Friday, December 31, 2010

Battle of Albuera - Part Two

Move 1

The French start the battle on blinds, and the British and Spanish both wait to spot them before reacting.

On the left Gazan’s corps is spotted at once, and have to place all of their figures in column of march one behind the other. At the end of the move they are still crossing the ford, which prevents the horse artillery from doing so.
On the left Gazan’s corps cross the ford, they have to place the figures on the table one behind the other. This blocks the ford for the horse artillery of the cavalry corps.

On the right Girard’s corps approach the river with their extra artillery in front.

Gazan’s corps cross the river ford

Girard’s corps approach the river to the left of Albuera.

Move 2

The French cavalry cross the river to the left of the ford, and Soult takes command of their artillery which can only cross by the ford.

On the left Gazan’s corps still struggle across the ford.

On the right Girard’s corps near the river and his artillery fire on the Spanish infantry.

On the far left the French cavalry have crossed the river and pushed ahead on blinds as they are out of sight of the allied generals. To their right Gazan’s corps continue to cross the ford.

On the right Girard’s corps deploy this side of the river to keep the British pinned in Albuera. Their artillery now command the far bank to support Gazan’s attack.
Gazan’s corps cross the ford. Behind them Soult brings forward the horse artillery.

Girard’s reinforced artillery have deployed at the river bank to prevent the allied army moving to the ridge from Albuera.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Battle of Albuera - Part One

Historical background

In April 1811 General Beresford fought this battle to stop Marshal Soult from raising the siege of Badajoz.
Historical Map

Historical Orbat

Beresford British - 20,310 infantry 1,146 cavalry 36 guns
Blake Spanish - 14,634 infantry 1,887 cavalry 14 guns
Soult French - 24,260 infantry 4,112 cavalry 60 guns

Wargame Orbat

Beresford British - 48 infantry 8 cavalry 2 guns
Blake Spanish - 32 infantry 4 cavalry 1 gun
Soult French - 64 infantry 16 cavalry 4 guns

Table at start of battle

Blakes Spanish division is deployed on the left between the hill and Albuera. Cole’s British division is on the right in and behind the village. Stewart’s British division will arrive at the start of move two on the Badajoz road.

The French are on the nearside of the table, but are on blinds as they have not yet been spotted.

Special Rules

The allied army has four generals. Both Beresford and Blake are Poor, Stewart and Cole are both Average.

The French also have four generals. Soult is Gifted, the remainder are Average.

The river is fordable to infantry or cavalry, but they are disordered during the move they cross. Artillery can only cross by the bridge or ford.

Wellington and Massena may give orders to any commander or brigade, but they must be in base contact to do so. Such brigades must not have already carried out orders during the current move, and may not do so until the next move.

The Spanish division start the game on Hold orders and facing the river

Cole’s division also starts the game on Hold orders, in and around Albuera.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Battle of Fuentes de Orono - Part Five

Move 8

On the left the French push the British supports back from Poco Vehlo. In the centre the Portuguese infantry receive artillery casualties and rout. On the right the French infantry approach the river.

At Poco Vehle the French have been ordered to attack. They two brigades cross the stream and push the defenders back shaken. The third brigade attacks the village, but is routed by the rifles.

Wellington is in serious trouble at Fuentes de Orono. His Portuguese brigade is in rout and four infantry brigades are closing on the village.

Move 9

The French attack on the left has stalled, two brigades are in rout and a third shaken. On the opposite flank things are going much better. In the centre the dragoons have broken the square, who are now in rout with the Portuguese, plus the gunners who were sheltered by the square. Two more French brigades are crossing to the left of Fuentes de Orono to join the centre.

The French attack on Poco Vehlo has failed. They have routed one enemy brigade, but the rifles still hold the village. The French have lost two brigades and the third is shaken. The dragoons continue to pin the garrison, and the artillery to fire, but there are no fresh infantry to take the village.

Wellington is about to order a withdrawal from Fuentes de Orono. The French dragoons have broken the square and sent it in rout after the Portuguese. There are four French infantry brigades approaching the village.


This was a very close fought battle, which could have gone either way.

The French took advantage of the weakly held centre to push cavalry across the stream. They then forced two lots of gunners to abandon their guns, which in turn allowed the French infantry to cross.

The rifles held Poco Vehlo right to the end. The French infantry were disordered as they forded the stream, and were broken by accurate rifle fire from the village.

It was a French victory, but only just. Wellington still had sufficient infantry to cover his retreat.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Battle of Fuentes de Orono - Part Four

Move 6

The French continue to cross the river in the centre. The cavalry have forced the gunners of two batteries to abandon their guns, and continue to threaten to prevent them from returning.

