Battle of Baylen, morning of 16 July 1808

History of the Peninsular War vol.1: 1807-1809 - From the Treaty of Fontainebleau to the Battle of Corunna, Sir Charles Oman. The first volume of Oman's classic seven volume history of the Peninsular War, this is one of the classic works of military history and provides an invaluable detailed narrative of the fighting in Spain and Portugal. This first volume covers the initial French intervention, the start of the Spanish uprising, the early British involvement in Spain and Portugal and Napoleon's own brief visit to Spain.

Background [ edit | edit source ]

In the months after occupying Portugal, Napoleon undertook the conquest and control of Spain. He met much resistance but it was disorganised even when it was effective. By the end of July the Spanish had met the French a dozen times, winning, or at least not losing, at seven of those meetings. Their most spectacular victory was in southern Spain on 23 July 1808, when General Francisco Castaños surrounded and forced 18,000 French under General Pierre Dupont to surrender at Battle of Bailén. On 30 July 1808, the French massacred the population, men, women, and children, of Évora. Both of these events were to have an effect on the future of each nation's relationships with British troops. On the same day, Wellesley received a letter from Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. It informed Wellesley that General Jean-Andoche Junot's forces numbered more than 25,000. Castlereagh forwarded his plans to augment the British army in Portugal by another 15,000 men. General Sir John Moore was to arrive with an army from Sweden, and another force would be forwarded from Gibraltar. The command of this larger force would pass to Sir Hew Dalrymple (the Governor in Gibraltar, a 60-year-old general who had seen active service only in a failed campaign in Flanders in 1793�). Dalrymple would be seconded by Sir Harry Burrard, attended by five other generals, all senior to Wellesley (Dalrymple, Burrard, Moore, Hope, Fraser, and Lord Paget). The ambitious General Wellesley hoped to make something happen during the time he still commanded the army in Portugal.

On 30 July 1808, General Wellesley remet Admiral Cotton's convoy with Wellesley's troops at Mondego bay. Wellesley chose this as his landing point because students from Coimbra University had seized the fort making this a safer landing than any place nearer Lisbon. The disembarking of Wellesley's original 9,000 troops and supplies with the 5,000 they met off Portugal lasted from 1𠄸 August. Some landing craft capsized in the rough surf making the first British casualties in the Peninsula victims of drowning. The army marched off on the 10th on the hot and sandy 12 mile march to Leiria. Wellesley arrived the 11th and soon began arguing with General Freire, the commander of 6,000 Portuguese troops, about supplies and the best route to Lisbon. The result had Wellesley taking his preferred route, close to the sea and his supplies, with 1,700 of the Portuguese under the command of Colonel Trant, a British officer in service with the Portuguese Army. The army then began its march toward Lisbon following a force of the French army. The French were under the command of General Henri François, Comte Delaborde. These troops had been sent by Junot to harass and hold the British while he brought his larger army into position to oppose the Anglo-Portuguese forces. By 14 August the British reached Alcobaça and moved on to Óbidos. Here the British vanguard, mostly 95th Rifles, met pickets and the rearguard of the French forces. The 4,000 French were outnumbered approximately 4 to 1.

[Manuscript] Diary of a French officer's experiences after capture in Spain at the surrender of Bailen, July 1808

[Hunthill House, Scotland]: not published, before 1814. Unique.. Contemporary straight grained morocco a.e.g.. Good some occasional spotting scuffing to the binding with strained joints. Leaf size: 230 x 185 mm paper watermarked ' Budgen & Wilmott / 1812 '.. 4to [10], 1 - 233, [4] pp.

