It is early March 1809. The war has followed a very broadly historical course, except that the British Army, rather than retreating on Corunna, has retreated towards Lisbon accompanied by two Spanish armies. The French have pursued and although they have suffered somewhat greater casualties than in the Corunna campaign, they have finally managed to get 4-5 Corps concentrated for a blow at the Allies. Wellington has managed to outdistance them but they have managed to get within striking distance of the Spanish – so here comes the dilemma:
Should Wellington retrace his steps and succour the Spaniards?
The Spaniards have been greatly weakened by the recent pursuit and a defeat and are likely to be heavily defeated, if not destroyed utterly by the French if they are not helped
If Wellington does return in time, he may be defeated anyway. The odds are likely to be very close. The extent of the defeat might lead to the French winning the campaign.
If Wellington wins convincingly, this might lead to the collapse of the French position in Spain (they do have other forces but they are unlikely to be sufficient).
What do you think the real Wellington would have done? And what do you think my imaginary Wellington should do?