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Roncesvalles Pass

Battle Name : Roncesvalles Pass

Date(s) : 25 July 1813

Part of : The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars , The Peninsular Campaign ,

Outcome : A victory for French Army of Spain [Soult] over British Peninsular Army

Type of battle : Land


After Vitoria Wellington had spread his forces to cover two sieges and the passes over the Pyrenees [see Maya Pass]. At Roncesvalles General Cole had 13,000 men including Morillo's Spanish Division. Soult with his main force of 40,000 men sent two strong columns, under Reille and Clausel, onto the plateaux either side of the main road. The British were in excellent defensive positions and Clausel's column was held for four hours by General Byng's Brigade, [odds of almost ten to one]. Heavy late afternoon fog came down and Cole, contrary to his orders to 'hold to the utmost' decided to withdraw on Pamplona. This he did under cover of fog and darkness.


Pass over the Pyrenees on the circuitous route from Bayonne, France to Pamplona, Spain. The pass is about 32 miles from the Biscay coast.

Casualty figures

French Army of Spain [Soult]

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British Peninsular Army

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