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TURN 10 - Late October 1808

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TURN 10 - Late October 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:27 pm

A Perfect Storm Builds Over the Pyrenees! French Armies led by the Emperor Himself Enter Spain! Pampluna Invested! Bilbao Falls! Vitoria Occupied by Fresh Divisions! Victory at Miranda! Spanish Armies Reel back! Ebro Valley Theatre Uncertain!

Our headlines of late October all reflect the new plans of the mighty Napoleon and his resolve to see the chaotic situation facing French arms in the Peninsular reversed and restored. A strong body of several corps has apparently fanned out with lightning speed from Bayonne, crossing the Bidassoa at Irun and moving west, south and south east. Corps d'Armee have moved west along the coast road, offering extra support and garrison troops to their forces at San Sebastian and then brushing aside weak resistance from Spanish troops at Bilbao, occupying that place and pushing further west to Castro Urdilaes. Ragged Spanish volunteer hussars have fallen back before this mighty host and sent word west to Santander and south to General Acevedo at Espinosa where the news was greeted with trepidation as his defeated Asturian army retreated from its defeat at Miranda. Off the Biscay coast English sloops and frigates scud along offshore under a press of wind from the early winter gales, their officers reporting back the activity they can observe along the main coast road.

A vast English fleet is reported to be off Santander. Are the British putting in a garrison there? Landing an army? Or do they put ashore supplies to help Acevedo's beaten army?

The city of Vitoria has seen several divisions of French marching in and setting up temporary encampments. Notable citizens have reported Marechal Victor, Duc de Belluno is in command here now.

At Pampluna another corps of French, this one led, it's claimed, by Marechal Mortier, Duc de Treviso has arrived at the city and thrown a powerful cordon around it. Mortier has pushed a strong body of cavalry south from the city and these have come up against a force of Spanish infantry and artillery moving north from Tudela. Quite how strong the Spanish and French forces are is not clear, but each may be a division. Palafox's Army of Aragon is still unaccounted for. Cavalry from it were reported outside Zaragosa mid-month but these withdrew back west the way they had come. Its clear that the middle Ebro valley is still under Spanish control but the French now appear to have taken or surrounded all the principal settlements of the region - Miranda, Vitoria, Pampluna, Zaragosa so from where Palafox is drawing supplies is unknown.

At Zaragosa Marechal Moncey's corps has not moved. His men are reportedly applying the bootheel and the flat of their swords with vigour to the city's populace, demanding they bring in their crops and stores from outlying villages and contribute to a supply depot to replace the one burned in the siege. Given just a few weeks more it is likely that Moncey's troops will be able to draw supplies from the city, resuming offensive operations.

Cataluna! All is Quiet! What are the Protagonists Planning? Why Doesn't Llamas Attack?

General Llamas won a great victory for Spain near Gerona a month ago but his army has fallen into an apparent state of lethargy, remaining along the banks of the Rio Ter content to send out cavalry patrols towards Rosas to observe the French there. Perhaps losses at the Battle of Murcia were greater than was first thought? As to the French, General St-Cyr is reorganising his corps and has made provision to fall back into both fortresses of Rosas and Figueras if he is attacked by greater numbers. St-Cyr looks daily to the north over the high mountain passes for reinforcements coming from Perpignan - but each day none arrive.

Toledo! Siege Continues! Both sides Bleed from Attrition!

In the great Alcazar citadel high above the ancient and holy city of Toledo, several brigades of French from the former corps of General Dupont doggedly hold out, refusing all calls to surrender. The men are dispirited and feel betrayed and abandoned but a few fanatical republican officers are holding the garrison together. They have some food and a good well of sweet water inside the strong building but when will help come? Even the most committed Bonapartists among them now believe it may be only a matter of time before the inevitable starvation sets in. Losses are mounting from daily skirmishes and sniping that goes on along the walls and perimeter.

The duty of investing the Alcazar is an unpleasant task for those outside as well. General Conde de Belvedere's Extremaduran army is keeping watch, waiting to starve the defenders out. Disease among his men is reduced now that the hot weather is over for the year but soon rain, cold and storm winds will bring a different kind of suffering. Each side in this filthy and miserable siege have endured losses of over 10 percent already, perhaps as high as 15 percent among effectives.

