Sunday, 5 June 2022

Llanes Campaign – Day 6

16 May 1813 – North Spain – Day 6

Wellington orders 4th Spanish army to attack Reinosa

A victory will force the French to retreat from the border

1st army hold Llanes and the main allied supply depot

4th army attack Reinosa

2nd army defend Aguilar


Soult feels unable to attack because of attacks on his lines of supply

10th army hold Comillas

11th army hold Reinosa

12th army hold Soncillo

Battle of Reinosa

The battle is won by the fighting in and around the town

In the north 21st French and 5th Spanish corps exchange ineffective artillery fire

In the south a cavalry battle results in both sides breaking and routing

6th Spanish corps take the hill and wait for 22nd Vistula corps to attack them]

The Poles deploy out of sight at the bottom of the hill and await further orders

With the loss of Reinosa Marshal Foy orders a general retreat


Reinosa at start of battle 

Three Spanish infantry brigades take a walled town held by four French brigades.

It sounds unlikely, and indeed it is.


Fourth Spanish army is under the direct command of Wellington

The two corps are the best Spanish troops in the Peninsula

They do not have any elite infantry brigades, but six of the eight are average

This means that they are as good as any non French infantry brigades in the Peninsula


However it was the daring tactics used by the Spanish CinC (Jan) which won the battle.


The town is held by four of the best French infantry brigades, but two have 10% casualties

They are deployed behind the town under the command of the French CinC (Paul)

This is because he expects the Spanish to collect their artillery in the centre supported by infantry

This is what the French commander would have done


The Spanish commander leaves his artillery with the corps on the flanks, to contain the enemy

He attacks with three infantry brigades, without any artillery preparation


When the French commander observes the Spanish attack he sends two infantry brigades into the town

In a walled town this should be sufficient to hold against three infantry brigades

Both of his brigades have 10% casualties, but they are elite and this only reduces them to average


The Spanish attack half of the town with two brigades and the other with one

The first round is a draw, with all five brigades receiving further 10% casualties


The French commander sends both reserve brigades into the town

However the Spanish win the second round, again with all five brigades receiving 10% more casualties

This causes one French brigade to rout, and the second to test morale and also rout

Both rout into the two supporting brigades, who are not yet in position, causing both of them to rout also

Reinosa at end of battle

The Spanish have taken the town, but all three brigades have 20% casualties

This would make them very vulnerable to a French counter attack

However all four French brigades are in rout, and there is no one available to counter attack.


Two of the four French brigades in rout have not received any casualties

However it will be difficult to rally them because they do not have any formed troops within 4”


Both French corps are pinned by the two Spanish corps

So the French CinC cannot call on them to counter attack the town


A very unusual result and proof that a well planned and supported attack is not always the best option!


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    It was great to see a Spanish army perform so well against a French one. I know that they were the best Spanish troops available and that the French force contained allied troops, but they still better than their reputation would have predicted.

    I looked at the 1813 Campaign blog for a more detailed battle report, and inadvertently saw the result of the next battle in the campaign. It looks as if Wellington is going to have an interesting few days ahead of him!

    All the best,


  2. Hi Bob

    I try to keep the two blogs in sequence, but I failed to do so this week.

    This has been a very unusual campaign, not working out the way I expected at all
    But that is not a bad thing at all
    If it always went as planned it would soon become boring.

    best regards



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