The Battle of Salamanca 22nd July 1812
Following the French retreat from the Lines of Torres Vedras in 1811, Wellington once again secured the Allied position in Portugal with the capture of the Spanish border fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. Wellington then captured the city of Salamanca and pursued Marmont north to the River Douro.
However, Marmont was able to concentrate his forces and steal a march on Wellington, thereby threatening Wellington’s flank. Nevertheless, Wellington reacted with astonishing quickness and the two armies spent several days marching south, parallel with each other and at times even within cannon-shot.
At last on the morning of the 22nd day of July, Wellington noticed that Marmont’s army was rather more strung out than usual and decided to take advantage of the situation. Concealing the bulk of his army in dead-ground behind the village of Arapiles, he ordered Packenham’s 3rd Division to ambush and then drive in the head of the French column. The rest of the army would then follow up by launching a general attack on the French centre…
The game starts with the Allied 0800hrs turn and ends with the French 1900hrs turn.
Rules used are ‘Napoleon’s Battles’ (4th Edition) and each unit represents a brigade at roughly 1:100 ratio.
Allied Order of Battle
General Sir Arthur Wellesley, Earl of Wellington
Cavalry Division – Lieutenant General John Stapleton-Cotton
Le Marchant’s Brigade (Heavy Dragoons) [12 figures]
C Anson’s Brigade (Light Dragoons) [12 figures]
MacDonald’s Troop RHA [6pdr]
1st Division – Lieutenant General Hugh Campbell
Fermor’s Brigade (Guards) [16 figures]
Wheatley’s Brigade (Highlanders) [20 figures]
Löwe’s Brigade (KGL Line Battalions) [16 figures]
Sympher’s Troop KGLHA [9pdr]
3rd Division – Lieutenant General Edward Packenham
Wallace’s Brigade [16 figures]
J Campbell’s Brigade [16 figures]
Power’s Portuguese Brigade [20 figures]
V Alten’s Brigade (Light Dragoons & KGL Hussars) [12 figures]
D’Urban’s Portuguese Cavalry Brigade [12 figures]
Bull’s Troop RHA [6pdr]
4th Division – Lieutenant General Lowry Cole
W Anson’s Brigade [16 figures]
Ellis’ Brigade [16 figures]
Stubbs’ Portuguese Brigade [24 figures]
5th Division – Lieutenant General Leith
Greville’s Brigade [24 figures]
Pringle’s Brigade [16 figures]
Spry’s Portuguese Brigade [20 figures]
6th Division – Lieutenant General Clinton
Hulse’s & Hinde’s Brigades (combined) [24 figures]
Rezende’s Portuguese Brigade [24 figures]
7th Division – Lieutenant General Hope
Halkett’s Brigade (KGL & Brunswick Light Battalions) [16 figures]
De Bernewitz’s Brigade (Light Infantry) [16 figures]
Collins’ Portuguese Brigade [16 figures]
Light Division – Lieutenant General Charles Alten
Barnard’s Brigade [16 figures]
Vandeleur’s Brigade [16 figures]
Bock’s KGL Brigade (Heavy Dragoons) [12 figures]
Ross’ Troop RHA [6pdr]
Spanish Division – General Carlos de España
Spanish Infantry Brigade [20 figures]
Lanceros de Castilla [12 figures]
Horse Battery [4pdr]
1st Portuguese Independent Brigade – Major General Dennis Pack
Pack’s Portuguese Brigade [24 figures]
2nd Portuguese Independent Brigade – Major General Thomas Bradford
Bradford’s Portuguese Brigade [16 figures]
- Stapleton-Cotton is the overall Allied cavalry commander and may take control of any British, KGL or Portuguese cavalry brigade or horse battery within his command span, even if they are temporarily attached to other divisions at the start of the battle (see below). He may not take command of Spanish units.
- V Alten’s and D’Urban’s Cavalry Brigades plus a horse battery from the Cavalry Division are temporarily attached to Pakenham’s 3rd Division.
- Bock’s KGL Dragoon Brigade plus a horse battery from the Cavalry Division are temporarily attached to Von Alten’s Light Division.
- An additional 6pdr battery has been manhandled on to the North Arapile and is under Cole’s command. It may not be moved from this position, though it may pivot on the spot.
