Sunday, 19 January 2020

Santiago Campaign

Campaign map of Northern Spain

The campaign starts on 18 October 1813, which is two months after the French won the Leon campaign.   At the end of that campaign Wellington was forced to retreat west and had to decide whether to hold on to Galicia or retreat into Portugal.   He choose the more difficult option, to maintain a foothold in Spain.

He concentrated his army at Santiago, the capitol of Galicia.   From here he could resupply through the port of Corunna, and also maintain his communications with Portugal.   He could also rely on the Spanish militia brigades who were the garrisons of the nine towns in the region.  

The area of the Santiago phase is the nine squares outlined in white on the map above. Each square is one day’s march, and also one wargame table.  
Santiago campaign map

This is the map which will be used for the blog campaign diary.   It covers the same area as the first map, but is extended to show the terrain in greater detail.   Each of the nine towns on the previous map are now the centre of nine squares.   Each square on the map is also a 2x2 foot square on the wargames table.

The map shows the situation on the morning of 18 October 1813, the start of the campaign.   Each corps is shown, and also each garrison and depot.   The Spanish militia brigades are in yellow.   When the French occupy a town, its garrison become a guerrilla band.   The three on the right hand side of the map have already done so.

The campaign starts with all corps and brigades at full strength.   The French and British corps also have four days supplies each.   The Spanish militia brigades have three days supplies each.

There is at least one square between each British and French corps.   To enter one of those squares the attacker must declare a battle.   When the map is transferred to the wargames table there will be one 2x2 foot scenic square between the wargame figures.
Campaign wargames map

This map is very similar to the campaign map.   The main difference is that there is a number top right of each square.   This corresponds with one of the scenic 2x2 foot boards which are used to make up the wargames table.   Also the hills are shown as they appear on the table.   Finally each village or farm is marked the same as the wargame scenery which will represent it on the table.  

I used to use this type of map for the diary blog.   But I decided that the other one would look more like a “proper map”.   However this only works with a solo campaign.  When it was PBEM I had to use the wargames map on the blog as well.

So all is now ready.  

On with the campaign!


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    Glad to see that you are about to launch into a new campaign in a part of Spain that I have visited. I know that I will enjoy reading the resultant battle reports, and watching the two sides trying to defeat each other.

    All the best,


  2. Hi Bob

    Strange that this is the one part of Spain that I have NOT visited.
    I would really like to follow the retreat to Corunna, and perhaps I will one day
    Hope you enjoy the campaign reports

    best regards


  3. Paul,

    A Coruna is a great place. The cruise ships dock right next to the old part of the city (the Crystal City, so called because of the glassed in balconies on the seafront houses) and you can walk into it in a matter of minutes, Sir John Moore’s grave is a short walk away, and on the opposite side of the road is an excellent military museum.

    The city centre also boasts an excellent bookshop and a shop selling collectibles where I bought a whole load of Del Prado prepainted 25mm Napoleonic figures. There are also loads of excellent bars and restaurants.

    About a mile from the city centre is the famous lighthouse, and further along the coast there are some wonderful beaches between stunning headlands, which makes the whole area look more like Cornwall than the areas of Spain most Brits visit.

    In many ways, Galicia is more like Portugal than the rest of Spain. It looks towards the Atlantic, and shares the same outward-looking attitude to the rest of the world that the north-western European nations have.

    All the best,


  4. Hi Bob

    You certainly make it sound very attractive.

    Quite a few of our friends have done Camino de Santiago, either all or sections. All return with great stories of the walk, but even more of "the experience"

    Both the Camino and Moore's retreat are on my "to do" list. The latter had long been an ambition, but the former has become more attractive the more I hear about it.

    We keep quite fit hill walking, but either of the above would be more of a challenge. So if we are to do either it will have to be sooner, rather than later.

    best regards


  5. Late to the party, but here I am :-) I hope the new year finds you and Jan well. By chance I've just returned from a little getaway in Portugal and I applaud the choice of fall/winter for campaigning in those parts. I couldn't imagine trying to mount any sort of large operation there in summer.

    During the last campaign in Spain the guerillas caused many headaches for the French commander. Were you happy with how that worked out or have you tweaked anything for this new campaign?

  6. Hi Yuri

    Nice to har from you again.

    I completely agree about the effect of the weather on campaigning in Spain. Jan and I are keen hill walkers and walk at least twice a week from October to May. But like all the local walking groups avoid it during the summer months. In fact we have a completely different lifestyle in the summer and the rest of the year. We get up at 0630 during the summer and do a one hour circuit from the house. We then do odd jobs around the house and have breakfast at 0900. By then it is getting too hot to do anything involving physical activity outside.

    But it should also be noted that during the winter months it can get very cold, even in southern Spain. And heavy rain, though rare, can be a real problem.

    We are very pleased with the guerrilla activity in our last southern Spain campaign. They play a much less part in northern Spain. They are not usually involved on the tabletop, unless they are caught by a battle between Wellington and the French. But they do play an important part in disrupting supplies and providing intelligence. They always add an interesting addition.




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