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.

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