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22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

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22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu May 28, 2015 11:01 pm

This is the other battle that the early February turn has thrown up. We had a curious skirmish at Cervera a couple of weeks ago (campaign time) which saw a French mixed column of division strength arrive from the direction of Lerida and drive away a Spanish cavalry brigade and a rag-tag 'division' sized element of guerillas from the key town of Cervera which is east of Lerida in central Catalonia.

Cervera is important as it protects Lerida from any approach from the east and the French are besieging that place now.

Sending this small flying column so far east however may have been too much for the stretched resources of Marechal Moncey's III Corps. The town was taken and the enemy cavalry driven off but the guerilleros closed in among the hills and woods on all sides, effectively cutting off the French garrison.

Both sides consider this an important place as fresh French troops, both cavalry and infantry, arrived on the 12th February, pushing aside the miquelets who were blocking the approach from the west. A frenzy of organising then followed with the French stripping the town of everything edible and apparently making plans to evacuate their beleaguered garrison. The very next day however a division of Spanish cavalry arrived from the east and blocked the eastern exits to the town, the miquelets concentrating in the west.

It is now 14th February at 9 in the morning. With the French under Generals de Division Musnier and Rigaud apparently determined to withdraw west and the Spanish determined to make this movement as troublesome as possible a running fight may potentially occur.

Strategic Map:



Battlefield:



We are using the Pipe Creek 2 map so you will require this add-on to be installed to play.

The town of Candiolo in the north centre of the map is Cervera.

The rivers around the foot-hills of the Montseny and Montserrat ranges to the south are fast flowing but generally shallow - they can be forded at most places. The areas shown on the map as forested are in fact a mix of dense vegetation and broken ground and therefore are prohibited to all troops except skirmishing infantry units, generals and couriers. Smaller wooded areas on the battlefield that are not shown on this map may be entered by all troops. The marked forests/broken ground areas may only be traversed by close order infantry, cavalry and artillery via the roads and these troops must be in march column or column of divisions - not in line, square or any other formation.

There will be safe zones at the map edges for both sides which, if reached, will allow that sides troops to claim they have exited the battle in the usual way. I will advise where these are to both teams on the day.

Due to the fluid nature of this encounter I will not be preparing individual briefings for the two sides in their private forums but will brief the players on the day.

Each side needs about 6 players, and a Doodle sign-up poll is here.

_________________
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: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat May 30, 2015 3:44 pm

As it doesn't look like we will have enough players for this scenario, I've made a back-up that will need 6-8 players for PvP and 3-4 for co-op. General Borozdin is back! He's defending Smygel against those filthy hobbitses, the French, led by Marshal Davout. This will be on a random map and will require the usual 3 mods. Let's plan on starting the game at the usual 20:00BST.

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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  SolInvictus202 on Sat May 30, 2015 4:36 pm

more cossacks vs eclaires.... not good...
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat May 30, 2015 5:08 pm

And if it's co-op need I say which side we will be? Twisted Evil

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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  SolInvictus202 on Sat May 30, 2015 5:20 pm

it's a no win situation for me anyway Razz
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat May 30, 2015 5:44 pm

I'm sending out an e-mail now to see if we can get more players for Cervera.

Seeing as the Spanish team has sent along players in force and the French only 1, if not enough French players show I will declare this a Spanish victory (I'm not going to delay the campaign another week). So French players - its down to you to attend roll call at 20:00 BST tonight.

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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: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun May 31, 2015 9:13 am

We were short of only 2 players last night and could not play the game. I am re-scheduling it for tonight at 20:00 BST so please make every effort to come along.

We especially need French players.

On other news a few players have left the campaign but I am recruiting to fill their positions already. If any newcomers to the forums who may be here due to interest in the new Waterloo game are interested in joining the campaign you are all welcome. Come and enjoy the full Kriegspiel experience via e-mail and dense fog of war.

Providing the format of our Spanish and Portuguese sprites are compatible with the new game we plan to shift the campaign's MP games over to it as soon as we have given it a few tests and done any essential modding.

We hope that this will do away with the ongoing issues with the existing mod, mainly concerning squares.

_________________
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: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Guest on Sun May 31, 2015 10:03 am

cheers

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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun May 31, 2015 4:06 pm

A couple of new players have said they will play so we are probably good to go tonight, 20:00 BST / 21:00 CET / 15:00 EST.

_________________
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: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Guest on Sun May 31, 2015 4:15 pm

cheers

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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Grog on Sun May 31, 2015 6:40 pm

Sorry about the late show but I can play tonight. Very Happy
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Guest on Sun May 31, 2015 7:12 pm

cheers

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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:46 am

A clear Spanish win. The initial French breakout was meeting success with heavy losses to the Spanish cavalry and miquelets securing the town. This fight slowed the French march to a crawl however (as well as the fact the French elected to march out east instead of west) allowing time for Vives' Army of Cataluna to arrive on the scene (3 full divisions). These stopped the French dead in their tracks though they took heavy losses in a protracted firefight and artillery duel north-east of Pinerolo.

Seeing his escape road blocked, the French commander elected to attempt to march the other way and split his force. One brigade and a battery went north west back towards Cervera, the other went north east, then south while the cavalry took a more southerly route.

The entire Spanish army of 20,000 men chased after my poor brigade and 6 guns and crushed them in a messy straggling fight back in Cervera itself. We had another 'first' in a KS game with a player general being captured, an honour which I am reluctant to brag about.

The other two portions of the French made good their escape via back roads. I shall probably make them abandon their guns though due to the still existing poor weather in early February and the general hostility of this neighbourhood.

