Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Campaign Move 6

1600-2000 8 August 1813

Both sides are aware that an English army is sailing north from Alicante heading for the north east coast.   Both are also aware that when it lands it will have a large impact on the campaign.   But neither side have any idea where, or when,  it will land.

Marshal Suchet has ordered his corps to concentrate, and is moving his headquarters west from Barcelona to shorten his lines of communication with his corps commanders.   He has two corps deployed along the west bank of the river Ebro, and is moving a third up to support them.   His fourth corps is also moving west, but has to keep garrisons along the coast until the English have landed.

Neither Suchet nor Copons will commit until the English have landed, and their indecision has infected their corps commanders.   The Spanish commanders are aware that they only have a limited time to take advantage of the wide spread French garrisons, but none have taken full advantage of it.

2nd Spanish corps has continued to enforce its siege of Miravat.  It is now entering the second day, and there is a chance of attrition amongst the garrison.   This in turn will make the odds better if the Spanish commander decides to attempt a second storm.  The pressure is also on 17th French corps to send a relief column to raise the siege.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Campaign Move 5

1200-1600 8 August 1813
6th French chasseur brigade have orders to hold Tortosa.   They have occupied, but not garrisoned, the city and are observing the road from Amposta

1st Spanish dragoon brigade have orders to recce Tortosa and are on engage orders.   As they near the city the chasseurs deploy in line just west of the built up area.

The Spanish brigade commander orders his dragoons to advance, which prompts the chasseurs to do the same.

The dragoons are C class troops, which gives a slight advantage to the French horsemen.   They roll a three with 1D6, giving them a total of four.  This results in a draw.   Both are disordered.  The two brigades withdraw a short distance and remain facing either other.

Both brigades remain west of Tortosa, and both have maintained their skirmish screen

Campaign Rule 11 deals with cavalry v cavalry combat

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Campaign Move 4

0800-1200 8 August 1813

The failure of two Spanish corps to storm a town held by a resolute French garrison has caused some alarm and confusion amongst the Spanish higher command.   The anticipated advance east destroying isolated French brigades has failed to live up to expectations.

Captain General Copons is not yet aware of this set back.  His reaction is likely to be loud and unhappy.

Meanwhile the Spanish corps commanders are aware that they have not yet managed to inflict any damage on the isolated French garrisons.  They are also aware that the French are now well aware of the Spanish advance, and are no doubt taking steps to counter it.

General Elio, commander of 2nd Spanish corps, has decided to try a different approach.   Instead of ordering a retreat after his unhappy experience of the previous day he orders his corps to impose a siege on the French held town of Miravat.

There is a lot of speculation about the anticipated arrival of the British fleet.   Since it left Alicante some days ago there have been reports of it being sighted along the whole of the north east coast.  

Marshal Suchet is well aware that General Murray could land his 5th British corps at any undefended port between Alicante and Barcelona.   This threat makes it very difficult for the French to concentrate to combat the Spanish advance.   Until the destination of the British fleet is determined he must hold a strong reserve to counter a landing north of his main concentration area.

The new day will no doubt lift some of the extensive fog of war.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Campaign Move 3

1600-2000 7 August 1813
The first day would end with two combats, both involving isolated French garrisons. 

5th infantry brigade held a small town just north of the river Ebro called Flix.   This town was the objective of 3rd Spanish corps, who attacked it without any preparation.   General Rosche ordered his whole corps to storm the town, and was surprised and rather embarrassed when they not only failed to take it, but were also forced to retire in some confusion and with light casualties

15 miles south of Flix, the town of Miravat dominated the bridge over the river Ebro.   This town was held by 21st infantry brigade.   General Elio halted his 2nd Spanish corps at the bridge and ordered his two best brigades, supported by his artillery, to attack the town.   They had no more success than 3rd corps at Flix.   They also failed to take their objective.   They withdrew west of the river with light casualties.

It is interesting, and typical of a certain type of Spanish commander, that both Rosche and Elio failed to calculate the odds of taking a fortified town held by a determined defender.   Both appear to have considered that odds of 5 to 1 at Flix, and 3 to 1 at Miravat, would in itself guarantee success.

