Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Link to 1813 Gera Campaign

The next phase of the 1813 campaign will be in central Germany and will deal with the French attempt to take the city of Gera from the Russians.

I have started a new blog for that phase and you can find it at

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Campaign Summary

  6 August 1813

The campaign opened with two French corps deployed forward to cover the crossings of the river Ebro, and two more in reserve.  

The four Spanish corps were concentrated just west of the river, and both 3rd and 4th corps had already crossed to the east bank.  

A British corps had sailed from Alicante and was approaching Vinaros.

  7 August 1813

The Spanish attempted to storm the French garrisons at Flix and Miravat, but failed.   2nd Spanish corps then laid siege to the garrison at Miravat.  

Meanwhile the French corps were concentrating their corps by abandoning isolated garrisons.  Both 7th and 8th French corps were marching west to support the forward corps.  

The British fleet had arrived at Vinaros.
  8 August 1813
Miravat is still under siege by 2nd Spanish corps.  But 17th French corps is moving to raise the siege.   Both 7th and 8th French corps are moving west towards Reus.  
To the north 16th Italian corps is becoming isolated as 3rd and 4th Spanish corps move towards Lerida.
The English fleet has finally landed at Vinaros and has started to disembark 5th British corps.  However it will be two days before they are ready to march north and east

  9 August 1813

16th Italian corps must decide whether to raise the siege of Flix and save their brigade there, or withdraw to Lerida to secure their communications and abandon the garrison of Flix.   Unless they retreat promptly they face a battle with 3rd and 4th Spanish corps.
17th French corps face a similar problem at Tortosa.   They have a brigade at Miravat, which is under siege by 2nd Spanish corps.   However 1st Spanish corps is poised to take Tortosa should the French move to Miravat
7th and 8th French corps are approaching Miravat and are available to raise the siege.
The French are unaware that 5th British corps have landed at Vinaros and are now ready to move north to support the Spanish effort.

  10 August 1813

This was the day when the initiative passed from the Spanish to the French, and they were not slow to take advantage.
The battle of Torrente started at first light.  16th Italian corps managed to withdraw to the east of Torrente, and join the garrison on the Lerida road.   4th   Spanish corps occupied Torrente, but were too slow to close with the Italians before nightfall.   3rd Spanish corps did attack and suffered heavy casualties, as did 16th Italian corps.   At nightfall the Italians retreated towards Lerida
The battle of Miravat started at midday when 8th French corps attacked 2nd Spanish corps who were covering the siege of Miravat.    It took most of the afternoon for the French to deploy and launch their attack.  The Spanish quickly broke and withdrew towards Gandesa, raising the siege of Miravat
The battle of Tortosa also started at midday when 1st Spanish corps and 17th French corps clashed as they both approached Tortosa.   The Spanish fell back to the bridge over the river Ebro, and the French were unable to reach them before nightfall.  
5th British corps reached Amposta just as night fell.  But they were too late to take part in the battle of Tortosa.
7th French corps have reached Reus.  They should join the main French army within a day, unless they halt to allow their detachments to rejoin the main corps.

  11 August 1813
A day of frantic activity for both armies.  The defeated from the previous day’s battle retreated in an attempt to find somewhere to halt and regroup   The victors prepared to take advantage of the new circumstances.
In the north 16th Italian corps retreated to Lerida, hotly pursued by 4th Spanish corps.
3rd Spanish corps retired south to reestablish their lines of supply with Capse, whilst maintaining the siege of Flix.
2nd Spanish corps retreated west of the river Ebro and deployed to hold the bridge.   8th French corps paused at Miravat to regroup.
1st Spanish corps also retreated west of the river, to hold the bridge at Amposta.  Here they were joined by 5th British corps.   Opposite them 17th French corps held Tortosa and observed the combined allied corps with caution.

7th French corps has reached Reus.  They are still too far from the centre of operations to have an influence on events.  
Murray has met with Copons in an attempt to coordinate a Spanish/British attack, but has met with little more than promises.    He must now decide whether to push ahead on his own, or wait for the promised Spanish support. 
  12 August 1813
16th Italian corps have decided to make a stand at Mora.  They fight an inconclusive skirmish with the advance guard of 4th Spanish corps, who deploy for battle.
8th French corps have suffered a comprehensive defeat at Miravat, and rout towards Flix pursued by British and Spanish cavalry.  
7th French corps have arrived at Cambrils, just too late to support 8th French corps.  
The Spanish CinC calls a conference with Murray and Elio to decide how best to exploit the crushing defeat of 8th French corps.
Despite orders to hold Tortosa, Halbert orders an attack on the bridge over the river Ebro.   1st Spanish corps are well deployed to resist such an attack, and their artillery cause the leading French brigade to rout as soon as they attempt to cross the bridge.

  13 August 1813

Despite their casualties 16th Italian corps put up a brave fight, but eventually lost to 4th Spanish corps.   Both corps suffered heavy casualties, and the Italian corps ceased to be operational.
8th French corps continued their retreat throughout the night, pursued by 2nd Spanish corps.   As they approached Flix they were confronted by 3rd Spanish corps, who were themselves recovering  from battle casualties.   Unable to field a single formed brigade to break through, 8th corps surrendered.   The French garrison  in Flix had been under siege for some days, the loss of 8th corps was the final straw and they also surrendered.