A complete - though weak - French brigade of about 1,100 men was taken prisoner with 6 guns. 6 more guns were abandoned in the countryside.

The Spanish paid dearly for their victory however, the raw losses being:

French: 224k, 899w, 197 missing
Spanish: 647k, 2589w, 571 missing

These will be modified in the carryover software with the Spanish recovering more wounded and missing due to having control of the field at the end of the battle.

I did notice extremely high losses among Spanish brigade commanders, counting no fewer than 10 casualties among these. The Army of Cataluna has suffered grievous loss among its experienced commanders. On the French side General de Division Rigaud was wounded and taken prisoner and Colonel Lanfranc (my brigade commander) also taken prisoner. Major Cartier of the artillery was killed.

We had nine players show for the game and my thanks go to everyone who played. It was a very long and excellent battle from what I saw of it. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Replay File.

_________________
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: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  midgetmanifesto on Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:59 am

Thank you for stepping up French commanders. I was unable to attend today due to other family obligations.

As the Commander of the corp in question, I'd just like to add an expletive filled soliloquy about the trials and tribulations of being in Spain at this unwelcome news.

Hope you all had an excellent game though.
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  SolInvictus202 on Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:13 pm

I completely overlooked this part of your battle report, Digby, but I actually ordered those guns spiked anyway in a message to you, if you recall...

I find it highly honourable from both you and Kevin that you tried to save your guns - but since I have taken them to be lost anyway I wanted to ensure that they wouldn't fall into enemy hands...
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:54 pm

In terms of the campaign time scale a spiked gun is quickly rendered usable again. But don't worry about guns being captured. SoW imbues people with this idea that captured guns are used by the enemy in later battles. This was almost never the case in the Napoleonic wars as each nation had its own artillery systems which were not able to incorporate enemy artillery. Furthermore a gun is useless without a trained crew, officers, vehicles, horse teams, organisation, etc, etc.

There were exceptions to this but they are not common. For example at the end of 1806 Napoleon found himself the owner of a vast artillery park of very good captured Prussian 6pdr guns. The Prussian 6pdr was an excellent piece, much lighter than the French 8pdr, needing fewer horses to draw, being more easily manhandled by its crew and packing almost the same punch. It was also longer ranged than the French 4pdr. So impressed were the French gunsmiths and engineers with this gun that they incorporated it into the French army as a standard weapon, casting more of the same design. The Prussian 6pdrs were removed from their original carriages and mounted on Gribeauval carriages and served the French army for many years.

However the 6pdr did not commence introduction into the French army until 1809, so it took two whole years for these captured pieces to be reused by their new owners.

_________________
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: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  SWeathers on Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:58 pm

As I understand it Digby, loss of guns has more to do with morale and loss of your own capability than it did with usability for the enemy's purposes. An army without cannons is simply a mob!
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  SolInvictus202 on Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:01 pm

oh I quite agree as to the spiked guns - I have also read of several accounts where the guns were deliberately destroyed before withdrawing - not only in depots etc... (an order I wanted to give but failed to explicitly state)

EDITH: to be clear why I mentioned the spiked guns etc...: it was only to make sure that the French weren't gonna use those guns again - what the Spanish do is up to them Wink

it was more of a statement that I would never have expected the guns to survive anyway, having read frequent sentences like: "they abandoned all heavy equipment and fled into the hills - which is exactly what we had to do! Smile

as for smaller caliber artillery: its use and the changes between abandoning regimental guns and reintroducing them is highly interesting..
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  midgetmanifesto on Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:57 am

Interesting, I always thought there was some value to capturing guns beyond denying it to the enemy. It always seems like reports make a big deal of it. Perhaps it's a status symbol like capturing standards/eagles?

Or perhaps the brass is useful to for melting down and recasting your own cannon? I know at one point historically artillery masters had the right to steal the church bells of any town they took so they could make more cannon. Perhaps there wasn't quite the lack of good metal by this point?

Dave
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Martin on Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:31 am

"Interesting, I always thought there was some value to capturing guns beyond denying it to the enemy. It always seems like reports make a big deal of it. Perhaps it's a status symbol like capturing standards/eagles?"

I think you're on the money with this, Dave.  Contemporary accounts put much more emphasis on imposing your will on the enemy, than on casualties.  Holding the battlefield, and taking prisoners, colours and guns were the tangible evidence of victory.  To both armies.

In several of his battles, RE Lee lost more casualties than the Union army.  But no one on either side doubted he had won.

Regrettably, the current points system does not reflect much of this, and IMHO encourages an ahistorical mind-set.

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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:10 am

Yes, capturing cannons, as with colours, was a symbol of victory, a trophy. It was a piece of tangible evidence you'd beaten your enemy. At the Tower of London there is a nice line of French cannons captured at Waterloo, still proudly on display 200 years later.

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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: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Grog on Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:04 pm

One day I'm gonna have to get round to visiting the Tower, and indeed, the Imperial War Museum.

I did read recently that Austrian captured guns were used to defend the Santon at Austerlitz, with good effect. It was an entrenched position and I expect this was a more usual use of captured guns.
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  SolInvictus202 on Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:03 pm

I have also read for example that the French used the guns captured at Ciudad Rodrigo later in the next siege... nevertheless what Digby says is quite correct as well!

just like later on - as long as you had usable ammo and supplies and available gun crews you could use captured guns if necessary - if it ran out... well...
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Re: 22. Action at Cervera - 14th February 1809

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:09 pm

Yes, siege guns and siege trains are different, as are the contents of magazines captured along with fortresses. I have different campaign rules in force to cover this. Field guns is a different matter.

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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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