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10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

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10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:13 pm

The English have advanced south from their scuffle with part of Delaborde's division at Rolica to find the coast road to Lisbon blocked by a large part of Junot's Corps at a small town called Vimerio. Lt-Gen Wellesley deploys his small army on a ridge just north-east of the town with his right pushed forwards to cover it and his left refused.

General Junot has chosen to attack, his men are keen to get at the English properly for the first time in Portugal and defending is not in their spirit!

Doodle:

http://doodle.com/tm3u8uubzmuuywqn

Map is Pipe Creek 3 oriented correctly and a section of this looks a great deal like the original battlefield, so with a couple of sections closed off by boundary markers, we'll use it as it is.



The part we are using is between the two red lines. The British position is indicated in red, the French in blue. "Sossen" is Vimerio, "Unhose" is Ventosa, "Hostomitz" is Torres Vadres. The road to Lisbon up which Junot has marched is the "Rabenstein Strasse" while the road Wellesley has approached along is the "Schlau Strasse". These two roads are the respective armies' lines of supply. Lisbon can also be reached inland down the "Podhorzau Strasse" via Torres Vadres.

The north edge of the map is the sea where a supporting British squadron lies offshore, the French would be exposed to fire from them if they attempted to turn the British right, so this area is out of bounds (the terrain is also nothing like the original battlefield).

More detail given in the respective sides' forums.


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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:00 pm

Gentlemen,

Saturday 27th is by far the most popular date to choose and we'll meet at 19:30 UK time (British Summer Time) unless we get a rush of players only able to make it later.

The British must have 3 players, and can fit in several more. The French must have 4 and can fit in a few more as well.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Grog on Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:54 pm

Martin

Unfortunately, I can't make this weekend.

A big shame to miss Wellesley's first test in Iberia.

Have a good game. look forward to the replay

Mike

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Ike on Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:00 pm

And I as well, only the Friday. Ah, well, there will be more battles with the soldiers of Perfidious Albion!
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Martin on Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:18 pm

It looks as if we have enough for the game already signed-up on doodle, but I'm sure we can fit a few more in.

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:04 pm

Four Allied players are signed up which is just enough. A fifth would be better...

Sam, Sven?

Only two French though, plus one possible. I can join the French but that still only gives three.

Where are the other Frenchies?

Steve, Mitra, Suchet, Sean, Stefan?

If our new player joins he too could take a French command.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:40 pm

For those who haven't played in the past couple of weeks, be sure to update your version of the KS Napoleon Mod.  It is now version 1.705.  Here is the link: KS NAP MOD 1.705

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Sep 27, 2014 6:26 pm

A reminder gentlemen that we are meeting in Teamspeak to fight this battle in about 1 hour from now (19:30 UK time). I look forward to seeing as many of you there as can make it.

This promises to be an imporrtant and possibly tough fight. Good luck to both sides.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  kg little mac on Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:59 am

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:29 am

Thanks Mark.



Even without the terrain overlay (underlay?) that shows how brutal this battle was, a real "En avant!" steaming in with the bayonet and columns by the French style attack. It was a shame that Kellerman's grenadiers (Mark) and part of Delaborde's (Josh's) division hit Fane's brigade early (that's the first combat that begins in the British advanced centre) because this started the French attack long before Loison (Martin) was ready to come around against the English far right. At one point my dragoons who were supposed to be supporting Loison were the most advanced French units on our left Shocked The French guns didn't get a chance to do any preparatory bombardment which was part of the plan as well.

Then Loison arrived and went in with extreme prejudice and the slaughter in Vimerio village itself and north of it along the Maceria stream was dreadful. Lots of units on both sides were waving white flags and having checked the losses after the battle I see several British regiments that began the battle over 750 strong down to under 500 men which is incredible. Its a pity the French couldn't push harder on the left when they did because Wellesley kept half his army way out on his left, probably worried about a flanking move there which Junot decided against in his pre-battle commanders conference.

In previous campaign battles we've seen relatively light losses and the fact that armies were not reducing in size was something I was concerned about. I realise now that was because the brittle Spanish stop fighting before losses reach high levels on both sides. Here though, where both sides had well drilled and motivated troops, the bloodshed was terrible. This was also a battle of melees rather than firefights, Junot addressing his officers before hand that he thought British musketry would be superior to French, while French elan with the bayonet was the answer!

