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Subject: Aranjuez – French frustration rss

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Andrew Hobley
United Kingdom
Andover
Hampshire
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Aranjuez is a bonus battle, using the map for Ocana and the forces for Almonacid . The Spanish Army of the Centre under Venegas was threatening Madrid; Joseph and the French were trying to block the advance. On 5 August the Spanish were spread out in a long line across several miles from the Rio Jaramo to Ocana. Lacy’s 1st Division was across the Jaramo, the 2nd and 3rd around Aranjuez, the 4th with Venegas at Ocana and the 5th off map to the south-east. The French, seeking an engagement are about to arrive from the left hand side (the north-east).

The key terrain feature is the Rio Tajo. It is crossed by two bridges, the one at Aranjuez which is damaged and the Puenta de la Reina to the north. There also various fords which the French cannot use until they find them on the play of a card. And they do not have a pontoon train. I’ve marked the Puenta de la Reina and the fords to make them easier to spot. There is also only one bridge over the Jaramo, but this and the Puenta de la Reina cannot be destroyed.

Aranjuez setup

At noon Sebastiani pushed Lacy back from his roadblock. Lacy falls back across the river. Sebastiani then waited for more French to arrive [failed command roll two turns running] while Lacy fell back and then marched for the Puenta de la Reina. The rest of the afternoon saw both sides marching to the Tajo. By nightfall the Spanish had 1, 2 and 4 Division at the Puenta de la Reina facing half of the French IV Corps, and the 3 and 5th Divisions at Aranjuez facing the French Spanish Guard, 3rd Cavalry and the rest of IV Corps.

Aranjuez 9pm forces assembled

At dawn Sebastiani attacked across the bridge, driving back the Spanish and gaining a foothold. Guerrillas raided his supply lines [so no advance after combat]. His cavalry crossed and he advanced. He clashed with the Spanish 2nd Division, Potocki’s reduced division and Osca’s met in the woods and fought at bayonet point, Potocki’s men being reduced to a cadre. Cabanas of the Spanish 4th Division got behind the French and the bridge, but was routed. The Spanish came back against the French time and time again, fighting hand to hand in the woods. The French and Polish cavalry were driven back, but the Poles clung on. Eventually after six hours of fighting the Spanish finally drove the Poles across the bridge, destroying the 4th Regiment and the French cavalry.

Aranjuez 10am Struggle at the Puenta de la Reina

To the south the French Guards had thrown themselves time and time again at the bridge, to be repulsed almost every time. At 10 am the French found the ford to the south; eventually the Germans crossed, only to be stopped at the Palacio Real and finaly pushed back over the ford.

By 4pm Joseph gave up and the French fell back, heading to the bridge at Toledo.

That was an interesting battle. If Sebastiani had a second Division of his Corps with him – as opposed to with Joseph - he may well have been able to hold and expand his bridge head. The Spanish infantry of the Army of the Centre get a +1 for shock combat; the rational is this will not happen often given the open nature of the terrain and will balance the game a little. For Aranjuez the key struggle happens in a wood and there were at least six shock combat results which were a draw and so a unit on both sides reduced.

The French lost 14 SP, the Spanish 1 (2nd Division artillery stuck in the stream when trying to retreat) so a Coalition Strategic Victory. There is an option to fight a mini-campaign, transferring the survivors to the Almonacid map, which I shall do, but first to try out Almonacid Day of battle as written.
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Gabriel Gonzalez Pavón
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Aranjuez – French frustration
EXCELLENT REPLAY (as always, thank you and congratulations!), as well explained and supported by images as is tense and dynamic. Battlefield today as not changed much...
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Kevin Zucker
United States
Baltimore
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> Army of the Centre get a +1 for shock combat; the rational is this will not happen often given the open nature of the terrain and will balance the game a little.

Andrew, that's exactly right. It can be harsh sometimes having to choose between a "2" and a "3" when giving out initiative ratings. This rule raises Spanish initiative by 1, but only sometimes (in Shock).

The Spanish fought well when they had defendable terrain with only narrow access (defiles) - where they get the +1 shock modifier.
 
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Jason Loftiss
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Without the Scouts find fords card, the French have a tough job trying to cross those rivers in face of Spanish opposition. A small force can hold out for a long time with poor dice rolls. The terrain limits the additional artillery bombardments. The artillery has to be place directly in front of two of the bridges, and the third bombardment is not allowed due to the woods. Bridge assaults allow the defense double strength, so a small force of 8 SPs are now 16 and limits the attack to usually only 1 to 1 at best.
However the attack should be able to cause a DR result, but when they advance, run the risk of a counterattack and loss of units from retreating across a bridge.
 
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