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.

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