This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title In May of , while European plans are being discussed indoors, 30, men set sail from Lisbon to make history. Buy New View Book. Customers who bought this item also bought. Stock Image. Published by Ediciones Barataria.
Mediaoutlet Springfield, VA, U. Seller Rating:. New Softcover Quantity Available: 1. Published by Ediciones Barataria New Paperback Quantity Available: 1. Revaluation Books Exeter, United Kingdom. This issue is certainly not mentioned much in works dealing with the War of the Spanish Succession for several reasons. From the English point of view, the endless stream of successes achieved by the English army in Flanders under the command of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, focus the majority of English works on this war on the operations in northern and central Europe, leaving Catalonia as a sideshow.
From the Catalan point of view, however, the scales are tilted towards political instead of military issues. It was with England that the Vigatans1 signed a pact in Genoa in June , according to which Catalonia would turn against Philip and support the cause of Archduke Charles. Rubio ed. But at the same time, it was England that broke the clauses of the treaty during the negotiations that put an end to the War of the Spanish Succession. It must be noted, however, that contrary to the opinion of classical historiographic works, this peace did not leave Catalonia in a desperate situation in which the Catalans decided to stand fast and defend their land against all odds.
Charles then already Emperor Charles VI still considered the Catalans as his subjects and these considered themselves as part of his empire. It could be considered that the peace treaties brought in some kind of balance of forces, as they prevented France from helping Philip in his attempt to crush the Austriacists.
When Louis XIV massively intervened in Spain, in spring , Charles and the Whigs unsuccessfully attempted to obtain the cooperation of the English government, then in the hands of the Tories, in sending some kind of help to the besieged city of Barcelona. As this is a work on military history, we do not want to condemn or justify the actions of the English government during the war and the peace negotiations, nor focus on political issues. Our aim is to give a general overview of the massive English intervention in Catalonia by studying the English army, its finances, its battles and its sieges, among other aspects.
In our work we use rather unknown primary sources, never studied before, which provide key economic data for understanding the great effort England made in sustaining the war in Catalonia from to Regarding the main military actions in which the English army took part, we have studied these from primary text sources, allowing the main characters themselves to explain the events. This book is divided in two parts. In the first, the English intervention in Catalonia is analysed from different points of view, focusing on the army finances, the political scenario and the various military units that fought in Catalonia.
The second part is an account of the main battles fought by the English army in the Principality. God save Catalonia! It is worth remarking the great number of sieges, so common in this war, as of the 4 military actions analysed in the book, three are sieges Barcelona and , Lerida while only one is a pitched battle Almenar, In summary, the aim of this work is to provide new data on the English intervention during the war, especially from the side of military history, in the hope that it will provide a better understanding of this landmark in the history of Catalonia.
In the 18th century it was used as a synonym for Catalonia. It must be noted, however, that the term Principality of Catalonia also includes the former County of Roussillon, which at the time of the War of the Spanish Succession was under French sovereignty and it has remained so until now. England broke the agreements reached with the Catalans and left the country to its fate against Spain and France simply because the English government did not want Charles to become King of Spain, in addition to being Emperor of Austria.
The same happened to Joseph Bonaparte during the Napoleonic invasion a century later. This, along with the severe defeat in Almansa , made final defeat just a matter of time. We should attempt to build a richer and more global image if we want to understand what happened in Catalonia regarding the English intervention during the war. However, as all contemporary primary sources refer to English and not to British, in this work we will use the first term.
For the English point of view see Falkner , p. The political and military scenario As in almost all great wars fought in the previous years, many of the troops and much of the effort were focused in Flanders. Here, the Allied army of English, Dutch and Imperial troops defeated the Bourbon armies defending the French border time and time again.
The overall command of these allied forces was given to a brilliant commander: John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. Under his command the English regiments formed the core of the Allied army which defeated the French and conquered the territory of presentday Belgium, and even crossed the borders of the kingdom of Louis XIV, the absolutist monarch of France.