Close up of the action around Poco Vehlo. The French cavalry prevent the gunners returning to their guns. Two French brigades have closed on the river and are skirmishing with the defending British brigade. French artillery have inflicted casualties on the rifle brigade, but they continue to hold the village.

Close up of the action around Fuentes de Orono. Wellington has moved the square sheltering the gunners nearer to the village to protect the flank of the Portuguese brigade. With the threat from the British artillery removed the French are approaching the river.

Move 7

On the left the French are exchanging fire with Poco Vehlo. The cavalry in the centre continue to dominate the allied artillery, the brigade on the right is moving to allow the supporting infantry to approach the square. On the right the French are also closing on Fuentes de Orono.

Close up of Poco Vehlo. The French artillery have failed to cause sufficient casualties on the rifles to force them to abandon the village. Their infantry are not ready to assault the village and continue to exchange skirmish fire.

Close up of Fuentes de Orono. The British continue to hold their position. The French are deployed and ready to engage the defenders. Out of sight on the left the British artillery have routed a French brigade which was attempting to engage the village.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Battle of Fuentes de Orono - Part Three

Move 4

The French have crossed the river in the centre, and their leading dragoon brigade have forced the British hussars to retreat. The British artillery to their right have inflicted casualties on the leading infantry brigade, but they have made their morale.

Close up of the action around Poco Vehlo. The British hussars have retreated after a melee with the French dragoons. The British gunner have abandoned their guns and taken refuge in the village. The second French dragoon brigade, supported by two infantry brigades, are about to cross the river.

Move 5

On both flanks Wellington has brought up his infantry in line to fire on the French as they cross the river. The French dragoons have crossed in the centre, and are facing both left and right to cover the supporting infantry as they cross the river.

At Poco Vehlo the French cavalry deploy to cover the infantry as they cross the river. The leading brigade has suffered two casualties from British artillery, and is Shaken.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Battle of Fuentes de Orono - Part Two

Move 1

The British are on the top of the photograph and all figures are on the table. The French are advancing from the bottom of the table. They have not yet been identified by the British so they are shown as a skirmish screen. When they move within spotting distance (24”) of a French general he will dice to spot them each time they move.

Move 2

All of the French commands have now been spotted and the figures placed on the table. There are three commands. On each flank are three infantry brigades supported by artillery. In the centre a mixed command of elite infantry and mounted dragoons

The French left hand column is within artillery range of Poco Vehlo and has unlimbered their artillery. They are currently on Move orders, which means that they can move towards the enemy but not attack them. Marshal Massena is approaching from the right to change their orders to Engage.

Move 3

The centre French column has reached the river Dos Casas and the enemy artillery has limbered to redeploy and fire on them as they cross. The left hand dragoon brigade has made its morale for an opportunity charge and forced the enemy gunners to seek safety in the village. The supporting British hussars failed their morale and were unable to counter charge.

The Brtish gunners have abandoned their guns and taken refuge in Poco Vehlo, which is held by the rifle brigade. The supporting Portuguese brigade has formed square to contain the enemy dragoons. The British hussars have failed to charge the enemy dragoons as they crossed the river because they failed their morale.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Battle of Fuentes de Orono - Part One

Historical Map

Historical Orbat

Wellington - 34,000 infantry - 1,864 cavalry - 48 guns

Massena - 42,000 infantry - 4,662 cavalry - 38 guns

Wargame Orbat

Wellington 56 infantry - 8 cavalry - 3 guns

Massena 64 infantry - 16 cavalry - 2 guns

Table at start

Wellington’s army is deployed on the table at the start of the game. They are on the far side of the table. The building on the right is Fuentes de Orono, the one on the left is Poco Velho.

Massena’s army enters the table on blinds anywhere along the nearest edge. When they are spotted the figures will be placed on the table.

Special Rules

The British have three generals

The French have three generals, but they may have one more if they combine cavalry or artillery to form a reserve

The river is fordable to infantry or cavalry, but they are disordered during the move they cross. Artillery can only cross by a bridge.

Wellington and Massena may give orders to any commander or brigade, but they must be in base contact to do so. Such brigades must not have already carried out orders during the current move, and may not do so until the next move.

Crauford’s command at Poco Vehlo, overlooked by Wellington with the cavalry brigade

Spencer’s command at Fuentes de Orono

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Battle of Busaco - Part Six

Move 9

On the left the French have reached the ridge and routed the Portuguese infantry. The remaining British brigade moves to counter attack and drive them from the hill.

