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Die leërs by Talavera, 27-28 Julie 1809


Die leërs by Talavera, 27-28 Julie 1809

Geallieerde leërs

Britse leërSpaanse leër van Estramadura

Franse leër

Opsomming van sterkpunte

InfanterieKavalerieGewereTotaal
Brits16,6612,969vyf batterye, 1 011 kanonne20,641
Spaans
Aanwesig
35,000
28,000
7,000
6,000
30 gewere
800 kanonne, 30 gewere
42,000
34,800
Frans37,735*840346,138

Britse en Franse figure is vir die troepe wat by Talavera teenwoordig is. Die eerste Spaanse syfers is Cuesta'a amptelike opgawes, die tweede syfers die getalle wat by die weermag by Talavera voorkom.
* Franse infanteriefigure sluit die afdelingsgeskutters in.

Geallieerde leërs

Britse leër

Bevelvoerder: Sir Arthur WellesleyTweede in bevel: Sir John Coape Sherbrooke

Kavalerie-afdeling: luitenant-generaal William Payne

Fane's Brigade: Sir Henry Fane
3de Dragoon Guard
4de Dragoons

Cotton's Brigade: Sir Stapleton Cotton
14de Light Dragoons
16de Ligte Drake

Anson's Brigade: George Anson
23ste Light Dragoons
1st Light Dragoons, King's German Legion

Totale sterkte: 2,969

Eerste (Sherbrooke's) afdeling:

H Campbell se Brigade
1ste bataljon, Coldstream Guards
1ste bataljon, 3de wagte
Een maatskappy 5/60ste voet

Cameron's Brigade: Sir Alan Cameron van Erracht
1/61 voet
2/83 voet
Een maatskappy 5/60ste voet

Langwerth's Brigade (Gedood in aksie)
1st Line bataljon, King's German Legion
2nd Line bataljon, King's German Legion
Light Companies, King's German Legion

Low's Brigade
5de lyn bataljon, King's German Legion
7de lyn bataljon, King's German Legion

Totale sterkte: 5 964

Tweede (Hill's) afdeling: Sir Rowland Hill

Tilson's Brigade
1/3 voet
2/48 voet
2/66 voet
Een maatskappy 5/60ste voet

R Stewart's Brigade: Richard Stewart
29ste voet
1/48 voet
1ste bataljon Detachments

Totale sterkte: 3,905

Derde (Mackenzie's) afdeling: Sir Alexander Mackenzie

Mackenzie se brigade
2/24 voet
2/31 voet
1/45 voet

Donkin's Brigade: Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin
2/87 voet
1/88 voet
Vyf maatskappye 5/60ste voet

Totale sterkte: 3,747

Vierde afdeling (Campbell's): Sir Alexander Campbell

A Campbell's Brigade: Sir Alexander Campbell
2/7 voet
2/53 voet
Een maatskappy 5/60ste voet

Kemmis se brigade
1/40 voet
97ste voet
2de bataljon Detachments
Een maatskappy 5/60ste voet

Totale sterkte: 2,960

Artilley:

Brits
Lawson se battery
Sillery se battery
Elliot se battery

Duitsland
Rettberg se battery
Heyse se battery

Totale sterkte: 1 011

Spaanse leër van Estremadura

Hoofgeneraal: luitenant -generaal Gregorio de la Cuesta

Tweede in bevel: luitenant -generaal Francisco de Eguia
Beampte bevelvoerende artillerie: Brigadier-generaal G. Rodriguez
Bevelvoerende ingenieurs: Brigadier-generaal M. Zappiono

Generaal -majoor van Infanterie: Generaal -majoor J. M. de Alos

Voorhoede: Brigadier -generaal José Zayas
2de Voluntarios van Katalonië
Cazadores de Barbastro (2de bataljon)
Cazadores de Campo-burgemeester
Cazadores de Valencia en Albuquerque
Cazadores Voluntarios de Valencia (2de bataljon)

1ste afdeling: generaal-majoor Marques de Zayas
Cantabria (drie bataljons)
Granaderos Provinciales
Canarias
Tiradores de Merida
Provincial de Truxillo

2de afdeling: generaal -majoor Vincente Iglesias
2de van Mallorca
Velez-Malaga (drie bataljons)
Osuna (drie bataljons)
Voluntarios Estrangeros
Provincial de Burgos

3de afdeling: generaal-majoor Marques de Portago
Badajoz (twee bataljons)
2de van Antequera
Imperial de Toledo
Provincial de Badajoz
Provincial de Guadix

4de Afdeling: Generaal-majoor R. Manglano
Irlanda (twee bataljons)
Jaen (twee bataljons)
3de van Sevilla
Leales de Fernando VII (1ste bataljon)
2de Voluntarios de Madrid
Voluntearios de la Corona

5de Afdeling: Generaal-majoor L. A. Bassecourt
Real Marina, 1ste Regiment (twee bataljons)
Afrika (3de bataljon)
Murcia (twee bataljons)
Reyna (1ste bataljon)
Provincial de Sigüenza

Generaal -majoor van Kavalerie: Generaal -majoor R. de Villalba, Marquis de Malapina

1ste Afdeling: luitenant -generaal J. de Henestrosa
Rey
Calatrava
Voluntaris de España
Imperial de Toledo
Cazadores de Sevilla
Reyna
Villaviciosa
Cazadores de Madrid

2de afdeling: luitenant-generaal Duque de Albuquerque
Carabineros Reales (een eskader)
Infante
Alcantara
Pavia
Almanza
1ste en 2de Huzaren van Estremadura

Totale sterkte: 35 000 infanterie, 7 000 kavallerie en 30 gewere

Franse leër

1ste Korps: Marshal Victor

1ste afdeling: Ruffin
9de Léger (drie bataljons)
24ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)
96ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)

2de afdeling: Lapisse (vermoor in aksie)
16de Léger (drie bataljons)
8ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)
45ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)
54ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)

3de Afdeling: Villatte
27ste Léger (drie bataljons)
63ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)
94ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)
95ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)

Corps-Cavalry: Beaumont
2de Huzars
5de Chasseurs

Totale sterkte: 19,310

4de korps: generaal Sebastiani

1ste afdeling: Sebastiani
28ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)
32ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)
58ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)
75ste van die lyn (drie bataljons)

2de afdeling: Valence
4de Poolse regiment (twee bataljons)

3de afdeling: Leval
Nassau (twee bataljons)
Baden (twee bataljons)
Hesse-Darmstadt (twee bataljons)
Holland (twee bataljons)
Frankfort (een bataljon)

Merlin's Light Cavalry
10de Chasseurs
26ste Chasseurs
Poolse Lancers
Westfaal Chevaux-Légers

Totale sterkte: 15,456

Reserve Kavalerie

1ste Dragoon-afdeling: Latour-Maubourg
1ste, 2de, 4de, 9de, 14de en 26ste Dragoons

2de Dragoon Division: Milhaud
5de, 12de, 16de, 20ste, 21ste Dragoons
3de Nederlandse Huzaren

Totale sterkte: 5,635

Troepe uit Madrid

12de Léger (drie bataljons)
51ste lyn (drie bataljons)
King's Guard Infanterie
King's Guard Kavalerie
27ste chasseurs (twee eskaders)

Totale sterkte: 5,737

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Slag van Talavera

Die Slag van Talavera (27 󈞈 Julie 1809) is geveg net buite die stad Talavera de la Reina, ongeveer 120 kilometer suidwes van Madrid, tydens die Skiereilandoorlog in Spanje. By Talavera het 'n Anglo-Spaanse leër onder Sir Arthur Wellesley gekombineer met 'n Spaanse leër onder generaal Cuesta in operasies teen die Frans-besette Madrid. Na hewige gevegte is die aanvalle van die Grande Armée verskeie kere afgeweer gedurende die oornag stilte in aksie wat dit van die veld onttrek het. Wellesley is veredel as Burggraaf Wellington van Talavera en van Wellington Γ ] vir die aksie.


