Sunday 29 March 2020

Santiago Campaign – Day 10

Campaign Map on 28 October 1813
To keep the French off balance Wellington orders all guerrilla bands to attack French depots of Oviedo, Astorga and Sanabria

6th guerrilla attack Sanabria.   They suffer 800 casualties and rout
7th guerrilla attack Oviedo.   They suffer 800 casualties and rout
8th and 9th guerrilla both attack Astorga. 
They capture the town and rout the garrison with 400 casualties
They also take 2 days supplies

Unable to attack in the north, Soult orders 8th corps to attack Santiago
He also orders the reserve cavalry and artillery to support the attack
Santiago is Wellington’s main depot

2nd British corps is deployed just east of the city in a strong defensive position
They hold their own for most of day, but are eventually broken and routed
General Cole orders them to rally in Santiago 
Battle of Santiago
Cole deploys his corps at the mouth of the pass on the left
Two infantry brigades hold the heights on either side of the pass
Santiago is off table on the left

8th corps deploy immediately in front of the pass
Reserve cavalry and artillery move to attack the British right flank
However they are held between the hill and the farm until late in the day

The infantry on each hill make it very difficult for the two French wings to concentrate
But once they do so they quickly break the British centre

Campaign Notes
The French outnumber the British two to one in cavalry and artillery.  
Despite less infantry than the British, it is only a matter of time before they win

Far more interesting was the guerrilla activity

With the French concentrated at Ribadeo, Lugo and Ponfererada the three rear towns are left at the mercy of the guerrilla bands.  

Each guerrilla only has a maximum of 3 days supplies, and they must move to a farm or village to resupply.  This means that most of the time they are moving to supply, or halted doing so.   However on this day there are four guerrilla in position and ready to attack.

The outcome is decided by the roll of 1D6.   The guerrilla must roll 6 to rout the garrison and take the town.   A roll of 1, 2 or 3 will result in them taking casualties and routing or retreating.

At Oviedo and Sanabria they both roll 1.   Both guerrilla suffer 20% casualties (800 men) and rout.

However at Astorga two guerrilla attack at the same time.   Each need 5 or 6 to rout the garrison.   The first dice is 3, the second is 5.    The garrison rout, leading behind two days supplies.

The French victory is very important.   The loss of Santiago with its three days supplies is a blow to Wellington.   Worst still his lines of communication to Portugal are cut.

However Astorga is also the French main depot, and commands their lines of communication back to Salamanca, Valladolid and Madrid.    The loss of two days supplies is equally serious.   Even more so is the loss of all supplies from Salamanca.   Until Astorga is retaken they will have to rely entirely on what they can forage.

It will be interesting to see who can open their lines of supply first, and what they will have to abandon to do so.

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.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Spanish Lockdown

When we retired to Spain 14 years ago we established a very pleasant weekly routine.    We divide our time between hill walking and wargaming.   Both take up a considerable amount of time, and provide a good balance between energetic and restful pursuits.

For the past five years our weekly routine has been quite full with these two hobbies.   On Monday and Thursday we lead a day long walk for our local U3A.   On Tuesday and Friday I prepare a blog on each walk.   That takes up the best part of four days.

Running my 1813 campaign, and gaming the battles from it, take up a large part of the remaining three days.

Last Saturday this pleasant life style came to an abrupt end with the Spanish government declaring a state of emergency to fight the Coronavirus.   With immediate effect all bars, restaurants and non food shops were closed.   In addition everyone in Spain was ordered to remain within their home for two weeks.   The only exceptions were

Emergency workers to and from their place of work       
To visit a food shop
To visit a doctor or chemist
To walk a dog within a short distance of your home

Each individual has to carry out the above on their own.   Only one in a car, only one to the food shop or doctor.  Even partners were not allowed to travel together, except in an emergency

All outside leisure activity was banned, including walking or other exercise

We were warned that anyone breaking any of the above rules would be fined.   In the week since then 31,000 people have been fined for breaking the restrictions.

This is a wargame blog, and I do not usually post anything not related to the hobby.   But I wanted to explain why I will be increasing my weekly posts to two a week whilst the emergency lasts.    The reason is that we are doing a lot more wargaming.  

Obviously I am not posting on our twice weekly walking blog, instead I will be posting on the progress of the Lockdown and its effect of our life here in Spain.  If you would like to follow those posts you will find them here