Friday, 20 March 2015

Battle of Sorauren 28th July 1813,Spain

Last night two (maybe three!) rare things happened,one, we fought a Napoleonic Battle,two, we re-fought an actual battle (maybe three,I think I won!!)
The battle we fought was Soult (Paul) against Wellington(me) in Northern Spain,and what a "cracker" of a battle it was.

Here is the scenario and table before any movement-I had decided to attack with my "weak" right flank,bolstered with some good British infantry and cavalry and a R.H.A. battery,and hold everywhere else.

Paul had decided to contest the hill facing my right flank,and attack in the centre once the hill was being contested.-The area around the main town of Sorauren was going to be the least fought over section-we thought!!

My Spanish troops advance to take on the French,I am massing my cavalry to attack Paul's cavalry,supported by RHA-the infantry assault went very well indeed,and the French,after a good long struggle were driven back-hurrah!!

This gives a good impression of Paul's first attack on my ridge-it was,as the French would say "formidable!" but I managed to get the two flank regiments to fire on the flanks of the attacking columns,as well as fire from the front,and the result was fairly predictable-the French retired-but Paul is made of stern stuff,and re-commenced the attack with another brigade,supported by "laser guided" artillery,this attack put my ridge in a spot of bother,to say the least......

This shot shows my flank regiments pouring fire into Paul's first attack-in the background you can see the "Titanic" struggle for the far hill.
There is an ominous gap in my line between my right and centre-I hope Paul hasn't noticed it(!!!)

Meanwhile,on my far right,the Spanish are getting up close and personal with the French defenders-I moved the Spanish horse battery onto the flank of the French and this caused them to retire,however Paul then attacked my cavalry with his,and the fight for the important gap started-it hung on a knife edge with both of us gaining then losing ground-wonderful stuff!!

This was so crucial to the whole battle-if Paul won he would drive a wedge between my right and centre,if I won I would be able to threaten the left of his centre,and roll up his entire line!

As the battle for the flank goes on,my stoic British infantry calmly await the mounting attack developing in the centre-by this time my troops had been weakened by artillery and musket fire,and I was far from confident of beating this new attack-I needed to gain myself some time,so I sent my left flank cavalry forward to try and stop the French advance.-This move worked,but only provoked Paul to send his cavalry forward to meet the threat!!

In this photo the French have decided to abandon the hill to the Spanish,but now Paul has moved two gun batteries onto their flank-they didn't like that and were forced to retire when they were hit several times!!-the cavalry battle is still on-going but we have both lost a regiment-I can't take much more of the strain-I'll have to have a lie down somewhere!!

The French are going for the gap in my defences!In the background,Paul's Hussars have advanced towards the town,and have been severely mauled by my Portuguese infantry,who fired on their flank,and caused them to "break"-however Paul put his cavalry commander forward,to lead them,and they regained their composure and advanced to beat my cavalry-woe is me!!-My central line is at breaking point,but I had a reserve regiment of Portuguese,they advanced,fired on the French,and the gap was saved-hurrah!!!

Final photo,the French,under their most able commander,Paul,have failed to take the ridge,but I have also failed to beat them emphatically,so,as in the actual battle,a draw was the final result-but what a game!!
I don't mention,enough,the figures we use in our battles-the majority of the figures in this battle are from Irregular Miniatures,and I must have had them for at least 12 years,and have fought countless battles with them.

My source for this battle was.......

If you get a chance,buy a copy!!
Roll on Sunday-Dave will be joining us and I am setting up an English Civil War game between him and Paul.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Rodger-I have since found a second source I could have used,this was Terry Wise' Peninsular Campaign(1974!)-and reading his account,our game went pretty much according to the actual battle-keep commenting and reading our blog