General Situation: Marshal Moncey has been demonstrating in the area West of Alicante, waiting for reinforcements before attacking Valencia. His opponent, Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Valenica, General Cervellon spent July cautiously advancing towards Alicante. News of the French disaster at Andujar at the end of July led both commanders to intensify their efforts. Moncey, handicapped by the lack of an adequate system, resolved to move to the Northwest to meet his reinforcements approaching from Madrid (the divisions of Morlot, Grouchy and Wathier) and Cervellon resolved to pursue him. Moncey, perhaps under-estimating the drive of his opponent was caught south of Cuenca at the beginning of August after a surprising Spanish forced march through the summer heat: 2000 conscripts were left dead, dying or deserted in its wake, but Cervellon resolved to defeat Moncey before the arrival of the French reinforcements. Luckily for Moncey, Grouchy has arrived in time, but the other units are still 30 miles distant.
The Spanish Army of Valencia (C-in-C Cervellon - Plodding)
1st Division (Gen Adorno - Plodding): 4000 Infantry, 18 Guns
2nd Division (Gen La Serna - Plodding): 6000 Infantry, 6 Guns
3rd Division (Gen Llamas - Plodding): 5000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 6 Guns
Totals: 15000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 30 Guns
Imperial French III Corps (C-in-C Marshal Moncey - Competent)
1st Division (Gen Musnier - Plodding): 6000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 6 Guns
2nd Division (Gen Frere - Plodding): 5000 Infantry, 6 Guns
3rd (Cavalry) Division (Gen Grouchy - Decisive): 3000 Cavalry, 6 Guns
Artillery Reserve: 24 Guns
Totals: 11000 Infantry, 4000 Cavalry, 42 Guns
|The view from behind La Serna's Division towards the farmland guarded by Musnier's mixed bag of French and German infantry|
The Main Fighting:
|Spanish infantry of La Serna's division march slowly over the farmland to attempt to envelope Musnier's left wing, which has re-deployed a battalion to cover.|
|Freire's division re-deploys on the hill in preparation for an assault over the stream. French Imperial Guard Light cavalry has moved forward to contest the crossing.|
|Llamas's exploratory probe on the extreme French right has been driven back by infantry from one of Musnier's provisional regiments.|
|Triumph and Disaster: Fremch infantry leaves its defensive positions (left) and defeats La Serna's right-hand brigades, but Gen Cervellon in person leads the succesful attack on Musnier's left and cracks open the French centre.|
|The French infantry, ably supported by light cavalry and artillery, push the Spanish levies on the flank back...|
Cervellon's bold march has been rewarded with a very hard fought victory. However, the French have large numbers of uncommitted cavalry remaining and so the overall strategic effect is minor compared to the destruction of Dupont's Corps at Andujar, although many French stragglers and wounded were captured in the retreat. Still, the Allies have re-gained that initiative lost to the French at Miranda in the North and Moncey will now find it hard to defeat Cervellon before large Spanish forces arrive from Andujar.
French: c.6500 Infantry, 500 Cavalry (plus 1000 stragglers and sick)
Spanish: c.4500 Infantry (but it should be remembered that 2000 conscripts were lost in the march prior to the battle).
A very intense battle this one, one of the most enjoyable I've ever fought solo, with victory uncertain until the very end. Lots of raw troops on both sides made this quite unusual - normally the French would win contests on this scale but in this battle, the forces were quite even. The game took about two-and-a-half hours, played in two sittings.