After an hour Junot recalled his troops back to the western bank of the Maceria stream where there was a ridge and mound which dominated the village of Vimerio but he did not authorise a second attack, even though I was convinced we were strong enough to "Go again sir!" Junot realised the British army was stronger than he had thought and his 14,000 infantry were in fact facing 19,000 redcoats. Junot had 1,700 medium cavalry against 500 British and Portuguese light cavalry and the artillery strengths were about equal. He decided against a second attack.

Early reports of losses (before walking wounded and stragglers return to the ranks) are:

British - 1,100 killed - 4,300 wounded - 1,000 missing
French - 1,000 killed - 3,900 wounded - 900 missing

These totals far exceed any previous campaign battle except Alagon where Spanish losses in the rout after the battle were mostly POWs and this combat lasted less than an hour.

Certain units performed amazing feats; the 1/50th West Kents inflicted 250 casualties on Brennier's voltigeur screen in a matter of seconds when they gave them a bayonet charge. The 2/9th East Norfolks inflicted 250 casualties on the 3e Btn 4e Légerè during fighting in Vimerio village. 2nd Queen's Royal inflicted 304 losses on 3e Btn 15e Légerè during the same street fight. On the British far right 1/9th East Norfolks routed Charlot's voltigeur screen with another charge, causing 220 casualties in a few seconds and 4 Coys of 2/95th Rifles inflicted 186 casualties on the elite 3e Btn 2éme Légerè. This too was a unit in Thomiere's brigade and the manner in which his command assaulted Vimerio village in one long dense column of divisions was one of the most impressive (and crazy) things I've see the SoW AI do. The 1/38th 1st Staffs inflicted 264 casualties on Kellermann's 3e Btn Grenadiers. All of these were melees as far as I can see.

Except for one instance noted below the British artillery was significantly more lethal than the French, but that's to be expected from defensive guns. I heard a lot of canister being fired.

French units that performed well... 3e Btn Grenadiers against 1/38th 1st Staffs caused 214 casualties, routing them. That was some melee. 3e Btn 2éme Légerè routed 1/50th West Kents after inflicting 220 casualties. 3e 2éme Légerè also captured those 4 coys of 2/95th Rifles. 2éme Légerè had a good battle! The French #1 and #3 4pdr guns of Col Prost's battery of Delaborde's division caused 250 casualties on their own against 1/20th East Devonshires. 4e Sqn 5e Dragoons caught 2/97th Queen's Own in line and caused 420 casualties, and their 3e Sqn did the same to 1/6th 1st Warwicks causing 330 casualties. 4e Sqn then charged the Warwicks as well, capturing their colours and causing a further 215 losses. The 1st Warwicks were pretty much destroyed in this charge. 3e Btn 82éme Ligne inflicted 315 casualties on 1/32nd Cornwalls.

The British captured 3 infantry colours and routed 6 other units plus a gun. The French captured 4 infantry colours and a standard of the 20th Light Dragoons, and routed 5 other units. I exclude from these totals skirmisher screens and the many small British rifle units attached to each brigade. These proved easy to capture or rout so we might have to rethink this arrangement. Then again the British were hit by a whirlwind assault so this result might not be representative of how useful those little rifle units can be.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:41 pm

1st Division Headquarters
August, 1808

Lieutenant General Arthur Wellesley,

General,

My report of the afternoon's unpleasantness is as follows.

My division had taken up position around the town of Vimerio. As the men were in the process of putting on the kettle for afternoon tea and warming the crumpets, the enemy under the command of a General Junot advanced and quite rudely interrupted these proceedings.

The enemy came on in dense assault columns. General's Fane's brigade drew first blood when a French brigade had the cheek to try and to cross their front in an attempt to strike my extreme right. Fane advanced his men and engaged the enemy. This response seemed to rattle the French commander. Perhaps he never anticipated that his parading troops would be molested. Whatever the cause, he diverted what appeared to be an entire division to address this threat. Confronted by these overwhelming numbers, both Fane's brigade and Raynesford's battery withdrew in good order to the north. Colonel Taylor's small cavalry regiment aided in delaying the French advance until General Anstruther's brigade could be brought forward and strike the French division in the flank.

