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

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Solo Campaign - Weeks 29 & 30

Unhappy King Joseph

Week 29

Random Events and Strategic Notes
Some important developments are reshaping the French strategy in Spain.

It is clear that the Emperor’s campaign in Russia is not going to be anything like what was anticipated. The Russians’ refusal to stand for a major, decisive battle, and their total rejection of any kind of approach for negotiation indicate that the campaign will be long and difficult, with the French and their allies being drawn further and further into the heartland. The Minister of War in Paris (Clarke, Duc de Feltre) has confidentially informed King Joseph that he is not optimistic about matters in Russia, and foresees that, at the very least, more soldiers will be required there. Thus the French armies in Northern and Central Spain may become more valuable than Spain itself. This has deeply shocked Joseph, who has previously seriously compromised Clauzel by his insistence on protecting his capital at Madrid.

The fact that Clauzel’s army is now in too poor a shape to hold Salamanca means that he will have to withdraw to the area around Valladolid. His requests for wagons from Madrid to convey the sick and wounded from his hospitals in the convents of Alba de Tormes and Salamanca have produced nothing worthwhile – Joseph needs all the wagons he can find to strip everything that is precious or militarily useful out of Madrid, and retreat towards Aranda – he has identified Burgos as a possible new headquarters. Reports from Madrid through British spies indicate a lot of burning and looting there, which suggests that the French are not intending to return.

Marmont, nervous of being trapped between the armies of Graham (at Orense) and Aigburth (evidently advancing into Salamanca) intends to withdraw into Leon, thus the new French line will be Marmont on the right at Leon, Clauzel in the centre at Valladolid and Jourdan/Joseph on the left near Aranda, all north of the Duero.

Clauzel will be forced to abandon his hospitals.

King Joseph is reported to have made some comment to the recuperating General Guye to the effect that he sees no point in “sustaining this folly of his brother’s vanity”, though he may not, in fact, have said this.

The enlarged Spanish army of Giron does not have the necessary heavy artillery to attack Zaragoza, and thus they will work around it, threatening the rear of the new French position and their essential supply routes through Pamplona and Burgos.

The 3D3 activation throws give the Allies 8 and the French 6. The Allies opt to move first.

Allies (8 allowed)
1 – Aigburth (Force A) and Picton (E) join to form new Force A at Ciudad Rodrigo, under Aigburth…
2 – … and march into Salamanca, threatening Clauzel’s army
3 – H (Long, with the “advance guard” which fought at Martin de Yeltes) will rest at Salamanca
4 – Sp B (Giron, with Espana’s Divn of 3rd Army) joins with Sp C (Morillo’s Divn of the same army) to form new Sp B at Alcaniz, under Giron…
5 – … and this force marches west to Teruel…
6 – … joining with a large force of irregulars from the Junta of Aragon (I) to become a larger Sp B
7 – Anglo-Port Force B (Graham, at Orense) continues to scout into Zamora
 [Intelligence step -
  • Much intercepted intelligence containing hints at change in French strategy, and it is clear that Clauzel is preparing to withdraw.]
French (6 allowed)
1 – I (Clauzel) marches from Salamanca to Valladolid, abandoning his hospitals
2 – H (Pinoteau, with remains of the force defeated at Martin de Yeltes) also attempts to march to Valladolid – since this force is Tired already, a test is required:
2D3 = 3 +1 (Pinoteau’s rating) -1 (tired troops) = 3   - the march is completed, but the force is now Tired and Demoralised, and each unit loses a further block/base to exhaustion and desertion – the cavalry in particular are virtually eliminated
3 – Forces I (Clauzel), H (what is left of Pinoteau) and D (Leberknoedel, with a brigade of Confederation troops) merge into new Force I, under Clauzel, at Valladolid
4 – N (Marmont) withdraws from Zamora to Leon
5 – K (Jourdan/Joseph) at Madrid attempt to keep order while preparing to evacuate Madrid
 [Intelligence step –
  • No new information.]
Supplies and Demoralisation
All units are in supply. French Force H (Pinoteau) is demoralised by retreat march to Vallalolid, and loses one block/base per unit before merging with Clauzel.

