Ordres de Batailles

Les ordres de batailles des guerres de la révolution et napoleoniennes
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 1808 novembre 5 - Valmaseda

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Date d'inscription : 28/11/2005

MessageSujet: 1808 novembre 5 - Valmaseda   Ven 5 Jan - 14:43

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The Battle of Valmaseda took place on November 5, 1808, during Lieutenant-General Blake's retreat from superior French armies in Cantabria. Reinforced by veteran regular infantry from General La Romana's Division of the North (Spanish: Division del Norte), Blake suddenly turned on his pursuers and defeated a division of General Victor's army at Valmaseda.

The French defeat had its roots in Marshal Lefebvre's earlier failure to destroy the Spanish army at Pancorbo, where Blake had shaken off the premature French assault and escaped with his army intact. Further mistakes were made in the French pursuit, namely when Victor carelessly allowed his Army Corps to spread out in its search for an enemy he regarded as beaten. As a result Blake was able to draw the French into a trap of his own, and on November 5 General Villate's division, operating ahead of the other French formations, blundered into a brusque attack.

But while their leaders had erred badly, the iron discipline of the French soldiers did not fail them. Villate, refusing to surrender, formed his troops into squares and managed to claw his way out of the Spanish encirclement. Even so, the Spaniards captured 300 men and one gun.

Upon learning of the battle, Napoleon, shocked that his Grande Armée should suffer even a minor defeat by "an army of bandits led by monks," severely reprimanded Victor for his imprudence. Victor redeemed himself six days later when he finally defeated Blake at the Battle of Espinosa.
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