Sunday 26 June 2022

Llanes Campaign – Day 8

18 May 1813 – North Spain – Day 8

Soult orders reorganisation and resupply

10th army hold Torrelavega

11th army reorganise and resupply

12th army occupy Aguilar


Wellington orders 4th Spanish retreat to Llanes district

1st army occupy Comillas

4th army retreat to Cabezon

2nd army retreat to Camon



Wellington is concerned that 4th Spanish army is isolated and surrounded at Reinosa

He orders them to retire to Cabezon in Llanes district


He is unaware that 11th French army is in no condition to undertake any offensive operations

In fact all three French armies are suffering supply problems and have considerable battle casualties


The retreat of the French armies into Santander district has eased their supply problems

Spanish guerrillas are not allowed to attack if there is a French corps in an adjacent square

However earlier guerrilla success has left all depots short of supplies.


The campaign rules state that each corps can have a maximum of four days supplies

For six corps this is a total of 24 days supplies.

In addition the combined depots must carry another 6 days supplies, making a total of 30 days

If the total of both corps and depots is less than 30 days, the balance is delivered to the main depot

For the French army this is Santander.

At present each depot holds only one day’s supplies, with Santander holding 14 days


To resupply a corps must be within one days march (three squares) of a depot

You will see from the map that only 21st corps is within three squares of Santander

To resupply the other five corps must either move closer to Santander

Or supplies must be moved from Santander to an appropriate depot


You will also see from the map that 7 and 8 guerrilla brigades are close to Santander

They can attack any convoy moving to either Torrelavega or Medina


19th corps has four days supplies and 20th corps three days

21st corps has two days supplies and 22nd corps also two days

23rd corps has only one day’s supplies and 24th corps also one day


It is easy to see why Wellington thinks that 4th Spanish army is in great danger

But in face Soult’s army is in danger of a complete breakdown of supplies

This would lead to each corps losing 10% of one brigade each day they are out of supply

To avoid this Soult would have to order a redeployment of all six corps to within one day’s march of Santander


Clearly the campaign has run its course

The French have failed to take and hold the campaign objective of Llanes

Consequently Wellington has won the Llanes campaign phase.

Sunday 19 June 2022

Llanes Campaign – Day 7

17 May 1813 – North Spain – Day 7

Soult must concentrate his army Santander-Medina-Soncillo

10th army retreat to Torrelavega to avoid being surrounded

11th army retreat to Medina having lost battle of Reinosa

12th army attack Aguilar to disrupt allied advance


Wellington captures 8 days French supplies at Reinosa

1st army prepare to attack Comillas

4th army occupy Reinosa

2nd army hold Aguilar

Second Battle of Aguilar

The second battle of Aguilar is decided by fighting in and around the town

The town is held by 2 British and 1 Spanish brigade

It is attacked by four elite French and Italian brigades

The garrison is routed, and the British unable to retake the town

The French lose 3 infantry and 1 cavalry (1300 casualties)

The British lose 7 infantry and 1 cavalry (2900 casualties)


Marshal Soult has accepted that he cans no longer hope to take the city of Llanes, the French campaign objective.  

All three of his armies have retreated into Santander district, and two of the three Anglo/Spanish armies have followed them.   His personal objective now is to drive Wellington back into Llanes district and secure the border.   This would return to the position at the start of the campaign.

To stand any chance of achieving this aim he must win the second battle of Aguilar.    This would force 2nd British army to retreat into Llanes district, and he would then only have to force 4th Spanish army to do the same.

However if he loses the battle Wellington will be able to move his whole army into Santander district, and be in a good position to take Santander itself.

He learned a painful lesson having lost the battle of Reinosa, namely that possession of the town is more important than defeating the whole enemy army.  

Observing that the British only had two British and one Spanish infantry brigades at Aguilar, he concentrated four of his best infantry brigades to attack the town.  This meant that 23rd corps in the north, and 24th corps in the south, were both outnumbered.   They were both ordered to pin 3rd and 4th British corps, whilst he attacked in the centre.

The battle opened badly, when both French corps lost cavalry melee.   This made any attempt to threaten the British flanks impossible.   Worst still it left the British artillery covering the approach to the town.

When the situation is desperate a wise man will retreat.   Soult ordered an attack.   By sheer determination, and good luck with the dice, he pulled it off.   In just one hour of fighting he had taken the town and routed all three defending brigades.

At last some good news for the French!

Thursday 9 June 2022

Blog Feedback

In April 2009 I wrote my first blog post, which was the start of this Napoleonic Wargame blog.   One of the very first to comment was Bob Cordery of Wargame Miscellany and writer of many wargame rule books.   He was very generous in his comments and with practical advice on how to write blogs.  I have followed his blog ever since (Wargaming Miscellany) and he has continued to comment and offer advice and support.    We have never met, but I would consider him a real friend.

When I read his blog this morning I was very surprised, and not a little pleased, to find that my blog was the subject of his latest post.   He commented on the small number of comments this blog receives and urged his many followers to have a look and perhaps comment.

