Battle of Almansa

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Battle of Almansa
Part of the War of the Spanish Succession
Balaca-Battle of Almansa.jpg
The Battle of Almansa by Ricardo Balaca
Date 25 April 1707
Location Almansa, Albacete, Spain
Result Franco-Spanish victory
Belligerents
Spain Kingdom of Spain
 Kingdom of France
 England
Portugal Portugal
 Dutch Republic
Croix huguenote.svg French Huguenots
 Holy Roman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of France Spain Duke of Berwick Kingdom of England Earl of Galway
Portugal Marquess of Minas
Strength

25,400


Kingdom of France 11,900
Spain 13,500

15,500


Kingdom of England 4,800
Portugal 7,870
Dutch Republic 1,480
Croix huguenote.svg 1,100
Holy Roman Empire 250
Casualties and losses
3,000 killed or wounded

7,000


4,000 killed and wounded
3,000 captured
20 guns

The Battle of Almansa was one of the most decisive engagements of the War of the Spanish Succession fought on 25 April 1707. At Almansa, the FrancoSpanish army under Berwick[a] soundly defeated the allied forces of Portugal, England, and the United Provinces led by the Earl of Galway, reclaiming most of eastern Spain for the Bourbons.

It has been described as "probably the only Battle in history in which the English forces were commanded by a Frenchman, the French by an Englishman."[1][2]

The battle

The Bourbon army of about 25,000 was composed of Spanish and French troops in equal proportion, as well as an Irish regiment. Opposing them was a mainly Anglo-Portuguese force with strong Dutch, German, and French Huguenot elements.

The battle began with an artillery exchange. When Galway committed his reserves to an attack on the Bourbon centre, Berwick unleashed a strong force of Franco-Spanish cavalry against the weakened Anglo-Portuguese lines, sweeping away the Portuguese cavalry. A general rout followed. Only the Portuguese infantry held, attacked by the three sides, and tried to retire fighting. They surrendered by nightfall. Galway lost 5,000 men killed and 12,000 taken prisoner; of his army of 22,000, only 5,000 escaped to Tortosa.[citation needed]

Aftermath

The victory was a major step in the consolidation of Spain under the Bourbons. With the main allied army destroyed, Philip V of Spain regained the initiative and gained Valencia.

The city of Xàtiva was burned, and its name changed to San Felipe in order to punish it. In memory of these events, nowadays the portrait of the monarch still hangs upside down in the local museum of L'Almodí.

Before long, the only remaining allies of the Habsburg pretender, Archduke Charles, were his supporters in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

Legacy

Frederick II of Prussia referred to Almansa as "the most scientific battle of our century",[citation needed].

In the present-day Valencian Community, the saying: Quan el mal ve d'Almansa, a tots alcança ("Evil tidings spare no one when they come from Almansa", or, more literally, "When the wrong comes from Almansa, it reaches everybody" (opposite to the English: "It's an ill wind that blows no good") recalls this defeat, since one of the side effects of this defeat was the suppression of the autonomy of the Kingdom of Valencia within the Spanish Habsburg monarchy.

Batalla de Almansa. Landscape by Filippo Pallotta, figures by Buonaventura Ligli

Notes

  1. ^ Berwick was the illegitimate son of the exiled King James II of England, who had taken up service in the French army after his and his father's exile. Galway was a French Huguenot who had joined the English service under William of Orange

References

  1. ^  Stephens, Henry Morse (1885–1900). "Fitzjames, James". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  2. ^ Norwich, John Jules (2007). The Middle Sea. A History of the Mediterranean. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0-7011-7608-3. 

External links

  • 3rd centenary of the Battle of Almansa
  • Strategical overview
  • La Batalla de Almansa
  • Batalla de Almansa
  • A description of the battle plus a song from the A Pedlar's Pack of Ballads and Songs
  • Panoramic view of the II Recreation of the Battle of Almansa (2009)
  • Orders at Battle of Almansa

Coordinates: 38°52′28″N 1°5′37.30″W / 38.87444°N 1.0936944°W / 38.87444; -1.0936944

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