Saturday, April 21, 2012

Battle of Sepulveda November 28, 1808

The battle of Sepulveda was historically a Spanish victory in repulsing a Brigade of middle guard under direct command of General Savary and a brigade of cavalry under General Lasalle. General Savary's men found it hard to unseat the Spanish from this village as the forces on the low hills around the village withdrew to the safety of the village. The French after a minor scrap, withdrew. This did not happen in our historic refight.
In refighting this scenario, Lasalle took some time to make it on the board, but when he did, he quickly turned the Spanish cavalry around and routed one from the field during the first contact. The small Spanish artillery battery posted did cause some minor damage to the Imperial Guard sent to deal with them, but the guns were cleared and the gunners cut down. The Spanish infantry lead by Spanish General Sarden formed squares to ward off Lasalle's marauding cavalry. Two battalions of the Imperial Guard attacked the village, managing to inflict losses but being repulsed on the first attempt.
The Imperial Guard artillery finally moved into position and opened fire on the village, but their fire was completely ineffective. The supporting battalion of the assault on the village then lead the attack, inflicting severe losses on the garrison battalion occupying the first section and then occupying it. The following turn the French battalion attacked the other Spanish battalion in the remaining section of the village and managed to eject them and take the last sector. The supporting French battalion followed up in support to occupy the first sector of Sepulveda.

Lasalle's cavalry attacked the remaining Spanish cavalry regiment and finished them off and made a breakthrough into a Spanish square, which also broke and was routed from the field. The other Spanish battalions on the hill next to the village remained in square and were being shot up by the guardsmen who were in lines. The Spanish thought of trying to reform into a line now that the cavalry were well behind them and finishing off their comrades. Unfortunately, the Spanish morale test to reform while they were disrupted failed and they were now in a state of confusion The last two battalions of the Imperial Guard charged in and easily whipped the dazed and confused Spanish troops in squares. The final Spanish infantry battalion that had been ejected from the village was hit by Lasalle's other cavalry regiment and because the Spanish battalion was already mauled, was slaughtered. This last move completed the French entrapment of the remaining Spanish skirmishers who now had no route of escape due to the river being impassible.

The complete route and capture of the Spanish forces and village was a French major victory despite the fact that this was a small level game. Hopefully my friend Tim and I will be able to do the other battle in November 1808 of Somosierra next month.

Battle of Gamonal November 10, 1808

The Battle of Gamonal was a small battle and amongst one of the opening battles during the outbreak of hostilities between the French and Spanish armies. Part of Marshal Soult's corps was sent to clear newly appointed General Belveder out of the area and occupy the village of Gamonal. Historically, the Spanish were pretty much cut down and beaten pretty decisively. This opened up the invasion of central Spain for the rest of Napoleon's armies to sweep over and occupy the country. We decided to refight the battle using Shako 2 in 15mm scale.
In this particular battle recreation, things didn't go well for the French. General Lasalle's cavalry made attempts to break lines of Spanish infantry, including many second rate units. The Spanish had the fortune of anchoring their right wing under Henestrosa between a small village and the forest in the center of the field. The cavalry were then forced to make frontal assaults. The Spanish chose not to form square and managed to repulse Lasalle's cavalrymen repeatedly and even breaking the brigade in the process. This left General Milhaud's heavier dragoons to deal with this flank.
The French infantry snaked down the river banks to attack the Spanish left flank under General Alos. The French found equal difficulty here in managing to be thrown back due to the inability to outflank the Spanish who had their left flank anchored to the river and their right into the same forest that General Henestrosa's men were anchored to. A spanish battery present here and half the division managed to be a Thermopylae of sorts in holding at bay the French for the entire 9 turns of the scenario. The Spanish light battalion here was pushed back, but rallied and continued on until the bitter end.
The French infantry columns moving down were managing to move up more in force but going to be unable to occupy the village by the conclusion of the 9th turn. General Milhaud's cavalry managed to break two Spanish infantry battalions and then the following turn, another. The Spanish cavalary tried to make a counter charge against some of these dragoons who broke through and were engaged with a Spanish infantry battalion. The dragoons with a much better rating and a better dice roll here, managed to beat destroy both units, forcing a moral check for General Henestrosa's division. The Spanish right wing fled after multiple glorious feat of arms, leaving Gamonal open unless General Alos could stop them.
General Alos' fully intact division did divert an infantry battalion and cavalry regiment that were held in reserve to stop General Milhaud's rampaging dragoons. Since the dragoons were unable to hold the village, at best they could hit the division of General Alos in the rear. The only cavalry regiment in this remaining division attacked General Milhaud's leading dragoon regiment and received a counter charge from the second regiment of French dragoons. The Spanish cavalry was routed off the field. The remaining French infantry General Rey, only two shot up battalions were going to be forced to take a moral test to see if they could stay because they were now less than 50% of their six battalion starting strength.

Being the end of the 9th turn, it didn't matter as the French could not take the village and the cavalry could do not much more than risk getting themselves routed since they did not have infantry support. In the end, we considered it a minor Spanish victory even though General Reynaud's brigade could come into action. The Spanish lasted the required 9 turns and managed to pull of a minor victory if for nothing more than routing so many French forces off the table. The refight of the historical battle may have gone different from the original battle, but it was still quite fun to relive a part of history using correct maps and an OOB.