Monday, November 28, 2011

Planning next move

Montblanc, 5th October 1713

Just before entering the room where the meeting with his officers was to be held, General Bellver sighed soundly.There was a point of dissatisfaction among some of his best men, who judged his gentlemanly after-battle agreement with the Spanish General Vallejo as too lenient. The Spaniards had been allowed to leave Montblanc town in good order, taking their flags and lighter weaponry with them.

--If we had kept pressing them, we'd have been able to crush their entire army! --had once exclaimed General Nebot, perhaps one of the least satisfied officers in his staff.

Just as Bellver expected, the meeting atmosphere was hot up, although men kept respectfully silent as he started speaking. He wouldn't start a speech boasting of his decision, for it would have been badly received by most of them. Instead, he entered straightly into matter:

--Do we have available an enemy casualties account? --Bellver asked.

--Yes we have, Sire. The Spaniards have lost some 350 horse and 400 foot. Besides, they've left on the field two batteries, one of which is heavy. --One of the colonels answered.

--...and our own casualties?

General de Ramon coughed: --Er... A final count gives us the cypher of 200 horse and nearly 750 foot, including dead, badly injured and missing. Among the infantrymen, we've lost almost 500 miquelets, many of them belonging to one single Mountain Fusiliers battalion, which is currently decimated. Besides, all of the 200 line infantrymen lost belonged to one of our best units, Our Lady of Disempared Regiment. Not to say about the 50 Royal Guards fallen.

--..and our light battery was so severely damaged that is unusable. --continued a junior officer.

Bellver delayed a while his conclusions, in order to leave his officers digest the data: --And now gentlemen, may I ask you to figure out the aftermath if we had been forced to storm Montblanc town? With all those Spaniards entrenched behind every house, every wall, every street? No, gentlemen. Our army is too small, too valuable our men, to squander them for desire to win in the grand manner.


Finally, it was General De Ramon who spoke: --You are right, Bellver. As a matter of fact, there are two huge Spanish armies dangerously approaching this area right now, one at north by the Lleida-Barcelona road, the other at south along the coastal road to Tarragona.

--So we're risking to be encircled soon. Therefore gentlemen, the sooner we find out a solution the better, provided we would dislike this recent victory to turn into a sound disaster.

Nebot cautiously asked: --Hum... So, after all, do we have reconquered this town for having to abandon it right afterwards?

--Unfortunately, we cannot rule out anything --Bellver replied, very serious.

[At this stage, nothing is known in the Principality about Lady Elisenda, except that she survived to an attack by a band of mercenaries by the Austro-Venetian border. So no one in there is aware about her appointment by the Emperor & King Charles. Less is known about Marquis of Vilana, of course]


abdul666 said...

Most hopes rest on diplomacy, I'm afraid.

Soldadets said...

Dramatically true, you're right... Therefore, Catalan/Galatan generals should be very cautious at their next moves, not to risk to be soundly beaten on the battlefield. At this stage of conflict, every battlefield becomes a powerful propaganda instrument, that might strongly help diplomatic ways --or inversely hamper them too heavily to be adequately counter-weighted...

Once again, the role of our good Marquis de Vilana in all this plot is key to a happy end...

Jiminho said...

You are weaving a very intricate and compelling plot, Lluis. Well done!


Salvador said...

Lluís, it has come to my mind that the Royal Guards should not be fighting under that name by now. Historically they changed it for the Nostra Senyora del Roser regiment, and the political implications of the guards keeping their name and fighting so named are eliminated by the proceeding of facts in the Defiant Principality. I suggest you edit that name both here and in the Army page to avoid any confusion.
I guess that if I have thought about it others could be confused: "Royal Guards? Had not imperial units been evacuated? If this is so, then why the French don't fight if the Austrian royal guard is doing so?"
You get my point, I think.

Soldadets said...

Salvador, yes it's true.

That unit was formally evacuated along with the rest of the Imperial army by July 1713. No matter the majority of officers and troopers chose to stay at home, the fact was that the flags went away with the rest --along with salaries, of course.

Keeping the unit under its original name is a deliberate decision of my own, Salvador. This is a fictional setup in several ways, and this is one such.

We are playing under the basis of a slightly higher degree of complicity between Imperials and Catalans --or a better co-ordinated complicity, let's say.

Similarly, talk with other EvE players, as well as campaign events themselves, have lead to a slightly higher suspicion degree of Louis XIV with respect to his grandson's real intentions.

We are deliberately giving to the Catalan side some additional chances, allowing them to eventually force a different end to the campaign --for the purely historical aftermath is too well known, sadly.

Very briefly:
1) We've given the Catalan side the chance to have most of their units already formed at the time of Imperial withdrawal, so that they were able to fill the frontline gaps left by the Imperials --historically, we should have forced them to hurriedly raise new regiments while the Two Crowns spread undisturbed all through the unprotected Principality.

2) As already told, there is a mutual intelligence between Imperials and Catalans. True that, if accurately analyzed, History reveals us that there actually existed such intelligence --but we have better co-ordinated it, under a better designed plan.

3) As we know what happened later thanks to History (distrust of France towards Philip V, War of the Triple Alliance, etc), we have conceded some random chances to such kind of events to happen earlier.

And one such events -a quite significant one- is actually happening right now. Louis XIV has changed his mind on how to put this war to an end, and this goes beyond eventual incidents in the process of Imperial withdrawal from Catalonia.

Hope this helps explain some of the odd events happened here lately!