‘Affair’ at Le Cateau- 100th Anniversary of World War One

As part of the 100th anniversary of World War one, the Legati group decided to present at least one game a year commemorating the action that took place. The first of these games was a refight of the 1914 “Affair at Cateau.”
Exactly 100 years ago to the day, British troops were retreating from Belgium through France under the leadership of General Smith-Dorrien – World War One had begun. For this game we focused on an action of the British II Corps, who are retreating towards le Cateau closely shadowed by the German First Army. On the 28 August during the Battle of Le Cateau, German cavalry contact the retreating British near the village Moy in Cerizy, a small ‘Affair’ is about to breakout. Luckily, a plucky British journalist was on hand to record the events with his trusty camera.
Sides were: Peter taking charge of the British retreat, and Clay managing the German advance on the village of Moy. The game opened with British troops retreating down a small track winding through the French countryside towards the small village, with the objective of holding off German forces until they could regroup.



On turn one the British went first, and the infantry retreat continued. Other British forces remained concealed awaiting the German advance. On the German turn, three platoons of dismounted cavalry marched in formation across the rolling hills with the objective of taking the village. On their right, mounted German lancers on the road caught up with the British stragglers and melee ensued.


The British held the lancers off well, and on the next turn they were able to disengage and withdraw to the cover of hedges along the roadside for protection. At the same time, a British gun began opening fire across the small valley into the densely packed German ranks across the way.


This British artillery fire was not enough to make an impact though. The German ranks seemed to shrug off the gunfire and marched merrily on their way to Moy.


Meanwhile, the German lancers on the road charged again into the British infantry. This final assault finally witling the infantry away into a disorganized rabble.


Turn three opened with the German cavalry identifying the gun’s potential disruptive effects on the German advance, and so with few men they bravely charged uphill onto the undefended British gun. British troops stoutly defended the gun not willing to give up their lives without a fight. Meanwhile the German dismounted cavalry continued their march on across the hill towards their objective. One their right, one platoon disengaged and moved down onto the road.


On seeing this, the British turn opened with a charge of the 12th lancers, out of cover and down the road bringing the fight to the Germans. Unfortunately for the lancers, their charge did not come off as expected. The Germans, no-doubt stirred by their fellow’s success, proved a better than expected foe, and held the charge.

Final turns, were again better than expected for the Germans. Another squadron of 12th lancers charged out of the trees into the German left but failed to make a significant impact, before being pushed back by a hail of bullets from the remaining platoons of German dismounted cavalry. On the road the British lancers’ charge had also failed, and another withdrawal was made, allowing the Germans to advance. Weiter nach Paris! (Onwards to Paris!)

Overall, the game bucked the lessons of history and playtesting. In play tests the game had unfolded exactly as the real battle, the British lancers were just enough, and held the Germans back from their objective of taking the village. So it was a surprise that the Germans defeated the British this time, and all credit must go to Clay and his Germans for changing the course of history! Rules were Trench Wars by Old Glory Corp, a “beer and pretzels” quick play rule set that allowed the game to flow without being bogged down in page-turning. Although as the title suggests, the rules are not designed for open warfare, they seemed to match well the rapid ebb and flow of cavalry action in the French countryside. Lots of positive comments were made about the armies and terrain, and Clay was kind enough to say he really enjoyed the game. Forwards to the trenches!


Guns of August 2014


      Once again Williamsburg Legati did what it could to support our local Williamsburg conventions.


     Chris and family were present with their company The Phalanx Consortium, and were actively promoting Skirmish Sangin and the related Radio Dish Dash products.

The Phalanx Consortium Table

The Phalanx Consortium Table


     Chris also ran two Demo games on his beautiful Afghanistan board, one in the evening both on Friday and Saturday.

Coalition Troops in the irrigation canal

Coalition Troops patrolling the irrigation canal



Afghans in the poppies


    On Saturday afternoon Peter offered his Mons game.  This was a Trench Wars game based upon one of the actions at Mons in 1914 and his the first official game of our clubs commemoration of the centennial of World War I. The scenario has German lancers pursuing a column of retreating British tommies while the rest of the German forces try to take the town.  I did get some pictures to share with you but for some reason the  were completely black when I loaded them onto the computer.  I will try to get some pics from peter to share with you all here.

    I ran two games.  The first was Friday night. this was a Sharp Practice game set in Spain.  Members of the 60th American were being chased by the French 4th Dragoons.


Peter moving his forces

       Peter and three others played in this game.  The British were so successful that they managed to make their objective (driving away the enemy and the get off the board) before the larger threat of French men even arrived! 


Dragoons enter on the first game

      All players agreed to a second game however with a few alterations one of which was to allow the reinforcements to arrive earlier!


Rifles defending the farm

Rifles defending the farm


    This alteration made the world of difference.  the game unfolded much like the first, though with more British casualties than the first.  However just as they left their cover and made their run for the board edge, the Dragoon reinforcements arrived!




     The Dragoons ended up dismounting and chasing the rifles off into the hills and away from their objective. for a French victory!

    My second game was Friday evening, and was a Fall of France World War Two scenario using Chain of Command as the rules.  Again with four players, the Germans were of the advance with orders to drive the french away from their positions on the outskirts of Etalle in Belgium. 

The board before the battle

The board before the battle

    The Germans held the initiative through most of this game though the French very valiantly repelled an assault for the farmhouse on their left.

Germans moving through the trout stream

Germans moving through the trout stream

      Perhaps cocky from their victory on the left, the French squad on the right tried to assault the other farm house.  Here it was the Germans who proved victorious.  The French realized that they had suffered to many causalities and they chose to fall back leaving the Germans victorious.

French men supporting the assault

French men supporting the assault


    Now we are back to are usual Wednesday night schedule until the next convention in February.  See you all at Williamsburg Muster!





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