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Quatre Bras slaughter!
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TOPIC: Quatre Bras slaughter!

Quatre Bras slaughter! 2 months, 3 weeks ago #1

  • Chichetr
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Alright, so I'm on my like 8th go to play out the entire battle of Quatre Bras on the French side....am I the only one who finds this battle from their prospective almost impossible to beat? Especially without using the reserve cavalry/1st corps?

I end up taking all objectives quite handily at first, even securing the bassau wood without too much trouble. However, when I go to push on the crossroads (the main objective), I get stopped in my tracks by just massive amounts of Dutch cavalry (the Deaths head primarily). This forces most of my infantry into squares who then begin to be picked off by Anglo/Dutch infantry divisions in startling numbers.

I'm then forced to activate the cavalry reserve to deal with the gobs of Dutch cavalry, however, when they're cleared away finally and we start pushing for the cross roads BOOM, here come thousands upon thousands of Hanover infantry.

By this time, my men are entirely chewed up forcing me to activate d'Erlon's 1st corp very late in the day for that final push on the crossroads, however, it's too late and I end up losing.

I've really tried everything. I even tried diversions on the right near the Nemur road to draw the elite British infantry units away from the main fray to relieve some of the pressure in the centre (this works well but when the deaths head arrive all progress is stymied and it's back to the drawing board).

Let me know if you guys have beat it and what you did specifically, I'd love to hear it!
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Re: Quatre Bras slaughter! 2 months, 3 weeks ago #2

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Been a while, but I know this challenge well. Be assured that this scenario can be won, it's designed and tested to that end. If you maintain a positive engagement score along with securing all the possible objectives then a Major Victory score should happen, with the exception of the crossroads objective points, they shouldn't be needed. After you secure ALL the points possible for the last waypoint objective, 4000 points, your MV score should be achieved. Make sure you hold this objective set, Bossu Wood North, through Bossu Wood North IV. From that point on it's a matter of protecting that score by withdrawing away from the allies superior numbers.

Thanks for the report. Glad to see you're getting your money's worth. But I understand your angst, achieving the satisfaction of a Major Victory over a challenging scenario is our rush, and I aim to provide that rush amid constant immersion. Gotta also thank the SOW testers who helped shape and legitimize this scenario along historical accuracy lines. Without their input this scenario, or this set of scenarios in fact, wouldn't have near the same appeal or reach the quality inherent, as designers going alone.
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Re: Quatre Bras slaughter! 2 months, 3 weeks ago #3

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RebBugler wrote:
Thanks for the report. Glad to see you're getting your money's worth.


Thanks a lot for the reply, Reb!

Yeah, I'm absolutely in love with each of the Waterloo installments, I have to say though I think Quatre Bras may be my favorite...despite the frustrations of a still elusive major victory haha. I have to say, you guys put out stunners each and every installment. So thanks to all of you developers and all the testers indeed!

Now, question, can you circle on the mini map WHERE exactly the Bossu wood should be held? I think that might be my problem after seeing what you wrote, did not know that there were TWO section of wood to be held. I just put a battalion in the wood with some cavalry support and chase the Dutch out of there....was not aware of a second hold point.
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Re: Quatre Bras slaughter! 2 months, 3 weeks ago #4

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RebBugler wrote:
Been a while, but I know this challenge well. Be assured that this scenario can be won, it's designed and tested to that end. If you maintain a positive engagement score along with securing all the possible objectives then a Major Victory score should happen, with the exception of the crossroads objective points, they shouldn't be needed. After you secure ALL the points possible for the last waypoint objective, 4000 points, your MV score should be achieved. Make sure you hold this objective set, Bossu Wood North, through Bossu Wood North IV. From that point on it's a matter of protecting that score by withdrawing away from the allies superior numbers.

Thanks for the report. Glad to see you're getting your money's worth. But I understand your angst, achieving the satisfaction of a Major Victory over a challenging scenario is our rush, and I aim to provide that rush amid constant immersion. Gotta also thank the SOW testers who helped shape and legitimize this scenario along historical accuracy lines. Without their input this scenario, or this set of scenarios in fact, wouldn't have near the same appeal or reach the quality inherent, as designers going alone.

