Saturday, September 28, 2019

Cries of treason in the Commons

The British Commons echoed to cries of treason, and demands for an inquiry, as news reached London of a disastrous engagement in the Iberian Peninsular. Despatches from General Wellesley outlined how General Belvedere Mainstreet Smythe, best know for his book 'Up the Impopo without a paddle', took his newly formed Corps to the aid of Spanish General Miguel Immanuel Ballesteros as he advanced on the French after the recent fight at Saint Miquel.

General Smythe's Corps, including two brigades of Guards only recently despatch to support the defence of Portugal, was brought to a halt, many British lads left lying with empty eyes staring skywards as French cavalry caught them unawares in the open.

Cries across the Commons demanded the immediate recall of General Wellesley himself, but little has been forthcoming from the Peninsula as General Wellesley, true to form, kept his own counsel.

An addendum to the General's despatch noted that General Smythe was found a hundred yards from his command tent, a pistol bullet lodged in his brain.

Friday night saw the 25mm forces arrayed once more for some Volley and Bayonet action on the Iberian Peninsular. Keith and Jon commanded the French while Andy and I commanded the Anglo Spanish forces. Each force totalled 3000 points, and was developed using the Volley and Bayonet Road To Glory scenario system.

The battlefield from the Spanish left flank, the French advancing form the left, the Spanish form the right. The British Corps was deployed on the right flank, at the top of the photo

The Spanish centre

The British Corp advances on the right

The Spanish reserve cavalry deployed to support the British on the right, anticipating the weight of the Spanish attack

The French right wing pushed forward to attack the Spanish left. This required that they cross the partly dried up stream. The Spanish wing commander decided to attack while the French infantry were in some disarray in the midst of the crossing.

The Spanish left wing attack. Unfortunately only three regiments were able to make the charge, reducing the weight of the attack.

An overview of the battle field after the first few turns.. the centre and right of the Anglo Spanish army. The British attack has stalled around the village of Constantia at the top of the photo

The Spanisha ttack on the  left

Spanish troops occupy the town of Messiata, securing a key point in their position allowing them some freedom to manoeuvre

The Spanish Centre Division pushes forward

The outcome fo the initial Spanish attack saw one Spanish regiment route back towards its rear, while one French Brigade was also routed.

The routed Spanish regiment on the left

Spanish Provincial cavalry support the Spanish left

The French counter atttack against the Spanish left

One of the Spanish centre divisions advanced further to put pressure on the French centre

The British Corp advances

French cavalry attack the British flank, British casualties were severe

French dragoons attack the 4th Provincial cavalry

 ... and the 5th Provincial cavalry
Both Spanish cavalry were eliminated.

With a gap opening on the Spanish left, the commander withdrew his forces behind the rest of the hill that he was occupying, 

The extent of the gap on the Spanish flank is evident here, although casualties were such that much of the French offensive capability had been degraded.

The remnants of the British Corps, the Guards at the bottom left of the photo where they had sat for much of the battle.. The supporting Spanish cavalry had been largely dispersed, and three British brigades had been forced from the field.

The Spanish centre

Fremnch right trying to dislodge the extreme left of the Spanish positions. Accurate Spanish musketry had however degraded the French offensive capability

French dragoons commanding the field on the Spanish left.

The outcome looked bad for the Anglo Spanish. However the prompt Spanish attack on their left, taking advantage of the French disorganisation as they crossed the river, had meant that the sting was taken out of the French right wing attack. The British Corps had suffered severely, but the French left wing forces would struggle to push them from their positions before nightfall.

The Times, page 37: "We acknowledge today the Gazetting of the former Sergeant Richard Sharpe to the rank of Lieutenant in the 95th Rifles."

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