Sunday, 28 November 2021

Cuidad Real Campaign - Day 5


25 April 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 5

Spanish guerrilla activity has caused a collapse in the French supply system.   Marshal Suchet orders 13th and 15th armies to detach one of their cavalry brigades to secure their lines of supply.   14th army, in the centre, will send both of their cavalry brigades to secure the main supply road from Albacete.

Despite the loss of half of their cavalry, 15th French army are ordered to attack Almagro.

Battle of Almagro end of move 6

3rd Spanish army occupy a strong position in front of Almagro.   They also outnumber the French in infantry brigades.   To mount an attack the French must first move through the mountains.

30th Westphalian corps are ordered to pin 6th Spanish corps, but not to attack.   29th French corps, less their artillery, are ordered to attack 5th Spanish corps. A strong reserve of both artillery batteries and two infantry brigades, are deployed in the centre, to support either wing.

Unable to attack both Spanish corps, the French concentrate on 5th corps.  Supported by the reserve, 19th corps soon rout the Spanish left wing.

But it takes all morning, and there is not enough time left to redeploy and attack the town.   However the French have forced one Spanish corps to retreat, and are now clear of the mountains.

Comments

Despite their continued success the French are finding it difficult to inflict a decisive defeat on the Spanish.   The loss of so much of their cavalry to secure their lines of supply has put the French field army at a disadvantage.

The Spanish have more infantry and the same quantity of artillery.  The only French advantage is in cavalry.   To avoid unacceptable casualties the French must pin one of the Spanish flanks and attack the other with all of their artillery. 

The redeployed cavalry have at least secured the lines of supply.   There has been no guerrilla activity all day, and supplies are being moved forward to support the main field army.

2 comments:

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Thistlebarrow,

What an interesting situation! Sending their cavalry to secure their lines of supply has left the French almost blind. I’m put in mind of the situation Lee was in at Gettysburg, although not for the same reason. I know that the Spanish are going to have to give ground in the face of the French advance, but it would be great if they could find some ‘good ground’ on which to make a stand.

All the best,

Bob

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

Thanks for your comments

Despite losing so many battles, and having to retreat, the advantage is moving to the Spanish. As they retreat the garrisons of the lost towns become an advantage as they change their role to guerrilla. Each time they attack a French held town they disrupt supplies, even if they lose the combat.

But the loss of the cavalry is the greatest set back. The Spanish get stronger as they retreat, the French weaker. The French must crush the Spanish field army, and it is very difficult without their cavalry. That is the only way they can overcome the Spanish infantry, which outnumbers them. And it become more difficult to avoid costly infantry attacks against towns or artillery.

This is by far the most interesting Spanish campaign yet.

regards

Paul