Friday, November 19, 2010

Action at Castalla - 2

To resume the pictorial narrative, we begin with a general view looking north. Close to, the regular light infantry wait patiently for the attack by enemy horse and foot. Though safe enough for the moment in their orchard, thay can contibute very little to their beleaguered comrades in the town.
In the middle distance, three Spanish battalion columns prepare for an assault to drive the French out of the town, and hence leaving the way clear for McCullagh's command to break free.
Alas for the Spanish, the assault fails to achieve more than a slight weakening of the French garrison at the price of heavy losses. One attacking battalion breaks and flees out of the town (purple bead).
The second attempt to clear Castalla of Frenchmen. The defenders hang on grimly. But each assault weakens the garrison. It can not hold forever.
Apparently endless Spanish columns, hastening to the fray.
1st Ultonia and 2nd Alicante, having chased the French light infantry out of their orchard and across the small stream between groves, are surprised when the latter turn upon their pursuers. Slightly ahead of their comrades, 2nd Alicante bear the brunt of telling French musketry, losing two stands.
Can artillery blast the French out of Castalla?
Attack upon the light infantry defending the east orchard. Though taking losses, the French throw back their opponents with ease.
Delaborde arrives witgh his Division. Now McCullagh is in trouble, caught for the moment between fires. As for 1st Ultonia and 2nd Alicante, even if their comrades escape with the guns, these two battalions are doomed... unless they scatter and the survivors nake for the hills...
The 'lost battery' approaches the town ... still firmly held by the French garrison.
At last success! A third assault pitchforks the much reduced garrison out of Castalla. One company rejoining its parent battalion in the castle; the 200 (2 stands) remaining of their sister battalion falls back south of the castle. The road now lies open.
The general advance of Delaborde's Division. But it's too late. The enemy are able to make good their escape.
In this, the first action of the campaign, the Spanish took much heavier losses than did the French, but they could claim a solid strategic success: they saved the guns.

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