First off is Quinny's overall report on the battle, followed by Andrew's report on his sector accompanied by what you'll all agree is a unique and innovative illustration style in lieu of photos. I'm sure you'll all be impressed and now everyone's blog AARs will be redolent in stick-figure interpretations of battles!
(Since posting, I've received some pictures from Tim, which, coupled with Andrew's graphic renderings give you a clearer idea of what happened)
"The strategy worked in that the French Central army has been forced to retreat from Toledo. The actual battle didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped.
I took over the assault from the west. Since I was acting as Craufurd, I went at it hard. I pushed the Portuguese up the road, the Scots through the farm and the third brigade south of the farm. The cavalry was used to cover the space between the Portuguese and the Scots. Part of the plan was for me to engage as many French troops as possible to ensure the lightest possible defence of the bridge.
|French entrenched defensive line|
|French skirmishing in the woods|
|The British forcing the skirmishers back through the woods|
|The French opposing the Portuguese thrust|
The Portuguese were not opposed initially but are slow due to the line units being conscripts. They eventually made it through the woods and out onto the eastern side which is where the French decided to hold them using infantry and a cavalry threat. This was seen off and, in the end, it was the Portuguese battalions positions that really forced a French withdrawal.
The Scots took the farm but were then confronted with some extremely accurate artillery fire (Tim’s dice rolling was very good all afternoon, on both flanks) from the hill to their front and left. Adjustments were made and they were ready to roll forward again about the time we had to end the game.
Third brigade got into a lot of trouble in the wooded/hilly area south of the farm. The problems were two-fold, the terrain and a very heavy skirmish line. These two factors piled on the disorders and, as they got to the far side of the wooded hill, they were hit by fresh defenders and basically forced to retreat.
At the bridge, Andrew got the two KGL Light battalions across as skirmishers but was forced to pull them back because of cavalry movement. There just wasn’t the space required to form the units into line without getting them opportunity charged (Tim, of course, had his cavalry perfectly positioned). The 2nd KGL Line managed to get across and form up (as a square because of cavalry) to the right of the bridge. The Coldstream Guards got the head of their column just off the bridge at about the same time. Unfortunately, the 2nd KGL Line were then a perfect target for the French artillery followed by an infantry attack by two battalions. The artillery on the south bank were ineffective (Andrew’s dice were not good he only managed two hits all afternoon) as support fire and the KGL Line were beaten in the melee and had no means of escape. Those fortunate enough to survive were captured along with their brigadier.
|French defensive position facing the southern threat|
At the end of the afternoon, the position was that Andrew was about to pull back, reorganise and try again. I was stalled on the right, about to go again in the centre and moving forward on the left.
The three of us decided that the French position was not seriously threatened but was rather uncomfortable. Tim thought it the right time to disengage and we agreed that the French were in a position from which a disengagement without any seriously bad consequences was feasible. That’s where it ended.
Andrew and I tried hard for a breakthrough but Tim always seemed to have a spare unit in just the right place and at the right time. I congratulated him afterwards on a very good defence against heavy odds. He was aided and abetted by the dice which, especially at the critical times and positions, seemed to be weighted firmly in favour of the French. The damage he did with his 4 pounders as against what we managed with six pounders was particularly noticeable.
Allied losses (after adjustments for holding the battlefield) are:
2nd KGL Line lost; 1 KIA; 9 surrendered (their colours were thrown into the river and were retrieved by the KGL Lights who are guarding them securely).
2nd (Coldstream) Guards; 1 KIA
Ramsay’s Troop RHA; 1 gun destroyed
3rd Foot (Buffs); 1 KIA
79th Cameron Highlanders; 2 KIA
9th Light Dragoons; 2 KIA
Gardiner’s Troop RHA; 1 gun destroyed
Brigadier-General Sir Rowland Hill captured
It may be possible to trade off some of the captured French battalions as a means of recovering the 2nd KGL and Sir Rowland Hill? "
"A bridge too far
As Wellington had the sniffles, Picton was in charge of the crossing of the river Idra, near Toledo. The French were deployed back from the riverbank, allowing the British forces to cross, but would immediately be counterattacked. Picton ordered Ramsay's RHA and Maxwell's RFA, supported by the skirmishers of 1st and 2nd KGL Light Infantry to the riverbank to begin a bombardment in the French forces in the area. However Ramsay and Maxwell failed to hit anything.
After 45 minutes of ineffective bombardment, Picton ordered the 2nd KGL Line and 1st and 2nd KGL Light Infantry to cross the bridge. The KGL Light Infantry advanced in skirmish order with the 2nd KGL Line behind in closed column. As the KGL crossed the bridge they were charged by a regiment of French chasseurs. As they were in skirmish order, the KGL Light infantry fled back across the bridge for safety, leaving the 2nd KGL Line in square, alone across the bridge. The chasseurs retired from the KGL square, allowing hte KGL to move right of the bridge and allow Picton to lead the 2nd Coldstream Guards to cross the bridge,
As the Coldstream Guards were crossing the bridge, French artillery fired on the Guardsmen and a French battalion advanced out of a woods on the left to fire on the flank. During this time Picton fell from his horse, temporarily stunned. A second Chasseur regiment charged the 2nd KGL Line, forcing them back into square. Flank fire from Maxwells RFA artillery across the river forced the chasseurs to retreat. However two French battalions charged the KGL square, routing them. As the bridge was blocked and the river to their backs, the KGL had no option to surrender.
With Picton out of action the Coldstream Guard recrossed the bridge to prepare another river crossing, but the French began to withdraw to another position behind Toledo
Note to Ben,
Both battles were very hard fought, Tim did an excellent defense of both. Because we kept both battles in sync, I was waiting a lonig time between turns and I was planing to be slow and methodical, using about 12 turns to cross the river. In the end we only got about 7.
It was Quinny's broad advance on the other battle put just enough pressure on Tim that he couldn't hold the battlefield. Casualty rates were about even on both sides, but you did lose some cannon and cavalry"