Die Slag van Talavera

Bestryders: Britte en Spaans teen die Franse.

Generaals: Luitenant -generaal sir Arthur Wellesley teen koning Joseph Bonaparte

Grootte van die leërs: 20 000 Britte en 30 000 Spaanse teenoor 46 000 Franse.

Uniforms, arms en toerusting: Uniforms, wapens, toerusting en opleiding:

Die Britse infanterie het rooi middellyfbaadjies, 'n wit broek en stoofpyp -shakos gedra. Fusilier -regimente het kappies met velle gedra. Die twee geweerregimente het donkergroen baadjies gedra.

Britse Dragoons het rooi jasse en helms in Romeinse styl gedra. Die Light Dragoons het ligblou gedra. Die Royal Artillery het blou tunieke gedra.

Hooglandregimente het die kilt gedra met rooi tunieke en lang swart volstruisveerpette.

Die King's German Legion, wat bestaan ​​uit sowel kavalerie- as infanterieregimente, het swart gedra, net soos ander Duitse eenhede in die Britse diens.

Die Franse leër het 'n wye verskeidenheid uniforms gedra. Die basiese infanterie -uniform was donkerblou.

Die Franse kavalerie bestaan ​​grotendeels uit groen. Die Franse artillerie geklee in uniforms soortgelyk aan die infanterie, die perdeartillerie in huzaaruniform.

Die standaard infanteriewapen oor al die leërs was die muskiet. Dit kan drie of vier keer per minuut afgevuur word en 'n swaar bal vir ongeveer honderd meter of so onakkuraat gooi. Elke infanteris het 'n bajonet gedra wat op die snuit van sy muskiet aangebring is.

Die Britse geweerbataljons (60ste en 95ste geweer) het die Baker -geweer, 'n meer akkurate wapen, maar stadiger om te skiet, en 'n swaardbajonet gedra.

Veldgewere het 'n balprojektiel afgevuur, vanweë die beperkte gebruik daarvan teen troepe in die veld, tensy dit nou gevorm is. Guns het ook 'n kisskiet of 'n houer afgevuur wat gefragmenteer het, maar slegs oor 'n kort afstand effektief was. Ontploffende skulpe wat deur houwitsers afgevuur is, was nog in hul kinderskoene veral nuttig vir geboue. Die Britte het die geheime ontwikkeling op hierdie gebied van 'skrapnel' gehad.

Wenner: Beide kante het 'n oorwinning behaal, die Britte op die basis dat al die Franse aanvalle deurslaggewend afgeweer is, met Franse gewere gevang, en die Franse op die basis dat die Britte uiteindelik gedwing is om terug te trek uit die Talavera -posisie, wat hul gewondes laat in Franse hande.

Britse regimente:

3de Dragoon Guards, later die 3rd Carabineers en nou die Royal Scots Dragoon Guards *
4de Dragoons, later die 4de/7de RoyalDragoon Guards en nou die Royal Dragoon Guards*
14de Ligte Drake, later 14de/20ste King's Huzars en nou die King's Royal Huzars *
16de Ligte Drake. Later 16de/5de die Queen's Royal Lancers en nou die Queen's Royal Lancers *
23ste Light Dragoons, ontbind in 1815
1ste bataljon, Coldstream Guards*
3de wagte, nou die Skotswagte*
3de Buffs, later die East Kent Regiment en nou die Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment *
7de Royal Fusiliers, nou die Royal Regiment of Fusiliers *
24ste voet, later die Grense van Suid -Wallis en nou die Koninklike Regiment van Wallis *
29ste voet, later die Worcestershire Regiment en nou die Worcestershire en Sherwood Foresters Regiment *
31ste voet, later die East Surrey Regiment en nou die Prinses van Wallis se Royal Regiment *
40ste voet, later die South Lancashire Regiment en nou die Queen's Lancashire Regiment *
45ste voet, later die Sherwood Foresters en nou die Worcestershire & amp; Sherwood Foresters Regiment *
48ste voet, later die Northamptonshire -regiment en nou die Royal Anglian *
53ste voet, later die King's Shropshire Light Infantry en nou die Light Infantry *
60ste voet, later die King's Royal Rifles en nou die Royal Green Jackets *
61ste voet, later die Gloucestershire Regiment en nou die Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire en Wiltshire Regiment *
66ste voet, later die Royal Berkshire Regiment en nou die Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire en Wiltshire Regiment *
83ste voet, later die Royal Ulster Rifles en nou die Royal Irish Regiment *
87ste voet, later die Royal Irish Fusiliers en nou die Royal Irish Regiment *
88th Foot, die Connaught Rangers, ontbind in 1922 *
97ste voet, ontbind 1815
* Hierdie regimente het Talavera as 'n geveg.

Britse Slagorde:

Hoofkommandant: luitenant -generaal Sir Arthur Wellesley
Kavalerie: onder bevel van luitenant -generaal William Payne
1ste Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier

Generaal Henry Fane
3de Dragoon Guard
4de Dragoons

2de Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal Stapleton Cotton
14de Ligte Drake
16de Ligte Drake

3de Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal George Anson
23ste Light Dragoons
1ste Huzars, die Duitse legioen van King

Infanterie:
1ste afdeling: onder bevel van luitenant -generaal John Sherbrooke
1ste Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal Henry Campbell
1ste bataljon, Coldstream Guards
1ste/3de wagte
1 Co. 5de/60ste voet

2de Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal Alan Cameron
1ste/61ste voet
2de/83ste voet
1 Co. 5de/60ste voet

3de Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal Ernst, Baron Langwerth
1st Line Bataljon, King's German Legion
2nd Line Bataljon, King's German Legion
1ste ligte bataljon, King's German Legion
2de ligte bataljon, King's German Legion

4de Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal Sigismund, Baron Löw
5th Line Bataljon, King's German Legion
7de lynbataljon, King's German Legion

2de afdeling: onder bevel van generaal -majoor Rowland Hill
1ste Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal Christopher Tilson
1ste/3de buffs
2de/48ste voet
2de/66ste voet
1 Co. 5de/60ste voet

2de Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal Richard Stewart
29ste voet
1ste/48ste voet
1ste Bn afdelings

3de Afdeling: onder bevel van generaal -majoor Randoll Mackenzie
1ste Brigade: onder bevel van generaal -majoor Randoll Mackenzie
2de/24ste voet
2de/31ste voet
1ste/45ste voet

2de Brigade: onder bevel van kolonel Donkin
2de/87ste voet
1ste/88ste voet
5de/60ste voet

4de Afdeling: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal Alexander Campbell
1ste Brigade: onder bevel van brigadier -generaal Alexander Campbell
2de/7de Fusiliers
2de/53ste voet
1 Co. 5de/60ste voet

2de Brigade: onder bevel van kolonel James Kemmis
1ste/40ste voet
97ste voet
2de Bataljon afdelings
1 Co. 5de/60ste voet

Lawson, Sillery's en Elliot se batterye
Rettberg en Heise se batterye

Franse gevegsorde:
Hoofkommandant: Joseph Napoleon, koning van Spanje
Personeelhoof: Marshal Jourdan

I Corps: onder bevel van Marshal Victor
1ste afdeling onder bevel van generaal Ruffin
2de afdeling onder bevel van generaal Lapisse
3de Afdeling onder bevel van generaal Villatte

IV Korps: onder bevel van generaal Sebastiani
1ste afdeling onder bevel van generaal Sebastiani
2de afdeling onder bevel van generaal Valence
3de afdeling onder bevel van generaal Leval

Kavallerie Brigade onder bevel van generaal Merlin

Afdeling Madrid onder bevel van generaal Dessolles

Reserwe van kavallerie:

1ste Dragoon-afdeling onder bevel van generaal Latour-Maubourg
2de Dragoon Division onder bevel van generaal Milhaud
Artillerie: onder bevel van generaal Sénarmont
82 gewere.