Flanders was not the sole stage of war outside the Peninsula. There were also military actions in Central Europe, along the route of the Danube linking France with the Austrian Empire. Northern Italy also became another hot spot of this war, where a balance was reached between the Bourbon forces and the Allied under the command of Eugene of Savoy. Marlborough had full powers, not only in the military sphere, but also in the diplomatic, and was empowered to conclude treaties on behalf of Queen Anne.
This was essential, given the difficulties in handling such a complex alliance of countries, with diverse and often conflicting goals. From a Catalan point of view, we cannot understand the English role in the peace negotiations which led to the withdrawal from the war without considering what was happening on all these fronts, and especially in Flanders. During the final phases of the war, the Allied troops were already invading France, following the battles of Blenheim , Ramillies , Oudenaarde , and Malplaquet In , after crossing the so-called Ne Plus Ultra line, Marlborough laid out plans for ending the war by occupying the Bourbon core lands Chandler, , p.
It is then in the Parliament of England where we will find many elements for understanding this complex muddle. Unlike the absolutist French and Spanish monarchies, independent from any kind of parliamentary control, the English political scenario was a complex net of intertwined X. While the former wanted to remove the French supremacy in continental Europe once and for all, the latter had close connections with France and with the Jacobites and were opposed to war.
Godolphin gradually shifted towards Whig points of view, and the party rose to predominance. The English war effort was thus closely tied to the Whig predominance in Parliament, where budgets were approved and treaties negotiated. There were indeed Whig representatives who sealed a treatise with a group of Catalan representatives from the vigatans faction, the Pact of Genoa, according to which England would help in the anti-Bourbon revolt on the lands of the former Crown of Aragon.
The English economic expenses in the war grew gradually, but despite certain significant defeats like that in Almansa war seemed to turn against the Bourbons, who were immersed in an even greater financial crisis. This party, opposed to war, saw that the time had come for initiating peace feelers with Louis XIV and Philip V, always from a position of strength obtained through military victories. Nevertheless, the first action was forcing Marlborough from office, as the great general had fallen from favour in the English court.
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For the Catalans the outcome was the defeat of September 11th , but this brief analysis shows how English reality was rather complex and that the crowning of Charles as Emperor was not reason enough, on its own, for explaining the English behaviour with Catalonia. The answer was always negative and raised many suspicions, as 50 years before, Oliver Cromwell had made a similar move, was proclaimed Lord Protector and thus turned England into a de facto military dictatorship Chandler, , p.
The peninsular theatre of war Putting aside the English political scenario, we now focus on analysing the Catalan position in this context. The first thing is that it was England who, almost single-handedly, afforded the Catalans some hope of success. It was the English navy which secured materiel shipments to the troops in Catalonia, as well as the transport of regiments for its defence English regiments, but also Imperial, Portuguese and Dutch regiments. It was English money which, to a large extent, armed the Catalan troops.
The English activities in the Iberian Peninsula began in Portugal.
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As early as , England sent troops to this country, and a huge amount of money in yearly instalments, which served to maintain the fighting Portuguese troops. Ironically a large part of this money came from Bourbon funds, as in a great English fleet, while attacking the port of Vigo, ran into the galleons carrying Americas treasure, escorted by a French-Spanish fleet. The English victory in the ensuing battle, under Admiral Sir George Rooke, gave a huge booty worth over a million pounds sterling Parnell, , p. After successfully assaulting Gibraltar in , Lord Peterborough, the sole commander of the land forces in the Peninsula, was ordered to sail to Barcelona with a large military force, while the Pact of Genoa between Catalan representatives and the English government was sealed.
The support for the Austriacist cause in Catalonia was a clever Allied move, because of. Louis XIV quickly reacted and sent an army against Barcelona in the spring of After a tough siege, the defenders won thanks to the English help and the Catalan effort: the English fleet transported large reinforcements while the country revolted, destroying Bourbon supply lines.
Nonetheless, in the following year the massive French contribution, in men and money, rebuilt the Bourbon army in the Peninsula, which in the fields of Almansa, under the command of the Duke of Berwick, reduced to nothing the previous year Allied victory. In this battle the majority of Peninsular Allied troops were wiped out, including most of the troops defending the Portuguese theatre and almost all English regiments.