On the right the French have finally taken Moura and are preparing to move up the hill. Wellington has sent a fresh brigade down from the ridge to retake the village.

The French on the left have mounted the hill, but the British infantry and artillery are redeploying to meet them. The rifles have withdrawn from Moura and a fresh brigade is ready to replace them.

Two French brigades have climbed the hill but the Portuguese brigade have routed. The British infantry and artillery are trying to redeploy to engage them.

The riflemen have withdrawn from Moura leaving the French in possession. But a fresh British brigade has moved through them and is about to enter the village to drive the disordered French out.

Move 10

On the left the British counter attack has driven the French from the ridge. On the right the British have retaken Moura and the French have withdrawn in disorder. The French attack is in a shambles and Massena orders both corps to withdraw to regroup.

The French are in retreat. On the left all four infantry brigades are in rout and the British still hold the hill. French cavalry have moved forward in the centre, but the enemy infantry have formed square on the hill. The French have been routed from San Antonio.

On the left the French have been driven off the hill and are in retreat. All four French brigades on this flank are in rout.

Both French brigades are in rout from Moura. Their artillery are badly positioned to support them. The remaining two infantry brigades are still formed, but are ordered back to cover the withdrawal of the whole French army.

Wellington has held his position and most of the French infantry are in rout. There is sufficient infantry left, plus the cavalry and artillery, to prevent a British advance. Wellington has achieved his objective and the battle was a clear victory for him.

Casualties on both sides have been light, and Wellington will have to retreat before the French outflank his ridge and force him to fight again when their superior cavalry and artillery can be used to full advantage.

French 14 infantry 0 cavalry 0 gunners
British 12 infantry 0 cavalry 0 gunners

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Battle of Busaco - Part Five

Move 7

As the French approach the ridge on the left they receive casualties from British artillery, but must continue to attack due to their orders.

The French have entered Moura on the right and taken most of the village, but the light division continues to hold the edge of the village nearest to the ridge.

As Reynier (on left) approaches the ridge he suffers casualties from enemy artillery. On the opposite flank Ney has driven the rifles back into Moura (building removed for hand to hand fighting) .

The two French brigades on the left have suffered casualties and are shaken. The two on the right are still out of range. Marshal Reynier is on attack orders so must continue to advance until his orders are changed.

Massena has joined Ney to change his orders to attack. The rifles have retreated to the rear of Moura, and have suffered casualties. The brigade behind the village in square is to cover the retreat of the riflemen should that be necessary.

Move 8

The French have started to suffer heavy casualties, particularly on the left. But they are on Attack orders and must continue to try to attack as long as they have formed troops.

The light division are holding on to Moura and have beaten back the first French attack.

Marshal Reynier (on left) has routed the Portuguese brigade, but he has lost two of his own brigades on his left. The riflemen holding Moura, despite their casualties, have routed the leading French brigade and shaken the reserve brigade. The French attack is not going well.

The fighting in Moura is intense. The riflemen have driven off the first French attack, and the rout has disordered the French reserve brigade. However the rifles now have heavy casualties and must be replaced before the French can regroup and launch a fresh attack.

Marshal Reynier has lost the two brigades on his left, but has routed the enemy on his right. He must press home the attack and hope to take the ridge before the enemy can redeploy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Battle of Busaco - Part Four

Move 5

With the withdrawal of the allied artillery from the ridge, and the light division from the village, the whole French line moves forward.

The French cavalry attempt to cut off the light division from the ridge, but are held at bay by the infantry square.

The French on the left have moved forward as the enemy artillery have withdrawn.

The French cavalry in the centre move forward to take advantage of the withdrawal from the village.

To their right infantry move forward to occupy the village.

The artillery of the centre and right move to concentrate on the right hand ridge.

British artillery on the right hand ridge have moved forward again to fire on the approaching French infantry.

French infantry move forward to occupy the village.

Their artillery move into position to engage the enemy guns on the ridge.

Move 6

Massena orders his centre and left to pin the enemy opposite

The main attack is delivered on the right.

The British gunners manhandle their guns to the front of the ridge and open fire on the approaching infantry.

Marshal Massena has ordered Reynier to attack the British right hand ridge.

Ney will hold their centre and left supported by the cavalry.

Artillery on the British right ridge have moved forward and opened fire on the approaching French infantry, but failed to inflict any casualties.

Two French infantry brigades, supported by the cavalry, move forward to occupy the village. The artillery is moving into position to pin the enemy infantry on the ridge.