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Monday, August 8, 2016

05 May 1813 – Battle of Canzio

Tactical map of battle area
Pictons 3rd corps have 1600 battle casualties.  Despite this Wellington orders them to attack Medina, in order to deter the French at Tordesillas from advancing on Toro.

Soult is expecting the British at Canzio to hold their position, or even move north to support Toro.   He wants to keep up the pressure on Wellington, but is un able to do so from Tordesillas.   He is aware that the Italians  have lost 1200 infantry, 200 gunners and 6 guns at the earlier battle of Mayorga.  Despite this he orders them to probe towards Canzio.

The result is an encounter battle between Canzio and Medina.

British – 12000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, 30 guns
French – 12000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, 24 guns
Table at start of wargame
3rd British corps are passing through Canizo at the start of the wargame
16th Italian corps are off table right at the start of the game
They will arrive on the table at the start of move 1.

Picton has decided to deploy to the right of the pass
The Italians have deployed in reaction to this advance

Wellington is determined to break the Poles before 8th corps can come to their support.   He orders both of his corps to advance and engage 13th corps.

2nd British corps is nearest and must pin the Poles until 4th corps can arrive.  They have lost their artillery and must advance without any support.   Their dragoons charge the French lancers, but lose the melee and retreat shaken.   The highland brigade suffer 800 casualties to skirmish fire.  With the loss of the British cavalry the Polish infantry can deploy into line from square.  They fire on the highlanders who suffer another 100 casualties.   They make their morale, but retire shaken.

4th British corps has further to advance.   The rifle brigade is leading the column and advance to engage the Polish artillery.  In doing so they suffer 800 casualties, but continue to press their attack.   The Polish lancers charge the hussar brigade, who lose the melee and retire shaken.

Wellington has suffered heavy casualties in pressing home his attack.  If he can not break the Poles before 8th French corps arrive he will have to call off the attack.

With both of his corps in contact, Wellington orders them to Attack.   This is more aggressive than Engage.  The infantry will close with the enemy and melee.

4th corps (top) charge the artillery.  The rifle brigade has already suffered 800 casualties, but they rout the gunners.  The nearby square retires with cavalry support to cover the retreat

2nd corps (bottom) have already lost their leading brigade, the highlanders.   The Portuguese brigade advance to take their place against the two Polish brigades in line.   When the gunners rout the nearest infantry brigade go with them.   4th Polish brigade is left to face the two brigade attack, and suffer the consequences.   They receive 2400 casualties, three quarters of their strength.   The broken survivors join the Polish rout.  

The 13th Polish corps is broken, it has lost 2600 casualties and 6 guns.  Two infantry brigades and all of the remaining gunners are in rout.   Fortunately there is one infantry brigade and the Polish cavalry to cover the rout.   And 8th corps has escaped any casualties.

Wellington has scored a significant victory.

The French have lost 2600 casualties, 3 guns and three brigades in rout
The British have lost 1200 casualties and one brigade is shaken.

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