For the third scenario in a series planned to cover the key actions at Talavera, the Spanish 3rd Division had a critical role to play anchoring the link between the Spanish and British armies defending around the artillery redoubt on the small knoll known as the Pajar de Vergara.
|The map shows the position of General Portago's Spanish 3rd Division to the right of the Pajar de Vergara|
|The critical link at Pajar de Vergara|
3rd Division: Major-General Marquis de Portago
1st Battalion Badajoz Infantry Regiment - Volunteer Line Infantry
2nd Battalion Badajoz Infantry Regiment - Volunteer Line Infantry
2nd Antequera Infantry Regiment - Volunteer Light Infantry in Shakos
Imperial de Toledo - Volunteer Line Infantry in Shako
Provincial de Badajoz - Militia Infantry
Provincial de Guadix - Militia Infantry
Rey Cavalry Regiment - Regular Line
|My interpretation of the 1st Battalion Badajoz Regiment|
Spanish Army of Estremadura
Battle of Burgos/Gamonal
l0th November l808
Commanding General: General Blake (absent?)
Interum Commanding Officer: Mariscal de campo Conde Belveder
lst Division: General de Alos
4/Spanish Guard Regiment (980)
Provincial Grenadiers of Estremadura (l/2 bn)(500)
l/,2/Majorca Infantry Regiment (2)(l,460)
2nd de Cataluña (l,050)
Tiradores (Sharpshooters) (l coy)(170)
Voluntarios de España Cavalry Regiment (3)(360)
Horse Battery (4 guns)(62 men)
Sappers (l/2 bn)(254 men)
2nd Division: General Henestrosa
4/Walloon Guard Regiment (300)
l/,2/Volunteers of Badajoz (2)(l,475)
Sappers & Miners (254)
lst Hussar Regiment (3)(298)
2nd Horse Battery (6 guns)(92 men)
2nd Hussar Regiment (Lusitania) (300)
Batallon de escolares de Benavente (500)
Provincial de Tuy (l)(450)
Foot Battery (4 guns)(30)
In what proved to be a hopeless deployment by Belveder of too few troops in a very thin line, attempting to block the road to Burgos; the two battalions, on the Spanish right flank, took the brunt of Lasalle's cavalry attack. Whilst attempting to form square, they were simultaneously assaulted by Mouton's infantry brigade emerging from the woods to their front.
|I really love the officer with his pistol|
They next show up, three weeks later, among the force at the Battle of Somosierra Pass on November 30th 1808 at well below half strength for the whole regiment, fielding a weak battalion.
Spanish Forces Defending Somosierra
Army of the Reserve
30th November l808
lst Voluntarios de Madrid (l,500)
2nd Voluntarios de Madrid (l,500)
Guardias Walonas (500)
Jaen Infantry Regiment (2)l,300)
l/,3/Corona Infantry Regiment (2)(l,039)
Cordoba Infantry Regiment (l,300)
Badajoz Infantry Regiment (566)
l/,3/Irlanda Infantry Regiment (2)(l,l86)
Reyna Infantry Regiment (2)(927)
Provincial de Toledo (500)
Provincial de Alcazar (400)
3/Voluntarios de Sebilla (400)
Principe Cavalry Regiment (2)(200)
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment (l00)
Montesa Cavalry Regiment (l00)
Voluntarios de Madrid Cavalry Regiment (2)(200)
Artillery (22 guns, 200 gunners)
This force to was unceremoniously pushed back by Napoleon's troops as he secured Madrid, probably saved from greater loss because of the Emperor's focus being, very much, on taking the capital.
|The variable sloped arms really give the unit an irregular feel|
To quote Lipscombe in the Peninsular War Atlas.
At about 1900 hrs on the 27th July 1809, Sebastiani's infantry was preceded by Merlin's light cavalry,
"who used the cover of the olive trees to push up to reconnoitre the Spanish lines. As the chasseurs came into sight, the front battalions of both Manglano and Portago's divisions opened fire, and then followed the most extraordinary scenes as four of the forward battalions broke and ran to the rear for no apparent reason. The battalions on both sides and those to the rear held firm and at no time was there a gap that could have been exploited."
He goes on to quote Napier in the reference,
"This incident has been inaccurately reported in some British sources, even suggesting that the entire Spanish line and all the artillery gave way. The four battalions in question; the 1st and 2nd Badajoz, Leales de Fernado VII and Toledo (Toreno incorrectly lists Trujillo) were hunted down by Cuesta's cavalry and after a court martial the following day 25-30 were executed. The number would have been higher had Wellesley not intervened. However it has to be added that there were British stragglers amongst the throng which fled west, spreading alarm and despondency."
One cannot but feel a certain sympathy for these soldiers, who so poorly led by their generals in previous times, end up so lacking in their confidence to meet and defeat the enemy that even their own firing is enough to cause then to break to the rear. At least Wellesley had the good sense to temper Cuesta's response, probably aroused at his own embarrassment for his men breaking in such a manner.
I have chosen to model the 1st Badajoz in a typical volunteer infantry uniform, indicating them as the first battalion by having them carry the 1768 pattern Coronella or King's Colour and be led by a mounted colonel. Whether they carried these standard Colours is debatable, but without contradictory information I have decided to use them.
The battalion is composed of figures from the AB range with the Colour from GMB Flags.
Next up the 2/48th(Northamptonshire Regiment)Foot, that completes Tilson's Brigade and the forces required for the Talavera night attack scenario.