Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Valladolid Campaign Summary

Strategic map at start of Passau campaign


The Valladolid campaign is the fifth phase of the larger 1813 Campaign. It covers the period 12 July to 22 July, and the fighting in western Spain between Fifth French Army and the British.

It has been done as a separate blog in order to keep all of the relevant reports together and to avoid making the main campaign blog too long and complicated.

We started the campaign on 20 August 2010 and finished on 10 October 2010.

The full campaign report can be read at:

Background to the Campaign

In 1812 Wellington had defeated the French in western Spain at the battle of Salamanca. He had occupied Madrid and laid siege to Burgos.

Despite this setback King Joseph was able to gather a large army and drive Wellington back to Salamanca.

In January 1813 orders arrived from Napoleon to send many of the best French divisions north to rebuild the Grand Armee, which was lost in the terrible retreat from Russia. King Joseph was relieved of the command of all French armies in Spain. Marshal Soult would command in western Spain and Marshal Suchet in eastern Spain.

Marshal Soult was ordered to abandon Andalusia and march his army north to replace the troops sent to Germany. He would hold the area from Madrid to Bayonne and cooperate with Marshal Suchet in eastern Spain.

The Duke of Wellington was soon aware that the French armies in Spain had been greatly reduced in number. In January 1813 he was appointed to command all allied troops in Spain, including all Spanish armies.

In May 1813 he issued his orders for the coming campaign.

Captain-General Copons would command the four Spanish armies in the east. He would create a diversion, which would pin Suchet in the east and prevent him sending any reinforcements to Soult.

The main offensive would be in the west. He would lead his own Anglo Portuguese army back to Burgos, defeat Soult and drive him out of Spain.

Summary of the Campaign

12 – British cross the river Douro and occupy Zamora

13 – Soult orders 6th corps from Burgos to Valladolid

14 – Soult orders concentration of whole army at Valladolid

15 – 8th corps abandon Madrid and 16th corps Santander

16 – Soult and 6th corps arrive at Valladolid

17 – French victory at Duenas to the north of Valladolid

18 – Limited British victory at Valladolid

19 – French withdraw to Palencia

20 - Wellington enters Valladolid

21 – Both armies concentrate at Baltanas

22 – French defeated at Baltanas

23 – French retreat to Burgos

Sunday, December 12, 2010

End of Valladolid Campaign

23 April 1813

Strategic Map at end of campaign

The French defeat at Baltanas marked the end of the Valladolid campaign.

Wellington was now in a strong defensive position east of Valladolid, where he would rest and resupply his army.

Soult ordered his army to retreat to Burgos.

The campaign was a complete success for Wellington. He has forced the French to abandon both Madrid and the northern coast. He was now well placed for a final push to drive the French out of Spain.

Soult was confident that he could still hold northern Spain. He blamed the loss of Valladolid on the time it had taken to concentrate his widely dispersed army. Now that they were concentrated at Burgos he would rebuilt his shattered corps ready to meet any renewed advance by Wellington.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Battle of Baltanas - Move 9

1600 to 1700

22 July 1813

Situation at the end of Move 9

Picton has received Attack orders and has finally taken the second town section.

The French are now in complete disorder and Marshal Soult orders a withdrawal.

Two British brigades are attacking the right hand town section, and have routed the garrison. A highland brigade is entering the left hand section.

Sarrut’s corps has not yet been committed, other than the cavalry, and are far enough behind Villate to be unaffected by the rout.

Effect on the campaign

With a full corps, and nightfall approaching, Marshal Soult is able to withdraw Villate’s broken corps without difficulty.

With this victory Wellington has secured Valladolid and Soult will have to withdraw to Burgos to rally his army.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Battle of Baltanas - Move 8

1500 to 1600

22 July 1813

Situation at the end of Move 8

Morale in Villantes corps (nearest camera) is breaking down. His cavalry and infantry square have both broken and joined the rout.

Wellington has taken command of the British heavy cavalry and brought them forward to delay the deployment of the French reinforcements

A disappointing turn for Picton, despite the spreading rout amongst the French defenders of the town. Despite being in canister range of the town his artillery failed to inflict any casualties. And his two brigades skirmishing the shaken garrison also failed to cause any further casualties.

Villante is still holding the town, despite three casualties on one of his brigades. Two of his infantry brigades, all of his gunners and now the cavalry have lost their morale and are in rout

Hill’s attack has ground to a halt. Unable to press on with the attack he has changed his orders to Halt.

Marshal Soult withdrew the dragoons, and managed to do so without any casualties from the British gunners.

Rule Note

After three turns of Rout any brigade which has failed to make its morale is removed from the table. Both the French gunners and one of their infantry brigades have suffered this fate.

One of the garrisons of the town have three casualties and are Shaken. They have to test morale each move, and require a dice throw of four to avoid a Rout. Although under attack from two infantry brigades, they have managed to hold on for two moves

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Battle of Baltanas - Move 7

1400 to 1500

22 July 1813

Situation at the end of Move 7

The French brigade holding the upper half of Baltanas are shaken, and their artillery is routing through the town. Despite this they manage to hold on

Hill attack on the town (top) has been brought to an abrupt half by the French dragoons charging and routing his guard’s brigade.

