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.