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Subject: Battles and Wargames of the Day: December Edition rss

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Roger Hobden
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"Battles and Wargames of the Day"

This is a new series of threads.

The concept is to mark remembrance of important battles that took place, started or ended on a specific day during the month that is mentioned in the title of thread.

Presence or absence of related wargames that you would like to mention or recommend would be appreciated, with as many details as you see fit.

This series of threads is about battles and wargames mostly, and only exceptionally about other historical events that might have taken place during that month.



You are not required to follow the chronological order, but the battle must be "known" to have taken place in December, taking in account the various official calendars in use at the time.

The link for the November thread is here.

People who want more details and want to follow the time-ordering should go to this excellent GeekList:

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/63242/day-every-day-histo...
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Roger Hobden
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December 1:

Sergei Mironovich Kirov was a prominent early Bolshevik leader in the Soviet Union. Kirov rose through the Communist Party ranks to become head of the party organization in Leningrad. On 1 December 1934, Sergey Kirov was shot and killed by a gunman at his offices in the Smolny Institute. Kirov's death served as one of the pretexts for Stalin's escalation of repression against dissident elements of the Party, culminating in the Great Purge of the late 1930s in which many of the Old Bolsheviks were arrested, expelled from the party, and executed. Complicity in Kirov's assassination was a common charge to which the accused confessed in the show trials of the period.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Kirov
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Nick West
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1 December 1864

American Civil War


Apparently there was a skirmish at Millen GA between the rear guard of the Federal XIV Army Corps and a small force of Confederate Cavalry.

The Federals were engaged in tearing up the railroad, (then the Savannah & Augusta, but now a part of the Central of Georgia system) when the Confederates suddenly appeared and opened fire. No regular assault was attempted as the Federal force was too strong to encourage such a course, but by the sudden dash the work of destruction was stopped for the time being. After the exchange of a few shots, without important results to either side, the Confederates withdrew.

It seems today was an unusually un-warlike day in history!
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December 2:

The Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805/11 Frimaire An XIV FRC), also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regarded as the greatest ever victory achieved by Napoleon, the Grande Armée of France defeated a larger Russian and Austrian army led by Tsar Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The battle occurred near the town of Austerlitz in the Austrian Empire (modern-day Slavkov u Brna in the Czech Republic). Austerlitz brought the War of the Third Coalition to a rapid end, with the Treaty of Pressburg signed by the Austrians later in the month. The battle is often cited as a tactical masterpiece, in the same league as other historic engagements like Cannae or Gaugamela.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Austerlitz

There are over twenty board wargames about this battle, one of the last ones published being Austerlitz 1805: Rising Eagles.

The Napoleonic wargame publisher Pratzen Editions gets it's name from the Pratzen Heights at Austerlitz.
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One of the keys to victory was the abandonment to the Allies of the Pratzen Heights, seemingly dominant ground that in reality turned into a trap.

The event is the source of the famous quote (of which there are many versions) as the enemy was falling into the trap and he was being encouraged by his Marshalls to give the order for the envelopment of his flanks to start;

“Gentlemen,” said Napoleon, “let us wait a little; when your enemy is executing a false movement, never interrupt him.”
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Roger Hobden
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December 3:

The Battle of Hohenlinden was fought on 3 December 1800, during the French Revolutionary Wars. A French army under Jean Victor Marie Moreau won a decisive victory over the Austrians and Bavarians led by Archduke John of Austria. After being forced into a disastrous retreat, the allies were compelled to request an armistice that effectively ended the War of the Second Coalition. Hohenlinden is 33 km east of Munich in modern Germany.

General of Division (MG) Moreau's 56,000 strong army engaged some 64,000 Austrians and Bavarians. The Austrians, believing they were pursuing a beaten enemy, moved through heavily wooded terrain in four disconnected columns. Instead, Moreau ambushed the Austrians as they emerged from the Ebersberg forest while launching MG Antoine Richepanse's division in a surprise envelopment of the Austrian left flank. Displaying superb individual initiative, Moreau's generals managed to encircle and smash the largest Austrian column.

