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Peninsular campaign 1808-1814 being refought

5 years 5 months ago #1 by Saddletank

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  • For more than two years now the Kriegspiel Group has been fighting the war of the Iberian Peninsular or as the French called it The Spanish Ulcer. We began playing using the KS Napoleon Mod for Gettysburg and now that our KS Mod for Waterloo has reached maturity we are fighting the battles the campaign map moves generate with SoW WL MP games.

    The game's staring point was the full strength historical armies present in summer 1808 and subsequently arriving forces (notably the British) and historical schedules of troop arrival and withdrawal although some events have begun to override our history and the campaign has taken on a story of it's own.

    We began playing in June 1808 and it is now late February 1809. Each map turn is 1/2 a month and we have had battles big and small (23 so far), sieges, guerilla actions, attempts to cut and reopen lines of supply, cavalry raids, garrison troops, replacements, political skulduggery, some fun and rather bizarre role-playing mostly involving over-ripe Extremaduran hams and various exotic breeds of birds, the arrival of the British in August 1808 and the impact of their naval supremacy. The Spanish armies lack a unified command and in the early months there was much rivalry and bickering between the Spanish generals not all of whom have the same political aims. In one infamous early battle a nearby Spanish army marched away from its compatriots leaving them to be defeated because the two generals distrusted each other!

    The first French army made up mostly of reservist quality troops and commanded by Marechal Murat met with disaster at a terrible series of battles around Madrid culminating in a general retreat to the Rio Ebro in the north-east of the country by October 1808. In the far north east Barcelona was lost with the destruction of an entire French division and two failed sieges allowed Gerona to remain in Spanish hands.

    However Burgos held out, a fortress astride a vital road junction on the route to Madrid. In the Ebro valley Saragossa then fell to a surprise French assault after its garrison was stripped down by a desperate local Spanish field commander, leaving it too weakly held.

    In November Napoleon himself arrived at Bayonne with a reorganised army of Spain and proceeded to push south and west into the country slowly forcing the Spanish back and relieving Burgos. In the north Marechal Ney captured Santander, an important Biscay port and Marechal Mortier retook Pamplona after it fell to a quick Spanish attack earlier in the summer. In Catalonia in the north-east, General Gouvion St-Cyr has reopened the siege of Gerona for the third time.

    We had an almost historical Battle of Vimerio at which the French under Junot were defeated but they inflicted a good deal more damage on Sir Arthur Wellesley's British army than historically. Nevertheless Junot was obliged to surrender and we had our own version of the Convention of Cintra. Junot's Corps, now rebuilt over the winter, has returned to Spain via Rochefort, Bordeaux and Bayonne.

    The British daringly landed a supplementary corps commanded by Sir David Baird at Santander to assist the Spanish in the Cantabrian mountains but his forces had to be withdrawn by sea again when it became obvious that Santander could not hold out. Sir John Moore's corps participated in a rather undignified retreat from Valladolid in Leon-Castile alongside the rag-tag army of the Swiss General Theodor von Reding. Sir John was obliged to fall back on Salamanca via Zamora.

    General Wellesley meanwhile had entered Madrid with his Army of Portugal and the stage is now set for a titanic battle between Napoleon himself leading his Imperial Guard and Victor's I Corps against General Castanos and his large and well-drilled Army of Andalucia. These two heavyweights are facing each other in the central highlands near the town of Aranda, about 100 miles north of Madrid. Time is running out for Napoleon however - he needs to recapture Madrid and place his brother Joseph back on the Spanish throne as his puppet ruler before spring as he is needed on the Rhine where his army is assembling to take war once again to the Austrians.

    We have a battle taking place this weekend, Saturday 17th October at 20:00h UK time (British Summer Time). We always meet on the Kriegspiel Teamspeak server and if players wish to join us, all are welcome. We use the KS Mod and always play with HITS (10 yds view radius) and couriers. Our fight this weekend is at the eastern town of Calatayud, about 60 miles south-west of Saragossa on the edge of the mountains that form the southern wall of the Ebro valley. The French garrisoned this town in October during their retreat from Madrid and over the winter they have fortified it with earthworks, breastworks and artillery redoubts. During that time the Spanish kept watch with cavalry patrols but kept their main armies warm and snug in winter quarters. Now the snows have thawed and the roads become dry enough to allow military movement again the combined armies of Murcia and Granada have advanced north from Cuenca via Molina to attack Calatayud. Parts of Mortier's V Corps is defending.

    For those interested the campaign forums are here:

    kriegsspiel.forumotion.net/f40-napoleonic-peninsular-campaign

    With the map and rules here:

    kriegsspiel.forumotion.net/t714-campaign-rules

    The original thread for the Gettysburg Mod version of the battles is here:

    www.norbsoftdev.net/forum/napoleonic-era/59415-peninsular-campaign-1808-1814-being-refought

    Finally this thread contains links to the Kriegspiel (KS) Mod plus other mods you will need to participate in our MP games:

    kriegsspiel.forumotion.net/t1451-set-up-for-sowwl-napoleon-games-for-kriegspiel-style

    You will need to create a login on the KS Forums to download files.

    Battle of Calatayud, 22nd February 1809...




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    5 years 5 months ago #2 by Volunteer

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  • An excellent read, Saddletank! :)

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    5 years 5 months ago #3 by Saddletank

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  • The Spanish attack on Calatayud was a sanguine and most bloody affair.

    General Villava pushed two infantry divisions and a cavalry division west and north across the ford beside the burned timber bridge over the Rio Ribota about two miles SW of Calatayud while screening the south side of the town with a third division and the cavalry division of the Army of Granada which had just come up after a tiring night march.



    Marechal Mortier sent his dragoon division under General la Houssaye south-west to block the Spanish western advance and used good ground on a narrow frontage between the Ribota on his left flank and the broken terrain of the mountain foothills on his right to slow the Spanish down.

    Meanwhile in the town Mortier ordered Suchet's infantry division to withdraw from the Novian Fleches back into the works on the south side of the town where a formidable line of artillery had been set up.



    Things then began to unravel for the French as one of la Houssaye's brigade commanders went off on his own initiative and was lost to the rest of the battle; his brigade of three squadrons being trapped up against some wooded rocky terrain in the far west of the area of the battle and the second brigade being relentlessly driven back to the town despite inflicting heavy losses on the enthusiastic Spanish infantry who came on in a series of ragged columns through the broken country bisected by wooded ravines and fast flowing steams.

    Suchet meanwhile had sent a brigade west to defend the wooded country around the Soria Redoubt on the western end of "The Neck", the name the French had christened the narrow strip of ground between the confluence of the Ribota and Jalon rivers. This ground was highly unsuited to artillery deployment and throughout the action several French batteries made almost no contribution to the defence at all. There was talk of Spanish spies in the town mixing sand in with the gunpowder or drilling holes in the stock of roundshot so these projectiles split apart and scattered harmlessly when fired!

    Suchet had one brigade holding The Neck and his second facing south at the Three Bridges but the Spanish came on in an unstoppable mass, taking the Soria redoubt and pushing on to threaten the line of breastworks at the eastern end of The Neck and hard up against the town proper.

    Here the Spanish attack stalled, several battalions being destroyed or driven back by heroic charges of la Houssaye's dragoons while in the south several charges by battalions of regular infantry against the southern line of breastworks were thrown back with bloody melees taking place bear the bridges and along the river banks.

    As nightfall drew on the Spanish pressure let up and they pulled back a few hundred yards to secure the positions they had overrun - the Soria redoubt in the west and the Novian Fleches in the south. They had suffered some 2,000 casualties for French losses of about half that number but many wounded French were left to the mercy of the Spanish in the positions Mortier had lost.

    The French still have communications with Zaragossa to the north-east and over the next days it is expected that both sides will renew the struggle here, the situation taking up more of the character of a siege.

    1 - 6) La Houssaye's delaying action in the south-west along the left bank of the Ribota.

    1) La Houssaye goes forwards to near the western ford with a squadron of dragoons to observe the approaching enemy.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud042.jpg

    2) La Houssaye's horse artillery.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud043.jpg

    3 & 4) The Spanish come pouring over the hills.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud044.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud047.jpg

    5) The French dragoons in a delaying combat with Spanish infantry trying to cross a wooded stream.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud045.jpg

    6) Colourful Spanish hussars lead columns of rag-tag uniformed volunteer infantry.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud050.jpg

    7) Looking south on the south side of the town. Spanish troops advance to capture the east Novian Fleche on it's ridge overlooking the river crossings.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud051.jpg

    8 ) Viewed looking south-west, Spanish infantry advance down the slope from Soria Redoubt (far right) and push from right to left across The Neck to be confronted by French dragoons.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud052.jpg

    9 - 13) The mass of Spanish troops press their attack on the south-west side of town.

    9 & 10) An overall view from about the same vantage point as above.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud054.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud057.jpg

    11) French voltigeurs skirmish behind breastworks. The red-uniformed troops to the right are a Swiss regiment in the Spanish army.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud061.jpg

    12 & 13) "A most terrible musketry at the barricades". For fully half an hour the two sides exchanged volleys at under 50 yards. The Spaniards fell in heaps but there were more than enough fresh and eager soldiers to continue the fight.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud062.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud063.jpg

    14 & 15) On the south-east side of town two Spanish battalions charge across the fast flowing Jalon against breastworks held by the 3rd battalion of the 88th Line. The 3/88th sees off both attacks and counter charges down to the river edge driving the Spanish back across.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud064.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud065.jpg

    16 & 17) Past the bodies of the glorious fallen from an earlier assault, Spanish regulars make a desperate charge over the bridges south of the town and momentarily gain the breastworks before a counter-charge by dragoons threw them back.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud067.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Calatayud069.jpg

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    5 years 5 months ago #4 by redcoat

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  • brilliant pics and a good read. thanks for posting.

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    5 years 5 months ago #5 by Volunteer

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  • Another fine and inspiring despatch! :)

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    5 years 5 months ago #6 by Saddletank

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  • The Battle of Torrelavega, 28th February 1809.

    Following the battle of Santander, General Acevedo's Spanish and British forces fell back west to reach the north coast town of Torrelavega. Here, perhaps inadvisedly, Acevedo called a halt and ordered the infantry division of General Romana's Corps south to Reynosa where a couple of days later it overwhelmed and captured the entire French garrison made up of the 4th battalion of the 51st infantry regiment.

    Acevedo's main force remained halted while the bulk of the heavy artillery and cavalry continued to withdraw along the road to Oviedo.



    On the 26th contact was made with French light cavalry patrols coming along the coast road from Santander. A hearty skirmish ensued and it became clear that Ney's VI Corps was moving in force west. Acevedo sent an urgent message to La Romana's infantry to hurry back to Torrelavega or else he would be cut off on the mountain road, and now the Army of the Asturias is pinned in place at that town where it must hold the mountain road open until the force from Reynosa arrives.