It was a costly lesson with which to open the campaign.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Campaign Move 2

1200-1600 7 August 1813
The four Spanish corps cross the river Ebro and advance east

By mid afternoon they are in contact with the first line of French garrisons and cavalry patrols. 

Each garrison has a prearranged alarm signal system to notify their corps commander that they are under attack.   A small town has sufficient supplies to withstand a siege for six days.   None are further than two days from support.

A Spanish commander could order an assault on the garrison, but it is unlikely to succeed against a full strength garrison.

It is obvious to Marshal Suchet that he cannot effectively command his army from Barcelona.   He orders his headquarters to move from Barcelona to Tarragona, and rides ahead with a small mounted escort.  

Campaign Note
The Spanish commanders must decide how to best take advantage of the temporary isolation of the French garrisons.  

The French commanders must decide whether to withdrawn their garrisons, move to their support with the available brigades or leave the garrisons to fend for themselves until they can concentrate their corps.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Campaign Move 1

0800-1200 7 August 1813
Marshal Suchet’s four armee corps were spread over a wide area.  In addition each corps had detached three brigades to form garrisons.   This dispersal was done to allow the French army to live off the local resources, as was their practice.  

The initiative lay with Captain-General Copons, who would open the campaign with his advance west of the river Ebro.   Consequently his four corps were concentrated at their forward supply base.

Because of the wide deployment area all four French corps commanders had a large degree of independence.   They received their first warning of the proposed Spanish offensive from army headquarters.   All immediately recognized that their forward garrisons nearest to the river Ebro were in danger of being cut off, and all sent orders for their withdrawal.  

It was now a race to see whether the French could warn their exposed garrisons in time, and then either withdraw them or move to reinforce them.

No contacts took place during move one, but it was likely that there would be at least one sooner rather than later.

Campaign Note
The French reaction is delayed by the fact that each corps commander can only send one message each campaign move.   With up to three brigades detached in garrisons each commander must decide which brigade to send orders to first.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Background to the Tortosa campaign

 7 August 1813 - Initial corps deployment
Background to the campaign

This is the second phase of the 1813 campaign in north eastern Spain.

The first phase was the Tarragona campaign from 29 May to 7 June 1813.

Wellington is commander in chief of all Armies in Spain, including the Spanish.   But his appointment is resented by all of the Spanish commanders, and they pay little attention to his orders. Captain General Copons has command of the four Spanish corps in eastern Spain.   

Wellington has started his bid to clear the French from Spain with his successful Valladolid campaign.   He is at present resting his army in preparation for the advance on Burgos.  

To prevent Suchet from sending reinforcements to Soult, he has ordered Copons to cross the river Ebro and take the city of Tortosa. 

He has promised to send General Murray and his 5th British corps to support Copons.  

 Fourth French Army

Fourth French Army

Marshal Suchet has four corps under his command

At the start of the campaign they are deployed throughout their operational areas.

 Spanish Army

Spanish Army

Captain-General Copons in the nominal commander of four corps

All four corps commanders consider themselves to have independent commands, and are unlikely to put the common cause above their own best interests

5th British Corps

British Corps

General Murray commands an independent corps.
He has orders to support the Spanish offensive when possible
His first priority it to avoid the loss of his command

