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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

200 anniversary Castalla.

Section for discussing events that have been organised to mark Napoleonic bicentenaries.

200 anniversary Castalla.

Postby ExploringOfficer » April 16th, 2013, 8:21 pm

On the subject of bicentenary’s I would just like to say I’m back from the 200 anniversary of the battle of Castalla about 20 miles north west of Alicante, fought on the 13 April 1813 where Anglo-Italian Spanish forces under Lt Gen Sir John Murray brought Marshal Suchets uninterrupted advance down the east coast of Spain to a halt. Castalla had a day of commemoration, with parades and speeches and a new plaque was unveiled at the monument that can easily be found in the middle of a roundabout to the south of the town.
From 1811 Suchet, directly under command from Paris, had successfully subdued all ports from Tarragona to Denia denying trade and supplies to the Spanish armies due to some heroic, but mostly appalling defending.
However the allied force from Alicante, with orders to keep forces away from Wellingtons advance in the west, were initially caught on the wrong foot initiating an effective fighting rearguard action under Colonel Adam then inflicting serious losses from well prepared positions on Suchets force who had never encountered the firepower of a red coat army before. Unable to pursue however, the French army were able to retire back to Valencia.
Murray (who missed his chance to stop the French at Oporto) was not so lucky at the 2nd siege of Tarragona two months later in June 1813, which turned into a fiasco due to his dithering. In fact he totally lost it and was relieved of command. He was subsequently court-martialed in 1815 on a lesser charge of abandoning his guns.
The victory at Vitoria forced Suchet to begin withdrawal from Spain, joining Soult in the defence of the Pyrenees.
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Re: 200 anniversary Castalla.

Postby OXFORDMON » April 17th, 2013, 1:59 pm

Many thanks for this Colin, were you on the Nick Lipscombe tour ?

Andy
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Re: 200 anniversary Castalla.

Postby ExploringOfficer » April 19th, 2013, 9:23 am

Hi Andy

That was the one. It was arranged through IF Tours and Nick did the guiding.
The itinerary involved Tarragona Tortosa Peniscola Oropesa Saguntum Valencia Denia Alicante Biar and Castalla.

The weather stayed hot and clear and everything went well. Most of us know something was going on in the area concerning the Spanish but it was very interesting to find out and see just what.
Nick has produced a blissfully slim but very thorough book that I recommend, aptly named "Wellingtons Forgotten Front".
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Re: 200 anniversary Castalla.

Postby OXFORDMON » April 19th, 2013, 6:08 pm

Great pictures Colin, I was interested in the tour, work got in the way though :( i'll certainly check out the book.

Maybe see you in Vitoria in June ? ;)

Andy
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Re: 200 anniversary Castalla.

Postby ExploringOfficer » April 20th, 2013, 2:42 pm

I'll be at Vitoria and the Nivelle. Like a bus, wait for one and they all come at the same time.
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Re: 200 anniversary Castalla.

Postby OXFORDMON » April 20th, 2013, 3:34 pm

ExploringOfficer wrote:I'll be at Vitoria and the Nivelle. Like a bus, wait for one and they all come at the same time.


I will see you at both then ! busy 2013 :)

Andy
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Re: 200 anniversary Castalla.

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » April 21st, 2013, 9:18 am

Thanks Colin for your account and the pictures.

Thought I’d just add the text on the new plaque, in Spanish, English and French:
So that the memory of those whose blood was shed on this land is not forgotten, and that it is never repeated.

Sarah
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