A first-hand, unpublished memoir by a French army officer who survived the surrender of French forces after the Battle of Bailen in July 1808. The background to this event was Napoleon's attempt to complete the isolation of England from the continent. To this end he sent a French army into the Iberian Peninsula to seize the coast of Portugal and occupy Spain. General Pierre Dupont de l'tang was charged with securing French control of the major cities in Spain. Dupont's 20,000 men had initial success, but as they penetrated deeper into Spain they faced increasing resistance. The diary offered here traces the route and experiences of Dupont's army to its furthest point of penetration in Spain: Cordoba. There, after a particularly bloody and cruel occupation, the army was forced to withdraw and was soon overwhelmed. Dupont surrendered his army at Bailen. Originally promised safe passage, most of the French were slaughtered immediately after their surrender. The start of the Peninsular War marks the commencement of the diary, written by H. de Montvaillant, an officer from Montpellier who was serving in the second Corps d'Observation of the Gironde, placed under the direction of General Dupont. Although the starting date of the campaign is generally accepted as March 1808, by Montvaillant's account the French had already occupied the town of Vittoria (50 miles west of Pamplona) by Dec. 22, 1807. By January 9, 1808 French troops had advanced to south of Burgos, heading toward Valladolid. Every stopover resulted in small detachments being left behind to guard the roads, thereby diminishing the strength of the army as it travelled. Spanish guerrilla activity took a toll on the troops so much so that the diarist records that the troops had to, "redouble our vigilance, and [take] measures the most severe ever adapted to ensure our safety" (p. 58). On Feb. 16 they entered Medina del Campo on their way to Madrid. Montvaillant records his impressions of the city and the inhabitants. Toledo was the next destination, where he noted a visit to the palace library, and the suppression of an uprising led by monks. By the end of May the French had occupied Consuegra and entered La Carolina in Andalusia. It is at this point that the narrative takes on an ominous tone. About to enter Seville, Montvaillant noted a change in circumstances in the countryside and the inhabitants. The population was abandoning villages and fleeing. He records that the senior officers assumed that the army would only be harassed by small bands of "brigands"(p. 84), a far cry from the massive insurgency that it encountered: "We learned that the insurgents each day gathered strength, and that the Junta of Seville was determined to stop us in our march. The following days we got to the little town Baylen [Bailen], in whose plains two months afterwards our destiny was decided" (p. 86). The French attacked and sacked the city of Cordoba: "Neither tears, promises, or humble supplications could arrest the thirst for pillage. " (p. 89) discipline was nonexistent, drunkenness and looting continued for eight days. At the end of this Montvaillant was ordered back to the village of Alcolea, not far from Bailen, to guard a bridge crossing. While there he discovered the slaughter of the French sick and wounded who had been left along the line of march while the main body of General Dupont's troops had taken Cordoba. The army had moved back to Andujar, near Bailen, and encamped. Montvaillant records that the general staff soon realized that the French were now outnumbered and that the opposition had organized itself. Dupont's army was isolated, without hope of reinforcement or re-supply, defending a garrison at the village of And jar, situated on a flat plain in the scorching sun. The narrative is now of troop dispositions, losses, tactical mistakes, errors of the general staff, and increasing difficulties. Dupont's surrender came on July 20, 1808. The officers were segregated from the defeated army before being escorted (supposedly) to France. Most of the army was slaughtered within days. Montvaillant records the details of his months-long "death march" southwards to the coast, finally arriving at Jerez de la Frontera (near Cadiz) to await embarkation to France. This did not happen. Their captors kept them in Jerez, having discovered that the ruling Junta of Seville had abrogated the surrender treaty, and that the inhabitants were waiting to massacre them on their approach to Cadiz. Montvaillant now fills his account with many anecdotes of captivity and of the officers' horrendous treatment at the hands of their escorts and guards. He is unclear as to exact dates but it seems the French captives were held at Jerez until mid-December and then hastily driven aboard ships to sail for the Balearic Islands (p. 141). A severe storm intervened and they were blown off course to Africa, finally coming to port at Gibraltar several days later they were already back in Andalusia, at M laga (!). Then, after more storms and much sailing, they finally made the Balearics where they were exiled to the desert island of Cabrera. There some 4400 surviving men and officers were forced to survive as best they could (p. 148). Almost 250 officers were collected from this exile after a month and taken to the capital, Palma. There, imprisoned in better circumstances, this group of officers waited nearly half would be massacred during a riot and assault on the prison by the inhabitants of Palma. By March 1809 only 140 of the original 250 rescued officers were alive and were returned to Cabrera where the living conditions were desperate (pp. 155-165). Despite this, the officers were able to conjure up distractions. There is an account of theater productions, dances, and the jealousy and bickering among those playing female roles in these performances. Montvaillant comments that the theatrical chronicle of Cabrera would make quite a book. Eventually the officers were placed aboard an English ship. On August 4 they were off Cape Palos (near Cartagena) where there were rumors of a prisoner exchange. It did not occur. Montvalliant and companions spent several weeks aboard the English ship and were delivered to Portsmouth. He went on to Salisbury for a short time and then embarked again for Leith enroute to his final destination in Scotland, Jedburgh, where he remained in exile until the accession of Louis XVIII in 1814. The text is in English, at times stilted. Eight pages of notes in French by the author are inserted, four at the beginning and four at the end, dated May 27, 1814. The French preface consists entirely of a Romantic dream, involving a temptress fairy and concluding with the author's promise never to forget his friends in Scotland. Of the final four pages the first page provides some information about the history of this manuscript diary (the remaining pages contain literary notes including translations into French of poems by Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott). According to these comments, the account was originally written in French, and the English translation offered here was provided by Montvaillant's benefactors in Jedburgh. During his years of exile he had befriended a well-off family (Rutherford?), the owners of nearby Hunthill House, to whose three young daughters he became deeply attached. Without them, he claims, he would not have survived the loneliness of his exile. To pay them homage and in acknowledgement of his gratitude he dedicated his memoir to them. His friends retained the original French version as a valued keepsake of their friend and an engrossing biographical narrative, and presented him with this translation, which he brought back to France, planning to render it anew in French, to share with his family and close friends. (The annotations in the text may be the author's.) He emphasizes that he plans to keep the manuscript unpublished. The memories were no doubt too painful. Napoleon had referred to the Peninsular War as the 'Spanish ulcer' and it was to be one of the primary factors in his downfall. It was characterized by appalling cruelty on both sides. A detailed history of the events accompanying those depicted in this recently discovered diary can be read about in Denis Smith's book The Prisoners of Cabrera: Napoleon's Forgotten Soldiers 1809 - 1814. (Inventory #: 14085)


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The area around Staples Center and L.A. Live had increased activity on Thursday night as fans returned to the arena to watch the Lakers-Celtics game.

