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.