Sir Arthur Wellesley het op 2 Julie 1809 die grens van Portugal na Spanje oorgesteek met die doel om saam te werk met die Spaanse leërs van generaal Cuesta en generaal Venegas in 'n aanval op die Franse in Madrid onder Joseph Bonaparte.

Joseph het ook aggressiewe planne gehad, met die bedoeling om die korps van Marshal Soult te gebruik om Portugal binne te val. Op 20 Julie 1809 het Wellesley by generaal Cuesta aangesluit en gevorder om die korps van Marshal Victor naby Talavera aan te val. Op 22 Julie 1809 begin die Britte die posisies van Victor ondersoek.

Gehoor van Wellesley se opmars Soult, in die noorde geplaas, het voorgestel dat Victor die Britse en Spaanse leërs sou hou terwyl hy suidwaarts marsjeer en sy leër van 30 000 man tussen Wellesley en sy basis in Portugal plaas.

Victor in die lig van die aanvalle op hom het onttrek, met die Spaanse leër van Cuesta wat hom volg. By Torrijos, veertig myl na die ooste, is Cuesta gekonfronteer deur Joseph Bonaparte se leër van 46 000 man. Cuesta het teruggetrek en by Wellesley by Talavera aangesluit.

Tydens die laaste deel van hierdie toevlugsoord het die Franse voorwag 'n brigade Britse voet verras en groot ongevalle opgedoen.

Teen die aand van 26 Julie 1809 was die Britse en Spaanse leër in posisie by Talavera aan die noordoewer van die rivier die Taag. Die Spanjaarde beset die stad en die nabye noordelike gebied. Buiten hul posisies vorm 'n lyn van hoë grond die belangrikste posisie vir die Britse troepe, wat eindig op die Cerro de Medellin. Tussen die Cerro en die berge van die Sierra de Segurilla lê 'n smal vallei.
Die Talavera -posisie bied die hoë veld wat Wellesley bevoordeel het vir 'n verdedigende stryd.

Marshal Victor se korps het die Franse opmars gelei en die Britse brigade die aand verras. Victor het besluit om die Cerro de Medellin, die oorheersende kenmerk van die Britse lyn, sonder versuim aan te val, hoewel dit nou nag was. Die afdeling van generaal Ruffin het die aanval gedoen. Die Franse het die beraad bereik voordat die Britse troepe besef het dat hulle daar was en daar was groot verwarring. Generaal Hill het 'n reserwe -brigade gebring en Ruffin se manne van die Cerro verdryf. Die res van die nag het die Britte deurgebring en gewag op 'n verdere Franse aanval.

Om vyfuur het marshal Victor die afdeling van Ruffin terug na die Cerro gestuur, 'n battery van vyftig gewere wat die aanval ondersteun het. Hierdie keer was die Britte gereed. Wellesley se troepe lê agter die kruin van die heuwel uit die lyn van artillerievuur. Toe Ruffin se infanterie die top van die heuwel bereik, staan ​​die Britse 29ste en 48ste voet op en belas met die bajonet, en ry die Franse terug teen die heuwel en oor die Portina -spruit.

Daar was twee uur 'n pouse in die geveg terwyl Joseph Bonaparte met sy stafhoof, Jourdan, Victor en Sebastiani, beraadslaag het. Victor dring daarop aan dat Sebastiani die Britte moet aanval op die aansluiting met die Spaanse formasies, terwyl hy weer die Cerro aanval. Joseph, angstig vir 'n seëvierende uitkoms, het ingestem.

Die kolomme van Sebastiani val aan op die punt waar die heuwels die laagste was. Sy linkerkolom, na bittere gevegte, is deur die 7de Fusiliers en die 53ste voet teruggedryf. Sy regterkolom val die Britse voetwagte en die 83ste voet aan. Die Franse is deur die wagte teruggejaag, maar tydens die agtervolging is die wagte deur 'n Franse battery ingeneem en in verwarring teruggery, terwyl Sebastiani se kolomme na die aanval teruggekeer het. Wellesley het die 48ste voet gebring, waaragter die wagte kon hervorm, en die gevaarlike Franse teenaanval is gehou en afgeweer.

Intussen is die afdeling van Ruffin beveel om sy derde aanval op die Cerro te doen, wat dit met min entoesiasme en sonder sukses gedoen het.

In die vallei ten noorde van die Cerro het Victor se regterhandse afdeling probeer om die Britse lyn te oortref. Wellesley het Anson se kavallerie -brigade geloods in 'n klag op die Franse infanterie. 'N Versteekte besoedeling het 'n ramp vir die kavallerie meegebring. Die 1ste Light Dragoons, King's German Legion, het in die besoedeling gedompel. Die 23ste Light Dragoons het die Franse infanterie op die plein ontmoet en het aansienlike ongevalle gely.

Die Franse aanval het uitgebars en Joseph se leër het gedurende die nag teruggetrek en verskeie gewere in Britse en Spaanse besit gelaat.

Slagoffers:
Franse verliese was 17 gewere en 7 268 man. Die Britte het 5,363 mense dood en gewond verloor.

Volg op:
Die oggend na die geveg marsigeer Brigadier -generaal Robert Craufurd se Ligte Brigade in die kamp met goggas wat speel, nadat hulle 42 myl in 26 uur opgeruk het in 'n poging om betyds vir die geveg die weermag te bereik.

Die volgende dag hoor Wellesley dat Soult met 30 000 man naby die roete na Portugal was, wat 'n vinnige Britse terugtog na die Portugese grens genoodsaak het.

Die ligte brigade het pas aangekom om nog vyftien uur te marsjeer om die Almaraz -brug te beveilig voordat Soult dit kon inneem en sodoende oop kommunikasie met Lissabon te hou.


Geskiedenis: Die Slag van Talavera 1809

Op Oktober 1808 neem sir John Moore die bevel oor die Anglo-Portugese leër. Hy het sy 23 000 man vrymoedig na Spanje gelei, maar 'n maand later moes hy vinnig terugtrek, agtervolg deur die vyand. Sy strategiese posisie was nie goed nie, sy Spaanse bondgenote was verslaan en het onbetroubaar geblyk te wees, en hy het 'n Franse mag van ongeveer 200 000 man in die gesig gestaar onder bevel van Napoleon self. Met 'n intelligensie -onderskeping kon hy 'n geïsoleerde Franse mag by Saldana bedreig, maar toe hy hoor dat Napoleon bewus was van sy bedoelings, het hy die epiese terugtog na die hawe van Corunna begin. In Januarie 1809 draai Moore om en jaag die agtervolgende Fransmanne uit, wat sy leër uitroei, maar ten koste van sy eie lewe. Sir John was 'n ware vegter van Albion, en dit was 'n groot verlies vir beide die Britse leër en die geallieerde saak.

