General de Brigade: Big Napoleonics

Nikfu, DerFels, and company regularly put up very large games of General de Brigade with their 28mm collections. Here are some impressions.

general de brigade napoleonic
GdB Deluxe Edition

The rules are written by David C.R. Brown, who in more recent years worked with Reisswitz Press and released rules sets such as Pickett’s Charge, General d’Armée and it seems like his upcoming battalion-level WW2 wargame ‘O’ Group.

General de Brigade has been around for a long time and has a lot of fans. Much more than this though – it’s the rules which a number of Napoleonics players in the Vienna area can agree on. This is a rarity in itself and something to be cherished.

general de brigade napoleonic

So the guys meet up every few months and put on a large game with large figures. This weekend it was the Battle of Wavre, 18th to 19th June 1815.

general de brigade napoleonic
Setup photo (picture credits: Michael Osman)

Unfortunately I was rather late to the game. In fact, the game was over when I arrived, but I got a few shots of the peak of the battle, frozen in time, before the figures were put back in their boxes.

general de brigade napoleonic
French artillery
general de brigade napoleonic

Here’s an eyewitness account of the battle:

On the right flank despite both french artillery batteries falling low on ammo, the infantry managed to get into the outskirts of Wavre and across the River. On the French left flank the division tried to charge and make contact, but prussian musketry kept pushing them back. Eventually the french began to make progress and the Prussians were slowly pushed back. But in the End it was a Prussian victory.

– French officer

Right at the centre on the Northwestern shore of Dyle River the Prussians broke through French lines.

general de brigade napoleonic
general de brigade napoleonic
Prussian attack columns haste to wedge into the hole in the French line
general de brigade napoleonic

While the French left took a hefty beating (they even lost a brigadier!), the right flank started an attack over the bridge and into Wavre, but couldn’t manage to establish a bridgehead as the city was swarming with Prussian soldiers.

general de brigade napoleonic

When the battle ended the Prussians were declared winners.

general de brigade napoleonic

Not the least because there was so bloody many of them! Here’s the Landwehr infantry reserve.

general de brigade napoleonic

…and the cavalry:

general de brigade napoleonic

All seemingly untouched and fresh.

In the end though it’s not about who wins and who loses, especially with these games. It’s the spectacle and having a fun afternoon out with friends. Must have been 7 or 8 players in total and it seemed like the guys enjoyed themselves. Which is nice.

Skirmish games are good fun, and don’t require much gaming space, but they just can’t beat the spectacle of a proper large battle. Even if it’s maybe more figures than required, it’s just good to get the collection out and on the table.

I hope that you enjoyed the pictures!

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