General Situation: Palacio's Army of Catalonia has been pushing towards Saragossa in order to divert Imperial attention from the current main effort in Castile. To this extent, the plan has worked, and in accordance with Napoleon's direction that a disaster in the Ebro valley is the worst thing that can happen - because it must inevitably lead to defeat in central Spain - the Imperial VIII Corps has been diverted to protect Saragossa and stop any threat to the Imperial lines of communication through Pamplona and Burgos. However, General Junot, after securing the city, has seized the initiative and forced march his troops onto Belchite where Palacio was holding, apparently thinking himself safe. Many stragglers dropped out on the march and VIII Corps was 2000 men weaker by the time Junot approached the position. However, this (and the total lack of Spanish cavalry) achieved surprise and Palacio has only been able to prepare a hasty defence around the town before the Imperial arrival.
Imperial Forces: VIII Corps (C-in-C Junot (Capable))
Delaborde's Division: 8000 Infantry, 6 Guns
Travot's Division: 7000 Infantry, 6 Guns
Kellermann's Division: 1000 Dragoons
VIII Corps' Artillery: 24 Guns
Total: 15000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 36 Guns
Spanish Forces: Army of Catalonia (C-in-C Palacio (Plodding))
Caldagues' Division: 4000 Infantry, 6 Guns
Jacome's Division: 4000 Infantry, 6 Guns
Total: 8000 Infantry, 12 Guns
|A clearer picture of the Spanish position.|
|The attack of Travot's second brigade - again led by Junot in person - pushes the Spanish off the hill. But in one of the quirky results possible in MdE, the French lose confidence at the moment of victory and pull back onto the ridge!|
|Jacome manages to rally and reform the two remaining brigades of his division.|
|Delaborde (and Kellermann) try to emulate Travot's success and approach the Spanish right. Palacio has brought up the brigade held in reserve in Belchite to support the Spanish infantry in the enclosures.|
Game Notes: This game was always likely to be fairly unbalanced, so I tried an experiement: rather than play it out using Polemos General de Division, I wanted to see how Polemos Marechal d'Empire would work for a DBA-type game (for newcomers to the game, I've reviewed the rules here). And it worked fine: the game (involving 15 elements of Imperials and 8 elements of Spanish on a 3'x2' table) gave a plausible result in 35 minutes flat. The tempo mechanics (i.e. activation points) do work even when there is only a single corps per side.
Interestingly, the strategic situation and the outcame was not so different from the real Battle of Belchite!