    Meanwhile French pressure from the east is growing.



    This battle is being played on the Fox's Gap map of the Gettysburg Antietam expansion pack which you will need in order to play. I have rotated the map 90deg clockwise so that west has become north. The range of hills across which Fox's and Turner's Gaps cross represents the coastal range of the Cantabrian mountains. The township of Neuerhausen is Torrelavega and the road to Reynosa runs off what is now the south map edge.

    There is a safe exit zone for the Spanish in the north-west corner representing a coastal route towards Oviedo. The French VI Corps is advancing from Emminghausen which map corner represents the route to Santander.

    The north map edge is considered to be the sea. The south map edge apart from the road to Reynosa leads into impassable mountains. Further impassable mountainous terrain extends east and west.

    Both sides have had much of their heavy artillery, horse artillery and heavy cavalry deleted as the terrain in this region cannot support operations of such troops in large numbers. Light cavalry and some dragoons and medium and light artillery is present. Part of Acevedo's artillery and cavalry have already been sent west off the map. Ney's heavy guns and cavalry are at the rear of his column and will not participate in the battle.

    There are no restrictions to combat on the low ground between the mountains and the sea.

    The mountain tracks are passable for all troops but combat in the hills is going to be extremely difficult. The following rules apply:

    1) All troops must pass over the mountains only by road, in road march column. The region between the orange dots is the area in which all movement must be on roads. The Spanish troops coming from Reynosa have a choice of several mountain tracks on the south side but these all converge eventually into three routes out of the mountains to the north: the eastern track leads down from Guntelfingen towards Emminghausen - the central track leads down from St. Peter to Torrelavega (Neuershausen) - and the western track passes from Alpersbach to Hochsteten. Only once units get to the northern orange markers on the roads can they then exit off road to continue cross country.

    2) If there is combat in the mountains units may deploy but at least some of their sprites MUST remain on a road. Therefore the maximum frontage a force can deploy is 2 units abreast. This includes skirmisher units.

    3) Units which fail morale and retreat away from a road must be returned to a road as soon as practical. They must not be ordered to continue across country.

    The above rules should make it apparent that units must be TC'd for any mountain combat.

    The game will need a minimum of 10 players.

    We are playing this battle on Sunday 1st November at 20:00 GMT / 21:00 CET / 15:00 EST. A doodle link is below; please sign up if you are able to join us. You will need all three of the KS Napoleon Waterloo mods and the Antietam add-on for Gettysburg.

    Doodle Poll.

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    5 years 5 months ago #7 by Mark

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  • By far the bloodiest battle of the war.... The Spanish held their own..

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    5 years 5 months ago - 5 years 5 months ago #8 by Saddletank

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  • Not quite the bloodiest - Santander still holds that dubious crown.

    The last day of February witnessed the war's second bloodiest battle. Only the fearsome confrontation at Santander two weeks previously resulted in greater losses. The French suffered 590 killed, 4,260 wounded and 100 missing. The Spanish lost 550 killed, 3,940 wounded and 90 missing. In both cases this was about 23% of the total engaged. It was a very hard fight but the French slowly lost their grip on what was originally perceived in the Spanish camp to be an easy victory. All the Spanish officers were resolved to suffer a defeat and were of the mind to try and escape once San Roman's division had arrived from the south over the mountains. A powerful and rapid French attack was expected as time was clearly in the Spaniard's favour and they perceived that the French needed to move rapidly to close the routes down from the mountain passes. Unfortunately for the French this was exactly what they did not do.

    The fire and spirit for which Marechal Ney is feared across Europe was lacking and the French advance began at 9:00am, slowly and on a broad front, pausing often and giving General Acevedo time to keep moving his divisions back to more westerly defensive positions until General San Roman arrived at Hochsteten at 9:50am having taken the road from Alpersbach. San Roman enquired of Acevedo if there had been a great battle and had he missed it but it became apparent that battle had not yet been joined and the artillery fire heard was only a long range bombardment.

    In the map below the left side is NORTH and is the coast. Beyond the left map edge is sea. The separate Spanish division that began the battle at the far map edge was therefore marching NORTH and the French were attacking from the EAST.

    General Ballesteros' division (Kevin) formed up on the coastal plain with Llano Ponte's division (Mikel) south of him, inland astride a prominent height. The newly arrived San Roman (Martin) disposed his division atop a very high ridge with his right flank in the town of Hochsteten among densely wooded and rocky terrain. Acevedo (Pepe) placed de Fuy's division in reserve with the weak cavalry division of Ortega, just 6 squadrons, held in reserve also about the right centre.



    Ney (Tom) sent Mermet's small 3rd division (Alex) against Ballesteros while Lagrange's 2nd division (Tom) made a general assault on the Spanish centre. Desolles' 4th division (Sean) was placed in the south, it's left hand brigade on the wooded heights facing San Roman. Marchand's 1st division (Steve) was initially a reserve but was committed to support Desolles and plug the gap between Desolles and Lagrange. Debellier's cavalry (Mark) initially swept across the high ground in the south but as the battle developed was committed to action in the centre.

    The French attack when it came was indifferent in the south and after several shaky moments San Roman's Cacadores held up the French as they attempted to press up the steep slope of the eastern end of the ridge his left-most brigade occupied. One brigade attacked Hochsteten but was repulsed with high losses. While the French left was struggling and was eventually obliged to relinquish pressure on the Spanish right, the Spanish left flank collapsed! With his guns overrun and routed, Ballesteros' division fractured and his troops fled along the coast road pursued by eager French dragoons calling on all who would listen to flee. The Spanish left flank folded back along a useful spine of high ground giving them a new front that faced north-east and this bastion was assaulted by the combined efforts of three French divisions plus their cavalry. Acevedo and Llano Ponte were forced to give ground but the terrain dictated the shape of the battle and the more they advanced the more their left flank was exposed to the Spanish in the south where San Roman was holding steady and de Fuy was moving into the gap between Desolles and Lagrange.

    The attack in the south was called off at 10:50 and from then on the divisions of Marchand and Desolles contributed no further effort to the battle beyond a long-range artillery bombardment. In the centre General Lagrange was badly wounded at 10:55 and it was a critical 15 minutes before this was understood at corps HQ and his next in command was notified. By then the central assault had run its course and by 11:20 firing was dying down all along the line. By midday the French pulled back to a line along the Eltz Fluss and the afternoon was spent by both sides in succouring the wounded. In the evening the Spanish were relieved to see the French march away east back to Santander.

    General Acevedo has finally broken his string of defeats; this victory is his finest and echoes his first success in battle at San Milan last August. Only time will tell if this win is merely a pyrrhic one. Acevedo's army is now thinned out to a mere shadow of its former strength and it is known that Marechal Verdier's IV Corps is approaching Reynosa.

    Some artists sketches...

    1) San Roman's column on the march:

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega01.jpg

    2, 3) His division deploys on a high rocky ridge north of Hochsteten:

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega03.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega20.jpg

    4) The six companies of Cazadores Infantería Regimiento 1° de Cataluña are sent forward to meet the first approach of the French:

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega04.jpg

    5, 6, 7) Three images of the ill-fated French attack on Hochsteten town, showing the high-water mark of the assault; the attackers faltering; and the retreat. The French lost almost 450 men in this attack, Spanish losses were just 35.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega07.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega08.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega10.jpg

    8 ) The French attack on San Roman's ridge at it's height. Most of a division is held back by eight cazadore companies. The Spanish lost 165 men from these two light infantry battalions over the course of the action.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega12.jpg

    9) Spanish artillery of the "División del Norte" in action. Uniforms and equipment supplied by the British:

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega28.jpg

    10, 11, 12) Three views of the distant action to the north - here Mermet's division attacked out of sight beyond this high ground and Marchand's division attacked it's eastern (right hand end - the French are attacking from right to left across these scenes), pushing along it:

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega17.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega23.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega36.jpg

    13, 14) San Roman rode north at the end of the battle and got these views of the wreckage and body-strewn field north of the ridge shown in the last images - this was the scene of the destruction of Ballasteros' division by the French cavalry:

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega37.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega38.jpg

    15, 16) Two views of a very curious event at the end of the action. A French battalion arrived marching noisily, musicians playing, along the road into Hochsteten where I had three battalions posted watching this flank. The French column marched right between my two front units which wheeled to face it, pouring fire into its flanks as it went by. The third battalion was posted to block the road and stopped the French with volleys. They then surrendered. In the second picture you can see the road strewn with French wounded and dying. A very strange incident:

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega32.jpg

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Torrelavega34.jpg

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    Last edit: 5 years 5 months ago by Saddletank.
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    5 years 5 months ago #9 by Saddletank

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  • The Second Half of February 1809, the Most Momentous Two Weeks in Spain Since Last May?

    Great events are taking place as the armies that beset this fair land clash, causing blood to spill and ruin to descend on soldier, nobleman and citizen alike.

    Latest News! Revelations at Lerida! Scarecrow Army Found. Mayor Names Them "los muertos vivientes".


    A cold dawn awoke the world on a miserable wet day in the third week of February. The last few fit men of Palafoxes' scouting group, mounted on mules, watched the city of Lerida below them in the mist-veiled valley of the Rio Segre a few miles distant. They hid among pine trees on a hillside of the north flank of the Segre valley. Several miles further north of the little hungry party of Spaniards the thousands of starving men, soldiers now in nothing but name, of the Army of Aragon huddled for warmth under brush cut from pine trees in a wooded valley sheltering from the last of the winter snow. Behind them on the mountain paths many sons of Spain would never rise again from their slumbers. The men were reduced to nibbling at pine cones, catching insects and squirrels and boiling the leather straps of their equipment to make a crude soup. Even their muskets had been burned for firewood to boil water to keep alive. The men were living skeletons.

    From the scouts party a man came into their camp astride an exhausted mule.

    "Don Palafox! The French! They are retreating from Lerida! There is cannon fire! Come quick!"

    Palafox took another mule - a gift from the guerilleros who had supplied his weakened army with what food and clothing they could over the winter - and rode south with his companion. Back at the hilltop he put his dented and dirty brass spyglass to his eye. A column of troops, their French banners plain enough to see, were snaking away west from the town on the road to Zaragosa. Behind them he could make out groups of Spanish horsemen carrying the Royal banner of King Ferdinand and from the walls of the citadel cannon popped, their shots chasing the French away. After an hour the sight was plain, the French were falling back from Lerida. Palafox sent his three best men mounted on the three strongest mules south towards the town. He watched them meet a party of cavalry and the group returned to his lookout point. A Spanish capitan took off his hat and bowed.