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Campaign in Spain, 1812

The campaign of 1812 marks an important stage in the war. Napoleon, with the Russian War in prospect, had early in the year withdrawn 30,000 men from Spain and Wellington had begun to carry on what he termed a war of "magazines." Based on rivers (the navigation of which greatly improved) and the sea, he formed depots or magazines of provisions at many points, which enabled him always to take and keep the field. The French, on the other hand, had great difficulty in establishing any such reserves of food, owing to their practice of depending for sustenance entirely upon the country in which they were quartered. Wellington assumed the offensive, and by various movements and feints, aided the guerrilla bands by forcing the French corps to assemble in their districts, which not only greatly harassed them but also materially hindered the combination of their corps for concerted action. Having secretly got a battering train into Almeida and directed Hill, as a blind, to engage Soult by threatening Badajoz, he suddenly (Jan. 8, 1812) besieged Ciudad Rodrigo.

The French, still numbering nearly 200,000, now held the following positions: the Army of the North - Dorsenne (48,000) - was about the Pisuerga, in the Asturias, and along the northern coast the Army of Portugal - Marmont (50,000) - mainly in the valley of the Tagus, but ordered to Salamanca the Army of the South - Soult (55,000) - in Andalusia the Army of the Centre - Joseph (ig,000) - about Madrid.

The siege of Ciudad Rodrigo was calculated in the ordinary course to require twenty-four days: but on it becoming known that Marmont was moving northward, the assault was Siege of delivered after twelve days only (Jan. r9). The Ciudad gallantry of the troops made it successful, though with Rodrigo, the loss of Generals Craufurd and McKinnon, and 1300 ulfrary s men, and Marmont's battering train of 150 guns here fell into the allied hands. Then, after a feint of passing on into Spain, Wellington rapidly marched south and, with 2 2,000 men, laid siege to Badajoz (March 17, 1812), Hill with 30,000 covering the siege near Merida. Wellington was hampered by want of time, and had to assault prematurely. Soult and Marmont having begun to move to relieve the garrison, the assault was delivered on the night of the 7th of April, and Siege of though the assailants failed at the breaches, the Badajoz, carnage at which was terrible, a very daring escalade March 17 to of one of the bastions and of the castle succeeded, Apr117, 1812. and Badajoz fell, Soult's pontoon train being taken in it. After the assault, some deplorable excesses were committed by the victorious troops. The allied loss was 3600 in the assault alone and 5000 in the entire siege.

The Allies had now got possession of the two great gates into Spain: and Hill, by an enterprise most skilfully carried out, destroyed (May 19) the Tagus bridge at Almaraz, by which Soult to the south of the river chiefly communicated with Marmont to the north. Wellington then, ostentatiously making preparations to enter Spain by the Badajoz line, once more turned northward, crossed the Tormes (June 17, 1812), and advanced to the Douro, behind which the French were drawn up. Marmont had erected at Salamanca some strong forts, the reduction of which occupied Wellington ten days, and cost him 600 men. The Allies and French now faced each other along the Douro to the Pisuerga. The river was high, and Wellington hoped that want of supplies would compel Marmont to retire, but in this he was disappointed.

On the 15th of July 1812, Marmont, after a feint against Wellington's left, suddenly, by a forced march, turned his right, and made rapidly towards the fords of Huerta and Alba on the Tormes. Some interesting manoeuvres now took place, Wellington moving parallel and close to Marmont, but more to the north, making for the fords of Aldea Lengua and Santa Marta on the Tormes nearer to Salamanca, and being under the belief that the Spaniards held the castle and ford at Alba on that river. But Marmont's manoeuvring and marching power had been underestimated, and on the 21st of July while Wellington's position covered Salamanca, and but indirectly his line of communications through Ciudad Rodrigo, Marmont had reached a point from which he hoped to interpose between Wellington and Portugal, on the Ciudad Rodrigo road. This he endeavoured to do on the 22nd of July 1812, which brought on the important battle of Salamanca (q.v.) in which Battle of Wellington gained a decisive victory, the French Salamanca, falling back to Valladolid and thence to Burgos. Wellington entered Valladolid (July 30), and thence 1812. marched against Joseph, who (July 21) had reached Blasco Sancho with reinforcements for Marmont. Joseph retired before him, and Wellington entered Madrid (Aug. 1 2, 1812), where, in the Retiro, 1700 men, 180 cannon, two eagles, and a quantity of stores were captured. Soult now raised the siege of Cadiz (Aug. 26), and evacuating Andalusia joined Suchet with some 55,000 men. Wellington then brought up Hill to Madrid.

On the 1st of September 1812, the French armies having begun once more to collect together, Wellington marched against the of the Army of the North, now under General Clause], and Siege Castle of laid siege to the castle of Burgos (Sept. 19) to secure Burgos, the road towards Santander on the coast. But the Sept. 19 to strength of the castle had been underrated Oct. 21. Wellington had insufficient siege equipment and transport for heavy guns five assaults failed, and Soult (having left Suchet in Valencia) and also the Army of Portugal were both approaching, so Wellington withdrew on the night of the Retreat 21st of October, and, directing the evacuation of from Madrid, commenced the "Retreat from Burgos." Burgos. In this retreat, although military operations were skilfully conducted, the Allies lost 7000 men, and discipline, as in that to Corunna, became much relaxed.

