BARROSA/CHICLANA (MARCH 5,1811)
Cádiz had been invested by the French in January 1810 by a 25,000-strong French army commanded by Victor, but in March of 1811 a reduction in the besieging army gave its Anglo-Spanish garrison an opportunity to lift the siege. Their plan was to ship an expeditionary force 100 km south along the coast from Cádiz so as to launch an attack against Victor from inland.
The force comprised 4,000 British under Graham, 8,000 men of two Spanish divisions led by Lardizabal and the Prince of Anglona, four squadrons of cavalry under Col. Samuel Ford Whittingham - an English officer serving with the Spanish army - 1,000 infantry from Gibraltar and 1,600 Spaniards from an irregular force led by Begines. The overall command was given to Lapeña, the senior officer at Cádiz.
After several chaotic night marches, Lapeña diverted from his original intention and decided to march by the coast road towards Cádiz. Victor prepared a trap in the plain between the town of Chiclana and Barrosa Hill (known then as Loma de la Cabeza del Puerco and now as the Loma de Sancti-Petri). Using one division under Villatte to block the road into Cádiz, Victor kept two divisions under Leval and Ruffin out-of-sight in readiness to make a surprise flank attack that fell on the single Anglo-Portuguese rearguard division under the command of Sir Thomas Graham.
Following a fierce battle, the British succeeded in routing the attacking French forces. Although some Spanish units also participated in the fight, Lapeña does not supported his ally and thus prevented a smashing French defeat. The French were able to regroup and reoccupy their siege lines so the Graham's tactical victory proved to have little strategic effect and the siege remained until finally being lifted on 24 August 1812.
- Lipscombe Nick (2010), 'The Peninsular War Atlas', Osprey
- Fortescue, J.W (1917), 'A History of the British Army', Volume 8
- López Fernández, J.A., 'Chiclana 1811. La defensa de Cádiz' Guerreros y Batallas nº 65, Almena Editorial
- Martínez Valverde, C. (1961), 'El movimiento envolvente contra la línea francesa frente a Cádiz en 1811 y la batalla de Chiclana', Revista de Historia Militar nº 8, pp 65-112
- Napier, W.F.P. (1833) 'History of the war in the Peninsula and in the south of France, from the year 1807 to the year 1814', Volume 3
- Oman, Charles (1911), 'A History of the Peninsular War: Volume IV', Greenhill Books 2004
- Queipo de Llano y Ruiz de Saravia, José María, Conde de Toreno (1835), 'Historia del levantamiento, guerra y revolucion de España', Volumen 4
- Sañudo, J.J. 'Base de Datos sobre las Unidades Militares en la Guerra de la Independencia', Ministerio de defensa, Madrid, 2007
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The actual battlefield
Scenario pdf file for Barrosa/Chiclana
TO THE BATTLE IN PICTURES
Summary of the oob
French Forces (Army Moral 28; Break point 9)
Infantry Ruffin (5 battalions, 1 foot battery) ; Leval (6 battalions, 1 foot battery)
Cavalry: Dermoncourt (1 regiment, 1 battalion)
British/Spanish Forces: (Army Moral 34; Break point 11 )
Infantry: Dilkes (3 battalions) ; Wheatley (4 battalions) ; Cruz Murgeon (2 battalions)
Cavalry: Whittingham (2 regiments)
Artillery: 2 foot batteries
Begines (4 battalions)
Notes Notes All French units are on the table. The duration of the game is 16 Turns. British are the first side. There are not geographical objectives.
The wavering Lapeña (Scenario rule)
According to Oman, Lapeña did not support the British during the battle and only the Cruz Murgeon’s brigade, entrusted to Graham, fought along his allies. However, according other accounts (Fortescue, Arteche) the Begines’s brigade did participate in the fight against the Dermoncourt’s outflanking force, so that brigade is included as Reinforcements.
To simulate the Lapeña’s wavering efforts, the Reinforcement arrival test (p. 91) is carried out with an additional -1 modifier. The Reinforcements will arrive deployed at the C3 end road.
The irregular flankers (Scenario rule)
In the actual battle, part of the Barnard's flankers (4 coys. of 3/95th Rifles) and 2 coys. from the 20th Portuguese fought in skirmish order to cover the deployment of the Wheatley’s brigade. Meanwhile, the remaining Barnard elements (2 coys. of the 47th Foot) acted as supporters for the British artillery. To simulate this behaviour:
(a) All the light elements of the Wheatley brigade (Barnard's Flankers and the 2 coys. of the 20th Portuguese) have been amalgamated into a single large unit, made Irregular as per the 'Creating Irregular Units' Optional Rule (p 74), and whose statistics are V/I/SK3 (+)
(b) This unit will use the 'Half Battalion Deployed' Optional Rule (p 74) slightly modified: the unit may break off four (instead two) bases as SK bases, to enhance skirmishers for other friendly regular infantry, while retaining two (instead four) bases to function as a small unit.
(c) The four skirmish bases will be used as Irregulars fighting in line when necessary. However, a gap of until 1/2 BW will be allowed between adjacent bases to increase the front of the unit.
(d) The SK power of the Wheatley's brigade will be not marked with SK bases.
The real British OOB (Very Optional and non tested)
During the confusion of the British countermarch towards the Barrosa Hill, some British units ended in the wrong brigade. To simulate that and also to research the use of units smaller than 4 bases in Lasalle, change the British infantry OOB to:
1st Brigade Dilkes (-1/¶)
2/1st Guards V/E/SK2/Gd
2/3rd Guards V/E/SK1/Gd (2 bases)
1/2 2/67th R/E/SK1 (2 bases)
2/95th (2co) 2 SK bases
2nd Brigade Wheatley (+1/*)
2/Coldstream Guards V/E/SK1/Gd (2 bases)
1/2 2/67th R/E/SK1 (2 bases)
Barnard Flankers V/E/SK3 (V/I/SK3) +
See a story version at the Project Leipzig (1813) blog
THE BATTLE IN PICTURES