Saturday, November 06, 2010

Defeat at Tivissa

Tivissa, 10th August 1713

After the assaulting Two Crowns' first line failed in their attempt to gain the battered defences of Tivissa before their own left wing broke under the pressure of the Catalan outflanking reinforcements, the Spanish commander-in-chief General Areizaga drastically changed strategy and ordered the rest of his Infantry to withdraw beyond enemy musketry range, to afterwards trigger a violent artillery fire that took the town defenders entirely by suprise. Already heavily battered after three weeks of restless fight, the peasant militia disintigrated and the Mountain Fusiliers were reduced to a mere handful of demoralized men, unable to resist any further assault.

At their endangered left wing, all Spanish generals rushed to first line accompanied by a light artillery battery, whose support was key to help them holding the line. Experienced as Generals Ulloa and Castillo were, they fully showed their capabilities at successfully co-ordinating their demoralized infantry in a series of deadly musketry and canister volleys that decimated the Catalan infantry ranks, which nevertheless resisted the hell of fire the time enough to cause a number of casualties to the enemy -General Ulloa himself among them-, before breaking under the combined pressure of Anjou and Guipuzcoa regiments. On the Catalan far right flank, the Sant Miquel Dragoons bravely resisted the combined attack of two enemy mounted regiments at first but, after realizing all the rest of the Catalan Army had been smashed or was routing, had no other chance than breaking off and starting a dramatic withdrawal, with the enemy cavalry in pursue.

On the Catalan side, losses were terrible: The Ebro Riverside Mountain Fusiliers Regiment had been literally anihilated, for the handful of captured survivors were summarily executed on the field. The Aragon Dragoons lost all their standards and a few men tried to escape and join their Sant Miquel Catalan comrades, but were pursued and captured -Major Ramon Lanuza among them. These unfortunate spared their lives though, due to nominally belonging to an Imperial unit. Those civilians that hadn't fled before were subject to diezmo de horca, as stated by Philip d'Anjou's orders.

Long after sunset, a handful of exhausted men lead by the Military Deputy descended from the Tivissa range to a close distance of the Mediterranean shores. Their enemy had ceased pursuit long ago, but a deep fright compelled them to keep fleeing in the dark for a while. They were the remnants of IR3 Concepció Infantry and DR2 Sant Miquel Dragoons. They had managed to keep their flags, but had been reduced to no more than 200 infantrymen and 300 troopers. Nobody else managed to escape from the trap.

3 comments:

abdul666 said...

"We lost a battle, we have not lost the war."
(Well, given that the man who made this claim was to remain four tears in exile in London, this proud sentence may be less conforting that it sounds at first...)
Yet:
"No passaran!"
"Fins a la victòria, sempre!"
"Llibertat o mort!"

abdul666 said...

A group of Monte-Cristan military advisors was pictured before leaving to Galatea: don't worry, they adapt their dress to the circumstances; one acting as a secretary would look like this.

Salvador said...

Grim...
Sour experience... Storm clouds gathering over southern skies...