Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Campaign Move 11

1600 22ndAugust 1813

At midnight on 21st August Marshal Soult returned to his headquarters at Burgos having completed a 48 hour recce of the surrounding area to select a suitable area to concentrate his widely spread corps to meet the anticipated attack by the British and Spanish.

He was enraged to discover that his lines of supply from France had been disrupted somewhere between Burgos and Pancorbo, and that the garrison commander had done nothing to reopen them.

The unfortunate Westphalian colonel was summoned, demoted on the spot and sent to his room under guard to await courts martial.   His second in command was despatched with the whole brigade, less a skeleton garrison, to clear the road.   He was left in no doubt that failure was not an option.

The Spanish guerrillas had prepared a strong defensive position, and were full of confidence having closed the road for 36 hours.   They put up a determined resistance and the Westphalians lost 80 men in storming their defences.

The end was never in doubt.  The ill trained civilians were no match for the professional Germans, and they were soon put to rout.   By nightfall they were in headlong rout towards the high ground to the west.

Despite their victory, the Westphalians had taken casualties and were running short of supplies.  They were 10 miles from the safety of Burgos, and as soon as they had secured the road they marched back to the city.

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