Saturday, 8 June 2013

Catching Up On Past Games (4): Battle of Tamames, 18th October 1809

A drama in two parts
The Game
The Battle of Tamames was a rare victory for Spanish forces in 1809. With Ney on leave in Paris command of VI Corps passed to General Marchand. Hearing of the advance of Del Parque's Army of Galicia to the village of Tamames, strategically located at the junction of the roads from Ciudad Rodrigo and Salamanca, Marchand advanced to the attack. He sent his forces in two uncoordinated attacks against the left and right of the Spanish position. While the former attack proceeded well, the latter faultered against stiff resistance from Losada's division. In the end both French attacks "ran out of steam, neither being strong enough to push the Spanish from their defensive positions. The French retreated in some disarray and left the Spaniards in possession of the battlefield" (Le Feu Sacré scenario).

I purchased this scenario for the Battle of Tamames for the Le Feu Sacre rules from the Too Fat Lardies website. We played the first version of the game as a play-test of the rules (see our review here) and then a second version using Shako, as a comparison. We each played each side, firstly Mark taking the Spanish and me the French and then swapping over for the second game (Julian was absent for both of these games).

With a strength of around 20 000 in the Army of Galicia, Tamames tested our collection of Spanish troops, so we took the option of not including Belvedar's division, thus giving the French a more 'sporting' chance.
Map of the battle from the Le Feu Sacre scenario, north at top. The red line is the limit of deployment for the Spanish and the blue for the French.
Version 1, Played Using Le Feu Sacré
(8th ANF game, played 20th March 2011)

I did not take systematic photos of this game, but below are a few pictures that give an idea of how it progressed.

French chasseurs from Lorcet's division approach the battery from Losada's Spanish division without them being able to fire a shot. The cavalry made a multiple move under a 'blind', which the Spanish did not successfully 'spot', and then charged in tactical movement.

Maucune's division advanced towards the Spanish centre-right while Marcognet's attacked the east of Tamames (in the background).

La Carrera's division posted in and behind Tamames.

The Spanish right flank was held by Losada's division.

Losada's men attacked by Lorcet's cavalry.

Another view of the same.

Meanwhile in Tamames, La Carrera's troops were under assault from Mathieu's 27e ligne. 

La Carrera's Principe regiment defended the western side of Tamames, but Mathieu's 25e légère had already entered the town further east.

The Saragossa Regiment from La Carrera's division (represented by 'stand-in' figures with red facings!) retreated after being forced out of Tamames.
Marcognet's 39e and 76e ligne attacked the Spanish position east of Tamames...

but their first attack was not successful.

The second battalion of Matthieu's 25e légère too were driven back by the defenders.

Meanwhile on the ridge Anglona's cavalry moved to counter Lorcet's French horsemen. 

Maucune's infantry combined with Lorcet's cavalry and horse artillery to put pressure on Losada's position.

Anglona's troopers ride past squares of Losada's men...

to face Lorcet's 3e Hussars.

Mathieu's 27e and 59e ligne attacked the Spanish in Tamames in force while his  25e dragoons made for the western flank.

Maucune's 6e légère and 69e ligne advanced onto the ridge.

Mathieu's 25e légère drove deep into Tamames,

almost clearing the entire town of Spanish troops.

Maucune's division had a toe-hold on the ridge.

Mathieu's 25e dragoons (heavily disguised as the 23e) manoeuvred around to the west of Tamames.

Squares of Losada's much reduced division facing Lorcet's and Maucune's men.

In the last stages of the game one of the more bizarre encounters occurred. The French chasseurs in the left of the picture were charged in the flank by the Spanish cavalry in the distance (Anglona's Granaderos de Llerena represented by hussars). The chasseurs prevailed, despite also being 'blown', mainly because their higher class counted twice; as a negative on the factors of the Spanish horse and as a positive for the chasseurs!

Anglona's Granaderos de Llerena (hussars in this case) prior to the ill-fated charge

Result: a draw as neither side scored a minor victory.

Version 2, Played Using Shako
(9th ANF game, played 3rd April 2011)

Del Parque's Army of Galicia arrayed in defensive formation. Note Anglona's cavalry at the far (western) end of the line.

Maucune's division attacked Tamames.

This time Marchand sent Lorcet's cavalry around the western side of the town.

The 6e légère lead Maucune's assault...

driving back La Carrera's militia,

allowing the French light infantry to enter the town.

Meanwhile, Mathieu's 25e dragoons drove back Anglona's horsemen,

and prepared to take a toe-hold on the ridge.

Close-up of one battalion from each Maucune's 69e ligne and 6e légère attacking Tamames.

La Carrera's Voluntarios de la Muerte in defence.

Lorcet's cavalry reached the western end of the ridge, forcing La Carrera's regulars into square.

Mathieu's infantry moved onto the ridge, in the face of Anglona's cavalry.

While Lorcet's cavalry applied pressure on the Spanish left

and Maucune's troops made fairly easy work of clearing the town.

Lorcet's cavalry, the lead units 'blown' after successful charges...

threaten the left flank of Anglona's troopers. 

A last turn special: Anglona's Regiment de Borbon (represented by the Villaviciosa Dragoons) charged the 1st battalion of Mathieu's 25e légère, but were driven back by a powerful volley.

At game's end (time-based), the French were threatening the Spanish position, but, just like the real thing, were beginning to "run out of steam".

Result: Close to a minor victory for the French.

Our impressions
These were enjoyable games and, even with the reduced number of Spanish troops the task proved difficult for the French. It's tough commanding a Spanish army of the Napoleonic wars, particularly the early Peninsular Campaign and this was made more difficult under Le Feu Sacré.


  1. Some very nice pics with great lines of the buildings too!
    Nice report of the narrow french victory...

  2. Nice reports on a little known battle, and (historically() a Spanish victory.

    Spanish would be a pain to command under Piquet or Field of battle as well.

    Speaking of pain, I chuckled a bit at the French General "Lorcet", that being the brand name of a Painkiller in the US (and not the BVI version made with dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, cream of coconut and nutmeg, either!)


  3. Thanks Peter and Phil. The games deserved a better report but I was struggling to remember the details after so long! I made detailed notes about our impressions of LFS, but few about the specifics of the games, so I had to 'recreate' them from the photos and the depths of memory! It's one of the reasons why I am determined to finish this catch up on old games soon so that then I can then post reports soon after playing each game—as you two do!

    I have a beauty coming up for you though soon though. We played Fuentes de Oñoro twice in a row and they were both pretty amazing games that stick in the memory—especially the second version!

    1. "...though soon though..."? Sorry!

    2. Understood...This is never easy to find the time just after a game! But this is a very nice result James!