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Combat of El Bruc

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Title: Combat of El Bruc  
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Subject: Battles of the Peninsular War
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Combat of El Bruc

The two Battles of the Bruch (Catalan: El Bruc) were engagements fought successively between a French columns commanded by Brigadier General François de Schwarz and General of Division Joseph Chabran, and a body of Catalan volunteers and mercenaries led by General Antoni Franch i Estalella and Joan de la Creu Baiget, during the Peninsular War. The result of these battles and actions fought at El Bruc, near Barcelona, Catalonia, between 6–14 June 1808 was a Spanish victory.[2] The Spanish also captured a French Imperial Eagle, adding to defeat a humiliation for the French army.[3]

June 6

The French detachment of 3,800 soldiers under General of Brigade François Xavier de Schwarz emerged from Barcelona on June 4, advancing in the direction of SaragossaLleida. A rainstorm that day slowed their march considerably; the delay gave time for local Spanish forces, composed of militia from the neighboring villages, Catalan volunteers (sometent), and Swiss and Walloon soldiers from the Barcelona garrison (2,000 men), to mobilize for action. The Catalans were led by General Antoni Franch i Estalella and deployed along Bruch Pass.

The resulting stand was a success,[4] and the French under General Schwarz were turned back to Barcelona with the loss of 360 dead, 800 wounded, 60 prisoners, and one gun captured. The Partisans also captured an Imperial Eagle, adding to defeat a humiliation for the French army.[5]

French army

Statue of Antoni Franch i Estalella at "Castells d'Igualada" square.
  • Schwartz Column - Brigadier-General Francis Xavier Schwartz, Commander in Chief
    • 1st Regiment Neapolitan line (2 battalions - 1940 men)
    • 2 Line Regiment Switzerland (3rd battalion - 580 men)
    • 2nd Regiment of the line (3rd battalion - 610 men)
    • 1st Regiment of Chasseurs Neapolitan (2 squadrons - 160 men)
    • 3rd Regiment Provisional cuirrassiers (1 squadron - 100 men)
    • 11° Italian artillery company (section 1 - 2 guns)

Spanish forces

  • General Antoni Franch i Estalella, Commander in Chief
    • 260 regulars and militia (Captain José Viñas)
    • 200 regulars and militia (Francesc Riera Balaguer)

June 14

A second French sortie on June 14 led by General of Division Joseph Chabran succeeded only in putting to the torch several buildings in El Bruc after being defeated and repelled by the Spanish forces led by Joan Baiget. On 15 June, the Spanish attacked the French in their painful withdrawal to Barcelona, causing to Chabran more than 500 dead and wounded.[6]

French army

  • First Division - General of Division Joseph Chabran, Commander in Chief
    • Brigade: Brig-General Goulas
      • 7º Regiment line (2 battalions - 1785 men)
      • 16° Régiment line (3rd battalion - 789 men)
    • Brigade: Brig-General Nicolas
      • 2nd Regiment of the line (3rd battalion - 610 men)
      • 37° Regiment line [3rd battalion - 789 men)
      • 56° Regiment line (4 Battalion - 833 men)
      • 93° Regiment line (3rd battalion - 792 men)

Spanish forces

  • Commander Joan Baget, Commander in Chief
    • Four companies of volunteers (soldiers of Extremadura regiment and militia)
    • Wallon Guards
    • Swiss regiment Wimpffen (300 men)
    • 300 militia (Antoni Franch)
    • 100 militia (Captain José Viñas)
    • Sallen residents (Vicar Ramón Mas - 60 men)
    • Patriots (100 men)
    • 5 guns

See also


  1. ^


  • (Catalan)Combat of El Bruc Finestres, Jordi & Moliner, Antoni. Timbals de guerra al Bruc. June, 2008.
  • Gates, David. The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. Da Capo Press 2001. ISBN 0-306-81083-2
  • (French) Pigeard, Alain. Dictionnaire des batailles de Napoléon. Tallandier, Paris, 2004.
  • (Spanish) Rodríguez-Solís, Enrique. Los guerrilleros de 1808: Historia popular de la Guerra de la Independencia. Vol. I. Calle de Balmes 1895.

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