Military Review

Arriva Zaragoza!

50



21 February 1809 ended a two-month siege of Zaragoza - one of the most dramatic episodes of the Napoleonic wars. During the siege, more than 10 thousands of Spanish soldiers and about 40 thousands of city dwellers, including militias, were killed. The population of Zaragoza in two months decreased by 70%, from 55 to 15 thousand people. The majority of these victims were carried out by the typhus epidemic that broke out during the siege, aggravated by hunger and poor sanitation. The French and Poles who stormed the city lost about 10 thousands of people, four thousand of them died in the battles, and the rest also died of typhoid.

The French army, commanded by Marshal Jeannot de Monsey, who received the emperor’s order to take the city, numbered thousands of infantrymen, four thousand cavalrymen and 43 cannons, which were combined into 260 batteries, including 22 heavy siege weapons. 60 defended Zaragoza by thousands of soldiers and officers of the Spanish regular army and 30 of thousands of local militias - almost the entire adult male population of the city.

True, most of the "regulars" were recruits who were called up for service less than six months ago and did not even have time to go through the course of a young fighter. The militias were not trained at all and were mostly armed only with cold weapons. But the morale of both was exceptionally high. The defenders had 205 guns, some of which remembered the glorious times of the Duke of Alba.

Zaragoza was an ancient fortress city, surrounded by a high stone wall with towers, and about half of the defensive perimeter wall was double. The young 32-year-old General José Palafox, the Defense Commander, did everything possible to further strengthen the city. In particular, he ordered to cut down and burn trees and shrubs, as well as - to demolish all buildings within a kilometer from the fortress, in order to deprive the attackers of any shelter. The stones of the demolished buildings went to reinforce the walls, and a deep ditch was dug in front of the walls. Also around the city built several advanced redoubts, installing part of the artillery on them.

The operation to capture Zaragoza began on December 20 of 1808, with an attack on these redoubts. The fortification of Monte Torrero was "taken on a bayonet" by the dashing blow of Polish zholnezh from the Duchy of Warsaw, who decided to demonstrate their valor to the new allies. This success allowed the French to install siege cannons there and begin to destroy the city walls with direct fire. Another Redut of San Lazaro could not be captured on the move, the Spaniards repulsed the attack.

22 December, de Moncey sent an ultimatum to Palafox demanding to surrender the city and on the same day received a concise answer "We will fight with knives!" However, the matter did not come to a stabbing between the commanders, since for some reason 29 of December de Monsey was recalled to Paris and replaced by General Junot. This general also commanded not long, after two weeks he was replaced by Marshal Lunn, who got the glory of the conqueror of Zaragoza.

By the end of December, the French surrounded the fortress with a solid blockade. Soon the city began to feel the lack of food. And then typhus came to Zaragoza, which turned out to be a more terrible murderer than the French kernels and bullets. Thousands of defenders, slain by the disease, lost their combat capability, many of them died. Meanwhile, the French guns made three large breaches in the fortress wall on the site where it was single. Understanding that, most likely, they could not keep the wall, Palafox ordered to strengthen the city buildings and connect them with underground passages, and block the streets with barricades.

By mid-January, the French had captured the advanced redoubts of Pilar and San Lazare, and their siege trenches opposite the breaches came very close to the walls. 16 January fell the last redoubt of San Jose. On January 27, a decisive battle took place: Lannes sent three assault columns into the breaches, one of which consisted of Poles under the command of General Khlopitsky. The French broke into the city, but all the streets leading to the center were blocked by barricades, and the houses along them were turned into pillboxes.

The task of the attackers was complicated by the fact that almost all the houses in Zaragoza had small windows and thick stone walls, which even the field artillery could hardly give in. The windows of the Spaniards laid bricks or sacks of earth, leaving only small loopholes for shooting. To get inside the buildings, the French had to blow up the walls with powder charges. In this case, the main burden fell on the sappers, who suffered heavy losses. In the streets and squares of Zaragoza, 165 people died, including 11 officers.