Terwyl die Britte uitgewis is, het die Franse Portugal oorweldig, hul greep op die land word slegs belemmer deur logistieke probleme. Op 22 April 1809 keer die Britte terug met Wellesley wat onder bevel van 'n Anglo-Portugese leër beland het. Gedurende Mei het die bondgenote 'n briljante veldtog uitgevoer wat die Franse onder marskalk Soult gedwing het om Porto te laat vaar met die verlies van hul artillerie en bagasie. Aan die begin van Julie het Wellesley na Spanje verhuis en teen die twintigste albei met die 33.000 sterk Spaanse leër onder Cuesta in aanraking gekom, en toe gemanoeuvreer om marskalk Claude Victor se eerste korps te dwing om die Portugese grens te bedreig. Victor val behoorlik terug en trek eers terug na Almaraz en daarna na Talavera. Wellington het nou geglo dat hy 'n werklike kans het om die Spaanse hoofstad, Madrid, te verower voordat die Franse leërs hom kon byeenkom.

Die Geallieerdes het op 23 Julie kontak gemaak met maarskalk Victor naby die stad Talavera, maar het 'n kans misgeloop toe die Spanjaarde geweier het om te veg, want dit was Sondag, sodat Victor kon terugtrek. Cuesta het gekies om voort te gaan, terwyl Wellesley in Talavera de la Reina gebly het, ongeveer 75 kilometer suidwes van die Spaanse hoofstad. Die agtervolging van Cuesta het tot stilstand gekom toe hy Victor inhaal, wat nou versterk is deur generaal Sebastiani se 4de korps en deur koning Joseph se koninklike reservaat in Torrijos. In die minderheid draai die Spaanse en sluit weer by die Britte aan, wat nou om die beurt deur die Franse agtervolg word. Die verbonde kans om Madrid te verower, was verby.

By aankoms by Talavera het die Spanjaarde die regtervleuel (rondom Talavera self) aangebied deur Wellesley, wat twyfel of die Spanjaarde in die openbaar sou staan. Talavera was omring deur olyfboorde en klipmure, wat dit in 'n formidabele verdedigingsposisie gemaak het. Die Spanjaarde wat nie in Talavera ontplooi is nie, het ook sterk posisies ingeneem langs 'n versonke pad wat deur meer klipmure beskerm is. Die Britte het die Geallieerdes links geneem en langs 'n lae rant en 'n heuwel, bekend as die Cerro de Medellin, ontplooi. Om die middelpunt van die lyn te versterk, het hulle 'n dak by Pajar de Vergara gebou.

Wellesley was van plan om te doen wat hy en sy soldate die beste gedoen het, 'n verdedigende stryd te voer. Hy was tevrede met die situasie van sy eie magte en verdedig hoë terreine waar hy hulle teen die ergste Franse vuur kon beskerm. Hy het ook gehoop dat sy Spaanse bondgenote in hul beskermde posisies sou staan. Op die Britse front het die 1ste afdeling die Medellin gehou, terwyl die 2de afdeling links sy die 4de afdeling die redout ondersteun het. In die tweede reël was Fane's en Cotton se kavallerie in reserwe, terwyl die Spaanse kruispunte by die Alberche -rivier deur die 3de afdeling beskerm is.

Die Franse, wat die sterkte van die Spaanse posisies erken het, het die meerderheid van hul 46.000 troepe teen Wellesley ontplooi, met die voorneme om die Britte eers te verslaan en dan teen die Spanjaarde te beweeg. Victor's I Corps ontplooi aan die Franse regterkant teenoor die Britte en Portugese, terwyl Sebastiani's Corps die sentrum gehou het. Links het die ruiters van Milhaud byna die hele Spaanse weermag gekonfronteer. Oorkant die Medellin was 30 Franse kanonne op die Cerro de Cascajal geleë, terwyl Latour-Maubourg en die garnisoen van Madrid in reservaat gebly het. Formidabel!

Die veldslag

Die slag van Talavera het die middag van 27 Julie begin en sleg begin vir die Geallieerdes met die aanvanklike aksie wat by die Casa de Salinas, 'n verwoeste huis ongeveer 'n kilometer wes van die Alberche -rivier, plaasgevind het. Voor die aankoms van die Spanjaarde was die afdelings van Sherbrooke en Mackenzie op die oostelike oewer van die rivier geplaas om die rivieroorgang vir die Spanjaarde te beskerm. Die leër van Cuesta het die aand van die 26ste aangekom, maar eers die 27ste oor die rivier. Die Britte trek toe terug toe die Spanjaarde veilig was oor die Alberche. Mackenzie is beveel om tydens hierdie maneuvers as agterhoede op te tree, terwyl Wellesley die Casa de Salinas gebruik om die verrigtinge dop te hou. Ondanks die plakkate wat gepos is, kon Lapisse se afdeling van Victor's 1st Corps die Alberche ongemerk oorsteek en Mackenzie verras. Drie bataljons is verower, 500 man verloor en Wellesley is amper gevang. Die situasie is bestendig deur die optrede van die 45ste Nottinghamshire en gewere van die 60ste koninklike Amerikaners, wat Wellesley in staat gestel het om die voortvlugtiges bymekaar te bring. Die Britte kon hulself sonder verdere inmenging uitwis, ondanks die teisterende vuur van die Franse perdeartillerie.

Die aand van 27 Julie het Victor die afdeling van Ruffin gestuur om die Cerro de Medellin in beslag te neem. By beperkte sigbaarheid het twee van Ruffin se drie regimente in die donker verdwaal, maar die 9de Leger het steeds die blootgestelde brigade van Sigismund Lowe gery en die Medellin bestorm. Dit het ontstaan ​​toe Hill's Division, wat op die kruin van die Medellin moes gewees het, eintlik 'n half kilometer verder opgeslaan was. Die Britte het daarin geslaag om die situasie te beperk, en die Franse aanval is uiteindelik deur Stewart's Brigade teengewerk.

Stryd om die Cerro de Medellin met vergunning van Osprey Publishing

Op dieselfde aand is Franse dragone gestuur om die Spaanse lyne te ondersoek. Voordat die Franse binne bereik was, het die hele Spaanse lyn 'n vlug na die ruiters geskiet. Hierdie gebeurtenis het vier Spaanse bataljons laat val om hul arms neer te gooi en in paniek te vlug, oënskynlik bang vir die geluid van hul eie wapens. Net minder as 2 000 Spanjaarde vlug uit die veld en plunder die Britse bagasie -trein onderweg.

Die volgende oggend was daar geen verandering in Victor se plan nie. Hy was oortuig dat hy die Cerro de Medellin kon vang sonder ondersteuning van die res van die leër. Dit was die eerste keer dat Victor teen die Britte geveg het en hy het nie verwag dat hulle teen sy kolomme sou staan ​​nie. Weereens is Ruffin se 5 000 mans gekies vir die Medellin -aanval ná 'n artillerie -bombardement. Die Franse het gekom in aanvalskolomme wat onder skermutsers gedek is, en elke regiment se drie bataljons het langs mekaar gevorder. Toe Ruffin's Brigade binne die effektiewe musket bereik kom, kom Tilson's en Stewart's Brigades, ondersteun deur Sherbrooke's Brigade, uit die voorblad in die nou standaard Britse tweediepte. Hulle vlugvuur het die ratelende Franse kolomme gestuit, wat probeer het om 'n lyn te vorm en vuur terug te keer. Tot die juig van die Britte, het die Franse gou gebreek en gevlug toe Sherbrooke hulle gaan inspan het. Die vlugtende Franse is uit die Cerro de Medellin agtervolg deur Stewart's Brigade, die Britte beëindig hul agtervolging by die portina en keer dan terug na hul linies.