French Order of Battle
Maréchal Auguste de Marmont, Duc de Raguse
1er Division – Général de Division Foy
Chemineau’s Brigade (Light Infantry) [20 figures]
Degraviers-Berthelot’s Brigade [24 figures]
2ème Division – Général de Division Clausel
Berlier’s Brigade [28 figures]
Barbot’s Brigade [28 figures]
3ème Division – Général de Division Ferey
Menne’s Brigade (Light Infantry) [24 figures]
2nd Brigade [24 figures]
4ème Division – Général de Division Sarrut
Fririon’s Brigade (Light Infantry) [28 figures]
2nd Brigade [16 figures]
5ème Division – Général de Division Maucune
Arnaud’s Brigade [24 figures]
Montfort’s Brigade [24 figures]
6ème Division – Général de Division Brennier
Taupin’s Brigade [24 figures]
2nd Brigade [16 figures]
7ème Division – Général de Division Thomières
Bonté’s Brigade [24 figures]
2nd Brigade [16 figures]
8ème Division – Général de Division Bonnet
Gautier’s Brigade [28 figures]
2nd Brigade [28 figures]
Division de Cavallerie Légère – Général de Division Curto
1st Brigade (Hussars & Chasseurs) [12 figures]
2nd Brigade (Chasseurs) [12 figures]
Batterie à Cheval [4pdr]
Division de Cavallerie Lourde – Général de Division Boyer
1st Brigade (Dragoons) [12 figures]
Carrié’s Brigade (Dragoons) [12 figures]
Batterie à Cheval [4pdr]
Batterie à Cheval [4pdr]
Batterie à Pied [12pdr]
Batterie à Pied [12pdr]
- While an accurate order of battle for the French artillery at Salamanca does not exist, we do however have an accurate record of the number and type of guns lost, so our ‘educated guess’ is based on this.
- An additional 8pdr battery has been manhandled to the top of the South Arapaile and is under Bonnet’s command. It may not be moved from this position, though it may pivot on the spot.
- The two reserve 12pdr batteries start the game on the march with Ferey’s Division.
- The battlefield of Salamanca. In the centre are the ‘Arapiles’ – in reality, two steep-sided, rocky hills that formed a bastion in the centre of each side’s position.
- The battlefield of Salamanca, showing the position of all divisions and independent brigades (white for the Allies and blue for the French). Aside from the 1st, Light and 4th Divisions, which were placed in obvious positions on the high ground, Wellington had hidden the bulk of his army in the dead-ground behind Arapiles village. The French were strung out, attempting to march around what they believed to be Wellington’s right flank. However, Packenham’s 3rd Division was lying in wait at Miranda de Azan.
- The battlefield as seen from the rear of Wellington’s army: On the left, the Light and 1st Divisions, with Bock’s KGL Heavy Dragoons, make a demonstration against the French rearguard. The 4th Division holds the Lesser Arapile, with Pack’s Independent Portuguese Brigade in reserve. The 5th Division holds Arapiles village, with 7th Division forming a second line and 6th Division in reserve. On the right, Bradford’s Independent Portuguese Brigade, the Spanish Division and the bulk of Cotton’s Cavalry Division (Anson’s Light and Le Marchant’s Heavy Brigades) guard the flank. In the distance, the 3rd Division, with Alten’s and d’Urban’s Cavalry Brigades, ambushes Thomières’ Division, at the head of the French column.
- The right flank of Wellington’s army, with Bradford’s Portuguese out in front, supported by Cotton’s Cavalry Division and d’España’s Division.
- A closer look at the Allied right flank.
- D’España’s infantry – resplendent in British-supplied blue uniforms.
- They might be a bit rubbish, but d’España’s cavalry do have a certain panache.
- Wellington establishes his headquarters next to Clinton’s 6th Division, which consisted of Hulse’s and Hinde’s British Brigades and Rezende’s Portuguese Brigade. The two British brigades were woefully understrength, so are here combined into a single unit for game purposes.
- A close-up of Wellington’s centre, showing Leith’s 5th Division in and around Arapiles village, with Hope’s 7th Division in support and Clinton’s 6th Division at the rear. On their left (our right), Cole’s 4th Division holds the area of the Lesser Arapile, while Pack’s Portuguese stand in reserve to the rear.
- A closer look at Leith’s 5th Division at Arapiles village: Greville’s Brigade holds the village itself, while Pringle’s Brigade and Spry’s Portuguese Brigade provide support.
- Pack’s Portuguese parade in front of Wellington.
- Another view of Wellington’s centre.
- A close-up of Pack’s Portuguese Brigade and Wellington’s headquarters.
- A close-up of Clinton’s 6th Division: Hulse’s & Hinde’s Brigades (combined unit) in front, with Rezende’s Portuguese to the rear.
