Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Spanish 3rd Division - Talavera

Spanish Army of Estremadura
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
Imperial de Toledo - Volunteer Line Infantry in Shako
Provincial de Badajoz - Militia Infantry
Provincial de Guadix - Militia Infantry

Rey Cavalry Regiment - Regular Line

Regular followers of the blog will know that on completion of a divisional project, I usually put up a group post to get a feel of how the corps will look on the table amid the battle lines.

If you want to see the units individually and read about their history up to and including Talavera, you can follow the links above that were posted as each unit was done.

General Portago heads up his division (L-R front row, Toledo Regt, 2nd Btn. and 1st Btn. Badajoz Regt,
second row, Badajoz militia,  Antequera Light Infantry, Guadix militia, back row, Rey Cavalry Regt.)  
I am really pleased with the overall look of the division, which reflects the change in appearance that was starting to impact Spanish forces as they went into the second year of the war.

The brown, locally produced, cloth predominates, contrasted with the blue of the cavalry and light infantry, and the division will stand out when next to the other Spanish infantry division I plan to do, namely Bassecourt's 5th Division of regulars where the 1805/6 regulation white uniform will be the norm.

With the completion of this division, the formation of the forces required for the full battle that took place on the afternoon of the 28th July 1809 is moved a major step forward and for the allies, it leaves just seven regiments of Spanish cavalry, seven battalions of Spanish infantry, a battalion of redcoats and the Spanish artillery, which will be featured next.

Talavera - The Afternoon Attack

As you will know from my previous posts about the project, there is a plan to play scenarios from the battle as the collection grows, and Portagao's division adds to the work done last year on Leval's German division. Thus with the completion of the Poles and Spanish artillery, I will be able to put together a scenario looking at the attack on the Pajar Vergara redoubt.

This together with my new 6' x 4' Terrain Mat, being produced as I write this post, will allow me to set up a few scenarios with the guys at the Devon Wargames Group.

One addition to the division, that wasn't featured in previous posts on the individual units, is General Portago himself, which is using one of the Warmodelling Spanish general officer figures conversing with a militia officer sporting his new model white uniform.

Although General Portago was a divisional commander, he is based as a brigade commander, to reflect the fact that Spanish organisation didn't cater for the lower level of command. The impact of this was that Spanish divisional commanders had a lot of work to do overseeing the five, six or more battalions that were under their direct command.

Using Carnage & Glory, I am able to model this work load, by Portago having the attributes of a brigade level general officer, principally a small radius of command, about 300 - 350 paces, as against the normal radius for a divisional commander being twice that span.

This will impact on any wargamer rashly throwing this division into mass combat, as when morale problems start to arise, which they will inevitably do with a Spanish force, Portago's command radius will severely restrict his ability to keep his division functioning as a controlled fighting force.

The ability to fight this division with any success will entail the careful selection of times when to fight and when not to, and being careful not to commit or expose the division to too much wear and tear. In addition given the brittle record of the front rank units, the Toledo and Badajoz Regiments, extra care will be needed when deciding to use these units. The glaring deficiency that will cause any opposing French commander to lick his lips with anticipation is the almost total lack of skirmish cover and the opportunity to degrade the command and control of each of these battalions by softening them up with a cloud of voltigeurs

Thus a new skill set will be required by any budding Spanish Napoleonic commander, and frankly fighting with British or French troops will be a "doddle" compared to having these chaps still under command at the end of a game.

They look formidable en masse, but to the educated eye, glaring weaknesses become immediately obvious
So next up will be a few Spanish supernumeraries, in the form of a few skirmish Spanish militia which will be supporting the gunners in the Pajar redoubt, plus some casualties and running away figures which I use in C&G to mark units that have poor morale effects and compulsory movement restrictions. Then it will be on to the Spanish gunners and their mighty 12lbr cannon that roughed up the Baden Regiment. Once these chaps are done it will be on to the Polish infantry, cavalry and Westphalian Cheveau-Legere.


  1. Craig (Beresford)2 April 2015 at 02:37

    Great work JJ! A very handsome looking group... I really enjoy the enriching context you provide to the creation of your force.

  2. Nice work on all of them! The variation in uniform colours and headgear really makes this formation look interesting. Bit of a rag-tag bunch.

  3. That's a beautiful sight! Very nice job giving them that "on campaign" look.

  4. Very nice! I really like the overall look of those guys. Excellent work. Cant wait to see them in action.

  5. Thanks chaps, I really appreciate your comments. Part of the fun of doing these groups of units is getting feedback from you guys as the project progresses

    I've really enjoyed putting this division together, and it feels really great to have a project done and dusted, but I am a wargamer at heart and so my mind remains focussed on the table groaning under the weight of the full battle ready to go. Part of the process is putting together the scenarios leading up to that and Tom and I played the first game of the Night Attack scenario last night. Really fun, moving units about in the dark. AAR to come

    Onwards and upwards!

  6. Great idea about picking one point on the battlefield and painting the units for both sides that were there. That allows you to play a smaller scenario while still painting the figures for the larger scenario. I'll have to borrow that idea for some of my larger battle goals.


    1. Hi Jeff, glad you like the idea. I think it helps to break your goal down in to smaller steps as it gives you a sense of progress and makes the project more fun. Just remember to keep on going and don't stop.
      All the best

  7. Great idea about picking a specific point on the battlefield and painting the units for both sides that were there. That allows you to play a smaller game now and not have to wait until you get all of the figures for the battle painted.