World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Battle of Villafranca (1809)

 

Battle of Villafranca (1809)

Battle of Villafranca del Bierzo
Part of the Peninsular War
Date 17 March 1809
Location Near Villafranca del Bierzo, Spain
Result Spanish victory
Belligerents
French Empire Spain
Commanders and leaders
unknown General La Romana
Strength
c. 1,200 3,800–6,000
Casualties and losses
c. 1,200 unknown

The Battle of Villafranca del Bierzo took place on 17 March 1809, during the French occupation of León in the Peninsular War. After a bloody four-hour siege the small and isolated French garrison at Villafranca surrendered to Spanish regulars under Brigadier José de Mendizábal and General Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana.

Contents

  • Background 1
  • The battle 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Background

In 1809 Spanish military operations in northern Spain were marked by sporadic efforts to expel Marshal Ney's French VI Corps from the provinces it had overrun following the collapse of the Spanish armies the previous year. Fragments of the armies torn-apart by the French, operating in conjunction with some 30,000 guerrillas and militia, prowled the coasts of Galicia and Asturias, raiding and skirmishing with Ney's 17,000 troops. Garrisoning the hostile region ate up most of Ney's resources, and in March 1809, the French evacuated Vigo and Tuy and withdrew from guerrilla-infested southern Galicia.[1]

One remaining Spanish formation, General Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana's division of regular infantry, established itself in Asturias and harassed the French in León and Galicia, capturing Imperial troops and supplies with impunity. In March, elements of the unit, armed with a French 12-pound gun and munitions recovered from an abandoned post at Ponferrada, struck at French communications with Madrid by attacking the French post at Villafranca.

The battle

The vanguard of the attack was formed of some 1,500 men of the Zaragoza and Zamora regiments under Mendizábal. On 17 March they entered the plaza at Villafranca and closed in on the French entrenched in the castle. A costly battle broke out that claimed the lives of several Spanish officers. After four hours of fighting the French agreed to surrender.

One authority credited General La Romana with 3,800 Spanish troops and six artillery pieces. This force included two battalions each of the Princesa and Asturias Infantry Regiments. The 1,200-man French force included one battalion of the 6th Light Infantry Regiment plus several hundred sick and wounded soldiers. The French lost 700 killed and wounded plus another 574 unwounded men captured. Spanish losses are not known.[2] A second historian wrote that the Spanish had 6,000 men.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Gates, p. 146
  2. ^ Smith (1998), p. 282

References

  • Gates, David. The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. Da Capo Press 2001. ISBN 0-306-81083-2
  •  

External links

  • Toma de Villafranca del Bierzo

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.