Battle of Medellin    
  29 March 1809   scale: 1:80, 1gun/5guns, weather = fine, start: in the morning, dark: 7pm, time scale: 1 game turn = 30min
     
 

Background:
Cuesta had inherited the dispirited troops of the army of Estremadura and was retreating south in order to avoid the attentions of the French. This had left him in peace for about a month, during which time he had reorganised his forces and given free rein to ideas of reconquest. When at last Marshal Victor was ordered to advance south into Estremadura to take up position at Badajoz, from where he would be able to link up with Marshal Soult, who was then campaigning towards Lisbon in his conquest of Portugal, Cuesta was ready to take the counter-offensive against him. Victor began crossing the Tagus River on March 14, in the face of Spanish troops, among them those under General Henestrosa. Victor cleared the opposition while Cuesta kept retreating, wishing to pick up reinforcements under the Marquis of Portago and the Duke of Albuquerque (who had been 'sent away' by Cartaojal prior to the battle of Ciudad Real) before giving battle. Henestrosa's cavalry was left to contain the French advance as much as possible. With a vigour and initiative that was rare in Spanish generals, Henestrosa turned on the pursuing French in some sharp actions, most notably at the village of Miajadas, where he ambushed the 10th Chasseurs a Cheval who had recklessly advanced far ahead of their supports. In the melee that followed, the Chasseurs lost more than 130 men before they managed to cut their way out of the trap. It was an experience that the horsemen of Lasalle's light cavalry division would remember with bitter vengence on the day of battle that was to follow. Albuquerque joined Cuesta on March 27 and that was the prompt that changed Cuesta's retreat into counter-offensive. He outnumbered Victor in raw manpower and presumed the time ripe to attack him in the plain of Medellin, where Victor was hemmed in by the Rivers Guadiana and Hortiga which would virtually make a French retreat impossible, while protecting his own flanks from attack by the numerous French cavalry. Delighted, he deployed his infantry in a long arc without supports, 6 kilometers wide and 4 men deep, and bore down on the French. The initial advance went well enough and probing attacks by the French cavalry were initially beaten back. The Spanish advanced, taunting the French and shouting that Medellin would be their grave. All the while Victor's men gave way and when they reached the position where they would make their stand in preparation for the counter thrust, the Spanish boldly attacked their line of infantry and even got among the guns. At that point, the French dragoons charged. Cuesta placed himself at the head of his cavalry and countered, and doomed his army to ruin. For the Spanish squadrons advanced only briefly, than halted, and then turned and galloped to the rear without so much as brandishing their swords in threat. The regiments that had performed so well at Miajadas, now completely lost their nerve and left their infantry exposed to the furious French dragoons, who charged its flank and cut through its length, supported from the other side of the battle field by Lasalle who had followed the dragoons' example. With the ambush at Miajadas fresh in their minds and for a while uncertain that they would succeed to defeat the cocksure' Spanish infantry at Medellin, the French cavalry gave vent to their relief in an orgy of bloodlust. Of the 10000 Spanish casualties that day, 75% had fallen by the edge of a sabre. The Spanish infantry had displayed far more resolve than would have been expected from troops who had 'graduated in the school of panic under Belvedere', as Charles Oman called it, but had been deserted by their cavalry in the most offensive manner.

Game notes
:
The Spanish OBs are correct in broad lines but miss detail at brigade level. Victor and Ruffin's division may arrive on table as per the flank march rules, from turn 2 onwards.

Objective:
French: defeat the Spanish
Spanish: defeat the French

Historical outcome:
See above.

 
     
 
FRENCH ARMY uses French system Initiative 3
                    Army
  troop men sub bn status training stands + 1st  skir- Breaking
  type   units art?   class factors fire? mish? Point
I Corps  
C-in-C: Marshal Victor competent, cautious  
ADC competent, bold  
 
