Battle of Sorauren

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Battle of Sorauren
Part of Peninsular War
Battle of the Pyrenees, July 28th 1813 - Fonds Ancely - B315556101 A HEATH 035.jpg
Battle of the Pyrenees, July 28th 1813 by Thomas Sutherland
Date28 July – 1 August 1813
Location
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Flag Portugal (1750).svg Portugal
Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg Spain
Flag of France.svg French Empire
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington Flag of France.svg Jean-de-Dieu Soult
Strength
24,000 men 30,000 men
Casualties and losses
2,600 dead or wounded 4,000 dead or wounded

The Battle of Sorauren was part of a series of engagements in late July 1813 called the Battle of the Pyrenees in which a combined British and Portuguese force under Sir Arthur Wellesley held off Marshal Soult's French forces attempting to relieve Pamplona.

Battle of the Pyrenees (1813)

The Battle of the Pyrenees was a large-scale offensive launched on 25 July 1813 by Marshal Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult from the Pyrénées region on Emperor Napoleon’s order, in the hope of relieving French garrisons under siege at Pamplona and San Sebastián. After initial success the offensive ground to a halt in face of increased allied resistance under the command of Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington. Soult abandoned the offensive on 30 July and headed toward France, having failed to relieve either garrison.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Portugal Republic in Southwestern Europe

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe. It is bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

Contents

Prelude

With sizable Anglo-Portuguese forces tied up in assaulting San Sebastián and besieging Pamplona, the new French commander Marshal Soult launched a counterattack with the Armée d'Espagne through Maya and Roncesvalles. Although the French initially enjoyed local superiority, the tough terrain combined with stubborn British and Portuguese resistance slowed the French advance to a crawl.

Anglo-Portuguese Army

The Anglo-Portuguese Army was the combined British and Portuguese army that participated in the Peninsular War, under the command of Arthur Wellesley. The Army is also referred to as the British-Portuguese Army and, in Portuguese, as the Exército Anglo-Luso or the Exército Anglo-Português.

Pamplona Place in Navarre, Spain

Pamplona or Iruña is the capital city of the Autonomous Community of Navarre, in Spain, and historically also of the former Kingdom of Navarre. Pamplona is also the second largest city in the greater Basque cultural region, composed of two Spanish autonomous communities, Navarre and Basque Country, and the French Basque Country.

Battle

A map of the battle Battle of Sorauren map.jpg
A map of the battle

The main French column of about 40,000 men under Clausel and Reille marched to attack Sorauren. On the 27 July the heavily outnumbered British forces there were drawn up on the Oricain Ridge. Wellesley made a dramatic ride along the ridge in front of the cheering British and Portuguese troops and Soult postponed the attack until the next day. By the time the French attack was launched, reinforcements had arrived, bringing the total allied force to about 24,000 men.

Honoré Charles Reille French general

Honoré Charles Michel Joseph Reille was a Marshal of France, born in Antibes.

Sorauren human settlement in Spain

Sorauren is a small village close to Pamplona in Navarre, Spain. It is surrounded by the mountains "Ezkaba", "Lanzador" and "Txaraka". There can be found the famous romanic stone bridge.

On the 28th the fighting at the top of the ridge was bitter and bloody, but the defenders held the French off. About midday, the 6th Division arrived and Wellesley sent them to assault the French right flank. More fresh units reached the field and Soult soon ordered a withdrawal. The French suffered 4,000 casualties, while Wellesley's army lost 1,500 British, 1,000 Portuguese and 1000 Spaniards.

On the 30 July the retreat from Sorauren cost the French 3,500 casualties, as they tried to get between Wellesley's army and San Sebastián. At Beunza, 5100 Portuguese and 4000 British fended off another attempt.

San Sebastián Place in Basque Country, Spain

San Sebastián or Donostia is a coastal city and municipality located in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain. It lies on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, 20 km from the French border. The capital city of Gipuzkoa, the municipality's population is 186,095 as of 2015, with its metropolitan area reaching 436,500 in 2010. Locals call themselves donostiarra (singular), both in Spanish and Basque.

Aftermath

A Sorauren land's painting eleven years after (1824) by Edward Hawke Locker, published in the work Views in Spain Sorauren. Field of battle. 1824. Edward Hawke Locker.jpg
A Sorauren land's painting eleven years after (1824) by Edward Hawke Locker, published in the work Views in Spain

With his momentum lost, Soult withdrew into France to prepare his defence against the imminent Allied offensive.

Notes

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    References

    Further reading

    Coordinates: 42°52′33″N1°37′08″W / 42.8758°N 1.6189°W / 42.8758; -1.6189

    Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

    A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.