Monday, September 6, 2010

French victory at Reus

20 May 1813

The battle of Reus

Reus is a small town just north of Tarragona.

It commands both the main military road along the east coast, and also the approach to the city of Tarragona.

5th French corps have occupied the town to keep open their lines of communications between Tarragona and Barcelona and also to defend Tarragona itself.

1st and 2nd Spanish armies are determined to destroy the French before they can be reinforced.

Table at start of game

The game objective is to destroy the enemy

5th French corps (Paul) is deployed in and around Reus

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

2nd Spanish army (Jan) enters on blind on north road (top)

French infantry and cavalry move forward to meet the Spanish

1st Spanish have a competent general and approach the town in good order

As they near the town, the French advance their cavalry and two infantry brigades to engage them.

2nd Spanish is much slower to arrive, and the bulk of the fighting falls on 1st Spanish.

It is a very uneven fight, which the Spanish never looked likely to win.

Spanish break and run

Predictably both Spanish armies withdrew, leaving the French in possession of Reus.

A victory for the French against greater odds, but both Spanish armies are still intact and capable of further operations.

Effect on Campaign

Although defeated, the Spanish are still an effective fighting force.

Only half of 1st army broke and ran. The remainder, and nightfall, prevented a French pursuit.

2nd army were not engaged at all.

The French had held Reus, but failed to break the Spanish army.

Tarragona was safe, but still under threat

19 May 1813

3rd Spanish army vacate Lerida as 4th corps approach, they move south to put themselves between Lerida and Tarragona.

15th Polish approach Barcelona, still shadowed by 4th army.

With only the weak garrison of Barcelona, Suchet must wait for the Poles to arrive before he can take any action to support 5th corps at Reus.

5th French corps at Reus

Copons orders 1st and 2nd armies move to attack Reus.

Orders are sent to 3rd army to take up position at Mora and to delay any attempt by the French at Lerida to march towards Tarragona.

4th army is ordered not to make any move against Barcelona, but to be prepared to block any attempt by 15th corps to march towards Tarragona.

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