503 Sorauren - French left (28 July 1813)
Sorauren (French left) - 28 July 1813
Marshal Soult re-entered Spain to defeat Wellington’s army in detail and rescue the besieged garrisons of Pamplona and San Sebastien.
The plan relied on speed. Soult with the main force hustled Cole’s ineptly placed division out of Roncesvalles Pass with minimal fighting.
Cole, along with Picton, retreated much further than Wellington desired, but Wellington was far away and communications were bad. When Cole did stop, he redeemed himself by picking excellent defensive terrain opposite the village of Sorauren.
Soult had the numbers to win, but ironically, by funneling too many troops into narrow valleys with poor roads, he lost the speed needed to win the campaign, and his advance slowed to a crawl. On the 27th, Soult’s vanguard made contact with the British at Sorauren.
With only Clausel’s Corps on hand (Rielle’s corps was strung out for miles on the bad roads), Soult made no attack. The veteran of Albuera had calculated the numbers needed to drive the British off the Oricain Heights and knew he did not have enough that afternoon.
Next day, after a violent night’s thunderstorm, Rielle’s corps was up, and Soult had the numbers needed to fight and win the day before, but the British had gotten reinforcements too.
As the French echeloned attacks went in, Rielle’s troops attacked.
Maucune’s attack against Anson’s brigade failed miserably, but the second French attack on the Spanish Hill enjoyed success. The two Spanish battalions that had admirably defeated a French probing attack the day before, now broke and allowed the French to gain temporary possession of the hill. Byng’s British brigade, attacking with support from the British artillery near Arleta, retook the hill.
Although daylight remained, Soult’s infantry was largely fought out.
He could wait no longer for his artillery train and cavalry that were caught up in the mountains. He had lost the race to defeat Wellington in detail, and ordered a withdrawal.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
• Commander: Wellington
• 6 Command Cards
• 6 Tactician Cards
• Commander: Soult
• 5 Command Cards
• 4 Tactician Cards
• Move First
• The 8 hill hexes that make up the Spanish Hill, form a Temporary Majority Group Victory Banner worth 1 Temporary Banner for the British or 2 Temporary Banners for the French, when that side occupies an absolute majority, at the start of its turn (Temporary Majority Victory Banner Turn Start)
• The French player gains 1 Temporary Victory Banner at the start of the turn for occupying the town of Arleta (Temporary Victory Banner Turn Start)
• The stream is fordable and the rugged hills are impassable.