Hierdie fase van die geveg het die Franse bykans 1500 slagoffers gekos. Hill's Brigade, die mees betrokke Britse formasie, het 750 mans verloor, terwyl Hill self 'n kopwond opgedoen het.

Die nederlaag van die Ruffin -afdeling lui 'n vergadering van die Franse bevel uit: Victor, Sebastiani, Joseph en sy stafhoof, Jourdan. Laasgenoemde twee was ten gunste van 'n verdedigingsaksie wat hulle geweet het dat maarskalk Soult met 30.000 man marsjeer om die geallieerde agterkant te bedreig, wat hul terugtog sou dwing. Intussen het Victor aangevoer vir 'n all -out aanval op die Geallieerde links en middel. Die argument is beëindig toe die nuus die Franse bereik het dat 'n Spaanse mag onder generaal Venegas besig was om Madrid te neem, terwyl die generaals ontdek het dat Soult vertraag is en nie die geallieerde agterkant kan bedreig nie. Die Franse kon nie toelaat dat die polities simboliese hoofstad die Spanjaarde val nie, en sou formasies van hierdie ontmoeting moes bevry om dit af te weer. 'N Volskaalse aanval is op die Britse lyn gelas.

Die afdelings van Lapisse en Sebastiani en Leval se Duitsers is gekies om die saamgestelde leërs van Cuesta en Wellesley te verdryf. Lapisse's Division sou die Cerro de Meddelin aanval, gevolg deur Leval's Division, wat die punt in die lyn waar die Britse en Spaanse magte ontmoet het, aanval. Uiteindelik sou Sebastiani die Guard's Brigade en 'n deel van Cameron's Brigade in die geallieerde sentrum aanval. Leval sou sy troepe vorentoe stuur nadat Lapisse se aanval gelewer is, maar toe Leval se troepe deur hul rowwe terrein na hul beginposisies beweeg, het hulle spoedig kontak met die res van die Franse leër verloor. Leval, wat geglo het dat sy naderingsoptog te lank geneem het, het sy magte na die aanval gestuur, maar hy was te vroeg. Die rowwe terrein, wat hoofsaaklik uit olyfboorde bestaan, het sy kolomme versteur, en hulle kom uit die terrein wat na die Spaanse linker-, Britse regterkant en 'n geweerbattery op die Pajar de Vergara kyk.

Die dodelike vuur van die artillerie het ongetwyfeld in die Franse kolomme voor dit gebars en dit vinnig versprei. Leval het 'n mate van sukses behaal, maar is uiteindelik deur die brigades van Campbell en Kemmis verdryf en 700 man en ses gewere verloor.

Die afdelings van Lapisse en Sebastiani val daarna aan. Die Franse bataljonkolomme kom voor in twee afsonderlike en afsonderlike aanvalgolwe wat bestaan ​​uit vier en twintig bataljons, op die agt bataljons van Sherbrooke se 1ste afdeling. Die Franse opmars het tyd gemaak totdat hulle in 'n effektiewe muskietreeks gekom het. Die Britse regimente het gelyktydig losgebrand, en weereens is die Franse nagegaan deur die effek van die Britse sarsies. Die voorste vlak breek gou en vlug, en met 'n hartlike gejuig het die Britte vorentoe gesê om hul ongemak te voltooi. Sommige Britse bataljons, insluitend die wagte, het handuit geruk en te ver agtervolg en is op hul beurt deur artillerie en muskiete nagegaan vanaf die tweede golf van Franse troepe. Dit het groot ongevalle veroorsaak en die Britte het in verwarring afgetree.

Hierdie neerslagbeweging het 'n gat in die Britse lyn gemaak, wat Lapisse nou verhuis het. In al sy veldslae het Wellesley 'n ongelooflike vermoë getoon om op die regte tyd op die regte plek te wees wanneer 'n krisis opduik. Hierdie situasie by Talavera was geen uitsondering nie en hy het persoonlik beveel dat die 48ste Northamptonshire -regiment die gaping moes stop, om vinnig versterk te word met Mackenzie se brigade. Die volgende fase van hierdie botsing het nou 3 000 Britse 8 000 Fransmanne in die tweede golf beleef. In 'n intensiewe brandgeveg het die Franse in 'n nederlaag weggedraai, terwyl die twee-diep lyn weer die kolom geklop het. Die optrede het die Franse meer as 2 000 slagoffers gekos, waaronder Lapisse wat dodelik gewond is. Die Britte het net meer as 600 slagoffers gely, waaronder Mackenzie wat vermoor is. Wellesley het die posisie skitterend verdedig.

Met die nederlaag van die belangrikste Franse aanvalle, is die arme Ruffin's Brigade weer na vore gestuur om 'n flankerende maneuver op die Medellin te probeer doen, ondersteun deur elemente van Villatte se afdeling. Hierdie poging is gestop deur Wellesley se ontplooiing van Anson en Fane se kavalerie -brigades. Wellesley het ook hulp gesoek by Cuesta, wat gereageer het deur die afdeling van Bassecourt en die kavalleriedivisie van die hertog van Albuquerque te stuur. Die druk wat deur die Britse kavallerie toegepas is, het beteken dat die Franse aanval ineengestort het omdat hulle verplig was om terug te val in vierkantige formasie. Alhoewel die 1ste KGL Light Dragoons in goeie orde gevorder het, het die Britse 23ste Light Dragoons buite beheer gegaan en verby die vierkante wat deur Ruffin se infanterie gevorm is, in die ondersteunende Franse kavalerie gelaai. Die 23ste was erg bedroef en het die helfte van hul krag verloor voordat hulle na veiligheid gekom het. Hierdie geveg was die laaste aksie van die geveg; Joseph se leër het die veld verlaat om Madrid teen die Spaanse bedreiging te verdedig.

Aanklag van die Spaanse kavallerie met vergunning van Osprey Publishing

Een afgryslike naskrif van die geveg was die grasbrande wat skielik posgevat het op die droë vel, en talle gestrande gewondes van beide kante doodgemaak het.

Nadraai

Die Franse slagoffers in Talavera was 7 300. Die Spanjaarde het ongeveer 1200 mans verloor. Wellesley se verliese van 5.500 het meer as 25% van sy hele mag bedra.

Alhoewel 'n geallieerde taktiese oorwinning, kan Talavera as 'n strategiese oorwinning vir die Franse beskou word. Die leër van Wellesley is wit gebloei en die vars leër van maarskalk Soult het suidwaarts geswaai en gedreig om Wellesley uit Portugal af te sny. Omdat hy gedink het dat die Franse swakker was as wat hulle werklik was, het Wellesley op 3 Augustus na die ooste verhuis om hulle te blokkeer, nadat hy 1500 gewondes in die Spaanse sorg gelaat het. Die Britse bevelvoerder was verbaas oor die getalle van Soult en het die ligte brigade wat onlangs aangekom het, gestuur om 'n roete uit Spanje te beveilig. With a safe line of retreat, Wellesley considered joining with Cuesta again, when he found out that his Spanish ally had abandoned the British wounded to the French and was proving to be generally uncooperative. Wellesley was further compromised by poorly coordinated Spanish troop movements and broken promises over the supply of equipment and rations. In the spring, the threat of French reinforcement led to Wellesley retiring into Portugal.

For his efforts, after this battle Wellesley was created Viscount Wellington of Talavera.


Aquatint by T Sutherland after W Heath, published by J Jenkins, 1 June 1815. From 'The Martial Achievements of Great Britain and Her Allies from 1799 to 1815'.

