Battle of Alcañiz


Battle of Alcañiz

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Alcañiz
partof=the Peninsular War


caption=
date=May 23, 1809
place=Alcañiz, west of Teruel, Spain
result=Spanish victory
combatant1=flagicon|France French Empire
combatant2=flag|Spain|1785
commander1=Louis Gabriel Suchet
commander2=Joaquín Blake
strength1=10,000 infantry,
800 cavalry
strength2=8,500 infantry,
500 cavalry
casualties1=1,500 dead or wounded
casualties2=300 dead or wounded

The Battle of Alcañiz resulted in the defeat of Major-General Louis Gabriel Suchet's French army on May 23, 1809 by a Spanish force under General Joaquín Blake y Joyes.

The victory is creditable to General García Loigorri's superb command of the Spanish artillery, which allowed the French columns to close and then mauled them with well-directed salvos. Loigorri was later promoted to Field Marshal and became the first artillery officer ever to receive the San Fernando Cross.

Forces

Major-General Suchet's III Corps included 7,292 men in two infantry divisions, 18 cannon and 526 cavalrymen. The 1st Division, under Maj-Gen Laval, had 2 battalions each of the 14th Line and the 3rd Vistula Legion (Poles). Maj-Gen Musnier's 2nd Division was made up of 3 bns. each of the 114th and 115th Line, 2 bns. of the 1st Vistula Legion, 1 bn. of the 121st Line. Suchet also had a bodyguard of 450 infantrymen. The 4th Hussars and 13th Cuirassier Regiments formed the cavalry.

Lieutenant-General Blake formed his men into three wings, which were roughly equivalent to divisions. Gen Areizaga commanded the Left Wing (5 battalions, plus one company), Gen Marquis de Lazan (5 and one-half bns.) led the Center and Gen Roca managed the Right Wing (7 bns.). In addition to the 8,101 foot soldiers, the Spanish army had 445 cavalrymen and 19 cannons. [Smith, p 311]

Results

Suchet lost 800 men killed and wounded while Spanish casualties numbered only about 300. [Smith, p 311] The Spanish victory caused Suchet to evacuate most of Aragon. Blake secured 25,000 new recruits, so many that he could not provide them all with weapons. Suchet avenged his defeat at the Battle of María in June.

References

* Smith, Digby. "The Napoleonic Wars Data Book." London: Greenhill, 1998. ISBN 1-85367-276-9

Footnotes

External links

* [http://www.1808-1814.org/frames/framarti.html Batalla de Alcañiz]
* [http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/biographies/c_spanisharty.html Spanish Artillery Officers during the War of Independence]


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