The traditional historiography sees this battle as the turning point in the war, the point marking the beginning of the Allied defeat, as soon afterwards all Valencia and Aragon fell in Bourbon hands. But the English government decided to get even more involved with Charles and Catalonia. Expenditure in the Peninsula doubled and more than twenty new regiments were raised. This, along with the successful attack by the Duke of Savoy menacing Toulon which sank the whole French Mediterranean fleet , prevented the Bourbon forces from occupying all the Catalan lands during The final agreement was to raise a new army in Catalonia to reconquer the ground lost in the Peninsula, while keeping Marlborough and his men in Flanders.
At the start of the campaign, then, a new and impressive Allied army was ready to act, with even more men than the one who fought at Almansa. See Paoletti and Ostwald Stanhope, the architect of the Allied victory at Almenar, which opened the way to the advance into Aragon Rubio, After Almenar, the Bourbon army retreated from Catalan lands and soon afterwards was annihilated in Zaragoza. This last move was probably too risky, as it gave time to the Bourbon supporters to reorganize and stretched the Allied supply lines. The decision was taken mainly by the English commanders, who wanted Charles to be crowned quickly and thus end the war the short way.
At this point the situation seemed desperate for the Bourbon arms, so Louis XIV considered abandoning his grandson and reaching an agreement with the Allies to leave Philip without the Spanish throne. This was a wise decision, as besides losing Spain, France was about to be invaded; the Sun King had his own problems and could not help Philip anymore. However he decided to rebuild again the Bourbon army in Spain as a last attempt to turn the fortunes of war. This action unexpectedly turned the tide again, now in favour of Bourbon interests. This new army threatened Starhemberg at Madrid while, at the same time, a French army under the command of the Duke of Noailles attacked Northern Catalonia towards Girona.
Because of various arguments with Starhemberg, Stanhope led the English troops along a different route from the rest of the imperial army and made a nonsensical halt in the village of Brihuega, while the rest of the army kept on marching. Obviously such a defeat was nothing short of traumatic in England and the government had to rebuild the peninsular army once more, as it had to do in , after Almansa.
The huge amount of money and men involved in the project tilted the scales towards peace and confirming Philip on the Spanish throne. With all due differences taken into account, the Iberian Peninsula was a kind of Vietnam for England, a place of never-ending war, which raised the costs in money and manpower year by year. Adding to that the fact that it was not a defensive war, but one fought far away from the homeland, this scenario encouraged the supporters of peace, who were strengthened as the war progressed, finally forcing the withdrawal from war at an especially delicate point for the English military.
This all contradicts the hypothesis defended by many English historians, according to which the true reason for the English withdrawal from war was the inability to control Castile, caused by the defeat in Almansa, and the civilian resistance. This last point on civil resistance is worth remarking because the English works usually point out the similarities of this situation and that witnessed by the defeated Napoleonic troops in Spain during the Peninsular War. In comparing both wars, 19th century English historians accepted this reasoning for explaining the English defeat in the peninsular theatre during the War of the Spanish Succession, but the fact is that there were no civil armed groups threatening the Allied march on Madrid in In fact, if we apply the same line of reasoning to the other side of the conflict, we would be unable to explain how the troops of the Two Crowns Spain and France controlled Aragon, Valencia and especially Catalonia, even more taking into account that in this case there were indeed instances of irregular warfare.
Thus, the requirements that could lead to a general popular uprising against the occupying forces were simply not fulfilled and were intrinsically impossible. It is in this way how Philip was able to occupy and keep control of the Austriacist lands, using a great number of Spanish and French troops and a brutal repressive policy. Turning to the traditional Catalan point of view, firstly we must underline the fact that the Catalan authorities never thought, during the final phase of , that they were fighting alone.
While in the first case the actions are performed by professional fighters, with goals established by their commanders, in the latter the clashes are usually arbitrary and performed by civilians. It is worth remarking that in all the reports written by Poal to Barcelona City Council Consell de Cent he considers himself a subject of the Emperor Bruguera, , vol.
