Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Santiago Campaign – Day 11

Campaign Map on 29 October 1813
8th French corps occupy Santiago and secure depot and three days supplies
Ourense is now the main British depot

9th militia (guerrilla) occupy Astorga with its three days supplies
They ransack the town and burn all official buildings
Sanabria is now the main French depot

10th French brigade (the ex garrison of Astorga) rout towards Oviedo
They are ambushed by 5th militia (guerrilla) as they near the town
They try to surrender after a brief fight, but all are killed

Wellington is faced with a choice
He can either move south and retake Santiago
Or he can continue to attack in the north before the French can recover

He decides to abandon his lines of supply and attack Ribadeo
1st and 3rd British corps attack Ribadeo, both are well supplied

The town is defended by 7th and 16th French corps, who are both short of supplies
Battle of Ribadeo
Both armies start the battle with previous battle casualties.
This leaves them both with fragile morale
Wellington takes command of both corps artillery, and deploys them in the centre
The remainder of his army are kept in reserve out of artillery range of the French

He concentrates his artillery on the nearest French infantry brigade
They already have casualties, and are soon shaken
He moves his artillery to the next infantry brigade
Again they have casualties, and soon break and run
This causes the shaken infantry to test morale, they fail and also rout
This in turn has the same effect on the nearby dragoon brigade

With his centre in rout Soult orders his flanks to withdraw

Campaign Notes
Wellington took a risk in ordering an attack
The French has longer range 12 pounder artillery
And he could easily have suffered the same fate as Soult

However he was lucky, and he rolled better dice!

Both of the French corps started the battle with just two days supplies
The compulsory retreat will leave them out of supply
They will have to retreat, and accept attrition casualties, until they can resupply

The retreat will allow the Spanish guerrilla to retake Ribadeo and its depot
They already occupy Astorga, and control the French rear area

8th corps and the French reserve have occupied Santiago
But they are now very exposed to attack from both north and south

The situation of the French army is desperate.  


Yuri Wayfare said...

Bold move, Nosey! Now he'd better hope the French decide to cut their losses rather than descend on Ourense with three corps...

irishserb said...

Question - When a unit is out of supply and sustains attrition casualties, once it is resupplied, does that replace the attrition casualties, or does the casualty status remain the same until replacements are received?

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


Wow! I expected Wellington to try to seize the initiative, but not quite as decisively as this. Mind you, the effect of the guerrilla attacks made it possible for Wellington to be so successful.

I assume that the French will now pull back to draw breath, resupply, and rebuild their forces before resuming their offensive,

All the best,


thistlebarrow said...

Hi Yuri

The French in the south are in a strong position.
However in the north 7th and 16th corps are both in real danger
Both have only one days supplies left
In addition 7th corps are broken and in rout

If 1st and 3rd British pursue, 16th corps could fight.
But at odds of 2 to 1 they stand little chance
If they lose and rout the French are finished

Wellington could send 1st and 3rd corps south
Then 8th and French reserve would be outnumbered 3 to

Neither 13th Polish nor 4th British can afford to move

A lot will depend on which general "blinks first"



thistlebarrow said...

Hi irishserb

Attrition casualties are 10% of one brigade.
The corps commander can decide which brigade will receive them
They are then counted the same as battle casualties

To receive casualty replacements a corps must be in supply and stationary
It will then receive 10% of one brigade in replacements (400 infantry or 100 cavalry/gunners) each day
Normally gunners have priority over cavalry and both over infantry

However 10% casualties always remain with each brigade
This means once a brigade has received casualties it will never be 100% again
This in turn means minus 1 on all combat and morale tests

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

A bad day for the French
But also a lucky one for Wellington
The guerrilla success was the result of a really good dice

Both armies have pretty well fought themselves to a standstill
Both have considerable battle casualties

However the French are the aggressors in this campaign
They must force Wellington to abandon Spain and move into Portugal
In their present condition that is really not possible.

So I must decide whether they can pull anything off in the south
If not then they must withdraw to regroup, resully and reinforce
That would mean that they had failed in their campaign objective

best regards