Sunday, February 6, 2011

Alcaniz 1809

It was time. Time for the 25mm Napoleonic armies to come out and play again, and this time it was a small Peninsular battle: Alcaniz, 23 May 1809 between a Spanish army commanded by Blake, and a French army commanded by Suchet. As usual Adrian and I used our favourite rules set Volley and Bayonet by Frank Chadwick.

(Incidentally, why do we love these rules? Because we are able to refight historical battles at the appropriate level. It's not to our taste to be fighting battles at regimental and divisional level, putting out skirmishers, worrying about going into square etc. VnB allows us to command armies, and therefore focusses ut attention on thois things that would have been the concern of army commanders rather than Divisinal or Brigade commanders. It's a matter of personal taste, I guess.)

Anyway, Alcaniz is a smaller battle in VnB terms, and was a good excuse to drag out the 25mm napoleonic armies. The Spanish under Blake are trying to stop the French under Suchet crossing a river into a town. They have taken up defensive positions on two pieces of higher ground in front of the river and bridge, with a division deployed on their right holding the large area of high ground.

The French advance.

The French diviison in their centre advances towards the high ground held by the smaller of the Spanish divisions.

Meanwhile the Spanish division  on the right withdraws back to the village on the high ground, but is quickly threatened by the French cavalry.

Spanish cavalry has managed to get arounbd the French left flank, and Spanish infantry have advanced from the Spanish left to threaten the French right flank. The French re-deploy some of their brigades to counter this. However the Spanish surprise the French by attacking the flank of the brigade seen here in the left centre of the picture. The French brigade was driven back in the attack. This was the first of several successful local Spanish counterattacks in the game.

The first French attacks, on the high ground in the centre, get underway.

The French lap around the right flank of the central Spanish defence, but are bounced back initially in the face of staunch defence.

The French cavalry first threatens the Spanish rear, but the French commander then withdraws them to his own rear to counter the threat of the extant Spanish cavalry.

By this stage in the battle the Spanish have been pushed off the central heights, and the Spanish line has been turned at right angles to its initial position.

The Spanish have had to reform their defensive line, with three battalions of artillery holding a large section of the line, surrounded by mostly M4 troops and miltia, and just a few regular army regiments.

The Spanish cavalry by this stage was exhausted (having engaged in several successful combats against French infantry, and the French cavalry), but stayed to try to protect the flank of the shrinking Spanish line.

The final French assault against the Spanish line broke through the Spanish line, leaving the entire Spanish army exhausted.

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