Battle Report: 21st June 1999

1860's Mexican ~vs~ Spanish Colonial

(Dave Lancaster ~vs~ Robert Avery) .

1860's Mexican

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s Org. Class Weapons Pts/Fig Points
  CinC

1

. .. .   100
Infantry 2inC 1         50
Brigade Los Supremos Podres 30 6x5 RegC mlr   300
  1st Battalion 30 6x5 MilC mlr   300
  2nd Battalion 30 6x5 MilC mlr   300
Cavalry 2inC 1         50
Brigade Lancers 12 2x6 RegC s, l   176
  Dragoons 12 2x6 RegC s, mlc   176
Artillery 1st Battery 3 3x1 RegC light mlsb FA   237

Brigade

Ammo Wagon 1         50
Volunteers Personality 1         25
  Guerillos 30 1x30 IrregC mlr   225
              1989
.

Spanish Colonial

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s

Org.

Class

Weapons

Pts/Fig

Points

.

CinC

1

 

 

 

  100
Talavera 2inC 1         50
Regt 1st Bttn 24 4x6 MilD mlr   184
  2nd Bttn 24 4x6 MilD mlr   184
  3rd Bttn 24 4x6 MilD mlr   184
  4th Bttn 24 4x6 MilD mlr   184
  Light Battalion 20 4x5 LightsC mlr   240
Cavalry 2inC 1         50
Brigade 1st Line 20 4x5 RegC s, mlc   300
  2nd Line 16 4x4 RegD s, mlc   232
Artillery 2inC 1         50
  1st Battery 2 2x1 RegC light mlsb FA   158
  2nd Battery 1 1x1 RegC medium mlsb FA   95
              1981
.
. 1860's Mexican Spanish Colonial
Foot 2400 2320
Horse 480 720
Guns 6 6
 

Report

This battle was a re-fight using the same sides as the battle of 18th May, above.

Neither side outscouted, so both deployed simultaneously.

The Mexicans split their force into three elements: the right wing consisted of the 2nd Bttn Line, two companies of LSP’s, one section of artillery, and one squadron each of Lancers and Line cavalry; the centre consisted of the 1st Bttn Line, two companies of LSP’s, and the other two sections of artillery; and their left wing element consisted of the Guerillos, the remaining two companies of LSP’s, and the remaining squadrons of Lancers and Line cavalry.

The Spanish, on the other hand, set up in a double line formation: with the Talavera regiment deployed in skirmish formation in front of their four battalions of Line infantry; the artillery on the left; and one unit of cavalry on either wing.

As battle commenced, both sides advanced rapidly. It soon became clear that the Mexican left flank element would get tangled in the woods and fields to their front and only make slow progress forward. This proved to be the case: and that element only arrived at a range to make a difference in the dying moments of the battle.

The Mexican centre advanced strongly in line, gradually edging to their left. Facing them, the Spanish Talavera regiment raced forward in their skirmish formation, and almost immediately started firing at the 1st Battalion Line and artillery.

The Mexican right element advanced strongly, only to have a squadron of Lancers routed by artillery fire from the Spanish batteries facing them. The rest of the element, seeing how the battle was going, began to edge to their left towards the centre: doubtless hoping that they would eventually be able to deploy in a position to threaten the flank of the main Spanish infantry body: advancing slowly forward behind their skirmish line.

It was now that the battle was truly decided. Seeing the Mexican right element edging to their left, the Spanish cavalry, supported by artillery moved into a position to threaten them: hoping to delay their arrival in the centre. The Mexicans, however, not really seeing the threat, continued the shift to the left. This was too good an opportunity to miss: and the larger, better Spanish cavalry regiment, headed by their CinC, charged forward towards four Mexican units all of whom were either changing formation or moving leftwards.

Desperately the Mexicans turned to face this threat but the Line cavalry, caught moving, had to take a fear-of-charge from their rear, went shaken and then broke. Next the LSP’s, taking a fear-of-charge whilst changing formation, went shaken, did minor casualties to the cavalry, and then broke on impact. These two routing units shook the 2nd Battalion Line, who then broke on impact; which, in turn, broke the artillery. One glorious cavalry charge, costing some 40 casualties, had destroyed the Mexican right wing element!

Meanwhile, in the centre, the Talavera regiment had been doing stirring work: shaking the rest of the Mexican artillery, and doing some damage to the 2nd Line. Unfortunately, eventually the amount of casualties taken proved too much, and they routed: but, by then, the rest of the Spanish line was in place and ready to open fire.

The battle then became a firefight: with three battalions of Spanish Line firing on the Mexican 1st Line and artillery. Despite the fact that the Mexicans lay prone, the casualties began to mount up. The battle would have been decided at this point but, unfortunately, a lucky shot took out a Spanish general, which caused the 2nd Battalion of Line to rout (“snake eyes”), which necessitated some adjustment from the Spanish before the uneven firefight could continue.

As a last gasp attempt to save the day, the Mexican left flank force (having finally arrived in range) charged forward: but the Spanish 1st Line had been deployed to meet them (in fact they had been waiting for them for about ½ an hour), and blew them from the field with a devastating fire opening volley.

At this point, the Mexican commander accepted defeat.

Casualties

The Spanish lost 120 men from the Talavera regiment before it routed from the field; 80 Line infantry (all from the 2nd Bttn) and 140 cavalry (all from the 1st Regiment). A total of 340 casualties.

The Mexicans lost 40 Lancers (ROT); 120 Line Cavalry (ROT); 60 LSP’s (2 companies ROT); 100 men from the 2nd Bttn; 140 men from the 2nd Bttn (ROT); 180 Guerillos and 60 artillerymen (with one section ROT). A total of 700 casualties.

Results

A victory for the Spanish.

Analysis

A great battle that was, effectively, decided by one cavalry charge.

Even so, the Mexicans proved quite resilient: and there were several dicey moments for the largely D-class Spanish, especially when the 2nd Bttn decided that the death of a sub-General was reason enough to flee the field themselves!