Hi All !
Some of you may already know I’m writing a book about Matthew Clay at Hougoumont..., but what you do not know is that the book is simply a ‘mode d’emploi’ for any producer who may find my screen play interesting enough to turn the pages.
Being surrounded by so many experts here, it would be totally absurd to produce a manuscript that didn’t reflect Clay’s movements with precision, leading up to and including the battle..., especially following 200 years of research from Siborne to John Franklin.
As such, any advice would be extremely appreciated !
In the meantime, this is a post with a tactical question concerning the defensive formations and strategies at company level..., in particular, the two Light Companies in the western lane before the attack on the wood.
This research deals with the tactics in the lane before 11h30 and I’m exploring how both Light Companies (CG & SG) were positioned, why they were positioned and how they defended themselves from small-shot coming from the wood and the western cornfield.
To assist with any eventual answer, I created a drawing because in my opinion, the majority of historical maps tell you what’s in the vicinity..., but their maps do not ‘speak’!
Concerning the farm building, my drawing is extremely accurate..., angles are near-perfect and the dimensions are correct to at least a yard.
I then placed the drawing onto a satellite image to relate it to the Sunken Lane and the Chemin du Goumont. I then added a badly positioned pond; but following more research, I’ll probably remodel it and extend it up to the top-left question mark.
I then added the hedgerow similar to the professional maps..., but I’ve placed the bushes inside the satellite markings in order to keep the details visible.
All gardens need an access and as the western byre door was probably used for this purpose, I created two openings.
Google Earth was then used to provide the triangular pasture for the haystack/s.
Lol ! Low and behold..., a ‘speaking’ map ! This now tells us that Clay, at the ‘top’ NW corner of the lane (near Dashwood on his charger) couldn’t have received that much shot from the wood because of the bend in the lane and the downhill drop towards the pond. Also, half the shots fired slightly right would also have ricocheted along the byre wall and would have fallen harmlessly among the vegetables. (or perhaps even onto the French if they were at the extreme NW corner of the garden)
From what I’ve learned so far..., at about 10h00, both light companies of the 2SG and 1CG leave the Sunken Lane and move over to the farm. According to Clay, the SG, having moved along the outside hedgerow that gives onto the cornfield.
Clay’s quote: “We remained in a kneeling position under this cover for some considerable time.” As a consequence, the company had time to create loopholes in the bushes, as they had done earlier on that morning, in the sunken lane.
In the meantime, French skirmishers are crossing the cornfields towards the wood while others approach the garden’s hedgerow.
After the French push the Germans from the wood they install themselves in a secure firing position facing the south gate. And more importantly, (for my research) their left flank has a clear line of fire along the western wall. (as Clay indicated)
Clay then quotes: “Annoyed by a most galling fire from our opponents guns TO THE LEFT of our position so near to us, indeed that the spreading of their small shots rarely escaped contact with our knapsacks and accoutrements, even the heels of our shoes were struck by them.” (still facing west)
According to Clay, Dashwood is on his charger at the NW corner. Note; Clay is at the back of the company with Robert Gann and both are among the last to leave the lane during the attack.
Isn’t it only logical that the CO’s would have positioned a platoon at the SW corner, to stop any enemy advance up the lane ???
It seems so stupid not to return fire !
In John’s book, he has an image of the lane in which he indicates A + B + C + D.
A. Coldstream Light Company (Gooch..., they are indicated as being where they should be by the north wall)
B. 3rd Guards Light Company (Standen..., at the top near the NW corner)
C. Coldstream Light Company (Wyndham..., half way down the lane)
D. 3rd Guards Light Company (Dashwood..., at the bottom)
All criticism and advice would be appreciated !
Kind Regards..., Iain.
- Kitchen garden - 750.jpg (159.49 KiB) Viewed 473 times
Last edited by Iain
on June 20th, 2016, 3:58 am, edited 3 times in total.