoleon was born on Corsica in 1769 – more than 20 years after the adult Bayne left Balloch.

Editor’s Note: Much thanks to Capt. Stewart Riddick, 71st HLI, for bringing this to our attention. Can it be long before the French Armee and institutes a Corsican Highlander Brigade?



Title : Sic transit Gloria Mundi! (Napoleon & Czar Alexander I)

Artist : Anonymous, 1813

Caption: Zu mir nach Russland kamest du/Erschrecklich grosse hinein; Doch auf demHeimweg nach Paris/ Wie wurdest du so klein! (You came to me in Russia and were so terrifyingly big; But on the homeward way back to Paris/ you were remarkably small!)



Pauline Fourès, née Marguerite-Pauline Bellisle, Napoleon’s lover? If we are to believe Frédéric Masson, then the truth of the life-story of Pauline Fourès is indeed stranger than fiction. Born in southern France, 15 March, 1778, the daughter of clockmaker Henri-Jacques-Clément Bellisle and his wife Marguerite Barandon, Pauline worked initially as a milliner before coming to the attentions of Jean-Noël Fourès, a soldier on medical leave after being wounded in the campaigns of Year II and III in the Pyrenees.

They were married soon after, but right in the middle of their honeymoon, Jean-Noël was called up to go and fight in the Egyptian campaign. Not wanting to be parted, the young couple decided that Pauline would come too, dressed as a cavalry Chasseur. Managing to sneak on board the troop transport

La Lucette, Pauline remained undetected until their arrival fifty-four days later in Alexandria. Marched into the Damanhour desert, she was to receive her baptism of fire at the Battle of the Nile.

Pauline arrived in the capital Cairo with her husband on 30 July, 1798. Here she was able to dress once again as a woman, and her inexhaustible good humour kept up the spirits of the officer of the 22nd Chasseurs and the 7th Hussars.

But contrary to what this description might imply, the marital life of the Fourès couple was renowned throughout the army as model, and Pauline is known to have thrown off the advances of a certain Lasalle, a new Brigadier in the 22nd Chasseurs.

But this is where Napoleon comes in. As Masson describes in his work, many of the soldiers on the expedition were looking forward to ‘trying’ the local women. Napoleon himself is recorded as being both highly dissatisfied with Josephine’s reported infidelities and interested in the women of the region.

However, when six local ladies were brought before the twenty-nine-year-old head of the army, he sent them away in disgust, repelled by their ‘Rubens-esque’ figures.

He was to meet Pauline in the Tivoli Egyptien, a Cairo pleasure gardens run on the model of the Parisian Tivoli. Attracted by her blonde hair, petite figure and perfect teeth, Napoleon sent Junot and

Duroc to pay court for him. She however resisted. There then followed protestations, declarations, and expensive gifts - all calculated to soften the opposition.

Then Napoleon played his master card. Fourès (who had been promoted to Lieutenant 18 October, 1798) was ordered to go to France on a mission to deliver a message to the Directory. He boarded the Chasseur 28th December 1798.

Napoleon was then able to move in. The day after Fourès’s departure, Napoleon asked Pauline (and other French women) to lunch. During the meal (at which Napoleon sat next to Pauline, paying every attention), a jug of water was (inadvertently?) spilt on Pauline’s dress. Pauline was hurriedly taken into the commander-in-chief’s private rooms to resolve the problem. As Masson delicately puts it ‘Appearances were more or less kept up’. But only "more or less".

Napoleon’s and Pauline’s slightly extended absence caused the dinner guests to have certain doubts as to the real significance of the incident.

But unfortunately Fourès came back earlier than expected. His vessel had been intercepted by the British ship Lion and had been sent back to Cairo. Fourès, furious on learning what had happened, treated Pauline extremely violently, at which Pauline demanded a divorce. This was granted and ratified by the war commissioner Sartelon.

Following the divorce, Pauline re-adopted her maiden name Bellisle, hence her nickname ‘La Bellilote.’ Napoleon was deeply attached to Pauline and did not hide the fact that if she were to bear him a son he would divorce Josphine. In Cairo she lived a life of great luxury and excess. In his letters, Napoleon also called her his ‘Clioupatre’ and ‘La Générale.’

When Bonaparte left Egypt, 23 August, 1799, he gave command of both the army and Pauline (whom he was unable to take with him) to Kleber (she then became Kleber’s mistress for several months). This lasted only a short time and she eventually returned to Paris, although she was never to see Bonaparte again.

