1711 – Campaign in Catalonia
The campaign lasted from April to November 1711
On 25 December 1710, a few weeks after the Combat of Villaviciosa, Field Marshal Guido Count Starhemberg arrived at Saragossa with 25 ½ bns and 36 sqns (a total of 6,000 foot, 2.000 horse and 22 guns).
Since the Franco-Spanish army of Philip V had already reached Darcosa (unidentified location) and built bridges of boats over the Ebro River, Starhemberg had to evacuate Saragossa.
On 30 December, after Starhemberg had hold a council of war, his army left Saragossa.
|Imperialist||3,887 men||333 men|
|Spanish||1,119 men||300 men|
|British||600 men||100 men|
|Portuguese||548 men||1,017 men|
|Palatine||119 men||214 men|
|Dutch||200 men||287 men|
|Total||6,563 men||2,251 men|
In addition to his field army, Starhemberg could also count on approx. 8,000 men in other places in Catalonia:
- Imperial Browne de Camus Infantry (2 bns)
- Spanish, Catalan and Palatine Troops (16 weak bns and 12 sqns)
Starhemberg, closely followed by Valdecañas's dragoons and light cavalry marched by way of Leciñena, and Poleñino to Barbastro.
|Order of Battle|
|Allied Army, January 1711|
On 3 January 1711, Starhemberg's Army reached Fonz. The same day, Starhemberg gave orders to FML Baron Wetzel and generals Don Juan Ahumada y Cardenas and Luccini to defend Aragon with all Imperialist troops (excluding Browne de Camus Infantry), the Spanish regiments Pertus and Schober. Starhemberg also raised the sieges of Monzón, Lérida and Mequinenza. The infantry rgts Browne de Camus and Taaffe garrisoned Balaguer. The financial situation Strahemberg continued to be catastrophic.
On 4 January, Pĥilip V, escorted by a strong cavalry detachment, reached Saragossa.
By 10 January, Philip's entire army (8,000 foot and 6,000 horse) was in Saragossa.
The Fall of Gerona
Since 17 December 1710, the Fortress of Gerona was besieged by 43 bns and 51 sqns led by the Duc de Noailles. The place was defended by FML Count Tattenbach with a garrison of 2,400 men, more presisely:
- Spanish Ciudad de Cartagena (1 bn)
- Spanish Ciudad de Zaragoza (1 bn)
- Spanish Granada (1 bn)
- Spanish Alcantarilla (? bn) maybe the same unit as one of those listed above
- Catalan Ciutat Infantry (? bn) maybe the same unit as one of those listed above
- ??? Virola Fusiliers (? bn) maybe the same unit as one of those listed above
- Palatine troops under Count Lecheraine
- Coppe (1 bn)
- Bentheim-Tecklenburg (1 bn)
- Battalion Schönberg (1 bn for a total of 400 men)
- Schellart Cavalry (2 sqns, probably dismounted)
Count Lecheraine was also commander of Fort Montjuich, which was defended by Battalion Schönberg.
On 25 December, Noailles' batteries had started shelling Gerona. On 29 December, a breach having been created in the walls, the French had launched an assault, and Lecheraine had pulled the guns into Fort Condestable and blown up Fort Montjuich.
On 2 January 1711, the French started shelling Fort Condestable, the Kalvaria Hill, and the gate and bastion Santa Maria. Gradually most of the fortifications were destroyed. Persistent heavy rain interrupted the siege for a week.
On 8 January at night, Major-General Schober managed to reinforce the garrison of Gerona with 3 bns (Faber Infantry (2 bns), Luccini Infantry (1 bn)) and 40 artillerymen.
On 14 January, Noailles's artillery began to shell the curtain wall of Gerona and the bastions of Santa Lucia and Santa Maria, creating gaping breaches.
On 20 January, while Noailles was still besieging Gerona, the Maréchal de Vendôme launched an offensive against the positions of FML Wetzel's Corps in Aragon: Pertus Infantry was forced to evacuate Troncedo; the volunteers under Don Louis Bravo were expelled from Castro (present-day La Puebla de Castro); and FML Schober's troops were driven out of Estadilla. Meanwhile the cavalry of Philip V marched against Calasanz.
