Tally Ho!

Sunday 26 February 2017

Key Points Napoleonic Campaign - battle 1


In the first battle of the campaign both sides were fighting for control of the fortifications protecting a strategically important port. The Allies fielded an Anglo-Dutch infantry division supported by their Light Brigade. The French just an infantry Division.

There were three sets of fortifications to capture, with both sides having one within easy reach.  The allies massed their forces on the flank and did not contest the central fortification heavily. The French position to refuse on their left and capture the centre.

Massed infantry on the Allied left

Hanoverians and cavalry on the Allied right

The thinly held allied centre

French cavalry on their right poised to attack 

The French refuse their left

French infantry massed to assault the centre

A long-view of the table

The Battle

The battle open with the outnumbered French going on the offensive on both their right and in the centre. The French commander hoping to buy time on the right while he seized two forts.  

French horse advance rather than sitting-back to be shot 

Swiss and Irish capture the central fort
On their right the Allies made their own move with the Hanoverians moving forward supported by the Belgium cavalry. Sensing they may loose the central fort rather easily they also decided to contest the ground with a battalion of British line being held in reserve

Allies advance on the French-held fort

Belgium hussars standing ready

Allies move to contest the central fort
On their right the French horse met with initial success scattering a battalion of British line and causing some confusion in the Allied ranks. On their own right the Allies also had some success with their own cavalry, routing a unit of  French foot.  

French horse charge home

The Belgium's reciprocate 
The Allies had the better of the exchange though as the thinner French lines were breached where as the French own attack ground to a halt against the deeper British formations.  
A bit of a hole in the French lines

French grind to a halt
The position was far from fatal for the French but it was clear they were at a disadvantage - they held the central fort but a strong British infantry force was able to flank them and would likely break through. On their left the Belgium cavalry had an opportunity to get into the French rear. So the French commander opted to withdraw rather than suffer further loses in the opening battle.

The Campaign Situation

First blood to the allied side with the British gaining control of the fortifications

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