Sunday, January 9, 2011

Battle of Albuera - Part Seven

Move 11

The French dragoons lose the melee to the British dragoons and rout. This has a knock on effect and they are joined by the horse artillery and the Shaken chasseurs. The second dragoons brigade, under the command of Massena on the Spanish Hill, have also received casualties and are removed into reserve.

Only one Spanish brigade remains on the Spanish Hill. They are engaged by a French light brigade, but hold their ground. The remainder of Girard’s corps move over the hill, but too far away to affect the skirmish fight.

Gazan continues to have problems regrouping his corps in front of Albuera due to repeated poor dice throws for command points. He abandons his artillery near the bridge and moves to join the infantry to get them forward.

At the top of the photograph the French cavalry are in rout, including the horse artillery.

The French have taken the Spanish Hill, but one Spanish brigade refuses to retreat.

On the right the French have completed their crossing of the stream and advance towards Albuera.

Despite the loss of the Spanish Hill, and the approach of Gazan, Cole grimly holds Albuera. His hussars are pushed back through his infantry squares, but the enemy are too far distant to inflict any damage on his infantry

The French cavalry are in rout, having achieved very little. The British cavalry have received serious casualties and will shortly be withdrawn. However the Spanish dragoon brigade have beaten two French brigades and are still formed. It is only the loss of command ability (due to the Poor Card) which prevents them from following up the French rout.

Move 12

As night falls Beresford still holds Albuera and both of the Badajoz roads. His cavalry are broken, but his infantry have received few casualties.

The Spanish are the real hero’s of this battle. All of their infantry are now in rout, but they have delayed the French long enough for Stewart to arrive from Badajoz and for Beresford to redeploy his British and Portuguese infantry.

Massena has taken the Spanish Hill but it has taken too long to allow him to regroup to attack Albuera. The loss of his cavalry is a serious blow, and their replacement will be difficult, if not impossible.

On the left Gazan has finally cleared the Spanish Hill. To his right Girard has deployed his infantry in front of Albuera. On the far left Massena has rallied the chasseur brigade, and the dragoon brigade is returning from the hill to join them.

The British hussars and the last Spanish infantry are streaming back through Albuera. Beresford’s British and Portuguese infantry are still standing firm and the town and both roads to Badajoz are secure.

British and Portuguese infantry stand firm in square as the Spanish and British cavalry rout from the field. The masses of French infantry are too far away to attempt a final effort before nightfall.
Stewart’s infantry and artillery hold the allied right flank. The French cavalry have left the field, and Stewart is now available for the defence of Albuera.


This was an excellent, hard fought and very enjoyable wargame.

Throughout the early part of the game it looked like it would be an easy French victory.

The Poor Card played havoc with the allied reaction to the French attack. First Beresford, then Blake would miss a turn, resulting in a complete lack of orders in the vital early stages.

Then luck, in the form of the dice, passed to the Spanish. Their infantry held the hill until the very end, despite heavy casualties. Their dragoons broke two French brigades, despite having to miss two turns due to the Poor Card.

The Spanish resistance robbed the French of their victory. By the time they were approaching Albuera night had arrived.

The allied objective was to hold Albuera and the two roads to Badajoz, which they did. A clear allied victory.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Battle of Albuera - Part Six

Move 9

French cavalry finally advance, their leading brigade, Polish lancers, charge the Spanish dragoons. Due to good dice, the dragoons beat the lancers who retire shaken.

Massena takes command of a dragoon brigade and orders them to charge the infantry on the Spanish Hill. The infantry break and rout. But the second brigade still holds the hill, though now Shaken.

Cole brings redeploys his artillery and brings the hussar brigade forward to meet Gazan as the French infantry cross the stream. This allows the French artillery to cross the Albuera bridge and unlimber within short range of the village.

The fight for the Spanish Hill continues. Only one Spanish brigade remains on the hill, but is still fighting despite being surrounded by French infantry and cavalry.

The French cavalry are at last committed, but have lost the opening melee between their lancers and Spanish dragoons.

The French have crossed the Albuera bridge, and the British have redeployed to meet them.

Massena has ordered an all out attack on the Spanish Hill. One last Spanish brigade still holds on desperately, even though surrounded by French infantry and cavalry. The second brigade has been routed by the cavalry but a third brigade is approaching the cavalry.

The French cavalry advance to engage the allied cavalry. The first engagement, between Polish lancers and Spanish dragoons, ends in disaster for the French. The dragoons not only defeat the lancers and drive them back Shaken, but they do so without any casualties to themselves.

Move 10

The Gods of War (or at least the dice) have turned their backs on the French cavalry. With the lancer brigade in rout, the remaining three brigades are all committed, and all fail. One dragoon brigade draws in their encounter with the British dragoons. The second brigade is charged by the British hussars, resulting in another draw. Worse of all the Spanish dragoons defeat the chasseur brigade, who fall back Shaken.

