Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Portable Ligny - Looking Back...

It was whilst reading Marin Rapier's own One Hour Ligny, and how that Portable Wargame went, that I began to look back at my own version, played out some 18 months back. Although the outcomes were rather different, both games indicated that the Armee du Nord had no easy time of it edging the Prussian army behind the Ligny Stream.

The big difference is that Martin played his action out on a 9x9 hex board; mine was on a 15x12 array - in numbers hex-grid cells, twice as large. His game took an hour to play, apparently; mine a deal longer (though I was in no mad rush at the time).

Looking back, though,  I discovered that for some reason I had omitted to append my Orders of Battle for this action on my 15x12 hex-board. The omission was probably deliberate, though I can't really think why, now. I thought what I would do is piece together the OOB for both sides and link back - for anyone interested in checking out the narrative. Here we go:

Armee du Nord:

Commander: Emperor Napoleon = 6SP
III Corps: General Vandamme = 3SP
7th Division (attached from II Corps) - 2 stands (@ 4 figures), 3SP + 5SP = 8SP
8th Division - 2 stands, 6SP + 5SP = 11SP
10th Division - 2 stands @ 6SP = 12SP
11th Division - 2 stands @ 4SP = 8SP
3rd Cavalry Division - 1 stand (@ 3 figures) = 3SP
III Corps Artillery - 1 stand = 2SP
        Total Corps = 47SP

IV Corps: General Gerard = 3SP
12th Division - 2 stands, 4SP + 2SP = 6SP
13th Division - 2 stands @ 4SP = 8SP                                                                                                          14th Division - 2 stands @ 4SP = 8SP
7th Cavalry Division - 1 stand = 2SP
IV Corps Artillery - 1 stand = 2SP
        Total Corps = 29SP

VI Corps: Count Lobau = 3SP
19th Division - 1 stand = 4SP
20th Division - 2 stands @ 4SP = 8SP
21st Division - 2 stands, 3SP + 2SP = 5SP
VI Corps Artillery - 1 stand = 2SP                                                                                                                         Total VI Corps = 22SP

I (Light) Cavalry Corps: General Pajol = 3SP
4th Cavalry Division (Hussars) = 3SP
5th Cavalry Division (Lancers) = 3SP
        Total I Cav Corps = 9SP

II (Dragoon) Cavalry Corps: General Exelmans = 3SP
9th Cavalry Division = 4SP
10th Cavalry Division = 4SP
        Total II Cav Corps = 11SP

IV (Heavy) Cavalry Corps: General Milhaud = 3SP
13th Cavalry Division = 3SP
14th Cavalry Division = 3SP
        Total IV Cav Corps = 9SP

Imperial Guard: General Drouot (vice Marshal Mortier) = 3SP
Old Guard - 2 stands @ 4SP = 8SP (Elite)
Middle Guard - 2 stands @ 4SP = 8SP (Elite)
Young Guard - 2 stands @ 4SP = 8SP (Elite)
Guard Heavy Cavalry = 2SP (Elite)
Guard Artillery = 3SP (Elite)
        Total Imperial Guard = 32SP

Total Armee du Nord:
Command = 27SP
Horse = 27SP
Foot = 102SP
Guns = 9SP
Grand total = 164SP

Prussian Army:

Commander: Generalfeldmarschall Furst Blucher von Wahlstatt  = 6SP
I Army Corps: Generalleutenant von Ziethen = 3SP
1 Brigade:
    2 line regiment stands @ 3SP = 6SP (average)
    1 landwehr regiment stand = 3SP (poor)
2 Brigade:
    1 line regiment stand = 3SP
    2 landwehr regiment stands @3SP = 6SP
3 Brigade:
    2 line regiment stands @3SP = 6SP
    1 landwehr regiment stands = 3SP
4 Brigade:
    1 line regiment stand = 3SP
    1 landwehr regiment stand = 3SP
I Corps Cavalry:
    2 Cavalry Brigades @3SP = 6SP
I Corps Artillery = 2SP
        Total I Army Corps = 44SP

II Army Corps: 

Generalmajor von Pirch = 3SP

5 Brigade*:

    2 line regiment stands @ 3SP = 6SP (average)
    1 landwehr regiment stand = 3SP (poor)
6 Brigade:
    2 line regiment stand @3SP = 6SP
    1 landwehr regiment stands=3SP
7 Brigade:
    2 line regiment stands @3SP = 6SP
    1 landwehr regiment stands = 3SP
8 Brigade:
    2 line regiment stand @3SP = 6SP
    1 landwehr regiment stand = 3SP
II Corps Cavalry:
    1 Cavalry Brigades = 3SP
    2 Cavalry Brigades @ 2SP = 4SP
II Corps Artillery = 2SP
        Total II Army Corps = 48SP

