Vitoria sees a large collection of French hiding behind a hook of a river turn. Joseph Bonaparte, monarch of Spain (imposed) fails to offer much in the way of direction until the army starts collapsing, and only then will begin to withdraw his baggage train of valuable. Massive guerilla activity means the Allies don't have a clue where the hammer is about to fall, so the french (myself and Kevin) end up setting up blind.
|That's a sizeable baggage train to evacuate as our primary objective|
We questioned Doug as to whether we could immediately begin a tactical withdrawal, or if we needed to hold fast for a certain period of time. He indicated the former. The set up location of Gazan (the largest command) was hanging in the wind with all the crossings. Rielle was obviously needed to secure the road for the baggage train (threatened by 2 crossings), and there was a nice pinch in the river with a hill for a spirited defense if we fell back.
PART 1: Gazan's rear defense
Gazan sets up with an aggressive cannon and cavalry rearguard to make pursuit more difficult while the other half of his command is ready to advance to the rear. Similar preparations for a Eastward shift are true for all commands. In a holy crap moment, the Prussians deploy on top of Gazans troops.
|Where the crap did they come from?!?!|
Colesky proves himself to be a sharp practitioner of combined arms, and manages a few times in the game to force troops into square with a cavalry threat, and then murder them with an infantry charge. In GdC movement ranges are quite short so this is actually a very impressive achievement in my mind. His rapid advance grinds down Gazan's lines between the two towns, and isolates some troops caught west of Aronez on the hill (caught forward by a limited offensive to catch out the 'Russian" horse artillery) and threaten some flanks.
To further salt the wound, von Picton (played by Chris) activated early (he needed some target roll to start his own offense) and rolls in fast against Gazan. Poorly artillery placement (the guns are on the wrong side of town) sees them unable to withdraw and complicates a withdrawal of the thin blue line. These men are dead but don't realize it yet.
We see D'Erlons corp has managed to effect a solid withdrawal behind our hill line designated as the second line of defense, screened by a solid double line of troops. A cannon near the eastern/right town ends up exacting a cruel toll on Pictons troops as they advance.
Bottom right corner we can see the 1/2 dozen brigades that Gazan has brought to the second line of defense but with little morale they look a lot more impressive than they will probably function.