Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Campaign Background - 14 May 1813


14 May 1813 - Start of Campaign

There are two campaign areas in Spain.

In the north west Wellington commands the Anglo-Portuguese army based around Salamanca. Soult commands the Fifth French army which is deployed from Burgos to the French frontier.

In the north east Wellington also commands a collection of independent Spanish corps which occupy the mountain ranges between the east and west, and all of the area south of Tortosa. During his absence this group is commanded by Captain-General Copons. Suchet commands the Fourth French army which is deployed along the narrow coastal area from Tarragona to the French frontier.


Tarragona Campaign Area 14 May 1813 - Start of Campaign

Eastern Spain is the setting for the Tarragona campaign

Start Positions are as follows:

4 French – Barcelona

5 French – Tarragona

15 Polish – Girona

1 Spanish – Tortosa

2 Spanish – Mora

3 Spanish – Lerida

4 Spanish – Olot


In January 1813 Wellington was appointed CinC of all Spanish Armies. His major concern was that Marshal Suchet should be prevented from sending reinforcements to Marshal Soult. To this end he ordered the Spanish corps to cut communications between the two French marshals, and to attempt to capture Tarragona in order to keep the French busy.


During the early months of 1813 a large part of the French troops in Spain were transferred north to form the new armies required to hold the allied advance in Germany. As part of this reorganisation Marshal Suchet was ordered to abandon his garrisons south of Tarragona and maintain his communications with Marshal Soult to the west at Burgos

The French control the coastal strip from the French border to Tarragona. The mountainous country further inland is largely under the control of the Spanish. However Suchet is determined to keep open the main road from Barcelona to Zaragoza, and also to engage any large bodies of enemy if the opportunity presents itself.

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