Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Greatest victory

La Panadella Heights, 17th November 1713

After the battle of November 12, where a Catalan column had been encircled and annihilated at Montblanc town, the Spanish High Command ordered their armies to massively scroll northwards, with the intention of opening the way for the Lleida - Barcelona road. If they managed to destroy the Catalan army blocking that area, the way towards the capital city of the rebel Principality would be finally open to them.

The targeted Catalan army was encamped at Panadella Heights. Lead by the capable Marquis of Poal, who was assisted by his brother General Desvalls and General Ortega, the force consisted of 4 squadrons of Dragoons, 2 of Hussars, 2 battalions of Line Infantry and 1 of Mountain Fusiliers, besides of a few independent companies of Foot. No Artillery was with them.

Facing to them, there was already encamped a Spanish column of similar size commanded by the Duke of Popoli, who was leading a force of 2 Dragoons squadrons, 4 Infantry battalions and 1 field battery. Both armies had been watching to each other from a close distance for some time, seeking an opportunity to unbalance the situation and attack.

Such opportunity was finally coming at a fast pace --but by no means in favour of the Catalans, but to their doom: on this day, a second Spanish column lead by the brilliant Marquis of Aitona went to reinforce the Spanish lines with 2 squadrons of Guard Cavalry and 2 battalions of Foot Guards. Marquis of Poal quickly realized the chances of being attacked in the short term had increased critically, and started pondering about a wise withdrawal in time.

It took little time to take a decision, after the scouts sent at dawn came back with alarming news: a third Spanish column was about to arrive in Panadella Heights too! According to the scouting reports, that new force consisted of 2 Horse squadrons, 3 Infantry battalions and 2 batteries! ...No matter how favourable to them terrain could be, if waiting for the arrival of that third column, the Catalans not only would become outnumbered by 3 to 1, not only would they harmlessly have to face 3 enemy batteries but also risked to be outflanked and encircled, just as General Bellver's army at Montblanc!

If such ever happened, 2 out of the 3 main Catalan columns on field would have been destroyed in less than one week's time! This time, choosing a gallant stand wasn't any option. Putting aside his self-pride, Marquis of Poal finally gave the order: --It's time for leaving this place, gentlemen --he told to his officers--. There's no victory greater than a withdrawal in due time.


abdul666 said...

Wise man!

Rittmeister Krefeld said...

Sounds more like a case of "Run Forrest, Run"!!!

Soldadets said...

...with an overcoat of dignity, though :D