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16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

Post  Mark87 on Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:16 pm

This was my first battle as French Commander in chief, I must thank all of my commanders who fought flawlessly, I was actually the weak link in the center, as I was overwhelmed in sending messages and information and trying to manage Bonet's Division after it's commanders unfortunate early demise.

To begin, here is the initial French starting positions



Strategically, Miranda must be held. The entire French II Corps could be lost in its defense but the city and supply depo could not fall. The consequences of a Spanish seizure of Miranda would be too great to contemplate, as such the French were prepared to fight to the last man, the last bullet to remain in control of the Town.

Commands; the French were ably led by Mark, leading the 1st Division under Général de Division Pierre Hughes Victoire Merle, Matt leading the 3rd Division under Général de Division Jean Pierre François Bonet, Josh leading 2nd Division under Général de Division Georges Mouton and Spoon leading Cavalry Division under Général de Division Lasalle division.

Additionally, Robert McLeod led the cavalry brigade of Général de Brigade Henri Jacques Malmaison and the newcomer, Dave had what turned out to be the hardest assignment of all- command of the Miranda garrison tasked with holding the town of Miranda itself.

As I planned I listened to each French commanders viewpoint, as I have just recently arrived in Spain. The most striking argument was made by Josh, the wolf of Spain, who reminded us that the Spanish could not only be coming from the West, as our intelligence suggested, but from the East, the North, and the South. Basically from anywhere and everywhere.

With this heavy advice, I devised the battleplan.

Here is a rough map drawn with my kindergarten level artistic skills showing the French plan;


I decided that 1, Josh's Division, be moved into general reserve at the French Supply depo to be available to deploy as the situation arose.

Merle's Division, 2, would deploy North of Bonet's Division, which was holding the town of Miranda itself, on a westward axis.

Bonet's division, 3, would be deployed generally at its starting position, with its main attention Westward.

Both Cavalry Brigades, 4 and 5, would deploy on the Northern and Southern Flanks, respectively, and scout Southwest and Northwest.

Thusly the French began the game with 13,000 troops in line and 7,000 in reserve.

The first contact and combat began with my cavalry. I soon received reports of enemy activity in Ostrog then in Reka. It seemed as though the Spanish planned a double envelopment using a westward direct movement to hold our attention, and then work past both flanks. Very soon, Mark's division was under attack-he handled his boys well, consciously falling back and delaying the Spanish to his front. Around this time I received word that a Spanish column had crossed the river at Hrytzon; now was time to pull Merle's division even further back.

While this was occurring tragedy struck the French; Matt, riding along his lines, was decapitated by the first Spanish cannon shot fired from the south towards the town of Miranda. Ironically, that first shot was both the best, and last, accurate shot fired from the Spanish lines.

Very soon our cavalry reported large concentrations of enemy infantry and cavalry approaching from the South. Very soon they were evident with my own eyes.

Josh, very astutely demanded to take position on the heights overlooking the French Supply depo; I hesitated as I assumed the main Spanish axis of approach was going to be via the Northern flank. I soon acquiesced, however, and Josh took a superb position just ahead of the Spanish. In all of my games I have never seen a better battleline. Nearly all of Josh's infantry were hidden behind a low rise while his guns had complete fields of fire with high ground bonus from every direction. It was though the French were deployed on a natural Castle.

Very soon the Spanish captured the ridgeline west of Miranda. Both Mark and I figured that the Spanish would bring up their light guns and destroy us in that valley. I was just hoping to cause enough casualties so that Josh's fresh division could counter-attack at the end of the game and retake one or both objectives. It looked like a scene out of Dien Bien Phu-Two entire French Divisions caught in a low valley with the Spanish concentrated on ridges all around.

The main Spanish attack, at least I assumed it was the main attack, came in disjointed. One division swept down from the Western hill above Miranda, captured a French battery and routed several regiments of infantry before being beat back by a counter-attack led by Mark's division and two reserve battalions of Bonet's division.

After that attack failed, or more precisely, during its last gasps, a massive Spanish cavalry charge forced all infantry to form square. This then, was the crisis of the battle. Many French regiments suffered more casualties standing in square and getting picked off by the remnants of the Spanish attack infantry from the Westward hills than the rest of the battle. Only after the cavalry was beaten back was a second infantry assault attempted by the Spanish. They seemed to seize Miranda, that burning hulk of a town, as I was totally separated from the Garrison. Gallant Dave and his garrison brigade had fought harder and longer and suffered more than any other French brigade. As it turned out, Miranda never totally fell, there were still pockets of French resistance.