But for the Catalan historiography of the 19th century, the idea of resistance against all odds was much more comforting. On one side, it fitted with the Romantic ideals emanating from the French Revolution. On the other, at that time the European culture was divided between francophiles and germanophiles15 and the siding of the Catalan historians with the former made the War of Succession an uncomfortable conflict, with Catalonia allied with the Austrians against the French.
In this way it seemed much more politically correct to explain how Catalonia was abandoned by the Austrians, leaving out the fact that the Catalans then considered themselves subjects of Charles and members of the Austrian Empire Alcoberro, The Austrian troops left Catalonia in , following the treaties that also forced the withdrawal of French troops.
This led to a military equilibrium between Catalans and Spaniards, in which the Spanish, ruined by the war, were unable to successfully occupy Catalonia. When the French intervened again, in the spring of , Charles tried to help his Catalan subjects. According to Charles himself, in a letter to James Stanhope, he was not helping Barcelona because without the aid of the English fleet he had no squadrons which could oppose the Bourbon ships in the Mediterranean and thus the city remained isolated from imperial lands Mahon, , p. This is clear proof that the union of Austria and Spain under the same sovereign was feared by only one side of the English politicians, the Tories, who were against the war from the very beginning.
For this reason we can conclude that the issue of the union of Austria and Spain was but an excuse for negotiating peace, and not the true reason. Even before the death of Emperor Joseph I in , the Tories were already defending a more peaceful stance than that supported by the Whig government. Study of a lesser-known primary source In order to provide new insights on these issues it is worth analysing a primary source which has received little attention so far.
This work is a collection of administrative documents and accounts on the conduct of the war by the English troops in the Iberian Peninsula. Moreover, he was responsible for some other weird actions like not wanting an attack on Barcelona in or not pursuing the retreating French troops in , so much so that he was forced from office just before the Battle of Almansa. Among certain interesting information, there are records of all councils of war from the capture of Barcelona in to the Battle of Almansa.
Two parts are especially informative: a list of shipments of English troops to Spain and a yearly report on the statement of account and the expenditures regarding the Iberian Peninsula. While the former is useful for understanding the complexity of military operations and the constant transfer of troops from one front to another one, we will focus on the latter, trying to correlate the government-approved expenditures with the political actions taken.
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An overview of expenditures From this source in the first graph we have summarized the total English expenditure in the Peninsula, in pounds sterling by year see Fig. This document ends July 18th If we then extrapolate this figure to days we obtain the value represented in the graph, 1,, pounds. Of course this is just a rough figure, but analysing the expenditure of previous years, the expenditure rate is quite regular, so the extrapolated value should not be very different from the amount the English government had spent during the whole year.
As is well known, the first results were those expected: Charles was crowned in Madrid, but the massive intervention of Louis XIV turned victory into defeat in Brihuega. In the graph we can also see how expenditure rises year by year except in , for the reasons mentioned earlier. While in and all money goes to other zones of the peninsular stage especially to Portugal , in the occupation of Catalonia begins and so the expenditure becomes greater year by year, as besides maintaining the Western front Portugal , there was a new army to be created in the Eastern front Catalonia,18 Aragon, Valencia.
The fronts in the Iberian Peninsula In Figure 2, we show the yearly evolution of expenditure on both fronts the blue line is the Western front, the orange the Eastern. Except for some isolated military campaign, the great majority of expenditures is related to the Catalan lands, where troops were stationed. Anyway, it does not distort the graph, as it represents a very small and quite regular amount.
This is a quite revealing graph on the English intervention in the Peninsula, even when we restrict ourselves to the recorded data, without the calculated projection for The expenditure for Portugal remains approximately constant around , pounds sterling per year, while it rises enormously in the case of Catalonia. Beginning in , in the following two years the budget doubles and in reaches the figure of a million pounds sterling. And taking into account that the data for end in July and that by that date , pounds were already spent, it is not difficult to conclude that this year would have witnessed the greatest expenditure by the English government.