III Army Corps: Generalleutenant Graf Bulow = 3SP
9 Brigade*:
    2 line regiment stands @ 3SP = 6SP (average)
    1 landwehr regiment stand = 3SP (poor)
10 Brigade:
    1 line regiment stand = 3SP
    1 landwehr regiment = 3SP
11 Brigade:
    2 landwehr regiment stands @3SP = 6SP
4 Brigade:
    1 line regiment stand = 3SP
    2 landwehr regiment stands @ 3SP = 6SP
III Corps Cavalry:
    2 Cavalry Brigades @3SP = 6SP
III Corps Artillery = 2SP
        Total I Army Corps = 41SP

Total Prussian Army:
Command = 15SP
Horse = 19SP
Foot = 99SP
Guns = 6SP
Grand total = 139SP

1 French infantry stands were Brigades, Prussian infantry, regiments.  The Strength Points represented infantry battalions. Note that the Prussian Brigades were the equivalent of French Divisions.
2. French cavalry stands represented Divisions, the Prussian cavalry, Brigades. The Strength Points were allocated per 4 squadrons.
3. In connection with the cavalry I ought probably to have included the cavalry squadrons attached to the Prussian infantry Brigades. This would have added 2SP of cavalry to each Army Corps, bringing the total to 25SP. I would probably have, by each corps, brigaded these together as  2SP units.
4  At 4 infantry figures and 3 cavalry to the stand, the French fielded 100 infantry, 27 cavalry, 9 gunners plus command figures at Army, Corps and Divisional level
5. At the same ratios, the Prussians fielded 132 infantry, 21 cavalry, 6 gunners plus command figures at Army, Corps and Brigade levels. Probably at least 1 more gunner ought to have been added to each of the Prussian artillery stands (3SP each instead of 2) 

Links to the Ligny battle featuring these army lists:

1. Portable Ligny - Heads Up

2. Portable Ligny - Opening Moves   

3. Portable Ligny - The Battle

4. Portable Ligny - Debrief


  1. Hi Ion, I enjoyed Martins post and comment just below you, which I think stands repeating here;

    I have played the Ligny scenario in the Commands and Colors series (GMT) and their map has some ‘contortions’ to it, but I think that is to deal with the Prussian set-up being quite far back and so units were retreating off the table too easily, some ‘misplaced’ villages gave some extra anchor points to keep the Prussians on the table - of itself an interesting dimension to scenario building and tweaking.

    1. Norm -
      Come to think of it, I forgot to mention the 'Command & Colours' version, which appeared in miniatures form in someone's blog a few years ago (I forgot whose - someone in my reading list who does quite a lot of C&C games with figures). I think the 13x9 C&C board just a bit too oblongish for Ligny; it seems to require a playing surface more square, such as the Portable Wargames oeuvre seems to favour. I'd say the same about Waterloo, as well.

      Martin's remarks about the difficulty of the battlefield seem to me apt - but that was indeed due to the area being, even in 1815, I believe, much built over.

    2. I agree, both Waterloo and Ligny are deep battles, more square than oblong. I added a few extra rows of hexes to the 6x8 Waterloo map, and it worked much better. I think Napoleonic battles in general benefit from depth, to accommodate reserves, units arriving etc.

  2. Enjoyed this and enjoying who you linked. The experience of blogs has been very inspiring

    1. Demitri -
      Thank you for your comment. Having looked at your blog, I have added it to my reading list. You are right to note that you don't need huge numbers of figures to get a fine war game going. Here's something from 12 years ago ...
      The next two articles depict a small outpost action with this theme...

  3. I must admit a preference for the smaller games (as distinct from massive battles). Still, I trust I can always learn something from other peoples adventures with toy soldiers (ideas and concepts to “borrow”). Your Byzantiad campaign is probably my favourite 👏👏

    1. Geoff -
      Oh, yes... the Byzantiad - I keep meaning to revive that, but I find myself diving down other rabbit holes. Mind you, my 30YW armies are pretty much complete now. On the other hand, if ever they all appear upon one table, it won't be in a Portable Wargame. The numbers added up surprised even me: roughly 200 Swedish figures, and maybe 250 Imperialist.

      It is a pity, though, that so many decisions about them were made so long ago. With those figures I could have come up with something completely different, with Spanish and French thrown in.

      I have also been thinking, however, about how my armies can be adapted to PW. A couple of options have occurred to me. More on this topic in due course...

  4. I had the pleasure of working closely with Mr Pedro for several years as business partners. During the time that Pedro and his loan company team served as the Mortgage Representative for my home also for my business financing and he helped me closing off loans which really helped me in my business today, we were consistently far above our goal and this can only be attributable to Mr Pedro's hard work. I appreciate your hard work and also big thanks to your team for helping me with a loan to grow my business. If you are looking for a loan of any kind, contact Mr Pedro
    Whatsapp +393510140339 Mr Pedro is an honest loan officer working with a huge number of investors willing to finance any project.
    Thankfully, over time our relationship grew beyond work and I’m still happy to call him a trusted friend.