1st Division  
Gnl de Division Ruffin competent, bold  
1st Brigade: General competent, bold  
9th Legere (the Incomparable) S/O 1800 3   veteran A 8/5/3   all 3
24th Ligne C/O 1800 3   veteran A 7/5/3   3 3
8/1st Foot Artillery FA 8 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
6
2nd Brigade: Gnl de Brigade Barrois competent, bold
96th Ligne C/O 1800 3   veteran A 7/5/3   3 3
2/3rd Horse Artillery HA 6 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
3
Corps Artillery
11/1st Foot artillery FA 8 x 6 pdr     veteran   2/1     1
2/2nd Horse Artillery HA 6 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
1
3rd Division
Gnl de Division Villatte competent, bold
1st Brigade: Gnl de Brig Cassagne competent, bold
27th Legere  S/O 1800 3   veteran A 8/5/3   all 3
63rd Ligne C/O 1450 3   veteran A 6/4/2   3 2
7/1st Foot Artillery FA 6 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
5
2nd Brigade: Gnl de Brig Puthod competent, bold
94th Ligne C/O 1450 3   veteran A 6/4/2   3 2
95th Ligne C/O 1450 3   veteran A 6/4/2   3 2
3/3rd Horse Artillery HA 6 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
4
Cavalry Brigade Beaumont competent, bold
26th Chasseurs a Cheval LC 720 3   veteran A 6/4/2     2
2nd Dragoon Division
Gnl de Division Latour-Maubourg superior, bold
2nd Dragoon regiment MC 420 1   veteran A 3/2/-      
4th Dragoon regiment MC 420 1   trained A 3/2/1     1
9th Dragoon regiment MC 420 1   veteran A 3/2/1     1
14th Dragoon regiment MC 420 2   veteran A 4/3/1     1
26th Dragoon regiment MC 420 2   trained A 4/3/2     2
5/5th Horse Artillery HA 6 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
Attached: 2nd Nassau infantry regt C/O 700 1   trained B 3/2/1     1
6
Cavalry Division Lasalle superior, bold
8th Dragoon regiment MC 480 2   trained A 4/3/1     1
10th Chasseurs a Cheval LC 290 1   veteran A 2/1/-      
22nd Chasseurs a Cheval LC 720 3   trained A 6/5/3     3
2nd Hussars LC 460 2   veteran A 4/3/1     1
7/3rd Horse Artillery HA 6 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
Attached: 4th Baden infantry regt C/O 700 1   veteran A 3/2/-      
5
 
     
 
 
 
  An Alice-in-Wonderland-like illustration of the pursuit at Medellin  
 
     
 
 
     
 
SPANISH ARMY uses Prussian system Initiative 4
                    Army
  troop men sub bn status training stands + 1st  skir- Breaking
  type   units art?   class factors fire? mish? Point
Spanish army of theCentre  
C-in-C: General de la Cuesta competent, rash  
 
Cavalry of the left  
General: (de la Cuesta)  
Infante cavalry regiment HC 360 1   conscr B 3/-/2     2
Almanza cavalry regiment HC 360 1   conscr B 3/-/2     2
Imperial de Toledo cavalry regiment HC 360 1   conscr B 3/-/2     2
6
Division Henestrosa superior, bold
4th Walloon Guards C/O 960 1   veteran B 4/3/1     1
Badajoz infantry regiment C/O 1440 2   trained B 6/5/3     3
2nd Catalonia Light infantry regiment mix 1440 2   conscr B 6/5/4   3 4
Foot artillery FA 5 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
8
Division Del Parque competent, bold
2nd Walloon Guards C/O 960 1   veteran B 4/3/1     1
Jaen infantry regiment C/O 1440 2   trained B 6/5/3     3
Provincial grenadier regiment C/O 1440 2   conscr B 6/5/4     4
Foot artillery FA 5 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
8
Division Trias competent, cautious
4th Spanish Guards C/O 960 1   veteran B 4/3/1     1
2nd Majorca infantry regiment C/O 960 1   trained B 4/3/2     2
Provincial de Badajos C/O 960 1   conscr B 4/-/3     3
Merida infantry regiment C/O 960 1   conscr B 4/-/3     3
La Serena infantry regiment C/O 960 1   conscr B 4/-/3     3
4th Hussar regiment LC 480 2   trained B 4/3/2     2
Foot artillery FA 5 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
14
Division Portago competent, bold
Irlanda infantry regiment C/O 1440 2   trained B 6/5/3     3
Provincial de Toledo C/O 960 1   conscr B 4/-/3     3
Provincial de Burgos C/O 960 1   conscr B 4/-/3     3
2nd Voluntarios de Madrid C/O 960 1   conscr B 4/-/3     3
3rd Sevilla infantry regiment C/O 960 1   trained B 4/3/2     2
1st Hussars of Estremadura regiment LC 480 2   trained B 4/3/2     2
Foot artillery FA 5 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
16
Division Albuquerque competent, rash
Campo Mayor infantry regiment S/O 500 1   trained B 2/-/1   2 1
Provincial de Guadix & Cordova C/O 960 2   conscr B 4/-/3     3
Osasuna infantry regiment C/O 960 2   trained B 4/3/2     2
Granaderos del General & mix 960 2   conscr B 4/-/3   2 3
     Tiradores de Cadiz                    
Foot artillery FA 5 x 6 pdr     veteran   1      
9
 
 
 
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