Category Archives: Factions

Faction Focus: Portugal

HISTORY

1801 – War of the Oranges

In 1800, First Consul Bonaparte and his ally, the Spanish prime-minister and Generalissimo Manuel de Godoy, ultimately demanded Portugal, the last British ally on the continent, to break her alliance with Britain. Portugal refused to cede, and, in April 1801, French troops arrived in the country. They were bolstered by Spanish troops under the command of Manuel de Godoy. Godoy had, under his command, the Spanish Army of Extremadura, with five divisions.

The Spanish attack to Portugal started on the early morning of the 20 May, and focused on the Portuguese border region that included the main Garrison Town and Fortifications of Elvas and the smaller fortified towns of Campo Maior, Olivença (Olivenza in Spanish) and Juromenha. The main force of the Spanish Army advanced to Elvas, while two divisions advanced to Campo Maior and another division advanced to Olivença and Juromenha. Without having their fortifications complete and defended only by a few hundred soldiers, most of the militias, Olivença and nearby Juromenha quickly surrendered to the Spanish forces. The Portuguese garrison of Campo Maior – under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dias Azevedo – resisted the assault for 17 days, forcing the Spanish to maintain two entire divisions in its siege. The main Spanish force – under the direct command of Godoy – tried to assault Elvas but was easily repelled by the strong Portuguese garrison commanded by General Francisco de Noronha. The Spanish troops then withdrew to a safe distance from the fortress, with Godoy not daring to attack it again until the end of the war. The war entered in a stalemate, with most of the Spanish forces hold in sieges of fortresses and the rest not being able to face the blockade made by the main core of the Portuguese Army, in order to advance further inside Portugal. Despite this, Godoy picked oranges from the outside of Elvas and sent them to the Queen of Spain with the message that he would proceed to Lisbon. Thus, the conflict became known as the “War of the Oranges”.

On 6 June 1801 Portugal agreed to the tenets of the Treaty of Badajoz. Portugal agreed to close its ports to English ships, to give commercial concessions to France, to cede Olivenza to Spain and to pay an indemnity. On 29 September 1801 Portugal agreed to both maintaining the tenets of the Treaty of Badajoz and the alterations made to it, which were all embodied within the Treaty of Madrid.

In response, from July 1801 until the signing of the Peace of Amiens in 1802, a British force of 3,500 men under Colonel William Henry Clinton occupied the Portuguese island of Madeira in the North Atlantic Ocean. Intended to forestall any French or Spanish attack on the island, the occupation took place with the tacit consent of the Portuguese.

1807 – Invasion of Portugal

The Invasion of Portugal (19–30 November 1807) saw an Imperial French corps under Jean-Andoche Junot and Spanish military troops invade the Kingdom of Portugal, which was headed by its Prince Regent João of Bragança. The military operation resulted in the almost bloodless occupation of Portugal. The French and Spanish presence was challenged by the Portuguese people and by the United Kingdom in 1808. The invasion marked the start of the Peninsular War.

Threatened by a humiliating ultimatum from Napoleon, the Portuguese government acceded to most of the demands of the French emperor. Nevertheless, Napoleon ordered Junot to commence the invasion, with the cooperation of three divisions from the Kingdom of Spain. Paralyzed by fear and indecision, the Portuguese authorities offered no resistance. Junot occupied Lisbon on 30 November 1807 to find that João and many of the leading families had left for Brazil aboard the Portuguese fleet. The French quickly occupied the entire country and appropriated or disbanded the Portuguese army. The following year saw the Portuguese revolt against their occupiers. The next action was the Battle of Évora in July 1808.

ORGANISATION

The Anglo-Portuguese Army was the combined British and Portuguese army that participated in the Peninsular War, under the command of Arthur Wellesley. The Army is also referred to as the British-Portuguese Army and, in Portuguese, as the Exército Anglo-Luso or the Exército Anglo-Português.