Re: Quatre Bras slaughter! 2 months, 3 weeks ago #5

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Now, question, can you circle on the mini map WHERE exactly the Bossu wood should be held? I think that might be my problem after seeing what you wrote, did not know that there were TWO section of wood to be held. I just put a battalion in the wood with some cavalry support and chase the Dutch out of there....was not aware of a second hold point.


Bossu Wood North is activated once the southern Wood is secured and all it's points acquired. But don't wait, leave an adequate 'securing force' then hustle and fight your way north, block incoming reinforcements from the west and secure the north woods as soon as possible. These last Woods's objectives are very near the road, about 500 yards west of the crossroads. Good Luck General!
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Re: Quatre Bras slaughter! 2 months, 3 weeks ago #6

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In addition to what Reb said, its also worth noting that defending in this game is far easier than attacking. So its always worth it to be a bit reckless in taking objectives quickly and then holding them, rather than having to attack an already well defended position. Some of this involves knowing the game's mechanics as well as how to exploit them as well as the engage distances.

One of my favorite formations for dealing with a combined infantry/cavalry attack on a position Im defending with just infantry and artillery is a little diddy I call "The Fortress" and it goes something like this:

Start with an artillery battery(preferably an 8 gun battery)as the center of your defense. On either side of the battery, but FORWARD of it(this forward part is important)you"re going to put a battalion in square formation. So they are out in front of the guns, but on either side of them so the artillery's field of fire is still open. In front of each square you're going to place 100 man skirmisher groups(one in front of each square) This screens the square from being cut to pieces by enemy line infantry, as skirmishers do much better against line infantry than squares do. Make sure the skirmishers are just right in front of the square and not to far forward of it. Skirmishers don't block line of sight, so the square can still fire at the enemy as well. They will just take fewer losses with the skirmishers screening them.

Now you're also going to put a 100 man skirmisher group in front of the artillery battery, again, right in front of them, and for the same reason. They will screen the artillery from being fired on, but they don't block the guns line of sight.

Next on either side of the artillery battery, but behind each square you're going to put a battalion each in assault column. This is your counter attacking force, should it be needed. The end result should look something like this:(not to scale lol)

EDIT: This diagram deforms when I actually try to post it. See my post below this one for an in game picture of the fortress.

skirmishers skirmishers
...... ......
-------- --------
| square | | square |
| | | |
| | skirmishers | |
-------- ........... --------

________ T T T T T T ________
________ artillery ________
________ ________
column column
by by
division division


This is "The Fortress" More fortresses can be linked together by just setting up the same thing and proliferating them to the left and right. If artillery is scarce the formation can lengthened by putting a 100 man skirmisher group, with an assault column right behind them to link one fortress to the next. This lets you spread a bit more ground between each artillery battery to cover a wider area.

Now onto how it works:
The name of the game here is canister fire. There is nothing quite like it in the game when it comes to dealing massive amounts of casualties. But in order to use canister fire your guns must be within 200 yards. Now artillery doesn't deal well when it comes under small arms fire. Once artillerymen start dropping, your guns will quickly rout. That is why I created the fortress(note: I could care less that the fortress isn't historical, it works in game, and that's what counts.)

The main purpose of the fortress is that it protects the artillery, and itself.
As the enemy approaches they will be opened on by the guns. Once within 200 yards the guns will change to canister and the slaughter begins. Inside of 150 yards the skirmishers in front of the squares will open up, then the squares, then the skirmishers in front of the guns etc etc.

Now if the enemy approaching is cavalry it will almost always charge the nearest unit in range. Because of the way the fortress is set up, that unit will be one of the skirmisher units in front of the squares.(This is why I said its important to have the squares forward of the artillery. This way the cavalry doesn't really get a choice of what to charge)
As soon as you see the cavalry go to charge one of the skirmisher units you want to unsplit that skirmisher unit. Unsplitting a skirmisher unit recalls them to their parent battalion and their unit flag immediately disappears. So even though you see them walking back to the parent unit, the game already considers them recalled and they are no longer valid targets.(Yea I know, this is cheap, do you want to win or be honorable? For me winning trumps honor)

At this point because the cavalry has lost its target it will stop to reform. Reform in front of a square it cant charge, while being fired on from said square and bombed on with canister from the artillery. They aren't going to stand there for long. Once they withdraw you can kick out a new skirmisher group to take the place of the one you recalled.

