Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Campaign Move 21

1600 to 2000 13 August 1813

Marshal Suchet arrived on the battlefield just after 4pm.   He could see that it was too late to break contact and retreat in good order, but he did order a fighting withdrawal.  He then rode to the nearest shaken infantry brigade in an attempt to rally them.

The newly arrived Spanish reinforcements on which O’Donnell was pinning his hopes was not a regular infantry brigade.  It was, in fact, a guerrilla band recently organised as a militia brigade.  They had no training in skirmish or volley fire, so he ordered them to launch a “do or die” frontal attack.
The Italian infantry brigade had already suffered 20% casualties, but still put up a brave front and held the initial assault.   But they were in no state to hold off fresh troops in hand to hand fighting and soon broke and ran.

The rout quickly spread to the nearby town, which was held by a brigade with 50% casualties.   The nearby rout was sufficient to make they turn and flee.
This remaining Italian infantry brigade had 40% casualties.  Even the presence of Suchet could not prevent them from joining the rout, and taking him with them.

As the gunners limbered and started to withdraw they were overrun by the nearby guerrilla’s and forced to surrender.

The Italian cavalry brigade also had 20% casualties, and refused to charge to save the guns.   Rather than risk their complete destruction Severoli ordered them to withdraw and cover the retreat.

A second serious defeat for Suchet, and an end to his planned counter attack.   As night fell he rode south hoping to find that 17th corps had arrived to join 7th corps at Cambrils.

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