Battle of Altafulla

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Battle of Altafulla
Part of Peninsular War
Castle of Altafulla
Date 29 January 1812
Location Altafulla, Spain
Result French victory
France First French Empire Spain Kingdom of Spain
Commanders and leaders
France Maurice Mathieu Spain Baron de Eroles
Units involved
France VII Corps Spain Army of Catalonia
8,000 4,250, 2 guns
Casualties and losses
light 600–2,000, 2 guns

At the Battle of Altafulla (24 January 1812), a Spanish division led by Joaquín Ibáñez Cuevas y de Valonga, Baron de Eroles clashed with an Imperial French division under the command of David-Maurice-Joseph Mathieu de La Redorte. Believing he faced only a single battalion, Eroles attacked in a heavy fog and was beaten by 8,000 French soldiers. The action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was fought near Altafulla, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of Tarragona, Spain.

Only a few days earlier, on 18 January 1812, Eroles' 4,250-man force had wiped out an 850-strong French battalion of the 121st Line Infantry Regiment at the Col de Balaguer, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) southwest of Tarragona. Only the French commander, Jacques Mathurin Lafosse, and 22 dragoons escaped the debacle. Emboldened by his victory, Eroles decided to engage a French force six days later at Altafulla and suffered the loss of between 600 and 2,000 men. Uncowed by his defeat, Eroles repulsed Jean Raymond Charles Bourke's French force when it attacked him at Roda de Isábena on 5 March.


Mathieu's Imperial forces included three battalions of the French 3rd Light Infantry Regiment, one battalion each of the French 18th Light, 23rd Line, and 115th Line Infantry Regiments, two battalions of the Duchy of Nassau Infantry Regiment, and two companies of partisans. Baron de Eroles led 4,000 foot soldiers, 250 cavalry, and two artillery pieces. While Digby Smith asserted that Spanish losses came to 2,000 killed, wounded, and both guns. French losses were described as light.[1] Charles Oman stated that Spanish losses amounted to 600 men and two guns.[2]


  1. Smith (1998), 375
  2. Oman (1914), 96


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