|View from behind the Spanish left flank - these are the voluntarios that Freire|
was very concerned about - they held the position, despite a couple of scares
Iain has very kindly sent me copies of his excellent photos, so here they are, just to prove the event actually took place, with my thanks for his camera work.
The scenario consists of Clauzel's corps of Soult's French army, crossing the Bidassoa to attack a Spanish force under Freire on a line of three ridges at San Marcial. True to the original battle, the French fought vigorously and determinedly, but the Spaniards held out, the Victory Points margin eventually being 10-3, which includes 3 extra points for Freire for hanging on to the three hills and - in any case - rather flatters the defenders.
The action is primarily one for infantry - I included a cavalry presence in both armies simply because - well, you have to really, don't you? The French had a 3:2 superiority in artillery, but had little opportunity to bring it forward into action; the Spaniards, on the other hand, had their guns on the flanks, which caused a lot of damage to the attackers. The Spaniards fight well enough if they stand their ground, but the retreat rules for the Spanish army in C&CN are harsh - especially the voluntarios units, which are classed as militia - so getting them to stand their ground is the heart of the matter.
|General view from the French left|
|Those voluntarios, on the Spanish left ridge|
|Some of Reille's Italians attempting to flush the Legion Extremena out of a wood|
|Lots of Higginses - Lamartiniere's French division, on the right|
|More Higginses - the Dragoni Napoleone|
|French advance under way, all along the line - keeping the momentum|
without much artillery support was a problem throughout the day
|Villatte's Confederation Germans, on the French left, ford the Bidassoa, but|
are already suffering from the Spanish cannon
|Lamartiniere, at the San Marcial village, sets about those stubborn voluntarios|
|Spanish line infantry wait calmly for their moment|
|Spanish hussars (Extremadura) mostly stood watching - converted Hinton Hunts|
|The Italians now have the wood, but are starting to wonder if this is such a great idea|
|At this point Villatte's Germans on the French left are struggling to progress, the|
Italians in the centre are running out of steam and Lamartiniere's Frenchmen at
the far end are fighting hard but getting bogged down
|The voluntarios have yellow markers to denote their militia status, but the|
beggars wouldn't run...
|French cavalry supporting the Italians, but there were no broken troops to harry - it was|
not a good day for cavalry
|The Germans still struggling to get a hold on the other side of the river - a lot|
of those bloody red markers in evidence
|Final view - Freire's men still on their ridge, with plenty of fresh units if needed|