On 23 January, mines destroyed part of the tower of Santa Lucia and Fort Santa Maria. The Maréchal de Noailles then stormed the Fortress of Gerona. Around 10:00 a.m., a ceasefire was concluded and FML Count Tattenbach negotiated the surrender of the fortress with Noailles. French grenadiers occupied the Monastery of San Pedro and the Francia Gate, and subsequent infantry entered the city. On the same day, the Imperial commander of Balaguer had the fortifications blown up and withdrew to Igualada.
On 24 January, Count Lecheraine negotiated with the French on behalf of FML Count Tattenbach about the surrender of the fortress. However, Tattenbach's troops still occupied some forts.
On 25 January, the Fortress of Gerona was handed over to the French, but the defenders remained in some forts.
On 26 January, Vendôme's offensive in Aragon prompted General Luccini to retire to Arén with Buol Infantry. On the same day, Schellart Cavalry left Gerona and marched to Hostalrich.
On 27 January, Archduke Charles VI of Austria held a council of war. Since a relief of Gerona was not possible before 31 January, it was decided to concentrate efforts on the defence of Catalonia. Most of the Allied troops were now posted along a line extending from Montblanc to Igualada and Cardona. However, Browne de Camus Infantry was still occupying Balaguer on the right bank of the Segre River, the corps of Major-General Schober was at Cinca, and the Imperialist troops led by FML Baron Wetzel were at Noguera.
In an attempt to make himself master of the Castle of Miravet, Vendôme sent the Lieutenant-General La Croix from Saragossa with 2,000 men (Flemish and Spanish troops) to Móra d'Ebre. The Castilian Granada Infantry, which was garrisoning Mora d'Ebre tried to persuade the commander of the castle, Colonel Vasques, to surrender. When Vasques refused, the regiment mutinied and hanged him. The castle was then handed over to the French. The French also captured Morella.
On 31 January, with no relief expected, FML Tattenbach finally surrendered the last forts with "military honours". The garrison marched to Barcelona. Noailles refused to allow part of the Palatine troops to withdraw freely on the pretext that they had belonged to the French (German) Reding Infanterie, which had been captured at Balaguer. Therefore, only 700 Palatine foot from the 3 bns reached Barcelona. On their arrival, these 3 weak bns, along with Schellart Cavalry were assigned to the defence of the Montblanc-Igualada Lines.
The French Winter Offensive in Catalonia
After the capture of Gerona, the Maréchal de Noailles sent his cavalry to a camp along the Ter River, while his infantry remained around Gerona. He garrisoned Gerona with 4,000 foot and 900 horse.
Starhemberg confided the defence of the region between Vich and Hostalrich in Catalonia to FML Count Sormani. His troops (approx. 4,000 men) consisted of the fusilier regiments Ferrer and Virola, the cavalry regiments Galbes, Morras and Sobias (a total of only 400 horse), the King's Regiment Faber led by General Gata, the King's Guard, and 200 men of the Neapolitan regiment Luccini.
FML Baron Wetzel was posted at Conca-de-Tremp on the left bank of the Segre River with Imperialist troops and the Swiss Buol Infantry. The Palatine, Dutch and British troops were still in their camps around Cervera and Tarragona, where most of the Allied cavalry was also encamped. The army of Archduke Charles now numbered 27 bns (about 300 men each) and 32 sqns (about 100 men each) for a total of 8,100 foot and 3,200 horse.
On 4 February, Noailles, who had marched by way of Besalú, attacked FML Count Sormani at Grau (unidentified location). The latter retreated to Taradell, where he received orders from FM Starhemberg instructing him to defend the region around Vich.
On 15 February, the Maréchal de Vendôme set off from Villanueva (probably Villanueva de Gállego, north of Saragossa), part of his army led by Captain-General Valdecañas crossed the Segre River near Lérida. Another corps, led by Lieutenant-General Count Mahony, crossed the Cinca and Segre rivers upstream from Mequinenza. Finally, Lieutenant-General La Croix crossed these rivers downstream from Mequinenza. Valdecañas stopped near Lérida.
On 16 February, Mahony and La Croix encamped near Torres de Segre.
On 18 February, the French surprised General Schober at Baramca (unidentified location), forcing him to retire to Gerri (probably Gerri de la Sal) and later to Tous (unidentified location).
The Somatén militia, led by Sabater and some Catalan aristocrats marched from the mountains towards Gerri, which was now garrisoned by 300 men (3 coys of Reales Guardias Valonas and 1 coy of Spanish grenadiers) under the Brigadier Chevalier Lalaing.