Pauline was to live until 18 March, 1869. And in her later life, as in the early years, she never ceased to scandalise polite society. After being sent to the provinces during the Russian campaign on account of slightly too close friendships with some Russian aristocrats, she became the talk of the town because of her outrageous behaviour.

For example, she would smoke while taking the air at the window, she read the Paris gazettes sitting outside the door of her solicitor, she frequented retired military circles and took her dog with her into church. Under the Restoration, in partnership with a retired captain of the Imperial guard, Jean-Auguste Bellard, she made several voyages to South America, where she sold furniture made in France and bought precious woods.

In 1837, her fortune restored, she returned to France. She was an accomplished woman, a passable painter, and she also wrote three novels. Her self-portrait is preserved in the French Bibliothèque Nationale under the title Madame de Ranchoup.


Masson, F., Napoléon et les femmes, Ollendorf, Paris, 1894

Régis, R., Pauline Fourès, dite "Bellilote", maitresse de Bonaparte en

Égypte, Éditions de Paris, 1946.


Le sabot corse en pleine déroute (The Corsican top in full spin)

Artist : Anonymous


By Col. Andrew Flynn

British Army Adjutant

"If we had more men like him, we’d have fewer men like him." - Col. Wattie.

Ens. the Hon. Parsifal St. John Cheggwidden Frobisher, of the Coldstream Guards, the 23rd Royal Artillery Contagion and Anthrax Battery and the King’s Own Auxiliary Montgolfier Reconaissance Battalion, is soon to be promoted lieutenant, having finally secured the required price of promotion from his aging father.

The step up for our redoubtable ensign, renowned in the popular press for his dashing exploits in (but mostly over) the fields of Belgium, coincides with his appointment to a mysterious new arm of the British Army as head of a top secret project known only by the enigmatic rubric The Dairy Corps.

"It’s teddibly hush-hush doncha know," opined Col. Cecil Strangely-Brown, of the Horse Guards. "The only people in the know are myself, the Duke, my wife, the Duke’s wife, my wife’s servants, the Duke’s servants, my wife’s tennis partners, my wife’s tennis partners’ servants and some chap I met in the mess named Bernard."

Even after several dozen gin and tonics, all the good colonel would tell our correspondent was a semi-intelligible mumbling about double Devon cream. This lead our correspondent to conclude that the colonel was not in fact entirely clear as to the nature of the secret strategem, as he had previously offered complete maps and orders of battle for the army in Belgium as well as the name and locales of several highly recommended houses of ill-repute in the Brussels area.

Your fearless correspondent shall endeavour to keep club members apprised of any future developments in this area.


For Your Amusement: Resistance is Futile (1815 style)

Any resemblance to Cols. Shively and Palomo is surely coincidental


Strategy & Tactics

Eyewitness Account: French Tactics in 1807

In the interests of throwing jet fuel on the continuing debate(s) over skirmishers currently taking up so much bandwidth in the Rhine Tavern, your humble editor offers the following interesting letter, written by an anonymous German on French tactics employed during Napoleons ascendancy.

The letter is drawn from an article by a Mr. Keith Raynor, from an Internet source I’ve unfortunately forgotten, and we look forward to further arguments-cum-brawls on the topic of skirmishers, artillery and 1815 Panzergrenadier tactics.

Original spellings have been maintained to preserve the period flavour:

Hamburg the May 5th 1807. Anonymous.

My Lord, An honest German stung and overwhelmed by the aspect of the misery and degradation of his Country, but who would think himself unworthy of, and past regeneration, if on the edge of despair even, he would not steadfastly look forward for better times—takes the Freedom to transmit, your Lordship the enclosed sketch of the actual organization of the enemies armies. The same is the result of an unintermitted Investigation, and also of occasional conversation, with some eminent, and most instructed French Officers. To draw good and solid knowledge from the enemy, is the first step and the easiest and surest way, towards hurting and weakening him. It is obvious, My Lord, that the system adopted by the French, will so long be triumphant, until their adversaries, adopt the same mode, and until they incorporate to their Forces, an equal number of clever and expert sharpshooters to answer the same purpose : as in such case, ( provided the chief command be likewise on an equal footing ) the Fate and succefs of battle could be ruled and mastered, or at least be reduced to be at the dependence of chance and fortune.