This crushing victory, coupled with First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte's victory at the Battle of Marengo on 14 June 1800, ended the War of the Second Coalition. In February 1801, the Austrians signed the Treaty of Lunéville, accepting French control up to the Rhine and the French puppet republics in Italy and the Netherlands. The subsequent Treaty of Amiens between France and Britain began the longest break in the wars of the Napoleonic period.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hohenlinden

A board wargame exists about this battle: Hohenlinden 1800.
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Roger Hobden
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December 4:

The Battle of Lund, part of the Scanian War, was fought on December 4, 1676, in an area north of the city of Lund in Scania in southern Sweden, between the invading Danish army and the army of Charles XI of Sweden. The Danish had an army of about 13,000 under the personal command of 31-year-old King Christian V of Denmark, aided by General Carl von Arensdorff. The Swedish army, which numbered about 8,000, was commanded by Field Marshal Simon Grundel-Helmfelt and the 21-year-old Swedish king Charles XI.[2] It is one of the bloodiest battles in percent of casualties on both sides ever fought on European soil.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lund
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Eddy Sterckx
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notquitekarpov wrote:
[b]1 December 1864

It seems today was an unusually un-warlike day in history!


Depends

Naarden, December 1st, 1572 - The Spanish Duke of Alva, the original Iron Duke, first accepts the surrender of the undefended town of Naarden in The Netherlands, then has all the inhabitants killed - only fewer than 100 survive the slaughter.

Strategically a very stupid move, done to instill fear, but in practice ensuring that other towns knew that a peaceful surrender wasn't an option anymore, leading to long sieges elsewhere and the ultimate downfall of the Spanish forces.
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December 5:

In the Battle of Leuthen, fought on 5 December 1757, Frederick the Great's Prussian army used maneuver and terrain to decisively defeat a much larger Austrian force commanded by Prince Charles of Lorraine and Count Leopold Joseph von Daun, thus ensuring Prussian control of Silesia during the Third Silesian War (part of the Seven Years' War).

The battle was fought at the Silesian town of Leuthen, 10 kilometers (6 mi) northwest of Breslau. By exploiting the training of his troops and his superior knowledge of the terrain, Frederick created a diversion at one end of the battlefield, and moved most of his small army behind a series of low hillocks. The surprise attack in the oblique order on the unsuspecting Austrian flank baffled Prince Charles; the Prince took several hours to realize that the main action was to his left, and not to his right. Within seven hours, the Prussians destroyed the Austrian force, erasing any advantage the Austrians had gained throughout the summer and fall of campaigning. Within 48 hours, Frederick had laid siege to Breslau, which resulted in that city's surrender on 19–20 December.

Leuthen was the last battle at which Prince Charles commanded the Austrian Army, before his sister-in-law, Empress Maria Theresa, appointed him as governor of the Habsburg Netherlands and placed Leopold Joseph von Daun in command of the army. The battle also established beyond doubt Frederick's military reputation in European circles. After Rossbach (5 November), the French had refused to participate further in Austria's war with Prussia; after Leuthen (5 December), Austria could not.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Leuthen
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Mallet wrote:
A board wargame exists about this battle: Hohenlinden 1800.


And the fifth volume of the marshals is about the campaign.
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December 6:

The Battle of Chamkaur, also known as Battle of Chamkaur Sahib, was fought between the Khalsa led by Guru Gobind Singh and the Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan . Guru Gobind Singh makes a reference to this battle in his victory letter Zafarnama.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Chamkaur_(1704)
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December 6, 1917

Not a battle per se, but my hometown was destroyed 100 years ago today in the biggest man-made explosion prior to the atomic age. Two ships collided in Halifax harbour on December 6, 1917, one of them packed with munitions bound for the Western Front.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Explosion

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December 7:

The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, led to the United States' entry into World War II. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor
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December 7, 8

On 7-8 December of 1585 took place the The Battle (or Miracle) of Empel, a minor battle in the Eighty Years War, the war between the rebels in the Low Countries and his Hapsburg sovereigns (Philip II-Philip III-Philip IV).

In the winter of 1585, the governor of the Netherlands, the Duke of Parma, decided to send the Tercio Viejo de Zamora (one of the Spanish Tercios) to winter in the north, to protect the Catholics there. 3000-4000 men were sent thus, to Bommelerwaard, a island that was supposed to be rich enough to maintain them - but all farmers deserted.

