Sunday, March 6, 2016

Return of Marshal Soult in Iberia - AAR Part I

Marshal Soult

Marshal Soult, the Duke of Damnation, gave the British army of Major General Pettygree a bloody nose and a rough handling yesterday at the Battle of Rio Mondego in Portugal.

Map of the Iberian Campaign south of the Duro River - March 1810.

The previous game in our Iberian Campaign had been the Battle of Aveiro, just south of the Duro River and Oporto. Marshal Soult's French army had crossed the Duro and met the British army commanded by Major General Pettygree at Aveiro.

You can read the account of that battle by clicking on the link below:

While that battle was somewhat of a draw, the threat of Pettygree being outflanked and cut off from the south by a French Corps commanded by Mermet, caused the British to make an orderly withdrawal south, where they took up a new position south of the Rio Mondego river. Pettygree was ordered to march to Cabo Mondego where his army would meet up with the Royal Navy and be transported back to Lisbon.  As such, the British mission for the wargame was to retire all of their forces to the port at Cabo Mondego where they would board transports provided by the Royal Navy.

The initial table set up and terrain are depicted in the three following pictures. The advance guard of the British army, commanded by Brigadier General Alexander Sinclair (45th, 83rd, 94th and 3 companies of 5/60th Rifles plus Captain Grant's two-gun section of 9-pdrs of Royal Artillery) was tasked with stopping or delaying the attack of two French division under the commands of Mermet (left wing of the French army) and Delabord (center).

A makeshift earthen redoubt was occuppied by the British 4th Regiment, which was tasked with guarding the two bridges across the Rio Mondego. The river was not fordable in the center table, hence the importance of holding the bridges open until Pettygree's army could pass.

The Coast Road to Cabo Mondego - you can see the main body of Pettygree's army marching toward you. 

General Pettygree (right) watches as the French division of Merle advances on the near side of the Rio Mondego. Brigadier General Sinclair's advance guard of the British army has deployed a regiment (94th Foot) of infantry and two companies of 5/60 Rifles in the copse of trees.

Sinclair elected to deploy one regiment of foot - the 94th (Scotch Brigade) on the lefthand table to delay the French advance. His remaining two regiments (45th and 83rd) were posted in reserve on the center table along with Grant's battery of RA. The 45th Regiment can be seen below, nearest to the table edge, while the 83rd was kept in reserve near the port of Cabo Mondego to keep the road open to the rest of the army.

The port of Cabo Mondego can be seen in the center background. The Royal Navy transports would be waiting here for Pettygree's army.
All of this quiet was soon erupted as the French division of Mermet surged across the table towards Sinclair's position.

The 94th faces off against Mermet's division, deployed in l'order mixte formation with  a center battalion deployed in line, flanked by two battalions in colomns of divisions. Voltigeur's preceded the French attack.

The British countered by throwing their own light company out in front of the 94th, but these lads were chased off by a squadron of French Chasseurs a Chavel.

Things are starting to look desperate for the Red Coats as the left wing of the 94th bends back. Actually, it was trying to create space so that the 45th Regiment could advance on its left flank so as to present a frontage of two battalions instead of one against the French.

You will notice that we left the casualties where they fell during the battle - something that demonstrates the advantage of using single mounted figures on sabots (movement trays). You can follow the course of the battle by looking at where all the casualties are.

Another view of the 94th Foot

Mermet brought up four 8-pounders, but these were initially screened by their own troops.

Mermet also sent several battalions to try to outflank the 94th on its right, which was protected by two companies of 5/60 Rifles. This part of the Rio Mondego was fordable.

I will post Part II of the battle report tomorrow so come back and visit us again.


  1. Looks fantastic. I've seen pay per view model railroad layouts that didn't look half as good.

  2. Dear Lord Fritz, looking at one of your games is like getting a ticket to a summer Hollywood blockbuster. Slick, gorgeous and entertaining.


  3. What a great looking table, with impressive figures!

  4. Fantastic, love the big units