    "Sir, whom do I address?" he asked.

    "I am Major Ricardo Alfonse of the Pamplona Volunteers," Palafox lied, his mind made up. "The Army of Aragon is just north of here, sheltering in a wooded valley. I will inform Senor Don Palafox that we have made contact with friends." Palafox deliberately withheld a significant truth.

    "I am pleased to meet you Major. I am Capitan Eduardo Vigres y Sengre of the Dragones de Numancia, part of the 16° División de Caballeria of Mariscal de Campo Feodoro Murillo de Galluzzo. Army of Valencia. I am at your service. Capitan-General de Llamas is in person in the town. He - no - all of us will be delighted at this news. We feared the worst for your army."

    "Capitan, I am most grateful. I fear we need much food, water and blankets as well as wagons to move our sick and the most weak. Lieutenant Moraz, go to the General and pass him this wonderful news. I shall be with him shortly."

    Palafox gave one of his men a certain look. Understanding his intent with a silent nod, one of the Aragonese scouts rode away to pass on the news.

    Two days later as the weakened stragglers of the Army of Aragon, over 15,000 of them, collapsed in the streets and barns of Lerida they learned that a French army had invested the town six weeks prior but had been driven away back towards Zaragossa by the Army of Valencia only this week. The siege had trapped Palafox's men in the hills with no way to cross the Segre. By abandoning the town the French allowed this ragged army to be saved from complete disintegration.

    None other than General Llamas, Capitain-General of Valencia was present in the town at the head of his troops. The Capitan-General asked to meet Major Alfonse of the Pamplona Regiment but he was not to be found. Following enquiries it was learned that no such officer had served on the strength of the regiment. Alfonse had vanished into the misty woods of the Pyrenees mountain lowlands, leaving his men to find safety but himself riding off into myth and legend.

    The men of the Army of Aragon would need weeks to recover and even longer to be resupplied and equipped. Llamas gave orders for them to march to Tarragona to begin a period of rest, training and re-equipping. It would likely be months however before they could call themselves an army again.

    Capitan-General of Aragon, Senor Don Palafox was never found. He appeared to have abandoned his men, his senior staff and close friends having vanished also. The Junta Central is still hunting for him and a reward of 20,000 Reales for confirmed news of a sighting of him is unclaimed.

    Reynosa! A Small but Decisive Action!

    At the hilltop town in the Cantabrian mountains the French garrison of the 4th battalion of the 51st line regiment was surprised one morning by a dawn attack by several thousand Spanish infantry of the Princesa and Zamora regiments and the light infantry of the Cataluña and Barcelona Cazadores regiments. There was a brief but violent charge into the main buildings of the square and the French suddenly found themselves overrun. A couple of hundred barricaded themselves in the Convent of Our Lady but were persuaded to surrender a few hours later.

    Several French, fleeing the town eastward along the track to Espinosa were ambushed and shot or captured by guerilleros watching that path. These soldiers suffered a gruesome fate of torture and hideous dismemberment not seen before in this war. The guerillas were especially angry and intolerant after the months of French deprivations in their locality. We fear that reprisal will follow on reprisal after this most grisly incident.

    Only a small party of mounted officers galloped back to Espinosa to report the news to Marechal Ney. The entire battalion was lost.

    Somosierra. A Clash of Great Armies?

    Around this remote mountain town Spanish soldiers have been labouring for weeks. An impressive series of redoubts and other works have been dug to command the only road up to the pass that leads the highway from Burgos to Madrid. Steep hillsides and gloomy pine woods look down on this pass from both flanks. The Spanish engineer officer lay his map aside and lit a pipe. He was satisfied with his work. He sent a courier down the road northwards informing General Castanos that all was as ready as it could be. The men and cannon were in position. Only a madman or the devil himself might attempt to attack here. It was a fortress.

    A days ride north Castanos sat on a chair on the verandah of a taverna that commanded a splendid view down into the Duero valley where, hidden in the far distant haze, the town of Aranda lay, its streets now full of marching French columns. Below him on the hillside the Spanish army was drawn up in serried lines, cannon between the regiments and horsemen on the flanks. Further away and lower still an army of ants appeared to be gathering on the plain, covering the road from Burgos and fanning out to either flank in the farms and citrus groves. Their white, blue and red flags told him all he needed to know. Castanos lay his spyglass aside and with an irritated wave of his arm dismissed a waiter who offered another bottle of wine. Kicking his chair back, he stood up. Soon there would be warm work to be done.

    A beautifully uniformed Chasseur of the Garde rode up to a staff officer, saluted and handed over a written note. The ADC read the message and passed it to a more senior officer. The man tucked his large feathered hat under his arm and pulled aside the flap of the ornate tent. Inside he spoke to the man who sat on a drum, his legs raised a little, ankles crossed, feet comfortably resting on a saddle. The seated man, his arms folded, his chin on his chest, eyes closed and seemingly asleep made no reaction as the officer read out the report received from the cavalry screen. Spanish guns here, cavalry here, brigades of infantry up here and over there. Bad ground on this flank, better ground at so-and-so. The message reader stopped.

    "Sire?"

    Silence.

    "I can come back later if you wish to sl-"

    "I heard every word Duroc, my friend. There is to be no 'later'. There is only 'now'. Are the cannons in position?"

    Duroc nodded.

    "They are Sire."

    "Then give the order. We attack at noon. Do the necessary."

    "Yes Sire!"

    The Duc de Frioul, commander of Napolen's guard, bowed and withdrew, passing orders to his aides-de-camp. Drums rattled, bugles called, the French began to move.

    Gerona.

    General St Cyr's Corps has made a sudden move from almost complete inactivity in its camps along the valley of the Ter to rapidly surround and cut the city off from outside communication. It appears a siege has begun. This is the third attempt the French have made on the city. News is almost completely lacking about the exact events here but some reports are trickling out carried by local civilians and of course the ubiquitous miquelets. It seems the French may have 30,000 men in the region with no less than five divisions plus a cavalry division and most importantly, a siege train has arrived along the coast road from Rosas, escorted by a second line division of reservists. The boom of heavy guns is heard each day in the surrounding villages and farms.

    Further south French cavalry has pushed aggressively from Gerona and at Hostalrich has contacted a Spanish brigade of cavalry with some infantry who are busily working on digging field defences near the village on a commanding ridge. The French cavalry officers can plainly be seen taking notes of their enemy's strength and are presumably happy to see the Spaniards acting defensively instead of preparing a relief column.

    Near Vich there is similar news; a band of miquelets holds the village while French light cavalry have issued south-west from Gerona along a secondary road to observe the town.

    Lerida.

    A Spanish division with some attached but somewhat ragged looking cavalry has been posted at Mequinenza and is covering the river crossing there acting as a forward defence for the town. Inside the fortress what remains of Palafox's Army of Aragon is recovering it's strength although there have been some sad scenes of burials of the most sick soldiers for whom rescue came too late.

    A powerful Spanish column is said to have left the town and gone along the road towards Cervera.

    Barcelona! Court Martial of a Popular Noble!

    In Barcelona a military court has sat in judgement of Mariscal de Campo Martin de la Carrera, the commander of the cavalry division of the Army of Cataluna. The general has been found guilty of disobedience of orders during the action at Cervera on 14th February as well as "behaviour of an excited and reckless nature, resulting in unnecessary losses suffered by his command, and actions unbecoming an officer of one of His Majesty's regiments." De la Carrera has been placed on the reserve list on half-pay and refused a field command. He was offered command of the garrison of Tarragona but in a rage rejected this "insult to my honour", storming out of the courtroom. He has reportedly retired to his estate at Vendrils.

    General de Brigada Servando Teresa de Mier, previously the commander of the cavalry of the Army of Aragon, has been appointed in Carrera's place, though its thought it will be some weeks before the demoralised and weakened cavalry will be fit to offer battle.

    Calatayud!

    A great battle has been joined at this fair town. The French under Marechal Mortier dug extensive earthwork defences to protect the place but have been driven back from their outer positions by the Spanish Armies of Murcia and Granada. The French now find themselves in a besieged situation. Of some concern is the whereabouts of the cavalry division of General Kellermann which marched south-west along the road to Madrid mid-month. Spanish cavalry patrols report it has reached Aviza or Medinaceli (it is not clear which) where it has probably halted, Kellermann's supply line being cut, preventing him from advancing further.

    At Villa Viciosa a Spanish corps that is part of the Army of Extremadura has laid idle in camp. It was apparently supposed to muster and arrest the progress of the French cavalry at Aviza but has done nothing.

    At Calatayud the Spanish are labouring to build a bridge of boats across the floodwaters of the Rio Jalon east of the town to facilitate a complete surrounding of the French there.

    Oropesa and Valencia.

    Following accusations of incompetence from Capitan-General Llamas, Mariscal de Campo el Conde de Caldagues, twice defeated yet twice claiming victory at Oropesa, has returned to Valencia with his second-line division, his career, it would seem, in ruins. He left a battalion in Oropesa and in great distress has retired to his villa to write his memoirs: "A Loyal Soldier: Life in the Grand War of Liberation - The Spanish Army and Why General Llamas and General Vives Have No Friends."

    Madrid!

    Always a hotbed of social speculation and liable to boil over into excited chaos at a moment's notice, the news of Bonaparte so near the capital is causing all manner of excitement, speculation and unrest. A few fashionable people are leaving, taking carriages to their country estates, while the bolder entrepreneurial merchants are buying up stocks of grain, wine, textiles and other goods in the hope of selling them to the French!

    About sixty miles north of the city, in the still-cold Sierra de Guadamarra, a bleak high pass in the mountains at Somosierra is the scene of quiet resolution as the tens of thousands who comprise Capitan-General Castanos' Army of Andalucia await the arrival of the French, or more specifically, one man. A man whose name is on every pair of lips; to whom the conversation turns at every camp fire and card game; about whom each man of this great host has his own opinion, fears and imaginings:

    "Bonaparte is coming. He must not get to Madrid. We are in his way. We must stop him.

    We - must stop Bonaparte, the conqueror of Europe!"

    In the last days of February Castanos refused battle south of Aranda and abandoned that position to withdraw thirty miles to Somosierra. It is said this is the strongest military position in all Spain. The Swiss strategist and engineer Bertholdt has opined, "Soldiers say the Ordal Cross heights are a strong position. True soldiers know that Ordal is but a child's castle of sand upon a beach compared to the pass of Somosierra."

    South of Aranda the French army has moved forwards and remains in contact with the Spanish. Their cavalry officers have arrived at the foot of the road leading up to the pass and are studying the position through their spyglasses.

    In the West! Lisbon and the British! What is Going On?

