Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Putting Down the Andalusian Revolt - The Battle of Estacia - July 1808

French Forces 
CinC - Dupont (played by Pendraken Forum Member Paul 'T13a')

I Corps (under Lannes)
1x Elite Infantry, 3x Line Infantry, 1x Heavy Foot Massed Battery

II Corps
1x Elite Infantry (-1 Strength), 3x Line Infantry (1 unit at -2 strength, 2 units at -1 strength), 1x Medium Foot Massed Battery

III Corps
3x French Model Allied Infantry, 1x Allied Cavalry

IV Corps
3x Other Allied Infantry, 1x Poor Cavalry (all units at -2 strength)

Only by defeating the Spanish by nightfall can the French win the campaign. 

Left with little choice, General Dupont takes an aggressive stance, ordering I and III Corps to attack West towards C4. II and IV Corps are ordered to support the attack in the West leaving a small reserve to hinder the Spanish reinforcements arriving later in the day at C6. 

II and IV Corps will also aim to hold off the Spanish attempting to cross the river in support of their forces in C4.

Spanish Forces
CinC - Castanos (Played by Pendraken Forum Member 'Nosher')

I Corps (under Ballesteros)
3x Regular Infantry, 3x Pronvincial Infantry, 1x Medium Foot Massed Battery

II Corps
3x Regular Infantry, 3x Pronvincial Infantry, 1x Medium Foot Massed Battery

III Corps
2x Elite Infantry, 2x Regular Infantry

Cavalry Corps
1x Heavy Cavalry, 1x Light Cavalry, 2x Irregular Cavalry

+20 points spent on La Guerilla tactics

Recognising their superiority in numbers and in VP's and with the benefit of being able to see the French deployment, the Spanish choose a less aggressive approach. 

Ballesteros orders II and III Corps to press forward toward the river bank whilst I Corps hug the same bank forming two sides of a holding box. The aim of the Spanish is to hold until the arrival of the Cavalry Corps and if an opportunity presents itself to take a more aggressive approach by crossing the river to engage the lead French columns. 

The Cavalry Corps is to make haste to the battlefield and harass the rear of the French.  

Estacia in the foreground, bordered on three sides by the minor river.
The Spanish I Corps can be seen in the NW corner

French deployment. I and III Corps positioned to assault the Spanish
I Corps supported by II and IV Corps protecting the rear where Spanish
reinforcements are likely to approach from at some stage

The battlefield viewed from the SW

French I Corps advances West whilst the Spanish move up to
support their isolated countrymen N of the river

Spanish artillery causes the first casualties of the day

French forces press forward to skirmish across the river

The French I Corps engage the Spanish.
All across the battlefield troops from both sides engage in volley fire.
The Spanish have managed to drag the French by their belt buckles into a savage firefight.

As the volley exchanges continue the Spanish Cavalry Reserve
arrives in the NE. The French rearguard prepares for action
on the high ground.

Casualties mount on both sides as the volley fire duels continue.
Restricted by space, the French begin to feel the pressure as more and more
Spanish units creep forward to add their weight of fire.

Spanish cavalry harass the French on the high-ground as their irregular
cavalry make for the French Guns and the rear of IV Corps 

Spanish Irregulars head for the French artillery and the rear of IV Corps

The Spanish Cavalry Corps makes short work of IV Corps
and isolates the remaining Foot Brigade near the river.

The battle was always a tough ask for the French. Depleted in numbers due to the Guerilla attack on the eve of day one and already outnumbered by the Spanish, the bold assault was the only real option.

The Spanish initially had a force morale of 4. If the French could rout the Spanish I Corps before the arrival of the cavalry reserve the day would be theirs.

Space to deploy proved to be a deciding factor. The French simply could not bring sufficient guns to bear, and both of the artillery batteries were repeatedly forced to retire by their opposite numbers. The initial skirmish fire from the French proved largely innefectual and the Spanish were able to close to volley range where their numbers began to count.

The Spanish Cavalry Corps also arrived pretty early in the day (Move 13) and the very much weakened French IV Corps proved brittle.

At the end of the game (Turn 18) French Morale had collapsed and many units were almost exhausted. Spanish morale was still at 3/7, however many units were on a single elan point. The battle could easily have gone the other way. 

Dupont had failed. The revolt grew in strength and the road to Madrid lay wide open.

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