Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Battle of Arroyos dos Molinos

In October 1811, word reached General Hill, the commander of the British forces in the vicinity of Badajoz, that a French force under the command of General Girard was on the move in western Estremadura.
General Hill combined his forces with the local Spanish forces and together they began a pursuit of Girard on the 22nd of October. On the 27th, Girard marched only twelve miles, stopping for the night in Arroyo dos Molinos. The Allies marched 28 miles that day and were within five miles of the town. At two o'clock in the morning of the 28th, Hills force silently moved on to the plain some few miles from Arroyo do Molinos, the stage was set …
Opening Shots
The battle started slowly for both sides, the French infantry attempted to form into a coherent battle line though only 2nd battalion of the 40th Regiment headed the urgent orders and it advanced to the right of the 1st battalion. The chasseur regiment (the 27th) also moved out and maneuvered to the far right flank.
General Girard attempts to get his forces organized.

My old collection of French Infantry (Old Glory circa 2000) 

The allied start was not any better, only the cavalry brigade, less one dragoon regiment, advanced toward the French. With this temporary respite, the French managed to get most of their battalions of infantry formed up. crucially, the 40th regiment was able to face all three battalion towards the allied attack.
The 13th Light Dragoons and 2nd KGL Hussars advance toward the French.

The 10th Hussars faltered when ordered to charge the British cavalry, leaving them exposed in the middle of the battlefield. As we'll see, this hesitancy was temporary.
The 10th Hussars approach Long's Cavalry Brigade (British Cavalry is Ken's Perry Miniatures painted by Rex)

General Hill had wanted to block the French from leaving Arroyos and so ordered Gen. Wilson's brigade on a wide flanking maneuver. Unsure of the whereabouts of the other French brigade, General Wilson dispatched the 6th Cacadores Battalion to scout after the brigade.
Mark's newly painted British Infantry on the advance (Front Rank Miniatures - Reinforcement Packs) 

The remaining five battalions of Wilson brigade had successfully maneuvered into position but before Wilson could launch his battalions onto the French flank, an aid informed him of a large force of infantry moving to his rear.
Could they be the Spanish reserves or the French brigade doubling back? Not sure, Gen. Wilson wisely turns the two battalions of the 18th Portuguese Regiment to face the approaching force.
Mark also broughtt all the Portuguese units, most are metal Victrix figures.

The three British battalions of Wilsons brigade (28th Foot, 34th Foot & 39th Foot) were then ordered to charge. The 2nd battalion of the 40th Line Regiment took the brunt of the attack, though due to the presence of allied cavalry, had already formed square, so were not flanked by this attack. However, the French square lacked the firepower to fend off the British line, and though it held out longer than anticipated, broke before it could be reinforced.
Pivotal Moment
Seeing the unsupported Hussars, the British 9th Light Dragoons charged the 10th. However, in the ensuing combat it was the 10th that out fought the British dragoons and forced them to flee. The 10th follows up the fleeing Dragoons and routs them from the battlefield! Though they have blown horses, and are very far behind enemy lines, the 10th is rearing for more fighting, so wheels about to flank the Portuguese battery.
While this was transpiring, on the far right, the French 27th Chasseurs had charged the 50th Foot, who inexplicably failed to form square even though they were very aware of the approaching cavalrymen. While they inflicted severe casualties on the chasseurs, it was not enough to break their momentum and the 50th broke. The routing Englishmen swept up a battalion of the Portuguese 6th Regiment as well. The victorious but beaten up Chasseurs then retired to the rear.
The large force turned out to be the other brigade of Girard's force returning to the field of battle. They were screened by the 6th Cacadores Battalion, but this battalion barely slowed down the 3,500 advancing Frenchmen.
Pete and Aaron (new BP players) ran the six battalions of Remond's brigade
(Ken supplied all the figures which are Perry Miniatures painted by Rex Blackwell)

While the Portuguese kept the French at bay, the rest of Wilson's brigade pressed on, but were stopped at the outskirts of Arroyos as several battalions of the 34th regiment had finally moved up to support the hard pressed French left flank.
Outnumbered two to one, the Portuguese battalions valiantly tried to hold off the French assault. But there were too many French battalions and they pushed the Portuguese onto the backs of the British battalions.

Making matters worse, the French 10th Hussar now charged the Portuguese battery, which failed to face the Frenchmen and were easily wiped out. The momentum of the charge took them into the flank of the 92nd Highlander Regiment, who also failed to form square and broke from the flank attack.

The arrival of Mirillo's Spanish division gave the allies a glimmer of hope, but this was soon dashed when the French Dragoons swept away the Spanish Cavalry regiments! General Hill knew the day was totally lost and ordered Wilson to extract his command from the tightening noose around it.
My Spanish arrive and do nothing! (models are Elite Miniatures)

Final Thoughts
I really liked the scenario though really can tell if it was balanced or challenging for both sides, as Ken had some of the worst luck rolling dice we have ever seen!

The game brought up the fact that I do not have any French Dragoons, which prompted me to move them to the top of my painting list. In addition, I am now keen on painting up a battalion of Highlanders. I still have one more Austrian Cuirassier to finish and I think our next game will be an 1813 affair, but not totally sure yet.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice looking game with great figures and terrain. Haven't played Napoleonics in quite a while, but Black Powder is my favorite ruleset for this size of game.