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Expatriate Cafe => History Today => Topic started by: Lt. Campers on 21:57 06-Aug-2008

Title: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 21:57 06-Aug-2008

To set the scene, just click and minimise the following musical link
Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Just when expats were thinking of taking a holiday to Spain or Portugal; the peace
and tranquillity of the region is about to be disturbed by a conflict which has engulfed
much of central and eastern europe as Napoleon's victorious armies sweep all before
them at the Battles of Austerlitz, Jena and Friedland.
Regulars of my Back to the Napoleonic Wars column have already been keeping
themselves abreast of developments as they occur in Europe.

Napoleon leading his troops at the Battle of Austerlitz:



The Austerlitz campaign, December 1805

For those soldiers and campfollowers involved in the Battle of Austerlitz over in the
Czech Republic, it was much more than a battle - it was a full campaign.
Strung out over 5 days, this video tells the story leading up to the battle,
as Napoleon's french outposts, quartered in villages, east of Brno.
Come under attack from several brigades of the Austro-Russian army. Harried by the
Czars cossacks, the french retreat in good order until their final fatal encounter on the
battlefield of Austerlitz, east of Brno.

Napoleon ve Vy?kově (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijCLKTIl2jk#lq-hq)

The battle of Austerlitz as broadcast on Czech TV:

Czech TV live 2 hour special (http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/vysilani/10099029347-rekonstrukce-bitvy-u-slavkova)

BBC News report of the Battle of Austerlitz, including video report
on Napoleon's greatest victory:

BBC News report on Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4496358.stm)

BBC news report on Napoleon's vctory over the Prussian's at Jena:

BBC News report on Napoleon's victory over the Prussians at Jena (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6050298.stm)

Russian TV report on Napoleons victory at Jena in Germany:

Russian TV report on the Battle of Jena 1806 (http://news.ntv.ru/95932/video/)

Interesting account of the Jena Campaign of 1806

The Jena Campaign against the Prussians in 1806 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oPtbmY71rw#ws)

German TV film of Napoleon Boneparte's entry to Berlin and
his speech after receiving the keys to the city:

Napoleon's entry to Berlin, 1806 (http://www.historiale.de/pages/player.php?VIDEO=historiale_trailer_2)

National Flag of the Kingdom of Portugal 1707 - 1816


Heres a humourous account of the events leading up to the evacuation
of the Portuguese royal family from Lisbon in November 1807

Don John VI goes to Brazil part 1

Portuguese annimation of the flight of the Royal family (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CspWcEryswo#lq-hq)

Don John VI goes to Brazil part 2

Portuguese annimation of the flight of the Royal family (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN65dlqTHxg&feature=related#lq-hq)

Now with much of Europe under Napoleons control - his attentions are drawn to Portugal,
who have so far defied all requests to break off trade with Britain.
As Sweden has already known to her cost ( this year ) she has already lost Finland to
Napoleon's reluctant ally Russia ( following the Treaty of Tilsit ) for defying Bonapartes

French troops marching into Spain 1807:

French troops march into Spain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDZSSFBojr0&feature=related#hq)

Therefore a French army is sent under the command of General Junot which crosses
into Portugal from Spain and occupies the country with little resistance. The royal family
only just managing to escape to Brazil, a couple of days before Lisbon falls to the French.

British landings in Portugal & the Vimeiro campaign of 1808:

French soldiers under the command of General Junot have been siezing key cities and
garrisons for the emperor and the Portuguese government, outraged by events, have called
upon their old ally Britain to come to her aid. Consequently a British force under the command
of Sir Arthur Wellesley has been landing troops this week at Mondego bay ( Figueira da Foz )
120 miles north of Lisbon.
Having secured the beachead Wellesley hopes to link up with his Portuguese allies before advancing
on Lisbon ( still held by the French ) 

To mark the occasion of the start of the Pennisular Wars in Portugal. The BBC is running a
very interesting radio documentary on Radio 4 all week called, At War with Wellington
where BBC presenters, Peter and Dan Snow follow in the footsteps of Sir Arthur Wellesley
( Lord Wellington ) and the British army during the Peninsular War - starting with the landings
in Mondego Bay.

At War with Wellington:
BBC Radio 4 - At war with Wellington (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/wellington/)

The full Radio 4 series - listen again to At War with Wellington:
BBC Radio 4 - At War with Wellington (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/wellington/audio.shtml)


In the months leading upto the british landings in Portugal, the royal navy has been busy
engaging French and Spanish troops ( still loyal to France ) garrisoning many islands
and forts off the spanish coast.

Here we see a royal navy ship attacking the fort on Tenerife:


Many spainiards hearing the arrival of British ships in the bay recorded
the early morning bombardment of the fort followed by an overnight
street battle.

Royal navy frigate bombarding the Spanish fort:

Gesta 25 Julio 2008 en Santa Cruz de Tenerife (https://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=tQBFrninwRI#lq-hq)

Gesta 25 Julio 2008 en Santa Cruz de Tenerife #2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtxtsrPVau8&feature=related#lq-hq)

Overnight street battle between royal navy sailors, supported by marines
against spanish troops:

Gesta del 25 julio (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2-Yegfczus&feature=related#lq-hq)

Gesta del 25 de Julio (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p_p1AkSwtQ&feature=related#lq-hq)

Battle of Tenerife as shown Spanish television:

http://video.publico.es/videos/15/16297/8/recent (http://video.publico.es/videos/15/16297/8/recent)

These attacks and the activities of other royal navy ships along the
Portuguese coast have kept the French guessing where the British
will land land next in Portugal.


The Portuguese student insurrection

The origins of the Portuguese insurrection against Junot's occupation of Portugal, lies with
the students and teachers of Coimbra University. Who fermented by the popular feelings of
outrage against french rule decided to take matters into their own hands by siezing the towns
armoury before evicting the french garrison from Coimbra.
Following this success, the students formed a University battalion and marched to the coast
at Figueira da Foz, taking the fort of Santa Catarina almost completely by surprise before
freeing Mondego bay from the french patrols.
This rebellion proved opportune for the British who were seeking a safe anchorage, from
where they can land Wellesley's army.

Coimbra University students rebel against the french (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.uc.pt/rualarga/anteriores/22/22_05&ei=gCaVTOb2OJPT4wa4o62rBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCAQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Binvas%25C3%25A3o%2Bde%2BPortugal%2Bcoimbra%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

British landings in Mondego Bay:

Monday was a big day as hundreds of troops were brought ashore, despite the atlantic surf
common along this area of coastline. Although Portuguese students had siezed the old fort prior
to their arrival, reports that a French force was in the area, required the British to form up
ready to engage the enemy on landing.

BBC Series, At War with Wellington, Mondego Bay (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nczLsKkorLY&feature=channel#)

Soldiers shortening sail before landing:


British troops boarding boats


Royal navy rowing troops ashore:


British troops about to disembark:


Soldiers gathering their equipment on shore:


Soldiers loading muskets on the beach:


With Napoleon's troops nearby, Wellesley's taking no chances by forming up his troops
ready to engage the french:


British troops firing at a french patrol trying to stop the landings:


The forthcoming battles of Rolica and Vimiero:

The landings in Mondego have prompted Genral Junot, based at his headquarters in
Lisbon. To send a small force under General Delaborde to block and delay the british
advance at the village of Rolica. So the main french army can intercept Wellesley and
drive the british back to their ships, before ever reaching Lisbon.
Anyway having set the scene, the dye is cast  :o and the Vimiero campaign is
already in full swing.  8)  8)


Veterans of the Napoleonic wars column will be surprised to find the battles of Rolica and
Vimeiro will be refought same day ( namely saturday 16th August ) with the
Battle of Rolica at 09:30am in the morning before retiring at 12 for a long afternoon
Siesta  :D  :D  :D  and then re-appearing at 6pm to refight the battle of Vimeiro.

P-N will be delighted to know that Campers will be on location ( hopefully ) to film
and report on events for Expatua along with a couple of fellow Portuguese expats.  ;)  ;)  ;)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal & Spain
Post by: P-N on 02:06 07-Aug-2008
Lt Campers, Sir, you are a bloody good man!!!!!!  :)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal & Spain
Post by: P-N on 08:51 16-Aug-2008
I can't imagine there will be too much discent over "Over the hills and far away" - but finding enough Expats who know ALL the words to "Rule Britania" and not just the chorus will take some doing Lt Campers Sir!  ;) :D :D
Title: The Vemeiro campaign in Portugal 1808
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:49 21-Aug-2008
Lt Campers
Cafe Napoleon,
Bombarral, Portugal

Expats looking for a last minute update to tomorrows Battle of
Rolica will not be disappointed - as you know the british advance
towards Lisbon has been progressing steadily forward and
tonight Wellesley´s advance guard has reached the town of
Where in the area of Azambujeiro dos Carros, the Rifles have
exchanged fire with General Delaborde troops blocking the road
to Lisbon.
Therefore having set our picquet lines, the men are making camp
in Bombarral. While the officers seek out cafes and bars, as you
know its a bank holiday in Portugal and so the officers find
refreshment at the Napoleon Cafe in Bombarral ( much to the
amusement of the locals )


News of the British landings have been reported in papers and news items
in Portugal and tomorrow we are honoured to have the presence of
some very distinguished guests.


As I check out the Bombarrel newspaper its seems like many
high ranking officers and government officials will be attending
the battles, no doubt ( as General Wellesley would say ) to see
the French get "a dam good thrashing"

Obviously the Battles of Rolica and Vimeiro are one of the deciding
battles in Portuguese history - but I think we all know another
reason for the impressive turnout - Sharpe.
Apparently ever since the Sharpe film series was translated into
Portuguese, hes been a hit with the ladies.
Certainly many high ranking government wives, daughters, etc are
hoping to be introduced to Seargent Sharpe ( his rank at Rolica &
Vimeiro ) after the battle.

Anyway for all of you gettng up early on saturday to arrive at the
battlesite by 08:30 am in the morning. Yes it is early but you must
be their by 9am.
As I know I have many viisitors to this website - so you might be
interested if your living in Portugal.
As you travel up the A8 from Lisbon ( just behind the police
motorbike riders, escorting the Presidents and the Prime
ministers cars ) to Bombarral.
You will be struck by the lack ( I would say none existant ) road
signs to the event. Of course now we know the reasons why  
matter of national security, for your eyes only, etc, etc.

Therefore please take note of the following road directions. From
Bombarral, go round the outskirts of the town, past the Napoleon cafe.
Take the road to Rolica but your destination is Azambujera
dos Carros. The battle will be refought north of this village. Slow down
in the village and look out for a sign say Monument to Corronel Lake,
take this road to the monument. Park your car by the monument
where you will need to walk 2 kilometers to where the
battle re-enactment will take place at 09:30 am.

The Battle of Vemeiro will be refought at Vimeiro. Again drive to the
village of Vimeiro and be their for 17:30 as the battle re-enactment
is around 6pm.
Naturally expats are welcome to sing "Over the hills and far away"
and "Rule Britainnia" but beware the President and Prime Minister
might be listening.

Those expats curious about the fortunes of the Wellesley's army marching through Portugal over
the weekend, will be pleased with the conduct of British troops throughout the Vimeiro

Of course you had to get up early to see the redcoats in action on saturday, as the British
( along with our Portugueuse allies ) wasted no time in pushing back the french under
a steady hail of musketry fire.

British troops marching through Portugal:




The French had already been along this road earlier, in order to setup
a prepared postion on the road from Rolica:

French troops on the Lisbon road:



Napoleon's troops have had more than the British & Portuguese army to
contend with since their invasion of Portugal - as the country is rife
with armed Partisans:


Following the British we have the Portuguese contingent at Rolica:


Title: Battle of Rolica, August
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:53 21-Aug-2008
The Battle of Rolica, August 1808
In August 1808 british troops under General Wellesley have been marching
steadily towards Lisbon to oust the French army led by General Junot.
With a force of 14.000 troops plus 1700 Portuguese. Wellesley was
opposed by 4000 French troops under the command of General Henri
Francouis, Comte Delaborde with orders to harass and hold up the british
advance long enough for Junot to deploy a far superior force out of
Lisbon, in order to drive the british back to the sea.
Although outnumbered almost four to one, Delaborde has chosen the
village of Roliça in order to make a stand. The ground being well chosen
as its in in the centre of a range of steep hills, shaped like a horseshoe,
about one mile wide by two miles deep. All the hills surrounding Rolica
being well wooded with trees.

The French begin the day to the north of Rolica, where backed by high
ground they are able to block and protect the old Lisbon road.
On the hill about a mile to the south of the village where the French
first fall back, their are four gullies, leading to the new French
defensive position.
The nature of the ground prevented Wellesley from making effective use
of his superior numbers to outflank the French, leading the british to make
a few rash frontal assualts against the French.

Portuguese troops & british sailors harassing the french:


The most tragic being the assualt led by Colonel Lake of the 29th regiment of foot.
Who as the french fell back to their final position ( to the south and east of
the village, at the top of a steep hill ) Lake led his men
up a gully, only to find himself behind Delaborde and surrounded by the
french, this mistake cost Lake his life, along with most of his men, as the
rest of the british force mounted a general assualt in order to reach the
outnumbered men.

British troops engaged in a fire fight with the French:





At first General Delaborde withdrew in good order before the british attacks
( with the help of his cavalry ) before discipline broke down and his army ran to the comparative
safety of Montachique near Torres Vedras.

Portuguese TV video of the Battle of Rolica:

Portuguese TV report on the Battle of Rolica, 1808 (http://www.oeste.tv/televisao/?v=NDE5)

The same Portuguese TV report on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYneRBJLJyU#)

A film clip of the event on video camara:

Rolica film clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8bHNpIHXQE&feature=user#normal)

British soldiers dine on food & wine left behind by the French following their defeat at Rolica,
near Bombarral.


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal
Post by: Capt.Ted on 20:55 22-Aug-2008
Campers - what can I say another great post with some super pics.  ;)  ;)  ;)
Your sure to keep us riverted for your latest updates on this one.

It just so happens my parents retired to the Algarve in Portugal and like me
are keeping an eye on those Frenchies   :D  :D  :D  :D  :D
As you seem to be a reporter embedded within the Napoleonic armies, perhaps you
can keep us posted on what Boney will be upto next.  8)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal
Post by: Lt. Campers on 22:05 24-Aug-2008
The road to Vimiero

News of Delaborde's defeat at Rolica was quickly conveyed to General Junot who has
been marching his army out of Lisbon and towards Torres Vedras in the
hope of bringing Sir Arthur Wellesley to battle before further reinforcements
arrive by sea.

General Junot receives news of Delaborde's defeat:


Map of the 1808 campaign that culminated in the Battle of Vimiero:


Click on the link below to enlarge the campaign map:

Battle of Vimiero, campaign map (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_qqOj1Wxj-tI/SLx7IjkiCqI/AAAAAAAAAWs/by5KQip9Qgc/s1600-h/Digitalizar0001.jpg)

Many french officers on Junot's general staff have been enjoying an
Imperial Ball in Lisbon the day before, knowing they might be fighting


The roads north of Lisbon are becoming jammed with French troops marching to
meet Wellesley.



Meanwhile the british under Sir Arthur Wellesley have pressed forward quickly
and established camp at the village of Vimiero where hes found suitable
ground in order to meet the French within striking distance of Lisbon.

British camp


With the French marching with all speed to confront the british at Vemeiro,
Wellesley has little time to prepare his position before the French army
appears on the horizon.
Don't forget to see Wellesley's men in action at the Battle of Rolica in a
video of last weeks action on my previous post.
Title: Battle of Roliça on Portuguese TV
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:40 28-Aug-2008
With the scene set for the climatic Battle of the Vimiero that will determine the fate of
Portugal and General Wellesley's ambitions during the opening rounds of the
Peninsular Wars.  ;)
The Portuguese television company Oeste tv has recently released a TV
documentary on the 200th anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Rolica refought
on 16th August.
As you know British troops ( with their Portuguese allies ) were fighting for control of the
vital road south through the village of Rolica, that was held by General Delaborde's
french troops fighting a rear guard action.
Anyway heres the Portuguese film feature on the Battle of Rolica where I'm sure
the Odessa expats will be delighted to see Lt Campers congratulating the British
following their victory at Rolica.
Yes, thats a head shot of me, to the left of the French general, just turning
round after congratulating the British officers.  8)   8)   8)

Battle of Rolica - Portuguese tv report:

Portuguese TV report on the Battle of Rolica, 1808 (http://www.oeste.tv/televisao/?v=NDE5)

Please note the video report can be a bit slow the first time you look at it.
But can be rerun without interuptions on a good broadband connection.

Title: Battle of Roliça photogallery
Post by: Lt. Campers on 21:24 28-Aug-2008
Heres a spendid photogallery to follow up on the Portuguese television report
on the Battle of Rolica that was refought this month.

Photo gallery (http://nsprojects.com/fotoreportagens/fotoreportagem_2008_08_16batalha_rolica/)

Title: Penninsular Wars - Battle of Vimiero 1808
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:36 31-Aug-2008
The Battle of Vimiero - August 1808

Three days after the battle of Rolica, Gen Wellesley established a defensive position
near the village of Vimiero. By holding the village plus some ridges to the west, he  hoped to
cover a british beachhead at Maceira Bay a little further to the west.
Since most of his reinforcements had arrived by August 20, Wellesley planned to continue
his advance on Lisbon but was soon confronted by Junots french army deploying on the
slopes facing Vimiero.
              Wellesley therefore quickly deployed his 20,000 troops to face Junots, army of
Portugal numbering 14,000 men.  What the French commander lacked in numbers he made up
for in cavalry as Wellesley had only 500 cavalry available for the battle.

BBC Series, At War with Wellington, Vimeiro (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3j5NMcBo-k&feature=channel#)

General Junot salutes his troops before committing them to battle:


French forming up for battle:


French artillery preparing for battle:


British infantry deploying before Vimiero:



British highland troops at Vimiero:


Junot organized his 14,000-man force into two infantry divisions and the cavalry division of
Pierre Margaron. The infantry division of Henri Delaborde contained the brigades of Antoine
Brenier and Jean Thomiares, while Louis Henri Loison's division included the brigades of
Jean Solignac and Hugues Charlot. In addition, Francoius Kellermann commanded a 2,100-man
reserve made up of four converged grenadier battalions.

French infantry columns moving forward to attack the British:



British & Portuguese troops awaiting the french attack:


British officer addressing men of the 95th Rifles:


General Junot makes only a cursory inspection of the British position before ordering his
forces to attack. The main effort would be against the British left center, along the
western ridgeline. In an attempt to turn the British left flank, he sent Brenier on a long march.
Wellesley realized the danger and sent Acland's, Nightingall's, Bowe's, Ferguson's Brigades to
protect his left. Junot saw the movement of these troops and thinking that Brenier would
be destroyed, sent Solignac's Brigade to support him. This divided his army in two, with over
three kilometers between the two wings.

British line firing into French columns attacking Vimiero:



The first French attack was stopped and all seven guns were captured. Junot ordered another
attack, this time using the two battalions of the 2nd Reserve Grenadiers, under the command
of Colonel St. Clair, along with eight guns.
Soon after, a similar fate overtook Charlot's brigade. In a very narrow column, it struck one
battalion of Anstruther's brigade, which had been hidden behind a crest. Before they could
deploy, the French were taken in flank by a second battalion. Unable to effectively reply to
the devastating British volley fire, Charlot's men soon ran away.
Seeing the battle going against him, Junot committed his grenadier reserve to the attack.
he first two battalions attacked the same area as the previous units and were thown back.
Kellermann swung the final two grenadier battalions wide to the right and succeeds in
breaking into Vimeiro.

French cannon firing on british positions:


British officers order their men to fall back, as the French onslaught moves onto the
streets of Vimiero:


French troops celebrate as they surmount the ridge taken from the british, with
Wellesley's troops falling back as best they can:


A final volley from the British before retiring into Vimiero:


Their now follows a bitter running battle through the streets of Vimiero as british troops
fall back towards the village churchyard as they give way under mounting presure from
Kellerman's french battalions.

British troops, joined by partisans defending the road into Vimiero:


French battalion moving forward as they endure volley fire from the
british rearguard:


Kellerman moves more men forward as the british fall back:


Portuguese troops move forward to take on the advancing French:


The british are facing a crisis as mounting pressure from Kellermans battalions look as if
the French are about to take the village and thus Wellesleys central position.


British troops blocking the street leading to the village square:




The British carry out a series of hit and run attacks down the back streets of Vimeiro in order
to blunt the french attack with British riflemen sniping at French
officers and attacking French troops in the rear.

British 95th riflemen takes cover in one of the gardens


British 95th Rifles hurrying down the backstreets:


British 95th rifles defending a side street into Vimiero, fall back under renewed
french pressure



British & Portuguese riflemen firing on french troops down a side street:



Close quarter combat in the streets of Vimeiro:



Now we move to the climax of the Battle of Vimiero - the french assualt
on the churchyard held by the British:












British rifles standing firm against the french with the redcoats:


General Kellerman calls on the british to surrender but they jeer in defiance as they know
the French are nearly beaten - Kellermans  troops are a spent force out on a limb, as the
rest of the French position deteriorates following a number of unsuccessful attacks:


But, counterattacked by units from Anstruther and Acland, these Frenchmen also fell back.
Colonel Taylor's 20th Light Dragoons pounced on Kellermann's retreating grenadiers and
routed them. Excited by this easy success, the British horsemen charged out of control. They
soon came up against Margaron's French cavalry division and were routed in their turn. Taylor
was killed with the British horsemen losing about one man in four.
Brenier's men having gotten lost in the hills, Solignac attacked the northeast ridge. This brigade
used a more intelligent attack formation, with three battalions abreast. Even so, each battalion
formed a column one company wide and eight companies deep. If the French intended to form
into line once the enemy position was detected, they waited too long. They marched into the
killing zone of Nightingall and Fergusson's brigades before they could deploy. Smashed by
British volleys, Solignac's men fled.
Brenier's brigade, marching to the sound of battle, came on four battalions abreast. At first
they enjoyed success when they surprised and defeated two British battalions. These units
had let down their guard after overpowering Solignac. Victorious, the French pressed on in
column, but soon ran into the 29th Regiment in line and were stopped. The 29th was joined
by the other two units, who had quickly rallied. Together, the volley fire of the three British
battalions soon routed Brenier's men. Though Wellesley urged him to pursue, Burrard declined
to interfere with the subsequent French retreat.
Title: Penninsular Wars - Battle of Vimiero 1808
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:45 18-Sep-2008
For those of you wanting to forget about the credit crunch - the collapse of
the Ukrainian government - the fall in share prices and the ongoing tensions
in Georgia. Above is Campers latest update from Portugal.  ;)  ;)   ;)
Title: Re: Penninsular Wars - Battle of Vimiero 1808
Post by: Capt.Ted on 17:37 18-Sep-2008
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For those of you wanting to forget about the credit crunch - the collapse of
the Ukrainian government - the fall in share prices and the ongoing tensions
in Georgia. Above is Campers latest update from Portugal.  ;)  ;)   ;)

Camps - My biggest concern was HBOS, especially when yours trully has savings tied up their.
Still like your recent battle report from Portugal - it looked a close run thing before the Lloyds
takeover was announced. Phew !!!!!!!
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal
Post by: Claus on 19:16 18-Sep-2008
GREAT posts, Campers!!  ;D
Title: Peninsular Wars, the Convention of Sintra
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:12 22-Sep-2008
Armistice followed by the controversial - Convention of Sintra

Cintra, Portugal 1808

The battle of Vimiero, cost Junot 1800 men either killed, wounded or
missing. His only solace being that thanks to insufficient british cavalry
and the reluctance of the new senoir officer on the scene, Sir Harry
Burrard to pursue Junot's broken french army. Junot was able to
effect an orderly retreat to Torres Vedras and then Lisbon.

With his army shaken and beaten and his forces virtually cut off from
any possible withdrawl to Spain. Junot sent his second in command,
Francios Kellerman to seek terms and conditions from Wellesley.
To his surprise he found the British had uindergone a change of command
since the battle, as the latest reinforcements brought with it two senior
officers - Sir Harry Burrard and a day later, Sir Hew Dalrymple.
Both officers were cautious old men who had seen little fighting and
and rather than push the French, they were happy to open negotiations
with the french envoy Kellerman.
       Kellerman managed to extract terms far more generous than any
Junot could have hoped for from Wellesley. Instead on the promise that
the french would hand over all towns, garrsons and cities in Portugal,
the french would be allowed to leave the country with all the honours
of war.

French generals checking the terms of surrender as negotiated
between Kellerman and the British:


The Convention of Sintra was signed at the Palace of Queluz in
Queluz-Sintra, Estremadura. Between the forces of Napoleon, commanded
by Junot, the British commanded by Sir Hew Dalrymple.
Whereby the French would be allowed to leave Portugal with all their arms
baggage and equipment.
Like a beseiged 18th century garrison that has been called upon to
surrender the fort, rather than spill more blood against superior forces.
The French would be allowed to leave Portugal, fully armed and with all
colours flying, complete with any cannon, baggage and plunder they
acquired during their occupation of Portugal.

Draft document on the Convention of Sintra

Document on the Convention of Sintra (http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/government/diplomatic/c_cintra.html)

What made the Convention so unpalletable was the French were to be
transported back to France on British royal navy ships instead of making
their own way back to French lines through hostile country.

Palace of Queluz in Queluz-Sintra, Estremadura.


French officers being rowed to the British admirals ship at anchor in
Lisbon harbour, following the signing of the Convention:


Public reaction in Britain

As the first despatches from Wellesley arrived in Britain, speaking of
a great victory over the French. People rejoiced as church bells
peeled and cannons fired.
Newspapers in Britain carried news of 'Most glorious news from Portugal,
complete defeat of General Junot and proposals for the surrender of his
When news of the Convention arrived, the government was in uproar,
anger and recriminations followed as ministers tried to distance themselves
from the Convention.
All three generals, Wellesley, Burrard and Dalrymple were recalled to
England to face a court of inquiry into their conduct.

Meanwhile back in Portugal, the Royal navy was busy fulfilling its terms of
the agreement by transporting the 25,000 french trops of which 20,900 were still
under arms to French ports. Junot himself returning to La Rochelle, France on 11th
October accompanied by his two mistresses.
By late November and early December Junot's men were back in Spain fighting the
spanish uprising.
Although the British and Portuguese regained Portugal without another shot being fired,
the treaty continued to be highly unpopular in Britain as witnessed by the following
satirical broadsheet.


Click the link below in order to enlarge the image:

Enlarged Image of British broadsheet (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_qqOj1Wxj-tI/SLxkJqbrG5I/AAAAAAAAAWA/HdLvq6K_m50/s1600-h/convencao-de-sintra.jpg)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal
Post by: P-N on 09:03 22-Sep-2008
Nicely written once again Lt Campers
Title: Russian warships on the Tagus
Post by: Lt. Campers on 19:30 25-Sep-2008
Russian warships on the Tagus

An interesting sideshow to the French invasion of Portugal and the subsequent Vimeiro
campaign following the British landings in Portugal.
Was the matter of the Russian naval squadron that ( by chance ) found itself caught
up in the conflict and trapped between rival factions on the Tagus.

Background - Russian naval operations in the Mediterranean

In 1805 the russian Tsar Alexander I embroiled in several coalitions to forestall
Napoleon's conquest of Europe - mounted a naval operation in the Med to
prevent French expansion into the Adriatic. So warships were dispatched from
both the Baltic and Black Sea fleets to form a Mediterranean squadron under the
command of Vice-Admiral Senyavin.
These warships were to proceed to the Ionian islands, establishing a base of
operations on the largest of the islands, Corfu. The Ionian islands, formally owned by
the Venetian's upto Napoleon's conquest of Venice, fell to France and then were
handed over to Russia following another war in Italy back in 1800.
Anyway Senyavin was russia's most able navy commander, having distinguished
himself in the Russo-Turkish wars. Naturally Russia welcomed the chance to exert
influence in the Mediterranean.

Soviet postage stamp commemorating Admiral Senyavin


Once settled in at Corfu, the russian squadron quickly changed the balance of power
in the Adriatic where the British could spare only a few ships, in the face
of greater commitments off the French and Spanish coast.
Therefore the British admiral Lord Collingwood welcomed the Russians in
the Med where they captured a few islands and prevented the French
taking control of the Ionian islands.
By September 1806 the russians had complete control over the southern
Adriatic sea, disrupting Dubrovnik's sea trade.

Diary of an English surgeon - serving aboard the Russian flagship

Here's an interesting account of the life of an english surgeon, serving aboard a russian
warship - he later went on to serve on many Royal navy ships - following the Treaty of
Tilsit in 1807.

Diary of an English surgeon in the Russian navy (http://www.kinghallconnections.com/james-hall.html#selafail)

Treaty of Tilsit
However Tsar Alexanders attempts to support the Prussians against the
invading French in the War of the fourth Coalition, ended in disaster at
the Battle of Friedland in June 1807.

