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13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

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13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:11 pm

Doodle Poll here:

http://doodle.com/3ym38h33sqg4d7as

Elements of the Army of Aragon, commanded by Jose de Palafox, have been pushing westward up the Ebro Valley from the Tudela area. A small French garrison was driven out of Tudela in July and has since been hustled up the valley through Calahorra and Logrono until it retreated in some disorder into Miranda del Ebro at the end of August. A body of Spanish light cavalry under General de Brigada Servando Teresa de Mier had been aggresively handled and pushed to within 10 miles of Miranda. Behind these horsemen larger formations of Palafox's army reached almost to Logrono when it was discovered that Marechal Bessieres had detached parts of his corps from pursuing General Acevedo at Espinosa and rapidly countermarched to protect Miranda. Led by the more numerous and skillfully handled light cavalry brigade of General de Brigade Malmaison, the French bundled de Mier's troopers back through Logrono in the first week of September, with de Mier sending reports back down the valley.

Palafox reacted promptly and ordered his forces to countermarch back towards Tudela. For several days a running battle has been fought with the cavalry and at times the light infantry of both sides fighting a series of skirmishes down the right bank of the Ebro. The French proved to be better organised however, and able to march harder and faster and by the 14th September, Palafox could march no further and was caught by the rapidly approaching troops of Marechal Bessieres.

The small town of Calahorra would be the place at which Palafox was obliged to turn to face his pursuer, deploying his army on the best ground he could find.



Calahorra is marked. The French are advancing (not yet deployed for battle) along the roads that run in from the west. Malmaison's light cavalry brigade, leading the advance, has taken Calahorra and is deployed just east of it. The Spanish are deployed in the region of Ravenberg. The uncrossable Ebro is shown at the top of the map.

North is to the top of the map.

We are playing this scenario on the Brandy Station map so you will need that add-on to play in the MP game.

As usual, more details for each side in the relevant private forums.

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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: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:42 pm

We have had a good response already on the Doodle Poll. Saturday and Sunday are attracting the same number of players but I'm aware that Ron hasn't had a HITS game with us for quite a while so I am inclined for now to favour Sunday more so that he can get to play. This may change though if we get a lot more votes for Saturday.

I'm sending an e-mail out to everyone involved in the HITS community who hasn't voted yet, more players are needed for this game which I think could go either way if the respective commanders are skilful and/or lucky. I don't see this as a foregone French win at all (hence why I made a scenario for it).

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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: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:46 pm

STOP PRESS!

Latest news is we probably have another battle and its one I can set on one of the stock maps (one of them is perfect). To the players who don't have the Brandy Station map, could you play if a scenario was set on a stock map?

Either way, I'll quickly rustle up another scenario now.

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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: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Father General on Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:01 am

Just a note,

I wiped my last machine and I have purchased a new one on top of that. At this time, I do not have any more of the G'burg games or expansions, although I may have something backed up. I'm not sure how to get everything without buying a new set of titles all over again. I still have keys to the old ones, but I'm unsure if I can still download anything. For this reason, I am unable to play in the games.

On a positive note, I now have a better connection and should not suffer any more drops as I did in previous games.

Good luck tomorrow!

-Neal
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Re: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Martin on Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:43 am

You should be ok Neal.

As long as you have the keys, or can otherwise prove having bought the games, you can download unlimited times. Just contact Matrix and explain. They're pretty good in these situations.

Also, the old system where you could only have the game installed on one PC is now long gone.

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Re: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:08 am

STOP, STOP PRESS!

The second possible battle is now not occuring, a manouvre took place on the map that has meant the collision didn't happen.

Currently we have enough players for Calahorra, but only just. A couple more would really help. I still have not had replies from several people. Nevertheless with 6 players, 3 a side we can play it. If we get 1 more player he can go Spanish, an eighth player will be French, etc.

I will be online this evening at 20:00 UK for at least a casual game (21:00 Europe, 15:00 Eastern, 14:00 Central, 13:00 Mountain and 12:00 Pacific), but Calahorra is now officially scheduled for Sunday at 19:30 UK time. Note that in the UK the clocks go back one hour tonight, so this will be an hour earlier for everyone else. 13:30 Eastern, 12:30 Central, 11:30 Mountain and 10:30 Pacific.

