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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

5 March 1813 – Battle of Arriba

Tactical map of battle area

Background to battle
This is an encounter battle
The British have orders to block the approach to Arriba
The French have orders to attack Arriba

British – 12000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, 30 guns
French – 12000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, 30 guns

Note – Both corps have one brigade each detached on garrison duty
Table at start of wargame

Both corps start the wargame on the table

0800 - 1300
The battle opens with a race for the centre, to control the road to Arriba.
Both corps deploy their cavalry to protect the approach march

The British are nearer, and unlimber their artillery between the farm and the marsh.
The remainder of the corps starts to deploy

Darmagnac orders the garrison to rejoin 13th corps to take part in the battle
1300 - 1600

Polish artillery sent forward to be within range of the British infantry
In doing so they unlimber within short range of the British gunners
They receive 10% casualties, but pass their morale
Return fire and hit British gunners, who are shaken with 10% casualties
Polish infantry sent to engage British infantry who have entered farm


1600 - 1700

Polish artillery hit British gunners again, who rout with 20% casualties
The British right (at the farm) are now outnumbered by four to two
With the loss of his artillery Picton orders his corps to retreat

The battle was decided by short range counter battery fire
In addition the Polish infantry outnumbered the British by four to three
They were more concentrated and could bring four brigades to engage two
Without artillery Picton was unable to hold the farm against such odds
The Polish lost 100 gunners and three guns
The British lost 200 gunners and six guns

Although casualties were light, the Polish achieved a clear victory
The British were forced to retreat to avoid heavy casualties

Battle Summary
The battle started with a race for the Arriba road, which the British won
The cavalry faced each other on the eastern flank, but neither would risk a charge
Picton sent his infantry to occupy the farm, covered by his artillery
The Polish artillery was sent forward, protected by the broken ground on their left
They unlimbered within short range of the British gunners
In a brief exchange of fire both artillery received casualties
However the British gunners were shaken
The four Polish infantry brigades now advanced against the two British in the farm
As they did so their artillery hit the British gunners once more, who broke and routed
With the loss of artillery support the farm garrison faced heavy casualties
Picton ordered a general retreat before they could be pinned and attacked.
The French lost 100 gunners and three guns
The British lost 200 gunners and six guns

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