Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Toledo Campaign – Day 2



10 March 2013

Whilst 13th Polish corps occupied Torrijos, 16th Italian corps attacked Mocejon.

3rd Spanish corps routed from Torrijos routed towards Albareal

The Spanish garrison of Torrijos because the first guerrilla band

Battle of Mocejon – Move 12

The Italians were always going to win the battle of Mocejon

The town was held by a weak corps of only three brigades and artillery

The Italians had a full corps of four brigades of infantry, cavalry and artillery

They were also reinforced by an infantry brigade from the reserve

This brigade was to garrison Mocejon after the town was taken.

 

The Italians had more open space to deploy than the Poles at Torrijos

They deployed their cavalry on the left, to pin the Spanish artillery

Their own artillery was in the centre, and all of the infantry on their right

With no Spanish cavalry their gunners did not need infantry support.

 

The Italian artillery moved into close range of the walled town

They came under fire from the Spanish artillery, and lost 10% casualties

Despite this they continued to bombard the right section of the town

 

As the infantry neared the town the cavalry advanced to charge the Spanish guns

They received 10% casualties, which caused them to halt in disorder

Before they could withdraw the Spanish artillery fired again.

The cavalry lost another 10% casualties and withdrew in disorder

 

Meanwhile two infantry brigades closed with the two Spanish brigades outside the town.   Both Spanish brigades were low quality conscripts, but so also was one of the Italian brigades.   The melee went on for two phases, with the Spanish running away with 30% casualities on each brigade.  However the Italians also lost 10% on each brigade.

 

The military holding the right side of Mocejon had already received 20% casualties from the artillery.  The remaining two Italian brigades were sent to attack the town, with the attached infantry brigade in reserve.   Once more it took two phases for the attackers to force their way in.  The military were routed with a total of 40% casualties, but the two Italian brigades also received 10% casualties each.

 

As Italian commander I had made a serious mistake in planning the attack.   I knew the walled town would be difficult to take, and I wanted all of the infantry to be available for the attack.   All five brigades were on the right, leaving only the cavalry to take care of the Spanish gunners.  I was confident that the full strength hussar brigade could do so.

 

So it was a bit of a shock when they had to withdraw with 20% casualties just as the infantry attack went in.   The Spanish gunners received no casualties, and were now able to fire on the infantry as they started their attack.   It would take too long to send the reserve infantry brigade to attack the gunners, and it was very likely they would also be repulsed with heavy casualties.   By now the hussars had rallied, so they were sent in for a second attempt to take the guns.   The Spanish gunners fire again, and caused another 10% casualties.  The hussars routed with 30% casualties.

 

By now it was nightfall.   The Italians had broken into the right hand section of the town.   Three Spanish brigades were in rout.   But the fourth brigade still held half of the town.   And their artillery was full strength.   Despite this they would not be able to withstand a further day of fighting, so they withdrew under cover of darkness.

 

The Italians had taken the town, but at a great cost.   They suffered 2000 casualties to the 4000 Spanish casualties.  But they were spread over all six Italian brigades.   The artillery and each infantry brigade has 10% casualties.  The cavalry 30% casualties.   All of the Spanish casualties were spread between three infantry brigades.

 

Given time all of the Spanish casualties, less 10% per brigade, would be replaced.   However the Italians would only receive 20% of their cavalry casualties.   The rest would remain.  

 

All brigades of 16th Italian corps would be weakened for the remainder of the campaign.   Half of their infantry started the campaign no better than the Spanish conscripts.  They would now be weaker than a full strength Spanish brigade.   Their gunners would also be less effective.  

 

It was a serious, and unexpected, setback so early in the campaign.

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