Europe daylight time applies the same as the UK, so Britain and Europe times stay in synch.

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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: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:01 pm

I'll be there both days. I have a couple of possible scenarios for a casual game today, both featuring the man with the flat hat, Gen. Borozdin. If we can muster 6 players, it will be side vs side. This one will require the Antietam expansion. It will be on the Crampton Gap map in an area that hasn't seen much action.

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I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.
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Re: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:27 pm

I like the Crapped-on Gap map. We have a few members who don't have the Antietam expansion though.

_________________
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: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  kg little mac on Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:21 pm

Sorry, my wife says I must perform social duties.

So we're off to visit other humans.

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Re: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:55 pm

Is that today or tomorrow when we're playing the game?

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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: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  kg little mac on Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:34 pm

I thought the game was yesterday. I'll be there today.
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Re: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:57 pm

Excellent. Your Emperor needs you!

_________________
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: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:21 pm

The bells of Tudela, Zaragosa and Pampluna have been ringing peals of jubilation for hours following news that Capitan-General Palafox won a great victory at Calahorra on the 14th of September. The Army of Aragon took up a position on a ridge of high ground between two minor tributary streams of the Ebro on the right bank of the river half a mile east of Calahorra. The lie of the land meant that the Spanish line was angled from the north-west to the south-east and centred around the village of Ravenberg. General O'Neylle's division (the strongest in the army) deployed to the right of the village and he anchored his far right on a high mound of ground that formed a limb of rising land running down into wooded terrain towards the river. General Lazan occupied the lower part of the ridge to the south-east, with his right communicating with O'Neylle's left at Ravenberg. General Casa Solano's division was the reserve placed centrally and behind the two. The two forward divisions had their cavalry brigades on the outward flanks.

Marshal Bessieres had a sound plan but he was attacking over a stream and uphill against a much more numerous enemy. While Mouton's division was quite strong and contained high quality regiments supported by two batteries, Merle's division was comparatively weak, comprising only six battalions with these being mostly Legion de Reserve formations. Only two of his battalions were good troops. There was also a very large gap between the main holding force of Mouton who attacked frontally and Merle's division which was tasked with turning the Spanish right.

The powerful cavalry division of Lasalle was assigned to support Merle's attack, but Bessieres held back it's strongest brigade, Rouger de Laplane's cuirassiers. With Lagrange's chasseur brigade also assigned for pursuit, this reduced Lasalle's total strength of 18 squadrons to only 8; 4 of dragoons, 4 of chasseurs.

Generals Merle and Lasalle opened the action by swiftly moving north-east to a dominating area of high ground. They unlimbered their two batteries and their 14 guns were soon pounding O'Neylle's infantry. The Spanish general shifted some battalions rearwards to gain the shelter of the curvature of the ridge but with the two French batteries placed to fire with converging lanes, not every Spaniard could find cover and O'Neylle's troops began to suffer losses that quickly built up. Two batteries of Spanish guns replied but even though O'Neylle had been assigned six French 8-pounder pieces captured at Pampluna, his gunners were outmatched by the French.

On Lazan's flank no enemy could be seen at all. Casa Solano moved his reserve division up close behind the centre as ordered and asked to take a squadron of hussars forwards to try and find the enemy. He soon did so; Mouton's division arriving over the rises of low ground south-east of Calahorra in long snaking blue columns. Solano appears to have been gripped by some heatstroke or perhaps the effects of a Rioja breakfast as he took his scouting unit and plunged into the enemy division, trying to inflict losses before the march columns could form firing lines. Unfortunately his cavalry were the newly raised Husares de Borja, an enthusiastic but green volunteer unit raised during the siege of Zaragosa and it transpired that while each individual was dashing and brave, none knew even the simplest orders to form by twos, wheel, incline to the flank or break off from a charge. The Borja volunteers were soon streaming away in disarray and an embarrassed Solano galloped back to his own lines. Coronel Juan Pedro Toy, commanding Solano's cavalry had meanwhile brought up his two other squadrons, the Cazadores de Fuen Santa. With these he pointed out to Solano an adavncing French 8-pounder battery that had trotted forwards well ahead of it's infantry. Solano ordered Toy to charge and within a few moments the French battery was taken, the gunners being sabred and the horse teams scattering in terror. Several drivers were killed and thrown off their horses and some Cazadores attempted to capture the guns and guide the teams to the Spanish lines. This was not successful and before long Toy's brigade withdrew, much weakened but having destroyed a French battery before it had fired a shot.

