Evening all, the time is finally upon us – my entire 18mm collection so far has been geared towards the refight of Medina De Rioseco – you can see the other posts that i’ve made on this refight by checking out the links below
Firstly, you can see a few photos of the terrain in the photographs below. The main topographical feature of the battlefield was a large hill in the centre, on which the majority of Blakes Army of Galicia was positioned.
Almost a mile behind and slightly to the left was Cuesta and his Army of Castile
Both Cuesta and Blake were stationed slightly ahead of the village of Medina De Rioseco.
The French were approaching from the opposite side of the table, directly in front of the Spanish positions, and attempting to close the distance before the two Spanish armies could join forces.
As there were six players, each army was divided into three – I took command of Cuesta’s “Army of Castile” which was the smallest of the three Spanish commands. Tim took command of Blake’s “Army of Galicia” and Ian took command of Portago’s 4th Galician Division, which was further back, under the command of Cuesta.
The French command was nicely split into three divisions, with Allan taking Lasalle’s Division, Carol-Anne took the role of Merle and Joe took the command of Mouton’s division.
The battle commenced and the Spaniards – unencumbered by the historical in-fighting of their real life counterparts, immediately looked to close the gap between Cuesta and Blake, knowing that they could not allow the French to isolate them and defeat them in detail.
Perhaps, in slightly predictable fashion, Lasalle’s Division and Portago’s division arrived on Blakes left-flank at almost the same time, and thus the French were denied the real life advantage of a flank attack on Blakes position.
Meanwhile, Blake himself had sent the Cazadores from his vanguard division down the slope to intercept the French artillery, which was caught in the midst of deployment, and was swiftly destroyed, denying the French use of their artillery.
Blakes aggressive use of his Cazadores was causing problems for Merle’s division as he attempted to assault Blakes right flank.
A long infantry slog followed, with the two battalions of the French 15th Line infantry regiment launching the first attack on Blakes position, advancing towards the grenadiers of his Vanguard Division. After a bloody gunfight and melee, the French battalions were sent reeling from the crest with heavy losses.
Meanwhile on Blakes left, Lasalle and Portago engaged in a ferocious infantry duel, with both sides throwing their full weight of infantry into the attack. Some unfavourable dice rolls saw the French provisional infantry driven back from Portago’s front lines.
Back in the centre, the three legere battalions under Mouton began to advance on the Spanish centre, supported by three battalions of imperial guard Fusilier-Chasseurs, attacking on the Spanish left. The Fusilier Chasseurs were supported by a brigade of Chasseurs a Cheval which crashed into the left-most battalion of Combined Grenadiers.
Following a ferocious infantry assault from the Fusilier-Chasseurs and the French horse, Blakes Vanguard Division and two battalions of Combined Grenadiers broke under the onslaught, and sought refuge in the rear. The final battalion in the vanguard finally retired to the rear following the assault from Mouton’s light infantry.
The Spanish Dragoons launched an immediate counter attack on the French cavalry threatening the Spanish position, and following a bloody melee, they succeeded in driving off both units of Chasseurs A Cheval, before being pushed back themselves by the Guard Chasseurs A Cheval
A gap had now appeared in the Spanish centre, and Cuesta moved his militia reserve into the gap to face the Fusilier-Chasseurs who had suffered heavy casualties in their melee with the Spanish combined grenadier battalions. Merle moved his infantry battalions in support of Mouton and his light infantry, and it seemed like the French had finally found a breakthrough in the centre of Blakes position.
However, an aggressive counter-attack by Portago on Blakes left flank, coupled with some favourable dice rolls had managed to cause significant casualties and disorder amongst Lasalle’s provisional infantry battalions, and in the ensuing chaos, 5 of the 8 battalions were destroyed or routed, and the remaining 3 left the field due to a collapse in divisional morale!
This meant that the French flank attack had completely collapsed, leaving Portago to bring his Division to bear on the French right flank, despite the heavy casualties they had suffered fighting against Lasalle’s division.
French attrition in the centre, and their vastly diminishing numbers following the collapse of Lasalle on their right flank led to what we all agreed was an unexpected strategic victory for the Spanish, who still held the high ground at the end of the battle.
This was an interesting battle to fight, and all of the commanders expressed a desire to re-fight the battle again. If we were to do so, there are a number of things I would change – but for now – lets allow the Spanish to enjoy their victory!
Meanwhile you can enjoy some more photos of the battle below