The fierce battles that turn into hand-to-hand fights began for the monastery of the brotherhood of Blessed Augustine. The monks fought on a par with the soldiers and militia, but since the Lord forbids them to shed blood, they fought with clubs, benches, censes, candelabra and other improvised objects. One Pole brother in Christ smashed his head with a heavy crucifix. However, some monks used muskets and sabers, apparently deciding that God would forgive this sin.

For several hours, the “front line” took place inside the monastery cathedral: the attackers were seated in the vestibule, and the defenders - in the sacristy, showering each other with bullets, and sometimes converging into hand-to-hand. But in the end, the best French training played a role and they captured the monastery, mercilessly killing its defenders.



Map of the Siege of Zaragoza. Spaniards are marked in red, French in black. The explosions are places of concentration of the fire of French artillery, the crosses are the places of the most fierce fighting.



On the left - a fight in the courtyard of the Augustinian monastery, a painting by Francois-Louis Lejeune. Right - Marshal de Moncay.



Two paintings depicting the heroic defense of the cathedral of the Augustinian monastery.



Marshal Lunn and General Palafox.
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  1. V.ic
    V.ic 26 February 2017 06: 39
    +9
    An example of the heroic resistance of a people of foreign aggression.
    1. Cat
      Cat 26 February 2017 07: 00
      +13
      You're right!
      An example and lesson to follow us and a subject of pride of the Spaniards! I sincerely wish that our children and grandchildren remember and know our hometown fortresses! The defense of Kozelsk, Pskov, Smolensk - how many more glorious pages are inscribed with a gold thread over the centuries in our history.
      Thanks to the author!
      Afterword! Our brothers in Christ also did not shy from getting up in line with the invasion of the adversary. For example, the defense of the Solovetsky Monastery and the city of Kola during the Crimean War. Or the defense of Cherdany during Ivan IV from the Siberian Tatars and the Pelymsky prince. All our World War II were no exception!

      38th separate tank regiment. Tanks were purchased at the expense of parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church.
  2. Vladislav 73
    Vladislav 73 26 February 2017 07: 00
    +15
    Something is somehow incompletely told about Zaragoza. This Spanish city withstood the TWO (!) Long sieges of the French army for six months. Zaragoza fell only after most of its garrison and population died from the epidemic and in fierce street battles, more typical of modern wars than of the Napoleonic era.
    On December 22, de Monsay sent an ultimatum to Palafox demanding the surrender of the city, and on the same day received a laconic reply "We will fight on knives!"
    At that time (December), Marshal Lannes commanded. And the famous answer was given to the previous French commander, General Verdier. Verdier sent Palafox a concise proposal for surrender with the words: “Peace and surrender” and received no less laconic answer: “War and knife” During the first siege of Zaragoza, the young girl Agustina de Zaragoza, also known as Agustina de Aragon, became the heroine. When the crew died at the gun from which her husband was firing, Agustina grabbed the smoldering wick from the hands of the dead gunner and point-blank discharged the cannon, loaded with buckshot, against the advancing French.
    1. Monarchist
      Monarchist 26 February 2017 13: 53
      +4
      Dear Vladisla v, thanks for the addition. Where can I read about it?
      So Goy’s picture “what courage” is a real fact?
      1. Vladislav 73
        Vladislav 73 26 February 2017 19: 57
        0
        Quote: Monarchist
        So Goy’s picture “what courage” is a real fact?

        Yes, the real fact. Goya, "What a courage!" Sheet 7 from the series of etchings "Disasters of war". OK. 1813. Well, I don’t know where exactly to read. I read about Zaragoza in parts, the Internet climbed out. In general, this year (1809) is rich in events that are closely related to each other — Napoleon’s unfortunateness at Wagram, defeat in Spain (Spanish Guverilla ), Erfurt Congress ... Everywhere, one way or another, the theme of the war in Spain (the Iberian Wars) sounds-the first defeat of Napoleonic troops. Well, something like this hi
      2. Weyland
        Weyland 28 February 2017 01: 05
        +1
        Quote: Monarchist
        Where can I read about it?


