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Saturday, April 18, 2015

4 March 1914 – Battle of Valladolid

Tactical map of battle area
Four French corps attack three British corps
British – 36000 infantry, 3000 cavalry, 90 guns
French – 56000 infantry, 3000 cavalry, 90 guns

Table at start of wargame
British HQ     start on table
1 corps         arrive move 1
2 corps         start on table
4 corps         start on table

French HQ    start on table
3 corps         arrive move 2
4 corps         arrive move 1
6 corps         start on table
14 corps        start on table

4th French corps has four infantry brigades, but no cavalry nor artillery

0800 – 1100
All corps are within sight of each other
Blinds are replaced with figures
Soult has decided to attack 1st corps, the British left flank
He has placed 4th corps, his reserve, in support of 3rd corps
First blood goes to 2nd British artillery, who hit the leading French column
1100 – 1400
The French infantry advance, supported by cavalry
Artillery continue to fire, but the French guns will soon be masked by the infantry
French infantry have lost 2400 casualties, British infantry 1200 casualties
1400 - 1600
British cavalry advance to cover infantry attack
Two brigades routed and third is shaken
French centre and right lose firefight and are driven back
French left draw firefight, and still have 4th corps intact
But forced to abandon attack without support from centre and 
British Right Flank
British cavalry have withdrawn shaken
But the infantry has won the fire fight and routed French infantry
The French light cavalry have been routed
Two French infantry brigades are also in rout
Third French infantry brigade is shaken
The British have won on this flank

British Centre
Two British rifle brigades win the firefight and hold the hill
The two French brigades on the left have just been driven back and are shaken
The rear French brigade on the right is also shaken from earlier casualties
The French cavalry (top right) have been routed
The British have won in the centre

British Left Flank
British have lost cavalry and artillery forced to withdraw
But they have won skirmish fight and still have four brigades of infantry
French cavalry have withdraw shaken
3rd corps infantry draw in skirmish battle
4th corps infantry ready to attack
The French have won on this flank
But without support from the centre and right have to withdraw

By nightfall the French centre and left have been defeated and forced to retreat
Their right wing has been held in check, and are ordered to withdraw
Although outnumbered the British have held all along their line
The French have lost 6400 infantry and 400 cavalry
They have four brigades in rout and five brigades shaken
The British have lost 3600 infantry and 300 cavalry
They have one brigade in rout and one brigade shaken

Both armies have suffered heavy casualties
But it is a clear British victory
The British will hold their ground
The French will withdraw to establish the “no mans land” square

Battle Summary
Heavily outnumbered Wellington opted for a defensive battle
His best corps held the hill in the centre, with one corps either side
Marshal Soult deployed his three standard corps opposite each British corps
He placed his reserve corps, who had neither cavalry nor artillery, in the centre
The battle opened with artillery fire, the French lost 2400 casualties, the British 1200
Soult ordered his left and centre corps to advance and pin the British
The reserve corps would join his right hand corps and form the main attack
As the French infantry neared the British position their artillery had to stop firing
The British cavalry moved forward to threaten the French infantry
The French cavalry charged, but lost the subsequent melee
The French centre and left wing lost the firefight and withdrew in disorder
The French right held their own, but had to retreat to avoid being outflanked
The French lost 7000 during the battle, the British lost 3900

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