Sunday, December 09, 2012

Preparing the thrust

Spanish HQ, 28th November 1713

Fears of Catalan HQ proved to be certain. Under command of their capable leader Marquis of Aitona, the Spanish army displaced a significant amount of troops to the northernmost edge of the Catalan line of defence, up to a threatening few miles east to the fortress of Cardona.

At the centre of the line, where to major armies were encamped facing to each other, Marquis of Aitona ordered two Horse units to perform a two-sides flanking manoeuvre around the Catalans. The move was performed with no incidence, so that at the end of day a full Cavalry Regiment had taken positions in the plains of Bages county --just behind the enemy. On the Catalan left flank, a merged Dragoons Regiment stood on the hills, patiently waiting for further orders too. Meanwhile, the southernmost standing Spanish army had apparently abandoned any real intentions to get into full contact with the enemy, limiting itself to a number of small supporting and probing manoeuvres.

At the Spanish rearguard, there was a significant action indeed. Bored with the Catalan Infantry regiment threatiningly stationed on the hills NW of Montblanc town, Marquis of Aitona ordered a merged Dragoons Regiment to drive them out, with the support of a Mountain Fusiliers Battalion. Besides, some companies of Lleida city garrison were hurriedly dispatched to Cervera town, with orders of cutting off an eventual Catalan withdrawal by that side. The trap had been locked.

On the French side, there was only one visible move: the Dragoons detachment escorting Catalan prisoners had arrived in Hostalric fortress --just in time to meet their Catalan counterpart.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Gathering forces

Catalan HQ, 27th November 1713

Hurried by the growing threat of King Philip's armies, Catalan commanders moved fast in this last week of November 1713, so seemingly anticipating those of the enemy. This time, no daring manoeuvres have been performed, but a number of small moves aimed at gathering their so far dispersed forces around a few army cores: those defined, from South to North, by the Vilafranca-Bruc-Cardona edge of defence.

Meanwhile, Catalan forces in the northermost Pyrenean valleys have also experienced some concentration effect, mainly around Tremp town and Castellciutat fortress --whose garrison keeps being too small for such a large strongpoint, though. Concentration has also affected some units in the rearguard, as it can be seen on map; so it can be guessed that the Catalan High Command strongly believes that a major, decisive battle is about to happen before Winter comes.

There's one significant exception to this strategical chain of moves: early on Monday, a whole Squadron of Catalan Dragoons left Barcelona city with quite a particular mission: escorting all the French prisoners held so far toward the fortress of Hostalric --still in French hands.