Sunday, December 12, 2010

Decisive victory for Wellington at Baltanas

22 July 1813

Battle of Baltanas


To secure his hold on Valladolid, Wellington must take Baltanas and force Soult to withdraw to Burgos.

Rather than wait for both armies to concentrate and fight a major battle, he orders 1 and 3 corps to take the town before the French can bring up reinforcements.

The French have one corps holding the town, and (unknown to Wellington) a second will arrive by mid morning.

Table at start of battle

Wargames Table

Baltanas is the village in the centre of the photograph

The top road leads to the north coast

The bottom road leads to Madrid

The right hand road leads to Burgos

The left hand road leads to Valladolid

7 French corps in and around the town


Wellington pins the defenders with Hills corps, whilst Picton advances on the left and attacks the town from the north.

Villate holds the town much longer than expected, but suffers heavy casualties doing so.

Sarrut arrives just in time to check Picton’s advance. His dragoons catch the guards brigade in flank and rout them.

The town is large enough to hold two brigades, and proves a real challenge.

However with two moves to go to nightfall, Hill finally takes both town sections.

Sarrut is still deploying, and largely unaffected by the heavy fighting. He is therefore able to cover the French retreat towards Burgos.

Link to battle report

Effect on the Campaign

This is a convincing victory for Wellington and secures his hold on Valladolid.

Marshal Soult has been unable to concentrate his whole army to fight for Valladolid, but there is nothing to stop him doing so in front of Burgos.

This Campaign has gone to Wellington, but the war is far from over.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wellington takes Valladolid

21 July 1813


Wellington has concentrated all of his army north of the river Douro

1st and 3rd move advance to Valladolid, and the French withdraw

1 and 3 corps passing through Valladolid


Davout has also concentrated his army at Palencia.

He is in a good position to oppose any advance on Burgos

Friday, November 26, 2010

French withdraw to Palencia

20 July 1813


Wellington is concentrating his army at Simcanas in preparation for an attack on Valladolid

Wellington reviews 1st and 3rd corps at Simcanas


Davout orders concentration at Palencia.

7th corps will hold Valladolid for one day to cover withdrawal.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A muddled victory for Wellington at Valladolid

19 July 1813


Despite his setback at Duenas, Wellington is aware that he must take Valladolid before the French can concentrate their army north of the river Duero.

He orders 1st corps to attack the city at first light.

4th corps will march south through the mountains and prevent Leval from supporting the garrison.

Wargames table at start of battle


The French have two brigades to hold the city, the remainder of 7th corps will deploy north of the city to protect the Duenas road until 6th corps arrive.

1st British corps will enter the table from the left along the bottom road.

5th corps, who have better roads from Duenas, will arrive at move one on the top road.

4th corps, who have to march through the mountains, will arrive top left on move two.

Battle Summary

1st British corps attack on Valladolid ends in disaster.

To prevent the garrison deploying north of the city, Wellington orders 1st corps to move angle north in column of march behind a hussar brigade in line. This is a dangerous manoeuvre, as they can not fight in column of march.

The French cavalry move forward and charge the hussars. The hussars fail their morale and will not counter charge. They lose the resulting melee and rout. Without cavalry support the infantry must form square, and the gunners abandon their guns to seek safety with the infantry.

The French 12 pounder guns have a much longer range than the British 6 pounders. This combined with the loss of their cavalry makes any further advance impossible. Wellington orders 1st corps to withdraw out of artillery range.

Fortunately 4th corps has more success. They attack the French as they march towards Valladolid. Leval has lost his cavalry at Duenas, and must form square to keep the enemy cavalry at bay.

This allows Alten to outflank the French and attack them from the north. The brigade holding the right flank has suffered casualties at Duenas. Despite this it holds long enough for the remainder of the corps to move south in square.

The result is a confused battle with no real winner and no real loser.

Effect on the Campaign

Although only a partial victory, Wellington has taken the French right flank.

Unless Soult can drive the British back, they can now bring superior numbers to bear on Valladolid.

Soult must now decide whether to risk a counter attack, or to withdraw east towards Burgos.

Link to Battle Report

Sunday, October 31, 2010

French victory at Duenas

18 July 1813


The village of Duenas is north of Valladolid on the Leon road.

The French have occupied the village both to protect the road itself, but also to support the garrison of Valladolid.

Because of the river the city can only be attacked head on, or outflanked to the north.

Unaware that it has already been occupied by the French, Wellington has sent his best corps, including the light division, through the hills to take the village.


The French have occupied the village and the bottom farm which is on the road to Valladolid. But their main strength is beyond Duenas on the Leon road. General Leval has gone forward with his cavalry brigade to look for the British

The British will enter the table on the left.


General Alten ignored the village and farm on the right, and directed his attack against the French right and the road to Leon.

He had to march across the length of the table, as the French did not come forward to meet him. Instead Leval moved his brigade from the farm on his left, to support his right.

The performance of the light division was disappointing. The leading rifle brigade was routed, and the hussar brigade withdrawn after they became shaken due to light casualties.

By late afternoon Leval had redeployed his corps, and Alten has lost his cavalry and best infantry brigade.

As night fell the British withdrew into the mountains.

Effect on the Campaign

Wellington has hoped that his best corps would take the village, cut the French right flank and force Soult to withdraw from Valladolid

His failure to do so has left Soult in a much stronger position.

He can now wait for the rest of his army to arrive from Santander and Madrid.

