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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

AAR Battle at SEPÚLVEDA, 1808

Hi All

I thought I’d share an After Action Report (AAR) of a recent LASALLE Game I and my good mate Mark played today.

The Scenario we played was based on a LASALLE Scenario plucked from the HONOUR SCENARIOS WIKI. The engagement was based on the Battle at SEPÚLVEDA, 1808, (prelude to Somosierra)

Now, I hate to sound like a prat, but for me, the scenario wasn’t terribly well written. It was unclear to me what parts of the river were fordable (based on the diagram provided), and the ORBATs seemed incomplete as there was what appears to be reference to Artillery in the text:

Only a few gunfires are the farewell of the French forces that are obliged to retire”.

Yet there is no mention of Artillery in either force!

I think part of the problem might stem from the author of the scenario not having English as his (her?) first language.

Consequently Mark and I decided to give each side a Battery of Artillery (4 x Medium Guns for the Spanish, and 3 Medium Guns and a Howitzer for the French).

We also decided that the river along the front of the high ground would be fordable, and the Spanish would initially be compelled to stay 20cm back from the edge of the hills until the French started to cross the river.

Another modification to the scenario was the fact i didn’t have 4 Battalions of Fusilier Grenadiers at hand. Consequently we used one Battalion of Young Guard and 3 battalions of grizzled Veterans, (all were Valiant/Experienced/SK2)

The only other difference was that we allowed the French to have ENGINEER support.

So, here is the MODIFIED ORBATS:

French order of battle:

Imperial Young Guard Infantry Brigade (Vigor +1/ Tactics -1)- General Savary.

1eme Young Guard, (1 batalions/unit) Valiant/Experienced/SK2

57eme Line, (3 batalions/units) Valiant/Experienced/SK2

Lasalle´s cavalry Brigade. (Vigor +1/ Tactics +1) - General Lasalle

10eme Chasseurs a Cheval ,. Valiant/Experienced/Pursuit

9eme Dragoons, Valiant/Experienced/Pursuit

1 Line Artillery a Pied, 3 x Med Gun, 1 x How.

(BELOW) General Lasalle!

Spanish order of battle:

Brigada mixta de infantería y caballería.(*)

Commander in chief General Serdaigne. (Vigor -1 Tactics – 0)


Combined Grenadier, (1 batallón/unit) . Reliable/Experienced/SK1

Regimiento de infantería de línea Jaen, (2 batallones/units) Reliable/Amateur/SK 1.

Regimiento de infantería de Royal Fusiliers, (2 batallones/units) Unpredictable/Amateur/SK 1

Voluntarios de Sevilla, 1 batallón/unit. Shaky/Amateur/SK 1

Cavalry: Reales Carabineros, (150 troopers aprox.) and Regimiento de línea Alcántara y Montesa, (400 troopers aprox) (1 unit)(**) Shaky/Amateur

1 x Artillery Battery 4 x Med Guns

So how did the game play out?

The deployments can be seen in the photo below:

The Spanish (Me), deployed with the bulk of the infantry to the left of the Battery. Only one Battalion of Regimiento de infantería de Royal Fusiliers was to the right of the Battery. The Combined Grenadiers were held in reserve and the Cavalry was posted behind the Battery.

The Volunteers of Sevilla would move off to garrison the town as soon as the French crossed the river.

(BELOW) The Spanish Deployment.

Marks plan saw all his Cavalry massed on his left, with his infantry aimed at my left.

The first few turns saw the French move across the river and head up the slopes with drums beating. One battalion of the 57th peeled of to my left looking to storm the town whilst the rest of the French host pinned the Spanish on the high ground.

The most dramatic event saw both French cavalry units charge up the hills. The 9th Dragoons heading for the 1st Royal Fusiliers, 1st Battalion, and the Chasseurs charged the Battery!

The Fusiliers formed Square, but were cut down and sent fleeing to the rear, but the gunners stood to their guns and blasted the 10th Chasseurs a Cheval.

The French light cavalry bounced back, only to be blasted a second time and sent fleeing. General Lasalle himself, at the head of the 10th Chasseurs a Cheval was wounded, and saw no further action in the battle.

The 9th Dragoons, flushed with success over the Spanish Square now charged on towards the shaky Spanish horsemen’s flank. Amazingly the Spanish cavalry calmly changed facing and met the dragoons head on. The Spanish cavalry repulsed the Dragoons and then charged after them, routing them!