        There was a wonderful writer in Spain - Benito Perez Galdos, author of the historical series "National Episodes". Not all of them are translated into Russian, but the 1st series (on the Napoleonic Wars) is fully translated. One of the books in this series is called Zaragoza.
        1. Vladislav 73
          Vladislav 73 1 March 2017 06: 39
          0
          Weyland, my respect hi "terry monarchist" from the "undercut red-bellied"! laughing
          1. Weyland
            Weyland 1 March 2017 21: 53
            0
            my regards communist hi (for "red-bellied" was the answer to the "baker"!)
            1. Vladislav 73
              Vladislav 73 1 March 2017 23: 35
              0
              Quote: Weyland
              my respect to the communist

              Thank you! hi At least it’s very interesting to discuss with you, unlike the same Kaptsov or Nazi Shpakovsky! request sad
  3. Vladislav 73
    Vladislav 73 26 February 2017 07: 01
    +13
    Agustin de Aragon in the image of the modern artist Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, 2012. Apparently, the same episode on the splash screen for the article, it’s only a pity that the author did not give explanations to the readers! request
    1. igordok
      igordok 26 February 2017 08: 21
      +2
      I suppose that the title picture, in the center, also depicts Agustin de Arago.
    2. Roman 11
      Roman 11 26 February 2017 13: 26
      +2
      Quote: Vladislav 73
      Apparently, the same episode on the splash screen for the article, it’s only a pity that the author did not give explanations to the readers!

      Only the artist is not a battalion, the barrel raised too high.
      1. Weyland
        Weyland 28 February 2017 01: 07
        +2
        Quote: Novel 11
        the artist is not a battalion

        I mean - not a battle-man? Google what a bachelor is! laughing
  4. Vladislav 73
    Vladislav 73 26 February 2017 07: 04
    +9
    The last days of the siege were as follows: Jose de Palafox became a victim of typhus. Realizing that the defenders' forces were running out, on February 19 he sent parliamentarians to Lannes to agree on a three-day truce. Marshal Lann refused. The seriously ill Palafox still refused to surrender, but was forced to surrender the command to General St. Mark, who, with the consent of the city defense committee, accepted the terms of surrender. Some of the defenders of Zaragoza actively protested against the surrender of the city, demanding the continuation of the struggle. That's just the defenders themselves, as well as opportunities for resistance, are few.
  5. Vladislav 73
    Vladislav 73 26 February 2017 07: 16
    +8
    And 2 more words about the fate of Palafox. The patient Palafox was captured and taken to France, where he remained until the conclusion of the Valenciennes world.

    He returned from captivity only in 1814 and, declaring himself the protector of unlimited royal power, was appointed captain-general of Aragon. After suppressing the riots that the militia carried out in Zaragoza, Palafox commanded the Royal Guard Corps from 1820 to 1823, and then until 1836 took almost no part in the affairs. That year he was again appointed captain-general of Aragon and a senator.

    He died on February 15, 1847 in Madrid.
    1. Monarchist
      Monarchist 27 February 2017 15: 11
      +1
      Vladislav 73, thanks for sharing the information. I always look after comments after material: there are posh materials, for example, as your additions
      1. Vladislav 73
        Vladislav 73 1 March 2017 06: 40
        0
        Quote: Monarchist
        Vladislav 73, thanks for sharing the information. I always look after comments after material: there are posh materials, for example, as your additions

        Thank you! I try to the best of my modest strength! hi
  6. parusnik
    parusnik 26 February 2017 08: 09
    +10
    After the siege, it was estimated that the population of Zaragoza fell from 55 to 500. But the description of the surrender of the city, which took place on February 15, was given by the Prussian officer Heinrich von Brandt, who served in the Vistula Legion: "A number of young people aged 000 to 21, without uniforms ... smoking with an indifferent look, lined up in front of us. Soon the rest of the army appeared, which was a picturesque crowd and consisted of people of different ages and conditions. Many were dressed like peasants. The officers rode on mules and donkeys and differed from their subordinates only the presence of a three-cornered hat and long cloaks. They all smoked and talked, expressing complete indifference to the upcoming captivity. Most were not at all like the military, so loud remarks began to be heard among our soldiers: "Is it really that much effort had to be made to defeat this rabble? "
    1. igordok
      igordok 26 February 2017 08: 24
      +5
      Quote: parusnik
      ... defeat this rabble