Thursday, November 17, 2011

1813 Hanover Campaign

23 July to 6 August 1813
North Germany 23 July 1813
This is the sixth phase of the 1813 campaign
It covers the period 23 July to 6 August 1813 and the fighting northern Germany between Second French army and the Prussian army
It was fought during the period March to November 2011
 Corps deployment at start of campaign
Summary of the Campaign
Davout had deployed his four corps to cover the approach to Hanover, and to secure his communications with Hamburg in the north and Halle in the south.
Blucher had taken Magdeburg in the first phase of the 1813 campaign and established his four corps on the left bank of the river Elbe.   Having rested his army he was now ready to advance west and capture Hanover.
Davout advanced to drive the Prussians back over the river Elbe, but was in turn forced to retire and eventually abandon Hanover and retreat to Hamburg.
The campaign was another convincing victory for Blucher.
Battles fought during campaign
Campaign History
23 July             Start of campaign
24 July             Battle of Uelzen                        Prussian victory
25 July             Battle of Steinhorst                   French victory
26 July             Battle of Wolfsburg                   French victory 
27 July             Second Uelzen             French victory
29 July             Battle of Helmstedt                   Prussian victory
30 July             Battle of Rosche                       Prussian victory
30 July             Second Wolfsburg                    French victory
1 August           Second Helmstedt                    Prussian victory
4 August           Battle of Peine Day One           Prussian victory
5 August           Battle of Peine Day Two           Prussian victory
6 August           End of campaign     
Link to Campaign Blog

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1813 Valladolid Campaign

12 to 22 July 1813
West Spain 12 July 1813
This is the fifth phase of the 1813 campaign
It covers the period 12 July to 22 July1813 and the fighting in western Spain between Fifth French army and the Anglo-Portuguese army
It was fought during the period October to December 2010
 Corps deployment at start of campaign
Summary of the Campaign
Napoleon had ordered most of his best troops out of Spain to built his new Grande Armee in northern Europe.   He then appointed Soult to organise the remainder to hold north west Spain.
Wellington has ordered the capture of Vallalodid as the first step in his offensive to drive the French out of Spain
After a short campaign he forced Soult to fall back to Burgos
A convincing victory for Wellington
Battles fought during campaign
Campaign History
12 July             Start of campaign
17 July             Battle of Duenas                       French victory
18 July             Battle of Valladolid                   British victory
22 July             Battle of Baltanas                      British victory              

Link to Campaign Blog

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1813 Passau Campaign

12 to 22 June 1813
 Southern Germany 12 June 1813
This is the fourth phase of the 1813 campaign
It covers the period 12 June to 22 June 1813 and the fighting in southern Germany between Third French army and the Austrian army
It was fought during the period March to July 2010
 Corps deployment at start of campaign
Summary of the Campaign 
Napoleon is not expecting any trouble with the Austrians.

He has sent Oudinot to Munich to take command of the Bavarian and Baden armies. The Austrian advance down the Danube valley comes as a complete surprise to Oudinot.
After an initial success the Austrians are defeated.
Battles fought during campaign
Campaign History
12 June            Start of campaign
16 June            Battle of Mattsee                      Austrian victory
17 June            Battle of Altheim                       Austrian victory
19 June            Battle of Branau                        Austrian victory
20 June            Battle of Salzburg                     French victory
21 June            Battle of Reishach                     French victory
Link to Campaign Blog

Sunday, November 13, 2011

1813 Halle Campaign

17 June to 11 July 1813
Central Germany 17 June 1813
This is the third phase of the 1813 campaign
It covers the period 17 June to 11 July 1813 and the fighting in central Germany between Fourth French army and the Russian army
It was fought during the period August to October 2009
 Corps deployment at start of campaign 
Summary of the Campaign 
Kutuzov had played a major part in the 1812 campaign and his army had suffered heavy casualties.   After six months rest in Dresden his army was now ready to take the field again.
His objective was to take the town of Halle and secure the river Saale.
Napoleon had two corps west of the river Saale, and a third in reserve.  He had just arrived at Fulda to take command of the Imperial Garde
The Russian attack forced the French to abandon the east bank, and Kutuzov managed to cross the river.   But a determined counter attack made them retire to the east bank.
The campaign was a draw.   The French held the line of the river Saale, but they had to abandon their positions on the east bank.
 Battles fought during campaign 
Campaign History 
17 June            Start of campaign
23 June            Battle of Neustadt                     Russian victory
25 June            Battle of Gera                           Russian victory
26 June            Battle of Weimar                      French victory
28 June            Battle of Lutzen                        Russian victory
1 July               Battle of Rohenburg                  Russian victory
7 July               Battle of Halle                           French Victory                        

