Saturday, December 8, 2012

Battle of Castrillo – 23rd August 1813

Tactical Map at start of battle

1st Spanish division have orders to move to Castrillo
2nd British division have orders to attack Castrillo
4th French division have orders to defend Castrillo
14th Westphalian division have orders to attack British division

Table at start of battle

Castrillo is the town in the centre of the table
Road on right leads to Burgos
Road left leads to Mayorga
Road top leads to Aguillar
Road south leads to Palencia

1st Spanish division will arrive centre left on move 1
2nd British division deployed in column of march bottom left
7th French division deployed in defence in front of Castrillo
14th Westphalian division ready to advance bottom right

General Packenham with 2nd British division

General Lefol with 14th Westphalian division

General Cassange with 6th French division at Castrillo

Move 1 – 0800 to 0900

Top left – Spanish start to arrive, leading brigade suffer artillery casualties
Bottom left – British on hold orders to wait for Spanish to arrive
Bottom right – Westphalian cavalry pin British to allow remainder of division t o advance
Top right – French artillery cause casualties on leading Spanish brigade

Move 2 – 0900 to 1000

Top left – Spanish lancers advance to cover remainder of division as they deploy
Bottom left – British artillery fire on town to support Spanish advance
Bottom right – Westphalians continue to advance towards British
Top right – French gunners continue to fire on Spanish, but cause no casualties

Move 3 – 1000 to 1100

Top left – Spanish form column of attack in preparation for attack on town
Bottom left – British gunners again fail to cause any casualties in town
Bottom right – Westphalian gunners unlimber and infantry form column of attack
Top right – French gunners again fail to hit Spanish infantry

 Move 4 – 1100 to 1200

Top left -  Spanish square in support of guns suffer 20% casualties but hold their ground
Bottom left – British dragoons pass through farm to support Spanish attack
Bottom right – Westphalian infantry advance towards British line
Top right – French infantry in front of town form square against British dragoons

   Move 5 – 1200 to 1300

Top left – Spanish artillery have caused casualties to French cavalry who are shaken.  
Spanish lancers then charge and rout them.  In doing so they receive fire from the nearby square and fall back shaken themselves
Bottom left – British reserve infantry move forward into front line, artillery has redeployed to face Westphalian attack 
Bottom right – Westphalian gunners cause 20% casualties on British brigade, but they pass morale test and hold their ground.   British square fire on nearest enemy column who receive 10% casualties, pass morale test and continue to advance
Top right – French cavalry fail to rally and continue to rout 

Move 6 – 1300 to 1400

Top left – Spanish infantry approach Castrillo
Bottom left – British orders changed to Engage, advance towards Westphalians
Bottom right – Westphalians orders changed to Hold
Top right -  French infantry squares under attack from Spanish columns.

Move 7 – 1400 to 1500

Villante decides that his attack has failed and orders his corps to retire to the Palencia road.
Top Left – Spanish lancers charge gunners who fail morale test to evade to supports and are routed.   Nearby square fail to cause any Spanish casualties and reserve brigade is shaken.  Leading brigade form line to engage square.
Bottom Left – Highland brigade have received 30% casualties but hold.  Remainder of British infantry advance, supported by dragoon brigade
Bottom Right – Westphalians are ordered to retire to Palencia road.
Top Right – French division ordered to retire to Palencia road.

Move 8 – 1500 to 1600

Top Left – Spanish win firefight, French square lose morale and rout into reserve brigade who join rout.
Bottom Left – Highland brigade receive more casualties and rout.   Portuguese brigade advance from farm to join main battle line.  
Bottom Right – Westphalians have retreated in good order and hold the Palencia road
Top Right – Two French brigades cover the rout of the division, who have abandoned their guns.

Once more a French general has to order a retreat.  

6th French division have broken, with only two infantry brigades to cover the retreat.   They have even abandoned their artillery to the Spanish.

14th Westphalian division have fared better against the British.   They have inflicted more casualties than they received, due to their decision to abandon the attack.   The rout of the French division makes it impossible for them to hold their position

1st Spanish division have performed much better than expected.   The support provided by the British gunners and cavalry paid very little part in their victory.   Their cavalry took full advantage of two opportunities provided by their gunners.

2nd British division had to bear the brunt of the French attack, and suffered the casualties to prove it.   In supporting the Spanish advance they were unable to inflict casualties on the Westphalians as they approached.   They lost one brigade, but held their ground and eventually advanced to support the Spanish attack

General Graham was wise to halt the allied advance.   The weakened British division would have taken the rest of the afternoon to close with the Westphalians, and would have suffered more casualties in doing so.   The Spanish division could not resist the easy pickings of the French supplies abandoned in Castrillo

Casualties on each side have been relatively light.   The allies lost 480 infantry, only 80 of them Spanish.   The French lost 480 infantry, 40 cavalry and abandoned half of their guns, almost all from the French division.   At nightfall two infantry and one cavalry brigades are in rout, plus the French gunners.

The result is another minor victory for the Allies

French Rout

The Spanish attack was supported by the British artillery and cavalry.   However the actual fighting was done by the Spanish alone.  Their gunners performed well and caused casualties to the French cavalry.  The Spanish lancers charged and rout the.   The loss of their cavalry support caused the French infantry to form square, putting them at a disadvantage against the Spanish lines and columns. 

 But the deciding factor was the loss of the French artillery.   They had advanced to fire on the Spanish infantry, and in doing so exposed themselves to the Spanish cavalry.  The cavalry had to pass close to the supporting infantry square, but did so without any casualties.   The gunners failed their morale test to evade to the same square and had to receive the charge.   They failed to inflict any casualties on the cavalry, were cut down and routed.   

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