Well, the battle continues!
I must say, it is lovely having a space you can leave up as long as you wish! So, here is the next installment of the game! In the center, the Old Guard has launched its attack on the chateau. On the far flank the French infantry have attacked in a massive wave, as the British cavalry there has repeatedly fallen back because of its commanders nervousness... it is all up to the infantry to hold that flank!
If you recall... on the near flank the French cavalry, stymied by the British squares, holds back, waiting for a supporting brigade of infantry to crash though the forests to attack the British. If the French brigade can shake the British allies and then turn on the infantry squares, the French will take that flank! Finally the two sides see each other, the French crashing through the undergrowth, the British allies (and a single unit of Highlanders, sent from the chateau) formed outside the woods, and volleys of musket fire ripple up and down the lines as the French drums push the columns forward.
In the center, the Old Guard comes under fire as the push through the orchard. The French veterans fire one volley and then plunge in, determined to fight it out with the bayonet. Waiting for them are three British brigades, including a brigade of Highlanders... it should be a nasty fight!
Meanwhile, on the far flank, the French waves have pushed forward, trying to flank the smaller British force. The supporting British cavalry, commanded by a cautious officer and far from their divisional commander, have repeatedly fallen back... the commander insists it is a strategic redeployment, but his men cannot help but sniff cowardice... meanwhile the French, leaving one brigade at the front to exchange fire with the dug-in British lines, have largely swamped the side in large, deep columns... can the British hold them back?
Back on the near flank, the French brigade plunged out of the woods and into the Allied troops. Men on both sides fell as volleys of musketfire rolled through the woodline. Despite the French losing many men first one, then a second and a third Allied battalion broke under the pressure. One held, however, long enough for the British cavalry to plunge into the fight. Seeing the British cavalry charge the French cavalry tried twice more to break Colonel Sharpe's squares, but were turned away both times. With a brigade of Highlanders on one flank and the Scots Greys hitting the center, the French brigade finally began to crumble, and French infantry began to stream back through the woods...
In the center the battle around the chateau and the orchard continued... the French Guard pushed through the British musketfire and crushed one battalion of redcoats, sending them fleeing, while the Scottish infantry slowly began to be pushed back. The British infantry in the chateau came under attack from two battalions of Old Guard but were managing to hold on. Seeing how close the fight in the center was, the British brigade under Colonel Smith quickly sent a battalion of infantry to support the center. Swinging along the edge of the orchard the battalion crashed into the flank of the Guard columns and began to push them backwards, away from the chateau. Under this pressure two battalions of Guard broke, having taken casualties assaulting the chateau and being hit in the flank... however, two remained, and two battalions of Guard were still enough to capture the chateau!
Here is a shot of the fleeing French infantry from the woods, as well as two of the Old Guard battalions that broke...
Finally, on the far flank, just as the French seemed destined to crash into the British flank and collapse it under a wave of blue coated infantry, the British cavalry FINALLY advanced! Trumpets blaring and sabers flashing, the entire cavalry brigade crashed into the sea of French infantry before them, just before the French could form square! However, the French were so dense, the bayonets like a hedge, that they were able to keep the screaming cavalrymen from instantly collapsing them, so one brigade was tasked with slowing down the charging cavalry while the other two continued to press the Brunswick troops before them...
So! The French attack through the woods on the near flank was largely turned back, as the Allied troops regained their nerve and began to reform, the battered French cavalry still frustrated by the solid British squares. In the center the chateau is still hotly contested, but the British are quickly reinforcing their position. And on the far flank the battle still hangs in the balance, as both sides are exhausted and units are starting to rout... I'll bring the final installment for this battle as soon as possible!