Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Campaign Move 40

1200 1st September 1813

Marshal Soult was present at the battle of Pancorbo.

Though pleased with the result, he is well aware how vulnerable are the three divisions holding Burgos.   He had taken the fourth division to support 6th corps at Pancorbo and this had turned a victory into the surrender of one third of Wellington’s army.   However the remaining two thirds now had the opportunity to engage the French at Burgos with the same sort of odds.

Immediately after the battle Soult received a detailed report from Leval.   6th corps had suffered casualties at the first battle of Pancorbo, and then even more losses due to attrition when the Spanish occupation of that city left them without any means of resupply.

Leval was determined that 6th corps must be allowed to rest, establish a new supply depot at Pancorbo and resupply before they be asked to engage in further operations.   Soult accepted that this was sound advice, and allowed 16th division to rest and regroup at Pancorbo throughout 1st September.

However something must be done with the large number of English and Spanish prisoners.   3rd division was ordered to march north at first light and escort them to Bayonne.   This would result in further attrition casualties, but could not be avoided.

Soult would march south at first light with 14th division and hope to arrive at Burgos before Wellington took that city.   The Westphalians has only suffered light battle casualties, and still had one day’s supplies.   So they were in good order and capable of marching to Burgos and fighting on arrival if necessary. 

But would they arrive in time?

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