Link to Battle Report

The full battle report can be found at

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wellington approaches Valladolid

17 July 1813


Wellington advances to drive the French out of Valladolid

4th corps move north through the mountains to Duenas

3rd corps to cross river at Simancas

4th corps march through mountains to Duenas


Soult is determined to hold Valladolid
7th corps orders to hold the city at all costs
6th corps ordered to Duenas to protect the Leon road.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wellington orders his army to cross river Douro west of Valladolid

16 July 1813


Wellington orders a show of force to drive the French out of Valladolid

4th corps approach Valladolid on the north bank of the river Douro

3rd corps move up Valladolid on the south bank

4th corps approach Valladolid


Soult is unimpressed.

7th corps orders to hold the city at all costs

6th corps ordered to Duenas to protect the Leon road.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

French abandon Madrid and Santander to save Valladolid

15 July 1813


1st and 4th corps continue their march towards Valladolid

Marshal Soult and 6th corps on the march to Valladolid


Marshal Soult orders concentration of his whole army at Valladolid

16th corps march from Santander to Burgos

8th corps march from Madrid to Valladolid

Davout moves towards Valladolid with reinforcements

14 July 1813


4th corps march towards Valladolid

1st corps cross river douro and enter Zamora

1st and 4th corps cross the river Douro


Marshal Davout moves his headquarters to Valladolid
6th corps ordered to Valladolid from Burgos

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

British cross the river Douro at Zamora

13 July 1813


4th corps cross the river Douro and enter Zamora

1st corps move into Ledesma in support

4th corps cross the river Douro


Marshal Soult is unaware of the British advance over the river Douro

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Introduction to the Valladolid Campaign

North West Spain 13 July 1813

Background to the Campaign

In 1812 Wellington had defeated the French in western Spain at the battle of Salamanca. He had occupied Madrid and laid siege to Burgos.

Despite this setback King Joseph was able to gather a large army and drive Wellington back to Salamanca.

In January 1813 orders arrived from Napoleon to send many of the best French divisions north to rebuild the Grand Armee, which was lost in the terrible retreat from Russia. King Joseph was relieved of the command of all French armies in Spain. Marshal Soult would command in western Spain and Marshal Suchet in eastern Spain.

Marshal Soult was ordered to abandon Andalusia and march his army north to replace the troops sent to Germany. He would hold the area from Madrid to Bayonne and cooperate with Marshal Suchet in eastern Spain.

The Duke of Wellington was soon aware that the French armies in Spain had been greatly reduced in number. In January 1813 he was appointed to command all allied troops in Spain, including all Spanish armies.

In May 1813 he issued his orders for the coming campaign.

Captain-General Copons would command the four Spanish armies in the east. He would create a diversion, which would pin Suchet in the east and prevent him sending any reinforcements to Soult.

The main offensive would be in the west. He would lead his own Anglo Portuguese army back to Burgos, defeat Soult and drive him out of Spain.

Link to campaign blog

Friday, October 8, 2010

End of Passau Campaign

12 July 1813

Locations at end of campaign

After a very good start Archduke Charles ends the campaign with his army widely dispersed and must withdraw to Linz to allow his army time to regroup if he is to hold the road to Vienna.

This has not been a great campaign for Marshal Oudinot. The Austrian invasion came as a complete surprise, and he was slow to react to it. He then committed his corps piecemeal, resulting in early defeats.

Holding Salzburg was the turning point. Although he did not have a convincing victory at Reishach, his ability to move the Salzburg garrison north meant that the Austrians must retreat beyond the river Salach to avoid disaster.

Link to campaign blog

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Major Austrian defeat at Reishach

11 July 1813

Battle of Reishach

Campaign Background

Archduke Charles has ordered an attack on Reishach by 1,3 and 4 corps to destroy the enemy before they can move 11 corps north and take his army in the flank.

Marshal Oudinot expects Charles to withdraw his army to the east following his defeat at Salzburg. He orders 9,10 and 12 corps to strike at Branau before they can retire. 11 corps will abandon Salzburg and march north against their left flank at Mattsee.

Table at start of game

Wargames Table

Reishach is the town at the top left of the table

The road bottom to top is from Hochburg (bottom) to Simbach (top)

The road left to right is from Muhldorf (left) to Branau (right)

9 and 10 Bavarian, and 12 Baden, corps have orders to attack Branau

1, 3 and 4 Austrian corps have orders to attack Reishach.

Both armies advance and the result is a confused and complicated battle.

During the morning both sides suffer setbacks. But through the afternoon Oudinot gains the upper hand. Eventually the Austrians retreat.

Effect on the Campaign

The loss of this battle left Archduke Charles with no option but to retreat.

Link to battle report

Bavarians hold Salzburg

10 July 1813

Battle of Salzburg

Campaign Background

General Wrede has orders to hold Salzburg and the surrounding area until the main army is ready to start their counter attack further north.

General Klenau has orders to move to Salzburg and occupy the town

Table at start of game

Wargames Table

Salzburg is the town on the left centre of the table.

The road bottom to top is from Italy (bottom) to Hochburg (top)

The road left to right is from Inzell (left) to Mondsee (right)

11 Bavarian corps are in and around Salzburg

2 Austrian corps will enter the table on the Mondsee road

The river Salach has one bridge which can be crossed by all arms. There is also a ford top and bottom which can be crossed by infantry and cavalry, who will move at half speed and be Disordered whilst crossing.

Austrians attack Salzburg

To avoid having to force the Salzburg bridge the Austrians have crossed the river south of the city.

Despite support from their artillery on the right bank, the Austrian hussars have lose the cavalry melee. But the guns force the Bavarian cavalry to retire.

The delay in crossing the river allows the Wrede to redeploy his infantry to meet the Austrian advance.

Klenau is unable to take the city and must retreat into the mountains and abandon his guns.

Effect on the Campaign

This Austrian defeat leaves them in a very dangerous situation.

Klenau has been forced to retreat into the mountains, and it will take some days for him to find a ford to cross the river Salach, and he will then have to march north to join the remainder of the Austrian army.

Link to battle report