In two turns the entire French cavalry force had been put to flight!

Meanwhile the French infantry continued their advance up the slope. Both Battalions of the Spanish Regimiento de infantería de línea Jaen advanced to meet them.

The initial fire fight went badly for the Spanish, (that extra die for skirmish advantage for the French does tell). Consequently I decided cold steal was a better option than hot lead and ordered both battalions to charge.

One battalion was routed, (first being reppeled then finished off with a follow up charge by the French); however the 2nd Battalion faired better. Although their charge was repelled, they reformed and delivered a devastating volley that broke the Frenchmen opposite them.

At the same time the Young Guard was taking withering fire from the Battery, who was plastering them with canister fire. Try as the Young Guard might, they couldn’t rally off all the disruption that was being inflicted upon them.

(BELOW): General savary orders the withdrawal while a relieved General Serdaigne and his escort call it a day.

Sensing victory would not be possible, General Savary reluctantly ordered a withdrawal,..

This was the second time I played this scenario. The first time I played it against another mate of mine, the French went much closer to winning, but still had to retire. Both games played differently, but in the end, (just like in the real battle), it was just too much of an ask for the French.

I enjoyed the game, and i think Mark did also. The game was knocked over in a little over two hours.

Below are photos from the game.
The Early part of the game. As the French start to cross the river, the Spanish battery opens up.

BELOW: The Spanish Battery continues to fire as the Spanish 1t Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers forms square
BELOW: The two Battalions of the Regimiento de infantería de línea Jaen await the French!

BELOW: The same situation, but from the fiew of the French 57th Line (1st and 2nd battalions)

BELOW: The Spanish Battery and the 1st Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (in square) receive the French Cavalry

BELOW: Crunch time approaches for the Spanish on the left!

BELOW: The Spanish infantry in square have been swept away, and now the 9th Dragoons are sweeping towards the Spanish Cav. The Spanish Guns make ready to deliver a final blast of canister into the wavering 10th Chasseurs a Cheval.

BELOW: The Militia garrison the town, as the 3rd Battalion of the French 57th approach.

BELOW: The 2nd Battalion of the 57th advance through the hole where the 2nd Spanish Linea Jaen was. The Combined Grenadiers ready to plug the gap,..

BELOW: The 2nd Battalion Linea Jaen delivers a crashing volley into the 1st Battalion of the 57th,... (they are no more). The Young Guard continue to take withering fire from the Battery and the 2nd battalion of the Royal Fusiliers

BELOW: The French 3rd Battalion of the 57th Line halt just short of the town, "Mon Du, is that the re-call I hear"?
BELOW: The end!

Feel free to leave a comment.


Vilcum said...

Great replay!, I must recon myself guilty of the faults you note on the scenary, as I did the adaptation myself.
You are right in your suposition english is not my native language (I am spaniard BTW) , but that is a poor excuse so I will try to make the apropiate corrections

As a note , the river Duraton is only fordable where the roads in the maps cross it

To my knowlwdge the spanish forces included some guns indeed, I will try to finf them exactly .


Trailape said...

Hi Vilcum
Thanks for the original Scenario. The problem we had with the River was knowing if the Rio Duraton extended the entire length of the battlefield, or was it a branch of the Rio La Hoz?
I should apologize for not knowing Spanish. You at least can communicate in both languages. I sadly cannot.
Again, many thanks for providing a fun scenario.

Vilcum said...

The Duraton covers the full front of the position, after your comments I realize it is not so clear on the sketch map.

I have no evidence of French guns in this battle, but it really look strange such a force without any gun. I have included the spanish battery (a big fault in my part!) anfd a note on playability pointing your AAR.

BTW I will probably include a home rule to avoid the spaniards cover the eastermost ford.

Trailape said...

Hi Vilcum
Thanks for your follow up comments.

Anonymous said...

A friend just pointed this site out to me, as he is playing my version of this battle (using Shako rules). I am not here to advocate one set of rules over another. All work.

One Spanish source indicates the Spanish have 6 guns. The same source contradicts himself, at one point indicating the French guard have 2 8-pdr guns. At another point in the book, the French are noted as having 4 guns (presumably 8-pdr). If anyone wishes to discuss it, I can be reached at Michael.Viajero57 AT as I won't be checking back. I will provide book names, authors and page numbers if anyone is interested.

Michael Hopper