- Yet another view of Wellington’s centre: The British unit with the green colour is De Bernewitz’s Brigade (7th Division), while the British unit with the blue colour is Ellis’ Brigade (4th Division). The Portuguese unit with the red colour is Stubbs’ Brigade (4th Division).
- Here we see elements of Campbell’s 1st Division and Alten’s Light Division, on Wellington’s left flank.
- An overview of the western end of the battlefield. On the right we can clearly see Packenham’s 3rd Division attacking Thomières’ French 7th Division.
- Wallace’s Brigade leads the attack on Thomières, closely followed by Campbell’s Brigade and Power’s Portuguese Brigade. On the flank, d’Urban’s Portuguese Cavalry and Alten’s British/KGL Light Cavalry Brigade engage Curto’s French Light Cavalry Division.
- The view from behind French lines: From left to right in the front line are Thomières’ 7th Division, Maucune’s 5th Division, Clausel’s 2nd Division and Bonnet’s 8th Division (on the Greater Arapile). Curto’s Light Cavalry Division marches to support the left flank, followed by Brennier’s 6th Division. To the rear of the Greater Arapile stands Boyer’s Dragoon Division, with Ferey’s 3rd Division, the reserve artillery and Sarrut’s 4th Division approaching, though still strung out on the march. In the distance, Foy’s 1st Division holds the rearguard at Calvarisa de Arriba.
- Another view of the French centre and left: The divisions of Clausel, Maucune and Bonnet, with Curto’s Light Cavalry, Brennier’s infantry and Boyer’s Dragoons in support.
- Boyer’s Dragoon Division, with Marmont’s headquarters and Ferey’s Division, plus artillery reserve approaching.
- An overview of the eastern end of the battlefield: On the left, Ferey’s Division marches toward Marmont’s headquarters, while on the right, Foy’s Division face off against the British 1st and Light Divisions, plus Bock’s KGL Heavy Dragoons.
- A close-up of Ferey’s division on the march.
- As Packenham’s flank attack goes in, Wellington’s entire right wing advances into the plain.
- As the Allies advance, Clausel’s Division moves forward to better support the left flank of Bonnet’s Division on the Greater Arapile.
- Somewhat surprisingly, Packenham’s Division and the supporting cavalry get the worst of the initial clash and Thomières is able to pull back, covered by Curto’s cavalry. However, d’España’s Division is rapidly marching to Packenham’s aid.
- After the initial clash, d’Urban’s Portuguese Cavalry steady their ranks and steel themselves for the next charge.
- Thomières trades space for time, though the bulk of Wellington’s army is rapidly bearing down on him.
- Bonnet’s Division waits on the Greater Arapile to see what develops.
- As Anson’s Brigade watches from the Lesser Arapile, the rest of Cole’s 4th Division crosses the valley, making a bee-line for the Greater Arapile. Guns positioned on the two Arapiles start to duel.
- Cotton’s Cavalry Division and d’España’s Spanish begin their advance.
- As the range closes, the Spanish horse artillery unlimbers and gives supporting fire to Packenham’s left flank.
- The Spanish infantry and Bradford’s Portuguese advance on Thomières.
- As the infantry close to contact, the Spanish cavalry looks for an opportunity.
- At Calvarisa de Arriba, Foy suffers early losses to the British and KGL artillery, with his supporting artillery being crippled by Allied fire. However, Ferey moves up to support the Greater Arapile position, bringing with him a battery of 12-pounders. Wellington judges that Ferey is the greater threat and orders Campbell’s 1st Division, Alten’s Light Division and Bock’s Dragoons to deal with him, while sending Pack’s Portuguese to contain Foy at Calvarisa de Arriba.
- Leith’s 5th Division surges forward from Arapiles village, with Greville’s Brigade and Spry’s Portuguese out in front.
- Cole’s 4th Division moves forward on Leith’s left, though Ellis’ Brigade starts to attract unwelcome attention from the French artillery. Very soon, casualties are beginning to mount and Cole’s attack stalls long before it reaches the foot of the Greater Arapile.
- The British 6th & 7th Divisions move up past Arapiles village, in close support of the developing attack.
- On the Allied left, Campbell’s 1st Division, followed by the Light Division and Bock’s Dragoons, moves forward to meet Ferey. Pack’s Portuguese move up to watch Foy’s flank-guard.
- Fermor’s Guards Brigade leads 1st Division’s attack, followed by Wheatley’s Highland Brigade, Löwe’s KGL Brigade and Bock’s KGL Dragoons. Barnard’s and Vandeleur’s Light Infantry Brigades follow on.
- A close-up of Fermor’s Guards Brigade, with Sympher’s KGL Horse Artillery in close support.