100 ships, along with infantry, commanded by Philip van Hohenloe, who offered a honorable surrender to the Tercio. They refused, because the Spanish Infantry never surrenders. The dutch, angered by the reply, broke the dike, and flooded everything (including the Spanish camp) but the little hill Empel.

You can see here how the Spanish Infantry was very packed together on that mount, with fire from all the dutch ships and the fort that the dutch had occupied



The Spanish dug trenches, believing it to be their last day on Earth. While dugging the trenches, they found a image of the Virgin Mary, which, due to be hours before the 8th of December, what though to be of Immaculate Mary.

The night from 7th to 8th December, a very cold wind (unheard of) came and froze the rivers. The Spaniards, believing it to be the virgin Mary protecting them, attacked the ships and killed all the people manning them. On the morning of the 8th december, full of rage, they assaulted the fort. The field was theirs.

The dutch commander said: "For God must be a Spaniard, so as to bring such miracle to them!".

The Spanish Infantry believed that the Inmaculate Virgin Mary had saved them, and soon she become quite popular in the Spanish army. When, in the XIX century, the Pope agreed to include Inmaculate Virgin Mary among the Catholic dogma, the Spanish army adpoted her as their patroness.

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December 7:

The Battle of Prairie Grove
December 7, 1862, hoping to destroy Brig. Gen. Francis Herron’s and Brig. Gen. James Blunt’s divisions before they joined forces, Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman placed his large force between the two Union divisions, turning on Herron first and routing his cavalry. As Hindman pursued the cavalry, he met Herron’s infantry which pushed him back. The Rebels then established their line of battle on a wooded high ridge northeast of Prairie Grove Church. After the failure of two Federal assaults, a spirited artillery duel kept the opposing forces from gaining any advantage. Hearing the cannon fire from Herron's fight, Blunt moved his division toward the sound of the fighting and assailed the Confederate left flank. Hindman parried Blunt’s advance but was unable to make any further progress against Herron. Though the battle ended as a stalemate, nightfall saw Hindman's force retreating to Van Buren establishing Federal control of northwest Arkansas.
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December 8:

The Battle of Canhe Slope (參合陂之戰) refers to a battle that took place on the 8th of December 395 where the Chinese/Xianbei state Later Yan, then ruling over northern and central China, had launched a punitive campaign against its former vassal Northern Wei, also of Xianbei extraction. Later Yan forces were led by its crown prince Murong Bao and enjoyed some initial successes, but after being frustrated by the containment strategy by Northern Wei's prince Tuoba Gui (the later Emperor Daowu), withdrew. Tuoba Gui then gave chase and crushed Later Yan forces at Canhe Slope (Canhebei,参合陂). He captured a large number of Later Yan forces as captive, but in fear that releasing them would allow a future Later Yan campaign against Northern Wei, slaughtered them. The battle reversed the power relations between Later Yan and Northern Wei. After Later Yan's emperor Murong Chui (Emperor Wucheng) died in 396 and Murong Bao succeeded to the throne (as Emperor Huimin), Northern Wei would launch a debilitating campaign of conquest against Later Yan, and by 398 had captured most of Later Yan's territory, reducing Later Yan to a small regional state.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Canhe_Slope
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jamuki wrote:

In the winter of 1585, the governor of the Netherlands, the Duke of Parma, decided to send the Tercio Viejo de Zamora (one of the Spanish Tercios) to winter in the north, to protect the Catholics there.


We all know that armies are never sent to "protect" anyone except the politicians interests.

aaahhh ... the good ole' days of wars of religion ... (always a pretext for politics)
 
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December 9:

The Battle of Marj Ardabil or the Battle of Ardabil was a battle fought on the plains surrounding the city of Ardabil in northwestern Iran on the 9th of December 730. A Khazar army led by Barjik, the son of the Khazar khagan, invaded the Umayyad provinces of Jibal and Adharybaydjian in retaliation for Caliphate attacks on Khazaria during the course of the decades-long Khazar-Arab War of the early 8th century.

Barjik's expedition into northern Iran (and later into Kurdistan and northern Mesopotamia) may have been an attempt to establish Khazar rule south of the Caucasus Mountains.