On 23 February, Schober was informed that around 1,500 men were on their way to Gerri as reinforcement. He sent the Somatén militia to capture Gerri, while he marched with his own corps against the reinforcements and stopped them near Baramea (unidentified location), losing only 40 men. In the meantime, the Somatén militia, supported by 3 volunteer coys under Don Pedro Tona, stormed Gerri. The militia and volunteers distinguished themselves in this combat.
On the same day (23 February), Browne was informed that Valdecañas was marching on Balaguer. He had the fortifications blown up and the existing guns rendered unusable.
In the night of 23 to 24 February Browne marched with his 3 bns by way Cervera to Igualada. During the march, the Franco-Spanish cavalry harassed his rearguard.
On 25 February, Valdecañas occupied Balaguer.
On 29 February, most of Valdecañas's cavalry marched to Calaf, while Ruffo's cavalry brigade reached Tàrrega and Valdecañas's infantry marched to Linyola.
On 1 March, the Portuguese Brigadier Don Pedro Almeyda, who garrisoned Cervera with the Portuguese Bouillon Infantry (1 bn) and Albuquerque Infantry (part of 1 bn), evacuated the place and retired by way of Igualada to Santa Maria (probably Santa Maria de Miralles).
On 3 March, Schober was almost cut off in the mountains of Seu-d'Urgell and therefore marched from Organyà and Solsona to Cardona.
On 7 March, Valdecañas sent General Grafton with a small detachment from Sanaüja to occupy Solsona.
FM Starhemberg ordered Schober to make a junction with General de Moragas, who occupied Seu-d'Urgell with 1 coy of the Deputacion Infantry and Organyà with 150 Aragonese volunteers. Schober sent Pertus Infantry (only 108 men) to Solsona where it was attacked by the French. Schober retired to Cardona, while Pertus Infantry went to Organyà and Gerri. Pallas and the passes of Abella were again occupied by Schober's troops.
|Order of Battle|
|Army of the Duc de Noailles, March 1711|
The whole mountain range up to Vich was now occupied by the troops of Philip V, nothing stood in the way of a junction of Vendôme's and Noailles's armies. Valdecañas pushed the Allies back to Igualada. The Maréchal de Noailles received orders to send 23 bns and 14 sqns to Dauphiné, while the remaining 23 bns and 37 sqns took up their winter-quarters in Ampurdan and Roussillon.
On 14 March, Noailles's troops left Olot, leaving troops in Bisbal, Besalú and Bannolas (probably Banyoles). Allied troops led by Nebot followed the French up to Castellfollit on the border, where an engagement took place. The Allied migueletes initiated the combat, soon followed by the regular infantry. Normandie Infanterie and La Couronne Infanterie, forming the French rearguard, fell in disorder. In this affair, the French lost Colonel San Louis and 50 men killed; and 5 officers and 200 men wounded.
The Allies achieved another success near Campo-di-Tarragona where the French lost 600 men.
After Noailles had to sent most of his army to Dauphiné, Vendôme also ceased his advance. Starhemberg took his troops back to the valley heights to the left of the Francoli River and was forced to inaction. Archduke Charles's domain in Spain had shrunk to an area of about 50 km around Barcelona.
At the end of March, the Maréchal de Noailles sent his infantry under Lieutenant-General Comte Fiennes to the vicinity of Girona, while his cavalry remained on the border with Roussillon. Vendôme withdrew his troops from Calaf and Solsona and took position behind the Noguera Ribagorçana.
Starhemberg reinforced the garrison of Cardona with Faber Infantry (1 bn) and Taaffe Infantry. After the departure of the French, Starhemberg re-occupied Calaf and Solsona. Most of the Allied army was now posted between Montblanc, Igualada and Manresa, covering Barcelona. General Schober with his militia and some Spanish regular troops was posted on the Segre River between Cardona, Solsona and Organyà up to the region of Seu-d`Urgell. Major-General Nebot (Virola Fusiliers, Ferrer Infantry, the newly raised Martoja Fusiliers and Nebot Cuirassiers) was posted east of Schober at Olot to observe Fiennes's Corps.
