General Situation: The landing of a large British force under General Wellesley north of Lisbon has isolated Gen Junot's Corps in that city. Junot has decided that he must act swiftly to have any chance of restoring his situation as the British will only get stronger and he, weaker. Junot has left only a skeleton force in Lisbon, concentrating his forces to give the best opportunity for success, however Loison has not been able to reach the battlefield in time from Northern Portugal.
Imperial Forces: C-in-C Gen Junot (Competent)
1st Division (Delaborde - Decisive): 6000 Infantry, 6 Guns
2nd Division (Travot - Competent): 9000 Infantry, 6 Guns
3rd (Cav) Division (Kellermann - Decisive): 2000 Cavalry, 6 Guns
Artillery Reserve: 24 Guns
Anglo-Portuguese Forces: C-in-C Gen Wellesley (Decisive)
1st Division (Ferguson - Plodding): 7000 Infantry, 6 Guns
2nd Division (Anstruther - Plodding): 9000 Infantry, 6 Guns
|View from the Southwest, behind the French right flank.|
|View from the East -French to the left (South), Anglo-Portuguese to the North|
|View from behind the British Lines - an open centre anchored on farms, with a hill as the reserve position|
The Opening Stages:
|The French collapse and re-form in front of some enclosures with the support of their cavalry. A lucky morale check at this point stops Travot's immediate collapse.|
|The 43rd follow-up this success by carrying out a successful attack on the French Legere in the enclosures. At this point, Travot's Division finally broke and fled|
|His right-wing defeated, Junot ordered a retreat at this point, confident his cavalry superiority would prevent any vigorous follow-up from the French.|
Imperial Casualties: 3400 Infantry, 200 Cavalry, 6 Guns
Allied Casualties: 950 Infantry
The disparity in casualties was caused by the fact that although both sides artillery was effective, the French artillery was being fired at longer-range, whereas the smaller numbers of British guns were being fired very close to the Frecnh infantry. The rest of the difference was in the prisoners taken during the British advance.
This game turned on two points really. An unlucky French brigade morale roll gave an early advantage to the British as four French infantry battalions were routed before the battle got fully underway. The British advance was glorious but only possible because the British had more veteran units than the French. I feel that this is a reasonable reflection of the strengths of the two forces involved, but it is hardly inarguable. I tried to start a bit of a debate on TMP on this, but without much success!
The French plan was actually quite strong, using two 'pinning' attacks combined with massed artillery to create a flank in the centre of the Allied position. Unfortunately by the time this had happened, Travot's division was already in dire straits.