Campaign Map on 28 October 1813
To keep the French off balance Wellington orders all guerrilla bands to attack French depots of Oviedo, Astorga and Sanabria
6th guerrilla attack Sanabria. They suffer 800 casualties and rout
7th guerrilla attack Oviedo. They suffer 800 casualties and rout
8th and 9th guerrilla both attack Astorga.
They capture the town and rout the garrison with 400 casualties
They also take 2 days supplies
Unable to attack in the north, Soult orders 8th corps to attack Santiago
He also orders the reserve cavalry and artillery to support the attack
Santiago is Wellington’s main depot
2nd British corps is deployed just east of the city in a strong defensive position
They hold their own for most of day, but are eventually broken and routed
General Cole orders them to rally in Santiago
Battle of Santiago
Cole deploys his corps at the mouth of the pass on the left
Two infantry brigades hold the heights on either side of the pass
Santiago is off table on the left
8th corps deploy immediately in front of the pass
Reserve cavalry and artillery move to attack the British right flank
However they are held between the hill and the farm until late in the day
The infantry on each hill make it very difficult for the two French wings to concentrate
But once they do so they quickly break the British centre
The French outnumber the British two to one in cavalry and artillery.
Despite less infantry than the British, it is only a matter of time before they win
Far more interesting was the guerrilla activity
With the French concentrated at Ribadeo, Lugo and Ponfererada the three rear towns are left at the mercy of the guerrilla bands.
Each guerrilla only has a maximum of 3 days supplies, and they must move to a farm or village to resupply. This means that most of the time they are moving to supply, or halted doing so. However on this day there are four guerrilla in position and ready to attack.
The outcome is decided by the roll of 1D6. The guerrilla must roll 6 to rout the garrison and take the town. A roll of 1, 2 or 3 will result in them taking casualties and routing or retreating.
At Oviedo and Sanabria they both roll 1. Both guerrilla suffer 20% casualties (800 men) and rout.
However at Astorga two guerrilla attack at the same time. Each need 5 or 6 to rout the garrison. The first dice is 3, the second is 5. The garrison rout, leading behind two days supplies.
The French victory is very important. The loss of Santiago with its three days supplies is a blow to Wellington. Worst still his lines of communication to Portugal are cut.
However Astorga is also the French main depot, and commands their lines of communication back to Salamanca, Valladolid and Madrid. The loss of two days supplies is equally serious. Even more so is the loss of all supplies from Salamanca. Until Astorga is retaken they will have to rely entirely on what they can forage.
It will be interesting to see who can open their lines of supply first, and what they will have to abandon to do so.