Campaign Map on 19 September 1813
Giron launches a surprise attack by his whole army on Hellin
Suchet has dispersed his army to support his supply bases
He has concentrated his supplies at Hellin, and is not prepared to abandon them
He orders his army to concentrate and hold the town
Battle of Hellin - last move
Three French and four Spanish corps took part in the battle of Hellin
Both sides started the battle with previous battle casualties
This was a very hard fought battle, and both sides lost heavy casualties
The Spanish took the left flank and half of the town
The French held the right flank and half of the town
By nightfall the French had seven brigades in rout, and the Spanish ten
All of the remaining brigades on both sides had heavy casualties
The deciding factor was one of command and control, plus supply
The Spanish were not capable to regrouping their army to fight a second day
All four corps were reduced to one days supply each and could not resupply
The result was a draw, but as the Spanish retreated the French could claim a victory.
This was a fitting final battle to decide the campaign.
The Spanish army was considerably stronger with 53600 infantry, 1900 cavalry and 114 guns. The French had 38400 infantry, 2800 cavalry and 87 guns.
The French superiority in cavalry would allow them to delay the Spanish deployment. But the Spanish superiority in artillery would give them a huge advantage. The stronger Spanish infantry would allow them to absorb more casualties than the French.
Both armies had battle casualties. Most brigades started the battle with at least 10% casualties. This reduced their combat ability and made them very vulnerable when testing morale. One rout could easily affect nearby brigades who had such casualties.
The Spanish had the disadvantage that one of their corps would not arrive on the table until the start of move 5. It would take them four moves to advance and deploy, leaving them only four moves of fighting.
The battle opened well for the Spanish. The French artillery were ineffective against the approaching Spanish infantry. Only three Spanish corps were involved in the initial attack, but they still managed to take the woods on the left and half of the town.
The fourth Spanish corps was tasked to take the remaining half of the town. Both the artillery and all four infantry brigades started with 10% casualties. They fought hard to take the town and routed the initial garrison. But the French counter attacked with a fresh brigade and managed to hold until nightfall.
At nightfall the Spanish held the left half of the table, and the French the right half. The French had lost seven of their brigades in rout
The Spanish lost ten brigades, including half of their artillery
Darkness would allow the French to redeploy to hold their half of Hellin, and prepare a counter attack against the Spanish held half. Their remaining brigades had less casualties than the Spanish brigades.
The deciding factor was supplies. The French had managed to resupply before the battle and had three days each. The Spanish had only one day, and were too far from their depots to resupply.
The Spanish must retreat or start to suffer attrition casualties. They retreat.