The 11th Portuguese Cavalry watch as the French enter the valley
It took me a while to recover from the family goings-on at Christmas and set up the wargames table, but I have now fought the little conflict between the two advance guards. I shall publish the revised returns taking account of this action after the next map moves.
Since the battle was small, and used the table lengthwise, I used a modified version of CCN - replacing the Command Cards system with a dice-driven activation system which I have used before and which worked pretty well.
The Allies won rather easily, and there was a cameo appearance by a Major Sharpe of the 95th, who commanded a provisional brigade composed of detached light-company men of the Third Division. I was a bit embarrassed to mention this, but why not, after all?
Action at Martin de Yeltes – 30th July 1812
The Allied advance guard, commanded by Maj.Gen Long, had been rather outmanoeuvred by a French force under Gen de Bde Pinoteau, having their right flank turned as the French crossed the little river Huebra.
Long had a brigade of King’s German Legion heavy dragoons and a brigade of Portuguese cavalry – all the cavalry being commanded by Lt.Col De Jonquières of the KGL (deputising for the wounded General Bock) – plus a provisional brigade of three “converged” battalions of light companies from the Third Division, commanded by a Major Sharpe (all right, calm down). In addition, Long had the services of Bull’s Troop, RHA. His force was near to the
when the French
appeared on his right, around 10:30am. village of Martin de Yeltes
Pinoteau had two battalions of the veteran 59eme Ligne, under their colonel, Nicolas Loverdo, and three regiments of cavalry – one of Chasseurs à Cheval, the Italian Dragoni Napoleone and the Lanciers de la Vistule. He also had a battery of horse artillery – that of Capt Faruse, from the artillery park of the Armeé de Portugal. His cavalry were brigaded under the command of Col. Lemoyne of the 14eme Chasseurs.
The French advanced in a businesslike column – lancers at the front, followed by the horse artillery, then the Dragoni, then Loverdo’s infantry and the Chasseurs bringing up the rear.
The 11th Portuguese cavalry fell back in front of the French advance, and Pinoteau detached his Italian dragoons and his chasseurs to his left, to pursue them behind a small wooded ridge. Meanwhile the French infantry entered some woods on the right, with the intention of taking possession of the large farm at Santa Consuela Parlanchina.
The British light infantry took good advantage of their ability to move quickly, Major Sharpe leading two battalions into the enclosures at the farm and commencing a brisk fire fight with Loverdo’s infantry.
The French cavalry attack – which was approached with great confidence – proved to be a complete disaster. The Portuguese 11th cavalry were joined by the 2nd Dragoons of the KGL, and together they routed the two French units, suffering very little loss themselves. Around this time, Col Loverdo was severely wounded on the French right, and Pinoteau decided to withdraw. The fresh lancer unit were detailed to cover the retreat, but they themselves were very badly beaten by the 11th Portuguese, and the French withdrawal became a panic. Long called off the pursuit – a move for which he was subsequently criticised – but he had won an excellent little victory.
The Rifles officer was Major Norman Sharpe, by the way.
De Jonquiere's KGL Dragoons
Dragoni Napoleone - did not impress
Lancers of the Vistula Legion
General View of the field at the start
A Thought for Today
Captain Faruse's horse battery
Pinoteau brings up his cavalry
Major Sharpe with the Light Bobs
Bull's Troop, RHA
The French take the initiative
Loverdo takes the 59eme into the woods
General view around midday
French cavalry attack the 11th Portuguese
Pinoteau watches in disbelief as his cavalry falter
Meanwhile in the woods...
Allied cavalry drive back the French
French cavalry beaten back with heavy loss
Double crossed-sabres mean that Loverdo is wounded
The Dragoni are just about still there
The Lancers cover the withdrawal...
...but not for long
French Force – Gen de Bde Pierre Pinoteau
Infantry Bde – Col. Loverdo (59e)
59e Ligne [2 bns]
Cavalry Bde – Col. Lemoyne (14e Chasseurs)
14e Chasseurs à Cheval [3 sqns]
Dragoni Napoleone 
Lanciers de la Vistule 
Horse Artillery battery – Capt Faruse
Total force engaged 2475 men with 6 guns. Loss approx 200 infantry, 620 cavalry. Col. Loverdo was severely wounded during the firefight in the woods at Santa Consuela, and was taken prisoner.
Allied Force – Maj.Gen RB Long
Provisional Brigade – Maj. Sharpe (95th)
3 bns of light infantry from Third Division
Cavalry Brigade – Lt.Col De Jonquières (KGL)
1st Dragoons, KGL
1st Portuguese Cavalry (Alcantara)
Troop ‘A’, RHA – Maj. Bull
Total force engaged, approx 2300 men with 6 guns. Total loss 325 infantry, 90 cavalry.
French – 2/59 (-1 block), 14e Chass, Drag Nap, Lanciers de la Vistule (-2 each)
Anglo-Portuguese – 1st Ptgse Cav, 1st & 2nd Prov Lt Bns (-1 each)