    There is news of further fleets of transports approaching Lisbon. It seems the English intend to land yet more soldiers ashore. Soon perhaps Portugal will break off and sink into the Atlantic under the weight of fat English officers, their fat wives and their fat horses. Madeira, potatoes and beef are being consumed in grotesque proportions. The Lisbon economy is booming, English soldiers stomachs are booming, but what is not booming is English cannon! Where are the British? They landed ashore last summer yet all we have seen of them is one battle at Vimiero and then nothing! They have landed ashore here and gone away there. They march hither and thither and their politicians yell at their generals who yell back, indignant and red-faced. We have only seen the English run away from battle! Valladolid! Santander! Duenas! These foreigners come into our country, take their pick of our finest beef herds and our exotic birds and keep marching away from the French. Something must happen soon, something more than the loud belches coming from the English officers messes!

    Valladolid, Zamora, Aravelo and the Plains of Leon.

    A farcical cat and mouse game is being played out on these pretty fields and among the red-roofed farms of Castille. Detachments of French and Spanish cavalry trot here and there, armies sit idle, garrisons relax and enjoy the local delights. There is a French division - or two divisions - at Valladolid, a critical place that the British and Spanish seem to pointedly ignore, despite its military importance. The English armies go back and forth to no purpose. At Arevalo the Conde de Belvedere rests in a fine villa and his men enjoy the dry fresh weather. A few hundred French cavalry are posted across the Adajo and daily chat with their counterparts as they water their horses on the opposite bank. There are rumours of French patrols in Zamora yet no attempt is made to investigate this news. Is this a war or is it not? Is every person so mesmerised by each word Bonaparte utters that none cares for any place but where he rests his behind?

    It is like a war and yet not a war in Leon-Castile. Are we trying to drive the invader from our beautiful country or are we not?

    Torrelavega!

    The latest news is of a titanic battle on the coastal plain near this town. Reports are that General Acevedo's army was caught in a strung out position with one of his divisions out of place. Certain defeat was uppermost in every officers mind yet by the Grace of God the French have been halted here. Marechal Ney's corps attacked on the 28th in the morning but was denied victory by a combination of their own slow advance, the very bad terrain in this region and an unusually dogged defence by the brave soldiers of Asturias. We carry a full report of this battle elsewhere but the most important news is that the French have gone back to Santander to lick their wounds although Ney's fellow Marechal, Baron Verdier, is reported at Reynosa upon Acevedo's flank.

    Of the British who were in Santander and marched out with Acevedo and la Romana, there is no news.

    Oviedo!

    At this city the powerful garrison marched out to confront a brigade of French light cavalry that was patrolling outside. A couple of days of inconclusive skirmishing took place with the more numerous garrison able to send convoys of carts and ox-wagons past the French to Acevedo's army. Shockingly, within a week, the French commander, Colonel Louis-Marie Le Ferriere-Levesque, was confronted with the news that his own line of communications was cut. A powerful body of Spanish cavalry arrived from the east, escorted by an artillery train and most worrying of all, a brigade of British light infantry. Faced with enemies to front and rear and with the Royal Navy's private lake on one hand and a mountain range infested with murderous guerillas on the other, a demoralised Ferriere-Levesque surrendered his entire command! Eight squadrons of fine French light cavalry, nearly 1,200 men, have been captured and are now held in Oviedo's barracks. The exhilarated Spanish horsemen at once began exchanging their thin mounts for sleek French ones.

    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.
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    5 years 5 months ago - 5 years 5 months ago #10 by Saddletank

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  • We have a clash of Titans. Napoleon's 'Armée du Madrid' is assaulting Capitán-General Castaños' Army of Andalucia at what many contemporary strategists believe is the finest defensive position in Spain - the high pass of Somosierra over the Sierra de Guaderrama on the Burgos-Madrid road about 70 miles north of the capital. It is 6th March 1809.



    Only the Spanish team will see the battle map in their private forum since the French have no possibility of conducting a reconnaissance of the terrain - they are at the bottom of a steep sided narrow valley with a winding dirt road running up it and the sides festooned with pine woods and broken rocky ground. Astride the roadway Napoleon can observe a series of earthen redoubts constructed to block the only practicable route up with further redoubts built part way up the flanks of the valley nearer the summit. At the summit itself is a defile where the road passes through a belt of densely wooded broken terrain.

    The woods to either flank are passable only to skirmish order infantry. The valley is entirely unsuitable to cavalry. Artillery will only be able to deploy astride the road (that is artillery units in the game must have at least one cannon sprite on the road). The pass is narrow; less than a half-mile wide. The game map will have a series of objective markers to show the boundaries of play and we will have to TC almost all units to prevent the AI moving them over these boundaries.



    This is a critical moment of the conflict; it may even be a critical moment for Europe and Napoleon; the capital of Madrid beckons. If he is halted here he will have to leave for the Rhine and pass the conduct of the campaign to his marshals. Should he win, Madrid is his for the taking and no doubt many of Spain's soldiers will suffer a demoralising effect because of this loss. It is known that King Joseph is with his brother, the Emperor. He no doubt has plans to make the citizens of Madrid bend to his will.

    This is going to be a moderately big game, but although the forces arrayed in the region are large the circumstances of terrain mean that only limited troops can be brought to engage, so we will need about 8 or 9 players for this battle. More will allow us to allocate commands down to brigade level which is a good thing given the amount of careful and close control generals will have to exercise over their units.

    Please sign up via a Doodle poll here. For our regular players I would appreciate it if you would indicate on the poll even if you are not available since this aids my planning. This game needs no Gettysburg add-ons. We are using Waterloo as usual as the base game and our customary KS Mods - KS Nap v1.04, Supplementary maps v1.09 and KS Sprites v10.2. There will be a new version of the KS Peninsular Campaign mod (v1.04) to cover the new OOBs. I'll supply that on the day.

    I will add posts to the two private forums on the Kriegspiel site on Monday 9th November.

    Many thanks.

    upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/00/La_bataille_de_Somo-Sierra.jpg

    upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Suchodolski_Battle_of_Somosierra.png

    upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ee/Charge_polonaise_%C3%A0_Somosierra_2.jpg/483px-Charge_polonaise_%C3%A0_Somosierra_2.jpg

    upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Battle_of_Somosierra_1808_by_Horace_Vernet.PNG

    i53.tinypic.com/2ed47j7.jpg


    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.
    Last edit: 5 years 5 months ago by Saddletank.
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    5 years 4 months ago #11 by Saddletank

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  • KEY TO FRENCH FORMATIONS:

    N - Napoleon, Frioul (Guard), Victor (I Corps) and escort squadron of Polish Light Horse

    I Corps - Victor:
    R - Ruffin's division
    L - Lapisse's division
    V - Villatte's division
    S - Senarmont's corps reserve artillery
    B - Beaumont's cavalry division (part)

    Guard Corps - Duc de Frioul:
    GI - Guard infantry and artillery
    GLC - Guard light cavalry

    =========================

    KEY TO SPANISH FORMATIONS:

    1 - Redoubt #1, most northern defence (divided into two parts by the road).
    2 - Redoubt #2 covering Asparn village (divided into two parts by the road).
    3 - Redoubt #3 covering the far right flank.
    4 - Redoubt #4 between Asparn and the Pass (divided into two parts by the road).
    5 - Redoubt #5, a large work that protects the right rear of #2 and supports the left flank of #3.
    6 - Redoubt #6 that covers the far right flank and the rear of Redoubts #3 and #5.
    7 - Redoubt #7 that is sited right in the pass itself between two impassable woods.

    AG - Areizaga Division, Girón Brigade.
    AM - Areizaga Division, Mendoza Brigade.
    AS - Areizaga Division, Schramm Brigade.
    A - Areizaga Division, Artillery.

    CR - Coupigny Division, Ricardos Brigade.
    CGi - Coupigny Division, Girón Brigade.
    CGu - Coupigny Division, Gulas Brigade.
    C - Coupigny Division, Artillery.

    LA - Lapeña Division, Abarca Brigade.
    LU - Lapeña Division, Ulloa Brigade.

    J - Jones Division.
    LC - Las Casas Division (Cavalry).

    =================================

    SPANISH DEPLOYMENT:

    The army engineers (such as they are - somewhat uneducated fellows) at first thought the pass was narrow and slender and the original deployment orders were written up on this basis. On his arrival General Castanos finds the pass is very much broader than he was advised - almost a mile wide and the initial deployments of Coupigny's and Areizaga's forward brigades showed the defence was far too thin.

    All of Areizaga's 1st and Coupigny's 2nd divisions have therefore been placed in the main area of the lower pass with Lapeña's 4th in the reserve position at Redoubts #4, #6 and #7.

    First Line

    The map shows Redoubt #1 held by Ricardo's whole brigade with the light infantry in the woods to the left. Three battalions line the breastworks with two in columns in reserve.

    Brigade Girón of Areizaga's division is to the right rear with four battalions deployed in line on a ridge and three battalions (including both Guardia battalions) in divisional columns in support on the reverse slope. Both Coupigny and Areizaga are forwards with their front brigades.

    Second Line

    Brigade Girón of Coupigny's division holds Redoubt #2 with three battalions lining the breastworks and two in divisional columns in reserve.

    Brigade Mendoza of Areizaga's division holds Redoubt #3 on the far right flank with three battalions lining the breastworks and three in divisional columns in reserve, one forward and two more further back. Directly in rear of Redoubt #3 is a quite substantial wood but as it is not shown on the map it can be traversed by close order troops. Redoubt #3 cannot be flanked on it's right as the terrain to the east is too broken for any troops to operate.

    Brigade Schramm of Areizaga's division holds the large central Redoubt #5 which is shaped to cover the rear and right of Redoubt #2 and the left of Redoubt #3. Schramm has 3 battalions lining the breastworks and one in reserve to his left.

    Third Line

    Brigade Gulas of Coupigny's division is on the south bank of the steep-sided stream bed that is to the south of Asparn and flows west. Gulas has the least well-drilled troops. His men are well-placed to cover the south edge of the woods that potentially allow Redoubt #2 to be outflanked on its left.

    Brigade Abarca of Lapeña's division holds Redoubt #4 with three battalions and redoubt #6 with two battalions of grenadiers. A battery of guns supports the grenadiers and three batteries and a reserve battalion in column support Redoubt #4. One of the batteries is facing north-west to cover the woods in front of Gulas and two face north-north-east down the road and the main valley. These guns should make Redoubts #2 and #5 very warm for any enemy that reaches them.

    Generals Castanos, Lapeña and Las Casas (Cavalry) are here, just in front of Redoubt #7.

    Brigade Ulloa of Lapeña's division holds the Pass Redoubt (#7) with three battalions lining the breastworks, three in column of divisions in close support and one more further back.

    Reserves

    Guns of Areizaga and Coupigny are on high ground facing inwards covering the road as it descends the southern slope of the pass.