The grim siege goes on.

Madrid! Artillery park of Monteleon Stormed! Bloody Assault! Terrible Slaughter! In Other News Spanish Armies Reorganise and Collect Supplies! Soon a new March will Commence!

Three battalions of French guard marines under the command of General de Brigade Levasseur have held out in the fortified buildings of the Monteleon Arsenal all month. In late October, however several assaults conducted by elements of the Armies of Extremadura and Andalucia forced their way, by means of bloody hand-to-hand fighting, into the compounds of the artillery park and captured the place grimly and slowly, building by building. No quarter was asked or given and the losses were awful on both sides. The French however had only about 1,200 defenders. The Spanish generals had an unlimited supply of men angry and eager to get at their hated enemy. Finally after a week of almost continuous fighting the French, only a handful in number, and exhausted, barricaded themselves into the Chapel of Armouries in the centre of the small fortress-like arsenal. Asked to give themselves up, they refused and in one of the most barbaric events this war has yet seen, the Spanish hurled barrels of oil through the chapel windows, and sacks of cotton and straw, then set the place alight...

Monteleon Artillery Park has fallen. Madrid is finally secure, but at what price can human honour still hold its head up in this dreadful war?

More news from Madrid advises that the Spanish armies that captured the city at the beginning of the month have undergone reorganisation. Several new regiments are said to be forming from enthusiastic volunteers and some regiments have partly made good their losses suffered in recent campaigning. There have been agreements between the several generals present across provincial army boundaries over the priority of supply routes and Cuesta's Army of Castile is already on the march back into Leon-Castile. Formations from the Army of the Right have marched out eastwards to destinations unknown while the Army of the Centre is surely to go north. Some claim Zaragosa will be it's target, others suggest Burgos. Still more people think a route over the mountains unmarked on any map can be taken with the aid of local guides to bring the famed Castanos down onto the French host at Miranda del Ebro!

Cadiz and Sevilla! The Junta Awakes!

English supplies have begun to trickle into Cadiz and paid for by Spanish gold, new regiments are forming in the fortress-city with the emphasis on cavalry squadrons and artillery companies, although lack of good horses and trained gunners is a hindrance. Nonetheless the Junta seems at last to be working towards getting new units to its field armies, though of what quality these units are is questionable.

Lisbon! Spanish Prisoners Released! Girón y Ahumada joins General Wellesley! Hookham-Frere Unwell?

El Mariscal de Campo Pedro Morejón Girón y Ahumada is a nobleman who commanded a division of Spanish troops that invaded Portugal in 1807 as part of the then existing alliance between Spain and France in support of Napoleon's Continental System, a plan to close all European mainland ports to British trade. When, a few months later, France turned on its erstwhile ally and invaded Spain, Girón y Ahumada's corps was disarmed by General Junot's troops and made prisoner on hulks in Lisbon harbour.

After several months of negotiations it was agreed that the British would release this fine body of Spanish soldiers, re-equip them and send them to fight alongside one of their own corps. Thus, Lt-Gen Wellesley's English army is now graced by a Spanish division and the combined farce is reported to be headed east from Abrantes.

For personal health reasons Mr Hookham-Frere took to a Royal Navy sloop in Lisbon roadstead during the late summer and autumn, possibly to enjoy the fresh sea airs. Rumours that Girón y Ahumada had challenged Hookham-Frere to a duel over the long time it was taking to get his men freed cannot be authenticated by British diplomatic sources. Hookham-Frere is however said to be "well again" and no longer "suffering fits of the apoplexy" now that the Spanish have gone from Lisbon.

British on the March! Ciudad Rodrigo Celebrates!

A column of fine-looking red-coated infantry has arrived at the Spanish border fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo where the allied troops have been greeted with joy and feasting by the rotund and many-chinned garrison commander General de Brigada Gregorio González. The English are commanded by the famous light infantryman Lt-Gen Sir John Moore and while the British quartermasters offered Gonzalez some English beer which seemed dark and sour to the Spanish palette, the garrison responded by offering bottles of Rioja and meals of cooked rice. The scurrilous English soldiers thought this looked like "boiled maggots" but tucked in nonetheless and this new dish has become a favourite of the British troops.