By November 1812, Hill having joined him at Salamanca, Wellington once more had gone into cantonments near Ciudad Rodrigo, and the French armies had again scattered for convenience of supply. In spite of the failure before Burgos, the successes of the campaign had been brilliant. In addition to the decisive victory of Salamanca, Madrid had been occupied, the siege of Cadiz raised, Andalusia freed, and Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz stormed. Early in January also the French had abandoned the siege of Tarifa, though Valencia had surrendered to them (Jan. 9). One important result of the campaign was that the Spanish Cortes nominated Wellington (Sept. 22, 1812) to the unfettered command of the Spanish armies. For the operations of this campaign Wellington was created earl, and subsequently marquess of Wellington duke of Ciudad Rodrigo by Spain, and marquis of Torres Vedras by Portugal.

Independence in the Caribbean

Although Spain lost all of their colonies on the mainland by 1825, it retained control over Cuba and Puerto Rico. It had already lost control of Hispaniola due to uprisings by enslaved people in Haiti.

In Cuba, Spanish forces put down several major rebellions, including one which lasted from 1868 to 1878. Carlos Manuel de Cespedes led it. Another major attempt at independence took place in 1895 when ragtag forces including Cuban poet and patriot José Martí were defeated at the Battle of Dos Ríos. The revolution was still simmering in 1898 when the United States and Spain fought the Spanish-American War. After the war, Cuba became a US protectorate and was granted independence in 1902.

In Puerto Rico, nationalist forces staged occasional uprisings, including a notable one in 1868. None were successful, however, and Puerto Rico did not become independent from Spain until 1898 as a result of the Spanish-American War. The island became a protectorate of the United States, and it has been so ever since.

Shed Wars

- in anticipation of lockdown restrictions easing up in England tomorrow we have started to turn our attention to the next round of the War of the Roses campaign. As a reminder the players in the Shed have decided to recreate ALL the battles of the the Wars of the Roses in chronological order. Our last game focussed on the small battle of Worksop (report HERE) and is now to be followed up by the dynasty shaking Battle of Wakefield.

We cannot wait to get those dice rolling again !

Detailed below is a short background to the battle and the orders of battle. This morning I took the opportunity of setting up the table.

The real battle was fought in the month of December so it is a perfect opportunity to use my new grass terrain mat with added snow.

In the picture below you can see the heavily outnumbered Yorkist Army camped outside Sandal Castle facing the Lancastrian forces. Wakefield bridge the exit point for the Earl of Rutland is in the foreground.

Background to the Battle of Wakefield

In December 1460 Richard of York, along with the Earl of Salisbury (Warwick's father) travelled North. This was quite possibly in response to reports that Margaret of Anjou was in Scotland attempting to garner support from James III the King of Scotland. Warwick remained in London and Richard’s son, the Earl of March was sent westwards into Wales to raise troops along the Welsh border.

By the middle of December York had reached Worksop (some 40 miles south of Sandal Castle), it was here that in a skirmish York was beaten by the Duke of Beaufort (Lancs). Little evidence remains of this ‘battle’.

Following this engagement Richard continued north and by Christmas had reached his stronghold at Sandal Castle just outside Wakefield.

By now York must have known that a sizeable Lancastrian army was now forming close by at Pontefract (less than 9 miles from Wakefield) under the command of the Duke of Somerset. The town of Pontefract at this time was supposedly loyal to the Yorkist cause so it is certain that supporters of Richard of York would have informed him of their presence.

Given this relatively short distance it is my view that both sides must have been aware of each other’s presence and regular scouting parties would have had each other under observation. With no support from the 'London based' Warwick in the immediate future, Richard may well have been expecting support to arrive from his son, the Earl of March, around this time. It is believed that March wintered in Shrewsbury (some 100 miles south west of Wakefield).

On December 30th 1460 Richard of York was attacked by the forces of Somerset. His forces were routed and he either died in combat or was executed shortly afterwards.

There is much conjecture why this battle actually happened, these include

1. Richard underestimated size of Lancastrian forces

2. He left the castle to rescue a foraging party

3. He left to rescue his seventeen year old son, the Earl of Rutland (captured and killed on Wakefield Bridge)

4. He believed that a relative of Salisbury – the Earl of Westmoreland was going to betray the Lancastrian cause.

Having considered the facts my view is that Richard had no choice but to give battle - there was no other choice as the Lancastrians assembled in front of him.

Richard’s forces numbered around 6000 men. I doubt very much that these troops would have all been able to occupy the castle and as such a large encampment would have sprung up outside the fortress. This camp would have contained all their winter supplies.

The Lancastrians under Somerset may well have been able to march from Pontefract in a day and as such this would have given York little time to evacuate his smaller army in good order. If he had had the time surely he would have headed south west towards his son, Edward, the Earl of March but this was winter and supplies would have been somewhat scarce for an army on the move. I would also add that the retreating army with its baggage train would have been much slower and harder to defend than the static position at Sandal Castle.

The Lancastrian advance from Pontefract would have been across reasonable terrain and there would have been no need to cross the river Calder at Wakefield Bridge.

