Sunday, 7 February 2021

Valladolid Campaign – Day 2


24 March 1813 – Northern Spain – Day 2

In the north 2nd British and 21st French observe Palencia

In the centre 8th, 16th and 22nd French attack Valladolid

In the south 7th French occupy Arevalo and establish depot

5th and 6th British retreat to Medina

Battle of Valladolid – End of Battle

The battle of Valladolid was a close run and very costly affair

The main French attack broke the British centre

On the French right the British held until the centre broke

On the French left the British took Valladolid, but had to retreat

Both sides suffered heavy casualties

The British lost 20 infantry and 5 cavalry casualties

The French lost 14 infantry, 4 cavalry and 1 artillery casualties


This was a very complicated wargame

There is a full battle report on the campaign diary blog        

Battlefield on Campaign Map

I wanted to avoid another game being decided by who captured Valladolid.

Rather than have the city in the centre of the table I extended to the north

This area is fairly open, and would allow some manoeuvre.

It would also include 3rd British and 22nd Italian corps


Both commanders created a reserve and both did so in the centre squares

Wellington commanded two corps artillery and one cavalry brigade

Soult commanded two cavalry brigades

It was clear from the start that the game would be decided in the centre


4th corps included the light division, and was ideal to take Valladolid

3rd corps was deployed on the hill on the British left, and difficult to attack

1st corps was deployed around a village


The French reserve and 8th corps would attack in the centre

22nd corps would support, but would only attack the hill if the centre was taken

16th corps would enter Valladolid, but would only hold the eastern edge


1st British corps was broken and the centre taken

But both cavalry brigades in the French reserve were broken and routed


22nd corps attacked the hill, but did not make much progress until the centre broke

Only when 3rd corps started to withdraw did they finally take the hill


The light division led the attack on Valladolid

In doing so they came under artillery fire, and suffered casualties

It took four moves for the two leading brigades to reach the Italian infantry

By then 1st corps was in trouble, and 4th corps did not press home their attack

As the centre broke, 4th corps started to withdraw from Valladolid


This was an interesting and complicated wargame.

Either side could easily have won, and the British almost did

The French attack on the centre suffered heavy casualties, particularly the cavalry

All three corps on each side fought independent battles

Both the British and French reserves, though small, played an important part


But perhaps the most interesting part was the French battle for Valladolid

Had they advanced and fought in the centre of the city they would have lost

The British 4th corps was much better suited to town fighting

By holding the near edge of the city they forced the British to come to them

This meant that the French artillery could fire on the British

But the British artillery were masked by the 4th corps infantry in the city

It also meant that the battle for the centre was lost before the battle for Valladolid began


Another very interesting wargame, and one won by tactics as much as dice


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    A very interesting battle ... and the more detailed photos in the fuller battle report really do shoe the way that the British left collapsed.

    The French seem to have the whip hand at present, but they do seem to have suffered relatively heavy casualties that might have an impact later in the campaign.

    All the best,


  2. Hi Bob

    Thanks for your comment

    The more the French advance the longer their lines of supply. Each depot gets one days supply each day, and the balance arrive at the main French depot, which is Laguna. It has to be moved from there to each of the advance corps. If a corps runs out of supply it loses attrition casualties of 400 infantry per day.

    As the British retreat they move closer to their main supply base at Zamora. So they are unlikely to suffer supply problems. But they do need time to regroup, reorganise and receive replacements for their battle casualties. These arrive at the rate of 100 cavalry or gunners, or 400 infantry, per day providing that they are not in contact with the French.

    So the next three or four days will be decisive. Wellington must counter attack before the French can resupply. However he can only do so if he has a reasonable chance of victory.

    And of course there are always the Spanish guerrillas ............




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