      Pretty familiar definition.
  7. bbss
    bbss 26 February 2017 11: 02
    +3
    The defeat in the war greatly influenced Spain. Her star among the great powers never shone again.
    1. tiaman.76
      tiaman.76 26 February 2017 11: 58
      +6
      yes, even before that, as much as 150, she already did not shine.
    2. Weyland
      Weyland 28 February 2017 22: 18
      +1
      Benito Perez Galdos, whom I mentioned, was wondering: why during the Carlist wars, when Spain was about the same opera as Russia in the dashing 90s, none of the foreign powers tried to eat it or even bite off a piece? He concluded this: in 1808-1809 Spain was also in the ranks, and Napoleon easily defeated it - only then he lost 300 thousand people from the actions of the partisans!
      Nobody wanted to step on the same rake ... I suspect that the p-n-d-wasps did not dare to occupy Russia in the 90s for the same reason
  8. ukoft
    ukoft 26 February 2017 11: 47
    +3
    in foreign literature, it is said that thanks to the Spanish resistance, Napoleon was forced to hold significant forces there. which naturally affected the Russian campaign. lacked resources to defeat Kutuzov
    1. Cat
      Cat 26 February 2017 12: 43
      +8
      600 thousand! Crossed the Neman in the summer of 1812! Old and young guard in full force! About 1 field guns! I wonder what other country except Russia was able to withstand the blow of such power and win!
      The 20 corps of the regular army + 000 - 10 soldiers in the garrison, irregulars and Spanish allies in Spain, in principle, can not be compared with the army of Napoleon invading Russia.
      Moreover, the Spanish regiments invaded Russia with Napoleon’s army. This must be remembered.