The Anglo-Portuguese Army was established with the British Army deployed to the Iberian Peninsula under the command of General Arthur Wellesley, and the Portuguese Army rebuilt under the leadership of British General William Beresford and the Portuguese War Secretary Miguel Pereira Forjaz. The new Portuguese battalions were supplied with British equipment, trained to British standards and thoroughly re-organised. Incompetent or corrupt officers were cashiered and appropriate replacements were appointed or promoted from amongst promising Non-commissioned officers.

On 22 April 1809, Wellesley became Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in the Peninsula, replacing General Cradock, whose assessment of the military situation the British government found too pessimistic. At the same time he was appointed by the Portuguese Government as Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Army. He then came to have the two armies under his command, transforming them into a single integrated army.

The Army was organised into divisions, most of them including mixed British-Portuguese units. Usually, each one had two British and one Portuguese brigades. In the elite Light Division, the brigades themselves were mixed, each including two British light infantry and one Portuguese Caçadores battalions.

The list belows shows all the Portuguese units that were involved in the Napoleonic Wars.

Infantry

  • 1st Infantry Regiment (Lippe)
  • 2nd Infantry Regiment (Lagos)
  • 3rd Infantry Regiment (1st Olivença)
  • 4th Infantry Regiment (Freire)
  • 5th Infantry Regiment (1st Elvas)
  • 6th Infantry Regiment (1st Porto)
  • 7th Infantry Regiment (1st Setúbal)
  • 8th Infantry Regiment (Castelo de Vide)
  • 9th Infantry Regiment (Viana)
  • 10th Infantry Regiment (Lisbon)
  • 11th Infantry Regiment (Penamacor)
  • 12th Infantry Regiment (Chaves)
  • 13th Infantry Regiment (1st Peniche)
  • 14th Infantry Regiment (Tavira)
  • 15th Infantry Regiment (2nd Olivença)
  • 16th Infantry Regiment (1st Vieira Teles)
  • 17th Infantry Regiment (2nd Setúbal)
  • 18th Infantry Regiment (2nd Porto)
  • 19th Infantry Regiment (Cascais)
  • 20th Infantry Regiment (Campo Maior)
  • 21st Infantry Regiment (Valença)
  • 22nd Infantry Regiment (Serpa)
  • 23rd Infantry Regiment (1st Almeida)
  • 24th Infantry Regiment (Bragança)

Cavalry

  • 1st Cavalry Regiment (Alcântara)
  • 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Moura)
  • 3rd Cavalry Regiment (Olivença)
  • 4th Cavalry Regiment (Meclemburgo)
  • 5th Cavalry Regiment (Évora)
  • 6th Cavalry Regiment (Bragança)
  • 7th Cavalry Regiment (Cais)
  • 8th Cavalry Regiment (Elvas)
  • 9th Cavalry Regiment (Chaves)
  • 10th Cavalry Regiment (Santarém)
  • 11th Cavalry Regiment (Almeida)
  • 12th Cavalry Regiment (Miranda)

Artillery

  • 1st Artillery Regiment (Regiment of the Court)
  • 2nd Artillery Regiment (Algarve)
  • 3rd Artillery Regiment (Alentejo)
  • 4th Artillery Regiment (Porto)
  • Artillery Regiment of the Army

Caçador Battalions

  • 1st Caçador Battalion (Regiment of Volunteers of Portalegre)
  • 2nd Caçador Battalion (Transtagana Legion)
  • 3rd Caçador Battalion (Caçador Company of Vila Real)
  • 4th Caçador Battalion (Caçador Battalion of Beira)
  • 5th Caçador Battalion (Transtagana Legion)
  • 6th Caçador Battalion (Caçador Battalion of Porto)
  • 7th Caçador Battalion (1st Battalion of Loyal Lusitanian Legion)
  • 8th Caçador Battalion (2nd Battalion of Loyal Lusitanian Legion)
  • 9th Caçador Battalion (Remnants of the Loyal Lusitanian Legion)
  • 10th Caçador Battalion (Caçador Battalion of Aveiro)
  • 11th Caçador Battalion (Caçador Battalion of Feira)
  • 12th Caçador Battalion (Caçador Battalion of Ponte de Lima)

ON THE TABLETOP

My initial thoughts are to split the Portuguese lists into pre and post 1809. Post 1809 included the Caçador Battalions and the Portugues Army was essentially combined with the British.