According to his blog stats Bob has 394 followers and a total pageviews of 4,185,086.   That is really impressive, but even more so is the large number of comments he receives on most of his posts.   He has a very friendly writing style and obviously inspires interest in, and comments on, his wide range of blog posts.   I know from the other blogs which I follow this is relatively unusual.   A few bloggers have commented on the lack of response to their posts, and a couple have given up blogging as a result.

I currently write three blogs each week.  

This is my main blog and covers all aspects of my Wargaming activities.  

The second one is my 1813 campaign diary blog.  As the name suggests it records the daily events in my long running Napoleonic campaign.   It also has a battle report of each of the 432 campaign battles fought so far.

The third one is Jan and Paul in Spain.  I started this one to keep friends and family up to date on what we are doing here in Spain.  It is mostly a record of our hill walking activities with a U3A group which Jan and I run.    

My purpose in writing blogs has always been personal satisfaction.   Long before I started my first blog I kept a personal daily diary.  It is a five year one, with a few lines for each day.  I have kept one for almost all of my adult life.   So blogging is only an extension of that activity. 

Of the three weekly blogs, the easiest one to compare with Bob’s Wargame Miscellany would be this one.   According to my blog stats I have 131 followers; I have done 931 posts and have had 1335 comments.    All time visitors are 364499 and last month there were 1963.   Not in the same league as Bob’s 394 followers and 4,185,086 visitors.   But in my opinion quite respectable, and certainly more than I expected when I typed that first post 13 years ago.

Bob’s current post got me thinking about the relatively few comments I receive.   1335 comments sounds quite impressive, but it is only 1.4 comments for each of the 931 posts.   I don’t know how many Bob gets for each post, but I would suspect 5 to 10, or even more.

On the one hand I am very grateful that after all of this time 131 folk follow the blog.   I am also very grateful that 1963 of them read the blog last month.   There were 5 posts in May, so if the stats are correct 392 folk read each one.   However there were only four comments in May, and all of them from Bob.

Don’t think for one moment that I am complaining about the lack of response.   I enjoy writing the blog each week, and until I read Bob’s recent post I was not even aware that there was so little response.   If anything I was quietly pleased that I managed to have 131 followers.   It was only today that I realised there were almost 2000 visitors last month.   And none of this will prompt me to abandon the weekly blog.  It is such an important part of my Wargaming activities that I would never consider stopping it.

But it would be nice to have more comments.    I really enjoy each comment I receive, and I try to reply in full to any points raised.

So thank you all for following my weekly posts, and don’t take this one as a complaint that you have not commented more.   But if you do have any comments or suggestions about the blog, please feel free to post.

Sunday 5 June 2022

Llanes Campaign – Day 6

16 May 1813 – North Spain – Day 6

Wellington orders 4th Spanish army to attack Reinosa

A victory will force the French to retreat from the border

1st army hold Llanes and the main allied supply depot

4th army attack Reinosa

2nd army defend Aguilar


Soult feels unable to attack because of attacks on his lines of supply

10th army hold Comillas

11th army hold Reinosa

12th army hold Soncillo

Battle of Reinosa

The battle is won by the fighting in and around the town

In the north 21st French and 5th Spanish corps exchange ineffective artillery fire

In the south a cavalry battle results in both sides breaking and routing

6th Spanish corps take the hill and wait for 22nd Vistula corps to attack them]

The Poles deploy out of sight at the bottom of the hill and await further orders

With the loss of Reinosa Marshal Foy orders a general retreat


Reinosa at start of battle 

Three Spanish infantry brigades take a walled town held by four French brigades.

It sounds unlikely, and indeed it is.


Fourth Spanish army is under the direct command of Wellington

The two corps are the best Spanish troops in the Peninsula

They do not have any elite infantry brigades, but six of the eight are average

This means that they are as good as any non French infantry brigades in the Peninsula


However it was the daring tactics used by the Spanish CinC (Jan) which won the battle.


The town is held by four of the best French infantry brigades, but two have 10% casualties

They are deployed behind the town under the command of the French CinC (Paul)

This is because he expects the Spanish to collect their artillery in the centre supported by infantry

This is what the French commander would have done


The Spanish commander leaves his artillery with the corps on the flanks, to contain the enemy

He attacks with three infantry brigades, without any artillery preparation


When the French commander observes the Spanish attack he sends two infantry brigades into the town

In a walled town this should be sufficient to hold against three infantry brigades

Both of his brigades have 10% casualties, but they are elite and this only reduces them to average


The Spanish attack half of the town with two brigades and the other with one

The first round is a draw, with all five brigades receiving further 10% casualties


The French commander sends both reserve brigades into the town

However the Spanish win the second round, again with all five brigades receiving 10% more casualties

This causes one French brigade to rout, and the second to test morale and also rout

Both rout into the two supporting brigades, who are not yet in position, causing both of them to rout also

Reinosa at end of battle

The Spanish have taken the town, but all three brigades have 20% casualties

This would make them very vulnerable to a French counter attack

However all four French brigades are in rout, and there is no one available to counter attack.


Two of the four French brigades in rout have not received any casualties

However it will be difficult to rally them because they do not have any formed troops within 4”


Both French corps are pinned by the two Spanish corps

So the French CinC cannot call on them to counter attack the town


A very unusual result and proof that a well planned and supported attack is not always the best option!