la albuera (May 16, 1811)
the scenario for napoleon's battles

The battle was fought the 16th may 1811 between a British Army under Beresford, which was besieging the fortress of Badajoz, and a French relieving force hastily collected by Marshal Soult including elements of his Army of the South (Armée du Midi), from the Cordoba garrison and from the corps besieging the town of Cádiz. Hearing form the approach of Soult, Beresford took up a defensive position at La Albuera. The aim of Soult was to attack Beresford before the Spanish Ejército de Extremadura (under General Blake) linked up with the British force.
La Albuera was one of the bloodiest battles of the Peninsular War: both armies suffered around 33% casualties. The battle included the overriding of British infantry by Polish lancers and several vicious infantry fire fights leading ultimately to the French rout. Soult was obliged to retire again towards Sevilla but the subsequent British siege of Badajoz resulted unsuccessful.

The Order Of Battle used is mainly based on two books:
    "History of the Peninsular War. Vol. IV: December 1810 - December 1811. Massena's Retreat, Fuentes de Onoro, Albuera, Tarragona"  , Charles Oman, Greenhills Books 2004
    "The fatal hill. The Allied Campaign under Beresford in Southern Spain in 1811". Marks Thompson. Marks Thompson Publishing,2002

The second edition of Napoleon's Battles edited by Five Forks has been used (including all the optional rules) with some slight modifications fully explained in the Albuera pdf file and in the Home-Rules section:
1) The cavalry scale is also 1/120. To avoid distortions, 2 figures were removed for each 3 casualties.
2) Units of  cavalry from 480 men upwards are allowed and units of infantry with less than four elements are also allowed to display under-strength infantry units.
3) Routed units can try to rally without an attached general with an additional '-3' modifier.
4) Divisional batteries are used (with a -1 modifier). The infantry fire is carried out as usual, but the resulting losses are not marked on the target unit, but are only used to cause disorder.
5) C-i-C ratings. Do not use “10” as Response number of the C-i-C’s but use the values assigned to them as Corps Commanders.


Albuera pdf file
  Old map Game map


General Allied view Portuguese (left) British (center) Spanish (right)

The Scenario file propose three variants:
The Godinot Brigade and its accompanying cavalry demonstrated against and ultimately attacked La Albuera. The V Corps divisions made a wide flank march and attacked the right/rear of the Allied line. The Werle Brigade and the Grenadiers Réunis were maintained as Reserve in that zone of the battlefield.
The plan of Beresford
Beresford drew his army on the hypothesis that Soult will attempt to break through his centre, by capturing La Albuera and storming the heights behind. In this scenario Soult adheres to this plan.
Soult is right
Soult offered battle under the believing that the Spanish Ejército de Extremadura has not linked up with Beresford’s force. In this scenario Blake’s army is not in the field, but may arrive during the battle.
In all the cases the actual Entry zone is found by dicing.


The scenario chosen was the historical (See scenario file above). French units and their initial actions were the following:
9.00 h: Go and 1B/C enter at A2 (woods) and proceed to attack La Albuera
W, 2B/C and 3B/C enter at A3 with Soult
9.30 h: G and V enter at A5 (road) 
4B/C enters at D5
10.00h: 1 and 2 enter at B5 (woods) and start to outflank the Allied right
10.30h: W, 2B/C and 3B/C follow the tracks of 1 and 2

The town of La Albuera and the Badajoz road (D1) are worth each one the 50% of the Allied/French victory points. All terrain objectives are Allied-controlled at the beginning of the game.


Scenarios for NB