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 The rifles have withdrawn from Moura and a fresh brigade is ready to replace them.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The riflemen have withdrawn from Moura leaving the French in possession.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 On the right the British have retaken Moura and the French have withdrawn in disorder.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


  1. I thought that battle flowed very well Paul. Casualties fairly even. I liked the way the fighting for Moura was decided and thought the outcome realistic.


  2. Hi Lee

    Glad you enjoyed it. I was pleased with the ebb and flow of the village fighting and enjoyed the game - even though Jan won again!



  3. Dear all
    As a portuguese student and wargamer of the battle of Bussaco (and living 20 Km from it) i must disagree with the "realistic" term used some comments ago.
    In fact Bussaco ridge towers some 350 m to 475 m and that is the main reason for french failure: they arrived at the top completely exausted.With such a battlefield cavalry was always in reserve. The giant gullies in the Sula part of the battlefield are also main features(considered by many as one of the most beaufiful in the word - Oman for example).Besides, the 2 battlefiels (Sula and the heights in front of Santo António do Cântaro) stand apart 3 Km from each other.
    Lovely painted figures though.

    Hope i,ve helped
    João Pedro Peixoto

  4. Hi Joao

    The wargame was not meant to be a historical refight of the battle, rather a game loosely based on the battle. No attempt was made to recreate the geography of the area, or even the correct orders of battle.

    I have visited Busaco and walked the ground, though obviously not as much as yourself. However it was very interesting to spend a day walking the ridge and around Sula and San Antonio. Of course the ridge and hill played a very important part in the battle. As did Massena's lack of preparation in the attack, perhaps due to a lack of respect for Wellington as a general.

    If you would like to see some photos of our visit to Busaco you will find them at