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Busaco - 27 September 1810

Loison's Attack

 

Brief Historical Summary:

Loison's Division advanced in 2 brigade columns - Simon on the right and Ferey on the left. Very soon, they were engaged with Craufurd's skirmishers (95th Rifles and 3rd Cacadores) deployed in front of Sula village. In the meantime, the remainder of the Light Division - 43rd and 52nd Regt, and the 1st Cacadores were deployed on top of the steep slope overlooking Sula village concealed from sight.

After a hard fight with British and Portuguese skirmishers, Loison took Sula village. However, the French soon found themselves under heavy artillery fire from Ross' battery overlooking the village. The French began their advance once more towards Ross' battery. However, the slope now was much steeper. Reinforced by the 1st Cacadores, British and Portuguese skirmishers continued their harrassing fire.

Loison's leading battalions managed to push the enemy skirmishers back and with great effort, surmounted the steep slope - tired and disordered. At this point, Craufurd raised his hat and with a shout, "Now 52nd, avenge the death of Sir John Moore!", the 52nd and 43rd Regts advanced to within 10 paces of the enemy and poured in a devastating fire - blowing away completely the heads of the French columns.

After several more volleys, during which the lines of the 52nd and 43rd curled round to pour in enfilade fire, the French columns broke and retreated in disorder down the hill - pursued by the Light division until Sula.

Objective:

To win, the French must break through the British line.

Initial Deployment:

Loison's Division begins the game in line with Moura village.

French Corps artillery starts the game in front of Moura village.

British / Portuguese light infantry may begin the game hidden in Sula village.

British / Portuguese infantry may start the game hidden from view.

British artillery deployment is as shown on the map. Ross' RHA battery is deployed behind rock embrasures (classed as hard cover).

Click here for large map (slow - 127K)

Special Rules:

Due to the exceptionally rough terrain, British artillery may not be moved from their historical start positions. French artillery, being Corps assets, may not be moved.

The terrain slopes gently between Moura and Sula. This may be represented on the table as flat ground.

After Sula, the slope towards Craufurd's position is extremely steep:

Infantry moving up or downhill move at 25% of normal speed.

Infantry advancing up or downhill become disordered.

Infantry advancing uphill are treated as tired.

The road - being of very poor quality - has no effect on movement.

British:

CinC Craufurd

Light Division:

- Beckwith's Brigade

43rd Foot (1bn - 844 men)
95th Rifles (4 coys - 396 men)
3rd Cacadores (1bn - 656 men)

- Barclay's Brigade

52nd Foot (1bn - 975 men)
95th Rifles (4 coys - 370 men)
1st Cacadores (1bn - 546 men)

Independent Portuguese Brigade:

- 6th Brigade (Coleman)

7th Line Regt (2bns - 815 men)
19th Line Regt (2bns - 1124 men)
2nd Cacadores (1bn - 406 men)

Artillery:

Ross' RHA battery (4x6lb guns)

Cleeve's KGL Foot battery (5x6lb guns)

Lawson's Foot battery (5x6lb guns)

French:

CinC Loison

3rd Division:

- Brigade Simon

26th Ligne (3bns - 1625 men)
Legion du Midi (1bn - 564 men)
Legion Hanovrienne (2 bns - 1158 men)

- Brigade Ferey

32nd Leger (1bn - 413 men)
66th Ligne (3bns - 1830 men)
82nd Ligne (2bns - 1236 men)

- Available Corps Artillery

1 Foot Battery (5x6lb guns)
 

Sources:

Sir Charles Oman, A History of the Peninsular War, Vol. 3

Lt Gen Sir William Napier, English Battles and Sieges in the Peninsula

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