1813 Tarragona Campaign

14 May to 7 June 1814
Eastern Spain 14 May 1813
This is the second phase of the 1813 campaign
It covers the period 14 May to 7 June 1813 and the fighting in eastern Spain between Fourth French army and the Spanish army
It was fought during the period July to August 2009
 Corps deployment at start of campaign 
Summary of the Campaign 
Wellington has been appointed commander of all allied armies.  He had decided that the main campaign will be in western Spain, but he has ordered the Spanish army in eastern Spain to take the city of Tarragona in order to prevent Suchet from sending any reinforcements to Soult in western Spain
Suchet has three corps deployed along the coastal area from Gerona to Tarragona
Copons commands the four Spanish corps tasked to occupy Suchet.  He captures Tortosa to lure the French into the mountains inland.   He then attempts to take Tarragona, but fails to do so.  Suchet concentrates his three corps at Tarragona and they drive Copons south.
The Spanish achieve their objective of preventing Suchet from sending reinforcements to Soult.
Battles fought during campaign
Campaign History
14 May            Start of campaign
20 May            Battle of Reus                           Spanish victory
24 May            Battle of Prades                        French victory
26 May            First battle of Cambrils              French victory
28 May            Second battle of Cambrils         French victory
7 June              End of campaign                      
Link to Campaign Blog

1813 Magdeburg Campaign

1 to 16 May 1813
Northern Germany 1 May 1813
This is the first phase of the 1813 campaign
It covers the period 1 to 16 May 1813 and the fighting in northern Germany between Second French army and the Prussian army
It was fought during the period April to July 2009
Corps deployment at start of campaign
Summary of the Campaign
Prussia had not taken part in the 1812 campaign, so it was the first of the allied armies to take the field against Napoleon.
Davout was tasked to hold the river Elbe from Hamburg to Magdeburg.   He had two corps immediately available, and two more on the way
Blucher’s objective was to capture Magdeburg and secure the west bank of the river Elbe.
After two weeks and four battles Blucher held Magdeburg and two other bridge heads over the river Elbe.  But his main army had been forced to withdraw to the west bank. 
The campaign was a draw
 Battles fought during campaign
Campaign History
1 May              Start of campaign                     
5 May              Battle of Calbe (Gommern on new map)                       Prussian victory
7 May              Battle of Colbitz (Bismark on new map)                        Prussian victory
10 May            Battle of Halbeck (Kalbe on new map)                         Prussian victory
14 May            Battle of Magdeburg                                                     French victory
16 May            End of campaign
Link to Campaign Blog

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Background to 1813 Campaign

In early 2009 I carried out a complete review of our wargaming activities.   My wife and I have been wargaming since 1970, and I wanted to create a campaign which would provide us with enjoyable wargames making maximum use of our model soldier and scenery collection.

I have always taken photographs of my wargames, and I decided to start a blog to keep a permanent record of the campaign.

I settled on the 1813 campaign because it involved all of the major military powers, and I had figures to represent all of them.   I would not attempt to copy that campaign, but to use it as a framework for my fictional one.

The campaign would start on 1 May 1813

I used a road atlas to produce hand drawn maps of central Europe and Spain.   In 2010 I treated myself to Profantasy CC3, a computer based map making system, to produce more professional looking maps.

The strategic terrain is similar to the actual terrain, but the tactical maps represent the wargames table scenery   The nations involved are the same, but the orders of battle completely different.

The orders of battle are designed to make maximum use of the model soldiers in my collection

Each battlefield is designed to fit on my 6x6 foot wargames table making maximum use of the scenery in my collection.

There are five campaign areas, each with its own French and allied army
Map of Europe 1 May 1813

Northern Germany – Munster to Berlin – French v Prussian
Central Germany – Dusseldorf to Dresden – French v Russian
Southern Germany – Munich to Vienna – French v Austrian
Eastern Spain – Barcelona to Valencia – French v Spanish
Western Spain – Madrid to Bayonne – French v British

The campaign started in April 2009