Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Worried

Barcelona, 25th October 1713


At his own office in the Catalan HQ building, General Villarroel watched once again the reports recently arrived from first line, and nodded. "Bad, too bad", he told to himself.

The initiative won by the enemy had allowed them to pin all the planned moves of Catalan vanguard columns. Either Marquis of Poal at La Panadella heights, or General Bellver at Montblanc town, or even General Basset at his fortified positions at Vilafranca town, had seen all their plans disrupted by the enemy --even some of these forces had seen their supply lines cut by daring enemy moves behind Catalan lines. Two of these forces had also been contacted by strong Spanish columns, so that they ought to choose whether accepting the clash or withdrawing.

Not only HQ communications with several key strongholds had been cut by the enemy, but the extremely bad weather on the preceding week had prevented any informer to give news from the local rebellion at Lleida city as well. General Villarroel would have no other choice than taking almost blindly his very next decisions. Not in vain he was now quite worried.

Fortunately enough, rearguard forces had performed accordingly to specifications, so that General Ortega for instance had managed to gather an operational force in Manresa city that might prove key in providing some relief to Marquis of Poal's compromised situation. On the other hand, General Moragues at North had managed to take in due time the painful to him decision of withdrawing from Tremp town. True that this meant leaving the Pyrenenan valleys of Pallars nearly harmless face to the enemy --but it also meant saving lives of the men under his command.

There were at least a couple of pieces of good news: after the Spanish naval defeat face to Tarragona shores last week, the Balearic Sea had become a Catalan pond. With no enemy ships in sight, Catalan vessels had started a frantic race to carry supplies and fresh troops from Majorca to Barcelona, and even a small convoy had successfully disembarked a Sea Fusiliers regiment on Vilanova, just in time to face the Spanish force about to take possession of that key coastal town.

As a consequence, a convoy of Majorcan ships had just entered Barcelona harbour, carrying the British volunteer regiments of Queen Catherine and Saint Patrick. For sure they wouldn't be able to stop by themselves alone the enemy, but would contribute decisively to keep civilian population's fragile morale at its top --and this had become not less prioritary.

4 comments:

Jeroen72 said...

As a observer from the Dutch Republic i would say: reinforce your forces around Villafranca ,smash them there and smash them hard.

A victory would be great for morale also :)

If they get to Barcelona it will become a siege and then it will be a mere question of time.

abdul666 said...

Wonder if new (officious if not official) orders were sent to the French commanders in Galatea, soon after the Marquis de Vilana met Philippe d'Orléans?

By now, both the Imperial Palace and Versailles must know that the odd musket left by the ambushers at Carniola is part of a very small set crafted a few years ago for Philip V personally...

Soldadets said...

Jeroen72,

In the actual wargaming campaign, I'm running the Bourbon Spanish armies, so I sincerely hope my gaming adversary does read you!!! :D

Soldadets said...

Jean-Louis,

I guess that Versailles is at the moment expectantly awaiting results of the military campaign itself.

Would Catalans resist firmly enough the Spanish actual offensive --or at least behave coordinately enough face to it, then I'd believe it consistent from their side to discretely show a first reconciliating sign, such a prisoners exchange proposal.

If I was King Louis, I would behave with some caution at this very precise moment, just for case. It would be a pity risking to provoke an internal rupture inside Bourbon lineage in case the Catalan steadiness was little else than apparent.