The assault by General Anstruther allowed sufficient time for the divisions of generals Acland and Ferguson to properly deploy to meet the French as they advanced through Vimerio and up the heights east of the town. The enemy commander finding his deployment again embarrassed from not anticipating his flank coming under fire, must have sent myriad panicked messages to the rear for support. For in short order, a large contingent of dragoons came up to try to put some steel into the French commander. The appearance of the French cavalry compelled me to recall General Anstruther. He was subsequently posted east of the town to assist Acland in the defense of central ridge.

At this time, additional French columns could be seen to the northwest, advancing towards our extreme right. General McKenzie and Fane's brigade were readied to meet this attack. This new assault seemed to be composed of three French brigades, two of which seemed to be composed solely of grenadiers and carabiniers. In normal circumstances I would have been quite unconcerned with such a pitiful opponent as I had two stout British brigades on hand. But Fane's men were a bit tired from earlier fighting, so I requested a brigade be moved from our reserve to this sector of the field. General Bowes' brigade was detached from General Ferguson's division and arrived just as the French were moving around General Fane's flank. They smartly repulsed this attempt to gain my rear.

While the attack in the north was being addressed, a large contingent of French legere sallied out of Vimerio and assaulted our center. General Anstruther along with the division of General Acland met this assault and forced the enemy back into the town. With the French beaten everywhere, they wisely withdrew to the hills to the west.

Preliminary returns indicate my division was in the thick of the fighting the entire day. My division suffered 595 killed, 2381 wounded, although many only lightly, and 475 missing from the roll call. While the seem numbers are large, it should be pointed out that my men faced and defeated the bulk of the French army today.

If this is the best the enemy can muster, then it will require little effort to purge Portugal of the Corsican's stooges.


I remain your obedient servant,

Brigadier General Rowland Hill, 1st Division commanding

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Guest on Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:58 pm

That was very fun, I am starting to grasp this HITS stuff slowly.

Thanks Martin for all you have done.

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:34 pm

General Margaron's Awesome Adventures -or- How a Two Deep Line Doesn't Really Work Versus 150 Fat Dragoons on Fat Horses.



Last edited by Mr. Digby on Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Martin on Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:45 pm

This was a really fun battle, and many thanks to Diggers for organising it.  It was a tough struggle for both sides from what I could see.  A bit of a culture-shock for us French, after a succession of easy victories over poorly trained Spanish rebel forces.  But that all serves to make the campaign more interesting, as we will have a mix of opponents from now on, with different fighting styles.  And of course the Spanish will get better too.

I was struck by Digby’s reference to the huge 750-man British battalions.  That didn’t occur to me during the battle, but really should have done, as it’s certainly historical.  The British units had a higher establishment strength than the French.  Whilst both sides struggled to keep units up to strength, the British were also rather better at this than the French, which accentuated the discrepancy.

As host, I ran the game with the stock 4:1 sprite ratio.  Given these battalion strengths, I should have used 6:1.  As it was, the British battalions I was facing did look somewhat larger than my weedy French ones, but the ratio caused me to underestimate the difference in numbers.  I think I probably bayonet-charged 700-man battalions with 400-man ones a number of times.  This normally did not work out affraid

It’s probably worth Diggers indicating an appropriate spite ratio to the host for future games.

Us Frenchies need to discuss how we counter these leviathans in future battles.  Hopefully as time goes on, the unaccustomed heat and disease will cut them down to size a bit, but we need to think about tactics too. But that’s a matter for the French sub forum, a haven of culture & gentility where thankfully no Allied riff-raff are allowed.

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:51 pm

I read that as "a haven of culture and genitals".

I think I need some sleep.

I'm sure the lack of cornish pasties, pork pies, scotch eggs, crumpets and proper beer will soon whittle those Brits down. Then again I wouldn't worry too much about 750 man British battalions, this battle solved most of those issues in one massive charge affraid

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Martin on Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:05 pm

Digby wrote: I read that as "a haven of culture and genitals".

