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 The rifles have withdrawn from Moura and a fresh brigade is ready to replace them.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The riflemen have withdrawn from Moura leaving the French in possession.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 On the right the British have retaken Moura and the French have withdrawn in disorder.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.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Battle of Busaco - Part Three

Move 3

The French have heavier guns than the British and Massena halts the advance to take advantage of this. The enemy infantry are within Moura or behind the ridge, and their guns a difficult target. The French artillery fire fails to inflict any casualties.

French artillery open fire on the village and the ridge. They are 12 and 8 pounders, and can fire longer than the British 6 pounders. The guns miss their target and are manhandled forward.

The French cavalry have been moved forward into the centre, where there are no enemy artillery deployed.

The village of Moura on the allied left is held by the light division. They are exposed to enemy artillery fire, and their supports on the ridge are too far back to support them. Wellington must decide whether to leave them and deny the village to the French, or withdraw them to the safety of the ridge.

Move 4

Massena continues to pound Moura.

Wellington orders the light division to withdraw from the village. He also orders his artillery to pull back behind the ridge until the French come within range of the lighter British guns.

French artillery concentrate their fire on the village of Moura and inflict two casualties. The garrison make their morale, but are ordered to withdraw from the village to avoid further casualties. Artillery is also ordered to withdraw behind ridge until the French come within range.

British artillery on the right ridge manhandle their guns back until French approach within range.

Riflemen withdraw from the village of Moura (building removed to allow measurement of withdrawal). Reserve brigade has moved forward in square to cover the withdrawal from the enemy cavalry.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Battle of Busaco - Part Two

Move 1

Massena commands the cavalry and reserve artillery in the centre, with Ney on the right and Reynier on the left. Reynier pulls ahead as Ney prepares to attack the light division in Moura

The French advance on the ridge

Move 2

The French deploy their guns as they are now in artillery range.

Ney prepares to attack the light division in Moura

Reynier continues to advance on the left

Wellington awaits developments

French right and centre halt, but manhandle their artillery forward within range of the village of Maura.

French left halt, but manhandle their artillery forward within range of the enemy ridge

The allied artillery are all 6 pounders and are still out of range of the enemy

French centre and right manhandle their guns within range of the village of Maura, which is held by the light division. The allied artillery on the ridge behind are out of range of the French gunners.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Battle of Busaco - Part One

Battle of Busaco

Historical background

In September 1810 Massena invaded Portugal. Wellington retreated to Busaco, where he took up a strong defensive position and offered battle to the French.
Historical Map

Historical Orbat

Wellington 51,000 infantry 210 cavalry 60 guns
Massena 66,000 infantry 3,500 cavalry 114 guns

Wargame Orbat

Wellington 56 infantry 0 cavalry 2 guns
Massena 64 infantry 8 cavalry 3 guns

Table at start

Wellington’s army is deployed on the Busaco ridge at the far end of the table, with the village of Moura to the right of the road. Behind the ridge is the Busaco convent.

Ney commands the corps to the right of the road, Reynier the one to the left. Massena commands the cavalry and artillery reserve in the centre. The village of San Antonio is to the left of the road.

French left

Reyniers corps deployed in brigade column of attack with the artillery in the centre

French right

Neys corps deployed in brigade column of attack with the artillery in the centre.
To their left Massena commands the cavalry and artillery reserve.

British left

Artillery line the ridge with infantry out of sight behind them.
Light infantry hold Moura and more infantry in reserve near the convent

British right

More artillery on the ridge, with British and Portuguese infantry behind them.