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

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