Sunday, February 7, 2010

Battle of Talavera - Part Four

Move 7

The French are losing the artillery duel and Joseph is aware that if he does not move soon his army will fall apart. He orders the cavalry reserve to advance against the Spanish artillery. This is a gamble, for if he loses the cavalry the Spanish in and around Talavera can move against his left flank. Both flanks are now on attack orders, and he moves to issue similar orders to Leval and Sebastiani in the centre.

As the French approach the medellin, Hill orders his artillery to withdraw and his infantry to form square. The British cavalry are advancing to disrupt Ruffin’s attack. Portago is particularly unlucky as the poor card robs him of his move, and the opportunity to fire on the approaching French cavalry.

Move 7 - The Medellin

Close up of the French attack on the medellin. Two infantry brigades, supported by the corps cavalry, approach the left flank of the hill. The artillery, no longer able to fire on the enemy columns, are limbered and withdrawing. The highland brigade has formed square as protection against the enemy cavalry, and the reserve brigade is moving to support them

Move 8

Joseph misses his move due to the poor card, and can not change Sebastiani to engage orders. French infantry column climb Medellin in column and exchange fire with square (roll 3 on 2xD6), lose fire fight and retreat shaken. Leval continues to engage pajar and inflict one more casualty. Cavalry charge nearest Spanish artillery, but the gunners make their morale and run to nearest square.

Medellin is holding, second brigade forms square and gunners halt their withdrawal and unlimber. Cavalry turn one brigade to support the hill.. The garrison of pajar have suffered three casualties, but still hold. Second brigade is moved forward to replace them (building removed to allow exact measurement of both brigades).

Move 9

Second French brigade climbs Medellin, forms line and exchanged fire with highland square (roll 5 with 2xD6) resulting in a draw. Joseph orders Sebastiani to engage pajar. Two infantry brigades engage the new garrison. Cavalry commander changes his orders to halt and withdraws his leading brigade. He also rallies his reserve brigade and remains within charge move of guns to deter gunners from leaving safety of the supporting squares.

British replacement brigade now in pajar, suffer one casualty but makes morale. The withdrawal of the Spanish gunners has allowed the French to move closer to pajar, which is now engaged by elements of two enemy commands.

Move 9 - The Medellin

Ruffin has left two brigades to deter the British cavalry between the hill and pajar. The remaining two brigades, supported by his cavalry, engage the highland brigade in square. His first brigade was lost the fire fight and withdrew shaken with two casualties against the highlanders one. His second brigade climbs the hill, deploys into line and exchanges fire. Once more the highlanders hold their own, it is a draw and both sides are disordered. The supporting cavalry are unable to advance because their own infantry are in the way.

A second British brigade has formed square and the gunners are unlimbering. This fight could go either way, and the winner could easily tip the balance and cause a general retreat.

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