The Battle of Talavera on 27-28 July 1809 took place to the south-west of Madrid. An Anglo-Spanish army of 50,000 men commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley and the Spanish General Gregorio de la Cuesta, faced 46,000 Frenchmen under Marshal Claude Victor and the French King of Spain, Joseph Bonaparte.

One of the bloodiest battles of the war, Talavera was something of a stalemate. Although the French withdrew from the field, Wellesley was forced to return with his force to Portugal after another French army under Marshal Soult threatened his lines of communication. Further operations were also restricted by the lack of co-operation between the British and their Spanish allies.


Slag

Victor urged his superiors for a massive attack, but Joseph and Jourdan chose to peck away at the Anglo-Spanish position. At dawn, the guns on the Cascajal opened up, causing some loss among the British infantry formed in the open. Having learned the hard way about the destructive power of French artillery, Wellesley soon pulled his soldiers back into cover.

Again, Ruffin's division attacked the Medellín. Each battalion was formed in a column of divisions with a width of two companies and a depth of three. (French battalions had recently been re-organized into six companies.) Each regiment's three battalions advanced side-by-side with only a small gap between units. This would make each regimental attack roughly 160 files across and nine ranks deep. When Ruffin's men got within effective range, the British emerged from cover in two-deep lines to overlap the French columns. Riddled by fire from front and flank, and with their rear six ranks unable to fire, the French columns broke and ran.

Victor shifted Ruffin's survivors to the right against the Segurilla and supported them with one of Villatte's brigades. Lapisse, Sebastiani and Leval (from right to left) then launched a frontal attack against the British 1st and 4th Divisions. Alexander Campbell's men and the Spanish defeated Leval's attack, which went in first. Lapisse and Sebastiani then advanced in two lines using the same regimental columns that Ruffin had employed. Henry Campbell's Guards brigade (1st Division) routed the French regiments opposite them, then charged in pursuit. Running into the French second line and intense artillery fire. The Guards and the Germans with them were routed in their turn, losing 500 men, and carried away Cameron's brigade with them. Seeing Guards and his centre broken, [12] Wellesley personally brought up the 48th Foot to plug the hole caused by the dispersal of Sherbrooke's division. Backed by Mackenzie's brigade (3rd Division), the 48th broke the French second line's attack as the Guards rallied in the rear. Lapisse was mortally wounded.

The main French attack having been defeated, Victor pushed Ruffin's men into the valley between the Medellín and the Segurilla. Anson's cavalry brigade was ordered to drive them back. While the 1st KGL Hussars advanced at a controlled pace, the 23rd Light Dragoons soon broke into a wild gallop. The undisciplined unit ran into a hidden ravine, hobbling many horses. Those horsemen who cleared the obstacle were easily fended off by the French infantry, formed into squares. The 23rd Light Dragoons charged past the squares and ploughed into Beaumont's cavalry, drawn up behind Ruffin. The British dragoons lost 102 killed and wounded and another 105 captured before they cut their way out. After the battle, the mauled regiment had to be sent back to England to refit. However, this ended the French attacks for the day. Joseph and Jourdan failed to employ their reserve, for which they were bitterly criticized by Napoleon.


Talavera and Wellington’s 1809-10 Campaigns

The previous post in this series on the Napoleonic Wars described the background to the Peninsular War and the situation in April 1812.

General Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, returned to Portugal on 22 April 1809 to take command of the British troops there. He re-organised the army, improved its administration, set up a divisional structure that improved its fighting efficiency and made it more flexible, increased the number of skirmishers and integrated the British and Portuguese armies. The re-opening of hostilities between France and Austria meant that the French were able to deploy fewer troops in Spain than in 1808, and Napoleon no longer commanded them in person.

The pictures on this post were taken by myself, when I visited the battlefields of Wellington’s 1809-12 campaigns in Spain as part of a tour conducted by Ian Fletcher of Ian Fletcher Battlefield Tours. This was very informative and visiting the battlefield is an invaluable way of understanding the battle. I have no connection with IFBT except as a very satisfied customer.

Maps are also vital in understanding battles for copyright reasons I have provided links to websites with maps of the battlefields rather than copying the maps directly into this post. Click here for a low resolution map of the Peninsular War.

On 12 May Wellesley crossed the River Douro, forcing the French out of Portugal. His army of 20,000 men then joined up with Cuesta’s 35,000 strong Spanish army. They were attacked at Talavera de la Reina on the night of 27 July by 46,000 French troops. A hard fought battle lasted the whole of the next day, before the French withdrew. Wellesley was created Earl of Wellington for his victory.

Monument to Battle of Talavera

There was no reverse slope at Talavera the belief that Wellington’s battles always featured one is based on the incorrect assumption that Waterloo was typical. A motorway now runs through the battlefield and a modern memorial has been constructed. Wellington and Cuesta agreed to attack Marshal Victor’s 22,000 French troops on 23 July, but the Spanish did not move. Charles Esdaile suggests that the most likely reason is that Cuesta thought that he was heading into a trap.[1] Wellington also halted as well as lacking support from Cuesta, his army was suffering from supply problems. Cuesta moved forward, encountering the French on 25 July. Victor had now been reinforced by General Sebastiani and King Joseph, bringing the French army to 46,000. Luck and French mistakes enabled him to escape the trap and rejoin Wellington. The Allied army withdrew to a better defensive position, covered by Mackenzie’s Division of British troops. Wellington was almost killed or captured whilst conducting a forward reconnaissance.

The Allied army was now deployed along the Portiña, a stream that was easily crossed. Woods and olive groves restricted the scope for cavalry charges but gave infantry the opportunity to launch surprise attacks. The French were outnumbered, but they could concentrate against either the British or the Spanish, screening the other with cavalry, and obtaining local superiority.

Victor, the only French commander then present, attacked the British position on the Medellin hill on the night of 27 July. This attack failed, as did another one on at 5 am the next day. Sebastiani and Joseph then arrived. They and Marshal Jourdan, Joseph’s military adviser, were reluctant to attack, but Victor persuaded them to resume the assault on the British. The debate amongst the French commanders meant that the attack did not start until 2 pm.

Portina stream. More foliage today than in 1809.

Until then, British and French troops fraternised at the Portiña, the only source of water on the battlefield. During this war British and French soldiers, including officers, maintained good relations when not required to kill each other. Sentries were not fired on, enemy wounded were cared for, prisoners were not mis-treated and sources of food and water in no man’s land were shared.

The French attacks failed, but British casualties were high, 5,365 dead, wounded and captured out of 20,000 according to Jac Weller.[2] French casualties were 7,268, but there were 46,000 French troops present. Spanish casualties were light, since the French attacked only the British.

The battle prejudiced Wellington against Spanish troops, whose commanders were slow to move, and against his own cavalry, which performed poorly. Ian Fletcher argues that the cavalry did well elsewhere in the war, but usually when Wellington was not present.

Until he was appointed to command the Spanish Army in 1813, Wellington commanded an Anglo-Portuguese army, including a contingent of Germans, that was about 50,000 strong. It normally faced similar sized French forces, although there were up to 300,000 French troops in Spain. The others were tied down by the Spanish Army, Spanish guerillas, and the threat of a popular uprising. Most of the battles of the Peninsular War were won by the Anglo-Portuguese army, but the Spanish played a significant role in the war.

