Sunday, 4 August 2013

Second Sorauren

The Battle of Second Sourauren was fought in Spain on the 30th July 1813. Accordingly a hard core of Napoleonics buffs met at the Hall of Heroes, Campbelltown, to commemorate the 200th anniversary by refighting the battle using Black Powder rules.

2nd and 4th British Divisions at 1:20 figure scale.
The Battle, in overall terms, was an Anglo Portuguese counter attack to Soults last ditch offensive as the French were desperately trying to prevent being thrown out of Spain. Philip had put a lot of research into the scenario and came up with an interesting and challenging scenario.
6th Division contemplates the fortified town...
A keen Flames of War player, he had adapted the 'Fighting Withdrawal' scenario so that there were 3 objectives for the allies to take; the far bridge, the market place of Sorauren itself, or the French ridge. But the wrinkle was, at move 6 the French could declare one of the objectives null and void!
French Line - L-R, Perry plastic, the Calpe March Attack, Victrix plastic.

As Allied CinC, this really made me think. Which one would they remove? Essentially the 3 objectives were spaced about 10 feet apart in the shape of an 'L', with the town as the centre.

Rob's lovely Grand Manner Spanish collection, with a couple of my cheapo plastics...
Now this town was heavily defended. And I mean heavily! Normally in the games I have played with Black Powder a town consists of one or two 'blocks', each containing a Bn of infantry, and, if its garrison is lucky, a battalion gun or a tiny detachment of skirmishers....

But Sorauren was heaving with French battalions and what seemed like several batteries of artillery. And whilst its streets were too narrow to be charged down, apparently they were wide enough for these batteries to fire at will from any of the streets, commanding the whole area around! So I was reluctant to order an assault on the town. Instead it would be masked off, and the two other objectives taken first...

Brigades of the 2nd and 4th Divisions go in unsupported..
However poor command die rolling meant that Vic's assault on the ridge went in piecemeal, and Terry was on the recieving end of some extremely aggressive defence by Rob...

Eventually, despite some sterling defensive work by the French on the ridge, commanded by Cameron and Matt, the British attacks started to wear down the French units, aided by Philips scenario rules forcing the French to steadily withdraw units for the strategic pull back to France.

The Highland Bde go in, fierce fighters all; 79th Cameron Highlanders, 42nd Black Watch, 26th Cameronians.
Similarly on the far flung flank Terry eventually bested Rob, at which point the French cunningly called his objective the one to be ignored! So he started the long march to the town and we gritted our teeth for an assault on the fortress village of Sorauren...

The next generation - Young Cameron tries to talk some sense into Matt...
After the first wave was inevitably blown into a pink mist by the guns, and with only one turn remaining to both capture and clear the enemy 6 inches from both objectives, we conceded defeat. But we did all agree that it have been a fascinating and unusual scenario, and I agreed with Jason and Bryan that it would be worth a revisit afore too long...

Lions led by donkeys!


  1. Impressive amount of troops! Certainly fits the bill for Black Powder. Best, Dean

  2. Another great looking game!

  3. Thank you all very much for your kind comments Gentlemen!

  4. Hello Mr Sparkles

    I'm not sure I'd heard of this battle. Shameful!! An impressive recreation ... and a Calpe march attack French battalion as well.

    von Peter himself

    1. No I hadn't either until Philip mentioned it. Actually very interesting as you can use the terrain for 2 battles; 2 ridges connected by a land bridge, so forming an 'H'; the French attack the British ridge on day 1, fail, and so resolve to retire overnight but get delayed, the British counter attack the French ridge early the next day. But all written of to history as the 'Battle of the Pyrenees'!

  5. Very nice photos and cool terrain and figures.