Friday, 20 September 2013

Why 1814??

Like a lot of people I've met I was convinced for years that the painting at the top of this Blog depicted Napoleon's retreat from Moscow in 1812.  It was many years later that I discovered it was entitled 'Napoleon on Campaign' by Ernest Messonier and actually represented the 1814 campaign. It was shortly after this that I bought a framed print of the painting at the Reading wargames show.  That was over twenty years ago and it's been on my study wall in four different houses since then.

Given that the bi-centennial is fast approaching and my desire to get back to Napoleonic wargamimg I decided that this would be a good campaign to tackle.  I already had Petre's Napoleon at Bay and read through this earlier in the year.  I was amazed at what Napoleon managed to achieve with his 'Marie Louises' against overwhelming numbers of Allied troops. 

From a wargaming perspective the 1814 campaign has a large number of battles ranging in size from La Rothiere and Laon (100,000 Allied troops) to small skirmishes with ambushes and village/town assaults mixed in. There are also a lot of battles with forces of approximately 20,000 men per side, so are a good size for wargames.  In addition, Napoleon participates in all the important engagements and the Guard make up the line infantry and fight from the start of battles, even the old guard in some cases.  Isn’t this every wargamers dream – Napoleon leading an army composed entirely of Imperial Guard?  It certainly works for me.

The other attraction of this campaign is the sheer number of nations involved, quite often in small mixed forces.  This gives me the opportunity to create small combined armies containing a number of different nationalities i.e., Russian, Prussian, Austrian, Wurtemburg, Bavarian, etc. There are also the Anglo-Portugese/Spanish troops involved in the Pyrenees and the Italian/Neopolitans in the Italian theatre.

All of this combined with the 'what if....' scenarios I referred to in my previous post combine to provide a wealth of wargaming opportunities that i want to explore over the next 18 months.


  1. I am building up forces for the 1815 campaign but will follow this as possible inspiration to fight through 1814 as well


  2. Hi Ian, welcome aboard, i've been looking over the posts on your 1815 project and am looking forward to seeing it completed. I might need a few tips as the size of the 1814 battlefields is leading me towards 6mm as well.