3rd Spanish corps withdrew to Flix to rest and recover.  It would be some days before they could hope to take the field again.
5th British and 2nd Spanish corps are now concentrated at Miravat, and have agreed to launch a joint attack on 7th French corps at Cambrils on 14 August.  
17th French corps have slipped away from Tortosa to join 7th French corps at Cambrils.   As night falls 1st Spanish corps are unaware of their departure.
14 August 1813

5th British and 2nd Spanish corps attack Cambrils at daylight, but abandon the attack as soon as they realize that they are opposed by 7th and 17th French corps. 
7th corps deploy west of the Mora road to allow 16th Italian corps to retreat to Cambrils.  
17th corps move west, but halt when the British withdraw.
4th Spanish approach Cambrils during the late afternoon in pursuit of 16th Italian corps
1st Spanish occupy Tortosa and move north towards Cambrils.
As night falls Suchet becomes aware that he is facing four allied corps.  With only two French corps he immediately orders a retreat to Reus.  
As the French abandon Tortosa and the line of the river Ebro it is clear that the Spanish have achieved a notable victory. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Campaign Move 24

1600 to 2000 14 August 1813

Marshal Suchet called a meeting of his three corps commanders to decide how to proceed with the campaign.
7th corps had now received their fourth brigade and are at full strength.    General Munsier recommends continue to attack

16th corps are starting to arrive at Cambrils.   They have suffered heavy casualties and will require some days rest and reinforcement to become operational   General Severoli recommends a retreat to Reus or even Tarragona.   He reports that 4th Spanish corps are in hot pursuit, but have battle casualties

17th corps are one brigade short.   General Halbert recommends continue to attack   He reports that he has lost contact with 1st Spanish corps

Suchet is aware that if he moves west to engage 2nd Spanish and 5th British corps he will have to leave Cambrils undefended and at the mercy of 4th Spanish corps.

He is confident that he can defeat two allied corps and probably hold Cambrils against 2nd and 4th Spanish corps plus 5th British corps.  But if 1st Spanish corps moves north from Tortosa he is likely to face destruction and the loss of northeast Spain to the allies.
Just before 2000 a report is received from 7th cavalry brigade to confirm that 1st Spanish corps has entered Tortosa and is moving north towards Cambrils.

Suchet orders an immediate retreat towards Reus.   16th corps will lead, followed by 7th corps.   17th corps will form the rearguard

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Campaign Move 23

1200 to 1600 14 August 1813

Marshal Suchet met with General Severoli as the Italian corps approached Cambrils.   It was all too apparent that the Italians would require two or three days rest and reinforcement before they could become operational again.
Worse still, Severoli confirmed that 4th Spanish corps was close behind in hot pursuit.
Suchet was aware that Cambrils was now in immediate danger.   7th corps could hold 2nd Spanish corps at bay, but only until 4th Spanish corps arrived on the Mora road.
In the circumstances it would be madness to press home his attack on 5th British corps well to the west of Cambrils.
He ordered 16th corps to continue their retreat through Cambrils and on to Reus through the night.
7th corps would hold their position until the Italians were clear of Cambrils.  They would then fall back on the town and hold it until nightfall.

17th corps would immediately break contact with 5th British corps and retreat to Cambrils.   They would send one of their cavalry brigades south to determine whether 1st Spanish corps were moving north from Tortosa.
He would hold Cambrils until nightfall and wait to receive his cavalry reports before deciding whether to abandon Cambrils and retreat to Reus.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Campaign Move 22

0800 to 1200 14 August 1813

When Captain-General Copons agreed with General Murray that 2nd Spanish corps would attack Cambrils with 5th British corps they both believed that they would be faced with only 7th French corps.
He had ordered 1st Spanish corps to pin 17th French corps at Tortosa, and if the French should move north they were to follow and attack them on the march.
He was not aware that 17th corps had broke contact with 1st corps and was already approaching Cambrils on the Tortosa road.
As 5th British corps approached Cambrils they were confronted by 7th corps in front of the town, and also by 17th corps approaching them from the south.   The latter was marching directly towards the British.
2nd Spanish corps were screened from view by the hills north of the hills north of the Miravat road.   It was last morning before the French brigade holding this high ground spotted them.
Marshal Suchet was now faced with a difficult decision.    16th Italian corps were approaching Cambrils on the Mora road.  They were in rout from the battle of the previous day, and if they were to be saved 7th corps would have to redeploy to halt 2nd Spanish corps and hold the road.
17th corps were well positioned to attack the British.   But to do so they would have to move further west, leaving Cambrils open to attack from the south.   Suchet had no intelligence to indicate what 1st Spanish corps were doing.   They might well be marching towards Cambrils from Tortosa.
If he ordered 17th corps to attack the British, and they failed, they would be in a very dangerous position.   If 1st Spanish then arrived at Cambrils at first light on 14 August 1813 it was likely that the entire French army would have to surrender of be destroyed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Battle of Cambrils - Move 5