- An overview of the entire battlefield showing the initial movements.
- An overview of the initial movements in the centre.
- An overview of the initial movements around the Arapiles hills.
- Ferey’s Division, with a 12pdr battery in close support, forms up to meet the advance of Campbell’s 1st Division.
- Cole’s 4th Division staggers forward, under heavy fire.
- Anson’s Brigade, stationed on the Lesser Arapile, also starts to suffer from the remarkably accurate French gunnery.
- Leith’s Division also now starts to suffer casualties from increasingly heavy French fire. However, in the distance, the Spanish cavalry make their first charge of the day, pinning French infantry in squares and making them easy targets for the Allied gunners.
- As Campbell’s infantry close with Ferey, Bock’s Dragoons look for an opportunity to charge. In the distance, Ellis’ Brigade finally reaches the foot of the Greater Arapile, though comes under ever-increasing quantities of French artillery fire and is soon broken. The survivors flee to the protection of Stubbs’ Portuguese.
- The scene a little while later: In the foreground, repeated attacks by Packenham’s 3rd Division, d’España’s Spanish Division and Cotton’s Cavalry Division have destroyed Thomières’ Division. Brennier and Curto attempt to shore up the crumbling left flank, but rapidly suffer heavy casualties. Further along the French line, Maucune seems to be holding the ridge, though under increasing pressure from Leith’s 5th Division. Clausel meanwhile, has lost one its brigades and is coming under fire from Hope’s 7th Division. The situation for the entire French left wing looks grim and Marmont forms a strong reserve with Sarrut’s Division and Boyer’s Dragoon Division. However, Bonnet is holding his own on the Greater Arapile and his artillery has halted a second attack on the position. In the far distance, Foy’s Division has sallied out of Calvarisa de Arriba, intending to strike at Wellington’s left flank.
- A close-up of Wellington’s right wing; Wellington closely supervises the assault as Packenham and d’España roll up the French left flank as Hope and Leith keep the French infantry pinned down. Cotton’s cavalry rally following their charges against the French left flank.
- A close-up of the eastern flank of the battle; On the right, Foy sallies out of Calvarisa de Arriba against the exposed left flank of Alten’s Light Division, though Pack’s Portuguese Brigade moves to intercept. Campbell’s 1st Division engages in an artillery duel with Ferey’s 12pdrs.
- A close-up of the valley; Cole’s 4th Division attempts to keep the attack on the Greater Arapile going, though to no effect, as the French artillery fire is just too strong. With Ellis’ Brigade already depleted to dangerously low levels, Stubbs’ Portuguese Brigade is also now disordered by the French guns. Supporting fire from the Lesser Arapile is largely ineffective.
- A close-up of the centre; The leading brigade of Leith’s 5th Division (Greville’s) manages to break one of Clausel’s brigades at the foot of the ridge. However, Greville is now disordered, is flanked by a 12pdr battery and is perilously close to threatening French infantry. The rest of 5th Division struggles to make headway, but help arrives on Greville’s right flank, in the form of Halkett’s German Light Infantry Brigade (7th Division).
- Clinton’s 6th Division, Wellington’s main reserve formation, moves up past Arapiles village and Cotton’s cavalry.
- Having already mounted some limited attacks in support of the assault on the French left flank, Cotton’s cavalry brigades (Le Marchant’s Heavies and Ansons Lights) take some rest while they can.
- Wellington closely observes as Bradford’s Portuguese Brigade and Hope’s 7th Division go into action.
- A close-up of the action on the flank: Packenham’s 3rd Division and d’España’s Spanish Division overrun Thomières’ former position and also push back Brennier and Curto.
- The scene in the centre a short while later; Greville’s Brigade has somehow managed to hold on and has rallied from disorder, despite being isolated right in front of the enemy-held ridge. Hope’s 7th Division, Bradford’s Portuguese and the Spanish, plus artillery support, are really starting to damage the crumbling French left flank, paving the way for further attacks by Packenham’s 3rd Division.
- The overview from behind the French; The French left might be crumbling, but it’s hard work for the Allies, as the wooded and boggy river valley prevents any serious outflanking moves.
- Nevertheless, the Allies continue to roll back the French left; Here we see Halkett’s German Light Infantry Brigade (KGL & Brunswickers), together with the Spanish Infantry Brigade, rout one of Brennier’s brigades, thereby clearing the high ground of French infantry
- However, the Allies do not have it all their own way, as Greville’s beleaguered brigade has finally succumbed to the weight of close-range French fire brought against them. Anson’s Light Cavalry Brigade attempts to intervene, though is beaten off by Taupin’s French infantry and is unable to save Greville.
