During our game of Medellin, Mark had remarked that “you need a bit of luck in any game, but particularly when commanding the Spanish”. Fortunately I had more than a bit when it came to taking the reins to try to carry out Cuesta’s “cunning plan”.
Chris Leach’s notes for the scenario describe it beautifully. “Blake’s divisions (Maceda and Cagigal) were isolated from the rest of the Spanish forces further to the rear. Cuesta did this deliberately so as to expose Blake to heavy fighting to be saved only by Cuesta’s triumphant arrival.” Most wargamers would likely consider this folly on Cuesta’s part but I, having now “been there”, realise the true genius of this much-maligned general!
|Map from Fields of Glory|
|Starting positions with Cagigal and Maceda's divisions in the centre|
|Starting positions viewed from the north and showing gap in Spanish line|
|Verdier and Merle attack Maceda and Cagigal|
|Merle attacks Cagigal’s right flank|
|Mouton (centre of photo) drives towards Portago’s isolated division in the foreground while Lasalle’s cavalry attacking (rear background) heads for Maceda’s left flank (out of picture)|
By the second turn Lasalle’s 22eme chasseurs charged and broke Maceda’s left-most battalion (the converged grenadier battalion).
|Verdier’s men advance on Cagigal and Maceda’s divisions on the ridge|
|Lasalle’s 22eme chasseurs charge converged grenadiers (above & below)|
|...and broke them!|
Maceda’s division failed morale at 1/3 strength, giving a retreat result. This meant that Cuesta would come to the rescue in Turn 3.
|Gap caused by the retreat of Maceda’s division (troops in centre foreground)|
|Cagigal’s line fire effectively on Verdier's troops (casualties on unit in front centre)|
|...and also on Merle's troops (note casualties on top right unit)|
|Portago’s squares see off Mouton’s provisional chasseurs ("the unfortunates", seen in the distance)|
|... and seen here going in the wrong direction!|
|Victorious 4th légère advance towards Cuesta’s newly arrived troops|
|Cagigal's men continue to hold the attacking French at bay with effective volleys|
|While his hussars come through the orchard on the left flank of Merle's division|
|Cuesta's troops move up in strength|
|Cagigal's left continues to hold Verdier at bay|
|...but Merle's attack makes progress against Cagigal's right|
|Mouton's weakened division under pressure from Cuesta|
|Cuesta (near blue die) leads troops in centre|
|Lasalle urges troops on in French centre (Verdier's infantry behind him)|
|Lasalle's chasseurs advance to meet Cuesta's men|
|Merle's infantry breakthrough on right flank of Cagigal|
|View from south showing Merle's division working around Cagigal's flank|
|View from north (Cuesta's & Mouton's troops nearest camera)|
The battle remained on a knife edge!
|Verdier's division advances|
|Gap left by Cagigal's broken division|
|French "own" the ridge|
|Lasalle's 10eme chasseurs break square of 1st Aragon|
|Then breakthrough onto line of 2nd Aragon|
|Gap left by resulting retreat of Portago's division (retreating just troops visible at bottom left of photo)|
|The victorious 10eme chasseurs!|
The ninth turn began well for the French when Lasalle’s 10eme chasseurs broke two of Cuesta's infantry units (Volunteers of Leon and Tercios de Castille).
Mouton’s provisional chasseurs completed their charge into Portago's now rallied units, while being fired on from the Cordonga Regiment of Cuesta’s division. The chasseurs, surely the unluckiest unit on the board, broke. This was sufficient to break Mouton's division!
|Mouton's provisional chasseurs ("the unfortunates") face Portago's newly rallied division. They completed their charge in Turn 9 and were broken, as was the rest of Mouton's division!|
|Blown 10eme chasseurs fired on by Cuesta's infantry|
|Le beau sabreur|
|Turn 9: 10eme chasseurs (right of photo) break the Volunteers of Leon and Tercios de Castille from Cuesta's command|
Taunted by his Spanish adversary, 'Victor' goes for victory. Verdier's light infantry form column and charge Cuesta's infantry on the ridge. This unit delivers a devastating volley, stopping the French in their tracks. Joining in the quest for victory, Lasalle sends the 22eme chasseurs to charge Cuesta's infantry on the plain. The latter form square, the chasseurs are broken. Lasalle's cavalry fail their divisional, broken. It's a Spanish 'limited victory'!
|Version 1: Lasalle's 22eme chasseurs have been broken, breaking his division (now missing)|
|Version 1: Verdier's light infantry (column at left) fail to contact Cuesta's infantry on the ridge.|
The French are not so bold. Verdier's lead troops move up and fire ineffectively on Cuesta's infantry on the ridge. Lasalle's 22eme chasseurs hold the right flank. The game is a draw.
|Version 2: Lasalle's 22eme chasseurs stay in place and remain a threat, but the game is over|
|Verdier's light infantry advance and fire ineffectively|
It was particularly pleasing to have the Spanish do so well, thanks to Cuesta, the real one, and his 'cunning plan'... and some good dice rolls for firing by the player one!