Your Lordship will I hope pardon my retaining the shield of Anonymous. Your Lordship’s candour will find the apology in my civil situation. A man of honor in a free country, there I too will not boggle [ie. hesitate] to show my face. I submit this sketch to your Lordship’s strictest Inquiry, and powerful influence. Most happy, I Should be, nay, amply rewarded above my state of slavery, if I should experience to have furnished matter, to effect some good. With the most profound veneration I shall never cease to remain,

My Lord, your Lordships devoted Humble servant.

To the Right Honble. Lord Viscount Castlereagh, etc, etc, etc,


A Look into the Modern Tactics of the French, being an outline and account of the newly adopted

organization of the French Armies.

The Corps Elite of the French Land Forces, tho’ well known actually to exist, has ever since its establishment been made an object of jealous secrecy by the French, and consequently a subject of curiosity and speculation of the military men of Europe. The nature and purport thereof has always been problematical, and yet it is evident that the French are, but with very few exceptions, merely owing to the new organization of their armies, the last uninterrupted Victories. The following sketch will it is trusted, throw a sufficient and adequate Light on this question, and on the mode, how they made it possible and practicable, continually to appear Victorious, on the stage of hazardous war.

Each Marshall of the French Empire has a body of Two Thousand men of sharpshooters ( Elite ) attached to his Corps d’armee. Such sharpshooters, all of which being expert and skilled men, are each armed with a small blunderbufs (arquebuse), and [are] allways sure to hit their mark, at a distance of one hundred and fifty paces (Footnote 2). In any cases, when the whole army is concentrating for a general battle, the several bodies of sharpshooters, belonging to the Corps of each Marshall, are formed into ONE separate Corps by itself, consisting together in sixteen thousand men ( Corps d’Elite ). Now, on whatever point, the Commander in Chief, is of intention, or thinks it best expedient, to break through the opposing army, on such point or spot this select corps of 16,000 men is always sure to be placed and posted, in two lines or Files, and according to the ground where the fight takes place, in one or two divisions. In most cases, the firing, kept up by this corps, thus placed, is but an irregular one, yet each charge or shot never misses its object, and within a few minutes the lines of the opposite side are shot down. Immediately after, when two, three, or four lines of the opponents have thus been disabled or killed in this manner, the Columns of Infantry and Cavalry of the French (previously placed behind and at the wings of the corps of sharpshooters ) instantly prefs and force forward thro’ the openings, speeding to the right and left, attack and take the neighbouring lines of the opponents in the back. As it is, this body of sharpshooters of 16,000 men may within a short time destroy double the quantity, say an opposing army of 30 to 40,000 men.

Besides this select corps of sharpshooters, each Marshall commanding a body of Troops, has a certain

number of skilled sharpshooters attached to each company of Infantry, composing the Regiments that form such body of Troops. The purport intended by these shooters, consists exclusively to shoot dead the artillery men at the guns, as also such Officers, as stand afront of the lines, but more particularly to aim at the Chief Commander of the opponents, being always sure to hit their mark at a distance of150 Military paces.

But besides the Corps Elite of 2,000 Sharpshooters, and the sharpshooters attached to each company of

Infantry, as has already been stated, each Marshall possefs also, to the body of Troops which he commands (besides the usual Field Artillery uncommonly strong with the French ) Two most select Batteries of Light Artillery (Artillerie Volante) which in point of quicknefs of motion, and expert dexterity at aiming, may be fully placed in the same rank and clafs, of the Corps d’Elite, above alluded to. These batteries of Light Artillery, are but seldom separated, but they are generally covered ( masquee ) by Cavalry and Tirailleurs; they are always worked and employed, alone and independently, and so indeed a few general charges with cartridges and grapes, is sufficient, to destroy, in a short time, a whole Regiment. But, besides all this, each of the French Marshal’s, does further possess, a corps of Chasfeurs a Cheval; which have been found, may be employed with a deal of succefs, as well against Cavalry as Infantry. Each Marshall has still moreover a certain quantity of Voltigeurs (kind of Rifleman) which besides of their being expert and clever at climbing, and to leap with ease over broad ditches, and high moles, have also been taught and exercised to jump on a sudden, on the back of the horses, behind the horseman or cavalry and so being in full speed, carried to the spot where they are to fight, they here alight, and place themselves behind underwood, bushes, ditches or moles, to assist at the several particular engagements, when by dint of their safe and certain fire, they in most instances, procure the advantage on such occasions (Footnote 3).