Preparations for the Summer Campaign
In Saragossa, Philip V, Vendôme and Noailles planned future operations, which were to begin in April, after the arrival of a reinforcement of 17,000 foot and 2,500 horse. Vendôme would dispose of 28,000 Spanish troops (55 bns and 70 sqns) for his offensive in Catalonia. Lieutenant-General Comte Fiennes would be posted on the Segre River with 12,000 French troops (16 bns and 16 sqns). A force of 17 bns and 15 sqns would garrison the fortresses and protect the lines of supply. The magazines in Mequinenza, Lérida and, later, Cervera were well filled.
Archduke Charles had been negotiating since February with the British Admiral Norris for his fleet to transport Imperial troops from Italy to Spain.
On 30 March, part of Norris's fleet finally arrived at Genoa in Italy.
On 10 April, the rest of Norris's fleet arrived at Vado in Italy. After the embarkation of the reinforcements (9,000 men), 80 transport ships, escorted by 10 British warships, sailed from Italy to Barcelona.
On 19 May, the troops transported by Norris' convoy disembarked at Barcelona
Before the arrival of these reinforcements, the Allies army in Catalonia counted 14,000 foot, 4,700 horse and 50 hussars. After the arrival of reinforcements from Upper Italy and Naples, the Allied army consisted of the following units:
|Imperialist||10,000 men in 20 bns||2,300 men in 16 sqns|
|Spanish||5,600 men in 16 bns||1,200 men in 12 sqns|
|British||4,800 men in 11 bns||200 men in 2 sqns|
|Portuguese||300 men in 1 bn||1,000 men in 12 sqns|
|Palatine||2,800 men in 5 bns||500 men in 8 sqns|
|Dutch||300 men in 1 bn||400 men in 6 sqns|
|Total||23,800 men in 54 bns||5,600 men in 56 sqns|
In addition to these regular troops, the Allies could count on migueletes and somatenes irregulars.
However, the financial situation of the Allies in Spain was very bad, and everybody was waiting for the arrival of the new British commander, the Duke of Argyll, who should bring British subsidies to pay the troops.
At the beginning of June, the Lieutenant-General Comte Muret was ordered to cross the Pyrenees with the French troops who had taken their winter-quarters in Ampurdan and Roussillon and to march by way of Puigcerda to Lérida, where they should make a junction with Vendôme's Army. Muret's Corps consisted of:
- Infantry (15 bns)
- Cavalry (15 sqns)
- Anjou Cavalerie (3 sqns)
- Berry Cavalerie (3 sqns)
- Flesché Cavalerie (3 sqns)
- Chazelles Dragons (3 sqns)
- Bouville Dragons (3 sqns)
On 13 June, Muret's Corps reached Puigcerda.
The Allies retired from Seu-d'Urgell and Muret occupied the place without meeting any resistance. He then besieged the castle (Castellciutat).
On 21 June, since Muret had no siege guns, he abandon the siege of Castellciutat and marched to Gerri.
On 22 June, Muret occupied the bridge over the Noguera Pallaresa River and proceeded to Tremp. He finally made a junction with Vendôme's Army at Pons (unidentified location), bringing a reinforcement of 15 bns and 4 sqns.
The French capture Arén and Benasque
|Order of Battle|
|Allied Army, July 1711|
The General Marquis d'Arpajou with 4,000 men belonging to Muret's Corps was ordered to capture Arén, which was defended by Major-General Schober with a small detachment of irregular troops, while Lieutenant Don Zaidlhuber commanded the garrison of the Castle of Benasque.
On 16 July in the morning, a French detachment of 200 dragoons and 200 foot surprised Arén. Schober barely escaped in nightshirt and took refuge in the castle with 80 men.
D'Arpajou established a battery on a hill and bombarded the castle and the church of Arén. On 29 July, d'Arpajou established a second battery (4 heavy guns and 3 mortars) and opened on the castle of Arén. After a short time, a breach was created and Schober had to retreat to the upper castle.
On 31 July, Schober capitulated at Arén and his men and himself became prisoners of war. Lieutenant Zaidlhuber made an attempt from Benasque to relieve the garrison of Arén, but he arrived too late.
D'Arpajou put a garrison of 400 men in Arén and marched against Benasque. The Castle of Benasque had weak walls, but stood on a rock and was easy to defend. The garrison consisted of Schober Infantry under Lieutenant Zaidlhuber and Pertus Infantry under Lieutenant Scotto.
FM Starhemberg sent Colonel Don Manuel de Sola with a supply convoy from Barcelona to Benasque, while Colonel Taaffe got the order to relieve Benasque with his own regiment, all available fusiliers and some somatenes.
