Monday, January 25, 2010

Battle of Talavera - Part One

Battle of Talavera

Historical background
In May 1809 Wellesley advanced into Spain and joined the Spanish army of General Cuesta at Oropesa for operations against Marshal Victor at Talavera. Victor withdrew and, against Wellesleys advice, Cuesta pursued him towards Madrid. Victor was joined by King Joseph, and together they drove him back to Talavera.

The French now outnumbered the allies, who were determined to stand and defend Talavera.

Historical Orbat
Wellesley 21,000 infantry 3,000 cavalry 30 guns
Cuesta 35,000 infantry 6,000 cavalry 30 guns
Joseph 46,000 infantry 8,000 cavalry 80 guns

Wargame Orbat
Wellesley 48 infantry 8 cavalry 2 guns
Cuesta 48 infantry 4 cavalry 2 guns
Joseph 96 infantry 24 cavalry 3 guns

Note. The balance of the armies has been changed to allow for the peculiarities of wargaming. The French artillery has been reduced to allow for the great superiority of well trained crews and better guns, against poorly trained Spanish gunners and shorter range of British guns. The French cavalry have been increased to reflect the superiority of this arm. In a wargame cavalry melee much depends on the luck of the dice, and could easily result in the French cavalry being beaten by Spanish cavalry!

Table at start

The allied army is deployed on the left. Talavera is the large town at the bottom left, Pajar is a fortified farm in the center and the Medellin is the hill top left.

The French army is deployed on the right. The cavalry reserve is nearest the camera, pinning the Spanish garrison of Talavera. Leval is opposite the Pajar and can support either the cavalry (if the Spanish attack) or the main French attack. Sebastiani and Ruffin are opposite the British.

Talavera town

Zavas commands half of the Spanish army in and around Talavera. The town consists of four sections, each of which can fight independently but still support each other. Even with a Spanish garrison this would be a tough nut to crack. However it would be very difficult to deploy the garrison to fight outside the town.

Pajar fortfied farm

General Sherbrooke commands between the Spanish army and the Medellin, including this fortified farm.
Medellin Hill

Wellesley has joined general Hill who has command of the allied left flank, which is anchored on the large Medellin hill.

French left

On the left the cavalry reserve is deployed in front of Talavera with orders to prevent the garrison from moving forward. Leval is on their right, opposite the main Spanish army of general Portago.

French right

General nSebastiani is on the left opposite the open British center. On his right general Ruffin in on the Cascajal hill, opposite the British held Medellin hill. These two corps will form the main French attack.

No comments:

Post a Comment