Napoleon had left Spain in January 1809 he believed that the campaign was won and was concerned that Austria was planning to re-enter the war. His 1809 campaign against Austria began when he arrived in Germany on 16 April, a week after the Austrians invaded Bavaria. On 21 May at Aspern-Essling the Archduke Karl became the first general to defeat Napoleon. The Emperor re-grouped and avenged this loss at Wagram on 5-6 July, but suffered heavier casualties than in his previous victories. He imposed harsh terms on Austria and was able to send reinforcements to Spain.

Wellington was not able to follow up his success at Talavera. Another 50,000 French troops under Marshal Soult were advancing and threatened to cut Wellington’s communications with Portugal. He therefore withdrew south, halting in Badajoz in September 1809 for a period before moving the bulk of his army to Almeida. He used the subsequent period of inactivity to begin construction of the Lines of Torres Vedras. British and Portuguese engineers constructed a formidable defensive barrier in the hills north of Lisbon.

There were then two main routes between Spain and Portugal, each protected by a fortress on either side of the border. In the north these were Ciudad Rodrigo in Spain and Almeida in Portugal. The southern route was covered by Badajoz in Spain and Elvas in Portugal. The terrain in between was unsuitable for artillery and supply wagons, as the French had found in 1807 when Junot invaded Portugal through this route.

An army crossing the frontier between Spain or Portugal had to take all four of these fortresses in order to protect its lines of communication. Elvas, weaker than the others, was returned to Portugal by France in 1808 under the terms of the Convention of Cintra and remained in Portuguese hands for the rest of the war.

Marshal Massena now commanded the French troops in the Peninsula, who were reinforced after the end of the war with Austria. He began his campaign by laying siege to Ciudad Rodrigo in May 1810. A gallant defence by the Spanish under General Herrasti lasted until 10 July. Wellington refused to march to their aid because he could not risk facing Massena in the open. Massena had less difficulty in taking Almeida, which had to surrender on 26 August after its magazine accidentally blew up.

Massena then advanced on the Busaco Ridge, a move that played into Wellington’s hands as it was a strong defensive position. Massena had 65,000 men, but his attacks on 27 September were beaten off by the 52,000 strong Anglo-Portuguese army. Wellington declined to follow up, instead withdrawing to the defensive Lines of Torres Vedras. Massena realised that he had no chance of successfully assaulting these and withdrew to Santarem, suffering significant losses to starvation and disease because of Wellington’s scorched earth policy.

The next post in this series will cover Wellington’s 1811 campaign, including the battles of Fuentes de Oñoro and Albuera.

[1] Charles Esdaile, The Peninsular War: A New History (London: Allen Lane, 2002), p. 201.

[2] Jac Weller, Wellington in the Peninsular (London: Greenhill Books, 1992), p. 104.


Talavera, battle of

Talavera, battle of, 1809. On 28 July Wellesley's British army of 20,000 men, co-operating with Cuesta's Spanish army of 34,000 men (who saw little action), were attacked by 46,000 French commanded by King Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jourdan. A night attack achieved surprise but was thrown back. Then the French mounted a series of assaults against the British centre, followed by a turning movement in the north. All were unsuccessful. Although Talavera was a clear British victory, Wellesley, who had been abandoned by Cuesta, retreated to Portugal. As a reward for his victory, Wellesley was created Viscount Wellington.

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The Armies at Talavera, 27-28 July 1809 - History

The 1st Guards were in the Peninsula from the beginning but were reinforced by the 2nd Guards Brigade (Coldstream and Scots) in May 1909. In overall command was Sir Arthur Wellesley, under whom they successfully crossed the Douro, captured Oporto and covered themselves in glory at Talavera on 28th July 1809. They were part of Sherbrooke's 1st Division, in the centre of the line. They suffered a severe artillery bombardment and then an attack by 15,000 French infantry. They held their fire until the enemy were at a range of 50 yards and then fired a withering volley. As the French struggled to recover, the Division charged them and drove them back. Unfortunately they pressed on too far and had to be rescued by the 48th Foot. The Coldstreamers lost 300 out of 1,000 men. They were awarded a battle honour for Talavera on 12th Feb 1812 and a special medal was struck for 'meritorious officers'.

Fuentes d'Onoro 1811

Wellesley withdrew to his well prepared defensive lines of Torres Vedras for the winter. 1810 was not a very active year but in the spring of 1811, after a long march, the Guards Brigade were present at Fuentes d'Orno (3rd-5th May 1811) where the 1st Division was now under the command of Maj-Gen Miles Nightingall, a hypochondriac who managed to get himself wounded in the foot. Only the Light Companies saw action, while the rest of the Brigade remained on the crest of a ridge overlooking the village, also suffering casualties from artillery fire. It was a victory against the French, led by Massena, but Wellesley, who was now Viscount Wellington of Talavera said that 'if Boney had been there we should have been beat'. However, it was a battle honour for the Coldstreamers.

A composite Guards Battalion was sent to Spain in March 1810 which included 3 companies from the 2nd Battalion, all commanded by Maj-Gen W T Dilkes. They were garrisoned in Cadiz but found themselves under siege for two and a half years. In 1811 they were part of a sortie under Maj-Gen Thomas Graham which turned out to be a hard 15 hour march to Barossa followed by a desperate fight, lasting an hour and a half, against a well-rested force that was twice their number. They suffered the loss of a third of their number but earned a battle honour and another gold medal for the officers. They returned to Cadiz where the siege continued.

Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz 1812

Although the Guards Brigade were part of the 1st Division which was present at all the major battles of this year they did not have a central role. In the unwritten rules of war, armies were supposed to rest during the winter months but Wellington stole a march on the French and besieged Ciudad Rodrigo in January. The siege lasted from 8th January to 19th and Viscount Wellington received an Earldom as a reward. He moved on to Badajoz, in April, which was not so easy. Another unwritten rule of war at the time was that during a siege, if the walls are breached, the besieged must surrender. But the French Governor, Armand Philipon decided to make life very difficult for the British. As a result, when the town was finally captured the soldiers went on the rampage that lasted for two days.

The Battle of Salamanca was fought on 22nd July 1812. The action took place south of the Spanish city of Salamana which is on the River Tormes, 100 miles north-west of Madrid. Wellington commanded an army of 50,000 British, Portuguese and Spanish against Marmont's French. It was a brief battle lasting less than an hour, resulting in a resounding victory for the Allies and the shattering of the French Army of Portugal. The Allies marched triumphantly into Madrid on 12th August and then moved on to besiege Burgos in September. But this had to be abandoned on receipt of news of the impending approach of King Joseph and Marshal Suchet. Wellington was forced to withdraw to Portugal on a march that brought considerable suffering to his hungry troops.

Two Guards Brigades, 1813

When the siege of Cadiz was lifted after Salamanca, the composite Guards Battalion were free to join Wellington's army. There were now two Guards Brigades, both of which had Coldstream Guards. The 2nd Brigade was composed of the 1st Battalions of the Coldstream and Scots Guards while the 1st Brigade was composed of the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 1st Guards and the composite battalion of Coldstream and Scots Guards. After a quiet winter they moved north-east to drive the French from Spain. They crossed the Duoro on 4th June and won the Battle of Vittoria on 21st June 1813.

San Sebastian 1813

The last two obstacles to Wellington in Spain were Pamplona and San Sebastian. The task of storming the fortified coastal town of San Sebastian was given to Lieut-Gen Thomas Graham who had commanded the Guards at Cadiz. The siege took 9 weeks from 12th July to 8th Sept and resulted in heavy casualties. The Guards battalions offered a volunteer party of 200 which suffered the loss of 160. The first storming of a breach took place on 25th July and failed, but on 31st August the attack succeeded and the town was taken. The French still occupied the castle which was not surrendered until 8th September. Much of the horror of Badajoz was repeated at San Sebastian and this time the looting, raping and killing lasted a week.