On 8 August, Sola arrived at Benasque and took command.
On 17 August, Vendôme had his army (49 bns, 72 sqns, for a total of 24,000 foot and 9,000 horse with around 20,000 Spanish troops) concentrated between Tarrega and Cervera. The army, forming two lines, encamped near Cervera, while 8,000 French took position at Agramunt; and 3,000 Spaniards and 2,000 French were detached to Benasque. Lieutenant-General Comte Fiennes was in the region of Ampurdan with 15 bns and 12 sqns (3,700 foot and 1,330 horse). IA total of 10 bns and 8 sqns (for a total of 4,000 men) garrisoned various places.
On 6 September, Taaffe reached Castanesa and Cerler on the right flank of d'Arpajou, with his regiment, 60 fusiliers, 300 volunteers and some somatenes.
By 31 August, the Allied forces (54 bns, 56 sqns, for a total of 27,000 men) were deployed as follows:
- between Santa Coloma de Queralt and Aguiló: 36 bns, 44 sqns, for a total of 16,000 foot and 4,000 horse
- on the Ter River, between Sant Celoni and Sant Hilari Sacalm: FML Sormani's Corps (6 bns, 12 sqns, for a total of 2,869 men
- in Tarragona:.FML Baron Wetzel with 6 bns and 300 dismounted dragoons, for a total of 2,300 men
- in Cardona: Taaffe Infantry (2 bns)
- in various other places: 4 bns for a total of 1,200 men.
On 7 September, d'Arpajou arrived in front of Benasque with 2,500 foot and 600 horse.
On 12 September, d'Arpajou opened the trenches in front of Benasque.
On 13 September, d'Arpajou erected a battery which immediately started shelling the castle. However, the battery was so heavily cannonaded by the defenders that it had to be moved to the Ermitade San-Martino.
On 14 and 15 September, the bombardment of Benasque continued until a breach finally opened in the wall, but d'Arpajou did not dare to storm the steep slope. Therefore, he had the castle bombarded with red-hot cannonballs. A big fire broke out, the cistern collapsed and the powder magazine exploded. The place would finally surrender on 26 September.
The Autumn Campaign
On 16 September
- Vendôme redeployed his army from Cervera and Agramunt between Tarroja de Segarra and Guissona.
- When scouts reported Vendôme's movements to Starhemberg, he marched with the whole army to Els Prats de Rei, leaving only Lieutenant Baron Frankenberg with 400 horse in his old camp near Santa Coloma de Queralt,
- The Duke Argyll with all troops of left wing marched in two columns, Count Gheulen with all grenadiers and 200 horse forming the vanguard, to make a junction with Starhemberg's main army. Both columns arrived at Vesiana in the evening.
On 17 September
- The main army encamped on a small hill behind the Noya River.
- The detachment of Count Gondrecourt advanced on Sant Martí Sesgueioles.
- The village of Els Prats de Rei was occupied by the grenadiers of Colonel Count Gheulen. The Portuguese La Cerda Infantry (1 bn) took position outside the wall surrounding the village.
- Eckh Infantry (1 bn) and Carl Joseph Lothringen Infantry (1 bn) were posted between Els Prats de Rei and the right wing.
- Gschwind Infantry (2 bns) under Major-General Baron Browne de Camus occupied Albareda-de-Práts (unidentified location).
- When the Chevalier Sainte-Croix approached the heights at Sant Martí Sesgueioles on his march to Calaf, he saw the marching Allies and reported to Maréchal de Vendôme. The latter reconnoitred the Allied positions, and gave the order to deploy the army in order of battle on the heights to the right of the Noya River. Gondrecourt retreated from Sant Martí Sesgueioles to Els Prats de Rei.
- Around 5:00 p.m both army faced each within musket shot. The French immediately opened fire on Gondrecourt's cavalry with 7 guns but with little success.
During the night of 17 to 18 September, both armies remained under arms.
On 18 September
- Engagement at Albareda
- After the arrival of his artillery, Vendôme opened fire on the Allies all along the line. Starhemberg's artillery was still on its way and his army suffered heavy losses.
- Around noon, 200 French and Spanish grenadiers, supported by 2 bns of Reales Guardias Valonas, launched an attack, which was repelled by 2 Dutch and 2 British grenadier platoons. The French had also tried to storm the mills of Albareda where they were repelled by 1 British, 1 Dutch and 1 Palatine grenadier coys.
