Battle of Molins de Rei

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Battle of Molins de Rey
Part of Peninsular War
Bataille de Molins de Rei.jpg
General Gouvion-Saint-Cyr at the battle of Molins de Rei, 21 December 1808.
Date 21 December 1808
Location Molins de Rei, Spain
Result French victory
France First French Empire Spain Kingdom of Spain
Commanders and leaders
France Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr
France Joseph Chabran
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) Domenico Pino
Spain Conde de Caldagues (POW)
Spain Juan de Vives
Spain Theodor von Reding
18,000, 48 guns 15,000, 25 guns
Casualties and losses
400 2,200, 25 guns

The Battle of Molins de Rey or Battle of Molins de Rei or Battle of Molins del Rey (21 December 1808) saw an Imperial French corps led by Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr attack a Spanish army led by the Conde de Caldagues and Theodor von Reding. Saint-Cyr outmaneuvered his opponents, distracting them with a false attack in front while sending the bulk of his force across Llobregat River in a turning movement around the Spanish right flank. The Spanish defensive lines crumbled and the French captured 1,200 soldiers, all the Spanish artillery and Caldagues himself. The Peninsular War engagement was fought near Molins de Rei, located 15 kilometres (9 mi) west of Barcelona, Spain.


In the second week of December, Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr arrived before the fortress of Girona with 17,000 troops. His object was the relief of Barcelona where a force under Guillaume Philibert Duhesme was surrounded by 24,000 Spanish troops under Juan Miguel de Vives y Feliu. Saint-Cyr sent away his artillery and his wagon trains and boldly slipped past Girona. Marching through the hills, Saint-Cyr completely outfoxed Vives and arrived near the village of Cardadeu to find Vives and Theodor von Reding facing him with only 9,100 soldiers and seven cannons. In the Battle of Cardadeu on 16 December the French smashed their way through the Spanish lines, inflicting 2,500 casualties on their adversaries while suffering a loss of only 600.[1]


Saint-Cyr relieved Barcelona on 17 December while the Spanish forces fell back behind the Llobregat River. The French commander quickly moved to challenge the 15,000 Spanish troops under the Conde de Caldagues and Reding. Saint-Cyr sent Joseph Chabran's division to mount a diversionary attack on Molins de Rey bridge, while the rest of his strength was directed at the Spanish right flank. The Spanish position was easily rolled up though the French missed a chance to win a more significant victory when Chabran failed to pin down his outmaneuvered enemies in front. Even so, the French captured 1,200 prisoners including Caldagues and 25 guns.[2] The French lost 400 killed and wounded out of a total of 18,000 men and 48 guns. Aside from the prisoners, the Spanish lost 1,000 soldiers killed and wounded.[3]


After the battle, Vives was sacked and Reding was appointed to lead the Spanish army, which was reinforced by 6,000 soldiers from the Balearic Islands and other places.[2]


  1. ^ Gates 2002, pp. 64-65.
  2. ^ a b Gates 2002, p. 67.
  3. ^ Smith 1998, p. 273.


Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 41°24′50″N 2°0′57″E / 41.41389°N 2.01583°E / 41.41389; 2.01583