20/20 Hindsight Re-fight #1 Waterloo, Gettysburg, Hastings

Re-fighting famous battles with amateur style omniscience

 

Waterloo – 1815 Waterloo Campaign (Go sooner and all together)

Assuming your armies are in the same position on the day, what can we do at Waterloo to change the result? How would we fight it differently? Not that we necessarily want Napoleon to win, but just want to try and get a different result for the perversity of it…

Apart from not fighting (Wellington has chosen awesome ground) the obvious change is NOT to throw the French cavalry in unsupported. Duh. And let’s not waste time and so many lives on those buildings. Or waste the entire flippin’ morning for that matter – the Prussian army is still out there somewhere! And yep it rains the night before but we will still get moving at dawn. It’s gonna be bloody muddy…but that’s war.

Ok some fast scouting at dawn on Wellington’s deployments… yep the Anglo-Dutch force is on/behind the ridge and in those houses. OK let’s get Wellington unbalanced with some serious flanking action. Start wide flank marches to the east and west, beyond Hougoumont and Papelotte, with sizeable forces (of infantry, cavalry and mobile artillery) given orders to make demonstrations on each flank in the mid-morning and to follow up any opportunities.

Not waiting for the ground to dry out, the artillery barrage will start at 10am -put sacks under the wheels, or planks from buildings for fucks sake, you don’t want to wait for the Prussians to join in! Perforate and burn Hougoumont, La Haye Sainte and Papelotte, paste any regiments in the open and of course target the enemy artillery.

At midday in the centre, send in swarms of Voltiguers (skirmishers) to snipe artillery, closely followed by wide columns of infantry right behind them. These columns are spaced to allow use of mobile artillery and allow cavalry access to front. Cavalry follows up the columns in close reserve. Another large cavalry force (say 4000) will be sent around the extreme left and/or right flank once the smoke is up and obscuring their movements.

Upon close infantry contact on the ridge, the Voltiguers join the infantry columns, the mobile artillery is to fire grape shot, and then the cavalry is to charge through the gaps. Ideally the flanks are simultaneously engaged and French cavalry is also in the English rear either harrying the infantry or engaging the English cavalry. Then, when the enemy is in square, French infantry columns are to rapidly advance and break through. French Cavalry runs down the broken English. All going well, the French infantry redeploy when the Prussians are sighted on the right flank.

Viva la France (especially if they had radios and drone observation cameras).

 

Gettysburg –1863 American Civil War (Go around them thar hills)

I don’t want to see the Confederates win (slavery is fuckin’evil) but it is an interesting exercise to see if they can. This one ain’t rocket science- Johnny Reb shouldn’t fight here, period.

But if you must fight here…assuming on Day 1 that you still have no cavalry (bitch slap Jeb Stuart) and General Johnson doesn’t take Culp’s Hill (*facepalm*)… on Day 2, screw fighting at the north end at Cemetery Hill near Gettysburg. And screw deception marching, just get your forces moving early and where you intend ASAP.

Fight the western battle at Peach Orchard and Devil’s Den as it happened with exception of actually flanking Little Round Top. I mean really, it’s the last occupied hill, go around it! Around it you hear! And then up it, en masse from all directions. Then roll north down the ridge line.

On the eastern front it is a similar deal (but slightly riskier by over extension). The Rebs need to get to Culp’s Hill earlier and follow orders (“demonstrations” means pretend to fight, not going hell for leather at fortified hills ya twits!) Ideally they go south around Culp’s Hill and if no one is on the lower hill, take it and hold it until reinforced- then keep on going up! Basically if the hills are occupied, the Rebs either demonstrate or go around, then up. When enough of the Rebs get onto Lower Culp’s Hill then they can either move north into the rear of the breast works on Culp’s Hill proper (and a helluva fight), or move west across the Baltimore Pike and towards the rear of the Union flank on Cemetery Ridge.

Yes, yes your lines of communication will be stupidly long but if you hold the high ground and the neighbouring units join you, the Union boys will expend themselves on your lines (not vice versa). If the Union army grows a pair and fully attacks one of the separated halves – pull back to a defensible spot (onto high ground or over a creek) while the other half moves into the Union rear.

If any of that works you’ll have a real fight on your hands and possibly relocate the centre of the rebel army to the south of Union core. And General Lee might actually make a good decision the next day.

Failing all that, just march away towards Washington pinheads, Gettysburg is terrible ground for the Rebs, and fight somewhere (anywhere) else.

 

 

1066 – Stamford Bridge and Hastings (2 Battles, 3 Idiots and 1 Lucky Bastard)

This one I wouldn’t mind seeing turn out differently…

The Vikings invade England, capture York and are waiting for hostages to be delivered. Hardrada, the Viking King, at Stamford bridge didn’t have scouts or look outs, and his troops didn’t bring their armour. The English army marches up from the south and catch Hardrada napping. Like a prat he choses to stay and fight when the enemy were tired from marching and were encumbered! He should run back to his ships, gear up and have at it the next day! And even when they did fight at Stamford Bridge they could have held the bridge, but instead fought once enemy were across the water. Sure obviously there were “REASONS”, but for fucks sake dude, no scouts and no armour WTF!!! What were you thinking!?

OK so Harald Godwinson, the English King, wins Stamford – not hard when fighting idiots is it? Then the bad news arrives about those Norman bastards invading too …yeah bummer, but you can do it man! You head south to Hastings. Your house carls/men are double knackered and probably beat up/ wounded too. Not to mention short of arrows, and their gear is damaged. You probably rally the southern fyrd on the way but instead of: maximising your numbers; whittling the Normans down; removing all the food from the area; waiting William out; letting him come to you away from his ships; and you getting an overwhelming force together…you go in as soon as you can!

Loser.

Sure the location of Battle is good ground, but seriously who really wants to risk it (again, I might add) when you could easily wait him out. Yes yes he is trashing your home turf but swallow that Saxon pride and use your Saxon brain!

William, you lucky bastard. A seaborne invasion versus an enemy who knows you are coming, who has hundreds of years experience versus seaborne invaders! Seriously, it’ll never work in a thousand years. Harold Godwinson will lure you away from your ships, denude the land, starve you out, snipe you, poison you, gather an overwhelmingly huge army then eventually pick good ground where you have to go to him and …

Oh ok the Vikings have invaded in the North right when you are ready to go… that was lucky. Oh but the Anglo Saxons won and are coming back… get out now before you are crushed.

Harold has the high ground, don’t fight here William. Your cavalry charges are uphill and just won’t break the English – withdraw now!

Your archery is making no headway versus their shield wall, your men think you are dead, and actually run away on the left flank – go home now!

Oh you wipe out the pursuit and they repeatedly fall for the same old fake retreat, that’s lucky. Your men stick around – lucky. Harold cops an arrow, lucky. And somehow you grind out the Anglo-Saxons and win the day. WTF!

Oh the other guy was stupider.
Like I said… 3 idiots, but 1 lucky bastard.

But if Harold had to fight here on that day… He has to give strict instructions to all commanders not to pursue off the hill. EVER. Get the fyrd to use the shields of the fallen and make a wall of bodies that the Normans must cross. Shoot those arrows back downhill (please tell me you brought your own archers?!). And lastly Harold, get a shield over your head/ don’t look up.