Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Vittoria: Part II: The French


Swiss, French and Berg infantry move off the heights of Tres Puentes (all figs from the WHC collection)
Ok, so in the previous dispatch we saw the British OB. Without further ado lets have a look at what the French have to defend angainst this onslaught:

Army of the South:

1st Division: Laval.
1 x veteran line
4 x 1st class line
2 x 2nd class line
18 skirmishers
2 x 6 light cavalry
1 x 8lb foot btty

3rd Division: Villatte.
2 x veteran line
4 x 1st class line
2 x 2nd class line
18 skirmishers
2 x 6 light cavalry
1 x 8lb foot btty

4th Division: Conroux
4 x 1st class line
4 x 2nd class line
18 skirmishers
2 x 6 light cavalry
1 x 8lb foot btty

5th Division (part): Maransin
4 x 1st class
12 x skirmishers

Maransin's Division deploys: My boys get an outing. Perry and Victrix from my own collection get a day out at "Wembley"
6th Division: Daricou.
1 x veteran line
3 x 1st class line
3 x 2nd class line
18 skirmishers
2 x 6 light cavalry
1 x 8lb btty

Dragoon Brigade: Tilly (staff officer)
4 x 8 dragoon
4 x 8 dragoon
6pdr horse btty

Light cavalry Brigade: P. Soult (staff officer)
4 x 6 light cavalry
4 x 6 light cavalry
6pdr horse btty

Army of the Centre:

1st Division: D'Armagnac.
3 x 1st class line
2 x 2nd class line
12 skirmishers
3 x 6 light cavalry
8lb foot btty

2nd Division: Cassagne
2 x veteran line
5 x 1st class line
18 skirmishers
4 x 6 light cavalry
8lb foot btty

4th Division: Sarrut.
2 x veteran line
3 x 1st class line
1 x 2nd class line
18 skirmishers
4 x 6 light cavalry
8lb foot btty

6th Division: Lamartinerre
4 x 1st class line
2 x 2nd class line
18 x skirmishers
4 x 6 light cavalry

Boyer's dragoon brigade (staff officer)
4 x 8 dragoons
6lb horse btty

Spainish Guard (King Joeseph)
3 x 32 2nd class line
3 x32 militia
6 x skirmishers
2 x 8 light cavalry (militia)
2 x 6 dragoon (militia)
8lb foot btty (3 guns, militia)

Reserve artillery:
2 x 12pdr foot btty.

All btns are 36 man except where stated.
All French foot artillery is 3 guns and a howitzer
All French horse artillery is 3 guns

The French can deploy anywhere South and east of the river Zadorra.
The Spainish Guard and the Reserve artillery must deploy in the environs of Vittoria.

Fleeing baggage clogs the French lines
So, thats it for the French....not great.
A quick look after the battle shows they are outnumbered by some 20 odd infantry btns. (8oo figures all told)
Plus the British have over a thousand veteran or higher classed infantry to the French 360. (plus all Brits fire as vets, in a game of firefight rather than melee)
The Brits have more skirmishers, plenty of which are rifle armed.
The French have slightly more artillery, but the British beinng all elite more than compensates for this (and they can fire shrapnel)
The French have slightly less light cavalry and it's penny packeted all over the place
The French have a bit more heavy cavalry.
The French have some 50' to defend and the Brits can pick their spots to attack.

The Deployment
The only inteligence the French possessed was that the British were attacking from the west, and that they could expect strong flank attacks from the south and north.
Faced with this, frankly, I was at a bt of a loss. Defend too strongly tothe west and risk the army being cut-off, defend the flanks and give the british a free ride over the river and still get taken in the flanks.
In the end I went for a rather predictable defence. A crust everywhere, with a central reserve as a reaction force.
One area where I thought I might do some good was in the North western corner where I thought I might be able to flatten out the line and remove an "apex" at Tres Puentes" subsequently I placed a strong division there (Laval) in the hope of mounting some sort of counter-attack. This sort of worked.
The other major problem was the village of Arinez.
I felt I had 3 choices here.
1:Sit and defend this "Apex" (slow suicide, the village was vulnerable to 2 sides and would be shrapneled to bits)
2:Mount a "picket defence" of a few btns plus cavalry slung out to impede the british advance.
3: Use a "minefield" tactic and not actually defend the village but mass troops behind it utilising it as an obstacle and making it untenable for the British to occupy.
In the end I chose the second when the the "minefield" was probably the sensible option.

Westfalian and Baden troops counter attack north of the Zadorra
The British Plan seemed pretty simple (and as it turned out, effective):
Pin the French on the western Zadorra using the Portuguese and Spainish, then administer the flank attacks using the quality British forces, cutting the retreat route safe in the knowledge that the French simply couldn't be strong everywhere (or was that anywhere?)
Part 3 will reveal the outcome!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

In spite of my concern over spaghetti weapons, these are bloody excellent shots. They confirm the on going relevance of Connoisseur, the effectiveness of Doug Mason's paint work and the skills of a certain blogger!

I am also pleased that these close in shots reveal that the WHC terrain is still in damn good nick.

I get the impression that history repeated itself????
Chris

Der Alte Fritz said...

Excellent report so far. Good luck to the French.

I love those Connoisseur figures, they still look great in comparison to today's figures.

paulalba said...

Really enjoying your blog Chris,
Working my way through your posts at the moment.
The 20mm WW2 stuff is great, I am slowly working my way through 25/28mm elite, front rank Prussian and Fench armies at the moment (don't tell anyone as my blog is all 15mm Prussian!!! learning a lot about our hobby from your blog, Thanks.
Cheers Paul Provan