Infantry can be a little trickier, but not much. As they come forward, if they charge the skirmishers in front of the square, same thing, recall them and make the enemy waste a charge on an invalid target. If the infantry reforms into line to out gun the square, then kick out a skirmisher group from the assault column behind the square and send them to a position directly on the enemy units flank. The flank fire, in combination with the squares fire, as well as the canister fire from the guns will send them packing.

If the infantry instead reforms into column and charges the square(Ive seen it happen)and the square loses, immediately counterattack with your assault column while the enemy unit is reforming.(Remember all through this the guns, as well as the skirmishers in front of the guns will be just blasting away at them.) Its very unlikely the enemy unit will stand the counter attack. Once they run off, set up the fortress again.

In a combined cavalry/infantry attack its still much the same. The cavalry will usually attack the closest target, again usually the skirmishers. Again you can recall them and the cavalry is stuck in front of a square it cant charge. If the infantry decides to move towards the artillery and charge the skirmishers defending it, again recall the skirmishers, invalidating them as a target and as the infantry reforms(in front of artillery lol, yea that's fun) countercharge them with whichever assault column is free.(Obviously if the left side of the fortress is under more pressure than the right, you want to counter charge with the right column, and vice versa.)

If done right, and as long as you keep an eye on things, the fortress is virtually impregnable by the AI. A human player, sure. But the AI just cant crack it because it requires a level of combined arms above what the AI is capable of to crack it.

Also when recalling skirmishers to invalidate them as a target, you have to do it as soon as you see the enemy charging, but BEFORE the skirmishers retreat on their own. Once they retreat, you wont have control over them again until they've reached their retreat destination. Which isn't the end of the world. You can either bring them back up, or recall them once they've reached their destination.

Now of course nothing is perfect and nothing in this game ever happens the same way twice. And it does take some practice on the players part in learning how best to use the fortress. However, this is one of my oldest go to formations and I still use it today because it still works. It will take the AI orders of magnitude more troops to overcome the fortress than actually make up the fortress itself, and they will take ridiculous casualties trying. Generally they make one good attempt at it, get smashed, and then back off. Give it a try.
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Re: Quatre Bras slaughter! 2 months, 3 weeks ago #7

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Dammit why is my diagram all messed up from the way it looks when I typed it out??? I put a lot of work into it.

Oh well this is what it looks like in game:

"One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name" - The Call by Thomas Mordaunt
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Re: Quatre Bras slaughter! 2 months, 3 weeks ago #8

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Thanks a lot for the tip Rob! Indeed, this looks like it's a cavalry deathtrap!! Gonna give this a go right now!


Thanks a million Rob!
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Re: Quatre Bras slaughter! 2 months, 3 weeks ago #9

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Chichetr wrote:
Thanks a lot for the tip Rob! Indeed, this looks like it's a cavalry deathtrap!! Gonna give this a go right now!


Thanks a million Rob!


It is. Its also an infantry death trap. The beauty of the fortress is it gives you multiple ways to deal with infantry and cavalry, either separately or together. The skirmishers protect the squares from being decimated by fire from line infantry. The squares protect the rest of the fortress from cavalry. The assault columns are both your source for replenishing skirmisher units, or kicking out additional ones, as well as a counterattacking force in case any enemy units manage to pierce the outer part of the fortress. And all the while your main source of damage is the artillery. They inflict ridiculous casualties at close range, while simultaneously being the most heavily protected part of the fortress. In fact the main purpose of the fortress is to protect the artillery so they can do their thing with impunity. When you really get the fortress mastered its a beautiful thing to watch as waves of enemy units approach and are just blasted to tiny bits.
"One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name" - The Call by Thomas Mordaunt
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