Sir John apparently has orders to continue east and a brigade of smart-dressed and finely-horsed British cavalry has already reached Salamanca.

Burgos!

There is no resolution in sight to the long siege of this place. French General Verdier remains within the powerful fortress with his corps and the far stronger Spanish Army of the Left under Capitan-General Blake is keeping every approach road well-guarded. Several messages intended for the garrison and some notes sent out by spies have been intercepted. Losses from attrition on both sides are rising however but Blake's losses are being replaced by formations of the Army of Castilla which have begun arriving from Valladolid and placed under his command. Blake however keeps a nervous eye always towards...

Miranda!

A terrible and bloody battle has been fought in and around this town on 26th October. The Army of the Asturias commanded by Capitan-General Acevedo attacked the place vigorously and with a powerful and dramatic cavalry charge against the newly-reconstituted corps of Marechal Bessieres, now under the command of the Duc d'Istria, Marechal Soult.

After losing the town initially to a strong column of assaulting horse and foot, Soult recovered his position and counter-attacked, driving the Spanish back and keeping his important supply depot near the town safe. Spanish losses are said to be heavy though they did retreat in good order, however the fine cavalry division of General de Brigada José O’Donnell is thought to have been almost destroyed in the biggest cavalry charge of the war. The Spanish are said to have lost 13 squadrons in the battle, while the French lost 2. Infantry casualties were 2,500 Spanish to 1,500 French, a third of these falling on the garrison brigade of the town, mostly made up of Portuguese and Irish emigres. The Portuguese are said to have fought ferociously and defended their barricades and breastworks against all attacks with a spirit and tenacity bordering on fanaticism. There is still great enmity it seems, between some Portuguese and Spanish soldiers, a hatred long and historical.

Rain! Autumn Draws to a Close. Snow in the Hills.

The next two weeks are traditionally the last semi-warm and semi-dry weeks of the year. By mid-November expect rains, high winds and snow in all upland areas. Already in early November conditions in the higher mountain passes, such as Somosierra, Reynosa, Aviza and Poyatos are not good and artillery cannot move off-road in these regions. Expect worse weather soon including swollen rivers unsuitable for military transport.

_________________
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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Wow

Post  PhillWP on Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:22 pm

Comprehensive as ever Martin. Back to the maps to plan out Turn 11! When do you want our orders by?
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Re: TURN 10 - Late October 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:49 pm

asap as always please. You'll have the opportunity to issue amended orders if something unexpected happens mid-turn remember.

I've issued all the British/Portuguese and French early November turn situation updates. I am working on the Spanish ones now.

_________________
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 10 - Late October 1808

Post  MJP on Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:35 pm

Still waiting on communications from the "the boss" before orders can be issued................
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Re: TURN 10 - Late October 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:27 pm

Apologies to all. I have been unwell this week. I'll finish sending out the Spanish orders when I can and then move on to process the incoming mails.

_________________
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 10 - Late October 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:24 pm

I'm feeling a bit better this afternoon so I have been able to finish the Spanish sitreps. I'll start processing people's orders and letters next. You can all now get on with issuing orders and communicating.

_________________
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 10 - Late October 1808

Post  Mark87 on Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:35 pm

Feel better! Take your time!
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Re: TURN 10 - Late October 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:33 pm

Turn 11 is now bouncing along towards.... Turn 12!

I've had about 3/4 of players orders back - a few don't need necessarily to contact me as I know from last turn what you're continuing to do.

I think we'll get this turn wrapped up by the weekend at this rate, one of our fastest turns ever!

_________________
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

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Re: TURN 10 - Late October 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:59 pm

I've made a small clarification to the rules regarding Villages/Minor Towns (the white diamonds).

I've updated the Rules Changelog.

I've updated the Settlements List in the Rules to reflect current ownership (at the end of October).

The French have 9 settlements under control but two of these are not in LoC with the rest of their army.

Result for Turn 10 = French campaign failing!

_________________
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 10 - Late October 1808

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