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Division of the North
Active March – November 1808
Country  Spain
Allegiance Ferdinand VII of Spain
Branch Escudo del Ejército de Tierra.PNG Army
Type Infantry
Role Garrison, subsequently front-line
Size 15,000
Garrison/HQ Denmark (until May 1808)
Engagements Battle of Valmaseda, Battle of Espinosa
Disbanded November 1808 (destroyed)
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Marquis of La Romana,
Joaquín Blake y Joyes

The Division of the North was a 19th century Spanish division.

Uniforms of the Division of the North

The division was composed by 14,000 men, and commanded by Pedro Caro y Sureda.[1] Being Spain an ally of France, the unit spent 1807 and 1808 performing garrison duties in Hamburg under Marshal Bernadotte. In March 1808, along with a Franco-Belgian unit of approximately the same size, it was sent to Denmark with the goal of protectcting the country, another ally of Napoleon. It was also hoped that it be used in a planned invasion of Sweden.

While in Denmark, the Peninsular War broke out (May 2nd 1808). Once he learnt about the new alliances, Caro y Sureda made plans with the British to repatriate his men to Spain. At least 9,000 men of the 15,000-strong division were immediately able to board British ships on August 27 and escape to Spain.[2] Their defection reduced Bernadotte's Hanseatic army to a string of glorified coastal garrisons, severely sapping Napoleon's left (north) wing in the contest with Austria for mastery over Central Europe in 1809.

Notes

  1. ^ Gates (1986), p. 479
  2. ^ Gates (1986), p. 83

References

  • Chandler, David G. The Campaigns of Napoleon. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. ISBN 0-02-523660-1
  • Chartrand, René (1999). The Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781855327658.  
  • Gates, David. The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. Da Capo Press 2001. ISBN 0-306-81083-2
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