It was disconcerting to see several battalions of French being led away as prisoners however.

I had summoned both Josh and the Cavalry before the first assault. They both arrived together-I ordered the 9,000 fresh Frenchmen to attack, which they did, sweeping the entirety of the Spanish around Miranda as though grains of sand at high tide.

The battle ended before the French could turn on the Spanish still North of town (Palmer's division); orders to Mark to counter-attack were being drafted, as well as the Spanish division which had crept Eastward.

Miranda was held and the Spanish made to think twice before they resist the might of the La Grande Armee

Vive la France!
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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

Post  Iberalc on Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:17 pm

Diary of Teniente General Nicolás Llano Ponte OC 1st Div. Army of Asturias.
26th October 1808.


The AoA has been ordered to take the offensive in the upper Ebro in order to gain time for the projected allied winter offensive. General Acevedo decided to raid the strategic road junction of Miranda de Ebro.

My own 1st Div. and Del Prado’s 4th Div. (Ron) AoA were the left wing of the army, instructed to advance east northeast turning the enemy’s right flank and keeping them busy to our front.
We maneuvered and could see the French units respond to our moves slowly pulling back. As Ron advanced the enemy to my front was getting thinner.

I got the order to attack from Gral. Acevedo, as French reserves were switching south where our main attack was planned. I thought it was the right time because attacking southeast I didn’t find much resistance, there was a gap held just by 2 or 3 French battalions. I sent my 3 brigades to the south between Miranda de Ebro and the French depot to the east.
Sam sent his cavalry in and captured a French cavalry battery to my right.

Everything seemed to be going well, on my right, behind their captured battery, the French were pulling back. From the east there were coming French battalions previously facing 4th Division, there was a skirmish between the woods and they retreated to the fortifications around the depot.
I was reluctant to attack that strong position on my own, looking west I could see our comrades approaching, but my division was too far forward, French chasseurs were holding Ron’s troops to my left and I had enemies to my front and right (in Miranda town), but the troops in Miranda seemed to be pulling back.

I thought the best course of action to attack between Miranda and the depot to try to cut off them or at least keep them busy and help other divisions to close in the enemy. Meanwhile a French battery started to rain canister on my troops.
It was an awful spot for an attack, like Gral. Soldier (that day on the side of injustice, oppression and looting) used to say “I don’t like it, but I have to…”

Two brigades were ordered forward, Coronel Alfonso Piquera’s men closed in to the guns crossed bayonets with French infantry and captured two 8 pounders and one 6 pounder howitzer (Major Lapisse’s battery) but one of the former guns was lost to a counterattack. Piquera had lost a thousand men in this attack and had to pull back and try to reform his battalions. The survivors of this unit should be upgraded to level 3 experience Militia and Coronel Piquera is recommended for promotion.
Mariscal de Campo Bernaldo de Quiros had been ordered to support Piquera’s brigade, unfortunately his battalions run into a French transport convoy and having captured it, scattered all around the place trying to make good their shortages in equipment. The delay caused them to advance not with Piquera but after him, they had to retreat very soon in order not to suffer the safe fate.
In the meantime Spanish forces to my right had liberated Miranda de Ebro, and the French were bringing up cavalry for a counterattack to retake the town.

Then all of a sudden, the troops holding Miranda started to run away to the rear, their officers tried to stop them but it was in vain, the soldiers scattered in all directions crying “Treason”, “We are betrayed”, and the full Army of Asturias joined these units in their flight from the battlefield.
Some rumors say that the ammunition cartridges were filled with sand, the Quartermaster of the AoA said he was not responsible they must have had wet ammunition, but he and his aides were cut to pieces by soldiers in state of insanity.

On the road to San Milán there was a sharp contrast between our sadness, soldiers and officers of a defeated army sure that we had been deprived of our just chance for victory, and the happiness of the liberated hostages and jail convicts and lots of civilians that took advantage of the opportunity to escape from the French yoke.

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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

Post  kg_sspoom on Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:57 pm

I had 1 cavalry squadron charge a line only to be locked in a scoreless melee.
Only a additional Spanish infantry unit joining the melee got anything going. It was quite a bit of game time and probably 50
dead couriers trying to get them out before the additional unit arrived.
By this time I had to abandon them to fate and I think they eventually got captured
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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

Post  Robert M on Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:32 pm

This last post brings up an interesting question .....Do courier casualties count towards battle statistics ?? I would think not, but I really don't know the answer.
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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

Post  Robert M on Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:00 am

I was commander of our cavalry with the charge to recon to the south, west and south east of our lines.... After noting the advance of the dirty Spanish from the south, I shadowed their right flank as it deployed and held their position for what seems like the major part of the battle.... I sent one of the cavalry commanders who was itching for a fight to try and capture a battery that seemed to be momentarily unprotected.... Alas, the spanish responded, and my desperate orders to halt nad back off the attack when un heard.... or ignored.... I made a note to take the underling's head and post it to his home, but he was killed along with 70 of his men in the awful absurdity of attacking a square around a battery.