With the sizeable Lancastrian force advancing on Sandal Castle (estimates suggest around 10-15,000 men) Richard probably did what any other experienced commander would have done – attack before the enemy could form up in battle. Richard’s pickets would have surely given him advance knowledge of this movement of enemy troops affording him the time to prepare his forces and array them for attack.

Richard’s issue however was that he was massively outnumbered and had no significant defensive position to hold.

Unfortunately for him the Lancastrian army did arrive in good order and the ‘ambushes’ commonly described may well have been successful flank attacks as the battle raged.

The Battle took place in the area between Sandal Castle and Wakefield to the North. This distance between the Castle and the Bridge at Wakefield is no more than two miles and the height of the castle would have given Richard full visibility of any Lancastrian troop movements. Furthermore it is winter and as such any hidden movement from tree cover would have been minimal given the lack of leaves.

During the course of this battle the Earl of Rutland (perhaps on his father’s orders) may well have attempted to escape via the bridge at Wakefield.

Refighting the Battle of Wakefield

With numeric supremacy it is a given that the Lancastrians will most certainly win this battle but to achieve victory they must secure the following objectives.

Capture or Kill both Richard of York and the Earl of Salisbury - both these commanders are attached to their personal men at arm retinues (see order of battle) for the entire game. If these units are routed or wiped out the characters are assumed captured/killed.

If the Yorkist army is defeated and either York/Salisbury are still on the table the Lancastrians do NOT win the game it is classified as a draw.

Finally the Earl of Rutland must escape the table - he may do so anywhere along the northern edge of the table. Rutland is part of a unit of full heavy horse - if the unit is wiped out/routed it is assumed Rutland has been killed. The Yorkists win the game if Rutland escapes.

These conditions effectively mean the Lancastrians have to go hell for leather on a crushing victory whilst at the same time ensuring Rutland does not escape.

Given the size of our games we have decided to introduce the concept of Battle Commanders into our games. These are still leaders with all the features described in the standard NMTBH rules however Battle Commanders may command any friendly unit on the the table in addition to their own retinues. Battle Commanders are still given a rating, they may enter combat and can still be killed.

Estimates for Lancastrian forces start around 11000 men whereas Yorkists are believed to have had a smaller army of 5000 - 6000 men.

The following table gives a figure ratio of around 1:26 and points for the Lancastrians are 83% larger.

Shed Wars

Following the Battle of Wakefield fought last week plans were put in place to recreate the next in the series the Battle of Mortimer's Cross.

Fortunately I used the time in lockdown to get ahead of myself to prep all the orders of battle, cards and special rules for all the battles up to Towton. As per previous posts in this series the first post focusses on the game set up with a second post reviewing how our battle played. (if you missed Wakefield the battle etc is HERE).

Some of the more observant amongst you might be aware that we fought Towton on Saturday. This was an all day game featuring over 1500 figures. I have decided that I'll hold fire on the report of this game for three reasons - one I want to do the report justice, two it will work better if the games are published in sequence and thirdly I might have the opportunity to get it published in one of the magazines.

If you do want to see some of the action from Towton head over to Alastair's blog HERE

So with the detritus of Saturday's game cleared we can turn our attention back to the regular Monday night game - the Battle of Mortimer's Cross

The Battle of Mortimer’s Cross was fought on the 2 nd February 1461 between the Yorkist forces of Edward Earl of March and the Lancastrian forces commanded by Jasper Tudor, Earl of Salisbury. The local welsh Lancastrian forces were supported by both French mercenaries and troops from Ireland.

The battle was fought near Ludlow on the Welsh marches. It was here that Edward heard the news of his father’s death at Wakefield. One could expect that Edward was out for revenge. Once aware of the Lancastrian movement out of Wales Edward marched his forces southwest of Ludlow to Mortimer’s Cross.

As dawn broke on that cold February morning the massing armies were horrified to see not one sun rising but three. What these supersticious medieval soldiers did not realise was that the combination of cold, and localised characteristics in the air was producing the phenomonen called a parhelion.

Seeing the panic spreading through his army the Earl of March announced to his troops that it was a representation of the Holy Trinity and that victory could be assured. This quick witted response filled the Yorkists with vigour for the coming battle.

According to my internet searches it would appear that Edward set out his army to the south of the main road across a plain stretching between the river Lugg and a bank that ran parallel to the watercourse. His left flank was protected by the river. Edward then positioned Archers in the woods to the right of his army in ambush and further right may well have been hidden a unit of cavalry.

Refighting Mortimer’s Cross

The table is a simple layout with the two forces meeting in the valley – the River Lugg running along the Lancastrian right flank. The river plays no part in the battle and as such should be seen as the edge of the battlefield. The Lancastrian left wing is flanked by woodland covering the valley sides. Ideally the Lancastrian player(s) will be unaware that hidden in these woods are the cavalry forces lead by Done and the infantry forces lead by Vaughan.

Their command cards should excluded from the deck until such time that the Yorkists wish to spring their ambush.

The view across the valley with the Yorkist forces positioned on the right side of the picture

The Left flank of the Lancastrian army is made up of their Irish mercenaries. Rather than these be simple units of Irish Kern I felt they needed to be more substantial units. As such I have introduced a new unit.

