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


Monday, 28 October 2013

Solo Campaign - Weeks 33 & 34


French soldiers in the main square at Burgos, astonished by the futuristic
architecture and apparently oblivious to a Spanish presence on the
right of the picture

The Earl of Aigburth is severely compromised by the failure of the brave new Spanish Third Army at Vinuesa - the planned attack on the French communications is now impossible, and the main Anglo-Portuguese and French armies are squared up in the region of the Duero, too evenly matched for either side to risk going on the offensive.

Aigburth is also concerned that the Summer is almost over, and the marching season is drawing to an end - the roads in the mountains and on the Portuguese border are a serious problem in bad weather, as a number of the generals present have learned to their cost this year.


Week 33

Random Events and Strategic Notes
The Allied strategy has taken a severe knock with Giron’s defeat at Vinuesa. The Spanish main army is in a very poor state, and since Giron wishes to retreat to Madrid while the army is both Tired and Demoralised, he will suffer further losses on the march.

Aigburth’s intention was to have Giron occupy, or at least threaten, the areas around Tudela, Lodosa and Vitoria, which would effectively sever the French supply roads from Bayonne and force Marmont’s and Clauzel’s French forces to leave Castilla and retreat into Vizcaya. To support a possible attack on Burgos (now no longer an option), Aigburth had ordered forward the Allied siege train.

As things stand now, Marmont and Clauzel are not strong enough to take the offensive against the Allied armies of Graham (at Zamora) and Aigburth himself (at Salamanca) and, with the end of the Summer approaching, Aigburth does not consider that he has sufficient numerical advantage to advance to drive the French back, so the situation is something of a stalemate.

The Principal Junta have replied (at some length) to Aigburth’s note conveying his disappointment over Giron’s performance at Vinuesa. The following extract is significant:

“Your Excellency will be aware that the armies of King Ferdinand have had unsuccessful days before, and have always risen again to fight the invaders. The courage of our soldiers has never been in doubt, and the battlefield experience gained by this young army will be valuable – we have no reason to question the suitability of Captain General Giron to continue in command. With rest and reinforcements (of which we have an ever-increasing supply), the army will be ready to take the field again by the beginning of November. Perhaps Your Excellency and your staff would be better engaged in offering a more active threat to our enemies, rather than concerning yourself with issues which are solely Spanish matters.”

Aigburth has observed privately to members of his staff that Giron is indeed a lucky man to be the nephew of Castaños, the victor of Bailen, but also accepts that Giron and his limitations are at least familiar to him, where a replacement might be a complete unknown.

Housekeeping
The 3D3 activation throws give the Allies 6 and the French 5. The Allies opt to move first.

Moves

Allies (6 allowed)
1 – Sp B (Giron, at Guadalajara) retreats to Madrid. Since his troops are already Tired and Demoralised, this will involve further loss through desertion and men falling out on the march [Dice for every base/block making the retreat – regulars are lost on a throw of 1, irregular/militia on a throw of 1 or 2]
2 – Sp I (Irregulars of the Junta de Navarra) is placed back on the map at Caltayud, since they are pretty much ready to operate again in this area.
[Intelligence step -
  • No new information.] 
French (5 allowed)
1 – K (Jourdan/Joseph, at Soria) marches into Aranda, to provide the left wing of the front line which the French propose to hold
2 – Q (Dujour, with a force of Garde Nationale forming the garrison at Jaca) advance into Huesca to attack Sp H (Cruchaga, with a small partida force)
3 – King Joseph’s personal HQ is now at Burgos, and forms part of Force U there
[Intelligence step –
  • No new information.]
Supplies and Demoralisation
All units are in supply. Giron’s army suffers further losses on the retreat to Madrid: Regulars lose 200 infantry, Volunteers and Militia lose 600 infantry and 250 cavalry.

Contacts
French Force Q (Dujour, with 3500 Garde Nationale from the garrison of Jaca) enter the area of Huesca to attack Spanish Force H (Cruchaga, with approx. 750 guerrilas). Employing the special rule for guerrilleros, Cruchaga’s force disappears into the hills and travels across country, reappearing on the map at Alcaniz. No contact, no action.


Week 34

Random Events and Strategic Notes
Nothing new in the campaign area, but again there is concern that at least part of the French army will be recalled to France to replace losses in Russia.

General Guye has returned to active service, and resumes command of his Division of the Armée du Centre, attached to Marmont at Leon.

Housekeeping
The 3D3 activation throws give the Allies 7 and the French 7. Since they had the initiative last week, the Allies again opt to move first.

Moves
Allies (7 allowed)
1 – Sp B (Giron) rests at Madrid
[Intelligence step -
  • No new information]

French (7 allowed)
1 – R (Paquerette) returns from Soria to Tudela, to resume garrison duties
2 – Q (Dujour) returns from Huesca to Jaca, to resume garrison duties
[Intelligence step –
  • No new information.]

Supplies and Demoralisation
This is the weekend closest to the middle of the month, which is when reinforcements, replacements and returns from hospital are diced for – since Giron’s army is Demoralised they should not be entitled to any reinforcements, but in fact their return to Madrid had resulted in a massive rush of volunteers – there is a big rise in patriotic fervour since the capital was abandoned by the French – therefore Giron will get reinforcements like everyone else.

Detailed additions:
French – 4/28L, 1/Drag Prov, Lacharrue’s Tirailleurs, 1/25L, 2/25L. 3/25L, 1/27, 2/27, 2/50, 3/50, 1/59, 15/3 Art a Pied, 5/66, 2/86, 11 Dgns, Lanc de la Vistule, 2/2 Nassau, 2/4 Baden, Neuenstein’s Tirailleurs, 1/4 Hesse, 25 Dgns, 3 Huss, 2/2 Spanish Line, 1/Royal Etranger – each +1 block; 10/3 Art a Pied, 1/Sp Gd Grenadiers, 1/Sp Gd Fusiliers, 1/2 Spanish Line – each +2 blocks; 5/82 +3 blocks. Total increase from these additions is approx. 5400 infantry, 500 cavalry and 7 guns.
Anglo-Portuguese – 2/21st Port, 1st Lt Bn KGL, 68th, 1/95th, 1st Cac – each +1 block; Br-Oels Jaegers +2 blocks. Total increase is approx. 1400 infantry.
Spanish – Caz de Castilla, 1st Ft Battery, 2 Lanc de Castilla, Vols de Valencia,  Ligero del Reino, Leon, 2nd Ft Battery, Coraceros, Vols de Espana, Hus de Extremadura – each +1 black; Tir de Castilla, Loyales de Zamora, La Union, Vols Aragon, Vols Guadalajara – each +2 blocks; 2 Princesa, Def de Fern VII, Leg Extremena, Regt del Ribeiro – each +3 blocks. Total increase from these additions is approx. 5200 infantry, 500 cavalry and 4 guns.

Contacts
None.





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