Sunday, 26 September 2021

Spanish Cuidad Real Campaign

Cuidad Real campaign map

Given my recent work on orders of battle for the whole campaign, this next phase set in southern Spain has come at a very appropriate time.

Over the past week I have spent a lot of time trying to reconcile the strengths and weakness of the French and Spanish armies.   Having made the campaign maps and plotted the corps, depots and garrisons it is all starting to take shape.

The strengths of the two armies are closer than ever before.

French have 30 infantry brigades, 7 cavalry brigades and 6 artillery brigades

Spanish have 36 infantry brigades, 4 cavalry brigades and 6 artillery brigades


The French field army is six corps each having 4 infantry brigades, 1 cavalry brigade and 1 artillery brigade

There is also a reserve corps of 6 infantry and 1 cavalry brigades who provide garrisons for the French rear area


The Spanish field army also has six corps.

4 corps have 4 infantry brigades, 1 cavalry brigade and 1 artillery brigade

2 corps have 4 infantry brigades, no cavalry and 1 artillery brigade

There are also 12 milita brigades who provide the garrison of the 12 towns in the campaign.


The map covers half of two military districts

Cuidad Real is on the left, and Albacete on the right

The centre of the map is the district border


Albacete is the French rear area.

Garrisons are provided by the reserve corps

However when they occupy a town in Cuidad Real district the field army must provide the garrison

There are six towns in Albacete district, all are occupied by the French

Their Spanish garrisons are now six guerrilla bands

As soon as the French field army marches into Cuidad Real district they will attack garrisons


The two field armies are fairly even.

The French have 24 infantry brigades, six cavalry brigades and six artillery brigades

The Spanish have 24 infantry brigades, four cavalry brigades and six artillery brigades


The French infantry are slightly better quality than the Spanish

The French cavalry are stronger and much better quality than the Spanish

The French artillery are slightly better quality than the Spanish


Both sides have large numbers of C quality brigades in all three arms


One big difference is the maximum number of supplies each side can hold

The French can carry a maximum of four days supplies (if available)

The Spanish are restricted to a maximum of three days

It does not seem a big difference but it actually is

It means the French can operate away from their base for longer than the Spanish


On the other hand the French have long lines of supply

The further they advance the more of a problem they become

The more the Spanish retreat the easier their supply problems become.


The other problem, for both sides, is keeping within supply range of their depots


The French are allowed a maximum of 30 days supply

This is four for each corps, plus one day reserve for each corps


The Spanish are allowed a maximum of 24 days supply

This is three for each corps, plus one day reserve for each corps


Each day each depot forage and collect one days supply.   The balance is delivered to the army main supply base each day.


To resupply a corps must be within three map squares of a base.   But with two corps in each of the three armies, this is difficult to achieve.  If the army is concentrated they are usually only within that distance of one depot.  So supplies have to be constantly ferried between rear and forward bases.   This makes them very vulnerable to attack by the Spanish guerrilla groups.


Supply movement and guerrilla activity is not wargamed.  It would be too boring.   Contacts are decided by the roll of a dice.


Each guerrilla group is allowed a maximum of three days supplies.   They get this from any town, village or farm marked on the map.   But to attack they have to move to a French held garrison or convoy.   The movement takes two days, so they can only attack one day in three.   If they run out of supplies and cannot reach a friendly village or town they lose 10% casualties for each day they are out of supply.   This would immediately reduce their combat effectiveness and it would take one day to replace each 10% loss.

All of this sounds much more complicated than it actually is.  I plot all movement on the map shown above each day.   I have three rosters.  One is supply and movement for both armies.   One is French casualties and morale.   One is Spanish casualties and morale.   So I can easily check the current strength and morale of each of the 42 French and 46 Spanish brigades in the campaign

This system has been developed over the past 12 years that the campaign has been running.  It is quite easy to set up, and very easy to amend.   And even more simple to operate.  The roll of 1D6 decides all guerrilla combat.   Everything else is decided by a 12 move wargame.

I am very pleased with the reorganisation of the orders of battle.  And I am now quietly confident that the much different tactical problems in Spain are also ready to test run.

It should make for a really interesting campaign phase.

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