167.Vitoria1_21June13 - JTS Wellington's Peninsular War
167.Vitoria1_21June13By Rich White
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|First Side:||French (Nap)|
|Second Side:||Allies (NAP_WPW)|
Vitoria 21 June 1813 - Despite the scale of the Russian debacle and the need to transfer troops from the Peninsular to fight in Germany, Napoleon had no intention of abandoning control of Spain or of ordering a full-scale withdrawal to consolidate the remaining French forces, although he did instruct Joseph to withdrawal his HQ from Madrid to Valladolid. By June the French were obliged to fall back, first to Burgos, then to the river Ebro, but Allied forces were able to cross in three places before a defensive line could be established. While Reille recommended retreating to Zaragoza, Joseph insisted on following his brother's instruction to retreat via the high road to Vitoria, despite the threat of enemy forces on the river Bayas. After skirmishes at Osma and San Millan on 18th June, the French decided to make a stand at Vitoria. Wellington's battle plan involved launching simultaneous attacks on the French front and flank, with Graham's column attempting to outflank the French right and cutting off the main retreat route back towards France.
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