Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Battle of Casal Novo

The Battle of Casal Novo was a rear-guard action fought on March 14, 1811, during Massena's retreat from Portugal. During this retreat the French rear-guard, under command of Michel Ney, performed admirably in a series of sharp rear-guard actions. At Casal Novo, the recklessness of Sir William Erskine resulted in costly losses in the Light Division.


Massena's aims were to head north and force his way through the Mondego valley. His only obstacle was the Mondego River, but the French marshal found that all the bridges had been destroyed. In addition to this, he found the area impossible to ford due to the city of Coimbra being occupied by Portuguese militia under Nicholas Trant.
In an attempt to delay Wellington's advance Massena had Michel Ney command the rear guard. Ney inflicted two defeats on the allies, driving the British out of Pombal and managing an impressive victory over Wellington near the village of Redinha. He then took up a new position at Condeixa, on the Mondego river.
However, the French were too slow to force their way across the Mondego river. Trant's militia held out after a failed three day attempt to secure Coimbra. With Massena in danger of being trapped, changed route. Instead of heading north, the French marshal decided to advance east, back into Spain. Ney was left at Condeixa in order to stall the allied army.
Wellington's vanguard caught up with the French at Condeixa. General Montbrun defended this position and delayed the allies long enough for the French to fall back eastwards towards Miranda de Corvo. With the position at Condeixa untenable, the town was abandoned and put to the torch. The next day, the allies advanced on the French positions around Miranda de Corvo. Sir William Erskine, in command of the British Light Division, attacked the French position at Casal Novo.
Ney had deployed his troops in strong positions. General Ferrey’s men took position in the village of Casal Novo. Marchand’s division was held back in a strong position on a raised ground near Chão de Lamas.


The Light Division advanced on Casal Novo, attacking through a fog which hid the French from sight. However, Erskine did not believe that the French were present, and did not even bother to scout the French position. The British were easy prey for Ferrey’s men.
The Light Division was exposed to heavy fire for two to three hours, before eventually gaining a foothold in the town. The French fell back to Marchand’s division and the British, in pursuit, were cut down by Colonel Laferiere’s 3rd Hussars. Despite this the Light Division surged forward, but met Marchand’s division positioned on the heights in a strong defensive position. The French unleashed devastating fire on this body of troops. The British were easily repulsed.
The arrival of the 3rd Division forced Ney to pull back Marchand’s men before they were overwhelmed. Marchand pulled back and formed a line with the divisions of Mermet and of Loison on the heights of Miranda de Corvo.


The battle was a success. Ney had delayed the British long enough for many convoys to regain the head of the army. The British suffered almost three times as many casualties as their French counterparts. Marchand’s division had repulsed the attacks and the allies had once again failed to break through the French rear-guard.
Ney’s rearguard withdrew across the river Ceira. A small body of troops were left on the other side at Foz de Arouce. From here, the stage was set for the combat of Foz de Arouce. This would be Ney’s final battle in Portugal.
The Battle of Casal Novo was the first in a series of major bungles made by Erskine, the next being at Sabugal. Had the Light Division commander had the French positions scouted, the fiasco may have been avoided.

This would make a good Sharpe's Practice scenario!

Monday, October 17, 2011

More Hussar Sabretaches from BattleFlags

BattleFlags have been busy and have now 'filled in the gaps' in last weeks initial release, so now they have sabretaches for all 14 French Hussar regiments.

You may notice that some of the range have the tenue de campagne sabretache (i.e. the black ones) and others are the grande tenue (i.e. the fancy ones), the range will be extended to cover both as they source reliable information (good luck with that!) as Richard comments "I want to create as much choice as possible for the gamer and collector within the Battle Flag range".

Given that we know that the Hussars have a tendency for 'anything goes' in regards to their uniform a mix of tenue de campagne and grande tenue regiments, whilst maybe not completely accurate, works for me, after all Napoleonics should be fun and not boring!

Just to recap, these are designed to specifically fit the Perry 28mm Plastic Hussars. A set includes 14 sabretaches and saddle rolls and goes for GBP3.00.

As a bonus BattleFlag are currently offering to anyone who states that they are followers or readers of this blog, at point of order, free world wide shipping on all purchases of over 5.00GBP. You can't complain about that can you!

Further details or to buy click here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Flags of War - Lance Pennants

Flags of War have released several sets of generic lance pennants, some of which could be useful for your Napoleonic lancers and uhlans.

Priced at GBP1.75 for a set of 10.

More info click here

Friday, October 14, 2011

Battle Flags - Perry Hussar Sabretache and Saddle Roll Number Decals

Earlier this week I hinted that their was another supplier of Sabretaches waiting in the wings, well that was BattleFlags and as Richard explains they have been somewhat delayed due to ill health but today they are ready and have stepped forward and released their first sets of Sabretaches.

From their announcement:
New 28mm French Hussar Sabretache Transfers and Decals
I have just about recovered from a bout of pneumonia of all things, hence the rather slow output of late. But now mended I will be cracking on apace.

Just before I took ill I was about to release sabretache and saddle roll Regimental number sets for Perry’s excellent Plastic Hussars. One set of transfers provides enough waterslide transfers for wargamers to decal a complete boxed set.

The sabretaches are rather prominent and an elaborate feature on the hussars and these transfers allow the wargamer to create an excellent focal point on each figure.

Battle Flags wargame transfers will give superb results every time with uniformity and detail just not possible with a paintbrush. As with all our transfers they are true waterslide decals making them extremely simple to attach. Simply cut out, soak for 20-30 seconds and slide into place.

The saddle roll numbers just add that final touch for a superb finish to your miniature.

You can purchase these and any other transfers or flags from the Battle Flag range at or

They look really great and you can expect a lot more to come from Battle Flags in the very near future. I think the one sheet per regiment makes sense from a user perspective.

It's pretty amazing that in one week we go from no sabretache decals to having two different suppliers! Great work from both companies I think.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Flags of War - New 28mm German States

Flags of War are pumping out new Napoleonic flags again and have just released a series of flags covering the German States.

Brunswick Infantry
1st Battalion - 2nd Battalion - 3rd Battalion

Grand Duchy of Kleve Berg
Regt 1-2-3 1808 - 1st Infantry Regiment - 2nd Infantry Regiment

Grand Duchy of Kleve Berg
3rd Infantry Regiment - 4th Infantry Regiment - Leib Regiment

Grand Duchy of Baden
2nd Regiment - 3rd Regiment - 4th Regiment

Nassau Infantry 1808 - 1815

More info or to buy click here.