Well the second day of Salamanca has concluded with a very grisly and bloody draw! Over to the far west of the Allied line the French Light cavalry division managed a sweeping outflank manoeuvre, decimating the Spanish battalions supporting the end of the ridge.
One of our Connoisseur Spanish Battalions.
In the town of Los Arapile the British Garrison continued to hold out, sending the opposing French division back on to it’s starting lines. In the centre of the battlefield the British Divisions of Clinton and Hope took the initiative. After seeing their left flank become exposed, the French division assaulting the ridge retired for fear of attacks from the British cavalry. On seeing them falling back the British commander ordered a general advance all along the ridge. This action would take some of the pressure off of the British Guards division that had borne the brunt of the fighting the day before.
The French renew their advance.
The French divisions facing the Guards at the apex of the “L” renewed their assaults, trading volleys with the British Division that had moved in to replace the Guards. Over on the Allied left, Altens light division entered pushed forward to blast the French defenders of the dried riverbed. While Leith’s division pressed home a more determined assault in an effort to carry the position at the very end of the French line North of Calvarossa de Ariba.
The Greater Arapile can just be made out in the left background, while the French in the foreground assault the British apex of the “L”.
There were fresh attempts from Soult’s light cavalry to break the beleaguered British infantry, but the Light Dragoons of the Kings German Legion drove them back on to the reserve divisions.
The twelve pound battery from Foy’s division dominates the Greater Arapile “.
Now that the Allies had finally begun to assault the tired French formations, it was the turn of the French to line out and pour volleys into the advancing redcoats! The French cavalry on the far right of the Allied line managed to get right around behind the Allied ridge, with no cavalry left in a functional state, three regiments of light cavalry had a free hand to terrorise the Spanish and Portuguese on this flank. Anson’s division of Light Cavalry marched the length of the ridge to deal with this threat.
The British Divisions of Clinton and Hope advance down on to the plain to the south east of Los Arapile, previously held by the French.
The divisions of Clinton and Hope formed line of battle in effective range of the new French defensive line and traded volleys for over two hours! The troops on the apex began to feel the strain, two battalions of the Light Division were nearly caught by the Chasseurs of Soult’s division, only just evading their sabres by evading back through their own lines.
Part of the Light Division moving into position.
Leith and the division opposing him wore each other into a bloody pulp, over fifty per cent of the divisions on both sides becoming casualties.
The fight for the riverbed hots up, with the French artillery suffering heavily, volleys begin to be exchanged across the stream.
By the end of the day, the British forces were beginning to give ground back toward their strating points leaving the French who had effectively suffered over thirty percent casualties, to retire.
The view from the plain just to the south east of the Lesser Arapile, the French can just be made out forming battle lines in the distance.
The British were then in a position to withdraw back on to their supply lines and escape.
So a bloody draw was concluded.
A great weekend, lots of fun and a very different type of Napoleonic battle without the real battle cavalry that normally thunders upon the central European battlefields. The infantry play a far greater role, with volley fire playing a far more significant part.
I can’t wait for Fuentes de Onoro!