I offered to fall on my sword, but Knight refused my offer, and said there was more fighting to do this day....

When I received a message from Mark, saying that assistance was needed at our objectives, I reported to Knight who released me to ride north....

We rode to our supply depot, and could see cavalry and infantry to the north.... I could see the battle raging to the west, towards town, but could not understand the dire situation, as I had not been in the command chain messages.... I thought that defense of the supply area might require my cavalry to counter what I could see to the North....

I was made very aware that this was NOT what was required when I received, what can only be described as an "urgent" message to get to the WEST, as spanish cavalry was DISTROYING us. We rode at the gallop... and upon arrival in the area of melee, began to charge and attack whatever vulnerable units we could discover....There was confusion, and general difficulty in seeing what was going on anywhere, as the crush of infantry, firing, charging, artillery, enemy cavalry, and melees involving all of the above, was mind numbing.

At one point, we formed a line of battle, and advanced, to charge, only to get conflicting messages to retreat.... then to charge...who the hell is in command here ?

At one point I could NOT get a unit to follow ANY orders... while in excellent condition. My men ( and horses) for hte most part performed admirably.... There was one unit of enemy infantry which just stood there in formation, while my boys hacked them to pieces.... yet other units seemed to put up a fight... in fact one Spanish cavalry unit routed one of ours within seconds of engagement. Another unit of my brave boys surrendered.... I will not write home about them !

We were successful in riding down several routed infantry units, and inflicted casualties upon the fleeing souls.... liberating many of them to meet their Maker.

We captured several artillery pieces before the battle was called and the spanish slinked back to the swamps from whence they came.

For the most part, the casualties inflicted seemed to be legit, with the one big exception being the one unit that was standing and baring their chests to the sword.... I thought it might be a suicide pact to avoid fighting for the spanish any longer.
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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:03 am

Robert wrote:Do courier casualties count towards battle statistics
Yes they do, 2 points per. But we really don't use the score to determine the battle outcome. It's based on achieving the objective of the battle. The score comes into play if neither side has an obvious victory.

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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

Post  midgetmanifesto on Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:11 am

Regarding replay:
You would certainly lose a lot of the uncertainty of the game. The french were quite concerned about exactly what they were going to face, and where it would be coming from.

I'm not sure how difficult it is to rally up enough players for a game, but you may want to dedicate that resource to new games?

I'd lean towards editing the final results....but I'm totally new here and was on the winning side, so take my opinion lightly.

Regarding non-fighting units.
I wasn't sure if units in fortifications needed to be in square to fight cavalry. I think I discovered that the answer is definitely. I do wonder at this point if my two units that were totally swept away may have been non fighters as well. They were both militia and in line....which would also explain the expedious retreat I suppose.

Dave
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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:36 pm

Following a suggestion from a player I have taken the line that San Roman's infantry division of La Romana's corps was late to the battle and never arrived. Since its troops inflicted no losses at all this seems like a fair compromise, so I have just reinstated it's losses.

The final result after surgeons have tended the wounded and stragglers have returned to their regiments is the French losses were 1,000 infantry and 400 cavalry. They also suffered 500 casualties in the garrison of Miranda. Several units (especially the garrison) have taken a boost in morale. Spanish losses were 2,400 infantry and a terrible 1,400 cavalry. La Romana's fine cavalry division of 20 squadrons mustered the following morning with only enough troopers to make up 9 squadrons!

Acevedo has retreated to Espinosa, most of his men very demoralised. San Roman's fresh uncommitted division formed the rearguard and prevented the retreat from becoming a rout.

Soult's corps is fit for battle and ready to march.

This concludes the late October turn. I'm working on a few final admin things and will write up the turn end newspaper report then get the early November turn underway.

Please also welcome Dave B (midget manifesto) to the French team. He has taken up the role of General de Division Grouchy and will command all the reserve cavalry.

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"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

Post  Iberalc on Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:14 pm

After the bug, I believe it is a fair solution.

I don't know if it had something to do that I unzipped the map files in the KS mod and understood that others did in the Supplemental maps.
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Re: 16. Battle of Miranda - 26th October 1808

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