Saturday, 26 November 2016
The French are coming!
June 15, 1815, 10 o'clock in the morning, at Ligny
I've not had any communications from the British, although I think Wellington may still be in Brussels. A small unit of Hanoverians rode in out of the dawn mist at Binche for a chat with Zeithen. Indications are that there may be Anglo-Dutch forces at Quatre Bras, but again, I have no idea at all how many soldiers are there. The French, however, are most certainly on the move. As expected, they have tried to assault across the river at Dinant, a sneaky move. My division there is under attack as of this morning.
Also, a second attack has come in against the division at Laneffe. Again, the purpose of its presence there was to try to detect where the French were coming from and reinforce accordingly. I've no idea what sort of strength is involved in either area at this stage. It could be a probing attack, it could be a full-blooded assault.
Finally, a third French force is trying to get across at Thuin. The big question is, which one is Napoleon's main thrust?
We also have reports of ANOTHER French force in Mons. I'm hoping my allies may be able to tackle that one, but it does sit on the right flank of the army, which could be problematic. If Napoleon is aiming for Brussels, I think this is the most likely route of his main attack.
Pirch's corps in Charleroi does not look like it will get the opportunity to fight a single opponent, but we need to get a feel for how many troops Napoleon is throwing across the river there. I am not entertaining any hopes of stopping the French there, but we need to reinforce that position today, and find out what is going on. Hence, Pirch is going to have to spread himself a bit wider, and reinforce his front where he can.
In the east, Thielemann is on his own at the moment with III Corps. I'm hoping this won't be a major French thrust against Namur, but if it is, we can handle it. Thielemann just needs to keep his wits about him, and be prepared to fall back if it turns out the main French thrust is there. We'll probably find out by early afternoon if he is in trouble.
In the west, I'm expecting more trouble, although here we have the benefit of the support of the allies on my right flank. The question is whether the English have their wits about them today? Zeithen should be able to handle whatever Napoleon has in Mons, at least until we can get a clearer picture.
I'm keeping some reserves up at Ligny and Gembloux. Why? Just because I'm paranoid. I don't believe in piling in with everything until I have the full picture, which right now I don't. Plus, it would be nice if the entire Prussian army wasn't wrecked in an afternoon. I'm hoping these divisions will be well placed to respond to a crisis, and reinforce where needed. In addition, I want to avoid marching my divisions all over the Belgian countryside, and getting them exhausted.
I'm moving my headquarters to Charleroi, as I want to be closer to where the action is, and to hear the sound of the guns. Plus I hear they do a mean carbonada flamande there, at the sign of Le Coq D'Or.
Generalfeldmarschall von Blucher