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

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Solo Campaign - Week 32

Vernet's portrait of Pablo Morillo

Well, after last week's misfortunes for the Spanish army, there's a lot of trouble, as you might expect. Poor old Giron had to retreat to Guadalajara in the most trying of circumstances, and lost a whole lot more of his troops on the way. Tarleton has put in his customary, tactful tuppenceworth and it is all really very difficult.

Giron has blamed the poor performance of Espana's Division for his defeat, and Espana has claimed that the positioning of the army made defeat inevitable - there is mention of a major rift between these gentlemen - Espana was talked out of challenging Giron to a duel, but they are currently refusing to answer each other's communications. The only individuals in the Spanish Third Army who have come out of this with any credit are Espeleta, who did an unexpectedly good job standing in for Morillo, and Morillo himself, who had the good fortune to be absent through ill health and thus has managed to avoid any share of the blame. 

Morillo is tipped as the Third Army's next commander, though it is unlikely to be able to take the field for the foreseeable future. Once again, there are mutterings about the Supreme Junta requesting Wellington's secondment to Spanish service, but it seems very unlikely. 

Morillo's portrait of Horace Vernet

Week 32

Random Events and Strategic Notes
The two defeated Spanish armies have retreated, each in its own way. Since there is nowhere they can move to without leaving Vizcaya (which is not permitted under the campaign rules), the irregular army commanded by “El Banquero” is subject to the special guerrilla rules, and is removed from the map. This represents dispersal of the troops and loss of equipment, but the Junta de Vizcaya may mobilise this force again if required.

Giron’s Third Army, following its defeat at Vinuesa, is both Tired and Demoralised, and – since there is no alternative – must retreat into either Calatayud or Guadalajara. In both cases, the roads are rough, and the retreat is subject to harassment from French cavalry (this is not classified as Severe Harrassment since Jourdan does not have much of a superiority in fresh cavalry after Vinuesa.) The prospects for Giron are not good in the short term, however this works out.

News of Giron’s defeat has reached Aigburth (Tarleton), who has sent a strongly worded communication to the Spanish Principal Junta, from which is taken the following extract:

"Despite every advantage of ground, superiority of numbers and weight of ordnance, and despite the very evident courage and stubbornness displayed by the soldiery, there is no escaping the fact that Captain General Giron’s army has been badly beaten by the weakest of the three French field armies -  and it is to be noted that this French army consisted primarily of Allied auxiliaries who are not regarded as being of the highest calibre or having the highest levels of motivation. It is important that General Giron should rest and re-organise his army, and I shall offer him any assistance he requires for this, but I have no further confidence in the ability of large Spanish armies to engage the enemy in set-piece actions of this type. Whatever may have been the agreement with my predecessor, I shall assume that the initiative in the field for this campaign lies chiefly with my own forces. By any standards, my esteemed colleague’s performance has been a great disappointment.

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


Allies (4 allowed)
1 – Sp B (Giron, at Soria) retreats his defeated army over the hilly roads into Guadalajara. This requires a test, for all sorts of reasons
2D3 = 4 +2 (Giron’s rating) -1 (brown road) -1 (Demoralised) -1 (Tired) -1 (Harrassment) = 2   - the army arrives in Guadalajara, but there is extensive further loss through desertion and troops being cut off from their units [Dice for every base/block making the retreat – regulars are lost on a throw of 1 or 2, irregular/militia on a throw of 1, 2 or 3]
2 – Sp G (El Banquero’s irregular troops at Soria) disperses and is removed from the map, though the Junta de Vizcaya may raise this force again…
 [Intelligence step -
  • No new information.] 
French (4 allowed)
1 – R (Paquerette, with Garde Nationale force at Soria), rests
2 – K (Jourdan/Joseph, at Soria) rests
3 – U (Siege Train and King Joseph’s baggage train) marches from Valladolid to Burgos
4 – I (Clauzel, at Valladolid) sends scouting patrols into Salamanca, to watch Aigburth’s army
 [Intelligence step –
  • No new information.] 
Supplies and Demoralisation
All units are in supply. Giron’s army suffers further losses on the retreat to Guadalajara: Regulars lose 1600 infantry and 3 guns, Volunteers and Militia lose 2800 infantry, 130 cavalry and 4 guns.


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