- Vendôme's entire right wing then attacked Albareda. Starhemberg opposed them all of his left wing and some bns of the centre. Vendôme's attack stalled.
- Vendôme had suffered very little loss while the Allies had lost a certain amount of men due to the fire of the French artillery, especially on their left wing.
- Both armies entrenched themselves in their positions.
- Starhemberg sent Quartermaster-General Peroni to Jorba to prepare the way for his artillery. When Starhemberg learned that some Franco-Spanish cavalry was marching against Copons, he sent Major-General Count Gondrecourt to Jorba with 6 sqns to escort the artillery convoy.
On 19 September in the evening, Gondrecourt reached Jorba. He decided to change his plan and to march by way of Igualada and Òdena to rejoin Starhemberg's main army.
On 21 September in the evening, Gondrecourt arrived at Starhemberg's camp with 18 guns and 2 howitzers.
On 22 September, a battery of 8 guns, established between Albareda and Casa Selve, started cannonading the French positions with such a success, that some French and Spanish cavalry rgts had to retire behind the chain of hills. The French lost 500 men killed or wounded.
On 23 September, the Allied artillery cannonaded the Franco-Spanish infantry, while the infantry of the Allied right wing built entrenchments near Els Prats de Rei.
On 24 September, Starhemberg sent 200 dragoons and dismounted cavalrymen, all his hussars and about 550 migueletes to the hills to threaten Vendôme's flank and make it more difficult to forage.
On 25 September, Vendôme, who had decided to formally besiege the Allied positions, erected 2 batteries on the hills west of Els Prats de Rei.
On 26 September
- The French completed their first parallel in front of Els Prats de Rei.
- The Allies occupied Els Prats de Rei with 150 grenadiers and 500 musketeers led by Colonel Gheulen. Tholdy Infantry (1 bn) and La Cerda Infantry (1 bn) secured the right wing, and Eckh Infantry (1 bn) secured the line of communication between Els Prats de Rei and the main camp.
- After a long siege, the Allied garrison of Benasque capitulated and became prisoners of war.
On 27 September
- Vendôme received 12 x 24-pdrs and some mortars from Lérida. He had a battery of 5 guns erected in front of Els Prats de Rei.
- 6 additional field guns arrived at Starhemberg's camp from Barcelona.
On 28 September, the Allied artillery started cannonading Vendôme's positions at Els Prats de Rei.
At the end of September, while the two main armies were facing each other at Els Prats de Rei, the French Lieutenant-General du Rosel with 2,600 regular infantry and a number of militias from Gascogne appeared in front of Castel Leon (unidentified location) and began bombarding the place. The garrison consisted of 137 men from the Spanish Deputacion Infantry and some other regiments.
On 30 September
- The fire of the French batteries destroyed part of the walls of Els Prats de Rei.
- At Castel Leon, Major-General Du Rosel attacked the castle but the defenders repelled all assaults.
- Starhemberg feared an assault of the French for the following night and detached 3 bns (1 bn of Guido Starhemberg Infantry, 1 bn of Tholdy Infantry and 1 bn of Carl Joseph Lothringen Infantry) under Colonel Rohr to Els Prats de Rei.
- Colonel Taaffe tried to support the garrison of Castel Leon, but had only the 690 inexperienced soldiers of Taaffe Infantry, the 15 grenadiers of Schober and 45 men of Pertus Infantry. With these weak forces, he could not do anything against du Rosel's superior forces and withdrew to Esterri in the valley of the Noguera Pallaresa.
On 2 October at night, the French opened their second parallel in front of Els Prats de Rei.
On 3 October
- Starhemberg sent 3 Imperialist dragoon rgts to the Hermitage of Els Prats de Rei to cover the troops in Els Prats de Rei.
- Starhemberg sent General Moragas with around 1,500 men to relieve Castel Leon, but he arrived too late. The place capitulated.
On 10 October, the sap of the French sap reached the walls of Els Prats de Rei and some mines were placed to breach the wall.
On 11 October, Vendôme's batteries had created a breach in the fortifications of Els Prats de Rei In the meantime Lieutenant-Colonel Friedrich Adolf Frankenberg with his Stolzenberg Cavalry successfully harassed the French.
From 12 to 14 October, heavy rain interrupted the activities in front of Els Prats de Rei.
On 16 October, Lieutenant Count Solari was killed by a musket ball while reconnoitring the French position in front of Els Prats de Rei.