Irish Mercenary Infantry

Shoot 0-6” (Javelins) ½ dice per figure for shooting

The Irish were known to be fierce fighters and as such may always reroll ones in melee attacks.

My Irish figures are a combination of the Perry metals and a box of plastic Irish from Wargames Atlantic

I have given my Irish suitable flags. simply put together from google images using powerpoint

To reflect the positive impact of the Parhelion on the Yorkist side three cards marked with the Parhelion symbol are handed to the Yorkist player. At the start of any turn he may elect to add one or more of these cards into the deck. When drawn these cards permit any Yorkist unit to perform an additional action whether they have already performed one or not. Once the card has been used it is discarded.

As a quick reminder I custom make all my cards for playing NMTBH with the various lord's shields on each card. The Cards are printed and then folded with a suitable back picture and then either laminated or dropped into a card sleeve. Separate little markers are used to identify commanders on the field.

example shot below from our Battle of Wakefield. you can see a

small card next to the commander

Estimates for Lancastrian forces vary from 6000 to 10000 men whereas Yorkists are believed to have had between 10000 to 15000 men. To make it an 'even' game the Lancastriand=s will be slightly outnumbered.

Both sides enjoy a figure ratio of around 1/30 and the points are almost 20% bigger for the Yorkists.

1814 to 1819

The years of 1814 to 1819 were tough ones for Bolívar and South America. In 1815, he penned his famous Letter from Jamaica, which outlined the struggles of Independence to date. Widely disseminated, the letter reinforced his position as the most important leader of the Independence movement.

When he returned to the mainland, he found Venezuela in the grip of chaos. Pro-independence leaders and royalist forces fought up and down the land, devastating the countryside. This period was marked by much strife among the different generals fighting for independence. It wasn't until Bolivar made an example of General Manuel Piar by executing him in October of 1817 that he was able to bring other Patriot warlords such as Santiago Mariño and José Antonio Páez into line.

The Napoleonic Wargamer

The battle of the Göhrde was a battle of the War of the Sixth Coalition on 16 September 1813 between Napoleonic and Coalition troops at Göhrde in north west Germany. The Napoleonic troops were defeated and withdrew to Hamburg.

Although still officially in a period of armistice, Napoleon wrote Davout on 5th August outlining his plan for a new campaign. The initial objective was Berlin. Davout’s role was to strike east with his field army in support of Marshal Nicolas-Charles Oudinot, who would be attacking north towards Berlin with four corps totaling 60,000 men. The purpose would be to protect the left flank of Oudinot’s army and to crush Bernadotte’s Swedish corps between them. At this time, Davout’s forces were opposed only by a relatively small Allied force (25,000) of mixed nationalities under General Ludwig Wallmoden.

The 13th Corps, advanced as far as Schwerin by the 23rd August. Davout established his headquarters in Schwerin, and there the 13th Corps remained, conducting reconnaissance patrols, but not moving forward.

On 2 September, Davout received word that Oudinot had been defeated 20 miles outside Berlin on August 23rd at Gross Beern and was retreating. Davout immediately fell back to a line along the Stecknitz Canal between Lauenburg and Ratzeburg to cover Hamburg.

Davout XIII Corps held the Lauenburg - Ratzeburg – Lübeck line along the Stecknitz Canal from 4th September until 13th November. The newly-arrived and newly-promoted Général de division Marc Pecheux took over the 50th Division, and Vichery was shifted over to the 40th Division.

Skirmishing with elements of Wallmoden’s corps continued through September all along the front, while elements of the Allied corps crossed to the left bank of the Elbe and began to attack the outposts that guarded Davout’s line of communications between Hamburg and Magdeburg. In an attempt to protect this line, Davout decided to send a detachment under General Pecheux across the Elbe with orders to clear the area to Magdeburg.

By an intercepted letter found on the person of a French artillery officer, who was taken prisoner near Mölln on the 12th, Wallmoden learnt of Davout plan. No time was, therefore, to be lost, and Wallmoden made the whole of the troops under his orders break up from Hagenow and Wittenburg the same night, and march for Dömitz on the Elbe, 30km east of Gohrde, where a pontoon bridge was already prepared.

The reference in the intercepted letter was confirmed by a notification which, it was ascertained, had been received by the authorities on the left bank of the river, directing preparations to be made for the reception of a corps of ten thousand men, and it further appeared that the object of this movement was to clear the neighbourhood of Magdeburg of the allied troops. A tempting opportunity was thus offered to Wallmoden to strike a blow but it was not unattended with considerable risk for the greater part of his troops would be thus removed from their line of defence, brought across a great river, and placed several marches from the point of passing, as well as from the rest of the corps, which meantime, would have to observe an enemy far superior in force. These were serious considerations, and such as, under other circumstances would, perhaps, have been sufficient to deter the general from risking the expedition but encouraged by the timid and irresolute conduct of his opponent during the preceding operations, he felt that he was justified in making the attempt.

