Wednesday, May 2, 2012

1813 Campaign - Part 7 - Tortosa Phase

  North East Spain 6 August 1813
General
This phase covers the period 6 to 14 August 1813 and the fighting in North East Spain between Fourth French Army and the Spanish Army supported by 5th British corps.

It was fought during the period November 2011 to May 2012
  Corps positions at start of campaign
Summary of the Campaign
Marshal Suchet has deployed two corps to hold the eastern bank of the river Ebro at Lerida and Tortosa, with a further two corps in reserve at Tarragona and Barcelona.   His corps have deployed garrisons to hold the line of the river Ebro and important ports along the eastern coast.
Captain-General Copons has deployed his four corps along the western bank of the river Ebro and is awaiting the arrival of 5th British corps by sea from Alicante.   His objective is the capture of the town of Tortosa and the destruction of the French in North East Spain.
The allied plan of attack was to engage the two forward French corps before reinforcements could arrive from the east.   This plan failed when two attacks on fortified villages were repulsed with casualties.   The Spanish decided to hold the attack until the promised British reinforcements arrived.
The two forward French corps were overconfident and attacked despite being heavily outnumbered.   8th corps was surrounded by two Spanish corps and forced to surrender.   16th corps narrowly escaped a similar fate, but was so badly damaged that they could take no further part in the campaign.
By the time Suchet could concentrate his army he had already lost half of his strength.   Despite this he held at Cambrils to cover the retreat of 16th corps, and hoping to achieve local superiority long enough to defeat one or two of the Spanish corps.   This tactic almost cost him the rest of his army.   Four Spanish corps closed on Cambrils and the French were lucky to escape without a major battle.
The loss of Tortosa, plus almost half of the French army, and a hasty retreat to Tarragona left the Spanish army the clear winners of this phase of the campaign.
Location of campaign battles
Campaign History
06 August            Start of campaign
07 August            Siege of Miravat
08 August            British land at Vinaros
10 August            Battle of Torrente                   Spanish victory
10 August            Battle of Miravat                    French victory
10 August            Battle of Tortosa                    French victory 
12 August            Second battle of Miravat        Spanish Victory
13 August            8th French corps surrender
13 August            Battle of Mora                         Spanish victory
14 August            Battle of Cambrils                   Allied victory
14 August             End of campaign
Link to Campaign Blog

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