Nap Campaign: Battle of Holbrook 3rd April 1808 – Turns 1 to 12

 Turns 1 – 4

The preliminary bombardment begins. The French have formed most of their artillery into 3 grand batteries.
By the 2nd turn the French artillery were getting the better of the artillery exchange. In the lower left of the photo the 2/30th Line suffer heavy casualties from the central grand battery and retreat in disorder. General C Halkett rode over to rally them but failed!

Continued –

By turn 4 the French had clearly won the artillery duel. Among the allied casualties, Bull’s howitzer battery (under the smoke in the centre) had lost 2 of its 3 guns. Adding to the allied difficulties were 3 artillery batteries running low on ammo compared to just one French battery. 

In the upper middle of the photo, Kielmansegge seeks to plug the gap left by the retreating 2/30th Line.

C Halkett finally rallies the 2/30th Line on turn 4. The reserve British cavalry were not impressed!

Turn 5 – 6

A view across the battlefield as the French begin their advance.
A closer view of the French left. Several units have become unformed having passed through the artillery batteries.

In the foreground Bull’s surviving howitzer has been pulled from the line with some re-organisation underway to plug the gaps.

Turn 7

An overview of the continuing French advance.

H Halkett’s Hanoverians defending the bridge sent over their skirmishers who received a mauling from their French opposite numbers. With the allied skirmish screen now removed the French skirmishers began engaging with the bridge defenders and accompanying artillery.

To the right Charlet’s brigade’s skirmishers are now engaging the foot guards and Hanoverian battalion defending the river line.

The allied skirmishers fared little better on the opposite flank with C Halkett’s British being despatched quickly. Kielmansegge’s Jager companies held their own maintaining the brigade’s screen.

Turn 8

Skirmishers and primarily allied artillery continue to engage as the gap closes. A handful of casualties are inflicted on both sides.
The Hanoverians and British battalions hurry to sort themselves out before the French are able to intervene. Skirmishing continues with the allies giving as good as they get.

Turn 9

Volleys break out along the entire battlefield as the French move into range.

Casualties are broadly even on both sides with none being sufficiently serious to generate morale checks.

A closer view of the French left as the Young Guard move up behind the 2nd Division.

Turn 10

The allies achieved greater success than the French in the firefight this turn but still nothing sufficient to cause any units morale problems.

On the British right a continual line was re-established following a brief reorganisation.
To counter allied artillery on the extreme left of the French position, Guard horse and foot artillery begin repositioning. The lead horse artillery battery lost a casualty to a KGL battery causing it to become unformed.

Turn 11

The view from the allied left flank as more French units move within range and begin engaging their line.

A similar situation is developing on the French left flank. 4 French artillery batteries (middle left of photo) move to counter the British and KGL batteries who, despite both being low on ammo, are steadily whittling away French infantry.

Over on the French right, units of Piat’s brigade suffer badly from canister fire by two British batteries but hold their nerve.

Turn 12

With pressure building on the allied right flank, the Duke of Brunswick is ordered forward with his mixed division as an immediate reserve.

Turn 12 proves to be a good one for the allies with a succession of high dice rolls inflicting heavy casualties. On the French left here, several battalions of Schmitz and Aulard’s battalions advance from the dubious cover of a fence to close the gap on the allied line. The intention being to move into effective musket range. At the bottom of the photo, French guard horse artillery begin to engage with their opposite numbers.

The French right receives a similar mauling but again all affected units pass their morale tests.

An overview at the end of turn 12. The French are not making much headway in softening up the allied line which does not bode well for the main attack if their fortunes do not turn.

To Be Continued

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