Monday, 17 December 2018

Battle of Albuera 1811 - AAR

A big Napoleonic Game with bags of figures on an unfeasibly cramped table was the beginning of my gaming journey nearly 40 years ago and I am so glad to have that back in my locker.

A few months ago I posted a Scenario post for the battle, a combination of my holidays, shift work and illness meant that it took ages to finish, but with a permanent set up and a Yarkshire outlook, there's no need to rush lad.

It was also the first real test of my Quarrie version of GdeB and it was a very positive experience, everyone got it straight away. After the game we all agreed they were the way forward and other than a couple of tweeks (some of which were rule based rather than National Characteristics (NC) based).

There were some anti NC comments on the previous post however I find them the most flexible way of representing troop types, for some reason some people can't get past the base stat line, it's a guide, if a particular regiment performed well increase the stats, if it's a Marie Louise battalion reduce them. A link to the original rules post is below.

Back to the battle itself, things started as you would expect with this battle with a French assault on the Alled right, specifically on the Spanish troops lining a number of hills. As per the scenario the French had 6 moves to "get on with it"

Vistula Legion Lancers make a hole in the Spanish Line
The French Cavalry didn't muck about and went straight at the Spanish Cavalry on the flank, it was no match and it wasn't long before the Spanish Brigade broke, first spoils to the French.

Godinots Brigade advance
In the meantime whilst the British and Portuguese were waiting for the signal to move out the French had redeployed Godinots Brigade to attack the Spanish above Albuera. The remaining French Infantry and Cavalry poured towards the hill line in one seemingly unstoppable wave.

Spanish Infantry open up on the approaching French
With the British troops only just waking up the first Infantry attack fell on the Spanish troops lining the hill. Ripples of musket fire went up and down the line as the French columns came on.

As you can see from the photo above and the abundance of Falter and Retreat markers the first blood fell to the Spanish who with a combination of steady fire power and poor French die rolling, saw off the initial assault of Godinots Brigade.

The troops of Gazan and Girand where coming into action whilst the French Cavalry continued to cause havoc on the allied right, The Vistula Legion Lancers tried to break the square of the Spanish Irlanda Regt, it was a close run thing but the square held.

After a brief lull the French renewed their attack on the Spanish, with the elite French Grenadier Battalion heading the charge the Spanish finally started to give way after a long hard fight. Brigades began to break and the resistance crumbled.

Coles Division had formed a defensive line with the Fusilier Battalions facing the oncoming French, this was fine whilst the Spanish held but as they left the field the flank of the Fusiliers was exposed. The Allied generals failed to deal with the position and left the flank exposed, leaving the British Cavalry unused on the hill at the rear of Albuera. This would prove their downfall.

Meanwhile the French and British Battalions clashed around the town, a couple of French units made gains but there wasn't enough support to push the advantage home.

The game ended when the French Grenadiers pushed home an attack on the flank of the Fusiliers, poor dice rolling saw the impacted battalion break and then a double 1 on the Brigade morale saw the flank collapse.

There were plenty of untouched British and Portuguese troops to allow an orderly withdrawal from the field but the day and the honours went to the French.

Below is a list of the casualties in our game, if a unit is not mentioned it suffered no losses, these casualties do not include routing troops.

French Casualties

Godinots Brigade
1/16 Legere 13 out of 28 figures = 260 men or 46%
2/16 Legere 16 out of 28 figures = 320 men or 57%
3/16 Legere 6 out of 28 figures = 120 men or 21%
1/51 Ligne 12 out of 36 figures = 240 men or 33%
2/51 Ligne 17 out of 36 figures = 340 men or 47%
3/51 Ligne 5 out of 36 figures = 100 men or 14% Routed
Grenadier Battalion 10 out of 48 figures = 200 men or 21%

Briche Cavalry
10th Hussars 7 out of 20 figures = 140 men or 35% Routed
21st Chasseur 4 out of 20 figures = 80 men or 20%

Brons Cavalry - No Casualties

Bouvier des Èclaits Cavalry
14th Dragoons 1 out of 16 figures = 20 men or 6%
17th Dragoons 1 out of 16 figures = 20 men or 6%

Unattached Cavalry
Vistula Legion Lancers 6 out of 28 figures = 120 men or 21%
27th Chasseur 1 out of 22 figures = 20 men or 5%

