Monday, 31 July 2017

Battle of Valmaseda 1808. Game at NBHW.

Friday night (21st) at NBHW saw the club's ever growing number of Spanish Napoleonic figures take to the field with a game based on the Battle of Valmaseda in 1808. Black Powder was the ruleset used and I will be uploading the army list to my scenerio section soon. The AAR follows with some historical notes after.

Valmaseda 1808 AAR

A notable Spanish victory in 1808 and despite a much more forceful French advance on this occasion the Spanish army of Blake did well enough to garner some credit from this re fight.

Spanish rear guard await their fate / spring trap

The Spanish rear guard, the Asturian Division of General Acevedo, which had got separated from Blake’s army, was attempting to hold off General Villatte’s 3rd Division of Marshal Victor's Corps as Blake rushed forward to effect a relief and attempt to turn the tables on the isolated French division.

Blake's divisions advance to close the trap

The Spanish commanders all led their divisions forward with great purpose, despite often moving tardily due to the fiendish Black Powder commander SR rules. Meanwhile General Acevedo did a great job falling back on these supports despite losing two or three battalions in the face of great odds. One of the lost Spanish Battalions fighting to the last on the left wing in order to buy time for the rest of Acevedo 's command.

The Spanish advance (just pretend some aren't Dutch/ Belgians)

¡Señor, aquellos que parecen ser cañones franceses por delante!

General Martinengo’s cavalry, the Reina Dragoons of the 2nd Division, only rolled enough to deploy smartly before the French artillery on their flank, General Ruffin’s late arriving 1st Division, before the latter then predictably unlimbered and destroyed the brightly attired Spanish horse. Nearby Spanish infantry was driven in by the French 96th Line Regiment of General Barrois’ brigade. However General Carbajal then threw in the combined grenadiers of his 4th Division at the flank of this French column and checked its advance.

Ruffin arrives

As Victor's troops came forward the Spanish line took shape and General Figueroa’s 1st Division who had found moving forward difficult, to say the least, finally let fly with their cannon; to no effect!

The Spanish consolidate their lines

At this stage, sadly time had beaten us and the umpire called the game as a success for the Spanish but at greater cost than in the historical action. Thanks to the umpire and all those who contributed the troops. It was splendid indeed to see some 23 battalions of Spanish infantry in a game, just a few flags now needed.

Victory Conditions:

  • The French commanders had been tasked with breaking the Asturian Division for a minor victory and any second Spanish division for a major victory.
  • The Spanish had to rescue the majority of the Asturian Division or drive the French from the field for a major victory.

Historical Note:

  • The Battle of Valmaseda took place on 5 November 1808, during Lieutenant-General Blake's retreat from superior French armies in Cantabria. Reinforced by veteran regular infantry from General La Romana's Division of the North, Blake suddenly turned on his pursuers to rescue a trapped detachment and defeated a division of General Victor's army at Valmaseda.
  • Ruffin’s division took no part in the actual battle as they failed to march to the sound of the guns and remained to the south.
  • Once the French realised they had stumbled into a trap they formed square and fought their way back out of the encirclement
  • The French lost 300 men dead or wounded plus another 300 captured along with the divisional baggage.
  • The Spanish lost 50 dead or wounded.

More details at:

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