In any case when a general battle is to be fought, the select corps of sharpshooters, the Chasfeurs a Cheval, the Light Artillery, in short all what is calculated, or tends best to destroy, is drawn together, from out of the several bodies of troops of all the Marshalls, to one concentring point, in order entirely to annihilate the center of the opponents. And it is by this mode only, and not by the exclusive courage, boasted of by the French, that the Fate of battles, have since the last two years been decided. It is finally to be observed that all the remainder of the French Troops ( except as above ) do only advance to prosecute, and to push the advantage so gained, but after the center of the opponents, has thus actually been broken thro’.


1. The Light Infantry were supplemented from March 1804 by a Voltigeur company being authorized for each Light Infantry Battalion; And further strengthened from September 1805 when a Voltigeur company was also authorized for each Line Battalion.

2. A blunderbuss would be of little use on a battlefield, particularly for skirmishing at a distance quoted in the letter. Nevertheless, they were to be found in the French army, "Another type of firearm occasionally issued to the French Infantry for counter insurgency or anti-guerrilla operations was a bell-mouthed blunderbuss, loaded with a handful of loose powder and whatever hard objects were readily available. However the vast majority of soldiers used the 1777 Musket." (D.G. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon).

3. Napoleon’s specifications for Voltigeurs called for strong, active men, able to march at the trot and to vault up behind a cavalry man. (J.R. Elting, Swords around a Throne).

The Original letter can be found in the P.R.O. Kew. Reference number WO 1/1114.


Cavalry Tactics Manual Volume 2

By Col. Chris Wattie

Royal Horse Guards (Blues)

British Army

This is meant as an introductory manual for the use of Cavalry in BGW and PTW, with special attention to use of the Anglo-Allied Cavalry corps. My co-author, Todd Davis, covered French and Russian cavalry tactics in Volume 1. I intend to expand upon many of the excellent points my valiant counterpart touched upon in his excellent treatise, but focusing mainly upon two main topics I feel are of critical import to the successful handling of the Anglo-Allied cavalry: Cavalry vs. cavalry encounters and cavalry as a mobile support for an army on the defence.


Battles of cavalry vs. cavalry are perhaps the trickiest encounters to handle in the Battleground games, but also among the most important. Wise commanders use cavalry to secure their flanks on defence but also use their horse to attempt to turn their enemy’s flanks. Thus, cavalry will often square off against each other in the all-important fights for position on the flanks.

And because each 25-man unit of cavalry is worth 8 VPs, a successful cavalry battle can give you a big bonus towards the final outcome.

First of all, remember that cavalry loses its powerful charge bonus against other cavalry, so the charge feature only gives your horsemen the benefit of added mobility. But if you use it wisely, you can set up devastating zone of control attacks on the enemy horse, coming up out of nowhere to cut off his lines of retreat and eliminate whole brigades in one successful melee. Which will make your VP total very healthy indeed.

One trick of the trade to note. Cavalry in the same hex as non-horse units (even a supply wagon) are treated like any other unit, ie: if you charge them, you get the triple bonus. It’s cheesy, but if you can somehow manage to drive an infantry or other unit into the same hex as your opponent’s cavalry regiment, any charge against that hex will be tripled.

And for heaven’s sake, USE THE TERRAIN TO ADVANTAGE! Place your cavalry so that there are obstructions between them and opposing horse, which will disorder them if they attempt to charge you and cut their strength in half.

The importance of mastering the basics of cavalry combat (as elucidated by M. Davis in Volume 1) cannot be overstated: break your regiments down into squadrons before charging and keep them within command-control radius of their brigade leaders, and your brigade leaders within range of Uxbridge or Collaert wherever possible.

(For an excellent primer on cavalry basics see the Unofficial Battleground Waterloo page at:

Because of the absence of that nasty triple charge bonus, all battles are fought at even odds (except those involving lancers or heavy horse: more on that later), so keep your regiments and brigades together and in stacks as close to the maximum per hex of 1,000 horse. If they’re strung out in a line of 100-strength squadrons, they can be picked off one by one in a successful charge and series of melees.

Third, use the counter-charge function as much as possible. One of the most common mistakes made by inexperienced cavalry officers (such as the unfortunate Ponsonby at the actual battle of Waterloo) is to press their charge one hex too far. You mount a glorious and successful charge only to find yourself surrounded by the enemy and eliminated in a counter-attack during the next turn. It’s happened to the best of us ...