      Captain of the regiment "Joseph-Napoleon" of the Great Army.
      1. igordok
        igordok 26 February 2017 13: 09
        +5
        Familiar uniform.
        According to the plot of the film, the uniform of a captured Spanish officer.
        1. Cat
          Cat 26 February 2017 13: 20
          +3
          There is also some truth in the film. The Spaniards did not want to fight with the Russians and deserted who was far away throughout the company.
          After 1814 Spain, Russia rendered military assistance up to the transfer and nominal sale of battleships of the 1st and 2nd rank.
          1. hohol95
            hohol95 26 February 2017 23: 00
            +2
            Not that they deserted!
            The regiment consisted of 5 battalions: 4 combat and one spare.
            The regiment met the year 1812 in full readiness for a campaign in distant Russia. The command, fearing soldiers' unrest, farsightedly divided the regiment in half and placed each half in a separate building - away from each other.
            So, the 1st and 4th battalions of the regiment, consisting of 35 officers and 1294 lower ranks, were located in the 1st brigade of the 14th infantry division of the division general Count J.B.Brussier of the Fourth Army Corps. This part of the regiment was under the command of the second major, Jean B. Doreye.
            The second and third battalions under the command of Colonel Baron Jean Batista M.Zh. de Miracles are located in the 3rd brigade of the 2nd infantry division of the division general L. Frean of the First Army Corps. In total, there were 25 officers and 1812 lower ranks in service on June 47, 1678.
            Despite the reluctance of soldiers to fight and die for interests alien to them, desertion in the regiment did not take on such a general character as in some other parts. There were only a few more soldiers who left and abandoned their regiment than in other regiments of the Great Army. It should be noted that the exclusion of soldiers from the regiment’s personnel lists was usually not associated with combat losses.
            In August 1812, just before the battle of Borodino, the regiment listed 1760 people. Of these, 2 soldiers and officers were in the 3nd and 990rd battalions, and 770 in the first and third.
            The actions of the soldiers of the Joseph Napoleon regiment, not in the Battle of Borodino, not in the battle of Krasny, were not criticized. The soldiers of the regiment also showed themselves well when crossing the Berezina. Several times, along with other regiments, they went on the attack and there were no recorded cases of cowardice or cowardice among them.
            After going to Russia, 190 soldiers and officers remained alive from the regiment. They gathered the 1st and 4th battalion in Glogau, as well as the 2nd and 3rd battalion in Stettin. In 1813, the regiment was transformed into two battalions of Spanish pioneers.
            The regiment "Joseph Napoleon" participated in the following battles: battles near Borodino, Mozhaisk, Red, crossing the Berezina. After 1812, the regiment's military route passed through Lutzen, Bautzen, Leipzig, Hanau, Glogau.
      2. Cartalon
        Cartalon 26 February 2017 14: 36
        +1
        . As part of the Great Army, only 2 Spanish military units entered Russia: the infantry king Joseph Regiment and the pioneer battalion
      3. Cartalon
        Cartalon 26 February 2017 14: 42
        0
        Are you seriously claiming that you occupied Spain and held back Wellington to 30-35t French from the Allies? Wiki gives the number 135t, traditionally in the books about the company in 1812 they wrote about 200t if my memory serves me right.
      4. ukoft
        ukoft 26 February 2017 15: 26
        0
        sort of like more French left in Spain. Partisans Spaniards. invaded Russia and a lot under duress so to speak. the Prussians immediately merged. then immediately the rest began to scatter. only the French remained. and there were many less. thousand 300.
      5. Cat
        Cat 26 February 2017 18: 49
        +1
        Dear forum users, I confess I made a mistake in the first post, it is necessary to read not 20, but 000 corps of the regular army + 120 - 000 soldiers in the mountain guards, irregulars and Spanish allies in Spain.
        The information I took from the words of the Russian-speaking guide of the Spaniard during a tour of the fortress of Zaragoza in 2011.
        I apologize! Regards Kotische!
        But I don’t believe the numbers of 300 and 000!
        1. hohol95
          hohol95 26 February 2017 19: 46
          +3
          In 1812, Napoleon had five armies on the Iberian Peninsula: Northern, Central, Portuguese, Andalusian and Aragonese.
          The Andalusian army, numbering 58, was under the command of Marshal Sult. Of these, 000 stood in the Cadiz region, 12 in the province of Granada, 000 in the province of Extremadura, 10 in Seville.
          The Aragonese army, numbering 58, was commanded by Marshal Suchet. He himself with 000 people was in the Valencia region. General Rail's corps (17 people) stood in the province of Aragon, maintaining contact with the Northern and Central armies. General Dean with 000 people controlled Catalonia.
          The northern army of General Dorsen numbered about 46 people and controlled the provinces of Navarra, Alava, Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa and part of Old Castile up to Burgos. The garrisons of this army were in Bayonne, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Vitoria, Tolos and Pamplona.
          The rest of Old Castile, as well as the provinces of Leon and Salamanca (up to the Tagus River) were controlled by the Portuguese army of Marshal Marmont, which also numbered about 45. Another 000 people from this army were sent north to the Oviedo area.
          Joseph Bonaparte himself commanded the Central Army, which numbered about 14 combat-ready soldiers and officers. This army defended Madrid, stretching from Toledo to Guadalajara. It consisted of parts of various divisions belonging to different armies. In particular, 000 people were taken from under the command of Marshal Sult, and he did not stop demanding them back. There were about 2000 Spaniards in the army of Joseph, whom he paid from his budget and who remained faithful to him, directly proportional to the amounts received.
          TOTAL approximately 228 thousand people in French units in Spain in 1812!
        2. Cartalon
          Cartalon 26 February 2017 19: 52
          0
          Razin writes: in 1812, the French army numbered up to 1 million people (1t infantry battalion-800 thousand people, 400 esk-100t people, engineers and artillery-100t people)
          1. Cat
            Cat 27 February 2017 04: 39
            0
            Razin considers battalions in his work!
            That is, by staffing, not real. Based on this, and in peacetime, we will have 20% not a set of l / s, for sanitary and other reasons. In the ranks of the battalion, instead of 1024 people will be 800-900. With such calculations, Napoleon’s army was about 800-900. But no less than 000.
      6. Monarchist
        Monarchist 27 February 2017 15: 17
        0
        During the Second World War, the so-called “blue division” formed from the Spanish fascists, although Spain was neutral
    2. hohol95
      hohol95 26 February 2017 13: 34
      +1
      And also Frost Ivanovich with the granddaughter of the Snow Maiden!
    3. hohol95
      hohol95 26 February 2017 13: 41
      +1
      But they don’t write about the Portuguese front of Napoleon? He also "pulled" the French troops from Russia!
      1. Cartalon
        Cartalon 26 February 2017 14: 53
        +1
        Here is what Mr. Samsonov tells us, in purely military matters, I believe him:
        In 1812, the Great Army was fought against Russia, consisting of 491,9 thousand infantry, 96,6 thousand cavalry, 21 thousand artillery and engineering troops, 37 thousand non-combatant soldiers. In addition to these forces, Napoleon had reserves of 50 thousand people in Germany and Italy, 100 thousand of the French National Guard, and an army of 300 thousand people fought in Spain.
        1. Cat
          Cat 26 February 2017 18: 05
          0
          Millionth army at Napoleon !?
          I do not believe!
          About 600 to Russia, yes!
          Maxmum in the reserve of 150-200 thousand, with all the tetras of military operations and the national guard!
          In Spain in the summer of 1812, you can allocate no more than 50 soldiers, albeit 000 with French corps along the border with Portugal, but 75?
          With an army of 275-300, Napoleon conquered Spain. To keep her strength was needed, but not the whole army!
          Gavardia, 2/3 of the French linear and 100% of the Polish units were bred for a campaign in Russia.
          1. Cartalon
            Cartalon 26 February 2017 19: 56
            0
            holding it was harder than conquering, Wellington stuck in Portugal, the partisans were everywhere, not all the fortresses were taken, the landing could be expected anywhere.
        2. Cat
          Cat 26 February 2017 18: 30
          0
          The site of the forum memorial gives a figure of 400, which is trifling.
        3. hohol95
          hohol95 26 February 2017 19: 50
          +1
          In 1812, Napoleon had five armies on the Iberian Peninsula: Northern, Central, Portuguese, Andalusian and Aragonese. Numbering about 228 thousand people!
  9. Roman 11
    Roman 11 26 February 2017 13: 38
    +2
    some monks used muskets and sabers, apparently deciding that God would forgive them of this sin.
    We are named after such ships - Peresvet and Oslyabya.
    1. V.ic
      V.ic 26 February 2017 18: 48
      +1
      Quote: Novel 11
      Relight and Oslabya