Napoleon at the Battle of Friedland


Battle of Freidland - June 1807

Napoleon's victory over the Russians at Friedland, 1807 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7KCFzsH4Lo#normal)

Thus forcing Tsar Alexander to sue for peace with Napoleon, the conditions of
which was an alliance with France, over the continental blockade of Britian and as
a subclause - the Ionian Islands and Cattaro; captured by Russian admirals Ushakov
and Senyavin, were to be handed over to the French.
Naturally the Russian admiral was furious about forfeiting his conquests
( as a result of Tilsit ) but with the Tsar ordering his Mediterranean fleet back
fto base, a large part of the squadron sailed back to Sevastopol in the Crimea
while the remainder ( led by Senyavin ) was to return to the russian fleet
in the Baltic - where they hoped to be engaged in a new war with Sweden.

Trapped in Portugal

On 19th September 1807, Senyavin's squadron set sail from Corfu round
Gibralter and into the Atlantic, enroute for Saint Petersburg when stormy
weather ( damaging two ships ) forced him to seek shelter and repairs in
the neutral port of Lisbon on 30th October. Within several days the
Portuguese royal family fled Portugal for Brazil, following a French invasion
of Portugal with Lisbon falling to the French, only a couple of days later.
Following the fall of Lisbon, the British soon imposed a naval blockade of
Portuguese capitol.
Senyavin tried to send word to Saint Petersburg by dispatching a Russian warship
but this soon came under attack from British warships blocking the Tagus.

Russian warship engaging a british frigate



With no hope of escaping Portugal without becoming involved in a major sea battle against the British,
Senyavin decides to sit tight on the Tagus and finish off repairs to his storm damaged ships.
Napoleon ( on the othe hand ) hearing of Senyavin's plight, pleads with the Tsar for the right
to issue his own orders to Senyavin in Lisbon.
Both Napoleon and General Junot, saw an opportunity to break the British blockade of Lisbon
and disrupt any British landings, if only they can take control of the Russian squadron.
But Admiral Senyavin ignores Napoleon's orders and that of Genral Junot who together with
Kellerman held frequent meetings with the Russian admiral who remained neutral throughout
the conflict.
Following the British landings and General Wellesley's victory over the French at Vimeiro.
Junot signed an armistice with the British and Portuguese that became
the Convention of Sintra - leaving Senyavin out on a limb. His force of seven battleships and
one frigate were no match against the British fleets guns of 15 battleships
and 10 frigates  plus any coastal artillery that can be brought to bear on the
Russian fleet.
Senyavin remained adament about his neutrality and threatened to bombard the port of Lisbon
before finally blowing up his ships, if attacked by the British.

French battery, originally deployed to protect Lisbon harbour against the
British are now turned against the Russian fleet:


British open fire on the nearest Russian frigate:


Cannon shot falls short of its target prompting the russian frigate to
return fire:



They shall not pass - British royal navy frigates patrolling the mouth of the Tagus
ready to engage any russian warship that tries to leave Lisbon:


The Convention of Sintra - with clauses concerning the russian fleet:

Convention of Sintra, clause concerning the Russian fleet (http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/government/diplomatic/c_cintra.html)

So the British admiral Sir Charles Cotton entered into negociations with Senyavin that would lead to an
agreement between the British and Russians respecting the neutrality of the Russian fleet in
the Tagus.
The detention of the russian fleet was incorporated into the Convention whereby russian warships
would sail, under escort to Britain where they would be detained in british ports until their
war with Sweden was over.
Following which they would be free to return to Russia.
Title: Napoleon's Imperial Ball & Congress in Erfurt
Post by: Lt. Campers on 19:35 25-Sep-2008
Napoleon's Imperial Ball and Congress in Erfurt

Events move to Germany this weekend as Napoleon together with
other heads of state in Europe forge a new alliance

With the evacuation of French troops from Portugal following the
Convention of Sintra, Napoleon's hopes of a quick and easy victory
in Portugal and elsewhere on the Iberian Peninsular are dashed.
As you know following a couple of debacles in the Spanish Peninsular
this year ( 1808 ) most notably at Bailen in July - with the surrender of
General Dupont's corp to the Spanish and more recently at Vimiero with
the complete defeat and surrender of General Junot's french, Army of
Portugal to the british.
Napoleon is livid at the poor performance of his generals in the
Spanish Peninsular. So seeing that his got a fight on his hands.
Napoleon has called for an Imperial conference or Congress at the german
city of Erfurt this weekend. Where he hopes to see Tsar Alexander reaffirm
his alliegence to France ( struck at the Treaty of Tilset ) while also
looking to gain more support from the client states of the French dominated
Confederation of the Rhine ( in terms of men and money ) for the war in

Napoleon and Tsar Alexander agree terms at the Treaty of Tilsit
following Russia's defeat at the Battle of Friedland

Congress of Erfurt, Germany 1808 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congress_of_Erfurt)

Naturally several german tv channels will be covering the event
taking place over the weekend which will include an International
Napoleonic armies bivouac at the Petersburg Citidal, miltary parades,
concerts and martial music at the Fishmarket and Old town of Erfurt, plus
performances of the renowned Comedie Francais, with the highlight of the
show being Napoleon's Imperial Ball at the University Ballhaus at 7pm
on sunday 28th September. Leo Tolstoy, eat your heart out !!!

For many of you who cannot tear yourself away to see this historic
event - the good news is that Napoleonic War correspondents from the
german tv channel MDR will be onhand to record the historic event.

Anyway the details of the event - for many of you sitting at home, in
front of your PC's drooling over the costumes and gossip on the biggest
social event of the Napoleonic calander. Heres the details:

The Congress of Erfurt website:

Details of Congress of Erfurt, re-enacted (http://www.erfurter-fuerstenkongress-1808.de/)

In german but to translate it just copy/paste the webpage you want
to see in english using Google and click translate. Eg the program of
the event:

Congress of Erfurt, program of events (http://http=www.erfurter-fuerstenkongress-1808.de/festprogr.htm)

German tv channel MDR will be broadcasting highlights of the
Congress of Erfurt on tv and over the internet on sunday 28th September
from 14:00hrs to 16:00hrs CET time

MDR TV on the event (http://www.mdr.de/thueringen/veranstaltungen/5728144.html)

MDR TV coverage (http://www.mdr.de/tv/5674407.html)

One of the events - namely the Parade of Napoleons troops at the
Fishmarket in Erfurt will ( hopefully ) be covered on the following webcam:
Scheduled for friday 26th September at 16:00hrs CET time

Webcam covering the fish market (http://www.erfurt.de/ef/en/discover/webcam/fischmarkt/)
Title: Re: Napoleon's Imperial Ball & Congress live from Erfurt
Post by: Capt.Ted on 10:10 26-Sep-2008
Lt Campers - You are the CNN of the Nap Wars,  ;)  I will certainly be keeping a look out
for Napoleon on the webcam today - although my experience in catching glimpses
of events on local webcams shows its a very hit or miss affair.
Still the MDR tv report on sunday should be interesting, if its broadcast over the internet.
Title: Re: Napoleon's congress of Erfurt opens today
Post by: Lt. Campers on 13:51 26-Sep-2008
Congress of Erfurt opens today

As you know events are moving quickly on the Napoleonic front as I
endeavour to keep you abreast of international developements in Europe
following the defeat of Napoleon's army in Portugal last month.
Napoleon's Congress of Erfurt will be opening in Germany today and high
on the agenda are discussions amoungst Napoleon and his allies on how
best to move forward following the recent setbacks in Spain and
Napoleon's troops are already encamped at the Petersburg Citadel in
Erfurt where they await the arrival of Tsar Alexander's entourage
including his best russian troops for the 2 day conference.
Obviously theirs much to discuss on the agenda - what with Boney's recent defeats in
Spain ( at Bailen, July 1808 ) and of course in Portugal following the Battle of Vimiero.

Battle of Bailen on wikipedia:

Battle of Bailen, french defeated (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bail%C3%A9n)

French line infantry marching into the city of Erfurt


Followed by Napoleon's Imperial Guard




German police closed several main roads for Napoleon's troops to march into the


From the opposite end of the city - Russian cavalry and hussars signal
the arrival of the Tsar's entourage


Followed by Russian infantry:


Tsar Alexander enters the city in his carriage


Following him are troops of the Russian Imperial Guard



French troops march past city hall where the two emperors will meet


Napoleon arrives first at the meeting place


Where after taking salutes from his loyal troops - he awaits the arrival of the Tsar


Napoleon greets Tsar Alexander on the steps of City hall


Napoleon is invited to inspect the Tsars Imperial Guard


Napoleon and Alexander meet other important guests as their are many
German Princes, French marshalls and Russian generals to meet





Finally Napoleon and Alexander appear on the city mayors balcony to
take their salutes from the crowd


MDR radio has already announced the opening of the conference - and heres the
link to the broadcast below: The radio programs are at the bottom of the webpage,
where so far you will find three broadcasts of the event - just click on
each photo in the box to hear the other radio programs or Click on
'Liste' at the top right hand side of the box.

MDR Radio announcement of the Congress of Erfurt:

Announcement on German radio (http://www.mdr.de/thueringen/5728144.html)
Title: Napoleon's Congress of Erfurt in Germany
Post by: Lt. Campers on 15:35 27-Sep-2008
France and Russia reaffirm their alliance against Britain

Following the first day of talks in the German town of Erfurt yesterday. The French and
Russian foreign ministers of the Emperor's Napoleon and Alexander agree to impose
greater sanctions on Great Britain as part of the Continental wide blockade against
British goods.

Napoleon and Alexander ride to the Petersburg Citadel for the military



The French fire a 21 gun salute for the French & Russian emperors


Napoleon & Alexander enter the Citadel where they are about to watch
a joint military parade of the French & Russian Imperial armies


Soldiers of Napoleon's Imperial guard form a cordon for the two emperors to walk
onto the parade ground


Napoleon and Alexander take their places before inspecting the troops


French & Russian infantry, hussars and heavy cavalry formed up, ready for inspection


Russian infantry await their turn in the review



Napoleon poses for the press before inspecting the troops



Napoleon removes his hat as he acknowledges the salute of his troops


Napoleon and Alexander shake hands following the parade


Napoleon & Alexander mount their horses and make their way out of the



Speaking at their first joint military exercise at the Petersburg Citidel,. The French foreign minister
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand denounced the intervention of British troops in Portugal and
the Spanish peninsular as a gross interference in the affairs of Spain's new lawful King Joseph
Bonaparte. Further more while promising more French troops for the Spanish Peninsular and
the re-conquest of Portugal - Talleyrand complained about the impertinance of the British
Admiralty for presenting a bill to the Emperor, for the repatriation of his troops to France !!

The Emperors, Napoleon and Alexander hosting talks in Erfurt:


With the opening of the Congess of Erfurt - French and Russian infantry & cavalry paraded
through the streets of Erfurt on friday before a long round of diplomatic talks, parades and
imperial balls begins over the weekend.

Of course the Kremlin also sent some of their top senior military advisors to the
three day Conference:


You shall go to the Ball - A French officer on Napolean's general staff with his wife:


Photo gallery and tv video of the military parade in Erfurt:
Click on zum video to watch Napoleon's parade.

Military parade - photo gallery (http://www.tlz.de/tlz/tlz.extra81.fuerstenkongress.php)

Napoleon's Congress of Erfurt video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38e1P5kWwRk#)
Title: Re: France & Russia impose sanctions on the UK
Post by: Capt.Ted on 02:51 28-Sep-2008
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France and Russia reaffirm their alliance against Britain

Following the first day of talks in the German town of Erfurt yesterday. The French and
Russian foreign ministers of the Emperor's Napoleon and Alexander agree to impose
greater sanctions on Great Britain as part of the Continental wide blockade against
British goods.

What ! - British beef banned from european menu's again  :o  :o - no wonder Boney's troops
are chanting 'Vive la Emperor' in the 4th MDR video on the Congress of Erfurt.
Title: Re: Napoleonic Wars, events in Germany
Post by: Lt. Campers on 14:32 28-Sep-2008
Thanks Ted, although theirs more than British beef at stake here.

Highlights of Napoleon's Erfurt Congress on MDR:

Germany's MDR have been broadcasting highlights of Napoleon's
conference ( Congress of Erfurt ) currently taking place in Germany.
This is a 200th anniversary recreation of the power politics taking place in
Europe following Napoleon's french army defeat at the Battle of Vimiero.
Where in escence, Napoleon is neutralising the threats to his empire from
the east ( ie the Austro-Hungarian empire and Russia ) in order to free
more troops for the Spanish revolt and the arrival of British troops in

The French and Russian encampments at Erfurt

The French and Russian armies established an encampment inside the fortress walls
of Erfurts, Petersburg Citadel for the duration of the Congress. Where as well as attending
many military parades and inspections for the two emperors. They also provided a glimpse
of camp life for soldiers and campfollowers on campaign in 1808, as well as the rigours of
military life, such as drill practice.

The French encampment



A french platoon being put through its paces


French fifers having some early morning practice on their flutes


Typical scenes at the campfire



After the parade - a hussar taking a nap in his tent


MDR had radio programmes covering the miltary parades and meetings
between Napoleon and tsar Alexander of Russia but these may no longer be

MDR Radio coverage (http://www.mdr.de/thueringen/5728144.html)

Napoleon's Imperial Ball

Following the parades on friday, saturday and sunday. Napoleon and Alexander held
an Imperial Ball at the University Ballhaus on sunday evening for all high ranking officials,
diplomats and minitsers attending the three day conference.

A high ranking Cossack with his wife on the steps of the Ballroom


Napoleon, flanked by guards, waits at the entrance to the ballroom with
a lady friend


French Marshalls and other staff officers await their guests:


Russian Hussar and his lady enter the ballroom:


Russian Cossack officer escorts his wife to the ball:


French Officers and their guests enter the ballroom:




Napoleon and Alexander are introduced to many guests attending the Ball


A Senior officers lady is introduced to a French Marshall:


Napoleon, flanked by his staff officers ladies take their seats for the ball:


They are soon joined by Tsar Alexander with his staff officers and ladies:


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Spain 1808
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:13 13-Oct-2008
The Peninsular war in Spain 1808

With the British firmly in control of Portugal. Napoleon's grip on Spain has
been getting tenuous with every passing month, following the spainiards
fury over the enthronement of Joseph Boneparte; that sparked the Dos
de Mayo in Madrid and a series of popular uprisings throughout Spain.
French forces have been hard pressed - moving from province to province
trying to quell the spanish uprising but with the spanish rebels getting
bolder every day.
The Spanish army finally rebels against their french masters and traps an
entire French Corp at the town of Bailen, forcing its hapless commander,
General Dupont to surrender his entire army to the Spanish on 22nd July.

The French surrender after the Battle of Bailen


Following Bailen the French had to evacuate Madrid and retire to the river
Elbro to set up new defensive positions against the spanish rebels.
Napoleon was infuriated with Dupont and promptly arrested and imprisoned
him following his return to Paris.

Fortnuately the RTVA Andalucia TV have produced a very good 47.5
minute documentary on the Spanish uprising and the events leading upto
the Battle of Bailen that you can watch below.

RTVA Television a la Carte - bicentenary - La batalla de Bailen

RTVA report on events leading upto the Battle of Bailen, 1808 (http://www.radiotelevisionandalucia.es/tvcarta/impe/web/contenido?id=2727)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:34 19-Oct-2008
Napoleon's troops to march on Portugal

As regulars to Back to the Peninsular Wars will know - one of the
consequences of the Congress of Erfurt in Germany is, the French hope
to mount a second invasion of Portugal next year after turning around the
deteriorating military situation in Spain.
I have already posted a number of photos from the napoleonic Congress in
Erfurt which was the scene of high international diplomacy, power politics
and intrigue between Napoleon and his allies.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Napoleon enters Spain
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:35 05-Jan-2009

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

The Empire strikes back - Napoleon takes command in Spain

As regulars of Back to the Peninsular Wars are aware in September 1808,
Napoleon called upon his eastern european allies to bolster his hard pressed
troops in Spain, to put down the spanish revolt.
Following which Napoleon receives more troops for the Iberian peninsular as new
eastern european allies ( like Poland ) join the fray to crush the
spanish uprising.
Meanwhile with Sir Arthur Wellesley recalled to England to face a court
of inquiry into the controversial Convention of Cintra.
Command of the British army in the Peninsular passes to Sir John Moore,
a capable general who's seen service in the American War of Independance
and has been instrumental in establishing permanent light infantry
troops like the 95th Rifles.

Clickable map of the Iberian Peninsular during the Napoleonic Wars

Map of the Spanish Peninsular, 1808 (http://www.maproom.org/00/13/present.php?m=0048)

The advance into Spain

Shortly after taking command on 6th October, Moore received orders to
march into Spain in support of the spanish uprising. So leaving a garrison
of 10,000 men in Lisbon, Moore marched into Spain with 20,000 troops that
was soon reinforced by a further 16,000 british troops marching down from
His mission to join up with Spanish forces that have taken Madrid from the
Unfortunately for Moore the disorganised french ( which had met a series of
defeats since taking over the country ) were soon galvernised into action by
the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte and the able Marshall Soult.
With fresh reinforcemants from France and his new eastern european empire,
they soon put paid to various spanish armies that had joined the revolt
leaving only Madrid to be retaken.

Napoleon crossing the Somosierra Pass


The Battle of Somosierra - 30th November 1808

Napoleon after taking command of French forces in Spain, was kept informed of
the British advance on Madrid. Determined to strike first, Napoleon marches
his 40,000 men on Madrid but soon encounters a Spanish army barring
his path on the vital Somosierra Pass, 60 miles north of Madrid.
The army opposing the French under the command of General San Juan are a
mixed force of militia, reservists and regular troops still reeling from
earlier defeats. in all 21,000 men. But in order to cover the approaches to
Madrid, San Juan had to split his forces with 9000 men guarding the
Guadarrama pass, to the west and 3000 occupying an advance post at
Sepulvida. Leaving only 9000 men with 16 guns  to block the Somosierra Pass.

Somosierra pass with the spanish batteries in the foreground and
the French column marching into the pass in the middle distance


Napoleon addressing the cavalry, as his infantry form line before
facing the spanish troops in the pass


The battle begins with French infantry advancing against the spanish


The Battle of Somosierra on Spanish tv, including clip of the Polish cavalry

Spanish TV report on Somosierra (http://video.publico.es/videos/15/20554/1/recent)

Spanish online news channel - Elmundo report on the Battle of Somosierra
including a 3 minute video ( that can be shown full screen )

Elmundo TV report on Somosierra (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/09/21/madrid/1222025992.html)

Battle of Somosierra - video camara recording, with nice buildup to the
battle, leading to the charge of the Polish Chevaux-Legers

Somosierra 1808-2008 (https://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=StwHPdXwAuw#lq-hq)

The Spanish had chosen the ground well with the terrain forming a perfect
defile into the pass. With the main road to Madrid running along the pass, this
was easily blocked by a series of three batteries comprising two guns each
placed at intervals along the road and protected by small earthworks.
On the summit, San Juan placed the remaining 10 cannons with 2000 militia.
On the evening of the 29th, the spanish brigade at Sepulvida repulsed
a french attack, inflicting heavy casulties.
The following morning Napoleon decided to advance his infantry directly
up the pass while small detachments crept along the flanks, exchanging
musket volleys with defenders, progress was slow as they neared the
first of spanish guns which halted the advance under a hail of cannon

Charge of the Polish light brigade


Because the spanish position could not be easily outflanked by the French,
Napoleon was impatient to proceed, therefore he turned to the Polish
Chevaux-Legers of 450 horse ( commanded by Jan Kozietulski ) to
charge the Spanish batteries.
Whether Napoleon intended the Poles to charge the first battery or all three
batteries blocking the road is not clear. With fog screening their advance, the Poles
formed up in columns of 4 and started down the road, at first at the canter
before being ordered to charge with sabres drawn to cut down the
spanish gunners.
As they neared the spanish cannon, the Poles began to drop from the fire
from the spanish skirmishers before cannister fire shattered the front
ranks forcing the Poles to stall before their officers restored order and
continued the charge braking through the first battery before charging
pell-mell into the second and third spanish battery.
Despite their two senior Polish officers having their horses shot from under
them the Poles continued through the second and third battery before
confronting the fourth battery of 10 guns at the top of the pass.
Napoleon seeing the Poles break through the first battery with ease, sent
his personal escort and Guard Chasseurs-a-Cheval through the captured
batteries to assist the greatly depleted Polish Chevaux-Legers make a
final succesful assualt on the Spanish rear battery.


The capture of the fourth battery broke the Spanish army defending the
pass, leaving the french to mop up the remaining spanish troops.
San Juan escaped with what was left of his troops to Madrid but it
soon fell to the French on 2nd December as the spainsh offered no

The charge of the Polish Chevaux-Legers, as immortalized in Polish cinema

"Popioły" (Ashes) - Film Polski, Battle of Samosierra (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjuaW9ZMZPM&feature=related#lq-hq)

Polish tv - on location at Somosierra

Naturally the fortunes of Napoleon's Polish brigade within the emperors Grand Army,
have been followed closely by several Polish television news channels in Warsaw.
Polish war correspondents accompanied the french army into Spain, as
they endeavour to crush the spanish uprising and bring Moores british
troops to battle.
Here we see a Polish documentary on the Battle of Somosierra, recording
details of the battle as the action unfolds, leading upto Napoleon's
decision to send in the Polish Chevaux-Legers.

BATTLE OF SOMOSIERRA (https://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eS-8UuJG0f0&feature=PlayList&p=CABC688C3254CCA2&index=4#ws-lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)

The losses suffered by the Polish Chevaux-Legers were great and has
gone down in Polish military history as a noble, vain glorious victory on a
par with the Charge of the Light Brigade.



Conclusion of the Sharpe theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe_-_Over_the_Hills_and_Far_Away.html)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, the retreat to Corunna
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:10 10-Jan-2009
The British retreat to Corunna - December 1808 to January 1809


As you know following the arrival of Napoleon and Marshall Soults corps in
the Spanish peninsular. General Sir John Moores position at Salamanca was
becoming untenable.
With one spanish army after another suffering defeat, before being swept aside by
Napoleon, particulary at the Battle of Somosierra, resulting in the fall of
      Although Moore fought a successful skirmish against Soults cavalry at the Battle
of Sahagun on 21st December, he was determined not to find himself cut off and trapped
by any wily manuouvres from Napoleon, therefore on 24th December, he
ordered the army to retreat without delay to the north west port of Corunna.
        Napoleon having secured Madrid, soon followed but left the British pursuit to
Marshall Soult following a short battle at Astorga ( see below ) having been recalled to
Paris to face the threat of another possible war with Austria.

The retreat to Corunna


      What started as an orderly retreat for the british, soon became a nightmare, as harsh winter
weather struck the british route home through the mountains of Galicia to Corunna.
The cruel weather and exhausting marches, interspersed by frequent skirmishes with the
pursuing French, left their toll on both man and beast.
The stragglers who couldn't keep up with the columns, raided spanish villages in search of
food and beer, only for them to be rounded up and herded like cattle when the
french dragoons arrived.

Highlander captured by French hussars


Battle of Astorga, December 1808

During the retreat to Corunna, Sir John Moore parted company with the
commander of the Spanish division in Spain, the Marquis da La Romana,
who after fighting a rear guard action with the british at
Castrillo Polvazares, near Astorga; fell back on the spanish city
of Leon.
Napoleon's army arrived outside Astorga on New Years Eve, 1808.
Astorga has already suffered deprivation, as a result of the spanish
uprising and many of its people had fled following an outbreak of typhus.
This would be Napoleon's final battle in Spain before returning to France
to deal with a possible threat from Austria. As you can see on the tv,
Napoleon's Polish troops are very much in evidence in his latest battles
in Spain, clearly identified by the square topped hats of the Polish infantry
and cavalry. The following battle sees a Polish infantry regiment in action
alongside the french.
Naturally the battle goes badly for the allies, being insufficient in numbers
and pitted against Napoleons best troops. The French push the allies back
into the streets of Astorga where the fighting is highlighted by a number of
street battles before the allies finally take refuge in a big building
dominating Astorga's central plaza.
Here the french move their big cannons into the Plaza mayor square and
start to bombard the allied garrison into submission, after a long fight. The
garrison surrenders following a parley with the french.

TV camaras were on hand to record the Battle of Astorga

Battle of Astorga on TV (http://video.publico.es/videos/0/26738)

View of the battle from Napoleon's position behind the French line,
with his troops pushing forward towards town, as darkness falls

Battle of Astorga, part1 (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y-t3DjHrp40&feature=related#normal)

Battle of Astorga, part2 (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=vLzbC0Y3nXc&feature=related#normal)

French infantry moving steadily down the main street, firing volleys at
british and spanish troops defending the town


Spanish troops returning fire


French troops clash with allied troops in the streets of Astorga


View of british and spanish soldiers garrisoning the Plaza's main


Allied troops crouching behind the barricade, protecting the Plaza garrison


Cannons are brought to bear on allied troops defending the Plaza


French cannon opens fire


A ceasefire is called as the isolated garrison of british and spanish troops,
defending the Plaza, discuss terms for their surrender


With the garrison surrendering and the French securing the town, Napoleon enters Astorga


Napoleon and his most senior officers are quartered in the best house in
town, where they spend the night accessing the strategic situation


The following day sees Marshall Soult with Napoleon's best troops on parade to
salute the mayor of Astorga, as he inspects the troops following their
victory yesterday.



Marshall Soult's french troops marching out of Astorga that evening,
in pursuit of the british


Britsh and spanish troops fighting to hold back the French at one of the many river
crossings, during the retreat to Corunna


       Nevertheless the british rear guard cavalry of hussars and the Kings German Legion
( under Henry, Lord Paget ) kept the French away from the retreating
British columns.
In order for Moores bedraggled army to arrive safely in Corunna where the
Royal Navy would be waiting to evacuate them to England.
Even so Soult refuses to give up the chase and arrives outside
the city just as the rear columns of the British army enter Corunna.

       Thus setting the scene for the Dunkirk of the Napoleonic Wars.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Corunna 1809
Post by: Lt. Campers on 18:36 11-Jan-2009
Battle of Corunna Jan 1809  - commemorative events

For those readers who have been following the commemorative events
in Spain and Portugal - heres the itinerary of this weeks commemorations
taking place in and around the Spanish port of Corunna.
As the Expatua forum knows - Like a Napoleonic war correspondent, I've
been keeping you abreast of latest developments without much detail of
the commemorative events taking place in Back to the Peninsular Wars.
So to make amends - heres the details with times, dates and places.

Daily Mail - looks back at Britain's unsung hero at Corunna

The unsung hero of the Peninsular War (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1104025/The-Dunkirk-200-years-ago-entire-British-Army-obliterated-horrific-retreat-One-mans-courage-saved-day--erased-history.html)

In addition to the anniversary events organised by the spanish the
british are also organising events in Spain to compliment the anniversary
commemorations. Note individual events could be subject to change.

95th Rifles death march to Corunna - currently taking place

A couple of soldiers 95th Rifles & 79th highland regt, James & Vince will be marching over
170 miles from Astorga to La Corunna, following in the footsteps of Sir John Moore.
The re-enactors will be dressed in period uniforms.
Amoungst the soldiers of the 95th Rifles re-enactment regiment is a
descendant of one of the soldiers in Moores army.
Their is a charitable as well as historic interest in this yomp through the
Galacian mountains, as the soldiers are raising money for the
Rainbow Trust Childrens Charity.

Riflemen Law keeping a sharp lookout for French cavalry on the
road to Corunna

Courtesy of 200th anniversary website

The expoits of Rifleman Law and Private James Hinton of the Cameron
highlanders as they retrace Moores retreat to Corunna, 200 years later

http://the79thcameronhighlanders.co.uk/200th_anniversary_report.htm (http://the79thcameronhighlanders.co.uk/200th_anniversary_report.htm)

Last update was they had passed the village of Rabanal on the 6th where
they were greeted by locals and treated to free food and beer; how very different
from their reception 200 years ago. For the very latest news, check out the
200th anniversary website.

For the latest news on James and Vinces progress - check the following

http://www.pilgrimage-to-santiago.com/board/miscellaneous-topics/topic1991.html (http://www.pilgrimage-to-santiago.com/board/miscellaneous-topics/topic1991.html)

They started out on the 2nd Jaunary at Astorga and will enter the city of Corunna
almost 200 years to the day, on the 15th January 2009.

Friday January 16th

Wreath laying at the church of San Vicente in the Village of Elvina
Wreath laying at Sir John Moore's tomb in the San Carlos gardens.

