How the Swiss saved Spain

Far from welcoming Napoleon as a liberator from the evil Bourbons, Catalan irregulars inflicted some of the most significant and discouraging defeats suffered by the French in Spain. However, things were not always as they seemed. Here’s a bit of Antoni Moliner Prader’s dossier, Popular resistance in Catalonia: somatenes and migueletes in the French war:

Beyond legend and the myth of the “Drum of Bruc”, the participation of the Swiss Wimpffen regiment in the [Bruc action against General Schwartz on June 6 1806] should be noted, with the detachment… Their participation was also in the second action at Bruc on June 14 … in which besides the Manresa and Igualada somatenes [local militias] there was participation by the Cervera and Lleida tercios, among which there were several Swiss companies, more than 500 men, dressed as peasants, even down to their Catalan barretina caps.

I wonder whether the last detail is not a romantic invention, but it’s a good story.

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