At the end of October, Starhemberg decided to attack Tortosa. He entrusted FML Baron Wetzel with this mission. The latter joined the expeditionary force destined to this operation on the coast at Cap Salou near Tarragona. This force, led by Major-General Basset y Ramos, had sailed from Barcelona aboard British ships and consisted of Ferrer Infantry (460 men), approx. 145 British marines and some other soldiers from various rgts, for a total of 1,000 men. In addition to this force, Wetzel was also reinforced by the Palatine Leibregiment zu Fuss, La Marck Infantry, Stolzenberg Cavalry, . Furthermore, Starhemberg sent him Faber Infantry and Tattenbach Infantry with some migueletes and somatenes from Barcelona. Wetzel was now at the head of approx. 2,000 men.
On 25 October
- Assault of Tortosa
- At 3:00 a.m., Major-General Baron Wetzel arrived in front of Tortosa, accompanied by generals Tattenbach and Rubi. Due to the prevailing fog, his troops initially remained unnoticed.
- The assault was made in three columns
- The Leibregiment zu Fuss (1 bn) led by Colonel Greber attacked the St. Charles Bastion
- The grenadiers of La Marck Infantry, along with Ferrer Infantry, attacked the gate and bastion of El Templo
- Tattenbach's column attacked the San Juan Bastion.
- Some fusiliers of Ferrer Infantry attacked the guards and occupied the ravelin in front of the El Templo Gate. At the same time, Tattenbach Infantry tried to climb the walls of the San Juan Bastion with ladders.
- The commander of the fortress alerted the garrison, and 4 bns (Sevilla (1 bn), Pamplona (1 bn), Murcia (1 bn) and Valencia (1 bn)) and many inhabitants rushed to the defence of the ramparts.
- The attackers tried to blow up the gates of El Templo and San Juan, but were pushed back by the devastating fire of the defenders.
- Wetzel realized that his troops could not enter the city and ordered to retreat.
- Lieutenant-General Bracamonte, who was near Tortosa with 200 horse and 200 grenadiers pursued the retreating Allies and took many prisoners.
- In this action, Wetzel lost around 1.500 men, nearly all of his corps.
The Maréchal de Vendôme then entrusted Lieutenant-General Bracamonte with the siege of Solsona and Lieutenant-General Comte Muret with the siege of Cardona.
On 1 November at Els Prats de Rei, Colonel O'Dwyer with 200 foot of various rgts attacked the French in the mill behind their right wing. He drove the French defenders back, set the mill on fire, and returned without any loss.
On 2 and 4 November, the French mines were detonated, but did not cause any damage.
Throughout the siege of Els Prats de Rei, both main armies had remained idle in their camps.
On 3 November at 8:00 a.m., after much delay caused by the construction of roads, Lieutenant-General Bracamonte and his troops finally arrived in front of Solsona, which was defended by Lieutenant-Colonel Miguel de Mondron. Bracamonte immediately established the blockade of the place.
On 5 November, Bracamonte began to cannonade Solsona with a 6-pdr gun.
On 6 November, Colonel Montaner managed to enter Solsona with some volunteers to reinforce the garrison. However, the defenders soon mutinied and the inhabitants also refused to defend their town.
On 7 November at night, Colonel Montaner and the garrison evacuated Solsona and marched to Cardona, abandoning the Castle of Solsona to the Franco-Spanish.
On 10 November, once Bracamonte had occupied Solsona without a fight, he marched with his corps to Cardona and encamped west of the fortress at Vergos (unidentified location).
On 12 November, Lieutenant-General Muret at the head of 8,000 men surrounded Cardona, and started the Siege of Cardona, which was defended by Major-General Count Eckh with a garrison of 2,183 men. The siege would last until 22 December, when Muret raised it and rejoined Vendôme's main army.
At the beginning of December, Vendôme's Army left its entrenchments and march by way of Guissona to its old camp near Agramunt.
In December, Major-General Don Ignaz Picalaques replaced Nebot at the head of the Allied detachment (Ferrer Fusiliers, Virola Fusiliers) posted at Olot to protect the line of communication with the corps of FML Count Sormani.
The French Lieutenant-General Fiennes received a reinforcement of 15 bns and 25 sqns from Dauphiné and Roussilon. He was now at the head of 30 bns and 38 sqns, for a total of approx. 10,000 foot and 3,000 horse. His artillery consisted of
- 6 x 24-pdr guns
- 6 x 6-pdr guns
- 18 x 4-pdr guns
- 2 mortars.