Leaving, therefore, the Swedish division, and about six thousand of the new levies, with a regiment of Cossacks and two guns to observe the enemy’s line on the Stecknitz, he assembled at Dömitz a force of some 15,000 men:

With this force Wallmoden passed the Elbe by the pontoon bridge at Dömitz on the night of the 14th and encamped the following day near Dannenberg. The advanced-guard under Tettenborn was pushed on to the Göhrde forest, beyond which, at Dahlenburg half way between Gohrde and Lunenburg, one hundred Cossacks were posted.

Pecheux with 3,500 men, one squadron of Chasseurs and eight guns, had crossed the Elbe at Zollenspieker on the day previous, and advancing through Luneburg to Dahlenburg they drove in the Cossacks, and occupied the Göhrde with their advance guard. The main body encamped behind the forest and near the village of Oldendorf, where a piece of table land, separated from the forest by deep ravines and similarly secured on the flanks, offered an excellent position.

Calculating that the enemy would continue in march on the 16th, Wallmoden closed up the main body of his corps to the vanguard at about five miles from the Göhrde and so placed it that, covered by the inequalities of the ground, he could attack the enemy in march before they were aware of his presence. The advance guard of Cossacks remained in front to mask this manoeuvre and to cover the retreat two battalions and three squadrons were left in Dannenberg.

Two Alternative Maps of the battle

Battle of the Göhrde
The Cossacks were driven into Metzingen, half-way towards the position of Wallmoden's main body, on the morning of the 16th, but noon had arrived without any further movement on the part of the enemy. This led Wallmoden to fear that the French General was either about to retreat, or contemplated involving the allied troops in protracted manoeuvres on the left bank of the Elbe he, therefore, took the opinion of his general officers upon the most advisable course to pursue, and, it being decided that the allies should fall upon the enemy without delay, chose a plan for a simultaneous assault upon the enemy’s flanks, rear and centre in three columns.

Left Column:
Six battalions and one regiment of cavalry of the Russian German Legion, together with captain Kuhlmann’s battery of horse artillery of the King’s German Legion were to march under General von Arentschildt through the left side of the forest, taking the roads by Rieberau and Röthen, and moving upon the enemy’s left flank and rear.

Center Column:
Consisting of Tettenborn’s Cossacks, the main part of the artillery, the Jagers and Lutzow Freikorps, the Hanoverian infantry under General Lyon, advancing by the high Lüneburg road, were to fall upon his front.

Right Column:
The remainder of the cavalry under General Dörnberg, with captain Sympher’s battery of artillery and the English rockets, were to flank the attack on the right.

The troops under Arentschildt having to make a great detour before they could arrive at the point of attack, were put in march at twelve o’clock, and one hour afterwards, the columns of Dörnberg and Lyon began to advance on the right and centre.

Just at the moment when the advance-guard of the centre column had commenced skirmishing with the Pecheux’s light troops in the forest, the sound of cannon fire was heard to come from the other side of the Elbe, in the neighbourhood of Boitzenburg, plainly denoting an attack of the French in that quarter. Wallmoden, however, did not allow himself to be embarrassed by the difficulties to which this movement might naturally have been expected to give rise, but directed the light troops of Lützow and Reiche to press forward into the forest, while Tettenborn’s Cossacks advanced on their flank. The French retired, skirmishing, and covered by repeated charges of their chasseuers, upon the main body, at the Steinke Hill the strong position of which only now became fully apparent to the allied commander.

In front was a deep marsh, which stretching towards the Elbe and Bleckede, was lost in a hollow intersected with clefts and trees. The village of Lüben was before their left, and that of Oldendorf in front of their right wing the troops were drawn out in line upon the table land behind these villages, having their artillery in front, and no sooner did the advance of the allies appear than a heavy fire was opened upon them.

Tettenborn replied from four guns, with which Captain Wiering’s battery, sent forward by General Lyon, soon united its fire, though at this point it was still largely ineffective. However the attack by the Freikorps infantry and cavalry on the French main position was repulsed with terrible losses, Major von Lutzow himself was wounded seriously.

About half an hour later Arentschildt, leading his columns from the forest, brought his artillery also into action, finally around 4 o'clock Arentschildt arrived in front of Oldendorf, though it was to be another hour before Wallmoden ordered a coordinated attack by all his troops, as all the artillery was brought up.

The French surprised at seeing a large body of infantry where they only expected light troops, began to make immediate dispositions for retreat the absence of their General, however, who was in front with his advanced posts, delayed these movements, and he had scarce arrived, when the allies commenced the attack. He however remained remarkably cool and calmly issued his orders. So far he was doing well, his artillery was effective in supporting his defensive position and the Chasseurs-a-Cheval although small in number were very active repeatedly charging from behind the Steinke Hill, particularly towards Luben and Dornberg's cavalry, his losses were small, only a single gun had been lost to the Freikorps. Even when a charge by the 3rd Hanoverian Hussars finally managed to break into his main position the overall situation was still little changed.

Around 5:30pm Arentschildt’s infantry charging with the bayonet on the left, gained possession of the village of Oldendorf and then took Eichdorf at 6:00pm with a single battalion though quickly supported by horse artillery, while the cavalry of Dörnberg on the right assailed the opposite flank. Arentschildt’s battalions met with a fierce resistance, and nearly one hundred of his brave followers were killed and wounded but the French column had been shaken by the charge, and bringing up his regiment of hussars, they, in a most gallant assault, completed the defeat of the opposing mass.

