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TURN 3 - Early July 1808

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TURN 3 - Early July 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:51 pm

THE FIGHTING ESCALATES!

War in Castilla, Cataluna and Aragon.

Fierce battles have been reported at Valladolid, Ordal and Zaragosa. In the Ebro Valley Marechal Bessieres' corps after it's victory at Alagon last month has closed up on Zaragosa and encircled the city. Siege operations have not yet begun but communications with Palafox inside the place have stopped. It is already reported that food is short for so large a population.

At Valladolid a battle has been fought and General Cuesta's Army of Castilla has been driven out of the city along the Leon road with heavy losses. The grain warehouses in the town were burned by the victorious French who exacted a heavy tax collection on the citizens before marching away south. Nonetheless Cuesta is being upheld as a great man for bravely standing up to face such overwhelming might and getting his army away.

News that is invigorating all Spanish hearts comes from Cataluna! A Spanish army under Capitan-General Palacio has beaten a French force guarding the thought-to-be impregnable Ordal Pass on the coast road between Tarragona and Barcelona. Palacio reports that his 15,000 men put 20,000 Frenchmen to flight, capturing standards, cannon and 1,000 muskets! Cataluna is awash with patriotic fervour! The reports from French-held Barcelona are somewhat less dramatic with news that the pass was held only by a brigade of infantry and a brigade of cavalry. The French were outnumbered 5 to 1 but got away in good order, withdrawing on their reserves in Barcelona. It's true that no Spanish have been seen near the capital of Cataluna and the French have full control and their hussars patrol the surrounding coastal region still. Why has Palacio halted? What is his plan?

There is news of dissent in the Spanish camp with some officers refusing to obey the "self-serving" Palacio. A division under General Caldagues has refused to remain with the army and has marched back to Tarragona. Caldagues claimed his exhausted men were ordered first into the assault to be "sacrificed" by a man who "may be in league with the French".

Burgos in Revolt?

Rumours last month of unrest in the fortress city have been confirmed. It appears part of the French garrison was ordered to march to Madrid leaving insufficient troops to both police the streets and escort the supply wagons out of the warehouses. Unlike at Toledo there has been no serious civil disorder to speak of and no major violence but the French were unable to maintain control. This week a body of cavalry commanded by General Verdier has entered the city and restored order. It is said that more French troops are on their way to Burgos from Vitoria. It isn't clear if this refers to a transfer of garrison-quality troops or the arrival of a fresh army corps.

Bloodshed in Toledo.

The civil uprising in Toledo of last month continued into July but on the 11th it was put down in brutal fashion by orders of General Dupont. In a cruel move he sent Swiss troops of regiments that were formerly in Spanish service into the city and three days of fighting followed with losses to the Swiss and civilians. People from the region tell of many townsfolk being hanged from a "frightful communal gallows" in the Plaza de Zocodover and those refusing to accept Bonaparte rule have fled the city taking whatever they can carry. It's rumoured that a band of rebels has coalesced in the mountains south of Toledo at the village of Mora. The French have re-established their headquarters and stores in the Alcazar.

All Quiet on the Western Front.

There is no news in Extremadura. Last month the Army of Conde de Belvedere held a spectacular parade and festival in Badajoz but during July no word has come from that region. Perhaps the soldiers exhausted themselves with all that marching and dancing.

Spanish Return to Valladolid.

Spanish cavalry under the command of el Marques de Valladares, whose brigade is in General Blake y Joyes' army have entered the city, finding a burned church and other ransacked religious houses. The Spanish grain warehouses and powder magazines there have been destroyed, everything carried away by Marechal Moncey's men although it is also thought that townsfolk have helped themselves by looting what remained.

A Skirmish in the Hills.

At the sleepy mountain village of San Milan west of Miranda del Ebro, troops of French General Mouton have been holding positions for some weeks, securing a bridge over the river and blocking any access southwards by Spanish troops that have appeared from the coastal regions of Asturias. It is reported that General Acevedo brought his army along the coast from Oviedo, via Santander to Castro Urdilaes. Here he has advanced towards Miranda where it's reported that the French have a supply depot.

A fierce battle has been fought between the single division of Mouton, which had many guns but lacked cavalry, and Acevedo's column. It isn't known if this is Acevedo's whole force or just part.

As darkness fell the French had stopped almost all the Spanish attacks with ease but a large body of Spaniards had got behind the French position and cut their communications. General Mouton had no choice but to march to the south towards Burgos to restore his supply line.

Spanish losses are said to be very heavy.

Andalucia Quiet. Where is Dupont?

After the news of a battle against General Llamas' Valencians last month, recent weeks have issued forth only silence and unconfirmed rumour about where General Dupont's men have gone. Some say he is still on the Valencia road, carefully watching Llamas' beaten force and it is known that French light cavalry were observing the Spanish at Contreras in early July. Others insist he has marched north via Cuenca to aid Duhesme at Barcelona. Still more rumours talk of a switch to the south to attack the heartland of Murcia. Whatever news we have, none of it can be confirmed. A whole French army corps has gone missing!