1200-1300 14 August 1813

  table at start of move 5
 Top – French are deployed to hold the Mora road
Bottom – British have halted to await reinforcements

  17th French corps
General Halbert (Average)
9 Command Points
Orders – Engage British
Artillery fire on gunners (total 7 – no casualties)
Gunners manhandle guns 2” towards enemy
22nd and 24th brigades advance 6”
Commander moves to command range of 23rd brigade
23rd brigade advance 6” towards hill

  16th Italian corps

General Severoli

6 Command Points

Orders – Avoid contact with the enemy

Arrive on table and move towards Cambrils.
All brigades have heavy casualties and must avoid the enemy until nightfall

  7th French corps

General Munsier (Average)
9 Command Points
Orders – Move to right of hill
Artillery fire on 5th Spanish (total 6 – no casualties)
26th brigade advanced 8” and form column of attack
25th brigade retire 2” facing enemy (back from edge of hill)
Commander changes orders to “Halt”

  2nd Spanish corps

General Elio (Poor)
8 Command Points
Orders – Move to Cambrils
Commander changes orders to “Halt”
6th brigade advance 6” and form square
5th brigade retreat 3” facing enemy
Artillery limber and move 4” to right flank

Marshal Suchet (Gifted)
8 Command Points
Move to join 7thcorps
Change corps orders to “Hold”
Move to join 17thcorps
Change corps orders to “Withdraw to Cambrils
  5th British corps
General Murray (Poor)
10 Command Points
Orders – Hold
Artillery fire on 22nd French (total 5 – no casualties)
Spanish cavalry about turn to face enemy
British cavalry retreat 6” facing enemy
8th brigade turn right and move towards hill
6th brigade form column of attack and move towards hill
Game Notes
Both the Spanish and British corps have halted and taken up a defensive position to support each other and await reinforcements.
Suchet has decided that it would be too dangerous to advance further west to attack the British, and thus leave Cambrils undefended.
He has ordered 7th corps to cover 16th corps retreat to Cambrils, and 17th corps to withdraw to Cambrils.
All three of his corps commanders are now at Cambrils, and he has called a meeting to decide whether to make a last stand at Cambrils or to abandon Tortosa and retreat to Reus
Wargame rules can be found at
table at end of game

The British and Spanish corps have withdrawn to the left side of table
16th Italian corps approach Cambrils
7th French corps hold Mora road
17th French corps are about to retreat towards Cambrils

Game Result
Spanish and British halted as soon as they realised they were facing two French corps  to await reinforcements

French are expecting Spanish reinforcements from Mora and Tortosa and are not prepared to move any further west to attack British corps.

Only artillery fire exchanged and no casualties

Result – a  draw

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Battle of Cambrils – Move 4

1100-1200 14 August 1813

  table at start of move 4
Top – French move to right to stop Spanish and defend Mora road
Bottom – French move towards British behind reinforced cavalry screen

  2nd Spanish corps

General Elio (Poor)
6 Command Points
Orders – Move to Cambrils
Artillery advance 4” and unlimber
6th, 7th and 8th brigades advance 6”
Commander moves to centre of corps

  5th British corps
General Murray (Poor)
10 Command Points
Orders – Move to Cambrils
Change orders to “Hold”
Artillery advance 2”
Spanish lancers about turn and retire 14”
5th and 7th brigades form square
British dragoons retire 6” facing enemy

Captain-General Copons (Poor)
3 Command Points
Move to join 2nd corps
(not enough CP to change their orders)

Marshal Suchet (Gifted)
6 Command Points
Move to 17th corps
Change orders to “Engage British”
Move to join 7th corps

  17th French corps
General Halbert (Average)
10 Command Points
Orders – Engage British
Artillery advance 2”
12th chasseurs advance 14”
7th dragoons advance 12”
23rd and 24th brigades form column of attack and advance 3”
22nd brigade advance 6”
Commander moves to centre of corps

7th French corps

General Munsier (Average)
7 Command Points
Orders – Move to right of hill
Commander moves to centre of corps
Artillery advance 4” and unlimber
27th brigade advance 4” and form column of attack
26th brigade advance 6”
Commander moves to centre of corps

Game Notes
Suchet has decided to hold his right flank and attach with his left.
7th corps are taking position to stop the Spanish advance, hold the Mora road and cover the retreat of 16th Italian corps.
17th corps have been given orders to engage the British.  The combined cavalry brigades  have been moved to the right flank, to prevent the Spanish moving to assist the British.  The remainder of the corps are advancing on the British
The Spanish CinC has twice failed to gain sufficient CP to change the orders of 2nd Spanish corps to halt!   Meanwhile the Spanish continue to advance towards the Mora road, and the waiting French.
Murray has reacted to the advance of 17th French corps by halting his corps and withdrawing his cavalry behind the infantry squares.  He is not  prepared to risk his horsemen against equal numbers of French cavalry.
Suchet must now defeat the British before Spanish reinforcements can arrive.   As 17th corps moves west to do so they leave Cambrils undefended.
Wargame rules can be found at