Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kisah AKU n The Spanish Destruction

Previous Chapter - The End of British Supremacy

Spain, Late November 1810.King Carlos XI had just recently suppressed the Spain Revolution and as a result, he is being hated by his own people due to long tyranny filled with corruption and racial discrimination. In addition, his autocracy and unfairness of administration that only favour the aristocrat rather than his people has triggered a public disorder across the Iberian. His top military officer mostly appointed from the noble family rather than their leadership and military skills. On the other side, Napoleon already dispatched mobilization for Moreau stationed at Gibraltar to assemble his army and wait for the invasion to take place from Southern France. In the eyes of Napoleon, Spain must be removed from the Europe map and if this happen, there will be no major nations that will overpass his Empire supremacy.
Commander In Chief of the Spanish Army of Pyrenees, Marshal Francisco Javier Castanos is one of an aristocrat-general. But, he is also being remembered for his leadership skill during Spanish-Moroccan War. His army stationed near Pamplona, guarding the gap between the Franco-Spanish borders. Shall the enemy army pass this gap; the road for Madrid will clearly open. In addition, Almeria’s army cantoned near Barcelona will be able to strike the enemy flank, if Castanos were able to lure the enemy at the river that divided them. Plus, a reinforcement army from Cartagena could arrive in a mean time, making a bulk of Spanish to defend their homeland

Napoleon has crossed the border without any difficulty. This is because, the Spanish aristocrat were having the ball at Pamplona. But, Spanish reconnaissance unit quickly reported the news and Castanos were not hesitating to mobilize his army and block Napoleon at the river, a perfect position to defend the Iberian Peninsula.
As expected, Napoleon with his exhausted troops was all being blocked by Castanos, while Almeria’s army are ready to punish the French. Here, Napoleon were outnumbered almost three to one, but his elite troops already saw battle in the harsh winter of Russia and a terrific dense forest of Central Europe. Will they survive on here, on the red land of Pyrenees?
Spanish infantry is among the best foot troops in the continent, well equipped and drilled. Castanos have several battalions of infantry as well as other from his reinforcement. But, the problem is – how well he will be able to use them? Wellington had failed to exploit his infantry supremacy in the Battle of Rennes against the Emperor, but is Castanos ever aware about the important of the central infantry to hold their line, while the flank keep moving to encircle the enemy?
Napoleon sends 3 battalions of the Guard to hold the bridge while his main army were put far behind to avoid being shell by Spanish’s artillery. Castanos however stick to the traditional method, by putting his infantries in a straight single line, facing the river. Meanwhile, Almeria’s detachment is already presence on the battlefield.
1300 PM. Castanos made his first movement by sending his Light Cavalry squadron to secure the bridgehead. Napoleon’s batteries pound the cavalry that were being exposed on the open ground, reducing half of its strength before reaching the bridgehead.
Spanish cavalry crossing the bridge.
Upon crossing the bridge, they met a fierce resistance from the Guards which formed the square formation. Castanos terrible mistake happen here when he ordered more squadron to pressure the Guards. The rigid formation deployed by Spanish cavalry and the difficulty to cross the narrow bridge made surviving the charge is impossible for them – so, rather than falling back. They chose to continue their attack towards the steady Imperial Guards.
The Spanish covered by continuous bombardments by their cannons start to retreating, leaving a hundred of dead bodies and wounded scattered near the bridge. Later, the bridge dubbed as “Bridge to Hell” by the surviving Spanish.
Castanos then unleashed his infantry and push Napoleon’s right flank. Something that Napoleon was not aware at the first time he reached the battlefield – the deepness of the river. On his left flank, the river is shallow enough for his men to cross and hit Castanos.
Napoleon ordered three battalions of Guards that defending the bridge to advance and cross the bridge and pressure Castanos’s left flank. While, he commit four battalions of Guards to cross the river and strike the Spanish from Castanos’s right flank. He will deploy another glorious double envelopment formation towards his enemy.
Simultaneously, the Guards advance together with two squadrons of the Imperial Heavy Cavalry that succeed in destroying Spanish cannons and routed a battalion of Spanish Cazadores.
Castanos did not realize Napoleon’s deception movement, and then ordered a division of infantry to strike the outnumbered Guards. Despite of all the effort, the Imperial Guard famously made their stand at the hill facing a large number of Spanish infantry that advancing towards them.
Napoleon’s left detachment had successfully crossed the river and at the same time Castanos finally detected the French’s movement on his right flank. Castanos remaining hope is to crush the defending Guard quickly and deploy a defensive position before Napoleon’s detachment complete their manoeuvre.
The battlefield as at 1830 PM.   Napoleon’s Imperial artillery are about to pound the encircled Spanish infantry, although it is not a complete encirclement – yet, Castanos did not have any idea on how to push back the French on both flanks. His cannons and the reinforcement were put out of action by Napoleon’s Imperial Guard on the first stage of battle.
Both flanks closing each other and pressured the Spanish. Castanos made a daring decision by dividing his forces into two. Luckily, another Spanish reinforcement from Cartagena came just in time to assist Castanos. Napoleon’s right detachment was threatened as well as the possibilities off being crushed in two different sides.
The surviving members of the 12th Young Guard battalion. They have used all of their ammunition and were forced to fight with their bayonet. This highly decorated unit is one of the veterans of Napoleon’s Russian campaign, but a continuous and savage attack by the Spanish infantry had successfully reduced their actual strength.
Napoleon’s left detachment unleashed their supremacy with a brilliant ambush set up against the shaken Spanish infantry. Here, Castanos was being killed – the Guard repeatedly push the Spanish.
Almeria took command of the army and quickly rallies his troops together with the reinforcement, renewed the attack against Napoleon’s left detachment. But, it is such a desperate manoeuvre because the reinforcement supposedly to destroy Napoleon’s right which still defends their position.
The battlefield – at the end of the battle. Showing that the Spanish finally succeeded in defeating Napoleon’s left Guard but despite of their effort, they’re unable to drive the right Guard. Almeria’s then ordered a full retreat which later disorganized and then turned into a rout.
Napoleon although being outnumbered, successfully inflicted a total defeat for the Spanish. It is regarded as one of his finest victory throughout the campaign. Carlos XI did not have any standing army after the total annihilation of Castanos’s Army of Pyrenees. Moreau entered Madrid without any resistance and captured Carlos XI. France’s Tricolour planted on the top of the Imperial Palace. Napoleon has defeated the last major nation that can threat his empire.

Now, Napoleon ambition to conquer the whole Europe continent will become true, only if he willing to betray his remaining allies and put France, as a sole nation in Europe and the protector of the European.

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