Let us just say, that those Spanish rebels who renew their vows of fidelity will be eligible for 'Gold Club' membership of the sub forum.

Murat

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:20 pm

Murat will need more than the offer of a few ostrich feathers to entice the Spanish into singing kumbaya with the snail eaters.

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Baldwin1 on Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:27 pm

Hill deserves all the accolades and medals in Britain and proved that a single British division can hold off a French corps. I believe it has now been seen that we shall not be moved from Portugal and the French can only flap their arms in vain against the might of this great army.

Just think what we can do when Hays returns from furlough Very Happy
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Martin on Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:55 pm

Fine words, gentlemen............

But let us not forget that the French force captured strong positions, and inflicted greater losses on a British army that outnumbered them by several thousand men.

Burlington H Grumble
Dentistry Correspondent, Lisbon Morning post

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  kg little mac on Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:55 pm

Marshall Murat,

It is with the utmost pleasure I write to you about the glorious welcome we offered those inglorious British bastards.  On the hills of Vimerio, we showed them the definition of French Élan.  The fact they outnumbered us by several thousand men could not dampen our resolve to put the redcoated provocateurs down with our bayonets.

Morning broke sullen and gray, very sullen and very gray, a fine day for battle.  The plan was as follows: Loison’s 2nd Division was to lead the way marching NW and forming up while Solignac's Brigade from Delaborde’s 1st Division maneuvered to join them;  the Reserve Grenadiers of Kellerman and the small, three regiment, 3rd Division of Travot  were to come up as quick as possible behind Loison; once formed up, we planned on assaulting the British right en mass.
 
As you well know, plans usually fall apart once the fighting begins.  However, on this occasion, the plan fell apart when Loison marched SW instead of NW and became the follow up force rather than the lead element.  I’m not sure if confusion got the better of him or if he had a case of the nerves, but on his behalf, when he did get to the fight, he threw his men in most resolutely.

So as it turned out, Kellerman and Travot and Solignac’s Brigade from 1st Division led the charge.  What a sight to behold.  The British showed their true mettle and bolted from their advance positons, making for the rear in an unmanly fashion.  On we drove, without reservation, fire in our hearts, glory on our minds.
I could see several British Divisions off to the NE, so I knew we had to act quickly in order to drive the British off the high ground.   So on we charged, with Loison’s fresh men throwing caution to the wind and driving the enemy before them.

Margaron’s Cavalry Division cut through the English rabble like a hot knife through butter.
Our guns now on the high ground, they pour a hellish fire on the enemy lines, but too many British Brigades began moving to support the now shattered English right flank.

And even though my blood boiled and I wanted more enemy blood on the field, prudence got the better of me, so I pulled our men back to the high ground with our guns and invited the British to come and get us.  Of course, the cowardly bastards refused.
 
The day ended with us holding a strong defensive position on the high ground.  
Please, my lord, send me more men so I can drive the English back into the channel.

They have tasted French élan, and I’m sure they do not want a second helping.

Your Obedient Servant,

Junot


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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Leffe7 on Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:22 pm

Sounds like a battle to remember! Too bad I missed it ;-)

What about next saturday Oct 4th, is there already a game planned?
If not, I would be interested to try the Fontenoy Mod in MP.
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Martin on Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:56 pm

A splendid report Junot.

This rather shows-up the slanted accounts recently published by les Anglais for the misrepresentations they are.

To assist you in your further operations, I attach a top secret lithograph of Wellesley’s HQ, obtained by our intelligence department.

Murat


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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:08 pm

I am sure there will be a campaign battle next Saturday - right now I am just not sure which one! We have several that might occur - I am awaiting e-mail replies from a few people to confirm if they are holding their ground to fight - or not!

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Baldwin1 on Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:48 pm

A "second helping" would be most welcome. Very Happy

This "Elan" goes rather well with my tea.

God save the King! king
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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

Post  Grog on Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:09 pm

Looked like a great battle.

Nice video, Martin. How about posting it on the NSD site?
I was also thinking of posting the link to the NBC(Napoleonic Battle Corps) site, if thats ok?

Mike

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Re: 10. Battle of Vimerio - 21st August 1808

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