This difference between both fronts shows the different political stances. While the Western front is but a diversion, where the English government pays the Portuguese crown a yearly amount for remaining at war against Philip, the Eastern front is the core of the English policy in the Peninsula: each year the involvement is greater, not only for defending Catalonia, but also for twice creating an army in and in which defeated the Bourbon troops and reached Madrid. Thanks to the exquisite accuracy with which expenditures were recorded in this document we can analyse where all the money went in greater detail.
For each front we have divided the expenditure in four chapters: payments to the crown Portuguese or Austrian , raising and maintenance of English regiments, transport of troops, and casualties. The Western front Figure 3 shows the expenditure divided in 5 chapters crown in blue, men in orange, transport in yellow, casualties in green and other expenditure in brown. The first thing worth noting is that the two main chapters are payments to the crown and maintenance of troops.
The first, except for , is virtually constant throughout the war, with a mean value of nearly , pounds per annum, paid as maintenance for 13, Portuguese combatants according to the treaties between both crowns. The exception coincides with a peak in troop maintenance. This is probably due to the fact that having a much larger number of English troops defending Portugal, the payments to the Portuguese crown were deemed no longer necessary. On the other hand, with the arrival of Allied troops in Catalonia, the maintenance of English troops in Portugal plummets, as the majority of troops were transferred to Barcelona and Valencia.
From this time there is a slight increase in the expenditure for troop maintenance, but never reaching the ceiling of , spent in The casualty chapter is constantly low, as there were no major The yearly expenditure in the casualty chapter corresponds almost exclusively to the maintenance of a hospital and the payments to the army physicians and surgeons. Regarding transport there is a significant amount of expenditure only at the beginning of the war, when many regiments were transferred from England and Ireland to Portugal.
From this point on, and taking into account that transport from Portugal to Catalonia is included in the Eastern front books, there is no expenditure related to transport. This is confirmed by the embarkation documents, as there are few transfers to Portugal after The Eastern front Figure 4 shows the expenditure breakdown for the Eastern front, quite different from the previous one: Firstly, the difference in expenditure between both fronts must be noted.
Not only is the total amount vastly greater in Catalonia in the final years it reaches 5 times the amount spent in Portugal , but for the large part it is destined to the English troops Regarding troop maintenance, the graph shows a constant increase in the expenditure, reaching , pounds in After the defeat in Almansa and the destruction of the English army, a great reform was initiated, in which the number of regiments in Catalonia was greatly reduced, as many of them were disbanded or merged due to their low X.
This is the reason behind the smaller maintenance in , although the total expenditure in this year is higher than in the previous year. Beginning in , the numbers include entries for the two regiments detached at Gibraltar and Alicante. Related to the maintenance chapter are the casualties.
The figures for this chapter are clearly greater on this front than on the Western one, as the main battles were fought here 3, pounds during the 8 years on the Western front, against , pounds on the Eastern front. Moreover, the consequences of the Almansa defeat are clear in the annual breakdown, especially for During the 18th century, as can be seen in this document, the governments paid the enemy to maintain prisoner troops, and it is also seen that the English, contrary to other nations, had their own campaign hospital to look after the wounded, and that large amounts were paid for the physicians and surgeons caring for the soldiers.
Finally, it is somewhat surprising to find entries regarding large payments to officers having lost a limb or to families having lost a relative in the war. The document is therefore an extraordinary tool for researching into the caring of wounded soldiers and the treatment of prisoners in the 18th century, an issue highly under-represented in the literature.
This matches the years in which the two English armies on the Eastern front were raised: the first in coincides with the defence of Barcelona and the push towards Castile; the second, in , coincides with the shipments of new recruits to Barcelona in order to rebuild the army after the defeat in Almansa. Eugene was the commander of the Allied troops in Northern Italy, where no English regiments were present. The level of involvement and strength implied by these data is revealing, as it shows England as the great power supporting the Great Alliance and the nation that was most stubbornly fighting to win the war.
A curious and quite interesting entry in the document is the payment in to a publisher for a booklet on correct behaviour addressed to English troops. Being serious advice to soldiers, to behave themselves with a just regard to religion and true manhood. The English authorities, then, were concerned that their mainly Protestant and Anglican troops should behave correctly towards the local Catholic population, although results were disparate.
