Battle of Alcañiz

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Battle of Alcañiz
Part of the Peninsular War
Relief Map of Spain.png
Red pog.svg
Battle of Alcañiz (Spain)
Date23 May 1809
Location
Alcañiz, west of Teruel, Spain
Result Spanish victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg French Empire Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg Kingdom of Spain
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Louis Gabriel Suchet Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg Joaquín Blake y Joyes
Strength
10,000 infantry,
800 cavalry
8,500 infantry,
500 cavalry
Casualties and losses
800 dead or wounded 300 dead or wounded

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

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands and a peninsula bordering Morocco in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with British dependency Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Contents

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

Martín García-Loygorrie Ichaso was a Spanish soldier and reformer of Spanish Artillery.

Officer (armed forces) member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand military order of Spain

The Royal and Military Order of Saint Ferdinand, is a Spanish military order whose decoration, known as Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand, is Spain's highest military decoration for gallantry. It is awarded in recognition of action, either individual or collective, to protect the nation, its citizens, or the peace and security of the international community in the face of immediate risk to the bearer. Those eligible are current and former members of the Spanish Armed Forces.

Forces

Spanish General Joaquin Blake y Joyes. El general Joaquin Blake y Joyes, por Manuel Ojeda.jpg
Spanish General Joaquín Blake y Joyes.

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

Legion of the Vistula

The Legion of the Vistula was a unit of Poles in the service of Napoleonic France, one of the larger Polish legions of the Napoleonic period.

Louis François Félix Musnier de La Converserie became a general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars and led a division during the Napoleonic Wars. He joined the French Royal Army as an officer in 1781 after a spell in military school. Still a lieutenant in 1788, he enjoyed rapid promotion during the French Revolution. After serving as a general's aide, he was assigned to fight rebels in the Vendée. Later, he served as Adjutant General on two army staffs. In 1798 he was promoted to general of brigade for distinguished actions in Italy.

Lieutenant General Blake formed his men into three wings, which were roughly equivalent to divisions. General Areizaga commanded the Left Wing (five battalions, plus one company), General Marquis de Lazan (five and one-half battalions) led the Center and General Roca managed the Right Wing (seven battalions). In addition to the 8,101 foot soldiers, the Spanish army had 445 cavalrymen and 19 cannons. [1]

Results

Suchet lost over 800 men killed and wounded, while Spanish casualties numbered only about 300. [1] 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.

The Battle of María saw a small Spanish army led by Joaquín Blake y Joyes face an Imperial French corps under Louis Gabriel Suchet. After an inconclusive contest earlier in the day, Suchet's cavalry made a decisive charge that resulted in a French victory. Though the Spanish right wing was crushed, the rest of Blake's army got away in fairly good order after abandoning most of its artillery. María de Huerva is located 17 kilometres (10.6 mi) southwest of Zaragoza, Spain. The action occurred during the Peninsular War which was part of the larger struggle known as the Napoleonic Wars.

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 Smith, p 311

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References

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Coordinates: 41°03′00″N0°07′48″E / 41.0500°N 0.1300°E / 41.0500; 0.1300