This would in turn mean that British forces will need to be split between periods where the Portuguese were not included (e.g. The Hundred Days) and periods they were.

I’d like to know others thoughts on this as well and in particular any rules you think should be included for particular Portuguese units.

SOURCES

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Special Rules

Now that many of the mechanics are in place my next step is to start creating some special rules which individual units can use to differentiate themselves from other units.

This will allow us to give certain units an element of individuality, such as the old guard, guerillas or the Rifles for example.

We’re also possibly going to need rules for each faction involved to represent that countries personality. These rules can’t be too powerful but have to give enough to give some uniqueness.

Let’s start by creating some rules which can be attached to units once we start looking at factions.

I have a number of rules in my head which may be applied to individual units or to factions. I’m going to list them below and then break down what each one does.

  • Sharpshooters – re-roll one ‘Fire!’ dice
  • Volley Fire – one additional ‘Steady’ dice
  • Brave – re-roll one morale dice
  • El Bruch – Can move across impassable terrain as if it were difficult.
  • Merciless – may re-roll one combat dice when in combat.
  • Stoic – Automatically passes the first morale test of the game they’re required to take.
  • Steady – may re-roll one ‘Steady’ dice.

I’m open to other suggestions I’ve not yet thought of that you may feel may suit a particular unit once we come around to building the army lists.

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Faction Focus: Spanish

Now I’ve laid the foundations for the core mechanics (which will need further revision in the future) I can start laying down foundations for the different factions involved in the Napoleonic Wars and start looking at how to give them some personality on the table top.

The reason I’m starting with the Spanish is due to the fact that there were more battles between the Spanish and the French than the British and the French, as well as the Guerrilla warfare being a huge reason why Napoleon lost the Peninsular War (in my opinion).

HISTORY

Let’s start by looking at how Spain’s involvement in the wars evolved over the years.

1793-1795 War of the First Coalition

After the execution of Louis XVI in 1793, 20,000 men were mobilized and marched to the French border. The army, however, had been allowed to languish in Charles III’s reign, and it was ill-equipped and ill-trained to cope with a French invasion. Navarre was quickly seized by the French, although the Spanish managed to hold their ground in Catalonia and even invaded French Languedoc. Godoy, unimpressed with Spain’s military effectiveness, decided to come to terms with the new French Republic, and in 1795 signed the Treaty of Basel, guaranteeing peace with France with the cession of Santo Domingo to the Republic.

1796 Alliance with France

The Spanish, after initially opposing the French, signed the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1796, allying Spain to France, in exchange for French support for Charles IV’s relations ruling the Italian duchy of Parma.

1796-1808 The Anglo-Spanish War

In response, the British blockaded Spain in 1797 and separated her colonial empire from the mother country. By the end of 1798, the Spanish fleet had been defeated by the British, and Menorca and Trinidad were occupied. In 1800, the Spanish returned Louisiana to France, which had been given to them in compensation for their losses at the end of the Seven Years’ War.

The Treaty of Amiens in 1802 provided for a temporary truce in hostilities, only to be broken in 1804 when the British captured a Spanish treasure fleet off Cádiz. The French planned an invasion of England in the coming year; the Spanish fleet was to be an integral part in assisting this invasion. At the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the Spanish navy and the French Mediterranean fleet, attempting to join forces with the French fleets in the north for the invasion, were attacked by Admiral Lord Nelson at the head of a British fleet in one of history’s greatest naval engagements. The disastrous defeat that the Spanish and French suffered assured British dominance at sea and seriously shook the resolve of the Spanish who began to doubt the usefulness of their always mutually suspicious alliance with Napoleon’s regime.