Pictons attack on the town is going well.

On the right he has forced the cavalry to withdraw out of artillery range, and his gunners have shaken the square

On the left two of his brigades are skirmishing with the garrison. They have inflicted a third casualty but the defenders hold on.

Hills attack on the town is in tatters.

Soult took control of the French dragoon brigade and ordered an Opportunity Charge on the flank of the guard’s brigade who had just routed the French infantry line.

The guards failed their morale and immediately routed. Fortunately the dragoons were unable to pursue, or the highlanders would have been routed as well before they could form square.

Rule Note
Marshal Soult was allowed to take command of the French dragoon brigade providing he did not issue any other orders that move. He deployed them into line and moved them within charge move of the flank of the British guard’s brigade.

At the start of Hills move, the dragoons were able to declare an Opportunity Charge. They passed the test and charged. The guard’s brigade rolled required a roll of 4 on 1D6 to form square. They rolled a 1. Even with a plus 1 for class A and supports, they still failed to make the necessary total of 4

Caught in the flank they automatically rout with a loss of 3 figures.

The highlanders were just out of supporting range, and do not have to test morale.

The French dragoons have to test to see if they pursue. If they have a total of 5 or 6 with 1D6 they will do so. They rolled a 3 and did not have to pursue.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Battle of Baltanas - Move 6

1300 to 1400

22 July 1813

Situation at the end of Move 6

Both British corps are now on Engage orders and move closer to Baltanas to skirmish the garrison.

French reinforcements might just be in time to support the garrison.

On the right Pictons attack is going well.

His artillery have caused casualties to the enemy cavalry, and his infantry are skirmishing with the town

On the left Hill is also doing well. His infantry have routed the enemy line and caused the gunners to seek shelter in the town.

However due to poor dice he has not been able to bring up the remainder of his corps.

Rule Note

Each move the corps commander rolls to decide how many command dice he has. To move his infantry into skirmish range, and then to skirmish, he needs two points for each brigade. He may require another to keep within command range to order them to fire. This often means that the rest of the brigade can not move whilst the skirmish fight is going on.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Battle of Baltanas - Move 5

1200 to 1300

22 July 1813

Situation at the end of Move 3

Both British corps are now on Engage orders and move closer to Baltanas to skirmish the garrison.

French reinforcements might just be in time to support the garrison.

On the left Hill moves two infantry brigades into volley fire range, but only one can fire. They win the firefight, though with casualties, and force the French line to withdraw Shaken

On the right Picton moves his heavy cavalry forward to protect the two infantry brigades who are about to engage the garrison.

Rule Note

On Engage orders infantry can either skirmish or volley fire. The decision will depend on whether they are better at either than their enemy. They also have to move much closer to the enemy to volley fire.

The British have had a poor dice throw, so although they outnumber the French they can only fire with one brigade.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Battle of Baltanas - Move 4

1100 to 1200

22 July 1813

Situation at the end of Move 4

8 French corps has started to arrive on the right

French reinforcements arrive just in time to strengthen the right flank.

Hill, who now has Engage Orders, moves his corps forward to close with the French.

Rule Note

The French reinforcements arrive in column of march. This allows them to move faster, but they have to deploy into column of attack or line to fight.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Battle of Baltanas - Move 3

1000 to 1100

22 July 1813

Situation at the end of Move 3

British move closer to Baltanas

With poor quality cavalry the British post a brigade in square to support the artillery. The remainder of 3 corps prepare to advance on the town.

Hill directs his advance to his left to avoid the French artillery. The 12 pounders are playing havoc with the approaching infantry.

Rule Note

The British artillery have 6 pounder guns, the French 12 pounder. So the British have to move closer to the enemy to get in range. This leaves both them, and their infantry support, vunerable in the early stages of a battle.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Battle of Baltanas - Move 2

0900 to 1000

22 July 1813

Situation at the end of Move 2

British move closer to Baltanas

Marshal Soult has arrived to take command

Villate spreads his corps out either side of the village

British artillery unlimber to support their cavalry against the enemy threat

Hill has turned his corps to their right and they are ready to advance against Baltanas.

Rule Note

British cavalry are always C class troops, French always B class. So care has to be taken to avoid a cavalry melee unless absolutely necessary, or French casualties has redressed the balance.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Battle of Baltanas - Move 1

0800 to 0900

22 July 1813

Situation at the end of Move 1

Picton is deploying his corps in front of Baltanas

Hill is moving in column of march beyond the trees

Villate is deploying part of his corps to his right to meet Hill

Pictons corps fan out as they approach Baltanas

With no enemy cavalry on this flank, Hill moves his corps in column of march for maximum speed.

Rule Note

Troops in column of march can not fight or defend themselves, so it is a dangerous formation to use if there is enemy cavalry nearby