Saturday January 17th

Speech at the monument to General Portier in the Plaza de Espana
Wreath laying at the "Casa de Genaro Fontenia, where Sir John Moore actually fell,
followed by a short march to Maria Pita sq.
Small scale recreation of the Battle in Maria Pita Sq.
(Hopefully) The embarkation of troops onto a Royal Navy ship.

The walkers plan is to enter the city on the 14th January (15th extension day)
with a parade of walkers and all re-enactors (soldiers, women and children) in the
main square.

British 42nd highlanders storm a french position at Corunna


Spanish program of events,  commemorating the 200th anniversary
of the Battle of Corunna 1809

Tuesday, 13th to Wednesday 14th January

Corunna conferences, by leading lecturers, on the Spanish War of
Independence and the Battle of Corunna 1809. Possible venues:
Foundation Caixa Galicia or Sporting Club Casino of Corunna.

Thursday 15th January

Possible concert of the Music of the Real Guard or the Music of
Immemorial of the King of the Headquarters of Ejercito in Madrid,
dedicated to the Battle of the Corunna and the War of Independence,
with musical pieces of centuries XVIII and XIX.
Venue: Rosalía theater or Palace of Opera. 

Friday 16th January

11:45 am Floral offering before the memorial plate to the lost naval ship
HMS SERPENT, by the members of the diplomatic body of the Embassy of
Great Britain, accompanied by civilian authorities and military.
Venue: Garden Bastion of San Carlos.

12 midday Inauguration of two mosaics of Talavera, with two illustrations,
of Battle of Corunna and the Death of General Sir John Moore, placing
of a commemorative plaque of the Bicentennial in charge of the Historical
Association Cultural.

12:15 am Floral offerings of the City council of Corunna jointly with the
members of the diplomatic body of the Embassy of Great Britain, civilian
authorities and military, organizing committee, Corridor of honor of a unit
of British Engineers and demolition party of the Military police of the
Headquarters of the Operative Logistic Force to present an Honour guard
of the Honest Militia of Corunna.
The national anthems of Great Britain, France and Spain, played by the
Military Band of British Engineers or the Military Music of the Headquarters
of the Operative Logistic Force, before the Tomb of General Sir John Moore,
in Garden-Bastion of San Carlos.

12:45 hrs Parade from the Garden of San Carlos of the British and
Spanish troops, to the Place of Maria Toots, military parade in the place,
magazine of the troops by the present authorities. Finalizing this shutdown,
exit in the direction of the quarter of Atocha.

13:00 hrs Inauguration of the Philatelic Exhibition dedicated to the
Bicentennial of Batalla of Corunna 1809-2009, with documents
of all the French interventions in Spain betwwen 1673 & 1828.
Venue:  The exhibition hall of the Municipal Palace from the 16th
to the 25 of January of 2009.

13:30 hrs  Official reception to Welcome to the British and French ambassors to
Spain, civilian authorities and military, of Exc. Mr. D. Javier Losada de Aspiazu,
Mayor of the city of Corunna, in the noble plant of the Municipal Palace
(Place of Maria Toots nº 1). Deliveries of the Gold medals of Batalla of Corunna 1809

Saturday 17th January

11:30 am Inauguration of the commemorative plaque, in memory of Brigadier general
Robert Anstruther, who comprised of the British reserve, to the control of
20º regiment, 1º battalion of 52º and 1º battalion of 95º.
It died the 14 of January and to the Lieutenant Colonel John Mackenzie of 5º Rg. of
Infantry who fell during the retreat and Battle of Corunna 1809.
Venue: Church of San Vicente de Elvira

12:20hrs: Official visit to the commemorative plaques of the battle of Corunna, in memory
of the visit realised by its Heights by the Prince of Wales, Eduardo and
prince, Jorge, father of Reina of England, Isabel II. Next, Inauguration of
the tourist points of signaling of Batalla of Corunna.
1809-2009. (The one of the Church of Elvira). Highway of Zapateira-Rock of the Galiacho.

13:15 hrs:  Floral offering of the Napoleonic Associations in the place where
once it was the House of Genaro Fontenla

18:00 hrs:  Parade of the Recreadores British, French and Spanish and
Honor guard of the City council of Corunna, from the Great Corner by the
Real Street. Water irrigation. Offering before the pebetero of Freedom.

18:30 hrs: Demonstration on the part of the Napoleonic Associations and
small recreation of Battle in the Place of Maria Toots, by the members of
the Napoleonic Association.

Monday 18th January

11:00 Guided tour of the Naploeonic battlefield

13:00 hrs Historical recreation of a battle on the Bridge of the Town.

Johnny has gone for a Soldier (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNqcGtSYFYU#normal)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Moore reaches Corunna
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:14 19-Jan-2009
British troops arrive in Corunna, tired and weary

Wednesday saw Moores army entering the city port of Corunna after
a long and exhausting march - the british accompanied by some of their
spanish and portuguese allies, had finally made it to Corunna.
Meanwhile hot on their heels, Soults advance guard of French
hussars can be seen on the hills overlooking the city, reconnoitering
the british position.
In the harbour british royal navy ships have gathered awaiting the
arrival of transport vessels on the 14th Jan, before commencing the
embarkation of british troops.

British hussars enter Corunna


Following the cavalry comes the infantry, still in good spirits despite
the long and gruelling march


With the french gathering beyond the city gates, General Sir John Moore
is anxious to restore order amoungst the men - with a showdown with Marshall
Soult inevietable if the troops are to be evacuated unmolested by the French.

British officers reviewing the troops in the city square


The French army can be seen taking up positions on the hill plains
overlooking Corunna harbour.

French cavalry reconnoitering the british positions


Marshall Soult addressing his troops as they form up outside Corunna


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Battle of Corunna 1809
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:16 19-Jan-2009
Battle of Corunna January 16th 1809

Just as the british transport vessels arrive in Corunna harbour on 14th
January, Soults artillery train begins to appear on the hill plains
overlooking Corunna following the long march from Madrid.
The british soon start evacuating the sick and the wounded with the
first of the cannon going on board the transports by wednesday evening.

Clickable map of the French and British postions at Corunna

British and French positions at Corruna (http://img292.imageshack.us/img292/6051/corunna1wd8.jpg)

Clickable historical map of the French and British postions at Corunna

Clickable map of Corruna (http://www.maproom.org/00/13/present.php?m=0052)
Moore decides to deploy his army, now only 14,500 men strong by
placing the main body of the army on a ridge astride the road to
Corunna between the village of Elvina and the sea.


With the French now forming up in large numbers to the south, Moore
placed a number of outposts backed up by skirmishers to slow down
down the approach of the French.
On the 15th January French troops moving forward, pushed back the
British outposts on the higher range and gradually took up position there.
Soult sited his 11 heavy guns upon the rocky outcrop from where they
would be able to fire upon the British right. The task was very difficult
and it was night before the guns had been dragged into position.

As day broke on the morning of the 16th January. The French were in
position on the heights and all through the morning both armies observed
each across the valley between them. Moore planned to continue with the
embarkation later that day if Soult did not attack. By afternoon Moore
considered an attack unlikely and he ordered the first divisions to make
their way to the port, the rest of the army would follow at dusk, but shortly
after about 2pm, the French attacked.

Marshall Soults, french army deployed ready for battle outside Corunna


Soult's plan was to move against the strongly-placed British infantry of the
left and centre in order to contain it while the infantry division of Mermet
attacked the more vulnerable British right above the village of Elvina.
The cavalry was deployed further west near the more open country
leading to Corunna. If the attacks succeeded they could seize the western
end of the British lines and push on to cut off the bulk of the army from

British lines before the village of Elvina facing the French



Mermet’s infantry advanced quickly and soon pushed the British picquets
from Elvina and attacked the heights beyond. At the same time a French
brigade pushed up the valley on the British right in an attempt to turn
their flank.

French skirmishers move forward, attacking the british flank with french
artillery in the background


The fiercest fighting took place in and around Elvina as the possession of
the village changed hands several times, and the British suffered
particularly from the fire of the heavy artillery on the heights opposite.
Moore remained in this area to direct the battle ordering one regiment to
fire down upon the flank of the French column that was attempting the
turning movement and calling up the reserve to meet it.

French troops storm the village of Elvina

French troops preparing to attack the british line


French storm the british lines, taking the cannon


French infantry raise the tricolour as they take the village


The British commander had just rallied the 42nd regiment[7] that had
fallen back from Elvina when he was struck by a cannonball and fell
mortally wounded. For a time the British were without a commander,
which hampered attempts at a counter attack in this crucial sector,
but the fighting continued unabated.

British General and his staff officers observing the French attack


Further west the French cavalry attempted to push forward as part of the
flank attack but they were hampered by the rough terrain and eventually
driven back by the advance of the British reserves.

French cavalry attack with infantry moving steadily forward against
the british right flank


Night brought an end to the fighting by which time the French had been
repulsed and had returned to their original positions with both sides
holding pretty much the same ground as they had before the fight.

After the battle

Command of the British army had passed to General Hope who decided to
proceed with the embarkation as had been the original plan. At around
9pm the British began to silently withdraw from their lines, leaving behind
strong picquets who maintained watch-fires throughout the night.

At daybreak on the 17th January the picquets were withdrawn behind the
rearguard and went aboard ship; by morning most of the army had
Once Soult had noticed that the British had left the ridge he posted six
guns on the heights above the southern end of the bay and by midday
they were were able fire upon the outlying ships. This caused panic
amongst some of the transports until the battery was silenced by fire
from the warships.

Finally, on the 18th January, the British rearguard embarked, the small
Spanish garrison under General Alcedo faithfully holding the citadel until
the fleet was well out to sea.

The Battle of Corunna - on video

Battle of Corruna, video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiBZhHSgN1s&feature=related#normal)

The Battle of Corunna on Spanish tv

Battle of Corruna on Spanish TV (https://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zHtLfk9MLZo&feature=channel_page#normal)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Soult's troops take Corunna
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:37 21-Jan-2009
Soult's french troops storm the bridge into Corunna

One final attempt to catch the british rearguard unawares on sunday, was to attack the bridge
into the city of Corunna, this being defended by spanish troops backed up
by a small detachment of british troops left behind from the withdrawl.
As the rest of the british rearguard started to board the harbour transports,
Soult begins an all out assualt on the bridge.

French cannon opens fire on british & spanish troops defending the bridge


British officer encouraging the brave men defending the bridge


Throwing his infantry forward, the french succeed in throwing back the spanish troops
defending the bridge, tearing down their makeshift blockade. But soon come under
heavy fire from the british platoon, backed up by spanish militia & partisans
snipping at the french, from either side of the bridge.

French cavalry with swords drawn, gallop across the bridge


Determined to break the impasse, Soult sends for his hussars who charge across the bridge,
although beaten back at first, the french eventually carry the day; surrounding
the british detachment, while scattering the militia into the backstreets of Corunna.
With the bridge secure, Soult moves his men quickly into Corunna and the all important
harbour, only to find the british had all gone.
With only the spanish garrison left holding out in the citadel, Soult calls upon its commander
to surrender, only to be met by defiance from the spanish.

Therefore Soult moves his cannon into the city and starts to bombard the Spanish citadel,
that very evening, the spanish resisting for as long as possible until the remaining british
ships are well out to sea.

The French assualt on the spanish bridge into Corunna

French attack on the bridge (https://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg34f3w40f8&feature=channel#)

French attacking the bridge (https://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rPTKz0YHwbI&feature=channel_page#normal)

Note - you can switch the film to high quality, for a better picture.

French cannon firing on the Spanish citadel in Corunna

French cannon fires on citadel (https://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kpoYPU3WIK0&feature=channel#normal)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, the french take Vigo
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:22 18-Feb-2009
Napoleon's invasion of Portugal begins with the fall of Vigo

As regulars to Back to the Peninisular Wars are aware. the French led by Marshall
Soult, entered Corunna just as the last of the british troops embarked on their
royal navy transports for England.

Fortunately Portugal's been secure throughout the crisis thanks to the
steadfastness of the Portuguese army backed up by the garrison of 10,000
british troops left behind by Moore, in Lisbon.
With General Sir Arthur Wellesley still absent in England but exonerated from
all blame in the Convention of Cintra enquiry, hes yet to be recalled to
the spanish peninisular.
In the meantime the french, under Marshall Soult asserts his control over the
spanish province of Galicia, following the surrender of Corunna by the
Spanish garrison on the 19th Jan. Soult moved onto the spanish naval
base of Ferrol, drawing up his army before the spanish naval fortress
on the 25th Jan. Fortunately for Soult the governor of Ferrol, Admiral
Melgarejo was unwilling to fight and surrendered to the french the
following day.

Spanish troops, based in Ferrol show their anger over the recent
surrender as the French Marshall rides by


Upon entering the spanish naval port, Soult receives orders from
Napoleon to commence his plans for the invasion of Portugal by
marching on Oporto, nearly 190 miles away.
In order for Soult to do this, another french army commanded by Marshall
Ney would march into northern spain to complete the occupation of
Galicia; while a third french army under Marshall Victor would invade
Portugal from Badajoz. Napoleon's objective being Lisbon, which he
hoped the two armies of Soult and Victor would be able to take within
a month.

Spanish journal Lavoz de Galicia reports on the final evacuation of
3500 british troops from the small Galician port of Vigo as Soult
consolidates his forces in Galicia

Lavoz de Galicia report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=gl&u=http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/vigo/2009/01/18/0003_7468278.htm&ei=0Ha5Sbi1FuKHjAeGyKilCA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=7&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dvigo%2Bmar%2B2009%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%2Bde%2BNapole%25C3%25B3n%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

The French invasion of Portugal - 1809


Marshall Soult's troops march south to Portugal, siezing the spanish
port of Vigo

Therefore Soult sends his cavalry forward to cover his advance,
comprised of Franceschias light horse and Lahoussayeas dragoons they
enter the city port of vigo on 31st January without a fight.
The fall of Vigo has caused much consternation in the spanish press as
witnessed by this report in La Voz de Galicia:

Lavoz de Galicia report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.lavozdegalicia.net/vigo/2009/01/28/00031233161946985875424.htm&ei=xTCbSZ_RPIyT-gbrvvX1CA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DLos%2Bactos%2Bde%2Bcelebraci%25C3%25B3n%2Bdel%2BBicentenario%2Bde%2Bla%2BReconquista%2Bvigo%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3D)

Fortunatlely a few tourists to Vigo were able to smuggle out these pictures of the
French army taking Vigo.

French cavalry officer reading Soult's proclamation to the citizens of Vigo


French imperial troops marching through the streets of Vigo


Many townspeople astonished by the actions of the french, raise their
arms in protest


Soult's troops clash with many protestors as the french try to restore
order in the Plaza of the town square


The Spanish journal Da Galacia Xornal - carries the following headline:
XORNAL.COM I . The January 31, 1809, Napoleonic troops entered Vigo demanding
the surrender of the square, though the Patriots did not want to bend,
eventually they signed an honourable surrender.

Lavoz de Galicia report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.xornal.com/article.php%3Fsid%3D200902010037370040&ei=WVKbSZ2tF4mt-gaUsbnjBA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DLos%2Bactos%2Bde%2Bcelebraci%25C3%25B3n%2Bdel%2BBicentenario%2Bde%2Bla%2BReconquista%2Bvigo%26start%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN)

Spanish newspaper Faro de Vigo with news of the surrender on 31st January

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009013100_2_293050__GRAN-VIGO-Vigo-rinde-ante-ejercito-frances&ei=ATmdSavCCpid-gaW8-DXBA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=5&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%2Bsoult%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

Spanish newspaper Faro de Vigo  - with details of the capitulation to
the French

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009020100_2_293458__Gran-Vigo-franceses-ejecutan-ocupacion&ei=BC-dSYinPImt-ga3sIXjBA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=4&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

Outrages commited by French troops following the surrender are reported
in the local press

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009020200_2_293504__Gran-Vigo-invasores-incumplen-pacto-respeto&ei=_TKdSauKN4yT-gbditjbBA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=6&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, french reach the border
Post by: Lt. Campers on 19:02 18-Feb-2009
Soult encounters stiff opposition on the Portuguese border

After establishing a garrison at Vigo, Soult continues his advance on Portugal
where soon encounters the border marked by the formidable River
Minho, where his progress is blocked by the Portuguese fortress of Valenza,
covering the coastal road ferry crossing at Tuy ( incorrectly marked Fuy
on my image map )
Desperate to save time, in order to keep to Napoleon's timetable for the
invasion of Portugal. Soult heads downstream towards the coast and the
village of Campo Saucos where his men had gathered enough fishing
boats to carry 300 troops ( at a time ) across the Minho.
Here Soult's plans come unstuck as, thanks to the winter rains the Minho
was in full flood therefore his first attempt to ferry his troops across on
the 16th February, ends in failure.
Therefore he abandons the coastal option and heads inland, hoping to
cross the Minho at the bridge of Orense, fifty miles upstream which just
happens to put him on a collision course with the Marquis of La Romana
and his 9,000 men of the Spanish division; who were busy formenting a
general uprising in Galicia, encouraging the guerrillas to attack Soult's
flank and rear as it moved east.
Being ambushed from all corners the French army had to leave their
heavy baggage at Tuy in order to maintain progress and by the 20th
February reached the bridge of Orense, near Barbantes.

Clickable map of the Iberian Peninsular during the Napoleonic Wars,
where you can zoom in on the Portuguese border

Map of the Spanish Peninsular, 1809 (http://www.maproom.org/00/13/present.php?m=0048)

French officer leading a french infantry column towards Orense


Spanish troops, aided by militia and partisans ambush the french


Spanish newspaper carries eyewitness accounts of the French engaged
in looting in Galacia

The residents of Vigo, as in many other towns in Galicia, were forced to
provide supplies to the French army, which led to clashes between
the people and many french troops.


Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009020300_2_293919__Gran-Vigo-tropas-francesas-dedican-saqueo&ei=FyudSYLKMpKU-gbys4jpBA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

The Galician daily journal La Voz de Galicia, reports on life in Vigo following the french
occupation and Soult's preperations to continue his march on Portugal

La Voz de Galicia report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=gl&u=http://www.lavozdegalicia.com/vigo/2009/02/08/0003_7514842.htm&ei=jhqlSdqiNIiKjAfz_9XHBQ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=7&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dde%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfranceses%2BVigo%2By%2Bde%2BTui%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN)

Soult's army forms up to march on Portugal as local dignatories meet
secretly to organise their resistance to the french

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009021300_2_296826__Gran-Vigo-liderazgo-alcalde-Bouzas&ei=KhCjSdzoJqTJjAemqZncCw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=5&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2BGranVigo%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN)

Soult's troops reach the village of La Guardia, as the local population
make plans to resist the french

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009021400_2_297017__Gran-Vigo-Movimientos-ante-marcha-franceses&ei=KgujSZmPMqSLjAe8ubzlCw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=7&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2BGranVigo%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN)

Spanish journal Faro de Vigo - reports that fewer french troops are
guarding the Plaza de Vigo, as Soult moves onto Portugal

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009021700_2_297961__Gran-Vigo-Menos-tropas-guardan-plaza-Vigo&ei=DTGdScbvIsOe-gaQmuXjBA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=2&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

French and Spanish preperations in Vigo

Meanwhile back in Vigo, the French are busy garrisoning the town as
they prepare for the arrival of Napoleon's descendant. Naturally
with the war moving south, spanish merchants and traders return
to the markets of Vigo to stage a Napoleonic fair.

You can read all about it at:

Reconquista de Vigo news (http://www.reconquistadevigo.com/en/)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, french take Orense
Post by: Lt. Campers on 13:17 20-Feb-2009
French take Orense

As you know Marshall Soult has been leading his french troops upstream
along the River Minho in order to secure a bridge over the Minho.
Today spanish reporters have released news of the french taking
Orense and securing the all important bridge over the Minho.
Apparently Orense was left undefended by the spanish as the Marquis
de la Romana as he concentrated his forces at Monteray and
the Portuguese border town of Chaves.
Where the Portuguse army led by General Silveira, hope to meet the french.

French cavalry approaching Orense to secure the river crossing over
the Minho


Spanish journal Faro de Vigo headline - French troops conquer Orense

Faro de Vigo report (

Saturday 21st February - the French rest at Orense, while the former
mayor of Vigo gathers arms amd ammunition to continue the
harrasment of the french - more reports from Faro de Vigo:

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009022100_2_299128__GranVigo-Acoso-franceses&ei=ldeiSa66ONnHjAe4ktDGCw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=2&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2BGranVigo%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, border clashes
Post by: Lt. Campers on 20:04 23-Feb-2009
French cavalry take Allariz as Soult tries diplomacy to end
the resistance

French cavalry under the command of General Franceschi advance to
Allariz as part of Soult's plans to secure the Portuguese border. Meanwhile
spanish reporters interview spanish and portuguese peasents who were
involved in the fight, to frustrate french attempts to cross the borderline
at the mouth of the Minho, a couple of days ago.

War of the boats on the banks of the Minho:

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009022200_2_299371__Gran-Vigo-Guerra-barcas-orillas&ei=UduiSfWcJdSyjAf2wv3QCw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=5&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2BGranVigo%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Sharpe in action
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:29 26-Feb-2009
Lieutenant Sharpe and the second invasion of Portugal


As usual, please click and minimise the following when reading this post:
Theme tune (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

With expats eagerly awaiting further news on the second invasion of Portugal.
I might as well take advantage of the lull in fighting, to make you aware
of a really good book in the Sharpe trillogy that nicely follows events,
currently taking place along the Portuguese border.

Its called Sharpes Havoc and heres a summary of the action:

Its 1809 and following the evacuation of British troops at Corunna. The
British army have only a tenuous hold on this part of Portugal and the
French are advancing. Sharpe and his squad of riflemen ( along with Sergeant
Patrick Harper ) are in Oporto on banks of the River Douro in northern
Portugal, trying to rescue the daughter of a British wine merchant's widow;
a headstrong girl by the name of Katherine Savage.
In the midst of all this the French attack Oporto and the city falls, leaving Sharpe
stranded behind enemy lines with only his riflemen and an odd band of Portuguese
irregulars led by a Lieutenant Vicente.
Together they continue their search for Kate Savage who they finally
track down to a nearby country estate.

Sharpes Havoc book (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharpes-Havoc-Bernard-Cornwell/dp/0007120109)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, naval action
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:48 04-Mar-2009
British naval operations against the French 1809

While Soult consolidates his position at Ourense before marching on Portugal.
He receives numerous reports of raids and other attacks on his supply and
communications line in Galicia. Having already been forced to leave garrisons
at Vigo and Tuy as the insurgency grows behind him. He also finds the partisans
have been assisted in guns and supplies by the British royal navy, cruising
off the Portuguese coast.
On 24 February Admiral Berkeley in Lisbon, received reports from observers in
Viana, Caminha, and Oporto detailing the uprising and requesting British
help. Berkeley ordered Captain James Crawford's Venus (36 guns) to
depart Lisbon on 1st March.  The captains of the warships already on the
coast had already received Berkeley's instructions to cooperate and
act in concert with the insurgents whenever possible.

British warship bombarding french boats in Marin harbour


During the first two weeks of March the crews of several British ships landed muskets,
powder and other stores for Spanish forces in Marín, Pontevedra, Santiago and
Villagarcia.  On the 9th a detachment of French entered Marín but was driven off
by the fire of the Lively and the Plover. A body of Spaniards pursued the enemy and
captured two officers, whom they gave up to Captain George McKinley of the Lively.
McKinley left the brig at Marín and sailed for Villagarcia on 11 March.

Latest newspaper report on the Spanish insurrection in Galicia

The spanish journal Faro de Vigo reports that Soult's garrisons at Vigo
and Tuy are finding themselves increasingly isolated as the Galician
uprising or alzamiento becomes more widespread and violent. With Marshall
Ney's 6th Corps also getting caught up by the spanish insurrection in
Galicia. Progress is slow for both armies.

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009030400_2_302595__Gran-Vigo-Retirada-francesa-Ribeiro&ei=wpyxSauGN4zFjAfY_Y3pBQ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dlas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%2Bmarin%2Btui%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

Soult's troops have been taking advantage of some of the women of
Vigo, much to the anger of local residents


More news from Faro de Vigo concerning clashes with the french
on 7th March

Spainiard's hide all their food and supplies from the french occupiers as cavalry patrols
searching for forage come under attack from partisans. Also reports say, Soult's cavalry
clashed with the Marquis de la Romana's rearguard at Trepa near Osona.

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009030700_2_303584__Gran-Vigo-Cerco-entorno-ciudad&ei=8tizSZS3GIS2jAeozpjoBQ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=9&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D10)

French dragoons clash with the Marquis de la Romana's rearguard

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, french patrol attacked
Post by: Lt. Campers on 19:41 08-Mar-2009
Spanish insurgents attack a french patrol in Vigo over the weekend

Soult's garrison at the spanish port of Vigo, comes under increasing attacks
from spanish partisan's who have been inciting the citizen's of Vigo to
resist and rise up against the french garrison.
Saturday saw clashes between spanish partisans and french dragoons
when the insurgents ambushed a cavalry patrol making its way through
the maritime station area of Vigo.

French dragoon draws his sabre against a spanish partisan attacking
a patrol in Vigo on saturday 7th March


The French commander of the garrison immediatelely called out the guard
as troops marched through the narrow streets of step Principe, Columbus
Montero Rios; to crush the insurgents. The battle was short as
the partisan's, seeing the game was up, disappeared down the many
narrow lanes and side streets. Any that were unfortunate to be caught by
the french being shot out of hand, by the infuriated french.
Yesterday's action also included events leading upto the final surrender of
the French garrison. Which jumps ahead of where we are 200 years ago.

Spanish newspaper report on the weekend attack in Vigo

Faro de Vigo report (

French battalion marching past C&A in Vigo


Spanish newspaper report on the weekend attack in Vigo

Faro de Vigo report (

French move forward after firing a volley against the spanish

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Napoleon arrives in Vigo
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:11 13-Mar-2009
Napoleon arrives in Vigo as the French invade Portugal

Napoleon arrives in Vigo to chair a conference on the conflict

Following last weekend's revolt against the French, thats caused so much
alarm before being crushed by Soult's garrison.
Today saw the arrival of Prince Charles Napoleon and his entourage for a
two day conference on the conflict, thats already gripped northern Spain
and is spreading to Portugal; as Soult's troops defeat General Silveira's
portuguese troops defending the border town of Chaves yesterday.

Faro De Vigo on Napoleon's visit to Vigo

Faro de Vigo report (http://www.expatua.com//translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009031200_2_305157__Gran-Vigo-Siglo-Luces-llego-resto-Europa-gracias-tropas-galas&ei=nIW5SfH9LdLG-Qbb8dTQBA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Bbonaparte%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

The President of Portugal will be leading out his troops against the

Jornal de Noticias article - President of Portugal invited to defy the

Faro de Vigo report (http://www.expatua.com//translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://jn.sapo.pt/PaginaInicial/Interior.aspx%3Fcontent_id%3D1158329&ei=NYy3Sf6NNuTSjAfM6MWhCQ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DA%2Bsegunda%2Binvas%25C3%25A3o%2Bfrancesa%2Batingiu%2BAmarante%2B1809%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

Meanwhile portuguese troops are gathering at the town of Amarante
where numerous camps have been established in preperation for
the arrival of the french; from where they are later joined by General
Francisco Silveira, falling back after his defeat at Chaves.
The Generals troops are a mix bag of militia, regulars and Ordenanza
who although powerless to stop Soult's army reaching Oporto, are
determined to threaten his rear by breaking off all communications with
This Silveira accomplishes by destroying every bridge along the Tamega
river leaving only the Amarante bridge left standing. Over the coming months
this will be the centre of conflict, as the french try to hold onto their position
in Portugal.

Soult's objective - Armarante bridge the vital river crossing on the
River Tamega

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, press reports
Post by: Lt. Campers on 21:57 18-Mar-2009
Press reports on the Napoleonic conference in Vigo

The conference dwells on the scale of the Galician revolt against the
french invaders while a Portuguese Lientenant Colonel asserts his
country not only held out against the invader, threatening his line of
communications. But that de Silveira also sent a 1000 troops into
Galicia to liberate Vigo, following the recapture of the border town
of Tuy from the french.

Friday's newspaper report:

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009031300_2_305495__GranVigo-250000-gallegos-participaron-expulsion-tropas-napoleonicas&ei=ByW8SaDdJNnHjAfhzfGOCA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=3&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DEl%2Bprimer%2BCongreso%2BInternacional%2Bsobre%2Bla%2BReconquista%2Bde%2BVigo%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

Saturday's newspaper report:

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009031400_2_305967__GranVigo-millar-militares-lusos-cruzaron-Galicia-para-expulsar-invasor-frances&ei=eR-8ScmkGdzFjAfejOiUCA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=4&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D10)

Lieutenant Colonel Nuno Barrento - talking about Portuguese aid to the
Spanish resistance

Atlentico news report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.atlantico.net/noticia/73831/TenienteBautistaAlmeida/&ei=USq8SZLuBtm0jAfY29GQCA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dlas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%2Bvigo%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D40)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, the invasion continues
Post by: Lt. Campers on 22:01 18-Mar-2009
Portuguese preperations to stop the French at Amarante


As expats are aware from my 12th March update - Portuguese plans to
put a halt to the french invasion are well advanced with the bishop of
Oporto making ready his defences for the city while at Amarante, Brigadier
General Silveira has been busy concentrating his troops while the Ordenanza
have been enthusiastically blowing up bridges across the river Tamega.

