Thursday, April 4, 2013

Link to 1813 Linz Campaign

The next phase of the 1813 campaign will be in Southern Germany and will deal with the French invasion of Austria.
I have started a new blog for the next phase and you can find it at

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Burgos Campaign Summary

Map at start of campaign

Soult has created three equal corps, each of one French and one allied division. 
He has deployed them to cover all approaches to Burgos
He has a strong reserve to guard his communications to the north

Wellington has created two corps, each of one British and one Spanish division
He third corps, of two British divisions, will provide the main attack
His divisions are deployed over a wide area to ease supply

19 August 1813

The first skirmish of the campaign took place when a brigade of British dragoons came under fire from French artillery at Castrillo.   The cavalry immediately withdrew when they received casualties.

By nightfall the leading divisions of both armies were in contact.   Commanders would have to decide whether to attack with what they had, or wait for reinforcements to bring their corps up to full strength.

20 August 1813

A busy, but quiet day, as both armies are concentrating before they risk a battle.

Both sides carry out cavalry recce, which result in some skirmishing, but fail to give any advantage to either side

Spanish guerrillas move to disrupt the French lines of supply 

21 August 1813

Spanish guerrillas have disrupted French supplies by taking control of a village on the main road between Burgos and Pancorbo.   The French garrison of Burgos is responsible for this section of road, but have failed to take any action for two days.

Apart from the guerrillas the only other contact has been cavalry recce.  

Both sides seem content to wait for the full concentration of their corps before attempting to engage the enemy

22 August 1813

In the north Sarrut orders his corps to attack 1st British division before they are joined by 2nd Spanish division.   The British halt and deploy just east of the hills in order to gain as much time as possible to allow the Spanish to arrive.   The French advance in column of attack, but as they arrive one British infantry brigade in the centre moves forward and engages the leading column in a firefight.  The British win.  The column breaks, taking two more brigades with it.   With one third of his corps in rout or shaken Sarrut orders his corps to retreat to Pancorbo .

In the centre an exasperated Marshal Soult orders the garrison of Burgos to march north and clear the Spanish guerrilla who is blocking his supply road.   The Spanish put up a determined resistance, but finally retreat to the west.

In the south both corps are now concentrated and Cole is under pressure from Wellington to attack  8th French corps at Palencia.

23 August 1813

In the north 6th French corps retreat towards Pancorbo following their defeat at Aguillar.   1st Allied corps hold at Aguillar to reorganise and resupply.

In the centre 2nd Allied corps attack Castrillo.  It is a confused battle with the British division opening the battle before the Spanish division is in position to support them.   Despite this Graham wins the day and inflicts a minor defeat on Villante.

Further south Cole delays his attack on Palencia again.   He orders his cavalry to recce the high ground to the north of the town, which is held by 7th French division
24 August 1813

In the centre 7th French corps retreat towards Burgos following their defeat at Castrillo.
The corps is divided as 14th division has to retreat through the mountains.
2nd Allied corps halt at Castrillo to establish a supply depot and regroup.

In the south 3rd Allied corps attack Palencia and catch the French as they redeploy
15th Vistula division have been ordered to march south to occupy the high ground
As they pass through Palencia they spot the British advance and turn to face them
A confused battle is fought, which results in a draw.

25 August 1813

Having lost three battles Soult has ordered his three corps to retreat and take up defensive positions to hold the main Bayonne to Madrid road from Pancorbo to Aranda.  

The allied corps have halted to regroup and resupply, and are waiting for orders from Wellington to push east and finish the job.

26 August 1813

Soult orders his three corps to take up defensive positions along the line Pancorbo to Aranda.   But before they arrive 6th corps, in the north, moves west to locate the allied corps at Aguillar.  

Wellington orders his three corps to march east and attack the French before they can recover from their recent defeats.   All three commanders have spend the day resupplying and replacing battle casualties.

27 August 1813

Hill orders his British division to attack the two divisions of 6th French corps.   The British advance, but have to halt under artillery fire to await the arrival of 2nd Spanish corps.   The British fail in their attack, but the Spanish fight a brilliant battle.   With only light casualties they break and rout 16th Italian division.   Both sides lost heavily, but Hill could claim a victory as the French retreated at nightfall.

28 August 1813

2nd Spanish division follow up their victory and enter Pancorbo
This forces 6th French corps to abandon the town and retreat north towards Bayonne
2nd Allied corps attack Burgos and suffer a decisive defeat
8th French corps holds Aranda with 7th division
Sends 15th division north to support 7th corps at Burgos
29 August 1813

1st Allied corps occupy Pancorbo and cut main road to France
2nd Allied corps forced to retreat to Castillo
3rd Allied corps advance towards Aranda
Soult orders his army to concentrate at Burgos

30 August 1813

6th French corps halt to recover north of Pancorbo
1st allied corps hold Pancorbo and also halt to recover
Soult has taken command of 14 division and is marching north to retake Pancorbo
7th French corps has only 6 division to hold Burgos
2nd allied corps is recovering at Castrillo
8th French corps has abandoned Aranda and is marching north to Burgos
3rd allied corps has entered Aranda unopposed

31 August 1813

1st allied corps surrounded and forced to surrender at Pancorbo
The rest of the French army concentrates at  Burgos
3rd allied corps moves to attack Burgos

1 September 1813

3rd French division escort 1st and 2nd allied divisions to France as POW
Soult marches south with 14th division to reinforce Burgos
3rd allied corps halt, establish a supply depot and resupply

As soon as Wellington receives confirmation of the surrender of 2nd corps he realises he has lost the campaign and orders 1st and 3rd corps to retreat towards Valladolid.

Soult has won a resounding victory.  Not only is Burgos safe, but he can now consider an advance against  Wellington at  Valladolid.