Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Santiago Campaign – Day 9

Campaign Map on 27 October 1813
Wellington expects the French to attack Corunna
He orders 3rd corps to support 1st corps there

He also orders supplies from Ourense to Santiago

7th French corps retreats due to losing the battle of Corunna
In doing so they use up the last of their supplies

Soult orders 16th Italian corps to join them at Ribadeo
This is to secure Ribadeo
He will not be able to attack for at least two days

He also orders 8th and Reserve corps to prepare to attack Ourense

Campaign Notes
7th French corps fought the battle of Corunna with just one days supply
Because they lost they had to retreat, reducing their supplies to zero
If they do not halt and resupply next day they will start to lose attrition casualties

When a corps runs out of supplies it loses 400 infantry men each day to attrition
The CinC can decide which brigade will lose those men
They will continue to lose 400 infantry for each day they remain out of supply

To resupply they must be within three squares of a friendly supply depot
They must also remain stationary and can not initiate any combat
If attacked they must  retreat, causing them to lose 400 attrition casualties

For this reason most corps will resupply before they reach one days supplies
However if they are attacked, and can not retreat, they can not resupply
For example if ordered to hold and resupply, they must fight if attacked

This is what happened to 7th corps at Corunna

Having fought a very successful campaign, the French have run into a series of supply problems.  
This was partly caused by guerrilla activity.
It is starting to have a serious impact on the French campaign.

The consequences is that they have lost the initiative, which has been taken up by Wellington.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


What an interesting turn around, although it’s too early to assume an eventual Allied victory.

It’s nice to see the important role played by the guerillas.

All the best,


thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

I am really pleased with the way the campaign is developing, and particularly the influence of the guerillas. Mostly due to luck of the dice, but quite historical for all of that.



Yuri Wayfare said...

Hi Paul,

As Bob said, these past few campaign days have been a very interesting twist to what seemed to be a cakewalk for the French.

If I read everything correctly, the British 1st and 3rd Corps are in good shape and supply right now, while the French 7th is in a shambles. Can Wellington pursue aggressively towards Ribadeo before the French have the opportunity to rally and resupply?

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Yuri

At nightfall on 27th October 1st and 3rd British corps each have three days supplies

7th French corps was out of supply and forced to retreat. They would have to evade any British pursuit, find a supply depot and be given at least 24 hours to rally and resupply.

So at that time it looked certain that Wellington could pursue with either 1st or 3rd corps and destroy 7th French before they could rally.

However. On 28th October the French attacked and captured Santiago. This is Wellington's main supply depot, and commands the lines of supply to Portugal. He could ignore this, but would then have to rely on forage to keep his Army going long enough to defeat the rest of the French army.

Interesting how both commanders seem to be on the verge of winning the campaign, only to have it taken away from them by unforseen circumstances. In this case a very lucky guerrilla attack on the main French depot at Astorga.