A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Solo Campaign - Weeks 9 & 10

Week 09

Wellington now has his new supply depot at Vigo in operation, and supply trains are reaching him at Lugo. He has also been reinforced by replacements and hospital returns to the tune of 5080 men, and a couple of replacement guns for those lost by Gardner’s battery at Benavente.

The Allied Siege Train has moved into the fortress at Elvas, and Karl von Alten has marched the Light Division over the rough roads from Elvas to Abrantes. If these had not been elite troops, they would have struggled to complete the march.

A large force of Spanish irregulars under Ximenez moved from the Ocana area to Toledo, where they threaten the supply route from Madrid towards Talavera and Badajoz. Maucune, who is still supplied by the Army of the South through Zafra and Badajoz, is ordered to deal with Ximenez, and has moved his Division to Talavera.

Week 10

Clauzel, unaware that Cotton’s force has failed in its march to Orense and returned to Zamora, marches north from Salamanca, aiming to join up with Marmont at Leon. The two forces engage at the so-called Action at Peñausende (reported in previous posting), and Cotton, misjudging his enemy’s strength, makes an attack which fails, partly due to poor co-ordination of a plan which is in any case too complicated, but also because the Allied artillery and cavalry are massively out-performed by the French. Cotton withdraws in good order, still having a substantial superiority in cavalry (numbers, if not quality...)

Cotton will be forced to spend next week retreating over rough roads into Orense, and his force is Tired to begin with...

An outbreak of fever among the French garrison at Burgos has some 400 men in hospital.

Maucune’s Divn advanced from Talavera into the Toledo area to deal with the force of Spanish irregular troops commanded by Ximenez, but the Spaniards retired into Ocana, a move which Maucune – having no cavalry at all – was unable to prevent.


  1. A very enjoyable read, keep it coming!!

    1. Thank you, Ray - I've post-edited a typo - number of men sick at Burgos was overstated. I've now made a note to remember that 2 x 200 = 400 and sacked the returns clerk. Of course, it might just be sensation-seeking journalism.

      Can't get the staff, these days.

  2. I'm beginning to see a trend here.

    Perhaps the Brits should consider the advantages that accrue from not losing battles and being forced to retreat when you are already tired? Especially when your supply lines are dodgy.

    1. Corretto! The campaign has suffered from too much fighting too early - if anyone (especially the proprietor) had had the decency to stay in bed until April arrived and the roads improved it would have been a good idea. Tired is one thing - Demoralised (aaargh) is another...

      That particular corner of Spain is not handy for day trips - too many brown roads on my map - you would think the Brits would have learned that on their way to La Coruna a few years earlier!


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