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Second Ocreza - 10 September 1810 (day 2)

INTRODUCTION

This was Day 2 of the second Battle of Ocreza.  The French under Ney failed to break through the British held ridge on the first day despite heavy losses.  The French call up reinforcements and try a new approach to break the British line.

[Click on any of the images to get a full-sized pic.]

THE BATTLE

The French deployed in "flying crane" or "the horns of the bull" formation.  They were determined to roll up both British flanks, while maintaining pressure on the centre.  The British, expecting the main thrust to come along the road, massed their remaining guns to cover the road.  British flanks were relatively weakly held with Portuguese and depleted Brigades.  What was left of the magnificent Portuguese dragoons were held in reserve under Stapleton-Cotton.

 

The French opened the game with simultaneous moves in the centre and on both flanks.  The massed Portuguese batteries in the centre loaded up with canister and waited til the last moment to loose a deadly volley.  The French regiments facing this terrible barrage were decimated instantly!  A stray piece of shrapnel ripped into Ney, causing him to fall from his horse.  This was too much for the French regiments to bear, and the attack in the centre faltered.

Meanwhile, tremendous pressure forced both British flanks to give way.  The French cavalry, heady with their seeming victory pursued their beaten foe and overextended themselves.  True to form, the British rallied and counterattacked and beat back the French attack.  With Ney down, and his attack faltering, the French commander decided to call it a day.