107 Alcañiz (23 May 1809)
Alcañiz - 23 May 1809
After the capture of Zaragoza, the majority of French forces in the area withdrew to France, for trouble with Austria was brewing. General Suchet, the newly arrived French commander, led a force of 20,000 men on paper. Sickness, lack of supply, garrisons and anti-guerrila operations left him with less than 10,000 men available to take the field against Blake’s rebuilt army of equal strength. Blake’s forces held the advantage, for they were drawn up in the hills west of Alcañiz with all the Spanish artillery massed in the center. Although this was a strong position, Blake was fighting with the River Guadalope at his back, and defeat would have meant almost certain destruction for his army.
Suchet’s reconnaissance was poor. In the afternoon, he started the battle with an attack on the Spanish left – the strongest part of their line. Predictably, the French infantry were driven back by effective musket fire from Aréizaga’s infantry division. Spanish cavalry dispatched to finish off the retreating infantry were themselves routed by counterattacking French light cavalry. In the center, several French infantry columns, including Polish infantry from the Vistula Legion, marched forward under heavy fire from the Spanish artillery. They never reached the guns, being turned back by close range canister fire. Realizing that the battle was lost, Suchet ordered his commanders to fall back on Híjar. Blake could not mount an effective pursuit for his cavalry was still recovering from their rout during the battle.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
• Commander: Blake
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 3 Tactician Cards
• Commander: Suchet
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 5 Tactician Cards
• Move First
• Spanish Guerrilla Action Rule is in effect. The Spanish player starts with one Guerrilla counter.
• The River Guadalope is impassable except at the bridge.