Portuguese regulars waiting to face the french


Aside from the regulars serving under General Silveira, the other forces
opposing the french are principally composed of the Ordenanza, a
levy of every able bodied man in times of crisis. Being patriotic and enthusiastic,
they are also chaotic and undisciplined, prone to murdering their officers
if they consider them too timid or cowardly by their actions. Unfortunately
many of them are also ill equiped, so that out of a force of 23,000 men ( that
tried to oppose Soult at the battle of Braga on 17th March ) only 5000
had guns while the rest were armed with pikes, pitchforks and other
improvised weapons.

Yet another town falls to the French as Soult introduces the local town council
to his officers and men


Spanish insurgents blockade of Vigo

Meanwhile problems are building up for Soult in Spain, as his garrison back in Vigo is subjected
to a long blockade by the spanish insurgents.
Today's report from Faro de Vigo:

Faro de Vigo report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009031800_2_307206__GranVigo-Vigo-faltan-viveres-pasa-hambre&ei=L9TASdeJBpC0jAfj9ZUu&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=2&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D10)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, french approach Oporto
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:51 25-Mar-2009
Soult's troops approach Oporto

Following Soult's victory over the Ordenanza at Braga on the 20th, french
troops are currently approaching the final river crossing before reaching
their main objective, the port of Oporto in nothern Portugal.

Portuguese troops on their way to meet the french, marching through


The ford at Barca de Trofa where the Portuguese Ordenanza held up
Soult's troops, forcing him to look upstream for another crossing


Portuguese forces supplemented by further detachments of Ordenanza
have been busy setting up strong positions, covering the two main roads
over the River Ave and onto Oporto at the Ponte de Ave and Barca de Trofa,
close to the sea.
Therefore in order to familiarise ourselves with the terrain, its best to roll out
the 1809 campaign map to check the current strategic situation as it unfolds,
in more detail.
Although the map refers to later military movements - we can at least get
a picture of whats taking place on the ground.

Campaign map of Northern Portugal, 1809 (http://www.82ndregiment.com/Douro_Map.htm)

The French under Soult have invaded Portugal by taking the town of
Chaves before marching onto Pontenova and more or less following the
red line to Braga and down to the River Ave, as mentioned before the
Portuguese have more or less covered the two river crossings.
If Soult were to engage these troops, he can only expect heavy casulties
trying to force the river crossing along the coastal roads.
Therefore he despatches several cavalry patrols to reconnoitre the
upper reaches of the Ave, in order to turn the Portuguese line. Soon he
finds a couple of likely looking bridges at Guimarean and Lagoncinha, therefore
he makes his dispositions accordingly.


Meanwhile the arrival of the french in the Douro valley, has given rise
to much curiosity amoungst the people and in particular the schools of
the town of Arcos de Valdevez, where they have noted a french detachment
commanded by a Captain Louis Moreau, patrolling the area.

School report on French troop movements around Arcos de Valdevez

French troop movements in school report (

Portuguese account of the struggle at Barca de Trofa, that forced Soult to
look for another crossing point

Portuguese account of the struggle (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.onoticiasdatrofa.pt/nt/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D3923:invasoes-francesas-marcha-do-general-soult-para-o-porto-foi-travada-na-trofa-%26catid%3D1:trofa%26Itemid%3D412&ei=UHDJSe-bGKGUjAfoyJDNAw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=5&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DA%2Bsegunda%2Binvas%25C3%25A3o%2Bfrancesa%2B1809%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D100)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, the blockade continues
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:53 25-Mar-2009
The people of Vigo suffer starvation as the blockade continues

Spanish news report on the insurgents blockade of Vigo hurting both
the french garrison and the townspeople of Vigo.

Faro de Vigo reports on spanish hardship during the blockade (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp%3FpRef%3D2009032400_2_309201__GranVigo-franceses-Pontevedra-pero-Vigo&ei=cGvJSZmtI8SgjAf8xYzQAw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.farodevigo.es%2Blas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D10)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Oporto falls to the french
Post by: Lt. Campers on 19:35 05-Apr-2009
Oporto falls to the French - as Vigo surrenders to the Spanish

Last weekend saw Soult's french troops finally storm the city of Oporto after
an heroic defence by the Portuguese but despite the efforts of the Bishop
of Oporto's garrison and the many redoubts and other defence works,
thrown up as the french approached, they proved no match.

News of last weekends confrontation


The Portuguese defenders ( numbering 30,000 men of which only 5,000
are regulars ) were outclassed by Soult's veterans who stormed the city
with ease, causing panic, havoc and mayhem in their wake.

French infantry taking up their positions ready for battle


French artillery opens fire


Portuguese bugler sounds reveille - note the old flag of Portugal


Portuguese officer emerges from the redoubt


Portuguese cannon returning fire


Smoke obscures the battlefield as the Portuguese await the french


Portuguese infantry open fire on the french


The french push the Portuguese back into Oporto, here a Portuguese
platoon open fire on french troops that have taken the city wall


Such was the alarm that many of its citizens attempted to escape across
the river Douro by the bridge of boats which was woefully inadequate
to cope with the sudden rush of refugees and was thus the scene of
the greatest tragedy of the invasion, as thousands of people drowned
when the cables finally broke under the strain.

Government officials and many high dignatories in Oporto, attend a
commemoration parade and service for the victims of the Doura
bridge trajedy. RTP TV report

http://tv1.rtp.pt/noticias/?t=Cavaco-assinala-200-anos-das-invasoes-francesas-no-Porto.rtp&headline=20&visual=9&tm=8&article=211015 (http://tv1.rtp.pt/noticias/?t=Cavaco-assinala-200-anos-das-invasoes-francesas-no-Porto.rtp&headline=20&visual=9&tm=8&article=211015)

What's left of the Portuguese army defending Oporto has fallen back to
the southern side of the river Douro and then south to Coimbra while
Brigadier General Silveira is busy trying to cut off Soult's lines of
communication with spain at Amarante.
The Portuguese intend to isolate Soult's army in Oporto, as Marshall
Victor has ( so far ) failed to fall in with Napoleon's plans of invading the
country from Badajoz and Ney is facing mounting resistance in Galicia.

The battle for Oporto, 1809

The First Battle of Porto background info (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_Porto)

The fall of Vigo

British frigates have been harrassing the French fort at Vigo


In fact the fall of Oporto coincides with a reversal of French fortunes
in Spain where the French garrison of Vigo ( vital in maintaining Soult?s
links with Marshall Ney in Galicia ) falls to the spanish insurgents.
As expats are aware the spanish have been blockading the French garrison
in Vigo where their efforts have been helped by the presence of british
warships, Lively and Venus who provided arms to the insurgents
and more recently have been intimidating the French garrison by
bombarding the old fort occupied by the governor and his garrison.
Over the weekend matters came to a head as the spanish insugents called
upon the French governor to surrender. The French after being attacked
and harassed for over a month by raids and ambushes, feared giving
into the insurgents lest they be tortured and put to death.

Typical confrontation between the french and the people of Vigo


Therefore the governor insists on the spanish producing an officer of
equal rank to negociate their surrender. Here the british naval captains
come forward to act as mediators. The spanish officer conducting the
siege Captain Pablo Morillo promotes himself to Coronel to commence
talks aboard one of the British naval ships.
On the 27th March the French governer Challot finally agrees to surrender
the garrison but not before the angry mob of partisans and spanish miltia
take matters into their own hands and attempt to storm the Gamboa gate
of the french garrison at 8:30 pm.
Rather than submit to being taken prisoner by the spanish, the british
agree for the men of Challots garrison to be evacuated from spain by
the royal navy.

Spanish partisans with battering ram ready to smash the gate down


Another partisan uses an axe to break the gate down


French troops confront their antagonists at the gate


Shortly before 10pm Captain Pablo Morillo arrives on the scene and tries
to contain the assualt because the french have already agreed to
surrender. Following which the partisans take heed and the battle ceases.

On the morning of the 28th March the French march out of the fort and the
46 officers and 1213 french soldiers are taken aboard the british ships
ready for evacuation.

The french governor and his men being escorted from Vigo by Spanish
troops down to the quayside, ready for their embarkation


Governor Challot and his men board the british schooner that will take
them into captivity in England


The Spanish jeer at the departing french troops, who are allowed to
retain their colours amid scenes reminiscent of the departure of french
troops from Lisbon only last year

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, POW camp
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:02 08-Apr-2009
The Eagle has landed - French POW camp in England

Norman Cross - Napoleonic POW Camp, near Peterborough


The recent surrender of Soult's garrison at Vigo which was greeted with
jubilation by many of its hard pressed citizens. Brings us nicely along to
issue of where so many french prisoners of war will be held captive for
the duration of the Napoleonic Wars.
As you know we last saw governor Challot and his men being taken
prisoner aboard a British schooner bound for England. Where the british
have prepared a purpose built camp fit for incarcerating Napoleon's
officers and men.
Up until the Napoleonic Wars, the british had 'made do' with accomodating
french prisoners of war in the notorious floating prison hulks and castles
such as the french POW camp at Portchester Castle near Portsmouth. But the
sheer scale and magnitude of the napoleonic conflict both by land & sea,
saw a far larger number of prisoners from France & her allies being taken
captive and brought to England.
Equally a large number of british officers and men were being captured by
the french and held in captivity in France, prompting the government to
enter into a bilateral agreement with the French to provide funds for each
others prisoners of wars ( ie clothing )
Therefore in 1796 the british government purchased a forty acre field at
Norman Cross, near Peterborough to build the first ever purpose built
Prisoner of War camp, opened in March 1797 through to the peace of
Amiens in 1814.

The Norman Cross memorial

Norman Cross memorial (http://www.stilton.org/cam_norman_cross_memorial.html)

The history of the Norman Cross POW camp

History of Norman Cross POW camp (http://www.normancrossgallery.com/history/index2.html)

Wiki on the Norman Cross camp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Cross)

Peterborough Today - Napoleon's forces ensnared

Napoleon's forces ensnared (http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/PRISON-CAMP-Napoleon39s-forces-ensnared.1190847.jp)

BBC report on the event

In memory of Napoleonic prisoner of war camp (http://newswww.bbc.net.uk/1/hi/england/cambridgeshire/4404329.stm)

Channel 4's Time Team archaeologists investigate the Norman Cross POW
camp, near Peterborough - Times Online, July 2009

Time Team archaeologists investigate POW camp (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6722271.ece)

Time Team unearth world's first Prisoner of War camp in Britain
- Daily Mail, July 2009

Worlds first POW camp in Britain holds Napoleon's troops (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1201352/Time-Team-help-unearth-worlds-prisoner-war-camp--Britain.html)

In time for the 200th anniversary re-enactments taking place across
Europe. More than 4000 people gathered for the unveiling of the
French Eagle, in honour of thousends of french napoleonic
and allied troops that perished in the Norman Cross camp.


Speech by a descendant of the Duke of Wellington


This accomodated over 2000 POWs in accomodation blocks guarded by
british troops, not disimiliar to the POW camps of the second world war.
In fact the French POW camp at Norman Cross produced a number of
firsts in POW history, as the scene for the 1st POW tunnelling escapes,
the first to produce counterfiet money, identity cards and printing presses
in December 1804, not to mention the Great Escape of 1812 that saw
score of fleeing french prisoners scattered about the english countryside
with some found trying to board ships, as far away as hampshire.


Aerial view of the outlines of Norman Cross POW camp today

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:28 17-Apr-2009

To set the scene, just click and minimise the following musical link
Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe.html)

Portugal defends the bridge at Amarante against the French

With the fall of Oporto, Soult had completed the first stage of Napoleon's invasion
plan to occupy Portugal, for upon reaching the river Douro. Marshall Victor was able
to move on Talavera, held by spain along the main road to Lisbon. To accomplish
this Victor is given 1st Corp together with elements of the Napoleon's 4th Corps to
invade the spanish province of Estremadura, occupying the border fortress of
Badajoz and Medrida with a force of 17,500 men.
Facing Marshall Victor was a spanish army of 22,000 men led by General Cuesta, which
although numerically stronger than the French, was comprised mostly of raw recruits
and those troops which had seen defeat at Gamonal and Somosierra Pass.
During the final stages of the Estremadura campaign, Victor took on the spanish at
the battle of Medellin on 28th March, where Cuesta's brave troops proved no match
against Victor's veterans.
Following this the French captured Badajoz where Victor was to await news of Soult's
march south from Oporto, which never came.

French troops with cannon marching through Spain, 1809


Just like Spain, french troops often find themselves at odds with the
locals - as can be seen in this RTP TV report

http://tv1.rtp.pt/noticias/index.php?headline=20&visual=9&tm=4&t=Invasoes-francesas-recordadas-na-Trofa.rtp&article=209622 (http://tv1.rtp.pt/noticias/index.php?headline=20&visual=9&tm=4&t=Invasoes-francesas-recordadas-na-Trofa.rtp&article=209622)

With Soult firmly in control of Oporto, the Portuguese have been valiantly defending
Amarante and the all important bridge across the Tamega against the french.
Here Marshall Soult has been positioning his artillery in preparation for an assault on
General Silviera?s troops defending the town.

Lieutenant Sharpe and the chosen men


In the midst of all this we find a certain Lieutenant Sharpe, together with the infamous
chosen men of the 95th Rifles, trapped behind enemy lines following the fall of Oporto.
Where following a deadly encounter with French dragoons, Daniel Hagmen is left
seriously wounded, so they seek refuge in the summer house of a british wine
merchant. Where Sharpe becomes embroiled in the nefarious activities of a certain
Lieut Colonel Christopher, with plans to place Soult on the vacant throne of Portugal.
In return for the seizure of all british estates and wine merchant assets, in order for
him to monopolize the Portuguese wine trade.

Sharpes men clash with French cavalry

(http://www.compleatseanbean.com/sharpe-diary2-14.jpg) (http://www.compleatseanbean.com/sharpe-diary2-15.jpg)

Further south, british troops under Sir John Craddock, gather at Coimbra to counter any
move by the French on the capitol, Lisbon.

RTP - television program on the preperations for the battle

http://lagosmilitar.blogspot.com/2009/04/anp-defesa-da-ponte-de-amarante.html (http://lagosmilitar.blogspot.com/2009/04/anp-defesa-da-ponte-de-amarante.html)

The fighting around Amarante comes to a head this weekend, as Soult's French infantry
battalions endeavour to drive Silviera's portuguese troops from the town and secure the
vital river crossing over the Tamega.

Portuguese cannon commanding the road to Amarante

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_uUpl4NxrN-4/SeT3UFBg_TI/AAAAAAAAAFs/1TXsvMWHpaM/s1600/recria%C3%A7%C3%A3o18abril.jpg (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_uUpl4NxrN-4/SeT3UFBg_TI/AAAAAAAAAFs/1TXsvMWHpaM/s1600/recria%C3%A7%C3%A3o18abril.jpg)

The complete Battle of Amarante, event program for the 18th & 19 April

http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://amarantesegundainvasao.blogspot.com/&ei=4u7mSYSsEMKP-Ab5vO3VBQ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dem%2BAmarante,%2Ba%2BSess%25C3%25A3o%2BSolene%2Bde%2BAbertura%2Bdo%2BBicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2BII%2BInvas%25C3%25A3o%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://amarantesegundainvasao.blogspot.com/&ei=4u7mSYSsEMKP-Ab5vO3VBQ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dem%2BAmarante,%2Ba%2BSess%25C3%25A3o%2BSolene%2Bde%2BAbertura%2Bdo%2BBicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2BII%2BInvas%25C3%25A3o%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

The French and Portuguese forces arrayed at Amarante are impressive and as I check the
Order of battle, their are a number VIP's on both sides giving encouragement to their
men as fighting erupts along the banks of the river Tamega.

For Portugal:
Representing the President of the Republic - General Ramalho Eanes.
The Chief of the Portuguese General staff - General Jose Luis Pinto Ramalho

For France:
The French Consul General to Oporto - Messr Philippe Barbry
Descendants of General Henri Delaborde, who commanded one of Soult's divisions
during the invasion of Portugal. Apparently the French general had rather a big
family, whose descendants are scattered around many corners of the globe.
Watch out for the Delaborde tee-shirts with the Delaborde Iberian tour dates on
the back.

Latest news on the Battle of Amarante published 17th April

http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.reporterdomarao.com/MARAO/MARAO_online/57BAC5C6-89A3-47C7-994B-2CA401DEF207.html&ei=nQ7pSfHkGIGZjAees82eCg&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=8&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2BDefesa%2Bda%2BPonte%2Bde%2BAmarante%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.reporterdomarao.com/MARAO/MARAO_online/57BAC5C6-89A3-47C7-994B-2CA401DEF207.html&ei=nQ7pSfHkGIGZjAees82eCg&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=8&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2BDefesa%2Bda%2BPonte%2Bde%2BAmarante%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

Portuguese infantrymen with a campfollower


Concluding part of the Sharpe theme music, please click & minimise.
Conclusion of the Sharpe theme music (http://www.amazon.com/gp/recsradio/radio/B0000263G2/ref=pd_krex_dp_001_020?ie=UTF8&track=020&disc=001)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, french attack Amarante
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:01 19-Apr-2009
French troops storm Amarante


Despite the rainy weather which threatened to dampen Marshall Soult's
attack on the town of Amarante yesterday. French troops managed to
keep their powder dry, amid heavy fighting around the outskirts of
Amarante. The Portuguese had prepared their positions well.
The orderly attack by Soult's battalions soon broke down into a series of
street fights, as french platoons stormed the barricades, only to be cut
down by musketeers and sharp shooters hidden amoungst the buildings.

Below I go through the sequence of events that leads us to last weekends
Battle of Amarante - which you can watch on Video by the link below

Portuguese troops under the command of General Silveira


French troops under the command of General Henri Loison take their
postion facing the Portuguese



Defending Amarante against the French - 7th April to 2nd May 1809

Having captured Oporto, Marshal Soult needed to reopen communications
with the army of General Lapisse, supposed to be supporting him from
around Salamanca. But with Portuguese guerrillas harrying his rear,
Soult had to send a brigade of infantry supported by cavalry, under
the command of General Loison, towards the Portuguese border in an
attempt to find Lapisse.
The expedition came to a halt at Amarante, for following his defeat at the
border town of Chaves, the portuguese General Francisco Silveira had
retreated down the Tamega River, keeping most of his army intact.
So when Soult left Chaves to continue his march onto Oporto, Silveiro was
able to retake the town with ease, five days later.
Then he took up a strong defensive position around Amarante, where he
was able to build up his strength from 6,000 to 10,000 men. The backbone
of his army were 2 regular regiments of infantry 2,000 strong. supported by
a mass of Portuguese levies ( the Ordenanza )


Campaign map of Northern Portugal 1809

http://www.82ndregiment.com/Douro_Map.htm (http://www.82ndregiment.com/Douro_Map.htm)

On 7 April Loison's two brigades attempted to force their way across the
Tamega at Amarante and a little further south, at Canavezes. Both
attacks failed, and so Loison called for reinforcements.

Silveira made the next move. Realising that he outnumbered Loison's
force, on 12 April the Portuguese cross the Tamega and attacked the
French. This time it was Silveira's turn to suffer a defeat, but not a major
one, and he was able to return to his defensive positions at Amarante.
On the same day Soult finally learnt of the fall of Chaves, and decided
to send a second infantry brigade to support Loison. This gave Loison
6,500 men, a third of Soult's entire army.

Soult's troops storm a portuguese stronghold in Amarante


Progress is slow, as Soults troops edge towards the bridge of Amarante






A Portuguese fusilier takes cover - as the french advance down the
side streets


On 18 April the two sides clashed again, this time on the heights of
Villamea west of Amarante. Once again Silveira had come out of his
defensive positions, but this time he paid for his bravardo and was badly
defeated. For a moment it looked like the French would be able to chase
the defeated Portuguese army back through Amarante and capture the
bridge, but at a crucial moment Colonel Patrick, a British officer
commanding part of the Portuguese 12th Regiment of the Line, rallied his
battalion and organised a defence of a convent at the head of the bridge.
Patrick was mortally wounded, but his efforts gave Silveira time to restore
order and put his men into strong positions on the left (east) bank of the
river, from where his artillery could dominate the bridge.

On 19 April Loison was able to finally capture the convent, but could not
force his way across the barricaded bridge while under fire from the
Portuguese guns. Soult sent another brigade of infantry to reinforce
Loison, who now had 9,000 men at Amarante, nearly half of Soult's army.

Das Invasoes Francesas 1809 - Video of the battle of Amarante

The battle for Amarante (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMeyhZrDD9M#ws-lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)

The Portuguese have erected barricades across the road leading to
bridge which is soon attacked by the french





French cannon ready to fire on the Portuguese holding the bridge


General Loison giving orders as french troops take up their positions
around the bridge


A period of stalemate followed. The river was in flood, so it was impossible
to ford. The Portuguese had destroyed every nearby bridge, so the French
had no choice but to attack Amarante, or to wait for better weather. To
make matters worse the Portuguese had mined the bridge, so there was a
real chance that the French would capture the bridge only to have it
destroyed beneath them.

The french blow up a barrier, before rushing forward to capture
the bridge



Portuguese cannon fires on french troops moving onto the bridge


More Portuguese cannon open fire on french soldiers trying to cross
the bridge


French soldiers line up on the bridge parapet, ready to return fire


Portuguese soldiers firing their muskets at the french across the river


An attempt to approach the bridge using regular siege works failed, as did
an attempt to build a trestle bridge downstream of the town (25 April).
Eventually Captain Bouchard, one of Loison's engineers noticed a potential
flaw in the firing mechanism of the Portuguese mine. This consisted of a
musket hidden in a box close to the mine and connected to the Portuguese
held bank by a long cord. To explode the mine, the Portuguese had to pull
the cord, firing the musket into the mine and triggering the explosion.
Bouchard realised that a small explosion under the cord would cut it
without triggering the musket. The Portuguese would be unable to fire the
mine and the French might be able to storm the bridge in the aftermath
of the explosion.


The fighting continues throughout the evening, as French and Portuguese
troops exchange fire across the Tamega, with Soult's troops unable
to secure the bridge thanks to persistant fire from the south bank



Early in the morning of 2nd May, under cover of a dense fog, Bouchard put
his plan into effect. Four out of five sappers managed to get their
explosives in place un-noticed, and then the charge was set off. As
predicted the cord was cut and the mine made ineffective. In the
immediate aftermath of the explosion the leading French troops were able
to storm across the bridge. Once on the far side, the French discovered
that most of the Portuguese defences were unmanned, and the soldiers
were sleeping in their camps. Silveira and most of his men managed to
escape, although the French captured all ten Portuguese guns and
several hundred prisoners.

Although Silveira's men were eventually forced away from the bridge,
they had delayed the French for almost a month. During this time the
strategic situation in Portugal had shifted away from Soult, for on 22nd April
Sir Arthur Wellesley had arrived in Lisbon, at the head of a new British

Eight minute Portuguese video on the Battle of Amarante, includes
scenes from the evening attacks across the bridge with barrels of

Battle of Amarante, 1809 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb90j20FaVA#normal)

Finally the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese governments, come
together to formulate a joint strategy on the Napoleonic campaigns
currently taking place on the Iberian Peninsular.

The Peninsular Wars 200 - Committee

Peninsular War 200 Events (http://peninsularwar200.org/strategy.html)

Sunday Telegraph article - British & Portuguese unite to honour Napoleonic
War heroes

Sunday Telegraph article (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/5130960/Britons-and-Portuguese-unite-to-honour-Napoleonic-War-heroes.html)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal
Post by: Lt. Campers on 15:50 03-May-2009
Wellesley arrives in Portugal with reinforcements

The 22nd April saw the arrival of Sir Arthur Wellesley in Lisbon, accompanied by more
British troops for the peninsular. Accompanying Wellesley was General Beresford who's
task is to reform the Portuguese army along british lines.
After assuming command of the british army from Craddock, the military situation looks
dire. To the east is Marshal Victor, who having won his victory at Medellin on 28 March,
was waiting to capture Badajoz, ready to advance into Portugal.
To the northeast is General Lapisse, who was meant to have advanced
into Portugal from Salamanca to join up with Soult at Oporto. Finally,
further north in Galicia we have Marshal Ney, whose initial orders are to
suppress the Galician uprising but could turn south, if he was able to
do so while quelling the spanish uprising.

French cannon firing across the Tamega


Portuguese troops standing firm behind the barricade


French dragoons passing through a town, near Oporto


Just before leaving Britain, news had reached him of Soult's victory at Oporto, along with
rumours that Victor had been reinforced by Sebastiani and laid siege to Badajoz.
Therefore during the sea voyage he was making plans for a defensive campaign
to be fought around Lisbon.
Wellesley would only discover that these rumours were false, for upon his arrival
in Lisbon on 22nd April, the only French troops on Portuguese soil was Soult's army
of 20,000 men around Oporto.

When Wellesley reached Portugal his predecessor, General Cradock had already moved the main
field army to Leiria, 75 miles north of Lisbon. Upon his arrival, Wellesley spent the first five days
in Lisbon accessing the situation, during which the army began to move to their advance position
at Coimbra, another 37 miles up the coast from Leiria. Wellesley himself, left Lisbon on the
29th April, reaching the field army stationed at Coimbra on 2nd May.
At this point Soult's 20,000 men was dangerously divided. Small numbers of men were still
scattered in garrisons north of Oporto. The French advance guard some 5000 strong was
stretched out between Oporto and the river Vouga, thirty miles to the south.
About 9000 men under General Loison were at Amarante, where on the morning of
the 2nd May, they had finally managed to push the Portuguese force under
General Silveira, away from the bridge.
This disrupted Wellesley's plans, for he had intended to send Beresford's
column to join up with Silveira to block the line of Soult's retreat. This left
around 6,000 men at Oporto.

One of Wellesley's British soldiers, clearing customs


Wellesley had a total of 25,000 British and 16,000 Portuguese troops at his disposal.
The reform of the Portuguese army had only just got under way by April 1809,
and most of Wellesley's British troops were inexperienced, only five of his
twenty-one battalions had fought the French at Vimiero, for many of the
best British units in Portugal had followed Sir John Moore to Corunna, and
then been evacuated back to Britain. Some were on their way back, but
they would not arrive until June.

Wellesley's advance on Oporto

Wellesley split his army into three columns. The main force, 18,200 strong and under his own
command, would attack Soult at Oporto. A smaller force under General Beresford (5,800 strong)
was sent further east, to block the French if they attempted to retreat along the
Duoro, but only if Soult did not appear in force; Beresford was under orders not to try
and stop the entire French army if it attacked him.
Finally, the third force was sent east to protect Lisbon against any move by
Marshal Victor.

French artillery crew manhandling their cannon


French troops engaged in a street battle, fire a volley



The conflict returns to Oporto next weekend - as seen in the Portuguese

]Portuguese press report on the forthcoming battle for Oporto (http://iporto.amp.pt/eventos/recriacoes-historicas-evocativas-do-bicentenario-das-invasoes-francesas?theme=/tematicas/ar-livre)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, french defend Oporto
Post by: Lt. Campers on 15:57 03-May-2009
The French secure the bridge at Amarante - amid conspiracy and intrigue in Oporto

Yesterday the French finally secured both banks of the bridge at Amarante. As the
heroic resistance of the Portuguese breaks down and General Silveira withdraws his
troops a safe distance from the French in order to regroup and await the arrival of the

French troops crossing the bridge at Amarante


With Wellesley on the march to Coimbra this couldn't have come at a worst time.
For with the crossing secured and Silveira's troops brushed aside; theirs nothing to
stop Soult resuming his march on Lisbon.

French officers salute their victorious troops


In fact its a mystery why Soult dithered in Oporto for so long following the fall of
the city on 28th March. Obviously he was well aware that the british had only a
token force of 10,000 men in Portugal and the Portuguese relied heavily on the
Ordenance to make up for a chronic shortage of regular troops. Naturally the uprising
in Galicia and mushrooming of resistance groups of partisans and guerrillas to his
rear came as a shock to the french ( giving rise to a number of atrocities on both sides )
But the French lived off the land while on campaign and it only needed the other
marshall?s in Spain to play their part which they were reluctant to do while Soult
remained idle.