    Division Jones and cavalry division Las Casas are placed on a lesser ridge to the south.

    Note that a secure safe zone/exit point is the far SW corner of the map where the road exits towards Madrid.

    General Castanos, if any units need adjusting please advise.

    The Army of Andalucia war artist has made these sketches:

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/screen0001.jpg

    Some finely dressed French generals appear out of the woods to the north and observe our position through their spyglasses. A squadron of light cavalry carrying a Polish guidon escort them. Is this the Emperor?

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/screen0002.jpg

    The same view as seen from General Ricardo's redoubt #1

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/screen0003.jpg

    General Girón's brigade of Coupigny's division occupying Redoubt #2. The two distant battalions are the two reserve units of Ricardo's brigade which gives some idea of scale of the position.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/screen0004.jpg

    View from redoubt #3 held by Mendoza's brigade. On the right a line of impassable rocks. These run along the battlefield's boundaries and should not be contacted or crossed by any unit flag. Near the house one of Girón's (Areizaga's) battalions and on the left three more in column behind his ridge. Just visible far left distance is one of Ricardo's reserve battalions.

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/screen0005.jpg

    General Schramm inside Redoubt #5. Beyond is Redoubt #2 occupied by three battalions and two more in reserve behind it, one this side of Asparn village and one beyond. In the far right distance units of Girón (Areizaga) and Ricardo (Coupigny).

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/screen0006.jpg

    View from inside Redoubt #6 held by Abarca's grenadiers. Redoubt #5 is in front and Redoubt #2 beyond that and Asparn centre distance. You can see the line of breastworks of redoubt #4 on the extreme left with one of Gulas' battalions near the stream among the trees in front of it.

    ================

    ORDERS OF BATTLE:

    FRANCE:

    Army Commander: Napoleon Bonaparte, Empereur des Francaise

    I Corps: Maréchal Claude Victor-Perrin, Duc de Belluno
    (17,502 inf, 1,273 cav, 48 guns)

    1er Division: Général de Division François-Amable Ruffin
    (4,966 inf, 12 guns)
    Brigade: Général de Brigade André Adrien Joseph de La Bruyère
    (3,359 inf)
    1/ 2/ 3/9e Régiment Léger (442, 461, 453)
    Bat Voltigeurs Mixte de Labruyere (320)
    1/ 2/ 3/24e Régiment de Ligne (562, 558, 563)
    Brigade: Général de Brigade Pierre Barrois
    (1,607 inf)
    1/ 2/ 3/96e Régiment de Ligne (441, 402, 432)
    Voltigeurs 96e de Ligne (332)
    Artillerie: Lt-Colonel Boyer, Major Compère
    6e Compagnie 1er Artillerie à Pied (4 x 8 pdr, 2 x 6-inch htzr)(90 men)
    7e Compagnie 1er Artillerie à Pied (6 x 8 pdr)(90 men)

    2ème Division: Général de Division Pierre Belon Lapisse
    (7,331 inf, 12 guns)
    Brigade: Général de Brigade Nicolas-Joseph Maison
    (3,714 inf)
    1/ 2/ 3/16e Léger Régiment (529, 512, 507)
    Btn Voltigeurs Mixte de Maison (466)
    1/ 2/ 3/8e Régiment de Ligne (571, 562, 567)
    Brigade: Général de Brigade Augustin Darricau
    (3,617 inf)
    1/ 2/ 3/45e Régiment de Ligne (501, 498, 495)
    Btn Voltigeurs Mixte de Darricau (461)
    1/ 2/ 3/54e Régiment de Ligne (558, 555, 549)
    Artillery: Major Dubreton, Major Ferey
    8e Compagnie 1er Artillerie à Pied (6 x 8 pdr)(90 men)
    2ème Compagnie 8e Artillerie à Pied (4 x 8 pdr, 2 x 6-inch htzr)(90 men)

    3ème Division: Général de Division Eugène Casimir Villatte
    (5,205 inf, 12 guns)
    Brigade: Général de Brigade Michel-Marie Pacthod
    (2,474 inf)
    1/ 2/ 3/27e Léger Régiment (453, 442, 425)
    Bat Voltigeurs Mixte de Pacthod (366)
    1/ 2/63e Régiment de Ligne (400, 388)
    Brigade: Général de Brigade Jacques-Pierre-Louis Puthod
    (2,731 inf)
    1/ 2/ 3/94e Régiment de Ligne (480, 470, 461)
    Bat Voltigeurs Mixte de Puthod (481)
    1/ 2/95e Régiment de Ligne (423, 416)
    Artillerie: Major Ordonne, Major Philippon
    9e Compagnie 1er Artillerie à Pied (4 x 8 pdr, 2 x 6-inch htzr)(90 men)
    6e Compagnie 8e Artillerie à Pied (4 x 4 pdr, 2 x 6-inch htzr)(78 men)

    Division de Cavalerie: Général de Brigade Marc Antoine Bonnin de Beaumont
    (1,273 cav)
    1er Brigade: Colonel Jean-André Valletaux
    (1,273 cav)
    2ème Régiment de Hussards (4 sq)(152, 142, 147, 141)
    4e Régiment de Hussards (4 sq)(176, 181, 175, 159)

    Artillerie de Réserve: Général de Brigade Senarmont
    (12 guns)
    Major Mermet, Major Marmoncey
    11e Compagnie 1er Artillerie à Pied (6 x 12 pdr)(90 men)
    1er Compagnie 8e Artillerie à Pied (4 x 12 pdr, 2 x 6-inch htzr)(90 men)

    Corps Garde Imperiale:

    Commanding Officer: Général de Division Géraud Christophe Michel Duroc, Duc de Frioul
    (6,572 inf, 1,421 cav, 12 guns)

    Garde à Pied: Général de Division Jean Marie Pierre Francois Lepaige Dorsenne
    (5,293 inf, 12 guns)
    Brigade de Vieille Garde: Général de Brigade Anne Charles Lebrun, Duc de Plaisance
    (2,523 inf)
    1er Bat Chasseur à Pied Régiment (701)
    2ème Bat Chasseur à Pied Régiment (694)
    1er Bat Grenadier à Pied Régiment (571)
    2ème Bat Grenadier à Pied Régiment (557)
    Brigade de Moyenne Garde: Général de Brigade Louis Friant
    (2,770 inf)
    1/1er Régiment de Fusilier-Chasseurs (699)
    2/1er Régiment de Fusilier-Chasseurs (696)
    1/2ème Régiment de Fusilier-Chasseurs (688)
    2/2ème Régiment de Fusilier-Chasseurs (687)
    Artillerie à Pied de la Garde: Major Couterre, Major Pinotte
    3ème Artillerie à Pied de la Vielle Garde (6 x 8pdr)(90 men)
    4ème Artillerie à Pied de la Vielle Garde (6 x 8pdr)(60 men)

    Division Garde à Cheval (part): Général de Division Comte Étienne Marie Antoine Champion de Nansouty
    (1,421 cav)
    Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde (4 sq)(172, 169, 171, 168)
    Chevau-légers Polonais (4 sq)(146, 149, 153, 150)
    Chevau-légers de Berg (1 sq)(144)

    SPAIN:

    Cuerpo de Andalucia: Capitán-General Francisco Xavier Castaños
    (25,820 inf, 3,257 cav, 60 guns)
    Staff: Coronel Juan Bouligni

    1° Division: Mariscal de Campo Juan Carlos Areizaga
    (6,718 inf, 12 guns)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Pedro Giron
    (2,555 inf)
    1° - 2° Cia. 3° Bon. Guardias Walonas Infantería Regimiento (362)
    3° - 4° Cia. 3° Bon. Guardias Walonas Infantería Regimiento (358)
    1° y 2° Bon. Reina Infantería Regimiento (318, 350)
    1° y 2° Bon. Corona Infantería Regimiento (354, 370)
    Provinciales de Lorca (443)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Andres Mendoza
    (2,277 inf)
    1° y 2° Bon. Jaen Infantería Regimiento (355, 401)
    1° - 2° Cia. 1° Bon. Irlanda Infantería Regimiento (360)
    3° - 4° Cia. 1° Bon. Irlanda Infantería Regimiento (392)
    1° - 2° Cia. 2° Bon. Irlanda Infantería Regimiento (394)
    3° - 4° Cia. 2° Bon. Irlanda Infantería Regimiento (375)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Juan Adam Schramm
    (1,886 inf)
    2° Bon. Wimpffen Infantería Regimiento (Suizos) (478)
    3° Bon. Wimpffen Infantería Regimiento (Suizos) (486)
    1° Bon. Preux Infantería Regimiento (Suizos) (457)
    2° Bon. Preux Infantería Regimiento (Suizos) (465)
    Artillería: Mayor Bernardo de Loza, Mayor Andreas Ruiz
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 6pdrs
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 8pdrs

    2° Division: Mariscal de Campo Marques de Coupigny
    (7,432 inf, 12 guns)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Pedro Augustín Girón
    (2,974 inf)
    2° y 3° Bon. Extremadura Infantería Regimiento (573, 563)
    1° 2° y 3° Bon. Ordenes Militares Infantería Regimiento (609, 639, 590)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Antonio Ricardos
    (2,898 inf)
    1° Bon. Córdoba Infantería Regimiento (555)
    5° - 6° Cia. Cazadores I.R. Campo Mayor (460)
    2° Bon. Córdoba Infantería Regimiento (518)
    Provinciales de Bujalanca (439)
    Provinciales de Cuenca (458)
    Provinciales de Ciudad Real (468)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Gabriel Javier Gulas
    (1,560 inf)
    1° y 2° Bon. Voluntarios de Cataluña (403, 414)
    Provinciales de Granada (376)
    Provinciales de Truxillo (367)
    Artillería: Capitán Mendoza, Mayor Belén
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 6pdrs
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 8pdrs (ex-French)

    3° Division, Army of Andalucia: Mariscal de Campo Felix Jones
    (5,102 inf, 12 guns)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Alejandro O'Reilly
    (1,442 inf)
    2° Voluntarios de Granada (478)
    3° Voluntarios de Granada (492)
    Cazadores de Anteguera (472)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Conde de Ricla
    (1,445 inf)
    1° Bon.Voluntarios de Barbastro (454)
    Tercio de Tejas (499)
    1° Voluntarios de Granada (492)
    Brigada: Coronel Joaquin Navarro
    (2,215 inf)
    Provinciales de Jaen (410)
    Provinciales de Búrgos (450)
    Provinciales de Alcázar de San Juan (465)
    Provinciales de Plasencia (445)
    Provinciales de Guadix (445)
    Artillería: Capitán Regorza, Capitán Mollà
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 8pdrs (ex-French)
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 6-inch htzrs (ex-French)

