Wonders will never cease! After 25 turns of play, we finally have a battle to play out. Not that the campaign hasn’t been providing fun or challenging logistical headaches, but I can finally get my miniatures out on the table !
The situation I blogged about a fortnight has changed a little. The siege at Santiago is over, the city capitulating 2 campaign days ago. Cuidad Rodrigo is still witholding the French. The Anglo-Portuguese have finally moved decisively, striking East out of the mountains to attempt to relieve the siege. Anson and Fane’s cavalry brigades have looped back around the city and moved to Cabillas, breaking the French line of supply and placing themselves between the besieging forces and the French reserves that would march to their aid.
In the rush to get there before the city fell, the Anglo-Portuguese have strung themselves out on the small mountain roads, the vanguard who arrived on the 2nd only consisted of 3 generals and the Heavy Cavalry ! Fortunately, they know that 12k infantry will definitely make it during the 3rd and so the scene is set for the first contact.
Mike, the French commander is now given a difficult choice. Does he meet the enemy with his whole forces yet moving away from the siege lines will undoubtedly allow the city to replenish some of their stores from his own baggage, destroy his saps and positions prolonging the siege, or does he leave the siege in place, leaving a valuable portion of his forces behind? This isn’t handled within the system, it can only do so much of course, and at this stage we’re looking at setting the narrative backstory to the battle. Mike’s opted to leave 2 brigades of infantry behind keeping the enemy bottled up in the city. Since the Anglo-Portuguese forces are basically all mounted, I figure that the French advance towards them and they back off, eating into the time before their reinforcements will arrive to even the odds. So the table top encounter will start on turn 5 of the day. (Days being between 12 and 18 turns long in Principles of War. Since it’s raining and only April, I’m suggesting that the day will be 13 turns long, giving us 9 full turns to play.)
The forces are stacking up like this:
De Grey’s Brigade
Leith’s 5th Division
Craufurd’s Light Division
GdD Lapisse 2nd Division
Artillery (Attached from 3rd Division)
GdD Musnier 2nd Division
I’ve yet to work out whether the French units will be on table as a Brigade or Regiments. I think previously we’ve played Regiments but I need to check some past orbats. Either way, it’s shaping up to be a good game and I fully expect that there will be more to come. If the Anglo-Portuguese can’t make the French retreat, there’s a whole host of reinforcements in the area for both sides to turn this into a real meat grinder. A decisive victory one way or the other could swing the whole campaign in favour of the victor so there’s lots to play for.