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Battle of Corunna (1809)

I staged a refight of the Battle of Corunna at the club yesterday using 6mm figures and my own rules, ‘Coup de Grace: Generalissimo’.

The battle, fought in north-western Spain, pitted French Marshal Jean de Dieu Soult’s corps against General Sir John Moore’s British army, and was the culmination of Napoleon’s earlier invasion of the Peninsula.

The French team consisted of Philip, Steve (our guest), and Rob, with three infantry divisions (18 units plus skirmishers), three cavalry divisions (nine units), and five artillery units. The British players were Theo, Mal and Doug, with four (smaller) infantry divisions (13 units plus skirmishers), a cavalry division, and two artillery units.

The French decided to alter Marshal Soult’s original plan. While Steve pinned the British centre, Philip and Rob were to attack each flank of the British position on high ground. The British, with backs to the sea, had to cling on and prevent the French taking Corunna town (a port, where Royal Navy vessels waited in the harbour) and await reinforcements.

Despite facing a thin red line of British troops in favourable defensive terrain behind walls and hedges in orchards on two hills, the French managed to turn both the British right (under Theo) and their left (under Doug) by end of play. Philip was then poised to roll up the British right, while Rob managed to force the British left using heavy cavalry and infantry in a coordinated assault, having earlier struggled with poor die rolling for movement.

The result reversed the historical outcome, in which the French failed to defeat the British with a frontal assault on the British left and a blow to their centre. Sir John Moore was mortally wounded in 1809, but the British conducted a night-time withdrawal to Corunna and subsequently evacuated their army by sea without interference from the French.

All in all this was a fun game with most players easily getting to grips with the rules for the first time. We hope to see Steve again at some point in the future.



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