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


Saturday, 12 January 2013

Solo Campaign - Weeks 27 & 28

A contemporary sketch of the landings at the Golf de Sant Jordi,
near Tortosa

A further two weeks have elapsed (slowly...) - the seaborne portion of the Spanish 3rd Army has landed safely at Tortosa, where Field Marshal Giron has assumed overall command, and united his army at Alcaniz. In theory, this constitutes a major threat to the French garrison at Zaragoza, but in fact he has no siege guns, so he may only ponder how to cross the Ebro in order to mask the place.

Detached, probing forces have come into contact on 30th July near Martin de Yeltes, on the River Huebra - I shall fight the battle next week and post the report here. I'll also publish a revised return and the up-to-date map at that point.

Week 27

Random Events and Strategic Notes
The Spanish Junta of Castile garrisons the fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo with second-line troops, and Aigburth proposes to move towards Salamanca, to place an advance guard on the line of the River Huebra.

A force of 1800 civilian workmen is being sent in to repair the defences at Rodrigo.

On Monday 20th, the British fleet transporting De Espana’s force was seen off the coast of Tarifa, and was fired on by French coastal batteries, but was well out of range. The French report the fleet as consisting of seven men-of-war, plus a great many merchant ships – possibly in excess of 50. Naval vessels recognised by the French included Inconsolable, Turbot and Sparta, all of which are known to be at Lisbon, and some of the ships are flying both British and Spanish flags.

[Rule amendment: The French are bringing up Garde Nationale and other auxiliary troops to man the fortresses in the North East – this is outside the scope of the original rules. A decision dice decrees that these troops may be used outside French territory, but – at present – only as garrison troops or to defend the frontier.]

Housekeeping
The 3D3 activation throws give the Allies 5 and the French 4. The Allies opt to move first.

Moves
Allies (5 allowed)
1 – Sp B (España) are at sea, close to their destination port of Tortosa
2 – Picton (Force E) detaches a new force (H), consisting of the KGL dragoons and Otway’s Portuguese cavalry with three provisional battalions of light company troops and Bull’s Troop RHA...
3 – ...which force is ordered, under the temporary command of Maj.Gen Robert Long, to probe eastward to the line of the Huebra, between El Cubo and the area near Tamames.
4 – B (Graham) to continue to scout northwards into Orense
5 – New force of Spanish volunteers and militia (Sp J) to form new garrison of Ciudad Rodrigo (commander is General Hidalgo)
[Intelligence step -
  • nothing new – minimal opposition to Long’s advance to the Huebra – French deserters in this area confirm that the army is dispirited and the withdrawal of Jourdan is seen as a betrayal.]
French (4 allowed)
1– D (Leberknoedel, with the Stralsund-Ruegen brigade) to march from Burgos to Valladolid.
2 – P (Martinelli’s brigade of Garde Nationale) to march from Tudela to Burgos (where Thiebault is to continue as governor). This is a difficult (brown) road, so the usual test is required:
2D3 = 5 +1 (Martinelli’s rating) -1 (brown road) = 5   - the march is completed, without problems
3 – R (Paquerette’s brigade of Garde Nationale) to march from Pamplona to Tudela (HQ of Armee du Nord remains at Pamplona)
4 – S (Normande’s brigade of Garde Nationale) to march from Bayonne to Pamplona  
[Intelligence step –
  • No scouting orders, but Clauzel is aware that there are Allied units on the Huebra – his forces are not in a good enough state to take the offensive, and he is concerned for his hospitals at Salamanca and Alba de Tormes. He has written to both Marmont and the King to request support.]
Supplies and Demoralisation
All units are in supply – the movement of garrisons keeps the French supply route from Bayonne secure. French Force K is no longer demoralised.

A newly equipped (and painted) brigade of 4 battalions of Spanish volunteers (classed as militia in the CCN rules) is added to Morillo’s force (Sp C) at Alcaniz, but will not be available for combat for another week. The new units are Regimiento del Ribero (light infantry) and the volunteer regiments of 1er Aragon, Guadalajara and Cuenca. The brigade also has a new foot battery, manned by regulars. 

Contacts
Clauzel (Fr I) and Long (Ang-Port H) in Salamanca area – neither side wishes to attack at present.