Finally, the most difficult chapter to interpret is that of payments to the crown. As Charles was from the House of Hapsburg and was the main beneficiary of a victory, the English do not give him any yearly aid for his help against the Bourbons, as is the case with the Portuguese.
Nonetheless, there is a very interesting set of entries for payments to nobles switching sides in the war, passing to the Austriacist field and stating their allegiance to Charles III. Many of these nobles were probably Catalan. In this chapter there is a peak in , with an expenditure of 67, sterling pounds, and another, even higher, in , with a total of , pounds, followed by a value still fairly high in 69, pounds. Our hypothesis is that these peaks correspond to different situations. The first peak in shows the efforts of the English government in helping Charles in his raising of various regular regiments.
This date coincides with the raising of the Catalan regiments mountain fusiliers,22 Catalan Guards, etc. This fact is confirmed by other entries, in which the government makes payments to Charles for using his troops in the Iberian Peninsula. It is also suggestive to relate the maximum to the decrease in the English troops maintenance that same year. It must be remembered that after Almansa, Valencia and Aragon fell in Bourbon hands, as well as Lerida, and the Allied army was almost destroyed.
Therefore, at a time of dire crisis and shortage of manpower, the government sent and kept Austrian troops on Catalan lands, paying more than , pounds. Finally, the expenditure is allocated to the raising of an artillery train for replacing the one lost in Almansa. The raising of this siege artillery train means that Parliament endorsed a great investment to take the offensive, as it is evident that these large guns are only needed if you are going to attack an enemy strongpoint. All this suggests that in and the government was still heavily involved in the war in Catalonia, strengthening its will to defeat Philip and making Charles III King of Spain.
Some unknowns As the entries of the document are quite brief, some doubts arise. We want to underline some of these unknowns, the solution of which could shed new light on various issues regarding this complex war. The reason is clear: it is necessary to arm all troops recently raised and this number does not appear disproportionate bearing in mind that each trooper was equipped with two pistols. The problem is that instead of using the English term pistol, the Catalan one is used, raising doubts on the possible difference between both weapons.
The entry also suggests the idea that these thousands of pistols were manufactured by Catalan gunsmiths, although the number seems totally unfeasible for the Catalan industry of the time. Weapon manufacturing was certainly important in Catalonia, especially in Ripoll and Barcelona, but the number is so high that the aim of the accountant in recording an entry in a foreign language in an official English document remains unknown.
It seems clear that the war brought great profits to some Catalan manufacturing industries, especially to weapons manufacturers. It is the interesting to ask whether the same is true regarding other supplies like clothes, ammunition bread, artillery trains, etc. An entry of cites a certain Colonel Wythers, to whom pounds are paid for his extraordinary expenditure while serving in a Catalan regiment. A similar case, presented in the document on troop embarkations, explains the raising in of 5 regular battalions of Catalan infantry after the defeat in Almansa, in order to defend Catalonia.
Anyway, both entries suggest that the presence of Catalan men in English-paid regiments might be higher than is currently accepted, which would mean an increase in the already quite high numbers of Catalan troops in Austriacist regiments during the war. Nonetheless, as we have tried to show in this chapter, neglecting the internal political struggle in England leads to a simplistic vision of the facts that took place in the final stages of the War of the Spanish Succession. Moreover, until now the huge financial effort that the Catalan adventure implied for England has not been properly emphasized, and the faith with which Parliament kept a military lead in the Peninsula, defending Catalonia and threatening Castile until , has not been sufficiently highlighted.
Undoubtedly this investment not only in money, but also in manpower and political assets for the Whig government is, for any nation, far more important than abiding by the clauses of a treaty, like that of Genoa. Around , the English economy was on the verge of collapse, due in part to the various military conflicts at the turn of the century which,. All the same, to underrate the importance of military actions, as has been done too commonly, is of no help in clarifying the situation.
The financial situation was truly desperate, and was partly corrected by Isaac Newton, appointed to the post of Warden of the Mint, who brought in reforms and assisted in the Great Recoinage, decisively improving the English economy. Many episodes of corruption were related to dummy battalions. The Tories, after guaranteeing political hegemony and the cooperation of Queen Anne, sped up peace feelers in order to pin down a treaty favouring England, leaving aside the Austrian allies, and especially the Catalans.