French military band marching through the city


To understand what went on, is to delve into the conspiracy and intrigue that
surrounded the French high command in Oporto. Soult, one of Napoleon's most able
officer's and a Marshall of France, longed for the rewards and titles being parcelled
out to many of Napoleon's other marshall's; some of whom were rewarded with
kingdom's within Napoleon's empire.
Soult therefore reckoned he was perfectly entitled to claim the vacant Portuguese
throne or at least a principality of it, namely the Kingdom of Northern Lusitania.
This idea was encouraged by his aides, who tried to drum up support amongst the
civic dignitaries and nobles of northern Portugal. But this went against the grain
of Soult's general of division Louis-Henri Loison who together with other
senior bonapartist officers were opposed to it at all costs.
In the midst of all this was a third element of lower ranking officers, led by Captain
Philippe-Charles Argenton of the 18th dragoons, known as the Porto conspirators.
Although few in number, they aimed to take advantage of the dissention within the
high command for their own ends. For being unashamed republicans at heart, many
of their supporters felt Napoleon had betrayed the revolution.
Upon Soult proclaiming himself king, chaos and confusion would lead to open
hostilities within Soult's army, as Loison's Bonapartist officers in the east would
declare their continued loyalty for Napoleon.
At this point Argenton's group would make their regiments available to Soult's
supporters in return for a promise from the Marshall, to lead an anti-Bonaparte
coalition of French troops to restore the French republic. To this end Captain
Argenton had been holding secret meetings with the british and had even been
interviewed by General Wellesley himself to obtain an armistice for the French
army in Oporto, should the plot succeed.
As usual the world of fiction adds its own twist to the plot in Sharpes Havoc, where
an unscrupulous british exploring officer called Lieut Colonel Christopher is
implicated in the Argenton plot.
For while assisting in the negotiations between the British and French conspirators,
Colonel Christopher was secretly ingratiating himself with Soult for his own ends.
Where, in return for the names of the conspirators and the French and Portuguese
dispositions in Portugal, a grateful Marshall Soult would confer the entire british and
Portuguese wine franchise on Colonel Christopher.
Naturally in betraying his own side, he also betrays Sharpe and his riflemen who
have been lying low in a summer house, east of Oporto.
Finally all these plots and intrigues fall apart with Wellesley deciding to
press ahead with his march on Oporto which comes none too soon for
Sharpe. With the french bearing down on his makeshift hilltop stronghold,
resulting in a desparate fight for survival.


Wellesley's surprise attack on the french advance guard

In the meantime Wellesley continues his march north, with the two armies
likely to clash over the weekend. Along the way Wellesley hoped to surprise
the french advance guard, commanded by General Franceschi at Albergaria
Nova, close to the river Vouga ( 30 miles to the south )
To accomplish this, Wellesley sends two infanty brigades by sea, to land at
Ovar before Wellesley's main army, surprises the french by making an night march
on Albergaria Nova.

British marines accompany Hill's troops following the naval landing at


Hoping to trap Franceschi between himself and Hill's two brigades, cutting
off the French retreat to Oporto.
But Soult is tipped off about the planned attack when on the 8th May,
Captain Argenton is betrayed and reveals all about Wellesley's surprise
attack on Franceschi's advance guard.
Of course its a mystery how Argenton learned of Wellesley's plans, despite
his secret meetings with the british, unless theirs some truth in the
Sharpe's Havoc rumours of a renegade english officer.
Naturally british plans of trapping the french advance guard is foiled and
Argenton is thrown in jail awaiting a court martial.

Most of General Franceschi's force is french cavalry


French advance guard becomes embroiled in street fights as they exchange
fire with Wellesley's Anglo-Portuguese army, approaching Oporto


Map of Oporto - with the Auto estrada do Norte, from where Wellesley's
Anglo-Portuguese army will march through Vila Nova de Gaia to Soult's
position at Mafamude guarding the crossing of the Douro at Ponte dom




Although intelligence sources are thin on the ground, the likely fall back
positions of the french are as follows.


The full details of this weekends operation can be found on the following
AMP website with a PDF for further info.

Battle of Oporto, weekend operations (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.amp.pt/gca/index.php%3Fid%3D519&ei=Zr38SdiYMtC6jAfpnZiSAw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Da%2Bbatalha%2Bdo%2Bporto%2B1809%2B2009%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

Latest news from Oporto - as the French engage the Anglo-Portuguese
army through the streets of Oporto, saturday night

Latest news from Oporto as the French, under Soult await the arrival of the British under Wellesley (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://jn.sapo.pt/paginainicial/pais/concelho.aspx%3FDistrito%3DPorto%26Concelho%3DPorto%26Option%3DInterior%26content_id%3D1226321&ei=c9AFSoSfBsehjAfswrSVCw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=6&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Da%2Brecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bhist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bda%2BBatalha%2Bdo%2BPorto%2B1809%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D10)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, british enter Oporto
Post by: Lt. Campers on 22:57 09-May-2009
British attack Soult's french troops holding Oporto

The british along with their Portuguese allies have entered Oporto where
they have encountered stiff resistance from the French hoping to hold up
Wellesley's army on the south bank of the Douro.

With the french deployed at several strongpoints throughout the city, the
british can expect some determined resistance from Soult's troops.
For the latest news reports, see the end of my last post.

French troops falling back, before the British advance on Oporto


Sunday 10th May

By sunday morning, Wellesley and the Anglo-Portuguese army should
have cleared the french from the south bank of the Douro, although with
the last of the french crossing by boat to the north bank. Wellesley is
left with a major river obstacle to cross, as the nearest bridge is some
miles to the east.
As luck would have it the patriotic Portuguese, living on the south bank
have been hiding a few wine barges from the prying eyes of the
french; which they reveal to the british, who greatfully press them into
service for a forthcoming river crossing.
Therefore the british hope to send a regiment or two of british troops
across the Douro, establishing a bridgehead, while Wellesley sends the
rest of his troops to take the bridge to the east and fight thier way
back into Oporto to relieve the bridgehead.
In tomorrows battle the bridge to the east, will be the modern day bridge
only some 600 or 700 yards from the british right flank.

Marshall Soult's, french troops of the 3eme de Ligne ( in their distinctive white uniforms )
parading through the main square of Oporto


Timetable of Sunday's operation

11am - British and Portuguese troops assume their positions on the
south bank of the Douro. While the french take up a corresponding position
on the north bank.
The british start to load some of their troops onto the barges. The french
reply by opening fire with their cannon, hoping to disrupt the
embarkation and subsequent crossing.
British and Portuguese cannon respond by firing back at the french on
the north shore.

11:30 am to 1pm
The british row their barges across the Douro, landing a little way to the
west of the french right flank at Cais da Ribeira da Estiva Port,
where they rapidly deploy to engage the french which Soult has sent in to crush
the british beachhead.
Meanwhile Wellesley with the rest of the army takes the bridge to the
east, crossing it before engaging the french along the north bank
eventually reaching the beachhead after some tough street fighting along
the way.
With the british securing the north bank, the french fall back to the
to the Rua da Praca do Infante, where the battle should end by 1pm.
By which time British and Portuguese troops would have siezed the last
of the french barricades, before the french withdraw from the city, then
start their retreat to Spain.

Journal de Noticias - reports on saturday evenings clash between the
two napoleonic armies on the ( south bank ) streets of Oporto

Portuguese, Journal de Noticias reports on saturday evenings clashes (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://jn.sapo.pt/paginainicial/pais/concelho.aspx%3FDistrito%3DPorto%26Concelho%3DPorto%26Option%3DInterior%26content_id%3D1227144&ei=pKQGSqeQE8G2jAf_17H0BA&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=10&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bhist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bda%2BBatalha%2Bdo%2BPorto%2B1809%2B2009%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D20)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Battle of Oporto 1809
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:36 14-May-2009

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Battle of Oporto 12th May, 1809

The Anglo-Portuguese army led by General Sir Arthur Wellesley, has been split into
three forces. The first under General Mackenzie holds Lisbon with 12,000 men,
another army 6,000 strong under General Beresford marches east to join forces with
Silveira, hoping to block any attempt by Soult to link up with Victor or Lapisse.
While the rest of the army, 18,000 strong marches directly on Oporto where Soult
hopes to stage an orderly withdrawal, safe in the knowledge that the only bridge at
Oporto was demolished and that his men had destroyed every boat they could find
on the south bank of the Douro.

British troops, from Hill's brigade march through the outskirts of Oporto


Accompanied by the 95th Rifle's and sailors from the naval landing at Ovar


On the night of the 11th and 12th May, they had pulled back from the south bank
completely, blowing up the bridge of boats that connected Vila Nova de Gaia to
Porto around about 2 o'clock.

As the british marched into Vila Nova de Gaia in the early hours of 12th May,
Wellesley surveyed the French dispositions on the opposite bank. As expected
most the French troops occupying the north bank were thinly deployed.
So while supervising the disposition of his troops, Wellesley received encouraging
news. First his scouts, scouring the south shore, found an abandoned ferry boat 5kms
upstream at Avintes. Second, one of his intelligence officers, Colonel Waters was
approached by an enthusiatic barber from Porto, desperate to inform the british of
four wine barges ( hidden from the French ) along the north shore.

French Grenadiers marching through Oporto to meet the british at
Vila Nova de Gaia


British troops move forward in Vila Nova de Gaia


French Grenadiers making an orderly withdrawal from Vila Nova de Gaia
to the bridge of boats before its blown up


British and Portuguese troops exchange fire with Napoleon's men



Video of Wellesley's british troops, firing volley's as they advance through
Vila Nova de Gaia to secure the south bank of the Douro

British Infantry & 95th Rifles firing and advancing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl9FpaMSu1s#lq-lq2-hq)

The British and Portuguese continue to push the french back


A French officer is wounded during the night fighting


Portuguese Video showing British & Portuguese troops securing the south bank
of the Douro

Battle for Oporto (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC6HUYaRc8o#)

Video of last weekends night fight - Battle of Oporto, May 1809

Invasoes Francesas (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsY6Ud1-KNs&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq)

Wellesley had already noted a large isolated stone building that stood on the
opposite bank, outside the eastern suburbs of the city. This was the Bishop's
Seminary, that looked unguarded by the French.
Waters crossed the Douro with the barber in his row boat to the north shore and
Soon returned with the wine barges and confirmation that the Seminary was indeed

British officers lead their troops out to face the french lined up on the
opposite side of the Douro


French infantry marching down to take their positions on the north
bank of the Douro


Therefore Wellesley put in motion one of his most audacious attacks of his career.
About 10 o?clock, two regiments from Hill's brigade began boarding the barges,
that would ferry them across the river in full daylight. After a few minutes of
rowing across the Douro, a platoon of the Buffs had clambered upto the Seminary
and secured the gate.
As more men reached the Seminary it was gradually turned into a fortress and
although the crossing point, was out of sight of most French troops, it seems
incredible that a full hour elapsed before the alarm was raised. By this time
600 troops were holding the Seminary.

Portuguese artillery, ready to provide covering fire for the british crossing


British infantry lining the quayside ready to board their boats


Video of the British taking their postions along the riverside

British infanry lining up along the Quayside (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1ROf47Ik_Q#lq-lq2-hq)

British troops begin their hazardous crossing of the Douro in the
commandered wine barges



French artillery opens fire on the british troops and Portuguese artillery


Soult keeps his best troops in reserve, ready to cover his retreat


Wellesley realized how precarious his troops were in the Seminary and had positioned
his cannon accordingly ( on the south bank ) to cover the approaches to the building.
Soult soon ordered three battalions of the 17th Leger to begin the attacking the building
But the French assaults faltered under the heavy bombardment of the artillery and the
Steady volleys of musket and rifle fire from the garden wall, window's and roof of
makeshift garrison.
Soult's guns, deployed on the north bank, fires back at the Portuguese cannon trying
to knock out Wellesley's battery.

In the meantime, the britsh continued to reinforce the bridgehead. After a short lull in
fighting, Soult's officers sends in the 70th line regiment into the fray, amid ever more
desperate attacks on the Seminary.

In the re-enactment, Wellesley's troops manage to secure the bridge intact
before the french can blow it up. Therefore Wellesley orders his
Portuguese infantry forward across the bridge and into Oporto

Here the French 3eme de Ligne,  prepare to meet the Portuguese attack




Battle of Oporto - as shown on Portuguese TV

The Battle for Oporto as seen on TV (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjiLu4BEAjQ#lq-lq2-hq)

Slideshow of the battle through the streets of Oporto

Slideshow of the battle for Oporto in the city streets (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11257022@N05/sets/72157617818265925/show/with/3517152952/)

Following close behind the Portuguese ( after they storm the bridge ) are
Wellesleys Scottish highlanders, who fire at the retreating french as
they fall back through the streets of Oporto




The 3eme de Ligne fire one last volley at the british, as french troops
are seen retiring in the background. Ready for their retreat from Oporto


At this point Soult makes a terrible blunder by withdrawing the troops guarding the
quayside. This was the signal for the local Portuguese boatmen to take as many boat
as they can find to ferry the rest of the British and Portuguese troops across the river.
In no time at all, infantry of the 29th Foot and Brigade of Guards are swarming up
the steep streets and onwards into the heart of Oporto.
With a second british force crossing the Douro, using the recently repaired ferry at
Avintas, Soult is faced by a sudden overwhelming flank attack. Therefore he
abandons his attack on the Seminary and orders a general retreat from Oporto,
along the road to Valongo.

In the real battle, the French lost 300 killed or wounded in Oporto with 300 more
taken prisoner. As as many as 1500 sick and wounded were left in the city hospitals
along with some 70 abandoned guns. British losses amounted to 123 killed
wounded or missing.

The second, Battle of Oporto on Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Porto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Porto)

Video of British and Portuguese soldiers, paying homage in front of a
memorial to the fallen, in the Peninsular Wars

British & Portuguese troops at the memoriall (http://jpn.icicom.up.pt/2009/05/11/batalha_do_porto_revisitada_200_anos_depois.html)

Conclusion of the Sharpe theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe_-_Over_the_Hills_and_Far_Away.html)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, french retreat
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:33 31-May-2009
Wheres the British, over the hills and far away

Judging by the number of hits on this thread - it looks like the Chosen men
are keen to hear more news on the Napoleonic conflict in northern Portugal.
Well the good news is Marshall Soult's withdrawl turned into a hasty
retreat. As Wellesley's generals and his portuguese allies, left no
stone unturned in cutting off all the main roads to Spain. Leaving Soult
no other choice but to slip across a mountain pass ( north of the Douro )
to avoid being trapped by Wellesley advancing from Oporto and Beresford
and the Portuguese, who retake the bridge at Amarante.
The decision to take the treacherous mountain pass, cost the french all their
heavy baggage and artillery, plus much of the profit Soult had acquired
in plunder from his campaign in Portugal.
Although Soult escaped encirclement by taking the mountain road
towards Braga, the British and Portuguese were in hot pursuit with the
Portuguese levies ( the Ordenanza ) challanging the retreating French at
every major river crossing between Braga and the Spanish border.
Therefore their were a number of rearguard actions fought against the
British and Portuguese before the French made good their escape to
Spain arriving at Orense on 19th May.

Online map of Northern Portugal, May 1809 with details on the
pursuit of the French by General Sir Arthur Wellesley

http://www.82ndregiment.com/Douro_Map.htm (http://www.82ndregiment.com/Douro_Map.htm)

Of course the adventures of Richard Sharpe, immortalize the hardships
of the British Army in Portugal and Spain as they pursue the french
'over the hills and far away'

Sharpe - Over the Hills and far away (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe_-_Over_the_Hills_and_Far_Away.html)

So whats next, just watch this space.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:06 04-Jun-2009
While my ( Chosen men ) expat fan club have been thoroughly engrossed in Boney's
efforts on the Spanish peninsular.
They might have taken their eyes off the ball, on the threat from Napoleon's troops
closer to home, as they continue their preperations for the 1812 March on Moscow.

French troops undertaking drill practice at an undisclosed location in Russia


Well looks like the french marched into Russia sooner than I thought, judging by last
weekends news report from Moscow. Fortunately it turned out to be only a bold
foray by Napoleons men, in order to keep the russians in check.  ;)

Napoleonic battle near Moscow on TV

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=219781&p=1&sort=1 (http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=219781&p=1&sort=1)

Fortunately the Russians have been preparing for this since the days of the Soviet
Union. Here we see Soviet Army troops posing alongside, Russian Imperial army soldiers
of the 1812 campaign.


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal
Post by: Lt. Campers on 20:04 07-Jul-2009
The battle of Corunna to be refought - AGAIN !

For those regulars who missed out on the Bicentennial events surrounding
the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Corunna. The good news is the
battle is to be refought again over the weekend on friday, saturday and
sunday from the 31st July until the 2nd August 2009.
Friday and saturday will feature parades with the battle re-enactment on
sunday 2nd August.

Program of events

http://www.batalladelacoruna.com/bicentenario1809-2009.php (http://www.batalladelacoruna.com/bicentenario1809-2009.php)

Although their will be a good turnout of Spanish, Portuguese and Russian
re-enactors. The british will be somewhat thin on the ground due to
commitments elsewhere.
Nevertheless a good chance to see the russian expeditionary force in action.
Title: Re: British landings in Holland
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:16 15-Jul-2009

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

British naval ship and support craft off Walcheren island


British naval ship, surrounded by boats prepares to disembark the troops


British troops climb into their landing craft


British soldiers being rowed to shore


British troops prepare to disembark


French skirmish line facing the british


French and british infantry exchange fire as the battle unfolds


French cavalry charge the british troops



British expedition to Holland, July 1809

On the 30th July 1809, an army of 39,000 men commanded by General John Pitt, 2nd Earl of
Chatham landed near Veere on Walcheren island.
The primary purpose of the expedition being to destroy a french fleet sheltering in the Dutch
port of Flushing and divert french troops away from Britains hard pressed allies in Europe.
Together with 15,000 cavalry and two siege trains, Pitt hoped to lay siege
and capture Flushing within a week of the landing. But stubborn
resistance by the French and their Dutch allies bogged down the british to
a formal siege of Flushing.
Here Dutch and French forces succeeded in defying the british bombardment of Flushing,
long enough to transfer the french fleet to Antwerp. So despite Pitt capturing Flushing
and all surrounding towns by the 15th August, the fleet had gone.
Following this Pitt moved his forces onto South Beveland Island, in order
to move onto to his second objective, Antwerp.
But upon approaching the city, he found the port and all approaches to
Antwerp had been heavily reinforced by French troops led by Marshall
Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, recently recalled from Paris to deal with
the crisis.
Here General Pitt judged the french position too strong, to take by frontal
assualt and therefore a stalemate ensued, during which the british soldiers
encircling Antwerp, succumbed to the summer heat of flies and pestilence that plague
the Sheldt estuary, bringing many troops down with malaria.
Having lost their prize, the british called off the expedition in September
and withdrew all but 12000 troops which it left garrisoning Walcheren island
until 9th December 1809.
Of all the troops returned returned to England only 5,500 men remained fit for service.
The rest took months to recover from ill health.

Map of the Walcheren campaign, July to September 1809

http://www.82ndregiment.com/Walcheren_Map.htm (http://www.82ndregiment.com/Walcheren_Map.htm)

The British landings at Veere, 1809 - Event Guide

http://veere1809.nl/ (http://veere1809.nl/)
News of the British invasion - as seen on Duth TV, report is from the Franco - Dutch side

Invasie van Veere (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CE7ie5XSw0#ws-lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)

With the 95th Rifles forming the forlorn hope. Here we have 2 video's
of the 44th foot, together with the 92nd Highlanders and flanked by
German Jagers, attacking the french bastion at Walcheren.

Videos of the British attack on the French bastion

Attack on the french bastion, part1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flNj1ofP3Ec&feature=related#normal)

Attack on the french bastion, part2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlESl4DtKdo&feature=related#normal)

Dutch historical documentary on the British invasion of Holland, part 1

1809 De Zeeuwse Expeditie I (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JaOTEnUUTE#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

Dutch historical documentary on the British invasion of Holland, part 2

1809 De Zeeuwse Expeditie II (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2tPel8pyIQ&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

Conclusion of the Sharpe theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe_-_Over_the_Hills_and_Far_Away.html)

Title: Austrians defeated by Napoleon, near Vienna
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:06 25-Jul-2009

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Once more the sound of cannon and musketfire was heard across the Danube, in fields
east of Vienna ( last weekend ) as Napoleon Bonapartes, grande armee engages the
Austo-Hungarian army of Archduke Charles. What follows are the highlights of a 3 month
campaign with battles and skirmishes along the way.

Background to the Austrian conflict

Following her defeat at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. The Austro-Hungarian Empire,
under Francis II signed a humiliating treaty with the French at Pressburg.
The terms of which proved unbearable to the Austrian leadership who saw
large parts of the empires territory, seceded to Napoleon's, german allies in the
newly formed Confederation of the Rhine.
The Austrians who had been busy re-organising their army under the Archduke sought
allies abroad but found only the British willing to support their cause.
Britain, already fully commited in the Spanish peninsular, promised to launch a
diversionary attack in Northern Europe; the aforementioned Walcheren
expedition to Holland.

The Austrian campaign begins

On April 9 1809, armies under the overall command of Archduke Charles invaded
Bavaria and northern Italy. There was no declaration of war. Only a simple message
from Charles conveyed to all outlying outposts of the French
army - "I have orders to  advance with my forces and to treat as enemies
any who oppose me" - and hours later the Austrian army attacked.
Although Napoleon anticipated the Austrians would go to war. The attack
came sooner than he expected. As he was still tied up with other affairs in Paris.
Though slow-moving, the Austrian attack was initally successful, capturing Munich and
almost splitting the French army in Bavaria in two.
However the picture soon changed when Napoleon arrived on the scene
with the Imperial Guard from Paris. Counter-attacking vigorously he defeated various
Austrian columns at Abensberg, Landshut, Eggmuhl and Ratisbon.
Charles was soon retreating along the north bank of the Danube with Napoleon in pursuit.

Campfires, drums, battles and drill practice, life on campaign with soldiers of the
French 8eme demi brigade

Eggmuhl 2009 - 8e demibrigade (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6j-ysCKEDE#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

Battle of Eggmuhl, 1809

200 Jahre Schlacht bei Eggmuhl (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qusm_H1rX0A&NR=1#lq-lq2-hq)

German TV reporters follow the French and Austrian armies. before they clash in one
of the decisive battles of the 1809 campaign in Bavaria. With Napoleon taking
personal command of the Grande Armee. The Austrian invasion is soon turned into
a retreat. As the Archduke loses the first of four battles in Bavaria.

German TV reporters shadow the french and austrian armies in Bavaria (http://www.br-online.de/bayerisches-fernsehen/schwaben-und-altbayern/historische-feste-schlacht-bei-eggmuehl-napoleon-ID1245058937652.xml)

Four weddings and a battle - bride & groom get a french salute from Napoleons troops
involved in this years 1809 campaign


Siege of Pressburg ( Bratislava ) 27th June to 14th July 1809

During the long march along the Danube, the french encountered defiance from the
Austrains garrisoning the Slovak city of Pressburg ( modern day Bratislava )
Consequently Napoloen orders a siege of the city which lasted 2 months until her final
surrender on the 14th July.
The french continued their march on Vienna without waiting for the city to fall.

French troops besiege Pressburg ( Bratislava ) - Slovak Spectator

French besiege, Pressburg ( Bratislava ) (http://www.spectator.sk/articles/view/35812/10/re_enactment_of_napoleonic_troops_besieging_bratislava.html)

Siege and battle of Bratislava, 27th to 28th June

Napoleon 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciEOdidoJOg&feature=related#lq-hq)

Napoleon 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNaqcd72NoI&feature=related#lq-hq)

French artillery bombarding Bratislava

Bombardovanie Bratislavy by Napoleon 1809 - 2009 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcU_3czSgAU#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

Napoleonske vojska strielaju z dela (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccgG2jb4MhQ&feature=related#lq-hq)

Napoleonske vojska strielaju z dela 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9vVDaNI8NY&feature=related#lq-hq)

Battle of wits across the Danube

On 12th May the French captured Vienna, on the Danube's south bank. The Austrians
shrugged off the loss of their capital, for with Charles's army still intact, north-east of
Vienna, they were still undefeated.
Therefore to bring the Austrians to battle, Napoleon needed to cross the Danube but
with all major bridges blown up or wrecked by the retreating Austrians.
The French had to wait for their pontoon bridges and other bridging equipment to
arrive in Vienna on the 20th May.
The following day, Napoleon launched a major offensive against the Archduke across
the Danube, sending reinforcements via a newly erected pontoon bridge. But the
Archduke anticipated this move and attacked the bridgehead across the Danube
around the villages of Aspern and Essling.
With the French trapped in the villages the Archduke cut off all reinforcements by
smashing the pontoon bridges, using stone laden barges as battering rams.
After a two day battle, Napoleon was forced to abandon the bridgehead to
the Austrians.

Austrian infantry marching towards Wagram


French artillery deployed for battle


Battle of Wagram, 5th to 6th July 1809

Having learnt from his previous mistake of trying to move across the Danube with just
a single bridge as a precarious lifeline, Bonaparte ensured his base, Lobau Island,
was well fortified and linked to the south bank of the river by three guarded spans.
Next a pontoon bridge was used to bridge the river to the enemy-held north bank
and, taking advantage of the bad weather, the French vanguard moved
across only a few kilometres to the east of Aspern-Essling.
The move caught the over-confident Austrians napping and they failed to use their
numbers, some 155,000 men, against the French bridgehead.

Within hours, Bonaparte had a massive area under his control and it would have been
even bigger had not a counterattack from Archduke Charles and his grenadiers
halted French progress.
But Charles had his tail up and early the next morning attacked a key position at Anderklaa,
pushing back Marshal Bernadotte's Saxons. A furious Bonaparte sacked the marshal
on the spot and sent him away from the army. The next time they met on a
battlefield would be on opposite sides.

More Austrian attacks had the vital bridges to Lobau under threat and it was looking
as if once again, Bonaparte had manouevred his men into a very sticky situation.
But reinforcements under Marshal Massena and artillery fire support from the
grand batteries on Lobau stemmed the Austrian advance and then the battle
swung France's way with Marshal Davout pushing back the Austrian left wing.

French & Austrian lines firing


The decisive attack was then unleashed against the Austrian centre by Marshal Macdonald
and, after ferocious fighting, finally broke through Charles' lines, splitting the army and
winning the day for Bonaparte.
The 80,000 killed and wounded were evenly divided between the two armies, but
it was a heavy defeat for the Austrians who sued for peace four days later.

Infantry drill in the French camp

Camp Wagram (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOoJIyYm7Aw&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

The Battle of Wagram, 1809

1809 Napoleonische Kriege Schlacht um Wagram Gefechtsdarstellung in Marchegg 19.7.2009 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6wrNkT3d9o&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

French cavalry attacking Austrian infantry

Napoleon und die Schlacht um Wagram (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwt5lS5lvuQ&feature=related#ws-lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)

Vienna during the French occupation of 1809

Vienna during the French occupation, 1809 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.wien.gv.at/kultur/archiv/veranstaltungen/wien1809.html&ei=FlVsSrrkN4-sjAfL0e2iCw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=2&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DNapoleon%2Bund%2Bdie%2BSchlacht%2Bum%2BWagram%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D70)

French cannon firing across the Danube

Title: Re: Tyrolean peasents revolt against Napoleon
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:07 10-Sep-2009
Tyroleon peasents revolt against Napoleon

You might think its all over for the Austrians but instead we find the
war rumbles on in the Alps. Last weekend french troops, together
with their Bavarian allies endeavoured to hold the Lueg Pass from a
Tyrolean uprising which has been rumbling on for months in the Alps
round Saltzburg.


With pitchforks against bayonets and guns - Saltzburger Nachrichten
newspaper article with video

Salzburg Nachrichten news, Tyrolean's defy Napoleon (

Since April, 1809 Anreas Hofer has been the leader of a peasents revolt
against Bavarian rule, following the acquisition of the Tyrolean Alps by
Bavaria ( from Austria ) following the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805.
When Austria attacked Bavaria, the tyrolean rebels enthusiastically rose
up against Franco- Bavarian rule and attacked various french garrisons in
the Alps. Their greatest success being the defeat of Marshall Lefebvre at
the battle of Bergisel on August 14th.