Fiennes had been instructed to the Allies from Olot and Hostalrich. He left 3,000 foot and 1,000 horse behind to defend Figueres, Bàscara, L'Escala, Gerona and Banyoles.
On 8 December
- Lieutenant-General Fiennes encamped with 4,600 foot and 1,460 horse near Maçanet de la Selva.
- Reinforcements destined to FML Sormani on the Ter River, arrived at Barcelona. These reinforcement consisted of Bagni Infantry (1,536 men), 1 coy of Tholdy Infantry (123 men), Jörger zu Tollet Dragoons (290 men with 332 horses), Vaubonne Dragoons (142 men with 163 horses) and Battée Dragoons (89 men with 168 horses).
On 9 December, the reinforcements destined to Sormani marched from Barcelona towards Hostalrich.
The Allies took position between Fiennes's camp at Maçanet de la Selva and Grions. The two armies were about equally strong.
On 10 December
- Fiennes attacked Hostalrich with 1,500 foot, supported by 500 horse. His attack was repelled.
- The Imperial Colonel Battée was given the order to resupply the besieged Fortress of Cardona. The cavalry led by Colonel Count Spee, acting as vanguard, should occupy the peninsula La Plantada to the north-east of Cardona. This vanguard was followed by three columns of infantry with the wagons. Colonel Schönberg marched behind these columns with Gschwind Infantry (1 bn) and 400 fusiliers of various bns. Dragoons formed the rearguard.
From 11 December to 20 December, Battée managed to relieve Cardona and to force the Franco-Spanish to lift the siege.
Fiennes then sent his heavy artillery to Gerona and retreated to Massanes. When Major-General Picalques was informed that Fiennes had retired, he immediately marched to Santa Coloma de Farners. From there, he sent 60 cuirassiers to Amer, Ferrer Infantry to Anglès, and Virola Infantry to Selsera-de-Anglès (unidentified location).
Fiennes marched by way of Gerona into the Ampurdan, where he took up his winter-quarters.
On 27 December, Vendôme's Army took up its winter-quarters: 5 bns at Cervera, the rest of the infantry at Tarrega, Bellpuig, Lérida, Balaguer, Tortosa and Conca de Tremp between the Segre and Noguera Ribagorçana rivers. The Irish troops took their quarters in the vicinity of Teruel. The Spanish cavalry went to the Kingdom of Valencia, the French cavalry to the region of Huesca and on the right bank of the Ebro from Alcañiz and Caspe down to Tortosa. Vendôme himself left for the Court in Madrid.
Field Marshal Starhemberg also sent his army to its winter-quarters:
- the Imperialist infantry to Mataró, Calella, Blanes, Villanova-de-Cubelles, Piera-Esparreguera, Igualada and Organyà
- the British infantry to Reus and Tarragona
- the British cavalry to Alcover, La Selva del Campo and Constanti
- the Dutch infantry to Valls
- the Dutch cavalry to La Bisbal del Penedès, L'Arboç, El Vendrell, Vilafranca del Penedès
- the Palatine infantry
- the Palatine cavalry
- Frankenberg Cavalry to Prades
- Schellart Cavalry to Riudecanyes
- Stolzenberg to L'Aleixar
- Spee Cavalry to Alforja
- the Portuguese infantry to Tremp
- the Portuguese cavalry to Sort, Isona, Gurp, Prats de Lluçanès, Berga and Moià
- the Spanish infantry to Barcelona, Manresa, Olot, Ripoli, Hostalrich, Tarragona, Berga, Cardona, La Seu d'Urgell
- the Spanish cavalry to Sant Feliu de Pallerols, Anglès, Manlieu, Torelló, Sant Joan de les Abadesses, Portella (probably Portella d'Ogassa), Camprodon, St. Pau, Rupit, Sant Sadurní d'Osormort, Cellent (unidentified location), Monistrol and Castellon (unidentified location).
Frhr. Mühlwerth-Gärtner: Spanischer Successions-Krieg. Feldzug 1711, II. Serie, IV. file, Vienna 1887
Bezzel, O.: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres, Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, IV. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925
Dorrell, Nicholas: Marlborough's other Army, Warwick 2019, p. 161
Harald Skala for the initial version of this article