woensdag 10 oktober 2018

Scenario - March 6, a rear guard action at la Trepa.

Historical Background
Soult’s failure to cross the Minho River on the 16th was due to insufficient preparation and knowledge of the region known as ‘Entre Douro et Minho’’. News of the French setback to cross the Minho River reached La Romana and a march in the direction of Orense would seem to indicate a return to Galicia to await better weather conditions.  Based on that assumption La Romana held his position at Monterey and continued further the rebuilding of his force while supporting the guerrilla activity in the region, {1}

Soult’s true plans became apparent as his army turned south to approach Monterey and the Portuguese frontier.  With only 9,000 troops under his command, La Romana had considered confronting Soult but with the support of Silveira and his Portuguese. Reaching no agreement with Silveira, La Romana began his march eastward leaving a rear guard under the command of General Mahy. This force was caught by the French near La Trepa and a desperate action took place against a light cavalry force commanded by Franceschi. [2]

Using satellite mapping to locate Monterey, we can trace two routes heading eastward toward A. Gudiña, La Romana’s first major town en route to Galicia. The more southern of the two, we find La Trepa at the base of a mountain range. The exact location of the conflict is not certain, but one can gauge from the area our game board should reflect a mountainous area flanked by a road running east to west. The western half of the board should be open narrowing as one moves east. Somewhere between, the Spanish rear guard should make their deployment with the French entering at its western side.

Soult’s light cavalry brigade (Franceschi).

Spanish rear guard comprises of seven infantry regiments under General Mahy. The seven Spanish corps were Segovia (Mil), Zamora (nr.7), Barcelona (Lt.), Majorca (nr.17), Orense (Mil), Betanzos (Mil) and Aragon (nr.25 or Lt.); none were more than 200 bayonet strong, The infantry regiment followed by a number indicate regular line troops, Mil are militia or conscript under the rules and Lt. are skirmishers. [3]

French need only destroy two units to cause demoralisation, which will send the Spanish rear guard in flight. Further Spanish casualties will accrue a decisive French victory.
Spanish must exit the field moving west. The loss of two units will bring the rear guard to a state of demoralisation, the game continues until the entire command has left the board.

Combat at La Trepa, using DBA-HX3.
The French cavalry are four elements of Cv and have Franceschi as their commander. Two more elements of dragons are off table and make their appearance at the board edge (west side) on turn four.

Although the Spanish are classed as Line and light elements, all are under strength and should use factors of +3, +2 against foot and mounted respectively. The same factors are used for the three militia units.

The conflict is fought between two small commands which under the big battle option mean the remainder of each army is off table. Demoralisation is reached when two elements are lost, which means the French are repulsed (game over) or the Spanish continue their retreat despite being demoralised and gain a minor victory.

Corps Cavalry Franceschi
1st Hussars, 8th Dragoons, 22nd Chasseurs, Hanoverian Chevaux-Léger
Rear Guard General Mahy
Line - Zamora (nr.7) and Majorca (nr.17)
Light - Barcelona (Lt.) and Aragon (nr.25 or Lt.)
Conscript - Orense (Mil), Betanzos (Mil) and Segovia (Mil)

None were more than 200 bayonets strong,

1. Oman, History of the Peninsular War, Volume II, p.186
2. ibid, p. 190
3. ibid, p. 194

The Napoleon Series , 3rd Marquis of laRomana,
Military History Encyclopedia on the Web/MarshalSoult’s invasion of Portugal 1809

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