We fielded 132 infantry battalions, 36 cavalry regiments and 50 guns - an approximate total of 4,000 figures. The table was 27ft long by 6ft wide.
|Clausel launches the Chasseur Brigade towards Calvariza....|
|Right flank - British still hold Cristoval and threaten to recover the ford|
More photos and descriptions at
Here is the real historical background.
Following the victory at Salamanca on 22 July 1812 Wellington went on to liberate Madrid and then leaving Hill with half of the allied army to hold Madrid and Toledo turned his attention to the siege of Burgos.
Lacking sufficient heavy artillery and the skilful defence of the castle by Dubreton this proved beyond the powers of his army. Threatened by a reorganised and reinforced Army of Portugal under Souham Wellington raised the siege of Burgos on 21 October. He quietly slipped away, undetected by the French until late on 22 October. The drawn Battle of Venta del Pozo was fought on the 23rd. Between 25 and 29 October, Souham and Wellington fought a series of actions along the Pisuerga and Carrión Rivers at Palencia, Villamuriel de Cerrato, and Tordesillas which are collectively called the Battle of Tordesillas. When the French seized the bridge over the Duero River at Tordesillas on the 29th, Wellington was compelled to order a further retreat.
On 29 October, Hill received Wellington's positive order to abandon Madrid in the face of the advance of the combined forces of Soult and King Joseph from Valencia and march to join him. After a clash with Soult's advance guard at Perales de Tajuña on the 30th, Hill broke contact and withdrew in the direction of Alba de Tormes. Joseph re-entered his capital on 2 November. Anxious to destroy the British, Joseph and Soult rushed after them without bothering to leave a large garrison in Madrid.
The Allied retreats continued until Wellington and Hill joined forces on 8 November near Alba de Tormes south east of Salamanca. By 11 November, the combined French armies faced Wellington's Allied army near the old Salamanca battlefield. This is the starting point of this game.
|View of French centre and right - Spanish about to attack near windmill|
The Anglo/Portuguese/Spanish army is deployed in a line with the right at Alba de Tormes on the river Tormes, the centre on the low ridge at Calvariza Ariba with the left separated by the Tormes from the centre at San Christoval. Note that Alba de Tormes itself is of the table to the south. The combined French armies are deployed on the east bank of the Tormes and to the east of San Cristoval north of the line of the Tormes
The River Tormes runs north behind the east edge of the table before veering west across the table towards Salamanca which is of table to the west. The Tormes is fordable at many points above Salamanca towards Alba especially on its northern run between Huerta and Villa Gonzalo.
|View from French left - Jourdans attack well underway - despondent Brits in background|
The British players from south to north were Chris Henry (Clinton), Angus Konstam (Ned Packenham), John Glass (D’Espana), John Perkin (Wellington and Leith) and Chris Stone (Lowry Cole). The French players from south to north were Ken Pearce (Jourdan), Dave Imrie (Clausel), myself (Soult) and Jack Glanville (D’Erlon). Donald Adamson (King Joseph) based his headquarters in the fine buildings of the convent of Huerta beside my command.
The British had 12 brigades deployed on the table at the beginning of the game split equally across its 3 quarters. They had a further 6 brigades in local reserve with a distant reserve of 2 more brigades under Wellington’s direct command.
The French had 20 Brigades in their initial strike force with 6 on each flank and 4 in each of the centre commands. Some of these brigades began on table and the others could be attempted to be ordered on one per turn per table quarter. The French had a further 7 brigades in a general reserve with 2 allocated behind each flank and 3 to the centre. The French plan was a double envelopment with their massed forces on the flanks with the centre acting defensively except Clausel who also had to support Jourdans attack in the south.
|Spanish develop attack in centre. King Josephs guard hold firm....|
How the game played
As planned the French launched their attacks on each flank. Only in the centre right (my command) was the build-up of the strike force effected by poor command rolls .
|Vistula legion veterans lead Derlons advance....|
|Lancers versus light dragoons - a long struggle of charge and countercharge|
|British hold firm but French still have the numbers....|
With this attack stalled Clause then launched his Chasseur brigade forward in an impressive 4 battalion massed column against the Portuguese defending near the church of Calvariza. The eventually drove back the front battalion of Portuguese but at the end of the game the Portuguese were still facing them in warlike formation and firmly held the old church building.
|Portuguese holding firm at Calvariza....|
My 2 French infantry brigades made a brave defence even breaking charging British and Spanish infantry with steady closing fire. My brigade near Huerta was reduced to a single battalion but it was reinforced by a brigade of D’Erlons which crossed the river by a secret ford and was led into the action by King Joseph himself. I confidently committed my French dragoon brigade against the Combined Portuguese and Spanish cavalry but a shaken stationary Portuguese light dragoon regiment managed to defeat both my regiments in turn. Eventually after some urgent rallying of the dragoons they succeeded in driving the Spanish horse back beyond the ridge of Calvariza.
|Dragoons ride to their initial defeat by the Portuguese.....|