Somosierra - 30 November 1808
After success in the north, Napoleon marched on the Spanish capital of Madrid, but had to first push through Somosierra Pass in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range. The pass was defended by Don Benito San Juan’s Spanish troops, who had been sent forward from Madrid. Both the terrain and troops constituted a formidable barrier to the French advance.
About 8A.M. on the 30th, Napoleon ordered forward the infantry of Ruffin’s division, but their advance against a hail of cannon and musket fire, though steady, was too slow to suit Napoleon. He first ordered his 80-man personal cavalry escort to charge the guns, but most were killed or wounded, and the survivors retreated. Napoleon now ordered the Polish light guard cavalry to take the guns. The cavalry charge was made against the first enemy gun position and after a struggle, the guardsmen captured the battery. The Spanish musketry and cannon fire from the second battery could not stop the Poles and soon the second battery was also silenced. The surviving Poles then moved against the third battery, joined by the rest of the French cavalry, and together the last battery was taken.
It is not clear if Napoleon wanted the Poles to take just the first battery, or all the batteries, but the gallant charge can hardly be paralleled in the annals of military history. Immediately after the charge, Napoleon promoted the Polish light guard cavalry from the Young Guard to the Old Guard.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
• Commander: Don Benito San Juan
• 4 Command Cards
• Commander: Napoleon
• 6 Command Cards
• Move First
• The French player scores a sudden death win if all three Spanish Artillery units are eliminated.
• The Spanish Guerrilla Action rule is in effect. The Spanish player starts with one Guerrilla counter.