Friday, 22 May 2009

Campaign in Spain

Spain 1 May 1813


There are two campaign areas in Spain

Eastern Spain – French border to Tarragona

Western Spain - Salamanca to Burgos

Wellington and Commanders


Fourth French Army

During the early months of 1813 a large part of the French armies in Spain were transferred north to form the new armies required to hold the allied advance in Germany. As part of this reorganisation Marshal Suchet was ordered to abandon his garrisons south of Tarragona and maintain his communcations with Marshal Soult to the west at Burgos

Fourth French Army

Spanish Army

In January 1813 Wellington was appointed CinC of all Spanish Armies. His major concern was that Marshal Suchet should be prevented from sending reinforcements to Marshal Soult. To this end he ordered the Spanish corps to cut communications between the two French marshals, and to attempt to capture Tarragona.

Spanish Army


Fifth French Army

Marshal Soult was given command of the newly formed Fifth Army in January 1813. His task was to contain Wellington in the area around Salamanca.

Fifth French Army

Anglo- Portuguese Army

In November 1812 Wellington was forced to retreat from Burgos to Salamanca. The early months of 1813 were given over to resting and reorganising his army. It would take at least six months to make the British army ready to undertake active operations again.

Anglo Portuguese Army

Orders of Battle

Full orders of battle and photographs of each army and corps can be found on the blog 1813 Campaign Armies.

Tarragona Campaign - 14 May to 7 June 1813

Marshal Suchet controls the coastal area of north east Spain from the French border to Tarragona.

To prevent him from sending support to Marshal Soult at Burgos, he has ordered Captain-General Copons to create a disturbance. The Spanish occupy Lerida in the north to lure a French army into the mountains. They then lay siege to Tarragona.

The French are held at Reus and retreat into the city. The siege is soon raised at Prades. The French concentrate and cut the Spanish army in half at first battle of Cambrils, but fail to crush the whole army at the second battle of Cambrils.

The French then have to retire to Barcelona to keep their communications with Spain open, and the Spanish again surround their garrisons at Lerida and Tarragona.

The French have failed to destroy the Spanish, and the latter have achieved their campaign objectives of containing all of the French forces in eastern Spain.

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