Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Talavera 1809 Morning Attack

Friday the 6th of January saw the first game of the year at NBHW with the second of the two Talavera prequel games. This game was of the French assault on the morning of the 28th July 1809, again in 28mm using Black Powder and once again with the outcome planned to effect the final battle.

The results from the previous game were factored in with units starting with casualties or at a reduced size. The table layout was enlarged to accommodate the extra troops involved and some of the restrictions from the night game rescinded. It was also our first attempt at representing the combined light battalions formed by the British brigades detaching their light companies. We didn't quite get this right on the night but corrected it for the following game.

The French columns advance with support from their artillery.

The French infantry advance was very tardy, but the rapid advance of General Beaumont's French light cavalry on their right forced some British combined light companies into square. The attendant horse battery struggled to bring it's guns forward over the Portina stream but three French battalions did for the square with deadly volleys of musketry.

The French approach the Portina stream
with the British light detachments to the fore.
Preparing to cross, if they can just stop getting "Disordered"

More and more French infantry now gained the Portina and engaged the British light infantry screen in an uneven duel that saw the latter largely defeated across the field. General Villatte's division advanced but little, as it did on the day, but attendant cavalry under General Merlin advanced with abandon, the Vistula Legion lancers leading. They were hit severely by British artillery and forced to retire, with casualties heavy among the Polish horse.

An ill thought out advance by the Polish Light Horse straight
into the welcoming arms of Elliot's Company Royal Artillery.
A "Blunder" roll to be fair if my memory serves.

On the British left the 14th and 16th Light Dragoons of Cotton's brigade formed up and the 14th counter charged the oncoming 5th Chasseurs à Cheval. The French horse were defeated and sent into disarray. The French horse battery, still negotiating the Portina, only just saw the danger and rapidly pulled back it's guns toward friendly infantry.

With this last action, the game was called. Both sides cannon had done some good work, the British cannon on the right particularly, and the French were happy to have seen off the British light infantry screen that may well have future consequences for the British? The French battalions were deemed to have retired from the Portina, far from defeated, as they were historically on the actual morning attack.

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