Sunday, September 24, 2023

Gamonal (10 November 1808)

This scenario is a refight of the Battle of Gamonal (10 November 1808) during the Peninsular War. It was played using the Commands & Colors Napolionic rules but on hex terrain from Kallistra, buildings from Total Battle Miniatures, trees mostly from Timecast Miniatures and using 6mm figures from Baccus instead of blocks. This is the sixth battle using our Peninsular War campaign rules.

The History

The Spanish commander at Burgos, Conde de Belveder, was an inexperienced and rash officer. He moved out of the strong defenses of Burgos to a weak defensive position in an open plain well in front of the village of Gamonal. Soult arrived with his advance guard at Gamonal on the 10th. 

Seeing the enemy’s weak position, he immediately launched his cavalry against the Spanish right, while his infantry used the cover of the woods to advance against the Spanish center and left. Milhaud’s French cavalry drove off the Spanish horse and then proceeded to roll up the Spanish line. Belveder’s attempts to rally his forces were in vain, and the Spanish army broke and fled. Gamonal was the opening action, and the first French victory, in Napoleon’s second invasion and drive on Madrid in November, 1808. 

The Refight

The French commander ordered the five infantry units on his right flank to force march forwards with the aim of securing the village of Vellimar. The line infantry marched forward towards the village while the light infantry scurried though the woods.

The Spanish commander countered this by ordering his units to hold and open fire. This forced two French infantry units to retreat after taking losses.

The French commander ordered his right flank to continue the attack. The two line infantry units advanced while the light infantry opened fire from the cover of the woods. The French attack nearly destroyed one of the Spanish line infantry units.

The Spanish commander ordered his left wing to advance into the village of Vellimar and to open fire on the advancing French. General Alos moved his infantry over in support.

The French probed forward with two infantry units. One French infantry unit pushed the Spanish back into he village of Vellimar while the second French infantry unit advanced and destroyed the understrength Spanish infantry in a fierce melee.

The Spanish commander decided to try and distract the French commander, so the Spanish pushed forward their two regiments of cavalry on the right flank level with the village of El Palacio.

However the French commander was not distracted. The attack on the French right flank continued; the French held their positions and opened fire. 

The French light infantry in the woods, opened fire on the Spanish artillery and wiped them out.

The French line infantry opened fire on the Spanish line infantry column led by General Alos, half of which became casualties. 

The Spanish cavalry charged into the waiting French dragoons under the command of Général de Division Jean-Baptiste Milhaud.

However the French dragoons were prepared, and they stuck first, completely destroying the yellow-clad Spanish dragoons. The Spanish hussars still tried to charge home, but they recoiled after taking casualties.

Général Milhaud charged his dragoons into the recoiling Spanish hussars, wiping them out. Général Lasalle brought up another regiment of cavalry and a battery of horse artillery in support.

Let by their grenadiers, the Spanish infantry charged the French guns, wiping them out.

The Spanish grenadiers were attacked by the French cavalry reserves. The grenadiers stood their ground, without forming square.

However the Spanish grenadiers could not withstand the power of the French cavalry, they were completely annihilated. 

The cavalry exploited the gap, and the charged the understrength line infantry behind, even wiping them out.

The remnants of the Spanish army had had enough, they turned tail and ran for the safety of the mountains from which they had so recently emerged.

The Outcome 

French Victory:   Spanish 2 - French 6

For the next scenario, the Allies get 1 Glory Counter and the French get 2 Glory Counters.

Campaign Result 

  Victories     Banners  
  French       4     33
  Allies       2     25