1807-1808 French Occupation of Spain and the Uprising of the Spanish People

Map of Spain 1808

After Trafalgar, Godoy withdrew from the Continental System that Napoleon had devised to combat Britain, only to join it again in 1807 after Napoleon had defeated the Prussians. Napoleon, however, had lost his faith in Godoy and King Charles; there was also growing support in Spain for the king’s son, Ferdinand, who opposed the popularly despised Godoy. Ferdinand, however, favored an alliance with Britain, and Napoleon, always suspicious of the Bourbons, doubted the trustworthiness of any Spanish royalty.

In 1808, Spain and France agreed to the partition of Portugal, which had renewed its support of the British after Trafalgar. The French and Spanish quickly occupied the country. Prince Ferdinand traveled to France, and rumors spread that he was asking for Napoleon to oust Godoy from power; the Spanish King sided with his favorite. Riots broke out in various parts of Spain, and in the Tumult of Aranjuez, Godoy was arrested and Charles IV forced by his son and heir Ferdinand to abdicate in Ferdinand’s favor. Napoleon, however, had lost confidence in the Spanish monarchy and when Ferdinand traveled to France to obtain the French emperor’s support, Napoleon pressured Ferdinand to abdicate in favor of his father Charles IV, who had abdicated under pressure. Charles IV himself abdicated in favor of Napoleon, since he did not wish his detested son to return to the throne. Napoleon then placed his older brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne. As a way to legitimize the transfer of power, Napoleon summoned a group of Spanish aristocrats to Bayonne, where they signed and ratified the Bayonne Constitution on 6 July 1808, Spain’s first written constitution. The Spanish chose to resist.

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The Spanish people rallied around the cause of Prince Ferdinand, who, even as a prisoner in France, was made into a national hero in what became a “war of independence” for Spain. Godoy, Charles IV, and his wife retired first to France, then to Italy, and left Spanish politics permanently.

The installation of Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain sparked a revolution in Spain. On the 3 May 1808, a revolt in Madrid was bloodily suppressed by the French army, which now found itself attempting the occupation of both Portugal and Spain. The incident and the perceived brutality of the French response created a rallying point for Spanish revolutionaries; the executions were captured famously by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The Spanish army, on the whole, pronounced itself in favour of Ferdinand and joined the British and Portuguese in a united front against the French.

1808-1814 The Spanish War of Independence

Spanish Guerrillas

The war began in Spain with the Dos de Mayo Uprising on 2 May 1808 and ended on 17 April 1814 with the restoration of Ferdinand VII to the monarchy. The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas. The episode remains as the bloodiest event in Spain’s modern history, doubling in relative terms the Spanish Civil War.

A reconstituted national government, the Cortes of Cádiz—in effect a government-in-exile—fortified itself in the secure port of Cádiz in 1810, but could not raise effective armies because it was besieged by 70,000 French troops. British and Portuguese forces eventually secured Portugal, using it as a safe position from which to launch campaigns against the French army and provide whatever supplies they could get to the Spanish, while the Spanish armies and guerrillas tied down vast numbers of Napoleon’s troops. These combined regular and irregular allied forces, by restricting French control of territory, prevented Napoleon’s marshals from subduing the rebellious Spanish provinces, and the war continued through years of stalemate.

The years of fighting in Spain were a heavy burden on France’s Grande Armée. While the French were victorious in battle, they were eventually defeated, as their communications and supplies were severely tested and their units were frequently isolated, harassed or overwhelmed by partisans fighting an intense guerrilla war of raids and ambushes. The Spanish armies were repeatedly beaten and driven to the peripheries, but they would regroup and relentlessly hound and demoralize the French troops. This drain on French resources led Napoleon, who had unwittingly provoked a total war, to call the conflict the “Spanish Ulcer”.

AS A FACTION IN CLAUSEWITZ

There are essentially two periods (maybe three at a push) which we will have to model on the table top. The first being the Spanish Army between 1793 and 1807, followed by another for the Spanish War of Independence between 1808 and 1814.