      ... St. Sergius of Radonezh accepted their sin upon himself, blessing him for battle.
  10. nivander
    nivander 27 February 2017 08: 54
    0
    Psheks are still terribly proud of taking Zaragoza
    1. Weyland
      Weyland 28 February 2017 01: 14
      +1
      I remember that it was their Spaniards who nicknamed los infiernos (infernal offspring - read Jerome’s Ashes) - presumably for the chivalrous and humane attitude to the civilian population. But the Poles were not recommended to be captured by the Spaniards - their life was short in captivity, but death was very long!
  11. Monarchist
    Monarchist 27 February 2017 15: 27
    0
    Quote: nivasander
    Psheks are still terribly proud of taking Zaragoza

    Did they tell you this themselves?
  12. Weyland
    Weyland 28 February 2017 01: 00
    +1
    "Zaragoza was an ancient fortified city surrounded by a high stone wall with towers"

    How tall is it ... In the picture, her height is even a little exaggerated - she was just something 3 meter (for comparison - Troy had 20, Babylon - 25 meters). Just the spirit of her defenders was stronger than her walls! hi No wonder Zaragoza in Spain has the nickname siempre heroica (always heroic)
    1. Prometey
      Prometey 28 February 2017 08: 32
      0
      Quote: Weyland
      How tall is it ... In the picture, its height is even a little exaggerated - it was only 3 meters high (for comparison, Troy had 20 meters, Babylon had 25 meters)

      In the era of artillery and gunpowder, the height of the walls did not play any role, only the thickness. The high walls were erected in the pre-powder age, that is, when there was nothing to destroy them.
  13. Jääkorppi
    Jääkorppi 7 March 2017 11: 26
    0
    And the conclusions? Bottom line, the political implications? Of course, I understand that this Internet resource is far from truly historical magazines (for example, Parabellum), but nevertheless, I would like articles to differ from posts in live magazines. There are, though not often excellent studies, about the Russo-Japanese War.