The reports of a huge Spanish army of more than 30,000 marching from Andalucia appear to have been true. This week Spanish cavalry followed by infantry columns entered the small village of Madridejos only 70 miles from Madrid. General Castanos is in command and he has pushed dragoons beyond the village up the road to Ocana. Here his cavalry encountered German infantry in French service out foraging. A brisk series of skirmishes ensued and the Frenchmen have withdrawn into the town with their requisitioned supplies.

The famous 'Lanceros de Jerez', a gaudy circus-like troop of dashing young noblemen dressed as matadors complete with red capes and ruffled silk shirts have shown up in the mountain village of Mora south of Toledo. The colonel of the lanceros has had a meeting with leaders of disaffected citizens of the city.

Marechal Murat has gone south out of Madrid to supervise the situation with his various garrisons and the approaching forces of Castanos. He has taken only a single squadron of hussars with him but at Aranjuez he came across the empty Royal Summer Palace and decided it would make a fine headquarters!

Cuesta Feted in Leon.

Standing on the balcony of the mayor's palace, General Cuesta smiled with delight at the cheers and huzzahs of his troops. One would think he had won a great victory, rather than merely snatched his battered army from the jaws of destruction. Cuesta is enjoying his popularity while in the shadows of debating chambers and army headquarters voices talk in darker tones. Why has Cuesta been feted in such a way for a defeat? Who is behind the award of a dukedom for the man? Whatever the purpose of the celebrations it is clear that Spanish morale has taken a lift from this unusual news, the troops are asking to be led in battle again. However, the Army of Castilla is in no shape to conduct military operations and likely will not be for some time.

Cheering Crowds in Tarragona. Victory at Ordal!

A column of Spanish soldiers marched south west along the coast road and entered Tarragona, the peasants lined the avenues and threw flowers and bread at the smiling men, and offered them goblets of wine. The battle at Ordal has raised the spirits of the Catalonian people but there is confusion and uncertainty as well. The Provincial Junta ordered General Caldagues before them to answer an enquiry and it seems that after several hours of pointed questions, Caldagues left the council chamber still carrying his sword and his badges of rank but his force is being held in the city, "pending further investigations." There has been a mutiny in the ranks of the Army of Cataluna and as yet no-one is able to predict the outcome of this. There is talk from reliable sources of Caldagues being given an independent command.

More French troops pour into Spain, at east and west. Rosas Besieged!

The road across the Pyrenees south of Perpignan has been blanketed again by the dust clouds billowing from the heels of marching troops. General Reille has been newly appointed, some say from Paris directly (which can only mean one thing), to assemble a force and open the road from France to Barcelona. After the action at Ordal some French sources talk of Duhesme having lost his nerve and gone into hiding in the city, yet others point out that his corps is still prosecuting a siege at Gerona where both the attackers and defenders are suffering much from disease and the heat.

General Reille has opened his campaign by swiftly moving against the Spanish port of Rosas. Here there is a strong Vauban citadel at the west end of the town and on a dominating bluff at the east end, a stone star fort called Fort Trinity. In the harbour several Royal Navy warships swing at anchor and their gun ports are opened, cannon trained on approaches not easily controlled by the citadel or fort. General Reille and his engineers will have a difficult task to prosecute this siege when enemy ships can so easily land supplies at night.

Even so, the garrison here consists only of a few regular infantry companies, some miquelets and townsfolk. There is a 120-strong company of English marines in Fort Trinity but not enough gunners to man the fortress pieces. How long will Rosas resist the French noose?

Miranda Reinforced! Guerillistas near Vitoria. French Supply Route Severed!

On the western end of the Pyrenees the news is similar. Strong brigades and divisions of Frenchmen as well as Polish soldiers of the Vistula Legion march south through Pamplona and Vitoria. Intercepted messengers carry reports that these new columns are going to assemble to form yet another French corps, this time commanded by General Verdier who it is known is at Burgos. Where his corps will be encamped and where it will operate only Verdier and his superiors know.

Also moving south from Bayonne are second-line formations of foreigners - Prussians, Westphalians, Irish and Portuguese all in French pay. These less enthusiastic soldiers must be headed for garrison duty somewhere so that field formations can be released for campaigning.

In a shocking turn of events it has been reported that Spanish hussars have fallen upon a French supply convoy in the hills north of Vitoria. The village of Tolosa less than 40 miles from the border at Irun has seen vicious petit-guerre between Spanish irregular light cavalry, guerillas and French dragoons. The dragoons were forced back and finally driven off and the Spanish then fell on the supply wagons like locusts.

The line of communications with France via Vitoria is cut! With the fortress of Gerona still holding out, communications between Madrid and Paris are now in doubt.

========================================================

The turn is complete. I am sending out updated OOBs with strengths and new map positions to everyone, so please respond asap. Turn 4 - late July - starts now. Thank you everyone.

_________________
The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: TURN 3 - Early July 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:11 am

E-mails have gone out to everybody with current orbats and map locations. If you haven't had an e-mail from me today then please say so as its gone missing (again). I am prompting a few players who have special events happening but largely now leaving the conduct of the war to you guys. If you are not sure on something by all means ask me or ask one of your allies by letter.

_________________
The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Mr. Digby

Posts : 4894
Join date : 2012-02-14
Age : 58
Location : UK Midlands

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