Battle of Salamanca 1812 French vs. British, Portuguese and Spanish

Battle of Salamanca 1812 French vs. British, Portuguese and Spanish.

June 18th (Waterloo day), Dan (blue shirt) and I travelled to Bob’s gaming garage for the club’s monthly Napoleonic 25mm game. Using a situational map which I had drawn for Salamanca, Bob had spent several days arranging the forces and setting up the tabletop. As we arrived, we were joined by fellow gamers Ty, Rob, Michael and Paul to view Bob’s handy work. The table was set for a grand battle…with all the features of the battlefield present.

See Napoleonic Rules, files and video’s section on WR for details of game play and rules. Link

Situation Map at start of game:

Salamanca Starting positions map

Salamanca Starting positions map

Looking at the map the French are the lower counter/markers (blue) and the British with allies are red. Each counter has a number coding for identity and formation type and represents a command…typically of Brigade/Divisional size . The green “extend” markers spread the counter formation into multiple squares. Map scale is 600 yards to the square (3 sq/mile) and 12″ on the tabletop. The major benefits for map/counter movement is we can march the figure commands across the map and tabletop without moving the actual miniatures each turn. Tabletop movement uses a wooden green block to carry the formation counter. Plus….using the block or map counters provides an ability to have limited battlefield intel….we even use “dummy” formations to provide false intel.

As with all our historical club games….players normally are assigned to their commands unless a preference is spoken. So…game on… with Ty, Rob and Dan as French and Michael, Bob, Paul and myself (Michael again) as the British/Allied players. Ty and Dan had the tough assignments….playing the leading French (7th Div. Thomieres and 5th Div. Maucune) on the exposed flank…good luck. Bob and Paul played their opposites….Bob with 3rd Div Pakenham and Paul stepped off with 5th Div Leith. The Michael’s viewed the situation with 4th Div. Cole’s and Pack’s Portuguese brigade vs. the Greater Arapil hill.

British 3rd Div. Pakenham in foreground while 5th Div. Leith mid table on left. Note the green block in left side foreground….Le Marchant’s English cavalry approaches. British 3rd Div. under Pakenham advances into the weak vanguard of French 7th Div. Thomieres. D’Urban’s cavalry lurks on the flanks. Meanwhile…The British 5th Div Leith (unhorsed) approaches the French 5th Div. Maucune on the hill ridge. French battalions in linear formations on hill/ridge. British linear redcoats with Portuguese blue coats in support. French 5th Div. Maucune attempts to hold back the onrushing British 4th Div. Cole with a Chasseur a Cheval regiment charge down the slope. Back on the far French left flank, the scattered French 7th Div. retires before the formed British 3rd Div.  Cole’s British 4th Div. advances after seeing off the Chasseurs charge….but massed French infantry await the redcoat line with their exposed flank. French see possibilities for some French payback. While the French center advances against Cole’s 4th Div, their left flank Divisions slowly retires to form a new line of resistance. General battlefield overview with French on left side and British at top of table and along right side. Note the center right advance of Pack’s Independent Portuguese Brigade towards the Greater Arapil hill. The 2nd line of British divisions are making their appearance with the green wooden blocks at right. What the blocks actually represent is unknown to the French side at this moment of the game. Cole’s infantry hits the French massed infantry musket wall….volley-fire exchanged. Concurrently, just to the left flank of Cole’s Div…. Pack’s Portuguese brigade storms the heights with ill luck. With column and unloaded muskets, their brave attempt only leads to failure and retreat before the French infantry. French player Rob “gives the eye” to the British after Pack’s rebuff and brings more French infantry forward to pressure Cole’s weaken British front. Cole’s Division in trouble…”where did all these French appear from” as another French column advances around the flank. Cole’s shattered Div. retires and Wellington summons forward Clinton’s 6th Division. Faced with the arriving fresh British and a confident British player Paul pointing the way forward, the French think it is time to seek glory on another battlefield.  The French start to retire…..slowly and giving fire as they go. General overview at point of French battlefield retirement. Ty (w/hat) and Bob look over the battlefield. In the foreground the British Light Div and 1st Div. (Campbell) advance towards the light woods at left.  French exit the battlefield via the light woods as British follow. Game soon to end. Great game for all. Cheers to my fellow gamers and thank you Bob for the use of your table and miniatures. Till the next time….


Actual battlefield video from the Greater Arapil heights.

Map of Salamanca used for game without counters 


2 thoughts on “Battle of Salamanca 1812 French vs. British, Portuguese and Spanish

  1. I love the map and counters, and it looks like the game went well – seems like the French players did considerably better than Marshal Marmont did historically.?

    “Wellington’s Victory” would have been suitable music for intermission! 🙂


    • Thank you Peter. Salamanca is a tough battle for the French. Their set up stacks the deck of cards. The gaming group enjoyed the historical battle.

      Just posted another battle report on a Franco-Austrian 1805 game on blog. Sort of an free form Elchingen 1805 action with the set up.

      Michael aka WR

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