Friday 30 December 2011

Battle of Albuera

A re-fight of the Battle of Albuera at Matt's using the 'In The Grand Manner' rules. This was one of the bloodiest battles that the British ever fought in.

From Albuera

There was a large force of French cavalry not shown above, deployed below the picture. These were lead by the Polish Lancers, who soon made short work of the Spanish Cavalry sent to face them. But at least the Spaniards managed to force them to 'Return to Lines' to regroup, earning some valuable time and preventing an immediate follow up into the vulnerable flanks of the infantry.

The assault against the Portuguese defending the village on the left flank soon faltered, and was probably doomed to failure right from the start with the French being outnumbered there.

The infantry column attacks against the Spanish on the ridge was more successful, causing a couple of battalions to retreat and disrupting some of the supporting troops in the process. The retreating Spanish cavalry also caused chaos, but the Spanish avoided any cascading morale failures. The Spanish then organised a counterattack that stopped the French from taking full advantage of the situation and kept them on the ridge.

By the time the French cavalry could reach the enemy lines again the British had moved into place making a breakthrough here almost impossible. With the French infantry battered around quite a bit, it was decided that the French did not stand much of a chance of achieving any more and the game was called.

On of the big problems with re-fighting the battle is the problem of hindsight. As setup the British would never attempt the flank march that left them vulnerable to the French cavalry and which caused so many of the historical casualties and put the result of the battle in so much jeopardy.

It later turned out that the French forces could of set up anywhere, including close to the initially exposed flanks of the Spanish forces on the ridge and the British reinforcing line in particular (it was these that got caught out in the open in real life while trying a flank march).

The Spanish were also probably too highly rated in terms of morale, making it difficult for the French to break through yet retain enough strength to face the reinforcing British.

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