    4° Division: Lieutenant General Manual de Lapeña
    (6,568 inf, 24 guns)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Silvestre de la Abarca
    (3,486 inf)
    3° Bon. Provinciales Granaderos de Galicia (448)
    4° Bon. Provinciales Granaderos de Galicia (475)
    2° Bon. Africa Infantería Regimiento (563)
    1° 2° y 3° Bon.Búrgos Infantería Regimiento (646, 672, 682)
    Brigada: General de Brigada Antonio del Ulloa
    (3,082 inf)
    Det. 3° Bon. von Reding Mayor II Infantería Regimiento (381)
    1° - 2° Cia. 3° Bon.Zaragosa Infantería Regimiento (401)
    3° - 4° Cia. 3° Bon.Zaragosa Infantería Regimiento (445)
    3° Bon.Murcia Infantería Regimiento (461)
    1° y 2° Bon. von Reding Mayor II Infantería Regimiento (457, 450)
    Provinciales de Sigüenza (487)
    Artillería: Capitán Santos, Capitán Garrido, Mayor Chúmez, Capitán Longila
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 6pdrs
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 8pdrs
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 4pdrs (ex-French)
    Compañía de la Artillería 6 x 12pdrs

    ================

    THE BATTLE:

    The French assault up the Pass of Somosierra was that kind of event about which poets will write, musicians compose and artists paint. Soldiers of this battle will tell their tales of triumph, tragedy, fear and excitement for years to come in taverns and fine houses. The Frenchmen were unstoppable and stormed the Spanish works with elan and daring. Once they had broken through the first redoubt nothing seemed able to stop them. Possibly a weakness of the Spanish defence was to divide the responsibility of holding the line into a left and right flank. The Spanish left flank was Coupigny's 2nd division and it held responsibility for redoubt Nos.1 and 2 (at the foot of the hill and at the village of Asparn respectively) but could do little about the belt of woods on the extreme west side of the valley through which French tirailleurs scampered like mountain goats. The main road was held as stoutly as it could be and redoubt No.2 saw some tough fighting before it was captured. On the right Areizaga's 1st division was responsible for redoubt Nos.3 (far right) and 5 (behind and to the right rear of No.2). At the top of the pass Lapeña's 4th division occupied redoubt Nos.4 and 7 (astride the road south of Asparn and at the top of the pass respectively) and No.6 (to the extreme right rear covering the rear of redoubts 3 and 5).

    Fatally the junction line of the Spanish 1st and 2nd divisions was where the French pressure was greatest and on the French left forces were sent against redoubt No.3 to prevent Areizaga's men from assisting the other flank or influencing the fight for the road. Areizaga failed to hold redoubt No.5 at all, the 4 Swiss battalions posted there appear to have fallen back before hardly defending it. Possibly by this point so many Spanish units were falling back that the men's resolve failed them entirely.

    Napoleon and Marechal Victor grasped the essential point of the attack and urged their tired men directly up the road to seize the pass and close off the Spaniards escape route. Two squadrons of the Polish Light Horse and one squadron of Guard Chasseurs a Cheval contributed to the destruction of the Spanish centre at the critical moment - Lapeña personally got one battalion of the Murcia Regiment into square inside redoubt No.7 only for the men to flee as the Chasseurs charged them. Not even Spanish squares would stand firm amid the chaos of smoke, screams, running men and thundering horses. High up on the slopes 18 cannon of 4th division were deployed but these only fired a handful of shots before a charge by the French cavalry caused the gunners to limber up their cannon and flee for their lives. On the Spanish right in redoubt No.6 Capitán Longila's battery of 6 12-pound guns was captured where they stood having hardly fired at all. Their exit track to the pass was sealed by the French occupying redoubt No.7. Two whole battalions of grenadiers positioned in the same redoubt became prisoners as well.

    When the collapse came it was sudden and complete, Spaniards fleeing in disorder over the pass and scrambling across the tree covered rocky slopes to either flank, casting aside muskets, packs and anything else that slowed them down.

    General Coupigny was wounded badly in the thigh by a musket ball and carried away from the battle in agony on an artillery caisson (Pepe's avatar was killed in game and he respawned in the far south). General of Brigade Pedro Girón of Areizaga's division was killed in action, falling under a hail of sword blows and bayonet thrusts as he led the defence of redoubt No.3 (Jeff's avatar was killed in game as well).

    Below the pass Felix Jones' 3rd division was in reserve. Castaños ordered him forwards but his men arrived just as the Spanish centre crumbled and his men merely added traffic to the already crowded road as troops and units tumbled back down the hill.

    Castaños army was saved from total destruction by the presence of Luis de las Casas' 9th Cavalry Division made up mostly of regular horse and dragoon regiments. These 2,500 troopers guarded the lower slopes and let the river of refugees flow past them. In the afternoon French light cavalry came up to the pass and were posted to face las Casas but daylight had faded and fighting died down, the Spanish retreating into the night and the victorious French gathering up many thousands of prisoners, mostly from Areizaga's division that had been trapped on the east side of the pass. A few battalions of Coupigny's division also became prisoners.

    General Areizaga was captured and both his surviving brigade commanders, Mendoza and Schramm, also. In a cruel twist of fortunes the four Swiss battalions of the regiments Preux and Wimpffen surrendered in a body, General Schramm at their head. These infantry had been taken into French service in late 1807 when the French invaded Spain for the first time and they served last summer in the corps of General Dupont. They had returned to Spanish service when Dupont surrendered the remnants of his corps north of Toledo in October. Now Schramm once again offered his sword to the French and it seems likely these regiments will enter the service of France for a second time, these foreign soldiers having been mercenaries for many years. It is most unlikely any Spaniard will serve France and the rest of the 4,500 prisoners taken this day will no doubt be sent to Burgos fortress.

    The Army of Andalucia has been struck a severe blow; like a heavy wound in battle this injury may prove mortal. 1st division is all but destroyed, 2nd division and 4th have each lost a battery of guns and both these formations have also lost units taken prisoner. Jones' 3rd division is intact but his is the least competent of the four and his artillery drivers have joined the stampede along the road to Madrid. The battered brigades of 4th division and the cavalry are about the only coherent formations. The army has fled to Madrid throwing the city into a frightful panic. It is unlikely that Castaños will be able to rally his men even there, such is the fevered mood in the capital.

    I took too many screenshots to upload them all individually so I have zipped them into an archive and uploaded them to my Dropbox.

    www.dropbox.com/s/i4r6pfk7z803sfl/03%20Somosierra%20Early%20Mar%2009.rar?dl=0

    One of our players recorded some video - this shows the French breaking through at Spanish redoubt No.4 and the men of Lapeña's 4th division scattering and running. One of the Polish Chevau-Leger squadrons is doing immense execution here. The way that whole formations collapse and run when morale reaches a low level is a great feature of the new game and something we didn't often see in Gettysburg.


    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.
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    5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #12 by Saddletank

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  • Turn 19 is complete:

    The First Half of March 1809, a Time of Terrible and Great Events. How Long Will Spain Suffer?!

    "May you live in interesting times." - Confucian curse.

    Gerona.

    The French siege is proceeding apace and the impact of their heavy artillery makes the prospects for the garrison look bleak. General Castro within the fortress is doing all that he can but his civilians and enthusiastic militia are facing the finest soldiers in Europe. Already the besiegers engineers have dug saps to the outer works of the Forts of Capuchins and Montjuich and following heavy bombardments and assaults in the last few days both have fallen, leaving the French in command of the critical heights that command the east and south-east perimeter of the city.

    Earlier, at the close of February the outer works of St Daniel, St Luis and St Narciso all fell to dramatic infantry assaults with sappers throwing grenadoes and engineers using axes to batter down the redoubt gates.

    The siege is however very bloody and St Cyr's Italian troops that are principally involved in the assaults are taking heavy losses.

    Outside the city groups of Spanish miquelets do all they can to disrupt the flow of materiel and supplies but the French commander has wisely allocated a brigade of dragoons to support his operations and these mounted troops are working hard to keep the lines of communicati0n with Rosas and Figueras open. Daily the guerillas skirmish with their opponents but each day fail to cut the road down which the heavy supply wagons continue to roll. Further second line battalions of French infantry also escort the supply convoys. Never before has such a large proportion of an army's soldiers been set to protect a line of supply. The strategy is working but how blunt has this made the spear-point of VII Corps that watches the road to Barcelona in the south?

    Lerida.

    All is quiet at this small fortress. The vagabond skeleton "army" of Aragon has stumbled and staggered away east, we presume to find some safer quarters to rest, recover and re-equip. This force of soldiers is still suffering attrition from desertion and sickness. In a few months might there be anything left of this tragic army at all?

    To the west of town Spanish cavalry patrol beyond Mequinenza but all is peaceful here - for now.

    Barcelona.

    A Spanish sloop came to anchor in the roadstead. A ship's boat rowed ashore and a gentleman in fine attire climbed the wet quay steps to the dockside. A military band struck up a stirring tune and a row of officers saluted. One staff officer greeted the newcomer and after some brief formalities and the inspection of a company of soldiers of the garrison the visitor entered a coach drawn by six black horses and was whisked away to his headquarters. Alonso de Nava Grimón y Benítez de Lugo, Marqués de Villanueva del Prado has arrived in Barcelona to take up command of the Army of Cataluña. The previous commander Lieutenant General Vives, had been taken ill after a fall from his horse at the battle of Cervera and retired to his villa at Valls. Del Prado spent a few days dealing with paperwork and other administrative matters in the city before riding out on the Lerida road to meet his senior officers and his new commander in chief, Capitán General Llamas.

    We understand that the Spanish forces between Lerida and Barcelona are returning to the capital of the province. No doubt a relief expedition to Gerona will soon be mounted.

    Calatayud.

    After the bloody struggle near the end of February an almost siege-like situation developed with the Spanish of General Villava attempting to encircle the town and cut it's supply road to Zaragosa. To this end a bridge of boats was built across the Rio Jalon about a mile and a half east of the town by which cavalry patrols and an infantry division were sent north to threaten this side of the French defences.

    Within his earthworks Maréchal Mortier sat tight, awaiting a reinforcing division from the north. He sent the dragoons of General la Houssaye to the east to keep watch on the Spanish in that direction. Within a week Gazan's division arrived doubling the French strength in the town. One of Mortier's successes over this last few weeks has been a series of ruses intended to make his forces seem stronger than they are and make the Spanish doubt their ability to enclose the whole town lest they be too weak at some point. To this end General Villava pulled back General Adorno's Army of Murcia from its position in the west, withdrawing them to the right bank of the Ribota and strengthening his defences on the south side of the town.