The divisions of Merle and Mouton now put in two attacks about a half-mile apart and separated by some woody thickets that lined the streambed in front of the O'Neylle's position. The French attack was therefore unco-ordinated. Merle's men reached the heights of the ridge but his six battalions, only two of which were steady troops, found themselves facing a force comprised of three brigades and totalling 14 battalions. Admittedly nearly all of these were volunteer regiments but since the Battle of Alagon and siege of Zaragosa the weak and unsuitable men had gone and while these battalions were now only half as big, they were more motivated. O'Neylle also had the 3rd Btn Reales Guardias Españoles and the 2nd Btn Reales Guardias Walonas in his division, who were excellent troops and around these rocks of his defence, his other units attempted a stand. Lasalle now hurled in his cavalry but the Spanish formed squares. General Courvallier's dragoons charged bravely in and even broke two Spanish squares, but his squadrons retired shattered, with more than a third of their saddles empty. Malmaison's chasseurs fared little better. With the remnants of the Spanish guns now peppering his leading units with canister and seeing a second fresh line in reserve, Merle made a wise decision to break off his attack and fall back to the ridge with his guns.

The French right flank attack fared much worse. Mouton's fine division was sent though the reedy stream and up the considerable slope beyond but Lazan had placed his eight 6-pound guns on commanding ground, flanked on both sides by infantry. Soalno's single battery of four more 6-pound pieces was a little more north and very soon all 12 pieces were working quickly through their supply of canister rounds with terrible effect. Mouton's men were brave however and skilled troops and at several points they almost breached Lazan's line. Palafox now gave Solano the planned order to counter attack and with the large gap between the two French divisions, Solano struck down the hill at Mouton's left brigade with his first brigade (the Duque de Mahon) slowly grinding the French back down the hill and across the stream to follow up this push with General Joaquín Novarro's brigade which formed a perfect close column of battalions by divisions in double line and marched across the stream up the opposite hill to attack the guns of Major Montagne's 4-pounder battery. At this very moment a messenger arrived from Palafox declaring that French cavalry were attacking and "you must form your infantry into squares!" Solano obeyed the order but tragically his men stopped less that 200 yards from the French guns which began to blast his dense formations with canister. The 1° Fusileros de Aragón began to waver and fall back. Looking wildly around him across the valley Solano could not see a single French horseman, so he ordered his battalions back into columns and to charge the guns. The raw volunteer battalions tangled in a frightful mess but fortunately Novarro had the 3rd Btn of the Soria regiment in his brigade and grasping their colonel's colour he galloped forward shouting "Viva Espagna! Viva Ferdinando!" and the Soria troops cheered and rushed the guns, capturing them all. Solano was deeply concerned that French cavalry might appear at any moment, from he knew not where and so ordered Novarro back to the cover of Ravenberg village and the protection of his and Lazan's guns.

Mouton's division withdrew back across the stream but with both it's batteries lost, staying in that position would only result in more losses from the wildly flying Spanish cannonballs and therefore Marshal Bessieres ordered a general retreat back up the Miranda road. Palafox was victorious. Bessieres' troops got away without being molested with Lagrange's chasseur brigade smartly covering the withdrawal and allowing the French to get many more wounded and stragglers away than they would have done. Lazan's three hussar squadrons were fresh and uncommitted but Lagrange's men held them at bay and the French retired in good order.

Losses (raw, unconfirmed figures):

French: 600 killed, 2,400 wounded, 500 missing, 13 guns (33%)
Spanish: 500 killed, 1,900 wounded, 400 missing (19%)

The greatest blow for Bessieres is the complete loss of two batteries. Lasalle's dragoons also took heavy losses charging enemy squares.