The counter-charge eliminates this problem. You’re charging during your opponent’s turn, which means you can scurry back to safer ground during your movement phase. Not to mention the fun of foiling all his carefully planned charges!

So plan on counter-charging. Position your stacks of cavalry to cover the approaches from which an enemy charge might come, and don’t forget that the counter-charging unit(s) must have a clear field across which to charge. One skirmisher in the way and it won’t work. Plan carefully and position your lads to cover threatened areas, preferably from hexes that are invisible to the enemy.

Fourth; toujours l’audace! Especially against lancers and heavy horse. It’s better to attack lancers, when they defend at 75% strength, than to let them hit you with their 10% attacking bonuses. Same goes for heavies, although they defend at normal strength.

And by all means try to use combined arms to your advantage: a brigade or two of infantry can help secure your lines of retreat and guard against getting cut off and eliminated. And we all know what artillery can do to cavalry ....

 L’Empereur, undoubtedly telling his cavalry commander to break his regiment down into squadrons by God!


In addition to the horse-on-horse battles for the flanks, cavalry can also be a valuable defensive commodity.

When playing the British-Allied army in BGW, your horse is outnumbered by the French cavalry and must be used sparingly, especially given the Allied command-control shortcomings. I usually advise keeping the Dutch-Belgian cavalry together, supplemented by a British brigade or two, usually on the

Allied left, with Gen. Collaert along to give his brigades a fighting chance to re-order after a charge.

I also advise keeping the two British heavy brigades in the rear (at least 6 hexes back to avoid being disordered by routing infantry) and the rest, including the Brunswick cavalry, together on the right, with Gen. Uxbridge leading his brigade commanders in supporting the often-beleaguered 3rd DB Division or probing the French left.

The heavies I keep in reserve to perform one of my favourite manoeuvres in BGW: the "Once More Into the Breach" charge. When that stack of Old Guard infantry finally breach your line (and there’s a good chance they will), don’t worry: just send in the heavies!

Unless the French commander is very good, or very lucky, your line should only be broken in one hex, maybe two. Just make sure you have infantry on either side of the encroaching Frenchies, with zones of control extending into the hexes behind them, and bring up the heavy brigades. If you fiddle the ZOCs correctly, and get the right odds, you can eliminate whole stacks of those pesky guardsmen in one fell swoop. The beauty of this strategy is that the attacking infantry can’t form square because they’re disordered by the melee in the previous turn. Nothing depresses a French commander like watching an entire brigade of the old guard vapourized by the Inniskilling Dragoons...

The only way the French can avoid this is by breaking through in 3 or more hexes in the same turn. And if they can do that, you’re already in far too much trouble for the cavalry to save you anyway.

As a last resort, cavalry can be thrown into the breach to cover the retreat of your infantry and artillery, especially if you’re playing using the house rules on skirmishers/infantry vs. cavalry (and these days, who isn’t?).

Throw up a screen of cavalry squadrons between your troops and the enemy: the advancing infantry/skirmishers can’t get closer than 2 hexes in most cases and it will take time to bring up artillery or their own cavalry to clear the way. This is however, an expensive way to cover a retreat, since your

cavalry will take losses from musket and artillery fire. To be used only as a last resort ...



Armee du Nord

We have implemented two major changes in L’Armee du Nord’s Order of Battle. The first, pursuant to General Order - AdN No.2, was to eliminate dual commands by divisional and brigade commanders, thus freeing up their original, regimental commands for new members.

The second was to reorganize the cavalry of each corps into new divisions, the 1ere through 3eme Div. De Cavalrie, complete with attached companies of horse artillery. These changes establish a new authorized strength for each corps of 24 rank and file members, 3 divisional commanders and 1 corps commander for a total effectives of 28. As the ranks fill out, we will begin to appoint brigade commanders, eventually raising the total effectives for each corps to 34.

With the accession of Col. Palomo to command of the army, the chain of command has seen a number of changes. In I Corps Col. Todd Davis is the new CO, with Cpts. Mitchell & Chaytor commanding the 1st & 2nd Infantry Div, respectively. In III C, Col. Jean-Marie Barbier has assumed overall command, with Maj. Sergio Guerri and Col. Salvador Alemany commanding the 10th Inf Div. and the new 3rd. Cav Div respectively.


Col. M. Francisco Palomo

CoA, Armee du Nord

Armee du Rhine

After the capture of a group of Spanish guerrillas, the dispatches originally sent from L’Armee du Rhine HQ for the end of January were recovered. The fate of the Hussar carrying these dispatches remains unknown. As such guerrilla activity continues to increase, all commanders are hereby ordered to double their escort and guard detachments.