The Guards Brigades were involved with the crossings of various hazardous rivers. These were the Bidossa 7th Oct 1813, the Nivelle 10th Nov 1813, the Nive 9th Dec 1813 and the Adour 23rd Feb 1814.

The 2nd Guards Brigade distinguished themselves on this last operation when 6 companies of the Scots Guards and two of the Coldstream crossed the river before dark and held a precarious bridgehead all night, until relieved the next morning. The operation is also of interest because this assault force used a new rocket battery against the French and it apparently had a very discouraging effect on them.

The Guards were not involved in the battle of Toulouse but Bayonne proved to be a final and tragic chapter in the Peninsula War for them. The French commander of Bayonne, Thourenot made a sortie from the town with 6,000 men and was met by both Guards Brigades. This was a confused battle in the dark on the night of the 10th April 1814 (5 days after Napoleon had abdicated), and 506 men from the Guards were lost, including Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Sullivan. These men lie in a special Guards cemetery which still exists today.

Bergen-op-Zoom 1814

In March 1814 a composite Brigade of Guards, numbering 1,000 men, from all three regiments joined an unsuccessful expedition against Antwerp. The fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom was the scene of a disaster when a failed attack ended in the death or capture of two thirds of the Guards Brigade.

The Waterloo Campaign 1815

The leaders of the Allied nations were assembled in Vienna, carving up Napoleon's empire when they heard of his escape from Elba. When it was realised that this was a serious comeback the four countries, Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia agreed to contribute 150,000 men each to an army to be led by Wellington. In the event, only Britain and Prussia provided troops although the British Divisions included a large number of Hanoverians and King's German Legion.

The Coldstream Guards were represented by their 2nd Battalion in this campaign. They were in the 2nd Guards Brigade with the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards under Major-General Sir John Byng. The two Guards Brigades were in the 1st Division under Major-General George Cooke. On Thursday 15th June 1815 the Guards brigades were camped at Enghien. Many of the officers were at Lady Richmond's Ball in Brussels with Wellington. Some time after midnight, news came through that Napoleon's army was two and a half miles away from Quatre Bras, so everyone had to move fast.

Quatre Bras 1815

The Guards had very little sleep that night and set off at a brisk pace, arriving at the cross roads at 1700 hrs on 16th June by which time the battle had been going for three hours. It was a hot day and the men were exhausted and thirsty after their 26 mile march but they had to go straight into battle as they arrived. Despite this they managed to fight bravely against the French in Bossu Wood. The battle was a long hard struggle and the men were exhausted.

The hot weather turned into a severe thunderstorm and torrential downpour on the evening of the the 17th. The army spent the wettest night many of them had ever experienced and woke up on sodden, muddy ground. It was 18th June 1815. The two armies were occupying ridges with 1,200 yards between them along a frontage of about 4,200 yards. Napoleon delayed the start of the battle in the hope that the ground would dry out, so little happened until 11.30am.

From Wellington's viewpoint the three main buildings that formed landmarks on the battlefield were La Haye Sainte in the middle, Papelotte on the left, and Hougoumont on the right. The chateau of Hougoumont was a manor house and farm with ornamental garden, orchard and woods. The 1st Guards were posted on the ridge behind the chateau and some of them had been involved in a skirmish around Hougoumont on the evening of the 17th. But the defense of the buildings was given, initially, to the Light Companies of the Coldstream and Scots Guards under the command of Coldstreamer, Lieut-Col James Macdonnell, the personal choice of Wellington. They spent the morning barricading all the gateways into the enclosure of buildings, except for the north gate which had to remain accessible to supplies and reinforcements.

The first attack came from troops in Reille's Corps under the command of Jerome, who was ordered by his brother Napoleon, to take Hougoumont at all costs. He took the order literally and many Frenchmen died in the attempt, by the end of the day the number was 8,000. The first attack was repulsed by firing from within the chateau and outside. More attacks came, but thankfully without artillery which could have destroyed the walls of the enclosure. Those guardsmen who were still outside managed to withdraw into the chateau and the north gate was shut, but before it could be barricaded it was rushed by a party of 12 brave Frenchmen led by Lieutenant Legros, a large man with an axe. They barged in but all died fighting. Only a young French drummer was allowed to live. The closing and barricading of the gates was accomplished by Macdonnell and nine others.

Sir John Byng ordered three companies of the Coldstream Guards under Lt-Col Dan Mackinnon to go down and support the beleaguered garrison. They drove the French from the west wall and entered the enclosure. Napoleon himself became involved and ordered howitzer fire to be used. Incendiary shells were fired at the buildings and they caught fire, killing many of the wounded who were inside. Colonel Alexander Woodford entered the struggle with the remainder of the Coldstream Guards, leaving two companies on the ridge to guard the Colours. They fought their way into Hougoumont to reinforce the defenders. Woodford outranked Macdonnell but at first declined to take command away from him.

The situation became critical at one stage so that the King's German Legion were sent forward to counter-attack on the outside of the building. This effectively proved the last straw for the French who gave up their attempts to take Hougoumont. Woodford was commanding the garrison at the end of the battle when Wellington ordered a general advance to pursue the French. The force inside the enclosure ranged from 500 to 2000, but they managed to keep a whole French Corps occupied all day. The casualty figures for the Coldstream Guards on the 18th June was one officer and 54 other ranks killed, 7 officers and 249 other ranks wounded. Four men were unaccounted for.


Battle Notes

Britse leër
• Commander: Wellington
• 6 Command Cards
• 6 Tactician Cards

5 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 3 7 3 2 1 2 3

Franse leër
• Commander: Joseph and Victor
• 5 Command Cards
• 3 Tactician Cards
• Move First

15 6 2 5 1 1 4 6

Oorwinning
15 Banners

Special Rules
• The French gain 1 Temporary Victory Banner at the start of the turn for each Cerro De Medellin hill hex occupied.
• The French gain 2 Temporary Victory Banners at the start of the turn if enemy units do not occupy both redoubt hexes.
• The French gain 1 Temporary Victory Banner at the start of the turn for each building hex occupied.
• The Allies gain 1 Temporary Victory Banner at the start of the turn if no French units occupy any Cerro De Medellin hill hexes. The Allies start with 1 Victory Banner.
• The Allies gain 1 Temporary Victory Banner at the start of the turn if no French units occupy any town hexes in Talavera. The Allies start with 1 Victory Banner.
• The Portina Brook will stop movement, but does not have any battle restrictions.
• The Spanish Guerrilla Action rule is in effect. The Allies start with one Guerrilla counter.
• Exception to Terrain Tile rules: Rugged Hill hexes of Sierra De Segurilla can be entered. Treat as hill terrain except: Infantry battle at –1 die up and hill to hill, and Cavalry battle up, down and hill to hill at –2 dice.


Battle Notes

Allies Army
• Commander: Wellesley
• 5 Command Cards

Allies Corps Commanders
Right Center Left
Command 2 2 2
Tactician 1 2 2
Guerilla 1 - -

10 2 1 1 3 2 7 2 1 4 2 3 1

Franse leër
• Commander: Joseph / Victor
• 5 Command Cards
• Move First

French Corps Commanders
Left Center Right
Command 2 3 3
Tactician 2 2 2

20 5 6 4 6 1 5

Oorwinning
13 Banners

Special Rules
• The Spanish Guerrilla Action rule is in effect. The Spanish player starts with one Guerrilla counter.

• The Portina Brook will stop movement, but does not cause any battle restrictions.