Austrian TV coverage of the Battle of Lueg Pass

http://video.salzburg24.at/video/40871 (http://video.salzburg24.at/video/40871)

http://video.salzburg24.at/video/40874 (http://video.salzburg24.at/video/40874)



But the Tyrolean rebels found the Austrians were once more, losing the
war against Napoleon. As the french threw the Austrians out of
Bavaria, following it up with a crushing defeat of the Austrain army at
Wagram, near Vienna.
With the Austrains defeated the Tyrolean rebels found themselves isolated
around Saltzburg with the only reinforcements being some 2000 Austrian
regular troops that survived defeat at Wagram.
Undaunted by their precarious position, Andreas Hofers rebels go on the
offensive and backed by regular troops, they attack a French force
holding the Lueg Pass on 25th September, near the town of Golling.
       The rebels led by one of Hofers ablest officers, Joseph Struber moved
his troops across the steep Tennengebirge range, skirting the entrance to
the pass and attacking the Franco-Bavarian force on their flank. The enemy
finding themselves outmanouvered were obliged to make a steady
withdrawl to Hallein.
       By forcing the french to retreat, they relived the city of Saltzburg from
an impending attack from the French. But their defiance didn't last long as
the Austrians were forced to sue for peace at the Treaty of Schonbrunn on
October 14th, which again ceded the Tyrol to Bavaria.

The Battle of Lueg Pass, September 1809 - the complete event program

http://www.bauern-napoleon.at/einladung.pdf (http://www.bauern-napoleon.at/einladung.pdf)

Battle of Lueg Pass website:

http://www.bauern-napoleon.at (http://www.bauern-napoleon.at)

TV documentary on the Tyrolean revolt against Napoleon, 1809

Andreas Hofers Tyrolean revolt, part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TbuagX9Jk4&feature=related#normal)

Andreas Hofers Tyrolean revolt, part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fElx3WOw4V0&feature=related#normal)

Andreas Hofers Tyrolean revolt, part 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQfeghdPLxc&feature=related#normal)

Andreas Hofers Tyrolean revolt, part 4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT0C40rqKn8&feature=related#normal)

Austrian troops prepare to confront the french in the pass


French infantry regiments forming line in the Tyrol


Austrain troops attacking a French outpost in the Tyrol


The french preparing to lay down their arms and surrender

Title: The French invade Slovenia
Post by: Lt. Campers on 11:48 26-Sep-2009

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

French troops march towards the mountainous passes of Slovenia


French invasion of Austrian Slovenia

In May 1809 a french brigade, under Marshall Macdonald, marched from the french dolomite
states of northern Italy, into the Austrian province of Slovenia, in order to sieze Austria's
adriatic provinces, hoping to cut off all trade and communications with the British in the
Opposing the french battalions, was a much smaller force of 2000 Austrian troops commanded
by General Zach. Who finding that the cream of of the Austrain forces are with the
Archduke Charles, opposing Napoleon.
Zach decides to defend Slovenia against the french as best he can, taking advantage of the
mountainous terrain, that separate the Italian plains from Slovenia.
As Zach's troops retreat before the french into Slovenia, the Austrians decide to
defend the pass of Razdrto, near Pivka astride the all important road to the provincial capital
Ljubljana and onwards to Vienna.
Fortunately for Zach, the austrians had previously fortified the pass with earthworks and redoubts,
followed by an incomplete fort back in 1805.
Therefore Zach stations his men in the redouts with a reserve holding the village of
Razdrto where he awaits the arrival of the french.

French Officers survey the Austrian positions


French cannon fires on the Austrians defending the pass


Austrian troops attacking french infantry


Battle of Razdrto pass

On the morning of the 17th May, battle commenced as french troops under Marshall
MacDonald advanced through the Razdrto pass, led by the 84th & 92nd regiments
of the Broussier division.
The french suffered heavy casulties as they attacked uphill, determined to
capture the strategic heights of Mount Nanos, which commands the mountain pass.
But despite bitter resistance from the Austrians, the french prevailed siezing Mount Nanos.
With Nanos taken, Zach's forces are split in two with himself and the reserve seperated
from the rest of his troops entrenched in the redoubts above Razdrto pass.
Leaving his second in command, Major Cazzon to carry on the fight against
the french in the pass, Zach withdraws his reserve to Ljubljana abandoning the village.
Their now follows three days of heavy fighting as Cazzon's troops, surrounded by the
french in the pass, fight on to retain their entrenched positions.
Finally on the 21st May 1809, Cazzon decides to surrender, having run out of food and water.

Last weekends:
French invasion of Slovenia, Battle of Razdrto Pass, as seen on Slovenian TV

Slovenian TV report (http://www.rtvslo.si/mojvideo/avdiovideo/zgodovinska-ponazoritev-bitke-pri-razdrtem/14797/)

French cannon being limbered forward to engage the Austrains holding out
in the redoubts


Austrian troops manning the barricades, come under fire


A French infantry column assualts the barricades


French take casualties as they near the Austrian positions


French break through as they assualt the Austrain postions



Historical note - Slovenia, just like Poland, has a certain affection for Napoleon for
freeing them from the Austrians and establishing the first state of Slovenia from 1809 to 1813.

http://www.ukom.gov.si/en/200th_anniversary_of_the_illyrian_provinces/provinces_illyriennes_1809_1813/illyrian_provinces_18091813/ (http://www.ukom.gov.si/en/200th_anniversary_of_the_illyrian_provinces/provinces_illyriennes_1809_1813/illyrian_provinces_18091813/)

Slovenian Government Communications office - announces the 200th
anniversary of the arrival of Napoleon's troops to Slovenia

http://www.ukom.gov.si/en/news/press_release/article/242/560/7bd49bde0b/ (http://www.ukom.gov.si/en/news/press_release/article/242/560/7bd49bde0b/)

Slovenian defence minister - Ljubica Jelusic sees last weekends Napoleonic festival


Napoleonic Festival in Pivka - with early 19th century town market and battle preperations

Film of Napoleonic festival (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBjbdIe9gdE&feature=related#ws-normal)

The Battle of Razdrto pass, May 1809 recreated

Film of Battle of Razdrto pass (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppj_SVc37gY&feature=related#ws-normal)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Lines of Torres Vedras
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:08 19-Oct-2009

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

British & Portuguese position in the autumn of 1809

As expats are aware, the war against Napoleon has had mixed fortunes in Europe.
Following the disastrous retreat through Spain, where the british army only narrowly escaped
capitivty by throwing off the french at Corunna.
Their valiant commander, Sir John Moore was killed in the battle but he bought his troops
enough time, to be evacuated by sea. By the time they reached England, it was a bedraggled
emaciated army that stepped ashore, in testament to the suffering endured during their long
Napoleon's troops, commanded by Soult, didn't rest too long on their laurels in Corruna before
marching into Portugal from the north, securing Oporto by the 28th March.
But Napoleon's hopes of recapturing Lisbon within a month are dashed by the wretched
condition of the roads and the fury of the guerilla war that flares up behind Soult's army.
With Portuguese troops under Francisco Silveira, threatening Soult's left flank at Amarante.
The french invasion grinds to a halt, long enough for british reinforcements under Wellesley to
engage the french at Oporto and drive Soult's troops back across the spanish frontier.
Despite further success in Spain, neutralising the second french force led by Marshall Victor at
The fortunes of war swing once more in Napoleon's favour, as yet another victory against the
Austrians at Wagram, frees more french troops for the spanish campaign.
With Napoleon about to appoint another french marshall, Andrea Massena ( a man famed more
for his greed & letcherous conquests of women, than for his exploits in battle ) who would lead
the next napoleonic invasion of Portugal.

Clickable Map of Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular Wars

Map of the Peninsular (http://www.maproom.org/00/13/present.php?m=0048)

The British army withdraws to Portugal

With the british falling out with their Spanish allies over their conduct at Talavera in July 1809.
Wellesley withdraws to Oroposa, where under threat from a new french force advancing
from Salamanca, under Soult. The British fall back on the fortress border town of Badajoz
before finally retiring into winter quarters in Portugal between October and December 1809.

British general leading his troops out of Spain



With the Napoleon's forces fully engaged on a brutal suppresion of the Spanish revolt, spanish
troops are desperately trying to contain the french reconquest of Spain by holding out for as long
as possible in towns and cities across Spain, with the centre of resistance being Seville
in Andalusia.
No doubt expats have been watching these desparate struggles against Napoleon's troops, as
seen on Spanish news reports, early this month.

Spanish tv news report on Napoleon's troops quelling the spanish uprising

Colmenar de Oreja recrea la Guerra de la Independencia contra los franceses (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-VUpyXGPp4#normal)

More film coverage of the War in Spain

RECREACION HISTORICA DE LA GUERRA DE LAINDEPENDECIA EN COLMENAR DE OREJA -1809-2009 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4rmI9-J_9I&feature=related#normal)

Wellesley orders the construction of the Lines of Torras Vedras

With the military situation deteriorating rapidly in Spain, the british needed to put in place some
means of defence against the next invasion.
Here both the British general Arthur Wellesley and the Portuguese under Major Jose Maria
das Neves Costa, have been surveying the range of hills, north of Lisbon.
Costa submitted his ideas for a line of defence to the Portuguese regency, in the spring of !809.
These ideas were examined and improved upon by Wellesley, who also saw the potential for
setting up a line of forts and redoubts, either side of a range of hills eminating from Torres Vedras.
In October 1809, Wellesley ordered his chief engineer Colonel Sir Richard
Fletcher to survey the area with a view to establishing a couple of defence
lines round the Lisbon peninsular.
On the 20th October a memorandum was issued for the construction of mutually supporting
redoubts and earthworks around the Lisbon peninsular, the work to be carried out with
the utmost secrecy from the outside world.

Lisbon lies at the southern end of a peninsular formed by the Atlantic to the west and the
Tagus to the east. Further north the terrain is mountainous, but the area south of Torres Vedras,
where the defences were built, is hilly, reaching a high point of just over 410m (1,350ft) south of Sobral.
On a detailed map the hills north of Lisbon look to be a complex mess, but in fact the general topography
of the area is quite straightforward. The highest ground is on the western side of the peninsula,
reaching close to the Tagus around Alverca. From that point two lines of higher ground
stretch out towards the Atlantic, one running north west towards Sobral and another running west,
past Bucellas and towards Mafra. This second line is the stronger of the two, with higher
ground most of the way to the Atlantic, and the gap filled by the valley of the River San Lourenco.
The first line (to Sobral) is longer, and its western half is much lower lying.
The valley of the River Zizandre reaches as far as Sobral, but to reach this area the French would
have had to march around the Serra de Monte Junta, which stretches fifteen miles north of the Zizandre
without being crossed by a single good road. The eastern part of the valley was defended by
strong fortifications based around Torres Vedras, while the western part was carefully flooded,
creating an impassable bog.

The Lines of Torres Vedras


Clickable map of the area where the Lines of Torres Vedras was built

Map of Torres Vedra Lines (http://www.maproom.org/00/13/present.php?m=0064)

When work first began on the defences of Lisbon, the plan was to build two full lines,
one close to Lisbon to act as a point of final refuge and the second across the peninsula from Alverca
through Mafra, reaching the Atlantic along the River San Lourenco. Further north the line from Alverca
to Sobral, and then on to Torres Vedras was seen as a line of outposts, to be held for as long as possible
and then abandoned, with its defenders falling back to the main line.
When work began on the lines, Wellington expected the French to turn against him at any
moment but instead they invaded Andalusia, and Wellington?s engineers gained an extra year to build
their defences. By the time Wellington finally retreated back into the lines, the first line was
so strong that Wellington decided to make it his main line of defence.

Despite their name, the Lines of Torres Vedras were actually made up of a series of separate
fortifications, carefully placed to provide each other with covering fire.
These forts varied in size from the massive fort at Torres Vedras, designed to hold 5,000 men,
down to small gun emplacements designed to mount three guns and 200 men.

Hundreds of tons of earth were moved in front of the lines. Some of this work was done to remove blind
spots, where the French could have hidden from gunfire from the forts, while in other areas
the hills were cut away to create virtual cliff faces, that the French would have to climb before
they could reach the forts (one of the longest stretches saw a 2000 yard long cliff created near Alhandra).
Sunken roads were filled up and houses demolished to deny the French any cover. In some areas valleys
ran through the lines, and these were filled with an abattis made up of entangled olive trees.
These were very difficult to remove, impossible to actually move through, but did not block grapeshot.

The defensive work continued north of the lines themselves. Wellesleys engineers made preparations to
destroy every road and bridge that the French might use to approach the

The western end of the first line was defended by building dams to block the River Ziznadre.
These created a flooded area several miles long, surrounded by bogs. The dams themselves were
protected by forts that were out of range of any guns in the French field army.

Built in relative secrecy

One of the most impressive things about the construction of the Lines of Torres Vedras
was that their existence was kept almost completely secret from the French, and even to a certain
extent from the British and Portuguese armies. Even some of Fletcher?s engineers are said
not to have realised exactly what they had built. Therefore the French would be in for an
uncomfortable surprise when they finally confront the Lines of Torres Vedras.

Fort de Sao Vincente on the Torres Vedras lines


Here I attach a map showing the four Lines of Torres Vedras - which clearly show that
if Napoleon's troops had broken through the first line, their was a still a second line to
delay the french. Finally if both the first and second lines were to be breached.
Then the british third and fourth lines are positioned to deny the french the high ground
and uninterrupted cannon fire of Lisbon harbour. Thus giving the navy ample
time to evacuate Wellesley's army, as the french begin to encircle the city.

Points of interest, Pero Negro is Wellesleys headquarters behind the lines and Sobral
marks the spot where Massena's army attempted to breach the lines, defended by
the Great Redoubt.

Map of the Four Lines of Torres Vedras


Conclusion of the Sharpe theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe_-_Over_the_Hills_and_Far_Away.html)
Title: Re: Telegraph system on the lines
Post by: Lt. Campers on 20:41 26-Oct-2009
Communications on the Lines of Torres Vedras

As work began on the Lines of Torres Vedras, the sheer scale of the defensive positions being
established either side of Torres Vedras and in fall back positions to the south were becoming
Measuring thirty miles in length, the british and portuguese planned to erect 152 forts and
redoubts armed with 534 guns; trenches, escarpments and indentations. Costing 200,000
pounds by the time it was completed in 1812 and garrisoned by 34,000 men.
Because it would be impossible to adequetely defend all areas at once, an effective and
speedy means of communications was required to defend the lines.
For years the army have relied on messengers and dispatch riders ( called gallopers ) to
relay messages to other armies on campaign or troops on the battlefield.
But the poor roads and undulating nature of the ground would make it impossible to
deliver an urgent message in time, if one area of the lines was facing a full scale attack,
while another area was only being threatened by a diversionary assualt.
To this end General Sir Arthur Wellesley ( later Duke of Wellington ) planned to establish a
system of telegraphs. The telegraph, a system of telegraph poles ( on  hills ) with railway
signal type boards to relay messages, invented by the british in 1680 but only really developed
by the french following the french revolution.
The British naval officer defending the Portuguese coast, Admiral George Berkeley took a keen
interest in the debate, as to what sort of telegraph system should be established on the lines
and made his own proposal.

Wellesley's headquarters at Pero Negro


The Optical Telegraph or Semaphore

For more than 200 hundred years the navy have been using a combination of flags, lights and
guns for communicating with other ships at a distance. With flags and pennants being the
preferred methed of relaying messges to other ships in the navy.
Quite recently the Royal Navy had been encountering the Optical telegraph in their war
against Denmark ( 1807 - 1814 ) as the Danes installed an Optical Telegraph system
along the Oslo fjord, to warn their gunboats of the approach of british warships to the port
of Oslo. ( Norway being part of the Danish empire at the time )

The Optical Telegraph as used by the French (http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/images/1/17/Dilhac.pdf)

Danish and Norwegian coastguards, scan the horizon for British warships


Danish Optical Telegraph System, guarding the approaches to Oslo

Oslo fjord Optical Telegraph, system - Click on Union Jack to see the full details (http://www.museumsnett.no/risormuseum/telegraf/index.htm)

Therefore Wellesley took on board the Admiral's suggestions and announced a
compromise solution, called the Optical Telegraph, incorporating Pennants and balls.
As illustrated by this fine model that can be found in the museam of Torres Vedras.


Messages were sent in prearranged numerical codes (using Home Popham's
Marine Vocabulary) the numbers being formed through various combinations of balls and flags.
Five signal stations were to be established along the Lines, manned by a team of
british naval officers and sailors, supported by Portuguese soldiers and militia.
The five stations were placed, from east to west, on the heights of Alhandra, the great redoubt
of Sobral, Monte Socorro, in Torres Vedras and at Ponte do Rol. The station in the great redoubt
of Sobral would maintain communication with Lisbon and the English fleet.

The Optical Telegraph re-established on top of Mount Socorro


By early July 1810, the stations were duly completed and manned by sailors. The first trials,
however were not a success. The masts were discovered to be too light for the arms and two
of the masts were pulled over by the weight of their yards. The seamen also found that the
distance between the signal stations was too great for the messages to be easily read and at
Ponte do Rol the signals blended into the background and could not be seen. Stronger masts
therefore had to be erected at each station, better quality telescopes were purchased in
Lisbon and at Ponte do Rol a pinewood was cut down to give a clearer backdrop.

A dispatch rider arrives with news for the Telegraph officer


By 3rd August, Captain J.T. Jones was able to report that he had sent a message from Alhandra
to Mafra in clear weather with no difficulty. Eventually it was found that a message could be sent
twenty-nine miles from the Tagus to the sea in just seven minutes and from Monte Socorro to either
end of the Line in four minutes. Fletcher also ordered Portuguese designed "arm" telegraphs to be
sent to each signal station.
These were simpler to operate and were to constitute a back-up system in case the sailors had
to be recalled to their ships.
Title: Re: Defending Lisbon against the French
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:35 04-Nov-2009
Defending Lisbon from Napoleon

As Wellesley's engineers start digging the foundations, for the elaborate series of forts,
redoubts and escarpments, that would become known as the Lines of Torres Vedras.
Some of you have expressed concern about the vulnerability of Wellesley's, Optical Telegraph
posts, to sabotage or surprise attack from the french.
As you rightly point out ( no matter how advanced the telegraph stations are for their time )
the break down or disablement of any one signalling station, could spell disaster for
the british & Portuguese troops defending the lines.

Heres a fine example of a Royal navy landing party attacking a french
Semaphore Station, near Brest

Royal navy landing party attacking the Semaphore station (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EScFavWIOD4&feature=related#normal)

British use of rockets, during the Napoleonic Wars

An examination of the rockets used in the Semaphore station attack (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V8A5ak62XI#normal)

Portuguese documentary on The Lines of Torres Vedras

No doubt Wellesley's troops will not leave the Optical Telegraph stations,
unprotected when the french invade Portugal next year and as if to reassure
the public.
The Portuguese have produced a documentary on the Lines of Torres Vedras,
going into some detail on the mobilisation of troops along the lines; the evacuation
plans in place and the scorched earth policy of denying all food and forage for
Napoleon's french troops, once the refugees have found shelter behind the Lines.
As can be seen from the documentary, Portuguese military officials and historians
have gone into some detail on how they propose to halt Massena's invading army,
long before they reach Lisbon.
Although they envisage much suffering amoungst the people during the invasion,
they are encouraged by the British commitment to Portugal and the Spanish
Peninsular under their commander, Sir Arthur Wellesley.

Portuguese TV documentary, Invasion defending Portugal 1809 - 1810

Invasion, defending Portugal 1809 -1810, part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVWWaUK-8O4#normal)

Invasion, defending Portugal 1809 -1810, part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC-dbuXGk-U#normal)

Invasion, defending Portugal 1809 -1810, part 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5Aex-YeIUY#normal)

Invasion, defending Portugal 1809 -1810, part 4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmOAfZgehIQ&feature=related#normal)

Invasion, defending Portugal 1809 -1810, part 5 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqqCn7PSRcE#normal)

Invasion, defending Portugal 1809 -1810, part 6 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW6_cP-x5-Y#normal)

Of course all these preperations are being made under some secrecy, so not a word
to anyone.
Title: Peninsular War ceremony in Torres Vedras
Post by: Lt. Campers on 13:32 18-Nov-2009

Background history and the program of events, Click on Program Celebrations and Full program, PDF (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&tl=en&u=http://www.linhasdetorresvedras.com/&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Blinhas%2Bde%2Bvedras%2Bdos%2Btorres%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhjCmkmkem9s0hixJ9uQ5eq_Ofq8GA)

President laying a wreath at the Peninsular War memorial


Model of the Lines of Torres Vedras built by Anglo Portuguese troops to stop the French
before they reached Lisbon in 1810


The President of Portugal receives the salute from his troops of 1809


Commemorations of the Lines of Torres Vedras - 11th November

Expats living in the Torres Vedras area would have no doubt seen last wednesday's
200th anniversary commemorations on the building of the Lines of Torres Vedras.
The President of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva, laid wreaths at the Peninsular War memorial
and opened the Lines of Torres Vedras exhibition, in Torres Vedras.
The exhibition Peninsular War 1807 - 1814 will be open 6 days a week.
Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00hrs to 18:00hrs from the 11th November 2009 until
30th November 2010. Naturally the special emphasis of the exhibition being the Lines of Torres

The RTP Television report on the commorations in Torres Vedras

RTP TV report (http://tv1.rtp.pt/noticias/index.php?t=Elogio-presidencial-aos-resistentes-de-Torres-Vedras.rtp&headline=20&visual=9&article=294429&tm=8)

Finally two video's of the commoration ceremonies and the Opening of the
Peninsular War exhibition in Torres Vedras on the President of Portugal's

President of Portugal's video of the Lines of Torres Vedras commemorations (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y8S-4cl51g&feature=youtube_gdata#normal)

Peninsular War commemorations in Torres Vedras (http://www.presidencia.pt/?idc=10&idi=32802)

A video recording of the Battle of Corruna, 1809 taken earlier this year

Corruna, 1809 video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0ex3to5VkE#normal)

Finally the Complete - Lines of Torres Vedras program of Events 1810 - 2010

Background history and the program of events, Click on Program Celebrations and Full program, PDF (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&tl=en&u=http://www.linhasdetorresvedras.com/&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Blinhas%2Bde%2Bvedras%2Bdos%2Btorres%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhjCmkmkem9s0hixJ9uQ5eq_Ofq8GA)

Highlights of this years Campaign in Portugal as seen in the Press

Press reports on the French Invasion of Portugal 1809 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/15362904/Os-Herois-de-Amarante#key24x815gzuqcpuaqo9rdb)

Title: Re: Sharpes Redoubt and the Napoleonic POW Camp dig
Post by: Lt. Campers on 18:50 07-Dec-2009
Sharpes Redoubt and the Napoleonic POW Camp dig

As expats are no doubt aware the french, british, spanish and portuguese armies have
retired to winter quarters. With the festive season descending on Portugal. Wellesley's
quatermaster's have been busy preparing billets for the men, as the digging and
entrenchment work continues unabated along the Torres Vedras lines.

Speaking of digging and entrenchments, I'm sure those expats who like to keep abreast
of the latest developments on the Napoleonic front. Would be interested in a new
series of Channel 4's Time Team to be shown next year. Namely ( a repeat of ) Sharpes
Redoubt and a brand new archealogical dig at the fomer Napoleonic POW Camp, for french
prisoners at Normans Cross, near Peterborough.
The dig at Norman Cross will be Time Team's second Napoleonic excavation where ( under
the shadow of the French Eagle statue ), Tony Robinson and his team hope to uncover
some interesting artifacts from the former prisoner of war camp.
The POW camp at Norman Cross is of particular interest to Time Team as its reputed to be
the first - purpose built POW camp for enemy prisoners. Unlike many french commissioned
officers, who enjoyed somewhat looser confinements, thanks to the parole system.
Most non-commisioned officers and ordinary rank and file enjoyed no such priviledges
and were confined to makeshift POW camps like Portchester castle or Dartmoor prison.
Norman Cross being the first purpose built POW camp ( or barracks ) for french, dutch and
spanish prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars.

Channel 4's Time Team archaeologists investigate the Norman Cross POW
camp, near Peterborough - Times Online, July 2009

Time Team archaeologists investigate POW camp (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6722271.ece)

Time Team unearth world's first Prisoner of War camp in Britain
- Daily Mail, July 2009

Worlds first POW camp in Britain holds Napoleon's troops (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1201352/Time-Team-help-unearth-worlds-prisoner-war-camp--Britain.html)

More on the Norman Cross POW camp - as featured earlier in my blog

Napoleonic POW Camp (http://www.expatua.com/forum/index.php/topic,1975.msg26175.html#msg26175)

In March 2006 Time Team was also invited to carry out a dig at the former Rifle Regiment
barracks at Shornecliffe, Kent. Where they excavated a Napoleonic redoubt erected
by the Rifle brigade. In the event of an invasion of England by Napoleon.
Suffice to say the invasion never occured but remnants of the redoubt remain and
can still be seen today. Nicknamed Sharpes Redoubt after the Bernard Cornwell books,
Time Team carried out a thorough investigation of the site.

Time Team - Sharpes Redoubt

Sharpes Redoubt video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3HvxvylWsc#normal)

The parolled officers are confined to parole towns

During the course of Britain's campaign against Napoleon and his allies
in Europe, both by land and sea the british took many prisoners during
the conflict. The soldiers ended up being held in prison hulks ( laid up old
ships ) or if they are lucky, held on dry land like the castles, prisons or
Norman Cross POW camp, as mentioned above.
As most scholars know, the officers taken prisoner by the british, enjoyed
greater freedom in any one of the 50 Parole towns, allocated for officers
'on parole' during the Napoleonic Wars.
So long as these officers remained confined to the area of the
parole town ( boundaries marked by parole stones ) they could,
lodge and participate in all aspects of town life, short of
setting themselves up in business or taking a regular job.
By all accounts a subsistance allowance of half a guinea a week
was paid to the parolled officers.
Records show a number of parolled officers, got married and
had children during their stay in Britain with some choosing to
settle down and stay here, rather than return to France, Spain,
Holland or Denmark after the war.
Of course other officers died during their confinement and are
buried in local church yards in the paroled towns. As witnessed
by this photo of a memorial to the French paroled officers, confined to
Leek during the Napoleonic Wars.


Reading honours her prisoner of war from Denmark

Other soldiers from Denmark ( reluctant allies of the French, at war with
Britain from 1807 to 1814 ) were greatly appreciated in their parole town.
Apparently Danish officers of the Napoleonic Wars were particularly
popular and 'well behaved' in Britain, most of them being confined to
the Berkshire town of Reading, earning them the ultimate accolade as the
Gentlemen Danes of Reading.
The Danes were so much appreciated by the people of Reading,
that a memorial stone to one young Danish officer, Laurenthes Braag
( who died in 1808, aged 26 during his confinement to Reading ) was
mounted on the wall of Reading Minster.
Two hundred years later the Reading Civic Society raised 1300 pounds
for the restoration of the memorial plaque, to one of the young
Danish prisoners of Reading and invited Laurenthes Braag's
descendants over to attend a rededication service at Reading
Minster in October this year.

Reading remembers the gallant men of Denmark

Reading's danish officer remembered (http://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/news/reading/articles/2009/11/06/42766-from-reading-to-the-people-of-denmark)

Ceremony remembers a prisoner of war from Denmark

Danish officer plaque ceremony (http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/2059913_ceremony_remembers__a_gentleman_dane)

Ceremony remembers Danish prisoner of war (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m34-BEKu86M#normal)

Meanwhile on the Eastern Front

Finally with winter here and the sub zero temperatures starting to bite in Ukraine. It shouldn't be long before
the snow arrives. As far as 'Back to the Napoleonic Wars' are concerned, were only a couple of
years away from getting the band together for The 1812 Overture.   :D  :D  :D  ;D
So its heartening to see this recent pic of my brave boys poised, ready to start their March on Moscow !!!

Title: Re: French POW scandal in St Ives
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:31 14-Dec-2009
Scandalous behaviour of French officers on parole

As mentioned before, while the ordinary rank and file endured squalid conditions,
aboard one of his majesties prison ships in Chatham dockyard or some remote
inhospitable prison, like Dartmoor.
Those french officers who promised not to escape and gave their parole, could enjoy
the open prison's of the british parole town's. Here they were paid a subsistence of
twenty shillings a week for board and lodging ( so long as they didn't escape and
remained within a mile of the town ) they could participate in all aspects of social life
with few restrictions.

One such town is Leek in Staffordshire, where after a little friction between the parolled
officers and the locals. Many french officers settled down and adapted to their new life
in England, with a number of them becoming acquainted with the local girls, as quite a
few got married and raised children, as witnessed by this article on Staffordshire history.

Leek, the french connection (http://www.staffshistory.org.uk/french_leek.htm)

The fraternisation between local girls and french officers raised a few eyebrows at the time,
with some legendary accounts being made into books. For instance St Ives
by Robert Louis Stevenson.

This has recently been made into a film called St Ives, All for Love - although rather comical,
its an interesting film. Heres the background to the film plot:
Jacques St. Ives  is an ambitious hussar officer in Napoleon's army who requests a
demotion in rank so as to avoid a number of duels from fellow officers, who may challenge
only those of equal rank. To his surprise his request is accepted and to his
consternation, hes sent abroad on campaign.