Col. Brewitt extends special recognition to Lt. Richard Hamilton for "...his dedication and indefatigable elan to you as an example to all French officers, indeed to officers of any army, and pass on our recommendation that such exemplary behavior be given the reward it deserves." As described by Col. C. Wattie, British Army ADC and Col. A. Flynn, British Army Adjutant. Col. Brewitt is pleased to announce the promotion of Lt. Hamilton to the rank of Captain.

V Corps Commander Recognition: Col. Mark Adams, CoC V Corps, has recognized the continued service of Lt. Col. Nowaki and Lt. Col. Panfil Division commanders.

VIII Corps Commander Col. Gary Shively has made special mention of the following officers in his dispatches: Lt. Scott Cameron for exemplary officer conduct and willingness to communicate, Lt. Francois Tresbosc for exemplary officer conduct and willingness to communicate, Capt. Uwe Kuennemann for stalwart and competitive behavior and Lt. Andreas Johannssenn for continued service as Aide du Camp.

IV Cavalry Reserve Corps Commander Col. Jon Brewitt extended recognition of Lt. Martin Cedric for exemplary willingness to participate.

The Dispatches of L’Armee du Rhine are swelling with the news of victories over the forces of the Allied Coalition. Lt. Col. Jean-Marie Barbier commanded his forces to 4 major and one minor victories, Capt. Yves MICHEL reported a major victory, as did Lt. Jeff Wicks and Col. Gary Shively.

Finally, all officers are ordered to report to the Rhine Tavern in dress uniform for a formal farewell reception to be held in honour of Lt. Col. Jean-Marie Barbier. This fine officer will be leaving for Paris, where, after a brief audience with l’Empereur, he will continue to his new post as commander of III Corps, l’Armee du Nord. Lt.-Col. Barbier’s lightning fast campaign has won great fame for the forces of France at the expense of the puppet Coalition propped up by the impotent British monarchy. We will miss our brother-in-arms, and extend to him the warmest wishes for success.

Lt. Col. Joe Gregory

Chief of Staff, l’Armee du Rhine

British Army

The first two months of the new year were ones of continued growth in the British Army. A gratifying number of promising young officers have taken the King’s shilling and donned the scarlet, green or black tunic to dash the schemes of the Corsican tyrant.

My trusty Aide du Camp Col. Wattie has instituted a scheme of bounties to encourage the younger officers: offering bonus points to the first three victories recorded in a given month. The scheme has set the junior ranks ablaze with patriotic fervour and is highly recommended to all army commanders as a way to inspire the up-and-comers in your various corps. Col. Flynn, army adjutant, has also taken to offering bounties on the heads of French officers foolish enough to issue challenges in the Rhine Tavern.

Our congratulations to the first beneficiaries of the Army bounties: Capt. Charles Upton of the 1st KGL Hussars, Lt. Rodrigo Leon of the Nassau Volunteer Jagers, Capt. Paul Harris of the Royal Welch Fusiliers and Capt. Anthony Barlow of the 51st Regt. of Foot (2nd W. Yorkshire Riding). Each receives the Order of Franz Josef and 15 points.

Sadly, we have had to bid farewell to Lt.-Col. Simon Patrick, who resigned his post as division commander due to pressing concerns on his home estates in Sussex. He shall be missed.

To end on a happier note, Col. Wattie has become the first officer to qualify for a position in the Guards, winning the requisite number of major and minor victories to earn a berth in the Royal Horse Guards (Blues).

I remain your obedient servant & etc.

A. Wellesley

Prussian Army

This month saw a flurry of promotions for the Prussian officers The following officers were promoted with the new rank in front of their name: Lt. Col. Mauro Crestini Major Steve Takacs Capt. Richard Housgate In the Summer Tourny I am getting game files from from Adam Vakeiner and Steve Takacs at a regular clip! They are moving along nicely in their struggle for the cavalry to seize and hold the Utitsa mound. More tactical tips are available for any Allied player who wishes to get the URL from me! This is for Allied eyes only!

