Sunday 26 February 2017

1813 Campaign – Cuidad Real Phase

Tactical map at start of campaign

This is the first campaign in Spain since the recent rewrite of the campaign rules for Spanish militia and guerrilla.   So it will be interesting to see how they work out in practice.

The map shows the location of the French and Spanish corps at the start of the campaign.   Normally the campaign objective, Cuidad Real, is in the centre of the map.   However this time it is down in the bottom right.

The Spanish field army consists of four corps, and they do not stand much chance of success against the French in a set piece battle.   In addition they are deployed in the middle of the map, leaving them dispersed and within easy reach of the French.   This is to allow the French the opportunity of a surprise attack to weaken the Spanish before they can retreat.

So at the start of the campaign things do not look good for the Spanish.  However the new element in this campaign is the increased numbers of militia and guerrilla brigades.

There are nine militia brigades, one to garrison each town.   When the French occupy that town the militia brigade become a guerrilla group.   However they are still tied to the area of their home town.

The French have occupied the three most northern towns.   These are Navalmoral, Guadalupe and Alcoba.   The garrisons of those town have converted to guerrilla bands and are hovering out of reach of the French corps still in occupation.

The French plan is to move south over a wide area, in order to prevent the Spanish field army from concentrating against them.   However this means that they will have three lines of communication which they will have to protect until they achieve complete victory.  Each occupied town requires at least one infantry brigade as garrison.

As the French advance south they will have to detach more and more brigades, thus weakening their own field army.   If the guerrilla can capture garrisons or supply columns the French will suffer attrition casualties until they can resupply.

If the Spanish can avoid a major defeat as they retreat, and if they can weaken the French as they advance, a victory should be assured.

The principle is historical, but how it will work in practice we will have to wait and see.

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