1600 29th August 1813
Soult’s plan to recapture Pancorbo left both 7th and 8th French corps exposed to an allied attack.
This was unlikely to happen to 7th corps at Burgos, as 2nd allied corps would take at least 24 hours to recover from their defeat.
However further south 8th corps was in real danger at Aranda.
General Cole’s 3rd allied corps was the strongest of the three corps. It contained two Anglo-Portuguese divisions, including Alten’s light division.
From the start of the campaign, Wellington had earmarked Cole to deal the decisive blow of the campaign. The loss of Aranda would sever French communications between Bayonne and Madrid. At a stroke it would contain the French to a narrow strip of northern Spain.
It would also position Wellington’s strongest corps on the flank of the remaining two French corps. He could then advance against each in turn with over whelming strength from both the west and south.
Throughout the campaign Cole had preserved his command carefully. His steady progress allowed him to halt and resupply when it suited him. It also allowed the two allied corps to the north to take the brunt of the fighting.
He was now ready to strike at Aranda and destroy 8th corps.