The Spanish Hill is finally taken by the French. But it has taken so long there are only two moves to nightfall, and if Beresford can hold until then he can regroup around Albuera. If he can do so he will be able to hold both roads to Badajoz and prevent secure the siege.

Due to poor command dice the French are still crossing the river. Meanwhile the British have redeployed and are ready to meet any attack.

The French have taken the Spanish Hill, but are also some distance from Albuera and will not be able to advance before nightfall.

The cavalry melee is undecided. If Beresford can win this engagement Soult will be forced to withdraw.

The battle for Spanish Hill. The Spanish gunners have abandoned their guns, but the infantry exchange musket fire with the French. A third Spanish brigade is about to join the fight.
The disappointing French cavalry engagement. The French chasseurs who have charged the Spanish dragoons to cover the routed Polish lancers have lost the melee and fallen back Shaken. To their left the second French dragoon brigade have drawn in their melee with the British dragoons, and both are Shaken. This engagement is critical to the outcome of the battle and could go either way.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Battle of Albuera - Part Five

Move 7

Good move for the allies, the Poor Card was drawn too late to have any effect.

The French receive casualties from the guns on Spanish Hill, but press on with their attack.

French artillery cross the Albuera bridge to join the rest of the corps preparing to attack the town.

Soult arrived too late to change the cavalry Halt orders

The French on the left receive casualties as they approach Spanish Hill

The artillery on the right is crossing the Albuera bridge to join the rest of the corps.

Behind the village the French cavalry wait for new orders.

On the French left Gazan moves his guns over the Albuera bridge to join the rest of his corps.

The allied right flank is secured as the French cavalry wait for new orders

Move 8

Once more the Poor Card comes too late to have any influence.

Blake has joined the defenders of Spanish Hill, who despite casualties are still holding the hill. His artillery has routed, but he managed to rally a Shaken brigade. The French have also received heavy casualties and have lost one brigade to rout and two more are Shaken. The battle for this critical hill is very much in the balance.

Beresford has moved both Stewart and Cole to meet the main French attack. In doing so he has left Albuera weakly defended and the French are crossing the river to take advantage.

The battle is reaching the stage where good or bad luck with the dice could result in prompt victory or defeat

On the left the battle for Spanish Hill is in the balance.

On the right the French are allowed to cross the river using the undefended bridge.

The battle for Spanish Hill. The Spanish gunners have abandoned their guns, but the infantry exchange musket fire with the French. A third Spanish brigade is about to join the fight.

French artillery are crossing the Albuera bridge without any resistance from the British.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Battle of Albuera - Part Four

Move 5

Beresford takes command of the hussars covering Albuera bridge and moves them to counter the French cavalry. He also orders Steward to move forward to the right of the Spanish Hill.

Gazan takes advantage of the withdrawal of the cavalry to limber his guns and move them nearer to Albuera. His infantry have already crossed the river.

Blake and Steward have deployed to face the threat to their right flank from Gazan.

Girard is moving forward to take advantage of this weakening of Albuera.

Beresford has brought the Spanish dragoons and British hussars to support Stewart against the stronger French cavalry.

Cole is concentrating on supporting the Spanish, but has withdrawn his infantry and cavalry from the bridge.

Move 6

On the left the Gerard waits for Gazan to attack Albuera before he attacks the Spanish Hill.

Soult has joined Gazan and issued orders for him to Engage Albuera. He is moving his artillery within range of the village.

Gazan is moving his corps to their right in order to attack the lightly held Albuera.

Stewart has placed his infantry in square and halted the French cavalry.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Battle of Albuera - Part Three

Move 3

On the left Gazan’s cross cross the river and move to engage the Spanish hill. Behind them the cavalry move swiftly beyond the hill to pin any allied reinforcements at Albuera.

On the right Girard is unable to cross the river because Cole is holding the bridge with infantry and cavalry.. The artillery has caused casualties to the Spanish brigade, which is now Shaken.

British reinforcements reach Albuera from Badajoz. However Beresford has missed his turn due to the Poor Card and they are still under orders to move to Albuera.
On the left the Spanish have finally started to redeploy to hold the hill.

On the right the Spanish infantry have suffered artillery casualties and are Shaken.

On the right Girard prepares to cross the river under cover of the massed artillery.

The British and Spanish around Albuera concentrate on Girard and ignore the threat to their right flank from Gerard.

Move 4

On the left the French cavalry have been spotted throwing the Spanish into confusion. Gerard prepares to attack the Spanish Hill

On the right Girard starts to cross the river near Albuera, protected by his grand battery.

On the left the Gerard prepares to attack the Spanish Hill. To his left the cavalry have been spotted, but are in position to prevent any reinforcements reaching the hill.

On the right Stewart (still on blinds) remains halted on the Badajoz to Albuera road.
Gerard comes under fire from the Spanish artillery as he prepares to attack the hill. To his left the cavalry have halted.

Cole remains firmly in control of Albuera. He has occupied the village and is moving a second brigade through the village to support the Spanish beyond.