Sunday, 23 February 2020

Santiago Campaign – Day 5

Campaign Map on 23 October 1813
Despite his defeat at Lugo, Wellington orders an attack on Corunna
He is determined to strike at the French before they can regroup
3rd corps, retreating from Lugo, is ordered to rally at Santiago
This town will now be his main base and supplies are moved from Ourense

The French have advanced beyond their depots and must reorganise
Four days supplies are sent from Oviedo, to resupply 7th and 16th corps
However the convoy is captured by guerrilla and the escort routed
The last thing that Suchet wants is a battle at Corunna
The battle of Corunna
The battle opens well for Wellington

2nd corps is ordered to attack Corunna
The infantry attack, supported by artillery
The leading brigade inflicted 10% casualties on the garrison
Wellington takes command of their hussar brigade to form his reserve

1st corps attacks the Italian corps in the open ground to the right of the town.
To do so the infantry have to advance through the dense woods
Meanwhile the artillery and cavalry move forward on the right
The cavalry receive 10% casualties from artillery fire
They are immediately charged, and routed, by the Italian hussars
Wellington moves his reserve cavalry to support 1st corps
The infantry attack on the Italian infantry is disordered by the woods
As they attempt to regroup the centre enemy brigade moves forward
The Italian line engages the British column in a firefight, which they win

Suchet has taken command of 7th corps artillery to form his reserve
They now move forward to engage the British attacking Corunna
Without their cavalry 2nd corps have no answer to this threat

With two brigades in rout Wellington accepts defeat and retreats

Campaign Notes
Both armies were evenly matched in this battle

1st British corps cavalry started with 10% casualties
The rest of the corps was full strength

2nd British corps started at full strength

7th French corps cavalry started with 20% casualties
The rest of the corps was full strength

16th Italian corps started at full strength

The French held a strong position
Corunna is a fortified town and had a full garrison of two brigades
That left two brigades and the artillery to counter any attack
With 20% casualties their cavalry was too weak to deploy, and hid behind the town

The Italian corps was more exposed as they held the open ground to the right of the town
However a large woods would disrupt any enemy approaching their battle line

Consequently Wellington had a difficult task

1st corps would find it difficult to clear the woods and deploy to attack
To do so their artillery and cavalry must damage the enemy
In particular their cavalry and infantry

2nd corps would have to attack over a very narrow front
A large farm prevented a full deployment
Soult could divide his forces either side of the farm
But this would mean considerable difficult in command and control
Or he could attack either side of the farm
He choose to attack on the left

Only on the British far right was there room for cavalry
So Wellington took command of 2nd corps hussar brigade to form his reserve.

First blood went to the British when they attacked the left town section
It was held by a conscript brigade, and the loss of 10% casualties reduced their combat ability

However the loss of a cavalry on the exposed British right flank was a much more serious setback
Without cavalry he could not hold the ground for his infantry to deploy as they left the woods
Wellington moved his hussar reserve to replace the routed dragoons

This allowed the French to bring forward their reserve artillery in the centre
It was deployed to engage any British infantry attacking Corunna

After just five moves Wellington had to admit defeat
He had only suffered minor casualties
But both of his corps had suffered critical casualties
To press home the attack would almost certainly result in a major defeat

This short game was a master class in move and counter move
The loss of the British dragoon brigade was the critical factor
Wellington had to move his remaining cavalry to make up for this loss
This in turn allowed the French to place their reserve artillery to fire on the flank of any attack on Corunna

Very enjoyable wargame, but a terrible result for the campaign.

The British really needed to win this battle, to prevent being forced to retreat south
By doing so Wellington abandoned his last chance to regain the initiative
He would now have to concentrate at Santiago and await the next French attack
Soult could now take his time to reorganise his depots and replace his battle casualties
He would have to attack Santiago to win the campaign, but he could do so when it suited him to do so.


  1. I thought Wellington could pull it off. Very interesting results. As always, thanks for sharing your campaigns.

  2. Hi irishserb

    Thanks for your comment

    It is not looking good for Wellington. However it is not, as they say, over "until the fat (Spanish) lady sings".



  3. It looks like things are headed towards a massive confrontation at Santiago, assuming the French can protect their supply lines long enough to get their corps fit to fight. There's a lot of militia on the loose. This should be interesting!

  4. Hi Yuri

    Thanks for your comments

    I am really pleased with the influence of the guerrilla on the campaign, it is very historical. There are a lot of them, but when there is a French corps within two map squares they are useless. But once the French move away they can attack garrisons and convoys. All combat is decided by dice, and they need a 6 to do any damage. Any low dice results in long lasting damage to the guerrilla.

    But when they do roll a 6 they do a lot of damage. The garrison/convoy receive casualties and rout. All supplies are captured and lost to the French. In fact it can turn around the whole direction of the campaign.

    It has taken a long time to get the balance right, but it seems to be working well now




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