It is in this context that we must consider the publication of the anonymous work The Deplorable History of Catalans, one of the numerous weapons used in the struggle between Tories and Whigs, as the latter were still defending Charles III as King of Spain in The Whig current of opinion sympathetic to the Catalans had at least some reward, as it prevented the English fleet from helping Philip in the sea blockade of Barcelona, as promised by Lord Bolingbroke Soldevila, , p.
Immediately preparations for sending help to Barcelona were initiated, but the fall of Barcelona into Bourbon hands thanks to the massive French intervention, prevented the time needed for an Austriacist revival. James Stanhope was the commander of all English forces in Catalonia from to An irascible character, his disagreements with Guido von Starhemberg were constant, due to his tendency to adopt aggressive tactics.
The English army, as all other European armies involved in the War of the Spanish Succession, was organized according to an administrative structure allowing the fluid management of thousands of men. The basic unit was the regiment, commanded by a Colonel, which grouped several hundreds of soldiers of the same kind infantry, cavalry or dragoons. These were professional forces of volunteers working in the army for a variety of reasons. These soldiers, usually from the lower class and impoverished areas were commanded by officers from the lesser nobility, who had bought entry to the different ranks Lieutenant, Captain, Colonel by buying commissions.
In this system the Colonel bought a commission for commanding a regiment from the highest army authority usually the King. This patent allowed him to sell the lower offices in the unit ladder, and with the money obtained he recruited, clothed and armed the soldiers. Training was a key factor in combat, as combat systems were based in complex linear formations which, due to their very nature, were quite difficult to control and manoeuvre during a battle.
Soldiers each year received a uniform with the regimental colours, which identified them and gave a more homogeneous image to the unit. In the English regiments red was the most common colour hence their later name of redcoats but each had a different distinctive colour, which was used in the facings linings, hems and braiding on coats.
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The colours might be different each year, and adding to that the constant changing of commanding colonels, it is sometimes quite difficult to individually identify each English unit that served in the Catalan campaigns. Preliminary notes As we will see in this chapter, information regarding the presence of English regiments in the Peninsula, and especially in Catalonia, is scarce, fragmentary and often contradictory. Some significant problems are the constant transfer of regiments from one stage to another especially between Portugal and Catalonia , the several written forms of proper names, and, especially, the lack of a numerical standards in the organization of 18th-century English army.
Another problem is the high casualty rate among the officers, as the death or leave of a Colonel sometimes meant a change in the regimental name. In the following list we have named the regiments according to the first officer commanding them in the Peninsular campaign. The first is the listing of regiments embarked to the Peninsula from to , where the number of troops participating in Almansa is recorded.
The second is the report on the expenditures caused by the war in the Peninsula, already discussed in the previous chapter, and where we can find references to the various regiments, as new materiel had to be purchased on a regular basis. Another source consulted, despite not being strictly a primary source, is a collection of the information included in various English archives.
Mahon , Falkner , Parnell Cavalry and dragoons Mounted English units that took part in the War of Succession were considered by their contemporaries as the best in Europe. Having few strictly regiments of horse, regiments of dragoons assumed similar tasks on the battlefield with excellent results, like in the Battle of Almenar, for example.
So, to the usual dismounted infantry, petite guerre and reconnaissance tactics, typical of this kind of arm, the cavalry charge with sword in hand of the regiments of horse is brought in. The English regiments were divided into many troops, which on the battlefield were grouped into 2 or 3 squadrons, each with a strength of troopers. Although the English dragoons should have been divided in companies, instead of troops because of their original basis as mounted infantry , contemporary documents use both names, because they performed typical tasks of regiments of horse.
English cavalrymen were always superior to their French and Spanish counterparts, due largely to their aggressiveness and tactics. Their commanding officers were always imbued with the traditional spirit of considering the cavalry an offensive weapon, and James Stanhope was the main example of this, although with diverse results.
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