Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Battle of Prades - 24 May 1813

Tactical Map 24 May 1813

Prades is a small village in the mountains between Tortosa and Tarragona.

3rd Spanish Army are deployed to hold the village and stop French advance

1st Spanish Army are marching from Vals to support them

4th French Corps must break through to relieve garrison of Tarragona


Photo 1 - table at start of game.
3rd Spanish deployed in Prades

Top of table is north.

Top is road to Lerida

Right is road to Vals

Bottom is road to Tarragona

Map squares

D7, E7, F7

D8, E8, F8

D9, E9, F9

French game objective is to break through to Tarragona

4th French corps (Paul) enters on blind on Lerida road (top)

1st Spanish army (Jan) enters on blind west road (left side)

3nd Spanish army (Jan) is deployed in Prades (centre)


Photo 2 - French cavalry (hill right) have spotted 1 Spanish who have to deploy

The Spanish occupation of Prades dominates the pass out of the mountains, so the French move into the mountains to their left. They send their cavalry forward to spot the Spanish reinforcements.

1st Spanish manage to deploy before they are spotted, they are almost in position so it makes little difference. They send their heavy cavalry forward to try to spot the approaching French.

Photo 3 – The French have been spotted in column of march

As the head of the French column nears the front of the hill, the cavalry is moved to the left to allow them to deploy. Before they can do so the Spanish cavalry advance and spot them, forcing them to deploy in column of march. This is dangerous for the French, because they can not fight in this formation, and the enemy cavalry can Opportunity Charge them. It also means that it will take a long time to properly deploy and bring up the tail of the column.

The Spanish cavalry roll to Opportunity Charge, but fail to do so by rolling a 3 when a 4 is required. Having done their job of spotting the enemy, they withdraw to their own lines.

Photo 4 – Spanish complete their deployment, French struggle to do so

All movement on hills is at half move rate, so the French take four moves to bring up their infantry and deploy. The cavalry have to remain to protect the artillery until this is done. One brigade (right) is left in the pass in case 3rd Spanish come forward from Prades and threaten the French right flank. The corps commander is riding around like a madman trying to sort out his corps.

Photo 5 – French ready to engage Spanish, hussars move forward

It is almost dark by the time the French have reached the crest of the hill and deployed ready to engage. Their artillery opens fire and routs a square, this results in a second Spanish brigade being Shaken. The French hussars move forward ready to attack any Shaken target.

1st Spanish are now in a desperate position. They lost their artillery at Reus, and have nothing to reply to the French artillery. Many of their infantry are in square for protection against the advancing enemy hussars, however this makes them more vunerable to the French artillery.

Photo 6 – French cavalry about to rout Spanish 1st Army

As night fell the French hussars tested to Opportunity Charge the Shaken Spanish infantry in line. They made their morale and routed the Spanish, who took the other two Shaken brigades with them. The Spanish right flank had ceased to exist. The Spanish were lucky that it was now too late for the French to take advantage of the situation.


The Spanish have failed in their best opportunity, which was to stop 4th corps as it tried to exit from the mountains. However they could still fall back on Reus and again offer battle to maintain their siege of Tarragona


Game played July 2009.

Paul commanded the French.

Jan commanded the Spanish.

The rules worked very well. The Spanish CinC had to miss his go 4 moves out of 11 due to the Poor Card. This meant he was unable to change the orders of 3rd Army and get them to attack the open flank of 4th French corps. Instead they sat in and around Prades and played little part in the battle.

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