Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Tarragona Campaign Summary

Strategic Map for the Tarragona Campaign


This campaign is part of the larger 1813 Campaign. It covers the period 14 May to 7 June 1813 and the fighting in eastern Spain between Fourth French Army and the Spanish. It has been done as a separate blog in order to keep all of the relevant reports together and to avoid making the main campaign blog too long and complicated.

If you want to read about the main campaign it can be found at:

Summary of the Campaign

Wellington is commander in chief of the British, Portuguese and Spanish armies. He has concentrated the British and Portuguese army at Salamanca, ready for the main effort against Burgos to clear the French from all of Spain.

He is anxious that the Marshal Suchet in eastern Spain should not send support to Marshal Soult at Burgos, and to this end has tasked the Spanish armies in eastern Spain to create a diversion to occupy Suchet.

The French occupy the coastal area from the French border to Barcelona to Tarragona.
Captain-General Copons commands all Spanish troops in eastern Spain. He orders the occupation of Lerida to draw French troops into the mountains west of the coast. Whilst they are so engaged, he moves to take Tarragona.

The French garrison deploy at Rues to protect the city and their lines of supply to Barcelona. The French hold Rues, but are unable to defeat the two Spanish armies and retire into Tarragona.

Having entered Lerida to the west, the French become aware of the threat to Tarragona and immediately march through the mountains to raise the siege. The Spanish attempt to stop them at Prades but are defeated and the siege of Tarragona raised.

By now all three French corps are concentrated near Tarragona, and Suchet is determined to destroy the Spanish. His first attempt is at Cambrils, where he attempts to stop them from retreating south to the safety of the river Ebro. He fails, but he cuts off half of the Spanish army.

He allows the Spanish to unite in order to defeat the entire army and this results in the second battle of Cambrils. The French win an inconclusive victory, but the Spanish are allowed to retire behind the river Ebro.

By now there is considerable disruption to the French lines of communication back to France, and Suchet has to take one corps back to Barcelona to reopen them.

The Spanish are quick to take advantage, and again move west of the river Ebro.

At the end of the campaign the French still hold Barcelona, Lerida and Tarragona. However the Spanish have isolated all three centres and disrupt all communications between them.

Captain-General Cupons has achieved his campaign objective of preventing Marshal Suchet from sending any support to Marshal Soult at Burgos. And at the end of the campaign the Spanish occupy more ground than at the start.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Second Battle of Cambrils - 28 May 1813

Tactical Map 26 May 1813

Cambrils is a small village on the military road from Tortosa to Tarragona. It is the most direct road from Reus to the river Ebro at Vandellos.

Captain-General Copons has concentrated his four armies at Cambrils in an attempt to destroy the isolated 4th French corps. Having failed to do so he is now intending to retreat to Vandellos and recross the river Ebro.

Marchal Suchet had gathered his three corps at Reus and is determined to engage and destroy the Spanish armies before they can recross the river Ebro.


Photo 1 - table at start of game – Spanish left and French right

Top is road to Prades

Left is road to Vandellos

Right is road to Reus

Map squares

E10, F10, G10

E11, F11, G11

E12, F12, G12

Spanish must hold for 12 moves (one day) to allow 3rd Army to arrive

French must destroy Spanish before they can retreat to Vandellos

3rd Spanish army arrives top left of photo move one in column of march

Photo 2 – Spanish left

2nd Spanish army started the battle deployed around the village which was the Spanish left, one brigade is in the village (buildings have been removed). 3rd Army is arriving on the road nearest the camera, with orders to move to Cambrils

Photo 3 – Spanish centre

1st Army hold Cambrils and have deployed in front to protect the Vandellos road on which they intend to retreat at nightfall.

Photo 4 – Spanish right

4th Army are deployed behind the village to hold the right flank. The light infantry are holding the village and are under attack from the French, so the village buildings have been removed to allow the fight to be resolved.

Photo 5 – French left

5th corps approach infantry are about to assault the village (buildings have been removed), more infantry is moving to the left to engage the square, cavalry and one infantry brigade in reserve.

Photo 6 – French centre

15th Polish corps have the most difficult task, because all of the Spanish artillery are in position to cover any approach to Cambrils. The Poles deploy outside of artillery range.

Photo 7 – French right

4th corps move down from the heights to deploy in the plain opposite the Spanish left flank They are about to assault the village, so the building has been removed. The French artillery and infantry have already received casualties as they approach.

Photo 8 – French right

The Spanish hold the centre of the village (buildings removed), so only one French brigade can engage them. The French are on Engage orders, so they can only skirmish in the village, not launch an all out attack. You can see by the dice that French casualties are mounting.

Photo 9 – French centre

Faced by so much Spanish artillery the Polish corps commander has ordered his troops to halt and await developments on the flank. He is still within artillery range and will continue to receive casualties.

Photo 10 – Spanish right – The Crisis

French infantry have entered the village (buildings removed) on Engage orders. They lose the exchange of skirmish fire and are Shaken. Even worse the French column is also Shaken after a brief exchange of fire with the square. Both sides are taking heavy casualties, but the Spanish are holding firm.

Photo 11 – Spanish right – the end

During the Spanish move they continue the fight in the village (buildings removed), but fail to rout the Shaken French. Outside it is a different matter. The Spanish square forms line, advances and fires on the Shaken French column, who break and run. Their comrades in the village also break and cause their supports to rout. Three of the four French infantry brigades are now in rout.


With the loss of his left flank, Marshal Suchet has no option but to call off the attack. During the night the Spanish withdraw and cross the river Ebro at Vandellos. The French have failed in their objective and this was a Spanish strategic victory.


The 1,2,,4 Spanish and 4,5,15 French are placed on the table as blinds

Maximum blind for each corps is 4

At start both sides roll 1D6

Loser rolls again to place one corps on table

Winner rolls to place one corps on table

Repeat until all corps are on the table.

Special rules for Spanish

Corps commander must be in base contact with brigade to issue orders