    All through the night of the 8th and 9th March the French were heard active in their defences, many lights indicated a busy movement of forces but daylight showed them still in their defences and no attack came. It transpired that Mortier had had a last minute council with his divisional generals who had suggested an attack out of the town in a different direction. Therefore, all morning of the 9th, the tired French infantry were marched around the town some more and only at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon was the corps ready to move. Several critical hours of daylight had been lost and the Spanish watching the town from the southern heights were ready to meet the onslaught.

    Even so, when it came, the French attack was delivered with great élan and courage; la Houssaye's dragoons in particular crashing into Nuñes and Rosas' brigades on the Marsal road and throwing them back while Gazan's infantry attacked the breastworks held by the men of Villar's division.

    Villava had intended to give ground and fall back towards Chames along his supply road, contracting his front and massing his forces to hold a position higher in the hills. To this end he ordered General the Prince of Anglona to bring his cavalry division south-east back over the Ribota and for General San Juan commanding the Army of Granada to burn the bridge of boats, withdraw his cavalry patrols and move south west to block the Marsal and Epinuil roads.

    A confused running battle developed as the Spanish tried to withdraw and the French pushed after them. The ground was not suited to cavalry operations with many woods and narrow lanes winding between fields ploughed for the spring sowing. Nevertheless the French dragoons did great mischief among the less well drilled Spanish infantry, routing several battalions and capturing several hundred men.

    At half past three in the afternoon the Spanish managed to bring their massed cavalry - two divisions - those of Anglona and Maceda to the centre of the battlefield on rising open ground which dissuaded la Houssaye from pressing his advantage further. This, and the late hour of the day, allowed the Spanish to retreat through Chames along the Cuenca road.


    Maceda's cavalry division of the Army of Granada observing la Houssaye's dragoons across a shallow valley. The Spanish have now brought some companies of horse artillery to battle, something not seen before.

    Mortier had secured Calatayud but he had not destroyed his enemy. Villava is in some chaos and part of his baggage train had to be abandoned to allow his army to withdraw but his men appear strangely elated by this battle. They felt as though, on the whole, they escaped a very bad fate with only minor injury and this has lifted the mood of the less experienced soldiers.

    Valencia.

    Mariscal de Campo el Conde de Caldagues, the loser of Oropesa and sometime commander of the Army of Cataluña, has been sued by lawyers retained by the estate of General Llamas over the supposed content of his memoirs. Certain chapters of the general's autobiography have been published in "l'Estrella" broadsheet and Llamas has clearly taken exception to certain passages related to his actions in battle around Murcia and Cervera.

    Somosierra and Madrid!

    A great and violent clash has occurred in the Guadarrama mountains north of the capital and to the shock of the citizens of Madrid the army of Capitán General Castaños has been rudely defeated and thrown back down the hills. It is rumoured that up to 15,000 Spanish were casualties or made prisoner following this catastrophe. Strategists of Europe are stunned at how rapidly the French wrested this immensely strong position from the defenders!


    Battle of Somosierra. Polish light horse charge up the road while French infantry columns advance on the right with skirmishers on the far left.

    The victor of the battle, Napoleon himself, has followed up his success with typical French daring and speed. The fight occurred on the 6th March and by the 13th French cavalry were entering Madrid from the north!

    The Spanish troops of Andalucia, shaky from their lost battle panicked and abandoned the city, fleeing down the Aranjuez road, though they did not halt their flight even with the Rio Duero behind them. The city garrison made up of raw recruits and part-time soldiers melted away in the chaos and we have heard reports of soldiers looting stores, bakeries and wine warehouses in their panic to get supplies before they fled. Several merchants and nobles of the city have also joined the exodus, the long column of wagons, carts and fine coaches headed south, dust-covered and with horses neighing in panic and maddened dogs running hither and thither barking at everything in their excitement.

    The French Emperor and his brother King Joseph entered the city on the 14th at the head of the Imperial Guard and Joseph's Royal Spanish Guards. On the north-west side of the city Spanish cavalry of the Army of Extremadura clashed with Chasseurs and Dragoons of General Junot's VIII Corps. The Spanish had been ordered into the city to aid it's defence and to try and destroy the vast storehouses there to prevent them falling into French hands but they were thwarted by the rapid advance of their enemy. The Spaniards, three brigades and a company of horse artillery led by General de Brigada Josef Solis, were so surprised at meeting Frenchmen so far west of the recent battle that they withdrew north-west back towards the town of Villalba. At this place the Extremadura army is crossing the river to approach Madrid. Victor's I Corps is already on the road to meet them. General Junot's VIII Corps is taking up the work of policing the city, rooting out Spanish monarchist sympathisers and watching the southern roads towards Aranjuez and Ocaña.


    King Joseph Bonaparte I of Spain.

    It is expected that King Joseph will make a formal return to his throne in the last weeks of March and a grand parade and state banquet is planned. Napoleon however is dealing each day with urgent correspondence from France and it seems as though he may have to quit Spain soon to look after affairs in Germany once more. Already the Imperial Guard has received orders to leave the city and return to Burgos.


    Spanish officials surrender Madrid to Napoleon.

    Villacastin and Valladolid!

    At this small town on the southern periphery of the Leon plain there has been a bloodless confrontation between British and French. Part of the II Corps of Maréchal Soult had left Valladolid and gone south to Arevalo. There the Extremaduran Army of Count Belvedere quit it's good defensive position and withdrew. Soult followed aggressively to come upon a great allied host at Villacastin. There he encountered the British of Sir Arthur Wellesley as well as the Spanish of Theodor von Reding. Belvedere added his own army to the allied concentration until the French with barely 14,000 men was facing more than 50,000 enemy! The Maréchal was cool however and deployed on good ground to the north west of the town, his right flank resting on the Rio Adajo and for several days postured boldly, pinning the allied force in place. He even sent a strong body of hussars south towards the Avila road threatening the allied supply route and forcing them to face off his own light cavalry with a division of their own. This move has been of immense assistance to the Emperor, keeping strong forces tied down and unable to move upon Madrid or support Castaños.

    On the 10th March word of the Spanish defeat at Somosierra arrived in the allied camp and the Conde de Belvedere marched his Army of Extremadura east towards Madrid to help protect it. His move was too late however and we can report that his corps has been obliged to halt just across the Rio Guadarrama at Villalba by the approach of Maréchal Victor's Corps from the city.

    Sir Arthur Wellesley and von Reding spent a long evening discussing their options. They had French to the north, a vulnerable capital city to the east and their supply road to Ciudad Rodrigo to the west. They decided to push at Soult the next morning and did so after dawn. Soult however was waiting for just such a move and skilfully withdrew his corps in the face of stronger allied forces, north, across the Adajo at Arevalo where he collected more cavalry left there to guard the crossing, and made his way slowly towards Valladolid. His force is now some thirty miles south of the city with the armies of Wellesley and von Reding five miles beyond. The move north by all these forces was marked by several days of bitter skirmishing that has left losses on both sides.

    Upon getting closer to Valladolid Soult was surprised to get news from his garrison commander that another Spanish army, that of General Cuesta and the Galicians, is to the west at Tordesillas. Soult is facing huge numbers of enemy now although Wellesley and von Reding are suffering supply problems with too many troops relying on one supply road.

    In the North!

    Maréchal Ney has remained at Santander patching up VI Corps with replacements. The guerillas have sent word to General Acevedo that two bodies of troops each of brigade size with attached guns, one of infantry, one of cavalry, have gone south from Santander to Espinosa and then taken the mountain road to Reynosa. These forces reached Reynosa by mid-month and have secured the town. They also pose a threat to Acevedo's right flank.

    Maréchal Verdier's corps at Reynosa has marched south. It appears to have descended from the mountain region entirely.

    In the area around Sahagun and Saldanha a confusing cavalry skirmish has been developing. Spanish mounted forces led by the Marques de Valladares have been patrolling in this area for some time. Dragoons commanded by General de Division Lorges arrived along the road from Carrion with a company of horse artillery and a lengthy period of light skirmishing and patrolling has taken place. Eventually the more numerous and boldly-handled French cavalry pushed their opponents back to the twin villages of Gradefes and Mansilla on the Rio Esla. Here the Spanish were supported by several brigades of infantry and some artillery, thought to be the garrison of Leon. The Spanish are resolutely defending the line of the river. Lorges has insufficient force to press the issue further but on the 15th March a dust cloud could be seen approaching from the east. It appears the French are making an advance deeper into Leon than heretofore.

    ===================================================

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    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Spain-Rivers-Huge-02.jpg

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    5 years 2 months ago - 5 years 2 months ago #13 by Saddletank

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  • During the second half of March a number of grim and sanguine actions have been fought. Three battles to be precise; at Reynosa in the far north Cantabrian Mountains to the south-west of Santander which proved to be a French victory when a division of Spaniards moved south over the pass from Torrelavega to surprise the garrison of the town - they were driven back by a mixed force of dragoons, provisional cuirassier squadrons and a garrison brigade.


    Reynosa, Torrelavega, Santander and part of Spain's Biscay coast.


    The action at Reynosa.

    La Romana's division was heading south from the Pass of Torrelavega and was met and delayed by a brigade of dragoons patrolling the lower pass roads. The French garrison and a nearby small cavalry division marched to the sound of the guns to halt the Spanish attack and throw it back.

    About 15 or 20 miles south-east of Salamanca Marechal Victor's I Corps pursued and caught a retreating Anglo-Spanish army at the small town of Alba-de-Tormes. The Allies had been on the Madrid road near Villacastin but fell back due to a bungled supply situation. The French pursued from Madrid and caught the Allies crossing the Tormes river. The Conde de Belvedere's Spaniards fled the battle in haste, all but for a rearguard of two grenadier brigades and his cavalry division. Lt-Gen Thomas Graham recently took command of Sir John Moore's corps and his small force was able to halt the French at the river line although losses were heavy on both sides. The battle of Alba was a draw.


    The town of Alba de Tormes in relation to Salamanca and Madrid. The Allies retreated from Villacastin.


    The Battle of Alba.

    Key:~

    1. French 1er division (Ruffin)
    2. French 2eme division (Maison)
    3. French 3e division (Vilatte)
    4. French cavalry division (Beaumont)
    5. French artillery reserve (Senarmont)

    SD. Spanish forces in disorder, retreating towards Tamames (off map to the west)
    SR. Spanish rearguard of 2 grenadier brigades and Solis' cavalry division
    U. British 1st or Union division (Fraser)
    K. British 2nd or KGL division (Murray)
    L. British 3rd or Light division (Hope)

    The red line indicates Graham's final position, the blue arrows are the French attacks.

    In the far north-east in Cataluna the Spanish Army of the Right commanded by Capitan-General Llamas advanced north out of Barcelona to attempt to lift the siege of Gerona. General de Division Gouvion Saint-Cyr blocked his advance with his VII Corps at the Rio Segura at the town of Ojos. Llamas Spanish army outnumbered the French by two to one and fought bravely, driving the French back with some loss. The battle of Ojos was a resounding Spanish victory although that night Llamas received news via a miquelets messenger that Gerona had surrendered two days prior, following a catastrophic detonation of the fortress' main magazines.