An outnumbered force led by the Umayyad general al-Jarrah ibn Abdallah engaged the Khazars for three days. Ultimately, abandoned by many of their mawali auxiliaries, the Caliph's forces were overwhelmed and defeated. During the course of the battle, al-Jarrah was killed. The victorious Barjik mounted his head on top of the throne from which he commanded the battles of his Middle Eastern campaign. According to the historian Agapius, the Arabs suffered 20,000 dead and twice that number captured, a figure which probably includes the population of Ardabil and the surrounding territories.

Following their victory, the Khazars occupied Ardabil. The next year, however, Barjik led an army to Mosul and was defeated. According to Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari and other Arab historians, the Muslims were so enraged by Barjik's desecration of their commander's head that they fought with extra vigor. The Khazar army at Mosul was defeated and withdrew north of the Caucasus Mountains.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Marj_Ardabil
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December 10:

The naval Battle of Dungeness took place on 30 November 1652 (10 December Gregorian calendar), during the First Anglo-Dutch War near the cape of Dungeness in Kent. The battle was a decisive Dutch victory.

The battle resulted in several reforms in the English Fleet. Part of the English force consisted of impressed merchant vessels that retained their civilian captains/owners. Many of them refused to participate in the battle. Some naval captains insisted on their traditional right to enter and leave the battle at times of their choosing, and to leave formation in order to secure any prize.

The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty responded by:
requiring all impressed vessels to be under the command of naval captains;
dividing the fleet into squadrons under junior flag officers for better command and control;
issuing Sailing and Fighting Instructions which significantly enhanced an admiral's authority over his fleet.

The victory gave the Dutch temporary control of the English Channel and so control of merchant shipping.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dungeness
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December 10:

The battle of Villaviciosa took place on 10 December, 1710, as part of the War of the Spanish Succession (see the excellent No Peace Without Spain!). This war was fought over the right to inherit the Spanish Kingdom at the dead of the king Charles II, with Philip of France (who has the backing of most parts of Spain, France and Bavaria) and Charles of Austria (with the backing of the Grand Alliance: rest of Spain, Portugal, Austria, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Prussia, Savoy and Hanover) as contenders.

If in Europe the Grand Alliance was quite successful, wresting control of Italy and what is nowadays Belgium out of the Spanish kingdom, in Spain proper the Grand Alliance suffered a big setback in the battle of Almansa in 1707. By 1709, however, Louis XIV of France was tired of a war that was full of defeats, and pulled most of his armies from Spain, leaving a token force.

By 1710, it was clear that he was ready for a settlement, even one that forced his grandson Philip out of Spain. The allies concentrated all their efforts in Spain and with reinforcements, Charles was able to, starting from Barcelona - its only remaining place - reconquer Saragossa and even Madrid. However, the very cold reception from the population in Madrid (Charles decided to sleep outside of the walls because of that) and the popular support for Philip in Castille allowed him to recruit a new army and pursuit Charles' army.

In Villaviciosa, 98km northeast of Madrid, Philip's army, leaded by the king himself and the french general Vendôme, crossed swords with Charles' army.

The battle started with a duel of artillery and an attack of the right flank of Philip army. This was very successful, even to the point of greatly damaging the allies' artillery - but at the same time the center of Philip army ceded to the allies' attack and his left flank, regardless of a very good initial charged, also ceded. The right flank of Philip army attacked the rest of the allies' army, and then retreat.

Both sides claimed victory. The allies' owned the battlefield, but they had lost all artillery and more men than Philip, and would continue their retreat in a very bad shape.



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December 11:

The Battle of Orewin Bridge (also known as the Battle of Irfon Bridge) was fought between English (led by the Marcher Lords) and Welsh armies on 11 December 1282 near Builth Wells in mid-Wales. It was a decisive defeat for the Welsh because their leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was killed, and this effectively ended the independence of Wales.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Orewin_Bridge
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December 11

On the 11th of December of 1868 the allied armies of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay defeated the Paraguayan army and forced the government of Paraguay to abandon their capital, Asuncion.

----

The war of the triple alliance was disastrous for Paraguay, as she lost near 70-90% of her male population and a lot territory.

Lopez, the dictator of Paraguay, fearing that Argentina was set onto rebuilding the "Virrenatio de la Plata" by conquering Paraguay and Uruguay, set for a policy of alliance with the White party of Uruguay. Brazil supported their rival party, the Colorado Party, so Paraguay, fearing losing her only ally in the region, and feeling quite powerful in the superb river defenses of the formidable fortress of Humaitá, declared war on Brazil.

