117 San Marcial (31 August 1813)
San Marcial - 31 August 1813
After the rout at Vitoria, Napoleon replaced his inept brother Joseph with capable Marshal Soult. The French retreat east allowed Wellington to lay siege to the important coastal fortress of San Sebastián. Soult made plans to relieve the French garrison there after resting and reorganizing his formations. On August 31st, under the cover of the early morning mist, the French crossed the Bidassoa River and advanced toward Freire’s Spanish Army that was drawn up in line on the heights. Reille’s corps moved up the ridge to San Marcial, but the Spaniards were ready and turned his leading divisions back down the hill. Soult rallied the broken units, and with Villatte’s fresh troops, launched a second attack on the heights. Times had changed. The French no longer attacked with their old élan, and the Spanish, sensing that their country was almost rid of the hated invaders, fought with unaccustomed valor. The line of Spanish bayonets held firm against the second assault and the French lines faltered. Unable to keep his men from retreating back over the river, Soult ordered a withdrawal.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
• Commander: Freire
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 3 Tactician Cards
• Commander: Soult
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 5 Tactician Cards
• Move First
• The six connected hill hexes in the left section, the seven connected hill hexes in the center and the six connected hill hexes in the right section, each form a Group Victory Banner objective for the side that occupies an absolute majority of these hexes at the start of its turn. Absolute majority means to occupy more of the hill hexes than your opponent. If your side occupies 1 hex and your opponent does not occupy any hill hexes, your side has the absolute majority. The Victory Banner is lost when a side no longer has absolute majority. The Victory banner may be gained or lost more than once by each side. At the start of the battle the Spanish player occupies several hexes of all three hill groups and the French player occupies none. The Spanish player starts the battle with three Victory Banners
(Temporary Majority Victory Banner Turn Start)
• The Spanish Guerrilla Action rule is in effect. The Spanish player starts with one Guerrilla counter.
• The Bidassoa River is fordable.
Turn 4: Spanish light troops shatter a French line regiment and slay General Reille! Spanish ahead 5 victory banners, French 0.
Turn 7: Spanish Guerrilla Action prevents the French from conducting a Rally. (Before this turn, the Spanish had played two Scout cards earning them an additional two Guerrilla Action tokens in addition to the token they have at the start.)
Turn 8: Spanish Guerrilla Action again causes a French order to fail. This time it foils a Fire and Hold command! On the Spanish half of the turn a brutal Bombard command is executed perfectly on both the left and right flanks. Two French regiments evaporate. Spanish 7, French 0.
Turn 9: French have yet another command cancelled by Guerilla Action. (The Spanish have now exhausted their Guerrilla options.) The Spanish then Recon in Force with Spanish light troops eliminating a weakened Voltigeur unit straddling the Bidassoa River. A dominating Spanish win of 8 to 0. Three successful Guerrilla Actions absolutely stifled the French command.