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Thursday, May 22, 2014

27th and 28th March 1814 – Battle of Mataro

Mataro Campaign area

Encounter battle as both sides advance to attack
The French have two corps on the table and two in reserve
The Spanish have three corps on the table and two in reserve

Spanish           70,700 infantry                       2900 cavalry               150 guns
French             38,800 infantry                       4000 cavalry               120 guns

Spanish HQ     move with 2 corps
1 corps            move B04 on engage
2 corps            move B05 on engage
3 corps            move C05 on engage
4 corps            hold B02
5 corps           move C04 on engage

French HQ       move with 6 corps
6 corps            move D02, C02, B02 on attack
12 corps          move C03, B03 on attack
18 corps          move C04, B04 on attack
24 corps          move E04, D04, C04 on attack

Table at start of wargame

Spanish Brigades        18 infantry      3 cavalry         5 artillery
French Brigades          10 infantry      4 cavalry         3 artillery

Spanish HQ                  arrive move 6           
1 corps                         start on table
2 corps                        arrive move 6
3 corps                         arrive move 2
4 corps                        start on table
5 corps                        start on table

French HQ                     arrive move 1
6 corps                          arrive move 1
12 corps                        start on table
18 corps                        start on table
24 corps                        arrive move 5

Each corps on the table is represented by two “blinds”
This is to speed deployment and prevent reacting to the other deployment
When a “blind” is spotted the card is removed and the figures placed on the table
Each corps may be divided between the “blinds”, or all on one with the other empty

Day One – 27th March 1814
This wargame was planned as a one day battle
However it took too long for reinforcements to arrive
The French start the game outnumbered three to two
Both sides are reinforced, but the odds remain the same
The French artillery are unable to cause sufficient casualties
The French CinC is not prepared to attack until all four corps are available
The Spanish have more infantry, but less cavalry and worse gunners
The Spanish CinC is not prepared to attack until his gunners have caused some casualties
By late afternoon 24th French and 2nd Spanish corps are still marching to join the battle
Both commanders order a cease fire until both corps are in position

Move 1 – 0800 to 0900
Suchet arrives on table
He orders 12 and 18 corps to halt out of combat range and wait for 6 corps to deploy
6 corps arrives on the table and moves to join 12 and 18 corps
1 Spanish halt and prepare to move east
4 Spanish halt and deploy cavalry to recce
5 British send 11 brigade to garrison farm and cavalry to recce

Move 2 – 0900 to 1000
6 corps continues to advance to join 12 and 18 corps
1 Spanish advance to join 4 and 5 corps
3 Spanish arrives on table and moves towards centre

Move 3 – 1000 to 1100
6 corps deploys into attack formation
1 Spanish deploy with 4 and 6 corps
3 Spanish continue to advance behind main battle line

Move 4 – 1100 to 1200
6 corps joins 12 and 18 corps
The French are now ready to advance and attack the Spanish
3 Spanish continue to advance behind main battle line

Move 5 – 1200 to 1300
24 French corps arrives on table and is ordered to move to centre
Spanish cavalry screen withdrawn to avoid artillery casualties
6 French dragoons advance and spot 4 Spanish corps
Dragoons receive 10% casualties from artillery, fail morale and rout


Move 6 – 1300 to 1400
Giron arrives on table with 2 Spanish corps
6 French corps advance towards Mataro

Move 7 – 1400 to 1500
6 French halt and deploy artillery
18 French advance towards 5 British, both are spotted and figures on table

Move 8 – 1500 to 1600
Suchet  orders all corps to advance and engage the enemy
12 French and 1 Spanish both spotted and place figures on the table
Suchet moves to rally routed dragoons

Move 9 – 1600 to 1700
French advance
British garrison of farm receive 10% casualties from artillery
18 French infantry receive 10% casualties from artillery
Remainder of artillery fire is ineffective

Night Redeployment
During the night 24 French and 2 Spanish corps arrive
Both commanders rearrange their deployment
The same front line is maintained
But corps are rearranged to allow for the reinforcements
Some brigades with battle casualties are replaced by full strength brigades

Day Two – 28th March 1814
At first  light the French CinC becomes aware that he is heavily outnumbered
He orders his corps to hold their ground and the artillery to pound the enemy
The Spanish CinC wants to take full advantage of his greater number of artillery
He orders his gunners to engage the enemy, his infantry to hold their position

Move 1 – 0800 to 0900
9pdr and 12pdr guns are within range and open fire
Spanish 6pdr guns are manhandled forward into range
Spanish 2 and 3 infantry receive artillery casualties but pass morale test
French 23 infantry receive artillery casualties and also pass morale test

Move 2 – 0900 to 1000
All guns continue to fire
No French casualties
British 10 infantry (garrison of farm) receive 10% casualties and are shaken
Suchet orders 18 corps to advance and engage the farm

Move 3 – 1000 to 1100
All guns continue to fire
The Spanish gunners are C class, but more effective than the French B class.
18 French infantry shaken due to artillery fire
18 French continue to skirmish farm
French cavalry move forward 

Move 4 – 1100 to 1200
18 French infantry break and rout due to artillery casualties
6 French infantry shaken due to artillery casualties
Spanish CinC orders a general advance
French CinC orders a general retreat

French rout
Spanish infantry advance towards the broken French centre

Game Casualties
French lose 4,000 infantry and 100 cavalry
Spanish lose 2,800 infantry

Game Summary
The first day of the battle was inconclusive
Both sides waited for their reinforcements to arrive
Artillery proved ineffective
The second day opened with an artillery duel
Both sides wanted to weaken the enemy before they attacked
The Spanish gunners proved more effective than the better trained French
The British held the farm despite short range artillery fire
The French retreated with two brigades in rout and three shaken

Total casualties, including from earlier battles,  at the end of the battle
Spanish  4,000 casualties
French 4,100 casualties and two brigades in rout

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