Film night comes to Back to the Napoleonic Wars (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Film_76_To_98.html)

St Ives the movie, Adventures of a French prisoner of war

St Ives, All for Love, part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La-AOgpWicU#normal)

St Ives, All for Love, part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDXiokV0bo0#normal)

St Ives, All for Love, part 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyysiEGWnHk#normal)

Part 4, Fast forward to 8:30min to see the continuation from part 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmluEGW5Jn4#normal)

St Ives, All for Love, part 5 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgUCDqGM44s&NR=1#normal)

St Ives, All for Love, part 6 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJxxRlaThA8&feature=related#normal)

St Ives, All for Love, part 7 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1RSCTC_q5U&feature=related#normal)

St Ives, All for Love, part 8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDTdr1UI-FY&feature=related#normal)

St Ives, All for Love, part 9 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydq3PXYztps&feature=related#normal)

St Ives, All for Love, part 10 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLZSATSZlvA&feature=related#normal)
Title: Re: Operational checks out the Torres Vedras exhibition
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:26 19-Dec-2009
Lines of Torres Vedras exhibition appears in Operational

Inside pictures of the Lines of Torres exhibition at the municiple museam of Torres
Vedras, appears on the front page of Operational. The Portuguese armed forces
weekly edition for 15th December.
I've included the link below for those of us who keep abreast of the latest news
on the Peninsular Wars. Particularly on the forthcoming front lines of Torres Vedras.

Operational, Defence weekly examines the Lines of Torres Vedras exhibition (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.operacional.pt/guerra-peninsular-200-anos-depois/&ei=nf0rS_LZH8u74gae9tiSCQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAwQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.operacional.pt/guerra-peninsular-200-anos-depois/%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)
Title: Re: Looking back on the 1809 campaign in Europe
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:06 21-Dec-2009
Looking back on the 1809 campaign in Europe

With General Wellesley's forces, firmly enscounced behind the Portuguese border.
The Anglo-Portuguese army settles down to winter quarters around Torres Vedras
and other key areas, as work continues with the lines of Torres Vedras.
With Napoleon's Danube campaign against the Austrains, ending in victory
at Wagram, the Austrian's under Archduke Charles were forced to sign a
humiliating armistice at Znaim in Bohemia, where the last of the Archdukes
forces were cornered in a battle with Marshall's Marmont and Massena.

French troops marching through Znaim, to engage the Austrians (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFq8-BiEcVw&feature=related#normal)

The Polish - Austrian War of 1809

More info on the Polish - Austrian War (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish%E2%80%93Austrian_War)

Also the Dutchy of Warsaw ( modern day Poland ) was invaded by the Austrians,
who were Napoleon's closest allies in the east, Polish forces were
weakened by the number of Polish troops, fighting alongside the French in Spain.
The Poles repulsed an attack on Warsaw and brought the Austrains to battle at
Raszyn on 19th April 1809, which ended inconclusively but forced Polish forces
under the flamboyant Prince Poniatowski, to retire across the river Vistula.

Musical battle of Raszyn, 1809 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNW3Bhbuv40#normal)

Battle of Raszyn, Poland 1809 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfl7kiXm6Fc&feature=related#normal)

Here the Poles held the line of the Vistula for over a month before gradually
forcing back the Austrians in the south, capturing a number of key towns
including the fortress town of Sandomierz. Where the Austrians held on
grimly to the city fortress before being stormed by Polish troops. With
the Austrian lines being turned in the south, the rest of the Austrain army
in Poland ( commanded by the Archduke Ferdinand ) were forced to retire
to Austria.

Street fighting in Sandomierz, as the Austrians fall back on the fortress, May 1809 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AfY-n3VxIA#normal)

Battle of Sandomierz, as shown on Polish TV channel TVP (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://icommunity.tv/node/911&ei=SuovS-fJItH_4AaUu52qCA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbattle%2Bof%2Bsandomierz%2B1809%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

With the threat from the Austrians removed. Napoleon can once more concentrate
his forces on driving the british out of the Spanish peninsular and the final conquest
of Portugal but little does he realise the obstacles that are being put up against him.
Title: Re: British Embassy statement and travel advice concerning the conflict
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:22 23-Dec-2009
British Embassy statement and travel advice concerning the conflict


Napoleon: Total Wargame video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BexgVepRrrQ&feature=player_embedded#normal)

The British ambassador to Portugal, Mr Alex Ellis has issued a statement, concerning
the Napoleonic invasions of Portugal and in particular the efforts of the Anglo-Portuguese
army under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley, to halt any anticipated third invasion
along the Lines of Torres Vedras. With the military situation deteriorating rapidly
in Europe, the ambassador feels the time is right to issue some reassurance concerning
the defence of Portugal.

He goes into some detail on the scale of the enterprise in constructing the 142 redoubts
that make up the Lines, together with present day efforts to restore the various redoubts
and earthworks.

The website also includes useful travel advice for expats wishing to visit the battlefields
and other significant landmarks of the Napoleonic Wars, as well as any special exhibitions
being held at local museums.

British Ambassador, Alex Ellis talks about the Lines of Torres Vedras (http://itinerante.pt/as-linhas-de-torres-vedras-por-alex-elis-embaixador-britanico-em-portugal/?lang=en)

British, Foreign and Commonwealth Office statement

British, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, statement on the Peninsular Wars in Portugal (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/country-profile/europe/portugal?profile=all)

Finally the British embassy was pleased to announce the presentation of a Sword of Honour
to General Francisco da Silveira and the people of Portugal, for their heroic defence of
the bridge at Amarante.
Thwarting the second invasion of Portugal by the french, under Marshall Soult.

Sword of honour presented to the Portuguese general defending Amarante (http://ukinportugal.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/15393020/sword)

More information concerning Napoleon: Total War, video wargame

Napoleon: Total War video game (https://www.eurogamer.net/videos/exclusive-napoleon-total-war-gameplay-trailer)

Napoleon: Total War, multiplayer game

Napoleon: Total War, multiplayer mode (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lGmp4fpg3k#normal)

Napoleon: Total War out of the box - New Players review

Napoleon: Total War, Players review (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zWMb9DR2Yk&feature=channel#normal)

As usual, please click & minimise the concluding theme music:

Johnny has gone for a Soldier (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNqcGtSYFYU#normal)
Title: The French march on Malaga & Cadiz
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:26 19-Jan-2010
Napoleon's troops march into Andalusia


Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

On the 10th January 1810, Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte ( crowned King Joseph
by the French in Madrid ) orders Marshall Victor to begin the invasion of the southern
region of Andalusia, where a number of city Junta's continue to resist the french
together with elements of the Spanish army.
With the british and portuguese busy digging in along the Lines of Torres Vedras.
Its left to Marshall Soult to keep an eye on the Portuguese frontier while Victors troops,
accompanied by Sebastiani, invade Andalusia.

Cickable map of the Spanish Peninusular during the Napoleonic Wars

Map of Spain & Portugal 1808 (http://www.maproom.org/00/13/present.php?m=0048)

BBC Radio series, The Other Side of the Hill

A BBC radio series called The Other Side of the Hill gives a dramatic account of events
following Wellesley's ( now Viscount Wellington's ) victory at the Battle of Talavera in 1809.
The story follows the fortunes of Sir Harry Smith ( then a Captain in Wellington's Army )
and the sister of a well born Spanish lady, following the storming of the fortress town of
Badajoz. Whose property was destroyed during the siege.
Following the storming of Badajoz in April 1812. This well born Spanish lady and her
sister Juana Mar?a de los Dolores de Lean escaped the sack of Badajoz, seeking refuge
with some British officers they found camping outside the city. One of the officers was
Captain Henry George Smith ( nickname Harry Smith ) who promptly asked for the
sisters hand in marriage. In exchange for their protection from the soldiers.
Despite the age difference ( she being 14 at the time ) they became devoted to each other
and she remained with him throughout the rest of the war, accompanying the baggage
train, sleeping in the open while out on campaign, riding freely among the troops, and sharing
all the privations of soldiering. Her beauty, courage, sound judgment and amiable character
endeared her to the officers, including the Duke of Wellington, who spoke of her familiarity
as Juanita; she was idolized by the rest of the troops.


BBC Radio 7, The Other Side of the Hill - listen to it again on BBC I-Player (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b007jz3h/The_Other_Side_of_the_Hill_Its_a_Long_Way_from_Talavera/)

Listen again to The Other Side of the Hill, part 1 ( No longer available )

Radio 7, The Other Side of the Hill, part 1 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b007jz3h)

Listen again to The Other Side of the Hill, part 2 ( No longer available )

Radio 7, The Other Side of the Hill, part 2 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00qg2ql)

The Life and times of Lieut General, Sir Harry Smith

Sir Harry Smith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Harry_Smith,_1st_Baronet)

The march through Andalusia, January 1810


As can be seen from the map, the French invasion of Andalusia was conducted by two Generals.
Marshall Claude Victor taking the western route through Andalusia to reach Cadiz by the
5th February 1810. While General Horace Francois Sebastiani marches down the eastern side
of Andalusia, securing the towns and cities of Linares, Jaen, Granada and finally Malaga
( on the Costa del Sol ) where he encountered some opposition from the defiant spainiards.
Amoungst General Sebastiani's IV Corps are troops of the Polish Vistula Legion who will
be appearing at this weekends re-enactment held on the 6th & 7th february.

Spanish preperations to resist the French in Malaga

Video of the Spanish resistance in Malaga (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgCt404zmPw#normal)

Details of the french and spanish campaign for Malaga 1810

Resisting the french in Malaga (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http://malaga1810.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/protagonistas/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.malaga1810.wordpress.com%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhhd0aIxBkoO01UAxsDbHX2FBvjaig)

La Opinion de Malaga, newspaper journal on the event

La Opinion de Malaga - Malaga resists Napoleon's troops (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.laopiniondemalaga.es/malaga/2010/01/20/recreacion-historica-recordara-defensa-malaga-frente-napoleon/315999.html&ei=mT5jS-_TOcK4jAfzvNmaBw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCEQ7gEwBTge&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenario%2BHist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bde%2Bla%2Bdefensa%2Bcadiz%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D30)

The Malaga 1810 poster

Malaga event poster (http://www.malagaes.com/imagenes/articulos/19-01-2010%2015-48-14.jpg)

Spanish gunboat patrolling the Isla de Leon channel, Cadiz


Latest news from Spain - the Spanish army under the Duke of Albuquerque, are
falling back on Cadiz, following the fall of Seville to Victor's french army


Spanish forces resisted as best they could but faced by Victors veteran french troops, they
were forced to retire from cities like Seville, to the spanish naval base of Cadiz where the
spanish government sits in defiance of the french.
Victors army soon arrives before Cadiz on the 5th february where they are eventually
joined by Soult. Together they surround the naval base with 60,000 men although the
fortifications surrounding Cadiz are too much for the french to take by frontal
assualt. Therefore siege cannons are brought in to reduce the spanish fortress.

Spanish gun emplacement, Cadiz


The Siege of Cadiz 1810

So the french settle down to a long siege that will last almost two and a half years
as the hard pressed spanish garrison are reinforced by british and portuguese
troops, ferried in to help the spanish.
The terrain surrounding the strong fortifications of Cadiz, would prove difficult
for Victor to attack, as the French also suffered from a lack of supplies, particularly
ammunition from continuous guerrilla raiding parties attacking the rear of their
siege lines and threatening their communications within Andalusia.
From time to time the british would mount naval landings along the Andalusian coast
to threaten Victors communications with Seville and Malaga further frustrating
the french siege effort.

Spanish troops preparing to defend the city against the French

Video of Spanish preparations in Cadiz (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq0DEgrtyP4&NR=1#normal)

Conclusion of the Sharpe theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe_-_Over_the_Hills_and_Far_Away.html)

Title: The French besiege Cadiz
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:29 07-Feb-2010

As usual, please remember to close the window once the theme music ends
Theme Music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Polo__3sxW4#normal)

Cannons roar as the Siege of Cadiz begins

When Marshal Claude Victor-Perrin arrived at the gates of the island fortress of
Cadiz, in Andalusia, he was confident the poorly defended town would surrender
He and his troops had marched eighty-three miles in four days to
take control of the last outpost of Spanish rebellion against the Emperor Napoleon.
Madrid was already in french hands, along with the rest of northern Spain.
The only Spanish government left in Spain was the Central Junta of Seville, who
fled to Cadiz following the approach of the French. By taking Seville, Victors troops
had seized 200 cannon, together with magazines, plus the only iron foundry in Spain.
Days earlier on February 1, 1810, Napoleon?s brother, King Joseph, had ridden
triumphantly through the gates of Seville, as Spain seemed all but conquered.

Spanish officer rows out to greet a royal naval ship, at anchor in Cadiz Bay


But Cadizs governor refused to surrender. Over the centuries, the towns thick
stone walls had repelled the Moors, Barbary pirates, and the British. That morning,
its walls harbored something else: twelve thousand men representing the last
remnants of the Spanish army. Realizing Seville was lost, the Duke of Albuquerque
had marched his ten thousand men to Cadiz, picking up another two thousand
men from towns along the way. He arrived two days before Victor. If the French
wanted the town, they would have to lay siege to it.

After being turned down by the governor, Victor surveyed Cadizs defenses.
The island fortress sat at one end of the Isla de Leon, surrounded by water on
three sides. It could only be reached from the mainland by boat or by using a
bridge and then walking five miles along the marshy isthmus to the city gates.
After Albuquerque had marched his Spanish troops across the bridge, he
destroyed it, setting up makeshift artillery batteries to prevent the French from
taking the bridge and repairing it.

While awaiting the arrival of heavy artillery from Seville. Victor endeavors to
take the garrison by surprise. To do so he prepares for a dawn attack, under
cover of darkness in order to assault the Spanish fort ( overlooking the bridge )
in the early hours of the morning.

The Siege of Cadiz in history

The Siege of Cadiz, 1810 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_C%C3%A1diz)

The Siege of Cadiz as seen on Spanish TV, no commentary

Siege of Cadiz on windows media player (http://www2.uca.es/orgobierno/rector/Videoteca%20Bicentenario/Combate%20del%20Portazgo.wmv)

The inhabitants of Cadiz made these video recordings of the
french bombarding the fort

Video of Cadiz under siege, part1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIpQiit8EWo&feature=related#normal)

Video of Cadiz under siege, part2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4IoNn_YtL8&NR=1#normal)

Marshal Victor surveys the fortifications guarding Cadiz


Spanish fort on the Isla de Leon guarding the approach to Cadiz, in the
background can be seen the French tricolour marking the french lines


A poster with a map showing the current dispositions of the french and spanish
armies with another view of the french flag, just out of range in the distance


Albuquerque's troops strengthen the town garrison bringing with them more
cannon to guard the forts


The Duke makes his final dispositions as the French make a show of force
outside Cadiz


Dawn sees french troops approaching the fortress walls. Ahead of them
officers are surveying the walls for any signs their approach has been


Surprise is complete as the only officer on lookout is otherwise engaged


French grenadiers take postion ready for the assualt, when from nowhere a
shot is heard


The Spanish lookout hears the shot as his girlfriend points out the french


The french move forward with artillery in support as the spanish line the
fortress walls


The Spanish give fire from the walls and redoubts surrounding the fort



The french scale the wall only to be met by Spanish grenadiers determined
not to give way


More french troops scale the walls, as bitter fighting breaks out along the





Its a close run thing but finally Napoleon's troops are beaten back


After making a brief stand outside the fortress walls, the french retire to their
siege lines

Title: The French storm Malaga
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:57 08-Feb-2010

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

People of Malaga protest against those who would hand their town over
to the French


A new and more aggressive governor is installed to hold the town


As the Duke of Albuquerque's troops, fend off Victor's french battalion on the ramparts
of Cadiz. The citizens of Malaga face an even graver danger for beyond the city gates,
lies seasoned troops of General Sebastiani's french Imperial Corps, who have won
numerous victories in the emperors campaigns in Europe. Included amoungst its
ranks are Polish troops of the Vistula Legion, from the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw,
who boast cavalry in the form of the Polish Lancers.

French Infantry march in to face the Spanish defenders


The Battle of Malaga begins

Facing Sebastiani are a mixed bag of Spanish infantry and cavalry, troops that have
seen defeat at the Battle of Ocana last November and had suffered again in
their attempts to prevent the french from crossing the mountain passes into
Andalusia. Other regiments like the Swiss Reding's and the Royal Artillery of Malaga
are made of sterner stuff, having seen victory at Bailen but are few in numbers.
Augmenting the regulars are the armed militia and citizenry, vain and enthusiastic
but exceedingly volatile.

Sebastiani knowing that Malaga lacks defences, resolves to take the city by storm
and sends his Polish troops forward to skirmish with the enemy while his
massed battalions form up behind them to begin the assualt.

In the re-enactment the French decide to attack down a disused highway with the
Spanish fending off the assualt for as long as possible. At first the Spanish
fight off Sebastiani's Poles but as the evening wears on, the presure gets
too much for them and they are finally put to flight by the Polish Lancers.

Polish skirmishers move forward to exchange shots with the Spanish


French and Polish infantry form line to engage the Spanish troops


French skirmishers fire on the Spanish line


Battle of Malaga video, part1

The Spanish take their positions (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpUwELOTmb0&feature=related#normal)

Battle of Malaga video, part2

The battle begins as the french & Poles attack (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow7n_Ssa73o&feature=related#normal)

Battle of Malaga video, part3

Polish cavalry charge the Spanish line (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyO7TLWByBk&feature=channel#normal)

Battle of Malaga video, part4

The Spanish fall back as the fighting continues well into the evening (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpaOT_6aPzY&feature=channel#normal)

Battle of Malaga video - the final scenes

The fighting continues through the streets of Malaga as Sebastiani's Polish
troops wait for the french cannons to bombard a spanish strongpoint (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdYHeL5sM8I&feature=related#normal)

Battle of Malaga video - Special Commemoration film

Video scenes from the military parades
and battle during the Malaga 1810 event (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhGCnpz--gI&feature=related#normal)

Battle of Malaga video - Special Commemoration film tribute

Highlights from the Battle of Malaga, 1810 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvuNbVkaEKM#normal)

The following day sees more french troops marching into Malaga to secure the
town centre, while the spanish march out to meet the french. In what
will turn out to be the final days battle for Malaga, the spanish garrison
fight to the very end, in what will be a last ditch stand against Napoleon's

Battle for Malaga - film of the battle through the streets

Malaga street battles against the french (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx0evUVbxOw#normal)

Spainish garrison marches out to meet the French


Spanish troops form a firing line along the road into Malaga town centre


Polish and spanish skirmishers exchange fire over a bridge


Sebastiani brings forward more men to engage the spanish line, while a
Polish officer looks on to observe his troops in action


French grenadiers open fire in the town square


The Spanish regulars although hopelessly outnumbered, make their
final stand in the town square

Title: Re: Portuguese invasion film
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:35 19-Feb-2010
Preperations for the defence of Portugal 1810

With the french securing Andalusia and with it the sun kissed beaches of
the Costa del Sol. No doubt expats are wondering when Napoleon's
troops will be turning their attention on Portugal again.
Its a concern shared by the General of the Anglo - Portuguese army,
Viscount Wellington as his engineers and civilian labourers continue their
toil on the many forts and redoubts dotted along the Lines of Torres Vedras.
The fact that Victor has become engrossed in the siege of Cadiz and
has called upon Marshall Soult to provide more men and guns to
reduce Cadiz, has taken some pressure off the Portuguese frontier.

Friends of Torres Vedras launched in London

While Napoleon's troops are busy securing their hold on Andalusia. A
Portuguese parliamentary delegation arrived in London last month to
petition support from both Houses of Parliament, for the work currently
taking place along the Lines of Torres Vedras. That will prove critical for
the defence of Lisbon against the anticipated third invasion of Portugal.

Early day motion passed in the House of Commons, that this house
recognises the extensive works and fortifications carried out by the
future Duke of Wellington in defence of Britain's oldest ally Portugal.

Early Day Motion passed on the 14th Jan 2010 (http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=40191)

Early day motion in support of the Friends of Torres Vedras, signed by 20 MP's (http://www.edms.org.uk/edms/2009-2010/611.htm)

Check for Item 611 of Parliamentary business (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmedm/100121e01.htm)

Battle of Amarante, 1809 - Portuguese tribute film

The lull in the fighting has given the Portuguese time to reflect on
one of the key moments of the French invasion of northern Portugal,
namely the heroic defence of the bridge at Amarante.
As you know it was a battle that lasted almost a month, causing Soult
to wait in Oporto while sending more troops to secure this vital
bridge on his left flank.
Although the French eventually took the bridge at Amarente on the
2nd May, the delay gave Wellesley time to march his new british army
upto Oporto from Lisbon.

Eight minute Portuguese video on the Battle of Amarante, includes
scenes from the evening attacks across the bridge with barrels of

Battle of Amarante, 1809 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb90j20FaVA#normal)

Finally, for all those Armchair Generals amoungst you, who have been
following events from afar on your home PC.
As you all know I have been featuring the new Napoleonic wargame,
Napoleon: Total War which is due for release this week, on the
26th february. New preview video's are being released all the time on
the run up to launch day. See my previous post ( under British Embassy
statement ) for new video's. Its inclusion in my posts are ( just a matter
of interest ) as I'm completely neutral over the merits or otherwise
of the game.

Johnny has gone for a Soldier (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNqcGtSYFYU#normal)

Title: Re: Siege of Gerona 1809
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:14 04-Mar-2010
Siege of Gerona, May to December 1809

As the siege of Cadiz continues in Andalusia, other regions of Spain
had risen up against their french overlords in 1809, most notably the
city fortress of Gerona in Catalonia.

The Spanish garrison of Gerona


Gerona, situated in the north east corner of Spain has been besieged 25
times during its history, mostly against the french and therefore in
May 1809 it was against Napoleon's armies that the Catalan garrison, led
by General Mariano Alvarez decided to defy the french Marshall Augereau,
when called upon to surrender.
Alvarez had only 5,600 men under arms including some spanish infantry
and hussars, against him Augereau commanded 35,000 french troops which
proceeded to set up their siege works around the city fortress mounting
40 guns which for seven months proceeded to fire 20,000 explosive shells
and 60,000 cannon balls into the city.
In August, the French captured the castle of Montjuich, the main defensive point.
Undeterred, de Castro constructed barricades and trenches inside the city and
battle raged for another four months before Alavarez, exhausted and ill, handed
over command to a subordinate. Two days later, on 12 December, the town
capitulated. It is estimated that some 10,000 people, soldiers and civilians,
had died inside. French losses were around 15,000, over half of them to

Spanish light infantry parade


Spanish troops manning the barricades against the french


The Spanish garrison led by General Alvarez march through Gerona to
confront the French

Spanish troops take their positions in the fortress (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9-Uyfd896Y#normal)

Spanish troops exchange fire with the french along the side streets of

Street fighting in Gerona (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9hau8Tfmuw#normal)
Title: Re: Back to the Russian Front
Post by: Lt. Campers on 20:17 12-Mar-2010
Although I hate to tear you away from events in Spain and Portugal, as you know
the PC wargame campaign Napoleon: Total War was released a couple
of weeks ago, with the gaming community producing some excellent online
commentary games.

One of them is the Webbg6 Channels, Russian campaign against Sweden, the
Ottoman empire and ultimately France. Started 5 days ago, this is an ongoing
account of a Napoleonic wargame as played using NTW. As you will see,
Graham's commentary is very good and easy to follow.

NTW - The Russian campaign video's (http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=webbg6#p/u/19/_VUCDd21U3o)

Another interesting feature of the game is the technology tree, where
Graham has to carry out research by building Universities and Institutes to
progress down the technology tree, which enables him to build new iron
foundaries, etc.

British industrialist establishes Russian iron foundaries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Gascoigne)

Did this happen in real life ? well yes it did. The british industrialist, Charles
Gascoigne was sent by the british government to Russia to render military
assistance to Catherine the Great in 1786 and ( to avoid bankrupcy back home )
stayed on in Russia, to establish a number of iron foundaries and coal mines.
Charles Gascoigne was one of the founding partners and managers of the
Carron Ironworks, near Falkirk in Scotland that mass produced new types of
cannon for the Royal Navy, including the fearsome Carronade cannon.
Despite british attempts to prevent Gascoigne, from supplying new cannon
and arnaments from the Carron works to Russia, he did make off with his
plans and documents.
One of his foundaries was established at Lugansk, in the Donetsk coal mining
region of Ukraine and Charles Gascoigne is widely regarded as the founder of the
city of Lugansk.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: clanholmes on 20:30 12-Mar-2010
Campers, what are your thoughts on the Tin button controversy?
Napoleon's buttons

The story is often told of Napoleon's men freezing in the bitter Russian winter, their clothes falling apart as tin pest ate the buttons. Whether failing buttons were indeed a contributing factor in the failure of the invasion remains disputed; critics of the theory point out that the tin used would have been quite impure and thus more tolerant of cold temperatures. Laboratory tests provide evidence that the time required for unalloyed tin to develop significant tin pest damage at lowered temperatures is about 18 months, which is more than twice the length of Napoleon's Russian campaign.[1]

Are you familar with Fortress Louisberg in Canada and its significance?
Title: Re: Napoleonic revelations
Post by: Lt. Campers on 21:44 20-Mar-2010
Hi Clan,
First regarding the tin buttons on the french greatcoats, yes I have heard the story
and how it failed during harsh weather conditions. Apparently many of these
greatcoats were 'made in England' probably bought on the blackmarket, in breach
of Napoleon's own ban on trade with Britain.

The Battle for North America - 1759

Also yes, I'm well aware of the significance of Louisburg in Canada during the Seven
Years War. In fact their was a very good ( Dan Snow ) historical documentary called
The Battle for North America on BBC2 tuesday. Where Dan blames George
Washington for starting the French and Indian War ( Seven Years War in N. America )
back in 1756.
The documentary follows the British campaign leading upto the Battle of Quebec in 1759.
If your based in the UK you can see it again on I-Player but this will not be possible
outside the UK unless you use a Proxy IP address for the UK.
Although I haven't tested this myself - but this video explains all about Proxy IP addreses.

How to use BBC I-Player abroad, video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-39UIasqQts#normal)

Heres BBC I-Player to see The Battle of North America

See it again - The Battle for North America (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rl8xq)
Title: Re: A Nap weekend in the UK
Post by: Lt. Campers on 21:54 20-Mar-2010
A Napoleonic Weekend in Leeds & Felixstowe

Despite the present lull in fighting on the spanish peninsular, the UK Napoleonic
season gets in full swing next week with a Napoleonic double bill at the Royal
Armouries in Leeds & Landguard Fort in Felixstowe, over the weekend of
the 27th & 28th March.

Fans of the Sharpe series ( who no doubt are suffering withdrawl symptoms since
the last Sharpe adventure in Sharpes Peril ) will be spoilt for choice next weekend.
Where to go Leeds or Felixstowe ?

Royal Armouries events, Leeds on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Leeds/Royal-Armouries/215812575369)

Well the show at the Royal Armoury in Leeds includes:
Meet actor Jason Salkey alias Rifleman Harris from Sharpe?s Rifles.
Napoleonic drill and musket firing by the 33rd Regiment of foot & the 68th Rifles.
See what life was like in the Royal Navy 200 years ago including the
notorious Press Gang.

British 95th Rifles parade at Landguard Fort


Landguard Fort, events (http://www.landguard.com/)

Meanwhile over the same weekend the 95th Rifles will be parading at Landguard
Fort near Felixstowe.
Here the 95th will be putting on a full display of military life in the 1800's
including infantry drills with musket and rifle firing. Finally the forts audio and
visual centre will be playing video's of the 95th's battle re-enactments.


Finally please note, I've added a couple more video's of the British attack on
the french held fort at Walcheren in Holland, last year.
Title: Re: Clashes near the Polish border
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:34 30-Mar-2010
1812 - Bicentennial commemorations in Russia

As the Russian government finalise their plans for the bicentennial commemorations
of the Patriotic War of 1812. We see russian forces already clashing with French
and Polish troops at the town of Jonkowa in Poland.

Govt Plans for The Patriotic War of 1812 (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.government.ru/gov/results/8139/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.reenactor.ru%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhgXYu955cPP8Rb45L2dmpXNLtlBAQ)

Clashes near the Polish border

An interesting battle took place in Poland over the weekend of the 20th & 21st
March near the town of Jonkowa, south east of Gdansk and towards the
russian border at Kaliningrad.
As many of you are aware, Polish troops are already fighting alongside the french
in the Spanish Peninsular. Therefore this will provide an interesting background
of the Polish allegiance to Napoleon's cause during the Napoleonic Wars.
In the following video's we see french troops led by Soult and supported by Polish
troops of the Duchy of Warsaw clashing with russian troops commanded by
General Bennigsen.
The result of the battle in february 1807 was to force the russians ( together with
their Prussian allies ) back towards Konigsburg and another battle with Napoleon's
troops at Eylau.

