Battle of Almansa
|Battle of Almansa|
|Part of the War of the Spanish Succession|
The Battle of Almansa (1707)
| Bourbon Spain
Kingdom of France
|Commanders and leaders|
| Earl of Galway
Marquess of Minas
|Duke of Berwick|
|Casualties and losses|
|5,000 dead or wounded
|3,500 dead or wounded|
The Battle of Almansa, fought on 25 April 1707, was one of the most decisive engagements of the War of the Spanish Succession. At Almansa, the Franco–Spanish army under Berwick 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.
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.
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).
Frederick II of Prussia referred to Almansa as "the most scientific battle of our century", while Winston Churchill once compared the crushing English defeat to the disasters awaiting the British Army at the hands of Nazi Germany in the early years of World War II.
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.
- Stephens, Henry Morse (1885–1900). "Fitzjames, James". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Norwich, John Jules (2007). The Middle Sea. A History of the Mediterranean. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0-7011-7608-3. 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
- Churchill, Winston. The Second World War Vol. 1. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948, p. 109.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Battle of Almansa.|
- 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