Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Peninsular War Campaign Summary - end of June 1809

Situation at the end of June 1809:

Summary of Events:
Joseph initially began to move towards Elio's Fourth Spanish Army, based near Madrid but Elio's manoeuvrings convinced him that he would be chasing a shadow whilst moving many miles through hostile territory with Wellington's Allied army at his back.  He therefore returned nack down the Tagus, not knowing whether to attack Wellington or merely feint and then run back to Leon to regroup on Moncey and Soult.  Wellington was aggressive, threatening Joseph's lines of communication to the North so Joseph reluctantly committed to an attack.  Seeing a fleeting opportunity to attack Cuesta's small Spanish army he attacked, but the prompt arrival of the Allied forces led to a French defeat and the loss of Marshal Ney as a prisoner and the destruction of a large proportion of his army corps, although not before serious damage had been done to Cuesta's forces.  Joseph did at least manage to escape and has withdrawn to Salamanca.  To partly compensate for the disastrous Tagus valley campaign against the Allies over the last few months, Mortier was able to storm and capture Ciudad Rodrigo in a brilliant action, thus opening up an alternative invasion route for the French (n.b. see here for details of the actual taking of Ciudad Rodrigo).  Soult has withdrawn slightly from Astorga, to Benavente, in order to be in a better position to support Joseph if attacked by Wellington, whilst still being able to cover any advance by Mahy from Galicia into Leon.  Right at the end of the month, Moncey's III Corps carried out a lightning advance eastwards with the aim of checking Elio's advance over the mountains into the Segovia area.  Elio had no intention of fighting however and successfully covered by his stronger cavalry, was able to retire safely into the mountains.
On the East coast, St-Cyr withdrew from the Valencia area, fearing starvation in the desolated ground and the combined strength of the Spanish Armies of Valencia and Catalonia.  He carried out a storm of Tortosa as equally brilliant as Mortier's actions in the West, which cost the Spanish 5000 casualties in dead and prisoners.  A second attack on Tarrogona failed, however.

Imperial Order of Battle:

Army of Spain (Joseph) at Salamanca
Royal Guard: 2000 Infantry, 2000 Cavalry
Latour-Maubourg's Div: 5000 Cavalry
IV Corps (Lefebvre): 7000 Infantry, 2000 Cavalry, 36 Guns
VI Corps (MacDonald):  6000 Infantry, 24 Guns

I Corps (Suchet): 14000 Infantry, 3000 Cavalry, 48 Guns east of Salamanca

III Corps (Moncey): 15000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 24 Guns west of Segovia

V Corps (Mortier): 6000 Infantry, 3000 Cavalry, 36 Guns

VIII Corps (Junot): 5000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 24 Guns west of Barcelona
Decaen's Div: 3000 Infantry at Tortosa
Travot's Div: 5000 Infantry at Tarragona
Souham & Chabot'sDivs: 9000 Infantry at Hostalrich
Habert's Div: 9000 Infantry and siege train at Olot

VII Corps (St-Cyr): 16000 Infantry, 2000 Cavalry, 36 Guns at Tarragona

II Corps (Soult): 13000 Infantry, 3000 Cavalry, 24 Guns and siege train at Benavente

Rosas: 1000 Infantry
Figueras: 2000 Infantry
Gerona: 1000 Infantry
Barcelona: 1000 Infantry
Astorga: 3000 Infantry
Burgos: 3000 Infantry
San Sebastian: 2000 Infantry
Pamplona: 4000 Infantry
Tudela: 1000 Infantry
Zaragonza: 7000 Infantry
Valladolid: 3000 Infantry
Bayonne: 12000 Infantry
Zamora: 2000 Infantry
Perpignan: 2000 Infantry
Ciudad Rodrigo: 3000 Infantry

Allied Order of Battle:

IV Army (Elio): 20000 Infantry, 4000 Cavalry, 48 Guns in the passes NW of Madrid

Army of Andalusia (Castanos): 6000 Infantry, 2000 Cavalry, 24 Guns at Cadiz

Army of the Centre (Cuesta): 7000 Infantry. 2000 Cavalry, 12 Guns at Coria

Army of Galicia (Mahy): 29000 Infantry, 48 Guns at Lugo

Army of Valencia (La Romana): 13000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 36 Guns at Requena

Army of Catalonia (Sarsfield): 9000 Infantry, 12 Guns

Anglo-Portuguese Army (Wellington): 39000 Infantry, 6000 Cavalry, 72 Guns
Otway's Bde: 1000 Cavalry at Plasencia
Hamilton's Div: 8000 Infantry at Lisbon

Miller's Div: 8000 Militia at Almeida
Trant's Div: 8000 Militia at Elvas

Seville: 6000 Infantry
Malaga: 2000 Infantry
Granada: 1000 Infantry
Badajoz: 5000 Infantry
La Coruna: 2000 Infantry
Cartagena: 2000 Infantry
Valencia: 3000 Infantry
Sagunto: 2000 Infantry
Tarragona: 3000 Infantry
Hostalrich: 1000 Infantry
Tortosa: 4000 Infantry
Santarem: 2000 Infantry
Gibraltar: 6000 Infantry
Almeida: 1000 Infantry
Lisbon: 2000 Infantry


  1. I have a question - it seems your Spanish forces seem have been doing pretty well. Have you changed any of their their morale stats for tactical games to reflect the fact that they are not being thrashed every time they meet the French?

  2. Not particularly. Both the "Tomb for an Empire" campaign rules and the Polemos tactical rules don't have many specific "national" rules. But the French do start out with many more Veteran units which gives them an advantage. They also have more, and more effective, leaders. Plus, I incorporate some specific advantages to the French over the Spanish: it is a bit involved to explain without referring to the specific rules mechanics, but it works out as an average of +1 to the French on each opposed D6 roll in infantry combat. I haven't penalized the Spanish cavalry additionally: they are generally in small numbers and of poor quality compared to the French.
    I think what has happened is that the Spanish have still lost the majority of their battles, but they have simply avoided fighting as much as their historical counterparts. Also, the Spanish on a battalion vs battalion level weren't so bad as to be a pushover; their greatest disasters were just as much a result of being outgeneralled as outfought: given that I am a solo player, it is hard to replicate that.

  3. Thanks for the reply. Been great reading about this campaign.

  4. Thank you, that is very kind.