Friday, 21 June 2013

Wargaming Vitoria 1813

Today, June 21, is the bicentennial of the battle of Vitoria, the last big battle of the Peninsular War (you can see the previous post for a historical introduction).
This battle saw the fight between the Wellintong's full Army, comprising British, German, Portuguese and Spanish allies, and a combined French force formed by the Armies of Portugal, North and Centre, under the nominal command of Joseph Bonaparte, the intruder king of Spain.
I have re-fought this battle in 2007 using Napoleon's Battles. However, the nature of the battlefield, forced me to make two different scenarios:
1) The main southern battle in which the right, right-center and left-center Allied columns (commanded respectively by Hill, Wellington and Delhousie) crossed the Zadorra river and fought against the French Armies of South and Centre (commanded respectively by Gazan and d’Erlon)
2) The northern battle, between the Graham column, sent to turn the French left and cut their main retreat line towards France and the French forces in the area commanded by Reille and his under-strength Armée de Portugal.
The Scenarios and AAR of the two games can be found in the main web site: Vitoria. The main battle and Vitoria. The North flank respectively. Below you can see two chosen pictures for each game.

a) Main battle

British replace the Spanish in the fight line on the Highs of Puebla dispersing Maransin's forces

British reinforcements cross the Zadorra at Tres Puentes
b) Northern battle

Graham advances Southwards while the Spanish start their outflanking movement

The fight at Gamarra

The OOB's were taken from the books of J. Sarramon (‘La bataille de Vitoria. La fin de l’aventure napoléonienne en Espagne’. J.C. Bailly Editeur, 1985) and C. Oman (‘A History of the Peninsular War. Vol. VI', Greenhill Books, 2005).

The games ended with a 'Substantial British Victory' (main battle) and a 'Substantial French Victory' (north battle). It can be rationalized as the British winning the main battle but being unable to avoid the French retreat towards France.

The next rendez-vous in the field took place during the Pyrenees Campaign in July 1813.


  1. Hi Rafa - nice to see some British troops on your table!

  2. Always a pleasure seeing your posts and research, Rafa. Best, Dean