Monday, 23 April 2012

PBEM Tortosa Campaign Update

Battle of Cambrils

After a slow start the campaign has really picked up the pace and is proving to be just as enjoyable as the two earlier PBEM campaigns.
The players were allowed much more freedom of choice than in previous phases.   There was also the introduction of a lot of new rules, including sieges and off road movement.   I feel that in the early stages this led to more caution and a lack of understanding of the new rules.
The sieges in particular seemed to cause a lot of problems.
The campaign is set in northeast Spain.   The French had two forward and to reserve corps, with about four days march between them.  The two forward corps occupied a line of towns and villages close to the Spanish front line.  My expectation was that the French would hold for a day or two and then fall back on their supports.
The rules made it likely that the garrison would hold for at least one day, but that the odds would pass to the attacker after two or three days.  Two Spanish commanders tried to storm the garrison, and this led to casualties.  They then settled down to siege, but did not seem to understand when the odds turned in their favour.  Or if they did, they did not take advantage to try a storm once the garrison was weakened.
Because of this the Spanish did not advance.  Consequently the French had to march right up to the forward corps.   All of this took much longer than I had expected.
However once the battles started they gathered momentum.   We are now fighting the sixth battle, and the campaign has reached a critical stage.
The French have suffered two major setbacks.   One corps was forced to surrender.  A second was so badly damaged that it is unlikely to take any further part in this phase of the campaign.   The Spanish have suffered much fewer casualties.  This is largely because they have been able to bring two corps against one.
We have now fought seven days of the campaign, and it has taken five months.   Had the campaign gone as I planned, we would probably have fought just as many battles but would have done so sooner.  I would have expected this phase to last about four months.
I have learned plenty of lessons, and I will try to apply them to the next phase of the campaign.
Meanwhile we are still enjoying Tortosa.   The allies have tried to repeat a two on one attack.   One Spanish and one British corps attacked a single French corps at Cambrils.   However a second French corps has stolen a march on the Spanish opposed to them, and has joined forces at Cambrils.  This has given the French a short-lived tactical advantage.  They must achieve a convincing victory at Cambrils in order to turn on the remaining Spanish corps.  If they fail to do so the Spanish will receive reinforcements and the odds will turn against the French once more.
You can read the report on the battle of Cambrils here

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