Sunday 9 June 2024

Santander Campaign – Day Three

Campaign Map

French attack Laredo
French occupy Ramales
10 French army – attack Laredo
11 French army – occupy Ramales
12 French army – rally and regroup at Villacayo

British retreat to Medina
1 British army – defend Laredo
2 British army – retreat to Medina
3 British army – rally and regroup at Soncillo

14 brigade – abandon Ramales
16 brigade – capture convoy outside Sarautz
18 brigade – return to village
20 brigade – return to village
21 brigade – return to village

Battle of Laredo - Move 12

By day three the Wellington has had time to redeploy his army, and in particular deploy his First Army in a strong position in front of the port town of Laredo. 1st British corps hold the woods either side of the main coastal road leading to the town. 2nd British corps hold the village in the centre, 7th Spanish corps hold the extensive woods on the left of the allied position.

30th Polish corps attack the Spanish held woods. Their cavalry charge the Spanish guns, but fail to take them and retreat shaken. However their infantry take the woods section by section and hold the entire woods by nightfall

29th French corps attack the village in the centre. Their cavalry lose the opening melee rout and take the nearby gunners with them. Neither take any further part in the battle. So the French infantry have to attack the village without either cavalry or artillery support. They finally take it just before nightfall, and their light brigade beat off a determined British counter attack despite receiving 30% casualties.

28th Young Guard corps are given the most important task, the woods protecting the road to Laredo. It is held by the elite 1st British corps and fighting continues throughout the day. For most of that time the British hold the left half, and the French the right half. But in the last two hours of the battle the French finally take the left half

Having taken all three game objectives, the French have won the battle.

French lost 4 infantry. 4 cavalry and 1 artillery casualties (2100 men)
British lost 12 infantry and 1 cavalry casualties (4900 men)
Spanish lost 7 infantry and 1 cavalry casualties (2900 men)


This was a well balanced wargame in which the French had the advantage of slightly better quality troops, but the Allies had a strong defensive position. Even the poor quality Spanish corps were able to hold their own for most of the battle holding the large expanse of woods.

The French cavalry performed badly and the Polish lancers took their routed early in the game. They managed to rally and return, but lost a second melee in the closing moves of the game. In doing so they unmasked the Polish gunners, who were then routed by the British cavalry. The nearest infantry brigade failed their morale as a result and joined the rout.

The British infantry lost 12 and the Spanish 7, against 4 French infantry. But the French cavalry lost 4 to 1 British and 1 Spanish. In subsequent battles the French would miss their cavalry losses more than the British their infantry casualties

And interesting wargame, in which the dice once more played a leading role. It was surprising how often the winners of a melee would roll a 6, and the losers roll a 1 when testing their morale as a result of casualties received.

I am very pleased with how the new rules are working out. It can be very annoying to roll a 1 at the wrong time, particularly if it results in nearby brigades also rolling low to test their morale. But it adds to a fast moving and very unpredictable game. And so far the good, and the bad, dice have been pretty even over the 12 moves of a game.

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