Monday, 19 May 2014

Talavera Plans

The Guards in action at Talavera

With the the first run through of Oporto completed, and with two more plays to do, I have turned my gaze east towards the Tagus Valley and the 1809 Talavera campaign.

I thought it might be interesting to share my plans, as I have done with the previous projects of Vimeiro and Oporto; and how I think I will work up the forces and terrain to capture the essence of this really important campaign and series of battles.

The Talavera campaign is really quite a step up in terms of the models required to run the battles involved, particularly when it comes to the main battle of the 27th July.

My British forces for Oporto have broken the back of the British army on the Talavera Campaign, with just a few units to complete some gaps. The units that come to mind are the 24th, 31st, 45th, 61st, 83rd, 87th, 88th Foot, 3rd Dragoon Guards, 4th Dragoons and the 1st Hussars KGL.

The French army will require more work with 17 battalions of Line Infantry, Allied battalions are 2 Dutch, 2 Nassau, 3 Baden, 3 Hesse, 1 Frankfurt, 2 Polish. Cavalry would include Vistula Lancers, Westphalian Cheveau Legere, Baden and Dutch artillery and a French Horse Artillery battery.

Then there are the Spanish forces, about 9 battalions of infantry, 3 cavalry regiments and 2 artillery batteries.

To command these additional forces there will be a need to get some more command stands done.

As you can see that is quite a bit of painting, so I have therefore decided to approach this campaign by building my forces up progressively, and splitting the engagements up into smaller actions where possible; which as we progress, will allow a play through of the main battle with all the toys out together.

The good news is that I have just about all the figures bought and paid for and waiting for their paint job.

So the scenario plan in the time and play sequence:

Casa de Salinas - The little skirmish fought the day before the battle with Lapisse's division making a surprise attack on MacKenzie's 3rd Division who were acting as rear guard as the British pulled back to the Talavera position. The attack showed the inexperience of some of Wellesleys troops and nearly ended up bagging Sir Arthur Wellesley as well.

Cerro de Medellin, The Night Attack - Marshal Victor decides to test his enemy with an audacious attack at night on the key position of the whole allied line, the hill on the allied left flank known as the Cerro de Medellin. The French division under Ruffin nearly succeeded in taking the crest and it was only a strong counter attack led by General Hill that restored the position to British control.

Talavera, Pajar de Vergara - The attack by Laval's German division on the Pajar de Vergara redoubt held by British and Spanish troops in the centre right of the allied lines.

Talavera, Assault the Medellin - Attacked the night previously, the Medellin heights were the focus of two subsequent assaults the following day.

Talavera - The big one, where in time I should have enough of the troops that were present that day to do an 18mm mega game.

At some stage, and don't hold me to timings on this, because it needs a lot of Spanish troops, I would like to run a what if scenario that appeared in the July 1995 "Battlefields" magazine.

Casalegas 1809 - This scenario by Mike Oliver poses the question, what if Cuesta had gone along with Wellesley's original plan for their two armies to coordinate an attack on Victor alone; who had taken up a position on the Casalegas heights as outlined in Oman. I have always fancied trying this scenario and once I have a good chunk of Spaniards done it would seem a good idea to get the bulk of Cuesta's army completed. They will come in handy when I start to look at the Spanish battles in the War.

So there you have it. The plan is now out in the open and now I am going to have to make it live, because you all know that I said I would.

As always, your comments, thoughts and ideas are most welcome.


  1. Bold plans, Jonathan! I look forward to following your progress.

    1. Hi Jon, yes I know, it can all seem quite daunting when you write it down; but as they say a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, and I think the first step is putting the plan In writing. The braking up of the project into bite size chunks should also give me markers of progress other than simply reeling off painted units, and I want to keep playing games as I go.

    2. No doubt you will tackle this project in style. Your programmed approach provides a perfect method to accomplish your goals and we have seen you do this more than once!