The main factor that sets these two periods apart are the Guerrilla fighters that were so effective in Spain from 1808 onward.

In 1808 the Spanish Army consisted of the following troops:

Infantry

  • 2 Foot Guard Regiments, each three battalions of 1,000 men
  • 35 Line Infantry Regiments, each three battalions of 700 men
  • 10 Foreign Line Infantry Regiments (1 Neapolitan, 3 Irish, 6 Swiss)
  • 12 Light Infantry Battalions, each six ccompanies of 200 men
  • 43 Militia Battalions, each of 600 men
  • 4 Provincial Grenadier Regiments, each two battalions of 800 men

Cavalry

  • 2 Horse Guards Regiments, each five squadrons of 120 men
  • 12 Heavy Cavalry Regiments, each five squadrons
  • 6 Light Dragoon Regiments, each five squadrons
  • 6 Hussar Regiments, each five squadrons

Artillery

  • 6 Horse Batteries
  • 13 Foot Batteries
  • 21 Fortress Batteries
  • 1,000 Sappers and Engineers

These troops were organised into seven armies and one reserve. In August 1808 the armies were as follows:

  • Army of the Centre – General Castanos (45,000 in 69 Battalions and 60 Squadrons)
  • Army of Galicia – General Blake (37,000 men in 79 Battalions and 4 Squadrons, 38 guns)
  • Army of Aragon – General Palafox (23,500 men in 32 Battalions and 5 Squadrons, 5 guns)
  • Army of Estremadura – General Belvedere (12,500 men in 14 Battalions and 7 Squadrons, 24 guns)
  • Army of Granada – General Reding (11,500 men in 12 Battalions and 4 Squadrons, 6 guns)
  • Army of Somosierra – General San Juan (11,500 men in 20 Battalions and 6 Squadrons, 22 guns)
  • Reserves – 51,000 men

The quality of Spanish troops varied, from very poor to good. The militia was generally of poor quality, but some regulars were fine troops. For example on 29 October “The First Regiment of Catalonia … received the attack with the greatest coolness and kept up a very regular fire by platoons, maintaining their position against an enemy nearly 5 times their number … The most veteran troops could not possibly have displayed more soldeirlike firmness or more sangfroid in action …” (- W.Parker Carroll to Castlereagh, November 1808)

The Spaniards rarely surrendered a city without a siege, and usually fought fiercely even after the city walls were breached.

The siege of Saragossa was very bloody and became known in whole Europe. The number of deaths in the interior of the city during the siege, including those who were killed by the enemy, has been estimated at upwards of 40,000 human beings.

The French mines reduced many buildings to ruins. The Spaniards saturated the timbers of many houses with rosin and pitch, and set fire to those which could no longer be maintained, interposed a burning barrier, which often delayed the French and Poles and prevented them from pushing their successes during the confusion that necessarily followed the bursting of the mines.

The constant bombardment, the explosion of mines, the crash of falling buildings, clamorous shouts, and the continued echo of musketry deafened the ear, while volumes of smoke and dust clouded the air.

THEIR RULES

  • Firstly Spain is going to be the only faction in the game that will have the use of Guerrilla units. Any Spanish army that contains Guerrilla units will mean the enemy have to remove one deployment marker before the scouting phase.
  • As well as Light Infantry and Light Cavalry, Guerrilla units can also count to the number of deployment markers in a Spanish force.
  • Guerrilla units are the only unit in the game that can move across impassable terrain, they do this at the movement rate of infantry units moving through difficult terrain.
  • Spanish Generals had a reputation as poor leaders, to this effect when an order is received by a unit, that unit must make a morale roll. If the roll is more than their morale then their objective must be chosen at random using a D6. (I may make this a rule for all armies yet however, with a modifier for Spanish troops)

POSSIBLE FURTHER RULES

  • Foot Guard Regiments to have a ‘Steady’ roll of 4+ rather than 5+
  • Militia Battalions to start at a morale base of 5 (classed as recruit).

SOURCES

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