Start position, 9:00am:


French approach, 9:30am:


Toy's cavalry attack Mouton's guns, 10:00am:


French attack at it's height, 10:30am:


French in disarray, 10:45am:

_________________
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: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  WJPalmer on Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:21 pm

Nice recap, Martin. The god of War smiled on the Spanish at Calahorra, though there were several tense moments along the ridge. The Spanish division commanders all performed superbly. As Palafox, my greatest concern was the overwhelming numbers and quality of the French cavalry and the potential havoc they might wreak on our right. It was imperative that Gen. O'Neylle remain close at hand ready to reform into squares in that area, and this he did skilfully. By all accounts this game of cat and mouse worked out well for Spanish fortunes. Our plan had assumed that the French would strike fiercely at our right flank. So, even under the best of circumstances, there was little doubt O'Neylle would be hard-pressed -- and earn every portion of his meager pay this day!

I had also thought the French would merely screen the center with their weaker infantry formations, so it was something of a surprise to see so many French battalions gathering to assault our strong center position on the ridge east of the stream. This would ultimately prove to be a struggle between the high-quality French formations and Spanish numbers. Fortunately, the initial battle plan, which called for an eventual Spanish counterattack west down the Zistersdorf road, also served well to meet the French infantry assault launched from the opposite direction.

Early on, Gen. Casa Solano's bold cavalry recon turned into quite an adventure in its own right, with the good general at one point finding himself perilously behind the main enemy front. Nonetheless, he was able to make his way back in one piece. This foray, with its humble beginnings as a mere reconnaissance, became quite a disruption for the enemy. After the dust settled on this action, Gen. Casa Solano returned to the ridge and command of the reserve infantry. It must also be said that the timing and execution of the eventual move down the ridge by the reserve division to counter the French center attack contributed mightily to our success.

Through all this I retained a nagging fear that some French force might be working its way around our southern flank and behind our position. Gen. Lazan did an excellent job reconnoitering in that direction but was eventually able to shift more to the center. This turned out to be extremely fortunate for us as his infantry took up position in an ideal location to meet, then stop, the French at the stream. Lazan's battalions stood toe-to-toe across from the French veterans and more than held their own. An intercepted message from Marshal Bessieres announcing that he believed he had gained our southern flank renewed my concern that there was still a French force lurking out there somewhere! But happily this proved to be a phantom. Ultimately, Gen. Lazan's skill in placing his infantry and guns turned the tide in our favor on our center-left.

I also take full responsibility for the mis-communication to Gen. Casa Solano that nearly sent him to a cardiac specialist. At the height of the French attack against Gen. Lazan's force, I observed a large enemy cavalry squadron crossing the stream with obvious intent to carve up our infantry like so much Roquefort cheese. I dashed out a quick order for a change to square, complete with exclamation points, and directed the courier to deliver it poste haste to Gen. Lazan. Well, the silly courier rode off instead to find Gen. Casa Solano with predictable result. Though a second message was sent a few moments later to Gen. Lazan (who handled the situation smartly), in the heat of the moment I failed to send a corrective message to Gen. Solano. I have no doubt the general to this day continues to look in all directions for charging French cavalry. A bottle of liberated Normandy calvados is on its way to the General's headquarters to assuage frayed nerves.  drunken

Many thanks to all for a very enjoyable afternoon.

Ron/Palafox
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Re: 13. Battle of Calahorra - 14th September 1808

Post  Iberalc on Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:19 pm

It was an exciting baptism of fire for me in the campaign and very fortunate I believe. I'm very happy to share that time with all of you. bounce

The french 3rd Div attack was aimed at the strongest part of our line, where terrain was the best for us to defend, and was met head on by our guns, thanks to them we repulsed their first attempt, followed by Casa Solano's flank counterattack. They kept coming trying to turn my left flank but with dismishing strength, and I just charged them once with my cavalry when the battle came to an end.

Gen. O'Neylle's stand in our right flank is an example of courage and stubborness similar to that of the Numantians in old times. ¡Superb handling of our 1st Div!

I was watching Casa Solano's cavalry raid from the distance and couldn't believe it, what a headache for the French!

Pepe/ Lazán
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