Two French officers defected to the Allied side this month. We are happy to welcome Lt. Albert Amos and Capt. Scott Cameron. Both have been assigned to the Prussian First Brigade under my command. A special thanks to Ulrich Humpert is in order. He located a picture of the Iron Cross worn by Prussians during the Napoleonic wars. I hope to have the new award displayed on the web page soon. We will have a new medal for those who excel in enhancing the web page. This medal was awarded during the Prussian War of Independence (1813-1814) and will be given out to those who contribute to the administration of the Prussian Army.

Col. Peters

Prussian CoA


Front And Centre



Medaille Militaire and Valour Cross awarded to Lt. Col. Jean-Marie Barbier 5th Artillery de Pied, 18eme Division, V Corps, l’Armee du Rhine.

Medaille Militaire awarded to Lt. Jeff Wicks, 4e Artillerie a Pied, 18eme Division, V Corps, l’Armee du Rhine.

Col. Todd Davis has been awarded a laurel for his Order of the Iron Crown and was admitted to the Imperial Guard. Cpts. Chaytor & Mitchell have received La Medaille Militaire.


Col. Andrew Flynn, Grand Cross Star.

Capt. Charles Upton, Order of Franz Joseph, Military Medal

Capt. Rodrigo Leon, Order of Franz Joseph, Military Medal

Capt. Paul Harris, Order of Franz Joseph, Military Medal

Capt. Anthony Barlow, Order of Franz Joseph, Military Medal

Russian: Not Available.

Prussian: (See Army Note)



Yves Michel promoted to Captain, Michael Arrett promoted to Captain, Jean-Marie Barbier promoted to Captain/promoted to Major/promoted to Lt. Colonel, Tomasz Nowacki promoted to Lt. Colonel, Lt. Jeff Wicks promoted to Captain, Lt. Uwe Kuennemann promoted to Captain.

Capt. Mitchell has been promoted to Major; Col. Barbier has been promoted to General de Brigade; Col. Alemany has been promoted to General de Brigade; Major Guerri has been promoted to Colonel.Todd Davis to Colonel, Andrew Chaytor to Captain.

Wayne Crotts to Colonel and Steve Davenport to Major. Jean-Marie Barbieri to Colonel.

British: Anthony Barlow to Captain. Paul Harris to Captain. Jane Weightman to Major. Charles Upton to Captain. Rodrigo Leon to Captain.

Russian: Not Available.

Prussian: Mauro Crestini to Lieutenant Colonel; Steve Takacs to Major; Richard Housgate to Captain.


New Scenarios and Updates


Our sources inform us that Talonsoft is in the final developmental stages for its newest Napoleonic battleground game, and the early intelligence has pegged it as a winner.

The game will be a campaign-style match-up of marching and counter-marching, my spies inform me, with tactical encounters at odds and strengths flowing from the strategic level. It’s scheduled to be released in the third or fourth quarters of 1999, and playtesters have reportedly been raving about it.

"You will fight a series of battles resulting in a campaign conclusion or even the war itself," said one source close to the game design team.

One feature sure to please NWC members – and somewhat dampen the debate over skirmishing scum – is that casualties will no longer be calculated in bunches of 25. They’ll be calculated individually, meaning those pesky voltigeurs can no longer pick off your chaps 25 at a time: more like one or two at a time.

Stay tuned for more details.


On the Internet

This is a new feature in our newsletter: a selection of the best of Napoleonic and related internet sites, for the discriminating NWC web-browser.

For our inaugural edition we have three suggested sites:

1. The Unofficial Battleground Waterloo Home Page A must-see for the beginning club player and one I still find myself checking out from time to time. Chock full of interesting, even vital, information for BGW players, although since it’s run by an officer in the British Army I may be biased. The Tips & Tactics section alone makes this well worth the visit.

2. Borodino Battlefield Site Although not the most beautifully designed site on the Web, this has some fascinating information and pictures of the battlefield. For the NiR enthusiast without the means to travel to Russia, this is the next best thing to being there.

  • 3. King’s German Legion A sight in German and English put together by a group of re-enactors who recreate the KGL of the early 1800s. Great action pictures of the group doing its thing and some great information on this little-known part of Wellington’s army.




    Next Issue

    How should I know? I’m making this up as I go along. But reports of the club NiR tourney are promised, along with the usual kvetching about skirmishers and hopefully a guest editorial on Panzerblitz vs. Napoleonic tactics. I even dare hope for Russian or Prussian army dispatches …

    Submissions to the newsletter are always welcome. Questions, comments, notices of lawsuits or challenges to duels as a result of contents of this newsletter should be addressed to the editor: Col. Chris Wattie c/o