- With Greville’s Brigade destroyed, the Portuguese Brigades of Spry (5th Division) and Collins (7th Division) now become the focus of French animosity. However, they give as good as they get and the centre becomes a battle of attrition. However, with the Allies able to feed in more reserves and successfully rolling up the flank, there can only be one eventual outcome. In the distance, Cole has brought his remaining fresh brigade (Anson’s) down off the Lesser Arapile in a further attempt to take the Greater Arapile.
- As the Allies recover from their latest attacks, Marmont desperately feeds rallied brigades back into the battle for the centre and mounts some limited counter-attacks in an attempt to regain the initiative, though all are beaten off.
- On the southern slope of the ridge, Curto’s cavalry makes one last-ditch attempt to throw back Packenham’s advance. Wallace’s Brigade and Alten’s Light Cavalry suffer casualties and are thrown back in some disorder, though the French horsemen are decisively halted by Campbell’s Brigade, Power’s Portuguese Brigade and d’Urban’s Portuguese Cavalry.
- The heroic Spanish Infantry Brigade once again withstands all French counter-attacks. They are disordered, but still in command of the high ground.
- Anson’s Light Cavalry charges once again. Unable to form square due to the close proximity of the KGL Light Infantry, Taupin’s brigade is broken and Brennier’s Division is destroyed along with it. The French have now lost three entire infantry divisions on their left flank.
- Another view of the centre.
- The central battle of attrition continues.
- On the far eastern flank, Alten turns part of the Light Division to face the renewed threat from Foy’s Division, which is sallying from Calvarisa de Arriba. Vandeleur’s Light Infantry and Ross’ Horse Battery engage in a close-range fire-fight with one French brigade, while Bock’s KGL Heavy Dragoons charge the other brigade. However, the French manage to form square in time and Bock’s Dragoons are repulsed.
- Meanwhile, Alten’s other brigade (Barnard’s) is suffering under a hail of French fire. To make matter’s worse, Sympher’s 9pdr battery is silence by Ferey’s 12pdr guns.
- Ross’ battery too is silenced by French fire, though Vandeleur’s infantry return the complement and disorder the French infantry.
- With Foy’s infantry either disordered or trapped in square, they are now ripe for the plucking. Vandeleur’s Brigade prepares to charge.
- An overview of the situation on the eastern flank; Campbell’s 1st Division, with Cole’s 4th Division on its right, struggles to make headway against the strong French divisions of Ferey and Bonnet. However, Alten’s Light Division, assisted by Bock’s KGL Dragoons and Pack’s Portuguese Brigade, would soon make short work of Foy’s counter-attack on the flank.
- Despite Barnard’s Brigade floundering in front of them, Wheatley’s Highland Brigade make a fine spectacle as they advance on Ferey.
- In concert with Pack’s Portuguese, Vandeleur’s Brigade launches itself at Foy’s Division. Foy’s boys are soon routed with Bock’s Dragoons in hot pursuit and the threat to Wellington’s left flank is ended.
- Despite the reverses on both flanks, Bonnet still feels secure on the Greater Arapile.
- Still unengaged, Clinton’s 6th Division moves up to deliver the coup de grace to Marmont’s left wing.
- Similarly fresh, Bradford’s Portguese and Le Marchant’s Dragoons move forward to complete the destruction of the French left.
- In a last gasp of defiance, Curto’s surviving cavalrymen make yet another charge against Packenham’s infantry, though are intercepted by d’Urban’s Portuguese Cavalry and are annihilated.
- Seeing the writing on the wall, Marmont orders Boyer to be prepared to mount a rear-guard as the army withdraws from the field.
- An exhausted but victorious Packenham orders Power’s fresh Portuguese Brigade forward to sweep away Curto’s few remaining horsemen.
- Scenting victory and an opportunity for loot, the Spanish Cavalry Brigade moves forward to be in at the kill.
- Bonnet’s Division has been sitting pretty on the Greater Arapile for the entire battle, but now prepares to withdraw. Behind them, Sarrut’s Division and Boyer’s Dragoons prepare to become the rearguard for the army.
- Rallied fragments of the French left wing, aided by the ever-superb French artillery, continue to resist and even succeed in dispersing Spry’s Portuguese Brigade. With the loss of its second brigade, Leith’s 5th Division finally grinds to an honourable halt.
- With grim satisfaction, Wellington and his staff watch as the last elements of the French left wing are overrun. Strong elements of the French army still remain and will have to be dealt with, though this is nevertheless a resounding Allied victory!