Girards Division
2/34 Ligne 3 out of 24 figures = 60 men or 12%
3/34 Ligne 1 out of 24 figures = 20 men or 4%
1/40 Ligne 4 out of 20 figures = 80 men or 20%
2/40 Ligne 1 out of 20 figures = 20 men or 5%

Gazans Division
2/21 Legere 13 out of 20 figures = 260 men or 65%

Werles Division
2/12 Legere 8 figures out of 36 figures = 160 men or 22%
3/12 Legere 4 figures out of 36 figures = 80 men or 11%
3/55 Ligne 2 figures out of 30 figures = 40 men or 7%

Total Casualties 2,700

Allied Casualties 

Colbornes Brigade
2/31st Foot 7 figures out of 21 = 140 men or 33%
2/48th Foot 1 figure out of 23 = 20 men or 4%
2/66th Foot 6 figures out of 22 = 120 men or 27%

Houghtons Brigade
29th Foot 6 figures out of 25 = 120 men or 24%
1/57th Foot 1 figure out of 32 = 20 men or 3%

Abercrombie Brigade
2/28th Foot 4 figures out of 26 = 80 men or 15%

Myers Brigade Broken Brigade
1/7 Fus 14 figures out of 36 = 280 men or 39% Routed 
2/7 Fus 1 figure out of 28 = 20 men or 4%
1/23 Fus 5 figures out of 37 = 100 men or 13%

Harvey's Portuguese Brigade
1/11 Line 1 figure out of 29 = 20 men or 3%
1/23 Line 1 figure out of 28 = 20 men or 4%

Hamilton's Portuguese Brigade
1/2 Line 3 figures out of 30 = 60 men or 10%
1/14 Line 1 figure out of 30 = 20 men or 3%

Blake's Spanish

Lardizabal Brigade
Canaris Foot 1 figure out of 24 = 20 men or 4%
2nd Leon Foot 4 figures out of 24 = 80 men or 17%

Ballasteros Brigade Broken Brigade 
Catalonia Foot 8 figures out of 20 = 160men or 40% Routed 
Pavia Foot 4 figures out of 20 = 80 men or 20%
Lena Foot 7 figures out of 20 = 140 men or 35% Routed 
Castropol Foot 8 figures out of 20 = 160 men or 40 % Routed
Inifiesto Foot 4 figures out of 20 = 80 men or 20%

Zayas Brigade Broken Brigade 
Spanish Guard 12 figures out of 30 = 240 men or 40%
Irlanda Foot 13 figures out of 30 = 260 men or 43% Routed 
Patria Foot 3 figures out of 30 = 60 men or 10%
Toledo Foot 1 figure out of 30 = 20 men or 3%
Esteramdura Foot 3 figures out of 30 = 60 men or 10%
Spanish Artillery 12 figures out of 12 = 240 men or 100%

Loys Spanish Cavalry Brigade Broken Brigade 
Castillo Hussar 5 figures out of 20 = 100 men or 25% Routed 
Granaberos Horse 6 figures out of 20 = 120 men or 30% Routed 

Penne Villemuir Spanish Cavalry Brigade Broken Brigade 
Reina Horse 7 figures out of 20 = 140 men or 35% Routed 

Total Casualties 2980 men

An excellent game, closely balanced and a good challenge for both sides, highly recommended, I will be looking at getting another big Napoleonic Game in soon but this time trying out the rule mods in a 1813 situation.


  1. Great battle report! I’ll be visiting the battlefield next Spring

    1. Cheers, a trip round the Spanish Napoleonic and Spanish Civil War Battlefields is definitely on my to do list. Don't forget to share pics when you go.

  2. A very impressive looking game!

  3. Looks great, impressive and splendid mass effect!

  4. Great looking game and that's a lot of figures!


    1. Cheers guys, the sad thing is that in terms of my collection of 15mm Napoleonic figures it's not that many 😂

  5. Looks great! Very stirring seeing all those figures en masse. It kind of sounds like a reverse of the original, the Spanish held firm and the Brits dithered and faded.

    1. Thanks Peter, the Spanish are always in for a hiding in this battle as they meet the French 1st with very little support. The British Cavalry not moving was our (I played French) biggest bonus but as Napoleon said "Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake"

  6. Great looking game. Colbourne's brigade did better than in real life1

  7. Lovely game, thank you for sharing.