The war started in 1864, as Paraguay seized some Brazilian ships and invaded the Motto Grosso province in that country, sacking its rich gold and silver mines and causing heavy damage, without any response from the Brazilian government.

After that, Paraguay asked for permission to cross Argentina territory to both defend Uruguayan White Party and attack Brazil. When this permission was denied, Paraguay declared war on Argentina (1865) and proceed to conquer the province of Corrientes.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian army finished up the White Party in Uruguay, and gave the government to the Colorado Party. Now, Paraguay was without allies, and Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil signed the treaty of the triple alliance (1865).

In the summer of 1865, the naval forces of Brazil inflicted a severe defeat on the Paraguayan fleet, but the allies were not able to progress much, due to the fortress of Humaitá and the rivalries among the allies. It was not until summer of 1868 that the allies were able to capture Humaitá and progress further north. Lopez improvised another defensive position on the river Piquissiri, but the allies were able to force him to battle on Avay, a stream.

The Paraguayan had a strong position, but the powerful ally cavalry was able to attack the rear of their foes, forcing them to fly the field with very high losses.

As consequence of this battle, Asuncion fell, but there was still two more years of war pending.

After the war, Paraguay ceded many territories to Argentina and Brazil.



In green, Paraguay after all the loses. In blue, what was given to Argentina. In Pink, territory ceded to Brazil.

The brown territory and yellow territory are for the war of Cacho, which would come in the XX century
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jamuki wrote:


The war of the triple alliance was disastrous for Paraguay, as she lost near 70-90% of her male population and a lot territory.


This war always stuns me with the extent of Paraguay's losses. Total war, 1868 style.
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December 12:

The Battle of Nineveh (Ἡ μάχη τῆς Νινευί), which took place December 12 627, was the climactic battle of the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602–628. The Byzantine victory later resulted in civil war in Persia and for a period of time restored the Roman empire to its ancient boundaries in the Middle East. This resurgence of power and prestige was not to last, as within a matter of a few years, an Arab Caliphate emerged from Arabia and once again brought the empire to the brink of destruction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nineveh_(627)
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December 12:

The first battle of the First Carlist War, the Battle of Mendaza, took part on December 12 of 1834, resulting in a liberal victory.

----

In Spain, much as in England, the long tradition has been that women could took the throne if no male heir was present (for instance, Isabelle I). After his victory in the War of Spanish Succession, Philip V passed a law to avoid that - and cut any chance of Austrians to recover the throne through one of the women heirs.

By the end of the same century, however, it was clear that this was not needed and there was a risk of not having a male heir, so Charles IV passed a law to restore the right of a women to be the heir of the throne. This law was passed but not written in the official law collection of Spain, and his Ferdinand VII, did so, to allow his daughter to ascend to the throne.

Charles, brother of Ferdinand, did not accept this, and when Ferdinand died, rebelled. He had all the conservatives (anti French-revolution, anti-democracy) liberals and some old-rights (specially in the Basque Country and Catalonia) as his supporters. The daughter of Ferdinand VII, the future Isabelle II, being a child, the throne was in the hands of the regent Maria Cristina (mother of Isabelle and wife of Ferdinand), and all liberals supported her.

In 1833, the Carlists avoid any pitched battle, keeping harassing and raiding and collecting troops. By the end of 1834, they believed to be strong enough, and led by their great general Zumalacarregui (one the best Spanish general of the XIX century), they accepted battle at Mendaza (Navarre).

Zumalacarregui arrayed his troops in a U, very reminiscent of Cannae. Also, not having artillery at all, Zumalacarregui was confident on the U array, as the montains shielded the wings of the U.

The liberal general, Luis Fernandez de Cordoba, fell in the trap and order an assalt against the weak center of Zumalacarregui to this second, Marcelino Oorá, who was a lot smarter than his boss. His did not comply with the order, and feeling the trap, the assault the left wing of the U, forcing the carlist army to change the formation. This made the Carlist army a good target for the artillery of the liberals, who smashed them.

The carlists retreat, and a battle was won by those who disobeyed their leader.

Zumalacarregui learnt his lesson, and in the next battles, he will win over the carlist generals in the next months over and over. His dead in june of 1835, in the siege of Bilbao, put at the end to the high hopes of the Carlists.

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