Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Back to 1713: Two Crowns' moves

All fronts, 21st August 1713

For a second consecutive turn, the Spanish armies took the initiative and re-started their slow but apparently unstoppable advance towards the Catalan capital city of Barcelona.

This way, the Army Group South left their headquarters at Tivissa and marched along the old Via Augusta road at the maximum speed they were allowed to. They didn't bother stopping face to Tarragona walls, because they were aware the city was being garrisoned by Imperial troops and these would not surrender the place until the English fleet came to take them out from the Peninsula, as agreed with Queen Anne. However, the Spanish General Areizaga cared to leave a whole battalion of Burgos IR encamped face to the city gates, with the mission to prevent any entry attempt by the Catalans -just for case. He was persuaded their enemy would try to control Tarragona before his Army was able to relieve embarking Imperials, so he had commited himself to prevent this to happen.

In the meanwhile the commander of Army Grup Centre, General Vallejo, who had refused attacking at El Bruc after being reported the extremely difficult terrain where the Catalan army lead by General Bellver had fortified itself, cautiously ordered intense scoutings to be performed by the flanks of both facing armies, seeking a more favourable crossing point. His army was now complete after the arrival of two delayed Line Cavalry regiments, except for a couple of battalions having joined the Army Group South, so he enjoyed an enviable strength compared to their enemies.

On their side, the Army Group North encamped close to the battlefield they'd just won at Ponts few days ago, with the aim to re-compose ranks and wait for dispersed troops to join them again. In front of them, the Segre Rive looked like a wide open gate potentially allowing for the whole Pyrenees area to be occupied and cleant up of Catalans. However, a defiant stronghold still stood a few miles away from General Bracamonte's troops, preventing them to progress eastwards any more: Cardona fortress, never taken before by the Two Crowns.

However, the Spanish Commander-in-Chief Duke of Popoli noticed with high concern that their French allies had performed no move for a second consecutive week, so that he ordered urgent words to be sent to King Philip in Madrid, letting him know something was far from running as expected with the French, and asking for some kind of diplomatic action to be taken -or otherwise to reinforce his own army with at least as many soldiers as French troops kept neglecting their duties as allies.

6 comments:

Salvador said...

I'm in the process of reading through the TYW Father Tilly rules, which I recommend, and found several things that may be of your interest, mainly both the use of (kind of) cards and the classing of generals and its effect both on tactical and strategical gameplay.
These rules are inexpensive in their pdf format, and not much when printed. Although they may seem a little anachronistic, there's a further expansion-rulebook covering the later XVIIth century, and it's even translated into spanish. Here's the link:
http://www.theassaultgroup.co.uk/store/home.php?cat=123&sort=productcode&sort_direction=0&page=1
You'll find the complete rule system as well as its ECW, XVIth and later XVIth century and then later XVIIth century expansions.
Although it may look like blatant publicity, I not only find it's a nice system but it has also very usable things and it's adaptable!

abdul666 said...

The diplomatic efforts to disinterest Versailles from the situation South of the Pyrenees don't seem to have be totally fruitless!


A potentially *important* 'random event' in Hispania:
the date of the death of Felipe V 's first wife, María Luisa Gabriela de Saboya (historically feb. 1714 - while only 25 old).
Her closest (perhaps only true) friend was her Camarera Mayor Marie-Anne de La Trémoille, princesse des Ursins /'Princesa de los Ursinos', who was also very influential on Felipe himself. Thus the 'Princesa de los Ursinos' was probably the most powerful person in Hispania; far from being a puppet of Louis XIV, she often behave as a Spanish patriot eager to free her new country from French influence. Nonetheless the Emperor's offer of a fully independent Principality (to be carved from the Austrian Netherlands) in exchange for her successful support to a peace granting Galatea its independence (under a form to be defined, probably following the Andorran precedent, but with the Empire and France as co-protectors) would not have left her indifferent (she is said to have dreamed to become a Queen herself). With her influence in Hispania and her contacts at Versailles she could be an essential agent to a peaceful conclusion favorable to the Galatan cause.

But her influence fell instantaneously to zero as soon as widowed Felipe married Isabel de Farnesio -a new wedding occurring 'surprisingly' so soon after the death of the first Queen that it would probably be repeated in any 'alternate' history.

Thus the untimely death of La Savoyana -as, reportedly, her loving subjects had nicknamed her- is a very important factor for the evolution of the conflict in the Peninsula.

Soldadets said...

Jean-Louis: you're 100% right, I neglected the Ursins factor!! I've enclosed it in our list of possible events, just as the Lisbon earthquake and the Great Plague.

Following your thoughts, it would be key for Galatans to achieve an agreement before the young queen dies, while the ambitious Princess is still strongly influent in Madrid...

My most sincere thanks, these stories will for sure contribute giving some sense to any eventual die roll...

Soldadets said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Salvador. We're actually testing 'Close Fire & European Order'; besides, I'm in the process of reading 'Beneath the Lilly Banners'. Both rulesets are fully focused on our period, and seem to be quite easy and fun.

abdul666 said...

Give the young Queen María Luisa Gabriela de Saboya a chance to live (a little at least) longer! Even by early 18th C. standards, for a girl of a very privileged class to die at 25 only *AND NOT of giving birth* was not the norm (and, despite the haste of Felipe to get married again, there is no suggestion of poisoning).

Soldadets said...

Jean-Louis,

I was thinking about an increasing probability, to be checked by dice at each gaming turn, just as death of Queen Anne is.

This latest event is checked at the end of each gaming turn, on the basis of a 0% probability on turn 1 which increases by a 2% with every weekly turn. This way, she's to get a 100% probability about July 1714 -actually, three months later than historically.

Let's suppose Queen Maria Luisa's death event is assigned a similar chance to die. Unlike Queen Anne, her premature death (such as actually happened) is harmful to Catalan interests in case the Princess des Ursins gets seduced with the Flanders principality, so she might be assigned chances similar to those of Queen Anne, so that her 100% chance gets beyond the 'real' campaign end in September 1714. Maybe an 1% rate increase from an initial 0%?