Sunday 26 March 2023

Merida Campaign – Battle of Merida


Start of game

Merida is the main Spanish depot and the campaign objective

It is held and defended by 3rd Spanish army

14th French army have orders to take and hold Merida 


Both armies have suffered only light casualties in the campaign so far

Both commanders are well aware of the importance of Merida and the outcome of the battle


14th French Army – 10 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

3rd Spanish Army – 12 infantry brigades, 1 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

Battle of Merida – Move 12

On the left most of 5th Spanish corps are in rout

Only one infantry brigade is left to hold the hill

However they have completely routed 42nd Polish corps


In the centre 40th French corps has fought to take the city

They have occupied the southern half.

But the Spanish still hold the northern half


On the right 4th Spanish corps have four of their six brigades in rout

However they have routed all six Baden corps

Not only do they hold the flank, but they are sending reinforcements to the city


The French have lost 13 infantry and 5 cavalry casualties (5700 men)

The Spanish have lost 17 infantry, 2 cavalry and 5 artillery casualties (7500 men)


The French have 8 brigades in rout

The Spanish have 10 brigades in rout


Against all the odds, the Spanish have won a convincing and decisive victory



This was easily the hardest fought wargame of the campaign

Indeed the “nearest run thing” for many a campaign.


Both players were determined to win, knowing that the winner would also win the campaign

Neither side had many campaign casualties, so morale was strong for both armies

In the first photo the Spanish deployment looks very similar to the previous five battles


The French tactics were very similar to earlier games.

The CinC took command of two of the three corps artillery

He also took two elite infantry brigades

The battle plan was to hold the flanks with 41st and 42nd corps

And take the city with 40th French corps plus extra artillery


The fighting was really fierce and undecided until the very end

The French made steady progress, but suffered heavy casualties

The Spanish also lost heavy casualties


The Spanish held both flanks, but that was more luck than skill


On the left the last Spanish infantry brigade held the hill in line

Their artillery routed, but then rallied and were about to reoccupy their guns

The two remaining French infantry brigades had to attack in column before they could do so

The Spanish brigade just happened to be the best one in 5th corps

The two French brigades just happened to be the two worse Polish brigades

The Poles lost and ran away.


On the right the Baden cavalry routed with just 10% casualties (one hit)

This allowed 4th Spanish corps artillery to redeploy and fire on the Baden infantry

The attack on the bridge ended in disaster with all six Baden brigades in rout


But it was in the centre where the Spanish really won the battle

6th Spanish corps held the southern half of the city, but did not garrison the northern half

The French grand battery deployed at short range, with the two infantry brigades in support

However as soon as they opened fire the Spanish garrison withdrew to the northern half of Merida

The French artillery had failed to cause any casualties to the garrison]

And were now unable to fire on the northern half of the city

There were five French brigades ready to assault the town

But on one could attack through each town section

Because the Spanish still held the flanks they could not easily attack the east and west sides of Merida.

The French artillery finally redeployed against the northern half of the city

They opened fire again on move 12 (the last one of the game)

One hit and caused the garrison to take morale

They passed their test, held the city and won the campaign


One of our most enjoyable wargames for a long time

And a great way to decide a very enjoyable campaign phase.

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