Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wellington's Battles in the Peninsula

The battle of San Marcial


After such an intensive period of fighting, the Hanover campaign has gone into a temporary period of recovery. All of the corps have suffered during the recent spate of battle, and all are in need of a little rest.

It will not last long, because the critical battle has not yet been fought. After seven battles the casualties are pretty evenly spread. So it is still a very open campaign. But one more large battle could easily end the whole thing.

Despite the absence of fighting, the campaign is still going strong. We are back to writing orders again, and the response is a little sluggish. Perfectly understandable, particularly with the holiday season. But it does mean that there is unlikely to be another battle for a week or so (real time, not campaign time).

When this happens we set up a non campaign wargame to keep us occupied. These are usually part of our Wellington’s Battles in the Peninsula series. Each wargame is based on one of his battles. Not a historical refight, but a wargame loosely based on one of them.

Our current one is the battle of San Marcial, the tenth in the series.

This is an interesting battle, as it was Spanish v French. I think it is the only battle fought solely by Spanish troops with Wellington in command. He has British troops in reserve, but refused to use them as he wanted the Spanish to get the credit for the eventual victory.

The battle was fought on 31 July 1813. Soult launched an attack to relieve the French garrison of San Sebastian. As this battle was being fought, the town was taken by storm and the garrison surrendered.

I could not find a lot of detailed information on the order of battle. In all of my reference books the whole order of battle is shown for the battles of the Nive, but not a detailed breakdown for San Marcial. So I have had to make up the order of battle.

Soult has four divisions. Wellington has three Spanish and one British divisions. The Spanish have a strong defensive position, and the British held in reserve. Wellington did not use his reserve on the day. I doubt if I will get away without using them in the wargame.

You will find the battle report by clicking on label 13 on the right

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