    Barcelona and Gerona. The battle of Ojos was fought on the main road between Hostalrich and Gerona.


    The Spanish victory at Ojos.

    =======================================================

    The Northern Coast and the Cantabrian Mountains.

    At Reynosa a polyglot division made up of disparate elements of several French formations had been tasked with garrisoning the town and passing units through on the vital Santander to Leon supply road. On the morning of the 18th of March a brigade of dragoons that was patrolling up towards the pass of Torrelavega was surprised by an advancing column of Spanish infantry who had come south over the hills in the night. A desperate and confused action soon escalated with the dragoon commander, Général de Brigade Vicomte Digeon, sending word down to the town and being supported by Duperre's infantry brigade and another cavalry formation under Général de Brigade Debellier that was ordered to pass through the town and on to Sahagun.

    These troops fought a scrappy and tough battle but after an hour or more had contained the Spanish advance and the attackers, led by the Marqués de la Romana, fell back into the higher hills where the French cavalry could not easily pursue. The Spanish were let down by bad staff work as a second division commanded by Mariscal de Campo Felipe Jado Cagigal got lost on the poor mountain roads and failed to support La Romana.

    Casualties were light in this encounter but the diversion of two divisions of Acevedo's army away from his main force compromised his ability to remain in the Torrelavega position later in the month.

    Maréchal Ney and the VI Corps marched west from Santander a week later. At Torrelavega they encountered Acevedo's Spanish still holding position at the critical road junction there. However after two days of light skirmishing and probing the Spanish fell back and are reported to be moving west on the Gijon road.

    Leon and Astorga.

    Maréchal Verdier's corps has reappeared in northern Leon having been transferred south from the Cantabrian mountains. He pushed rapidly west, forcing a crossing of the Valderaduey in a series of heavy skirmishes and driving a division-strength Spanish force out of Leon itself. Beyond the city Verdier's cavalry pressed on along the Astorga road and by the end of March was within a few miles of the fortress. However his path was blocked by a Spanish army commanded by General Cuesta. Cuesta's Galicians had been operating further south towards Valladolid but had counter-marched as rapidly as they could upon hearing of the developing situation at Leon. Verdier is now facing an enemy considerably greater in size than his own corps, his cavalry scouts have identified six enemy divisions amounting to some 30,000 men; a force twice his own numbers.

    Valladolid!

    Marechal Soult and his brave II Corps made a steady withdrawal northward over several days from Villacastin. Lt-Genl Wellesley's English army supported by General von Reding's Spanish column pressed the French back until Soult was driven into Valladolid over the Adajo bridges. Soult had specific orders from the Emperor to hold the city but made no attempt to do so and fell back north-east, gathering his garrison formations and outlying cavalry screens to his main body and continuing to retreat. He halted at the end of March west of Torquemada in a position behind the confluence of the Pisuerga and Arlanzon.

    The British and Spanish entered Valladolid in triumph the next day and there was an especially emotional scene on the steps of the cathedral in the main square. General Bruno Mutis, commander of the city garrison who had been forced to retreat after the bitter loss of the city in late January, approached the archbishop and falling to his knees kissed the churchman's robes.

    "We have returned!" he exclaimed. "The sons of Valladolid have come back to their mother city. Now we shall defend her again!"

    Mutis and von Reding were astounded to discover later that day, that the French had retreated without setting fire to their supply depot. Enough bread, grain, flour, salted meat, pickled preserves, leather hides for shoes and powder for cannon and muskets were secured to put an end to the critical supply position the Allies have faced in recent weeks. General Wellesley has made no public comment but senior officers close to his headquarters have suggested that the General has been carrying a smug air of contentment at this good news. It will however probably take the Allies several weeks to restructure their supply arrangements which until now have been hampered by an over-long supply route from Lisbon.

    Alba de Tormes!

    Marechal Victor and General de Division Lapisse commanding I corps attacked the town in the afternoon of the last day of the month. Lt-General Graham's small British corps fell back doggedly to the bridges across the Rio Tormes about a half-mile west of the town. Here a struggling mass of retreating Spanish troops, baggage carts and artillery drivers were trying to pour over the river to safety along the Tamames road. Graham's men, assisted by some Spanish grenadiers and cavalry held the bridges open just long enough for Conde de Belvedere's army to escape, though the Spanish troops are in no state to fight and must withdraw further to re-open a supply line from deeper inside Extramadura.

    This battle opened with only a light level of contact but at the river events turned more determined and bloody. The Allies have lost more men including quite heavy losses to Murray's KGL division but they held the French at bay and Lapisse and Victor have been obliged to halt their westward advance.

    Madrid!

    French garrison forces continue to root out Bourbon sympathisers and are throwing many Spaniards into jail. Many complain of trumped up charges or even in some cases, no charges at all. Bodies of troops regularly disperse crowds and laws have been passed that gatherings of more than 20 persons are illegal.

    His Majesty King Joseph has appointed a new court and government and in fact several prominent Spaniards have accepted roles in this structure. It would seem some are already tired of war and wish to serve any leader who will maintain peace. On the other hand Joseph's court is mostly packed with French officials and the French language must be used at court and on all state documents.

    His Majesty Napoleon has left Spain and gone over the Pyrenees with his Imperial Guard to attend to urgent matters of state in Germany and on the Danube.

    Andalucia and New Castille!

    Capitan-General Castaños is said to be somewhere south of Madrid, gathering his shattered army about his headquarters and working hard to rebuild the confidence of his men. At least secure supply lines allow provisions to come north from the area of Baylen.

    All is quiet around Calatayud. A strong body of French dragoons is said to have moved south-west from that place towards the capital. The well-known General de Division Kellermann is in command.

    Cataluña!

    A terrible battle has been fought about 20 miles south of Gerona near the minor farming community of Ojos. General Gouvion Saint-Cyr, commanding French VII Corps, left part of his command - mostly his Italian troops - besieging Gerona while he took part of his cavalry and three divisions south-east of the city to block any attempt to relieve the siege.

    Contact was made on 21st March when a powerful force of Spanish cavalry marched via the main coastal road north out of Hostalrich. With his cavalry screen outnumbered more than two to one, Saint-Cyr drew in his screen and watched from behind the Rio Segura as a huge host of the enemy formed up on the fertile farmlands south of him. The enemy army was commanded by Capitan-General Llamas and in fact composed the majority of both the Army of Valencia and the Army of Cataluña. Llamas' more numerous cavalry kept the French horsemen at bay and prevented Saint-Cyr from discovering how badly outnumbered he was. All through the 22nd the Spanish slowly deployed and on the morning of the 23rd their cavalry became more assertive. By mid-afternoon of the 23rd it was clear an attack was developing.

    The main strength of this great assault was directed on the small town of Mula which guarded two important crossings of the Segura. With the snows melting in the hills the river was flowing unusually fast and while cavalry and infantry were able to ford it at most places, the steep banks prevented artillery from crossing it anywhere but via the roads. Mula was therefore a critical location and General Reille's division was hit hard by no less than three Spanish divisions, plus a strong cavalry force. In the north or French left flank General Souham's division was kept occupied by a spoiling attack from General Laguna and in the south Montrichard's scratch garrison formation crumbled under pressure from General Quesada and his Valencians.

    Saint-Cyr ordered a retreat in the late afternoon, his corps disengaging and falling back north. Due to disorganisation and the need to guard some prisoners and care for the wounded, Llamas' men slept that night on the field of victory.

    In the morning the elation of success was tempered by terrible and unexpected news. A miquelets rider arrived at Llamas' headquarters at about eight and was shown into the general's presence as he partook of breakfast. The news was a shock. Gerona had surrendered! Two days earlier the French had stormed a breach in the east wall and made inroads into the city and in the evening a shell thrown by a French mortar had fallen through the roof of the main magazine of the fortress. Some soldiers were moving extra powder barrels out of the arsenal when sparks detonated these and a tremendous explosion tore the magazine apart. General Castro suddenly had hundreds of dead and wounded civilians on his hands and no ammunition to continue the defence. He was forced to surrender the next morning, the day before the battle of Ojos was fought.

    Llamas questioned the guerilla and then dismissed him. He called his corps and division commanders to his villa for a council of war.


    The defeated defenders of Gerona hand over their weapons.


    French troops break into the city and reportedly commit terrible atrocities.

    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.
    Last edit: 5 years 2 months ago by Saddletank.
    The following user(s) said Thank You: RebBugler, Volunteer

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    5 years 2 months ago - 5 years 2 months ago #14 by Saddletank

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  • The Battle of Astorga, 4th April 1809:

    Map of Spain and Portugal:

    www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Spain-Rivers-Huge-02.jpg

    The area in north-west Leon-Castille showing the fortress of Astorga and the city of Leon. The battle is just east of Astorga:



    The battle:



    Marechal Baron Verdier has marched his IV Corps of the Armee du Nord via Saldanha to take Leon which he accomplished in March. He then pushed west in a rapid advance to take the vital Spanish fortress of Astorga, gateway to Galician north-west Spain. However the Marechal was thwarted by the surprise appearance of Spanish General Cuesta and the Corps of Galicia of the Army of the Left which had made a foot-weary march from north of Valladolid to cut off the French route west.

    Verdier's Corps is perhaps only 15,000 to 20,000 men. He faces an enemy whose numbers could be twice his own. He therefore decided to fall back on Leon but two days into his retrograde movement the Spanish army came after him in pursuit at a pace and with an enthusiasm not seen heretofore in the war. General Cuesta is much loved by his men and must have promised them the glory and riches of kings to coax such feats of movement from them!

    This MP battle is being played today, Sunday 7th Feb 2016 and will be hosted by the Kriegspiel Group and use the KS Mod for Waterloo. It is being played on Crikey's excellent Spanish map "Montana Sagrada" available now as part of the KS Supplemental Maps Mod.

    Mod download details and battle thread are on the KS Forum:

    kriegsspiel.forumotion.net/t1451-set-up-for-sowwl-napoleon-games-for-kriegspiel-style#14783

    kriegsspiel.forumotion.net/t1656-32-battle-of-astorga-4th-april-1809#17924

    All are welcome to join us in our TeamSpeak server at 20:00 GMT (15:00 EST) but please make sure you have the three KS Mods downloaded (main mod, supplemental maps and sprites mod), installed and working before you join us as we need to make a prompt start.

    Thank you.

    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.
    Last edit: 5 years 2 months ago by Saddletank.
    The following user(s) said Thank You: RebBugler, Druid

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    Moderators: RebBuglergunship24Leffe7Sargonpaul9038