3 new units of regular cavalry (2 light, 1 of cuirassiers) are now present with Giron’s Spanish 3rd Army.

Clauzel retires before the Allied advance into Salamanca.

Engineering at Ciudad Rodrigo
The civilian labourers and the garrison of Ciudad Rodrigo are working on repairs to the defences of the town, and levelling the siegeworks. The workforce is equivalent to 5 battalions, so the work is represented by the rolling of 5D6 each week. Every 6 rolled adds 1 to the Fortress Value, which is currently 5 – the theoretical full value is 6, but progress has been so good that the governor, General Hidalgo, will aim to improve the defences wherever possible. This week, the dice come up 6 6 5 4 2, so the Fortress Value is increased to 7, at which point work ceases and the labourers are discharged.

Week 30

Random Events and Strategic Notes
The weather has deteriorated – heavy rainstorms have temporarily reduced all roads in the campaign area to a “winter” state.

Despite changed strategy, the French are still very concerned about the possibility of seaborne invasion of the ports along the North coast, and thus many good quality troops remain tied up in garrisons of Oviedo, Santander, Bilbao and San Sebastian.

The 3D3 activation throws give the Allies 6 and the French 6. Since they had the initiative last week, the Allies again opt to move first.

Allies (6 allowed)
1 – Sp B (Giron) marches from Teruel to Calatayud
2 – A (Aigburth) absorbs H (Long) at Salamanca
3 – B (Graham) marches over the hills from Orense to Zamora – the timing is not ideal, since the weather has reduced the roads to a poor state, so a test is required:
2D3 = 5 +2 (Graham’s rating) -1 (brown road) -1 (poor weather) = 5   - the march is completed, without problems
4 – Sp F (Ximenez, with irregulars at Toledo) to scout toward Madrid, watching for evacuation of the city
5 – Sp E (Mira, with irregulars at Ocana) to do the same
 [Intelligence step -
  • Much activity in Madrid, then Joseph’s forces and an enormous wagon train seen heading north
  • Graham finds that Marmont has evacuated the Zamora region, and has destroyed river crossings and generally ruined the countryside and villages]
French (6 allowed)
1 – K (Joseph/Jourdan) march from Madrid to Aranda.
 [Intelligence step –
  • No new information.]
Supplies and Demoralisation
All units are in supply, but the Spanish afrancesado units in Marmont’s army (Force N) are Demoralised by the retreat, and especially by the abandonment of Madrid, so must test for loss through desertion. Also, they will not receive any replacements this month.

The detailed losses for demoralisation for this Division (Casapalacio’s) are:
1/Gd Gren, Gd Volt, 1 Leger (Castille) & Royal Etranger – all -1 block. 1/Gd Fus, 2/Gd Fus, 1/2 Ligne (Toledo) – all -2 blocks. This represents a total loss to the division of about 2000 infantry.

Since 16th August is the nearest weekend to the middle of the month, reinforcements, replacements and returns from hospital are diced for – since Clauzel’s force were forced to abandon their hospitals, they will receive no additional troops this month.

Detailed additions:
French – Chass des Mont, 5 Ch-Leg, 1 Ch-Leg Rugeois, 2/69, 3/2 Art a Chev, 15 Dgns – each +1 block. Total increase from these additions is approx. 400 infantry, 375 cavalry and 2 guns, which is far less than the desertions from Marmont’s Spanish division.
Anglo-Portuguese – 2/5th, 2nd Lt Bn KGL, Br Oels Jaegers, Troop ‘E’ RHA, 5th Dgn Gds, 1st Port Cav, 1st Prov Lt Bn – each +1 block; Wallace’s Lt coys, 2/95th 3rd Dgns – each +2 blocks. Total increase is approx. 1600 infantry, 500 cavalry and 2 guns.
Spanish – No additions this month.


1 comment:

  1. I don't like to admit it, but I've missed this - really enjoy following the movement on the map. I must try to get out more.

    The French are in a bit of a fix - youre not just trying to get the thing finished, are you? I want to see that big Spanish army in action...