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Thursday, July 9, 2015

11 March 1813 – Battle of Almarez

Tactical map of battle area

Background to battle
7th and 8th French corps launch a surprise attack on Almarez
Spanish – 32000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, 60 guns
French – 24000 infantry, 2000 cavalry, 60 guns
Table at start of wargame

7th and 8th French corps start the game on Engage orders
2nd and 4th Spanish corps start the game on Hold orders
The river can be crossed at half movement rate by infantry and cavalry
Artillery can only cross by the bridges
6 Spanish militia brigade can not be moved out of Almarez
Almarez Walled City

The city consists of four sections, each holding a full infantry brigade
It is held by 4th Spanish corps, with only the artillery deployed outside the walls
The guns cover the bridge leading to the city.
7th French corps deploy on the north bank to pin the garrison
8th French corps are ordered to cross the river and attack the Spanish held hill
Their cavalry cross by the bridge and hold off the Spanish cavalry
The infantry ford the river between the two bridges, covered by the artillery
2nd Spanish corps redeploy to oppose the river crossing.
7th French corps artillery force Spanish infantry to retreat towards city
French cavalry charge accross bridge at Spanish artillery
Cavalry receive 10% casualties, are shaken and retreat
French infantry cross river and force infantry and gunners to retreat inside city

Suchet orders 8th French corps to attack hill
Cavalry charge and rout Spanish lancers
Artillery cross river by bridge and fire on hill
Spanish infantry are shaken with 10% casualties
French infantry storm hill and both Spanish brigades rout

Spanish Rout  
French artillery rout Spanish infantry on hill
French infantry advance to pursue
Two Spanish infantry brigades are in rout
Spanish artillery withdraw covered by square
Spanish infantry rout covered by reserve brigade

With the loss of two brigades 2nd Spanish corps is forced to retreat
4th Spanish corps is contained within the walls of Almarez
General Giron must now decide whether to leave 4th corps to hold Almarez
Or order both corps to retreat
The French have lost 100 cavalry
The Spanish have lost 400 infantry and 200 cavalry and three brigades in rout

The battle is a French victory
2nd Spanish corps must retreat
4th Spanish corps may either retreat or hold on to Almarez
The French will lay siege to Almarez if the Spanish do not abandon the city.

Battle Summary
The Spanish held a strong position behind the river Tagus.
2nd Spanish corps held the hill overlooking the river
4th Spanish corps held the city commanding the main road over the river.
The French cavalry forded the river and pinned the Spanish
Their artillery deployed on the northern bank to prevent a Spanish attack
7th French corps were ordered to pin the city
8th French corps were ordered to attack the hill
The garrison sent their artillery and one infantry brigade to fire on 7th corps
7th corps cavalry attempted to charge the gunners accross the bridge, but were forced to retreat.
8th French corps established a bridgehead, and moved their guns within close range of the hill.  Their infantry then stormed and took the hill
Casualties were light on both sides.  
The French lost 100 casualties
The Spanish lost 600 casualties
But three Spanish brigades were routed
The French took the hill, but not the city
The Spanish commander must now decide whether to hold the city or retreat
If he does not retreat, the French will lay siege to Almarez


  1. Haha gives substance / life to my moves on the map. There are thing I would do differently but you do have a vast experience of the stuff you are doing and have valid reasons for everything.
    Probably the 4 th time in my life I write a comment on a blog!

  2. Hi JC

    Thanks for the comment

    I hope that the battle report explains what happened during the game a little better than the summary in the umpire report?

    I suspect that everyone would do things different in a wargame, including Jan and I in retrospect!