Saturday, October 27, 2012

Final Preparations

2000 18th August 1813

Wellington consulted his maps at his headquarters in Valladolid and read the latest reports from his three corps commanders.   During the previous week he had visited each of them to explain the overall plan and their role in it.   Each division has received reinforcements to bring them up to their full strength.   Every man has five days supplies.   He is confident that he  has done all that he can to prepare his army for the next phase of the campaign to drive the French from Spain.   Now the corps commanders must play their part.

80 miles away Marshal Soult sat in the castle of Burgos and considered the daily reports from his three corps commanders.   Following the loss of Valladolid one month earlier he had deployed his army to hold the strategic city of Burgos and secure his communications with France.   He was also well positioned to advance on Madrid again after he has defeated Wellington.   This time he knew the approximate location of the Anglo-Spanish army and their intentions were clear – they must capture Burgos.   Unlike the earlier campaign this time he is ready and his divisions are well deployed.   His agents report that half of Wellington’s army is composed of Portuguese or Spanish.   True the Spanish guerrillas are more active than at any time in the past, but they pose no real military threat.   His army have also received reinforcement  and are now at full strength.   It was true that only half of them were French, and more of those conscripts than he would have wished.   But his corps commanders were experienced and proven commanders.   He was confident that within a month the English would once more be retreating to Portugal as they had done the previous year.

Meanwhile the six corps commanders drafted their final orders for 19th August 1813.

The Burgos campaign is about to commence.

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