Dreading now the onset of Dörnberg’s cavalry on the left, the French formed their columns into squares, and commenced a well ordered retreat, pouring a murderous fire from each square, as it successively fell back. General Pécheux accepting now that he would not be able to hold his position had decided to retreat to the north over Eichdorf and Breese the only route left open to him.

The fire of the horse artillery and rockets was brought to bear upon the French, but it had produced little effect, when the 3rd Hussars of the King’s German Legion were ordered to charge. Led on by Major Küper, the hussars rode boldly forward against the square which was in advance but a hollow way not visible at a distance, appeared, on a nearer approach, to run in front of the square, and the squadrons, being unable to pass it, failed in the intended attack, while Captain von Beila and several men and horses were wounded by the enemy’s fire.

Moving, however, round the left flank of the enemy, three squadrons of the hussars formed in front of one of the rear squares, which they charged with distinguished gallantry and complete success, but experienced the loss of captain von Hugo, and cornet Bremer killed, and Captains von Both and Heise wounded, besides many men and horses. The remaining squadrons now broke a third square, and a bold soldier of the fifth squadron, named Heymann, seizing the enemy'’ General Milozinsky, dragged him, with the aid of sergeant Wedemeyer from the midst of the disordered troops. (Corporals Duntemann and Schaper, as well as hussars Stenzig and Schwan were also conspicuous for their gallantry in the attack on the enemy’s squares.)

Meantime the square against which the first attack of the hussars had failed, was charged by the infantry brigade of Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Halkett, consisting of the battalions of Lauenburg, Langrehr, and Bennigsen, which falling fiercely upon the enemy with the bayonet, forced them to give way, and the hussars pressed after the fugitives.

The French continued to form again in the rear, and they maintained an obstinate resistance in retreat, until the repeated charges of the allies, and the destructive fire of their artillery and rockets, spread such terror through the retiring ranks, that order could no longer be preserved, and breaking, they fled in all directions.

This general disorder soon communicated itself to the troops which had been placed to cover their retreat, and the pursuit having been pushed on to Nahrendorf, the enemy found themselves cut off from the road to Dahlenburg, and obliged to retire by Bleckede, their general, stripped of his horses and baggage, saving himself on foot. About half past seven in the evening, Wallmoden committed the pursuit to the Cossacks and drew back the remainder of the troops to the Göhrde castle, where they encamped.

The day after
The French crossed the Elbe again at Zollenspieker on the following morning, and Tettenborn advancing to Harrburg, cut off all their communications with the left bank of that river. The loss of the Elbe river line and the freedom of movement it gave Blucher was to have a major impact a few days later at Leipzig.

The loss of the French in this engagement amounted to somewhere between one to two thousand killed and taken prisoner, among the latter were General Milozinsky, Colonel Fitzjames aide-de-camp to General Pecheux Colonel Bourdon, and several other officers. Eight pieces of cannon and twelve ammunition wagons were also captured by the allies. The Allies were to claim nearly two thousand men in killed and wounded, besides fifteen hundred prisoners.

The loss of the allied corps amounted to fifty officers, five hundred men, and two hundred horses of the King’s German Legion, the third hussars were the principal sufferers Captain von Hugo, Cornet Bremer, eleven rank and file, and forty-seven horses were killed, and Captains von Beila, von Both, Heise, Adjutant von Bruggemann, Lieutenant von Humboldt, Cornet Oelkers, sixty-four rank and file, and seventy-six horses were wounded.

From want of wagons, many of the wounded were obliged to be left on the field during the night, when the rain fell in torrents, and in the course of the following week, Captains Beila, von Both, and nine hussars of the third died of their wounds.

In 1985 a mass grave containing a thousand bodies from both sides of the conflict was discovered, the site is today marked with a plaque that bears the inscription: "In memory of the soldiers buried here: French, English, Russian and German from battle of 09/16/1813."

An Interesting Map at the local site

Order Of Battle:

Schlacht an der Göhrde
Battle of the Göhrde
Kings German Legion
History of the King’s German Legion Vol II, Ludlow Beamish, North
Gefallene und Verwundete der Göhrdeschlacht
Reenactment 2005
Die Schlacht an der Göhrde 1813 - Bastet, Marc
Die Schlacht bei der Göhrde, 16. September 1813 - Benno Bode
Die Schlacht an der Göhrde. Lützows wilde verwegene Jagd - Ernst-August Nebig
Das Treffen an der Göhrde am 16. September 1813 - Bernhard Schwertfeger
Beiheft zum Militärwochenblatt - Schwertfeger
Geschichte Des Herbstfeldzuges Band 2 - Friederich
Geschichte der Nordarmee, Berlin 1894, 2 - Quistorp
Geschichte des Lützowschen Freicorps
Die Dömitzer Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahr 1813: Thomas Hemmann
Hanoverian Light Battalions: 1813 - 1815
Hannoverian Freikorps and Landwehr of the Wars of Liberation: the Uniform Plates of Friedrich Neumann
Various Maps

Watch the video: Napoleons Great Blunder: Spain 1808 (January 2022).