Engineering at Ciudad Rodrigo (once again)
Aigburth and the Junta of Castilla have ordered the repair of the defences at Cuidad Rodrigo. A body of civilian workers is being organised (which will be equivalent to 2 bns) and will start work next week. In the meantime, the new garrison of volunteer and militia troops is put to work by the new governor, Hidalgo – they have 3 bns available. Each battalion present with the garrison rolls 1D6 each week, giving 3D6 – every 6 rolled adds 1 to the Fortress Value, which is currently 2 – aiming to be repaired to a full value of 6.  This week, the dice come up 6 2 2, so the Fortress Value is increased to 3. With the arrival of the labourers, 5D6 will be available from next week onwards.


Week 28

Random Events and Strategic Notes
Espana’s Portion of the Spanish 3rd Army has now landed at Tortosa. One of the transport ships, the Bristol-owned Potentilla, ran aground outside the bay, but was refloated with no problems. The troops are in good shape – 15 horses became ill during the voyage and had to be shot, no other problems. Capt Thornycroft has been nominated for the Order of San Bernardino by the Supreme Junta.

Field Marshal Giron will now join the 3rd Army, and will assume command on the East coast.

De Espana

Giron

Clauzel is still concerned that his army, while numerically appearing quite strong, has many men in hospital and many of the units are at low strength. He may require to re-organise his forces rapidly if Aigburth attacks him in the near future – this would have a good chance of demoralizing his troops. He is aware of Long’s force on the Huebra, and proposes to send a counter to this advance, to assess the strength of the Allies here. Again, he has written to Marmont and King Joseph for assistance.

The new Spanish volunteer brigade is now in the field with Morillo’s division at Alcaniz.

Housekeeping
The 3D3 activation throws give the Allies 4 and the French 4. Since they had the initiative last week, the Allies again opt to move first.

Moves
Allies (4 allowed)
1 – Sp B (España) now landed at Tortosa, are joined by MC Giron, who assues command...
2 – ...and Sp B is ordered to march from Tortosa to join Morillo at Alcaniz. This is a difficult (brown) road, and requires a test:
2D3 = 5 +2 (Giron’s rating) -1 (brown road) = 6   - the march is completed, without problems
3 – B (Graham) to march northwards into Spain, from Braga to Orense. This is another difficult road, so a test is needed:
2D3 = 4 +2 (Graham’s rating) -1 (brown road) = 5   - the march is completed, without problems
4 – H (Long, at Salamanca) to scout the area.
[Intelligence step -
  • Long’s cavalry find that the French around Salamanca are dispersed among the villages, but subsequently he finds himself confronted by Pinoteau’s covering force.]
French (4 allowed)
1 – New Garde Nationale force T (Momper) raised at Bayonne – 4000 men.
2 – New observing force H split from I (Clauzel) at Salamanca, to take position on the Huebra – cavalry plus 2 bns of (relatively undamaged) 59e Ligne plus a horse battery from the artillery reserve – this force commanded by Gen de Bde Pierre Pinoteau
3 – N (Marmont) to scout from Zamora towards Orense.
[Intelligence step –
  • Marmont’s scouts report Graham’s force is in Orense, as expected – Marmont does not realise they have only just arrived.
  • Reports of the Spanish disembarkation at Tortosa have reached Madrid – much alarm, since strength of the force is much exaggerated. King Joseph’s first reaction is to withdraw Marmont and Clauzel to Vittoria and Lodosa to avoid having their communications with France severed – Jourdan rolls a dice to talk him out of this, but there is a lot of concern that so many French regular troops are tied up in garrisons on the North coast. The French are always worried about the threat of the British navy.]
Supplies and Demoralisation
All units are in supply, and no-one is demoralised.

Contacts

Maj.Gen Robert Ballard Long

Gen de Bde Pierre Armand Pinoteau - he
didn't have a pointed head - this is
a photo of a portrait hanging on a wall

Pinoteau, with 2475 men, identifies that Long is detached from Aigburth’s and Picton’s main forces, and manages to turn the Allied right by crossing the Huebra at a ford near Cabrillas. The forces come into contact at Martin de Yeltes, around mid-morning on 30th July. [The action will be reported once the battle has been fought.]

Engineering at Ciudad Rodrigo
The civilian working party is now in operation and, in addition to the garrison troops, this gives a total of 5D6 for the repair work. Each 6 rolled adds 1 to the Fortress Value, which is currently 3 – aiming to be repaired to a full value of 6.  This week, the dice come up 6 6 5 4 1, so the Fortress Value is increased to 5. General Hidalgo is delighted with progress (as he should be). 

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