101 Bailén (19 July 1808)
Bailén - 19 July 1808
Large areas of Spain had rebelled against the French invasion. Dupont’s French Corps advanced to occupy Cordoba and Sevilla. Most of Dupont’s troops were newly formed conscript units. Soon Dupont found himself facing General Francisco de Castaños’ force of 30,000 men to his front, and harassing guerilla forces that cut his line of communications until a reinforcing French division re-opened it. Fearing that his communications would be cut again, Dupont retreated, but did so too slowly, encumbered by a long baggage train. Half of Castaños’ army under Reding executed a decisive flank march that placed them on high ground at Bailén, squarely across Dupont’s line of retreat. Dupont remained unaware of their presence until too late.
On July 19th Dupont’s advance guard (Chabert’s brigade) made contact with Reding’s defensive line. Without reconnaisance, Chabert sent his 3,000 infantry and cuirassiers forward against three times their numbers. The attack was driven back. Most of Dupont’s corps marched behind the baggage train, making reinforcement difficult. Arriving units were thrown into a second French attack piecemeal, and were again repulsed. Dupont arrived on the field and assumed command. Led by the Marines of the Guard, the third understrength French attack also failed. Adding insult to injury, most of Dupont’s Swiss infantry, originally in Spanish service, deserted back to their former employers. With no additional reserves and the rest of Castaños’ Spanish army moving in behind the French, Dupont surrendered.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
• Commander: Castaños
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 3 Tactician Cards
• Commander: Dupont
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 2 Tactician Cards
• Move First
The entire Rumblar River is fordable.
The Spanish Guerrilla Action rule is in effect. The Spanish player does not start with any Guerrilla counters.
French Swiss: Use British line infantry blocks for the units and a British leader for their leader.
Spanish Swiss: Use Brown Portuguese line infantry blocks for the units and a Portuguese leader for their leader.
Both Spanish and French Swiss line infantry units have 5 blocks each. All Swiss infantry units that move and engage in ranged combat battle with one-half the number of blocks rounding down. They melee with one die per block and retreat one hex per flag. When two French Swiss infantry units are eliminated, the 2 remaining French Swiss units are immediately removed from the battlefield. Their removal will not count as Victory Banners for the Spanish player.
Swiss regiments were highly regarded mercenaries purchased from the Swiss Cantons for service in European armies. The Spanish Swiss regiments were uniformed in blue coats. Napoleon‘s Swiss regiments were uniformed in red coats. At Bailén, Castaños’ army had one Swiss regiment, the 3rd “Jung” Reding. Dupont’s French corps had 5 Swiss battalions: One Swiss battalion in French service, and four in the Spanish Swiss regiments 2nd “Alt” Reding and 6th Preux. When the French occupied Madrid, both regiments were coerced into French service. During the second French attack both of the Reding regiments came face-to-face and blazed away at each other. After the third French attack, the survivors of the 2nd and 6th Swiss regiments bolted en masse over to the Spanish lines. No longer trusted by either side, both regiments were quickly disbanded. Swiss policy about regimental deployment changed after the deadly Swiss against Swiss battle at Bailén.