Russian officers encouraging their men


Battle of Jonkowa on Russian tv news

Russian Channel 1 news (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxEDv0UzFCY&feature=related#normal)

Also a nice video of how easy it is to cycle Back to the Napoleonic Wars

Back to the Napoleonic Wars in Poland (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg7-lPt7zNM&feature=related#normal)

French cannon at Jonkowa Poland

French battery in action (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BII4iYv2eNg&feature=related#normal)
Title: Re: Portuguese ready to sail for Cadiz
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:12 02-Apr-2010
Meanwhile back in Portugal


Lines of Torres Vedras, event calender for 1810-2010 (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.cm-arruda.pt/Custompages/ShowPage.aspx%3Fbko%3Dtrue%26pageid%3D91d79a29-ff7e-426b-af3f-39ab33057016&prev=/search%3Fq%3DComemora%25C3%25A7%25C3%25B5es%2Bdo%2BBicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bdas%2BLinhas%2Bde%2BTorres%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhgGv_04BvEHURZcGB6aWnD-CgIUxA)

Also I recommend the Linhas de Torres Vedras commemorations website

Linhas de Torres Vedras (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.linhasdetorresvedras.com/programa/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dlinhas%2Bde%2Btorres%2Bvedras%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG&rurl=translate.google.co.uk)

Lines of Torres Vedras, event calender for 1810-2010 (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.cm-arruda.pt/Custompages/ShowPage.aspx%3Fbko%3Dtrue%26pageid%3D91d79a29-ff7e-426b-af3f-39ab33057016&prev=/search%3Fq%3DComemora%25C3%25A7%25C3%25B5es%2Bdo%2BBicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bdas%2BLinhas%2Bde%2BTorres%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhgGv_04BvEHURZcGB6aWnD-CgIUxA)

Preperations are underway for the dispatch of a Portuguese regiment,
to reinforce the hard pressed Anglo-Spanish garrison of Cadiz which
has been besieged by Marshall Victor's french troops, since the
beginning of february.
Plans for the celebrations of the Portuguese departure for Cadiz are
already in hand at the Oeiras NATO base in Portugal this month.

NATO - Allied Joint Force command, Lisbon (http://www.jhlb.nato.int/)

Here a Portuguese general has been reflecting on the lessons learn't
by the Portuguese army during the Napoleonic wars and how it affected
the country's relation's with its allies and neighbours during the
peninsular wars.

The Napoleonic Wars in Military Training & Education (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.revistamilitar.pt%2Fmodules%2Farticles%2F)

As expats can see from the following campaign diary. Wellington's men
have a pretty full schedule ahead of them, as we await the next move
by the French on the Portuguese frontier.

Napoleonic campaign diary for April 1810/2010 and beyond (http://peninsularwar200.org/events.html)

As for the Portuguese Napoleonic re-enactment association, they can be
found at the following address:

ANP - The Portuguese Napoleonic Association (http://www.anp.pt/portal/index.php)

Note: The ANP website can only be viewed using the Mozilla Firefox browser.

Also the British Historical Society of Portugal conduct regular battlefield
tours ( including towns and cities, associated with  the Peninsular Wars )
from the spring onwards and their details can be found at:

Peninsular battlefield tours (http://www.bhsportugal.org/tours/index.htm)

Finally at the Universidade nova de Lisboa, Professor Charles Esdaile will
be presenting a lecture on the experiences of British women ( the
campfollowers ) in Wellington's army on the 19th April.

Women campfollowers in the British Army (http://peninsularwar200.org/19042010.pdf)

Sharpes Rifles including a complete medley songs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBwXvW11gDc#normal)
Title: Work on the Torres Vedras lines continues
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:36 27-Apr-2010
The Strategic picture as its likely to look by the autumn of 1810


Work on the Torres Vedras lines continues as more french troops
march for Spain

As expats are aware, following Napoleon's victories in Austria and
Czechoslovakia, more french troops have been freed for the forthcoming
campaign in the Spanish peninsular. So with preperations well
underway for the third invasion of Portugal, the portuguese are busy
making good many of the redoubts, forts and blockhouses of the
Torres Vedra lines.

Napooleon's troops marching through Moravia

French troops marching though the towns of Moravia meet isolated
pockets of resistance as they march on for the Spanish

Napoleon's troops marching through a Czech town (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyTE_5c8Ey0&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

French encounter resistance along the way (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2IZ3IBCgiQ&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq)

French parade (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFq8-BiEcVw#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

Portuguese continue their work along the lines of Torres Vedras

Meanwhile work continues apace along the lines of Torres Vedras with
restoration work starting on the Forte da Carvalha. Being restored to
something of its former glory by Portuguese troops ( under the
direction of the armies Directorate of Infrastructure ) they are making
good progress and hope to have it open to the public by the 5th June.

Forte da Carvalha


Latest news on the Forte da Carvalha in the county of Arruda dos Vinhos (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://linhasdetorres.blogspot.com/)

In the meantime the British intend to embark more reinforcements for
Portugal, as can be seen by the link below.

British prepare to embark for Portugal (http://www.paste.org.uk/militarycamps.htm)

Sharpes Escape

For those expats, keen to keep abreast of developments, as they relate to
the adventures of Richard Sharpe & the 95th Rifles. Then you should check
out Sharpes Escape.
Title: NATO joins the Napoleonic Wars
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:37 27-Apr-2010
NATO joins the Napoleonic Wars

Well with Napoleon's troops marching across Europe, it was only a question
of time before NATO becomes involved, particularly with Marshal Victor
besieging the spanish naval base of Cadiz.

Looks like Wellington's men patrolling the Portuguese frontier are
likely to find help from an unexpected quarter


NATO'S Hungarian Hussars to scout deep behind enemy lines

As you know Portuguese troops along with local volunteers and museum
officials have been busy restoring the lines. But with some stretches of
the lines incomplete; Wellington along with the British & Portuguese
general staff, are keen to establish the true scale of the napoleonic forces
being ranged against them.
Therefore NATO will be fielding the best light cavalry of the period,
namely the Hungarian Hussars. The hussars were renowned throughout
the 18th century as the best reconnaisance troops in the world, raiding
garrisons and outposts far behind enemy lines. Causing disruption and
consternation to many generals in the field, this fearsome reputation
continued on throughout the Napoleonic wars.

Video of a British Hussar on patrol (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zYd_CkIqwE&feature=player_embedded#lq-hq)

NATO's Hungarian Hussar patrol

Hungarian Hussar patrol (http://peninsularwar200.org/Multinational%20Hussar%20Patrol.pdf)

At midday on thursday 15th July a three man patrol ( in full hussar
uniform ) will set out from NATO's Joint Analysis & Lessons Learned
centre in Monsanto, west of Lisbon. The three man patrol will be joined
by portuguese re-enactors and mounted cavalry units and police
detatchments as they skirt the Lines of Torres Vedras.
The patrol will be following a designated route as they move north-east
of Lisbon and on through enemy lines into Spain.
Local horse riding clubs are being encouraged to join the patrol and
details of how to contact the organisers can be found in the attached
Please note this will be a deep penetration mission across Napoleonic
Europe with the ultimate goal of reaching Budapest in Hungary.

NATO's JALLC Centre near Lisbon (http://www.jallc.nato.int/)

Hungarian Hussar clothing

During organised programs, the members of the Hungarian patrol will
be wearing the hungarian hussar uniform of the 10th & 11th Hussar
regiments. Re-enactors will be joining the patrol in full authentic uniforms
with civilian riders being encouraged to participate in historical riding
dress of the period or traditional national costumes.
As always, participants must be on their guard against Napoleon's french

Hungarian Hussar patrol or the 10km Walk of the Lines of Torres Vedras

Heres some more details on NATO Hungarian hussar expedition from Lisbon to
Budapest in Hungary, the patrol will consist of three groups of riders following
a predetermined route where they hope to attend a number of events along
the way.

Hungarian Hussars route plan

Hungarian Hussar patrol (http://peninsularwar200.org/Detailed%20Hungarian%20route%20plan.pdf)

1. The Hungarian Hussars, these are the permanent members of the
patrol, composed of cavalrymen from the six member states of NATO organising
the patrol. Namely Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia and Hungary.

2. The delegated military riders are cavalry units and mounted police
detachments of the respective countries ( the patrol will be riding through )
responsible for clearing the way ahead, providing logistical support, local knowledge
and advice along the way.

3. The Joining Riders - a limited number of places are available for re-enactors
and civilian riders to join the patrol.
However their is NO Limitation on the number of Joining Riders who can participate
at the organised events. Therefore horse riding clubs and those expats itching to get
back into the saddle, should contact the Hussar Patrol project manager for Portugal,
Spain, etc depending on which particular stage you wish to attend.

From day one the Hussar patrol will be calling in on many equstrian centres
near Lisbon, like the Cavalry campus of the Portuguese Military Academy as
well as the Royal Riding School of Lisbon or ( to give it its proper title ) The
Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre in Queluz.

About the Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre in Queluz (http://www.lusitano.dk/Escola.htm)

The Royal Riding School of Lisbon website (http://cavalonet.com/epae/)

Hungarian Sponsor of the Hussar Patrol (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=hu&u=http://www.appaloosa.hu/_en/pages/balasa/lovaskor.htm&ei=dGrgS8y_A5vc_QbQ0NzhBw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAwQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBala-SA%2BNatural%2BHorsemanship%2BAssociation%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

The 10km commemorative walk of the Lines of Torres Vedras

For those visiting expats who prefer a more genteel time, pacing the Lines of
Torres Vedras  ( as opposed to the cut & thrust of a long range foray with the Hussars )
then the British Embassy are organising a 10 kilometer walk along the lines,
in association with the WRVS.
The 10km walk starts out from Quinta do Vale do Corvo at 10:30am on saturday
22nd May under the guidence of Clive Gilbert from the British Historical Society of Portugal.

Details of the British Embassy walk along the Torres Vedras Lines (http://bcclisbon.org/news?item=26)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:20 08-May-2010
Portuguese garrison at Fort St Vincente, this weekend


Cross country walk along the Lines of Torres Vedras & the garrison at Fort St Vincente

The complete program of activities at Torres Vedras, Fort St Vincente (http://www.camporeal.pt/media/181545/short%20break%20in%20the%20lines.pdf)

Linhas Torres Vedras Event Supplement (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_1RypsSSdlfI/TBj6mDmZSrI/AAAAAAAAArA/olBurxCeb0M/s1600/img130.jpg)

One of the forts along the Torres Vedras lines will be manned by a Portuguese garrison
this weekend. Therefore any expats who fancy checking out the morale of the Portuguese,
as they await yet another invasion attempt by the french. Should check out Fort St Vicente
on saturday 8th May.

Saturday, 8th May event:

09:00 Walking tour of the Lines of Torres Vedras, departing from Fort St Vicente and returning
back at the Fort later in the day.
Also talk of a Cross country vehicle tour, covering a wider area, departing at 11:00

15:30 Assembly Camp - The military and civilians in the Lines (Portuguese Napoleonic
Association, assisted by Santo Antao, Group Recreation historic city of Almeida.

18.00 - Demonstration of Arms - firing flintlock rifle and cannon fire (Portuguese Napoleonic
Association and Recreation Group's historical city of Almeida.

19.30 - Dinner in the field: "Last Supper" at the Fort.

Sunday 9th May

09:00 Horse riding tour of the Lines of Torres Vedras, departing from Ponte du Roi.

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 13:35 11-May-2010
Muskets fire over the parapets of Fort St Vincent

Visitors to Forte de St Vincent on the Torres Vedras lines were treated to a look behind
the scenes of a typical Portuguese garrison, manning a fort on the Torres Vedras lines.
The fort holds a commanding position outside the town of Torres Vedras, guarding the
main road south from Leiria to Lisbon.

Events on the Lines, followed by the Portuguese Defense Bulletin (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://defesanacionalpt.blogspot.com/search/label/Guerras%2520Peninsulares&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://defesanacionalpt.blogspot.com/2009/11/comemoracao-dos-200-anos-das-linhas-de.html%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhhhO84P6Djm2LFNF7sMVE9kBA3LOA)

Video of the Garrison at Fort St Vincent (https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=423816456345#w320-h220&ref=mf) 

Camp life on the Torres Vedras lines


With Napoleon's troops only just across the Portuguese border, the garrison must be
on constant alert for the french.

View of the Portuguese garrison at Fort St Vincent


The garrison commander calls reveille as a soldier stamps out one of the overnight bonfires.


Many soldiers of the garrison are pious catholics, so its quite common to see soldiers
seeking the blessings of a priest. Particularly if they are likely to go into action.

Soldier receives the blessing of the Priest


With the french expected to cross the border at any time during the summer the
Portuguese garrison like to practice their musket fire drill whenever they
muster along parapets of Fort St Vincent.

Portuguese soldiers with their officer, prepare to fire


Portuguese soldiers firing

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 20:41 21-May-2010
Spanish resistance ties down french troops

Although the Portuguese put on a great display of how prepared they ( along
with their British allies ) are against the forces of Napoleon.
The truth is that the lines of Torres Vedras are taking months to build ( or in
our case restore ) against another invasion.
With summer approaching Expats might be wondering whats delaying the
french from striking now.
Well the fact is that as well as the usual insurmountable logistical problems,
the french are also finding that the spanish have taken to the hills where
they have formed guerilla groups to harry the french patrols and supply
Here many of the Spanish people have been inspired by the Dos de Mayo
in Madrid two years ago which was brutally surpressed by the french.
So in many areas where french rule is in doubt, similair outbreaks of
resistance are taking place.

Spanish uprising against the french

Spanish uprising part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHvbrDdG0H0&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq)

Spanish uprising part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6zNV51DJH8&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq)

French battle the Spanish garrison of Girona, May 1810

Siege and Battle of Girona, May 2010 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ0K68iWxNk&feature=player_embedded#lq-lq2-hq)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 20:43 21-May-2010

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Battle for Lerma, the french fighting partisans near Burgos

Following on from my earlier post about the Spanish resistance to the
Napoleonic regime. I can reveal that plans are afoot to attack the french
garrison at Lerma, near Burgos this weekend.
Situated in northern Spain, 100 kilometers north east of Valladolid, guerilla
bands operating from Lerma, have long been a thorn in the side of Marshall
Ney's Corps; attacking and pillaging supply wagons along the Burgos to
Valladolid road.
Therefore in June 1809, the French regional governor in Burgos dispatched
troops to root out the guerilla's in Lerma and establish a garrison their, thus
denying any further food and assistance from the citizens of Lerma.
At first all went well for the French as the Spanish guerilla's ( reluctant to
confront Napoleon's troops in open battle ) took to the hills, leaving the
french to secure the town and establish a garrison in the Villa Ducale.
But their priests are made of sterner stuff and one of the towns priests,
Cura Merino approached the guerilla leaders with plans to attack the
french in Lerma and storm the Villa Ducale ( Ducal Palace )

Map of Spain and Portugal, 1808

Spanish Peninsular 1808 (http://www.maproom.org/00/13/present.php?m=004)

Thus on the morning of 9th June the guerilla's accompanied by armed
citizens and former soldiers of the Spanish army attack the garrison of
Just how the Spanish fair against Napoleon's troops in Lerma, will be
revealed in a series of sieges, street battles and sorties taking place
over the coming weekend of the 22nd and 23rd May. With some
preliminary events scheduled for this evening, friday 21st May.
As you would appreciate I've had to use some discretion in the timing of
this late post on the Battle for Lerma, to avoid tipping off the french.

Key events of the Battle for Lerma will take place over the weekend,
beginning with the french siezure of Lerma on friday evening and an
attack on the french supply column on the 22nd May.

Disclaimer - Although the weekend re-enactment referred to events that
happened in Lerma in early June 1809. Its very much indicative of the
scale of the Partisan ( referred to by the spanish name Guerrillero or
as its been translated into english, Guerrilla ) problem across much of
Spain throughout the Peninsular Wars.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:30 23-May-2010
French arrive in Lerma and take Mayor & Councillors hostage

Reuters war correspondents report that french troops from Burgos have
siezed the town of Lerma today and enscounced themselves in the Villa Ducale,
having taken the mayor and a number of local councillors hostage.

Riots against the french soon broke out, with the citizens enraged by the
heavy handed approach of the french. Apparently Lerma was taken by a
squadron of French Hussars early this morning, taking key strongpoints in
advance of the infantry.

Reuters News Espagne, French take Lerma (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.abc.es/agencias/noticia.asp%3Fnoticia%3D392553&ei=9AX4S6KmD9GH4gaGkfFj&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CEQQ7gEwBw&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dcombate%2Bde%2Blerma%2B2010%2B22%2Bmayo%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

French general holds victory Gala at the Palazzo Ducal in Lerma


The Parador de Lerma hosts Napoleonic dinner (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.kuviajes.com/2010/05/21/el-parador-de-lerma-presenta-cena-napoleonica-en-palacio-ofrecida-por-el-comandante-frances/&ei=7k_4S_iAJJWz4galxMUN&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCYQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dcomandante%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B%2Bofrecer%25C3%25A1%2Buna%2Bcena%2Bde%2Bgala%2Bel%2BParador%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

Following the taking of Lerma, the french commander held a lavish gala dinner
at the Palazzo Ducal ( now the Hotel, Parador de Lerma ) an event recreated
in French imperial splendour on friday evening.
No doubt expats would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the
French imperia ball, if only to find out what Boney's intentions are in
Portugal. But the only secrets I can glean from the event, is this interesting
french menu for the french commander and his honoured guests.

French Imperial Gala dinner and Ball at the Parador de Lerma (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.diariocritico.com/2010/Mayo/viajes/208844/parador-lerma.html&ei=SEP4S_KJOtqJ4gb4poRk&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Del%2Bparador%2Bde%2Blerma%2Bfranceses%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:25 23-May-2010
Ambushes, riots and street fighting mark events in Lerma


With the french tricolour flying over the Villa Ducal in Lerma yesterday. The
local newspaper El Correo de Burgos reports on french attempts to quell
a number of demonstrations and riots against the french occupation of
Lerma. This of course followed the arrest of the town mayor and the
imposition of a heavy fine on the town for aiding and abetting the local
guerilla bands or partisans.
But with local guerilla leaders vowing to retake the town, the partisans struck
a telling blow against its french governor by attacking a french
ammunition convoy bound for Lerma.

Partisans defy the french in Lerma (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.elcorreodeburgos.com/noticias/2010-05-23/fin-de-semana-afrancesado-en-la-villa-ducal&ei=kOn4S5WjGof20wTzoNHpBw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CDcQ7gEwBjgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dla%2Brecreaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bdel%2BCombate%2Bde%2BLerma%2Bdurante%2Bla%2BGuerra%2Bde%2BIndependencia%2Bfrancesces%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN)

A Spanish officer questions a Partisan near Lerma

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:40 26-May-2010
Battle for Lerma - French battle Spanish irregulars


Latest reports from the battles that took place in and around Lerma last weekend, is
that attempts by Ney's Corps to garrison the town and neutralise the guerilla threat
on the Burgos to Vallodollid highway have ended in failure.

As you can appreciate this is welcome news for the British under Wellington
who had expected an imminent build up of French troops ( under the command of
Marshall Massena ) prior to an invasion of Portugal this summer.
With Partisans still harrasing their rear, the french will have to pour in more
french troops to escort their supply convoys in the Spanish Peninsular.

Spanish attack the French HQ at the Villa Ducal, late at night

Spanish attack French HQ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CQMZbxk_z8#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

The Spanish attack a french military convoy, escorted by troops on its way
to Lerma to deliver much needed ammunition for the garrison.

Spanish partisans on horseback, lie in wait for the arrival of the french
column to cross the bridge


Battle for Lerma

French prepare for battle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wdujzl9756Q&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

French take position to confront the Spanish (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2pZ9GZYA5k&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

French & Spanish troops open fire (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Btv9zx4P_8&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

French artillery opens fire

French cannon opens fire (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJN2pJA69_I#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

Spanish cavalry attack French infantry

Spanish cavalry attack French infantry square (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxOz0n8apGo&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

Spanish TV report on the Battle for Lerma

Spanish TV report (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o3k9G4FW3A#lq-lq2-hq)

Highlights of the Combate de Lerma (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU-aAhRcDJs&feature=player_embedded#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

Spanish Partisans deliver swift justice on french prisoners (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK8KjZv9G-M&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

French commanders Gala dinner & Ball

Finally for those fly on the wall photos of the French generals dinner & Ball which
was so rudely interrupted by the Spanish.

French Generals dinner & Gala Ball - PLEASE DON'T CLICK AS THIS LINK IS UNSAFE until further notice (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://ww.fotosmilitares.org/viewtopic.php%3Ff%3D18%26p%3D32457&ei=-5X-S4ytAon-0gTYptjiDQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CEEQ7gEwCA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dcombate%2Bde%2Blerma%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380)

Spanish partisans join in the cavalry attack on the French column



The view from Behind the Lines

Latest news and events taking place in and around the Torres Vedras Lines.

Portuguese events on the Torres Vedras Lines (http://issuu.com/cjaleco/docs/agenda_69_web?mode=a_p&wmode=0)

More living history events on the Lines of Torres Vedras, May to September

Event calendar, May to September (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hotelgolfmar.com%2Fuk%2Fpromos.php)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 13:16 31-May-2010
Napoleon Total War - The Peninsular War Campaign

Inspired by last weeks defiance of the Spanish partisans to Napoleon's
troops in Lerma. Sega have announced their intention of launching
The Peninsular War Campaign as part of their Napoleon Total War series.

Their latest video shows British reinforcements landing in Lisbon prior to
engaging the French on the Iberian Peninsular. In a series of hard fought
battles that will see British and French fortunes swing to and fro in this
closely contested campaign of the Napoleonic Wars.

The Peninsular War video - Wellington's reinforcements land in Lisbon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5UNRikBf0Y#lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)

Finally back to the real war in Spain. Heres highlights from this
years, Battle of Malaga

Highlights from the Battle of Malaga, February 1810 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvuNbVkaEKM&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)

Spanish TV report on the Napoleonic conflict in Spain

Spanish TV report (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1gOxZ6qGeA&feature=player_embedded#lq-hq)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:14 12-Jun-2010
The Siege of Mequinenza in Aragon, Spain

Lying almost halfway between Zaragoza and Barcelona, lies the spanish
castle of Mequinenza, an imposing fortress on top of a near sheer cliff face
Such a fortress was viewed as a great prize by the rival Spanish & French
armies during the Peninsular Wars with its commanding postion over the
surrounding hills and valleys.
Therefore it will come as no surprise for expats to find, that once more the
siege guns of the French will be firing at this fortress today in a day
long siege of the Spanish fortress on the 12th June.


A French grenadier officer checks the approaches to Mequinenza


In May 1810, Marshall Suchet marched on Mequinenza after taking the
nearby town of Lleida, on the Zaragoza - Barcelona highway.
With him his army brought a siege train of 40 artillery pieces with which to
reduce the Spanish garrison of 1500 men.
On the 19th May Suchet arrives before the castle of Mequinenza, demanding
its surrender, to which the castle's governor responds by slamming the
castles door in the face of the french envoy.
Undeterred Suchet's artillery train arrives before the castle on the 31st May
and a deadly artillery bombardment begins.

Schedule of events commemorating the Siege (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.lavozdelbajocinca.com/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D4047:bicentenario-del-asedio-a-la-villa-de-mequinenza%26catid%3D3:portada%26Itemid%3D100092&ei=GXUTTI_jCoOi0gSkv62FCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBkQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dlas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%2BConmemoraci%25C3%25B3n%2Bdel%2BBicentenario%2Bde%2Bla%2BVilla%2Bde%2BMequinenza%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

First day of events at Mequinenza (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.diariodelaltoaragon.es/NoticiasDetalle.aspx%3FId%3D633781&ei=j3UTTK-PEZz20wS44viBCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCUQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3DEl%2BGrupo%2Bde%2BInvestigaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bde%2BMequinenza%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:15 14-Jun-2010
The Siege of Mequinenza 1810


A siege in two parts took place at the Castillo de Mequinenza, this weekend
where french and spanish troops aided and abetted by partisans fought
a fierce battle for control of the hilltop fortress of Mequinenza.
At stake is control of the vital supply routes for french forces in the spanish
province of Aragon. With spanish forces scattered and in disarray
following the French conquest of Andalusia early this year and British
troops tied down behind the Lines of Torres Vedras in Portugal.
Its down to the local Juntas & militia backed by local spanish troops
( of questionable quality ) to defy the french.

Aragon TV news report on the Siege of Mequinenza

Spanish TV report (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtlE2C1CnoE#lq-lq2-hq-vhq)

Another video this time following Spanish troops trying to retake the castle

Battle to recapture the castle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awLy4kDAVwM#normal)

Press report following the Siege

La Voz on the Siege (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.lavozdelbajocinca.com/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D4133:celebracion-del-bicentenario-del-asedio-a-la-villa-de-mequinenza%26catid%3D48:mequinenza%26Itemid%3D100139&ei=E98XTJzRAcqg4QbipMGZDA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDcQ7gEwBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenario%2Brecreaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bhist%25C3%25B3rica%2BMequinenza%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Spanish partisan's armed to the teeth keep a watchful eye on the French


A French major addresses a platoon of Grenadiers prior to the assualt
on Mequinenza


Marshall Suchet decides to take the town of Mequinenza ( which guards
the approach to the fortress ) first and sends in his Voltiguers to
flush out the Spanish, who have loopholed many deserted buildings
and are just waiting to take on the french.


Spanish troops falling back as the French press home their attack


Spanish cannon opens fire on the French columns moving towards the castle


French troops move remorselessly forward as they come under fire
from Spanish troops guarding the castle gate



Napoleon's troops take the Spanish guns as they move on towards the


Other french troops are mounting a diversionary attack on the walls of
Mequinenza, to divert Spanish attention away from the gate



The bitter emnity between Napoleon's troops and the Spanish are
characterised by firing squads, perhaps in reprisal for similar outrages
in Lerma last month

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 18:30 17-Jun-2010
NATO Multinational Hussar patrol to tie up with the Polish Winged Hussar tour

Just a 'heads up' for those of you interested in the role of the Hussars
( through history ) this years NATO Multinational Hussar Patrol will be following
on nicely from the 16th/17th century Polish Winged Hussar tour which
starts out in Warsaw on the 1st July.
Therefore to fully appreciate the role of the Hussars in the Napoleonic Wars,
you must look at the role of the Polish Winged Hussars in the 17th century.


Called the 2010 Husaria tour of Poland, it takes in many important towns,
cities and historic places in Poland, including a ride along the Ukrainian
border, with whom the Hussars fought many battles against the
Ukrainian Cossacks.
As mentioned before the Winged Hussar tour starts out in Warsaw and
will include a battle, the Battle of Kluszyn on sunday 4th July. The beauty
of it is you could ride out with the Polish Hussars on the 1st of July to
reach Krakow on the 12th, then fly back to Lisbon to link up with the
NATO Hussar patrol, forraying forth on the 15th July.

Husaria Tour of Poland from the 1st to the 12th July

Polish Winged Hussar Patrol, tour dates (http://www.polishhussarsupply.com/contact_us.html)

Battle of Kluszyn website

The 400th anniversary of the Battle of Kluszyn website (http://www.kluszyn1610.pl/?page_id=1614)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:18 07-Jul-2010
July's the month of the Hussars

As mentioned before July's the month when the Hussars take to the field, when NATO
deploys her International Hussar patrol from the JALLC Base in Lisbon, on a long range
mission across Napoleonic Europe to reach Budapest, Hungary by October.
Of course those expats who read my last post, would already be aware that the
Poles are celebratiing the Year of the Hussar with the arrival of the Polish
Winged Hussars at the Battle of Kluszyn 1610, fought near Warsaw last weekend.
This turned out to be the largest gathering of Winged Hussars for a 17th century
battle re-enactment.
Their impact on the battlefield was to prove to be decisive in many campaigns fought
across Eastern & Central Europe during the 17th & 18th century. With the most notable
adaptation being the fierce, daring but flamboyant Hungarian Hussars that were copied
by many european armies of the Napoleonic Wars.

Background to the Battle of Klushino ( Kluszyn ) fought in Russia, 1610 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Klushino)

Promotional video's for the Battle of Kluszyn 1610 - 2010

Battle of Kluszyn promotion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8zgcsPK-dE&feature=related#normal)

Film of the Battle of Kluszyn (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRZ-PKm890w&feature=related#normal)

Film of the Polish Winged Hussars at last weekends Battle of Kluszyn

Battle of Kluszyn 1610, refought (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dby8R-40C7g&feature=related#normal)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: ECOCKS on 02:28 07-Jul-2010
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 13:34 07-Jul-2010
Yes stirring stuff indeed - heres some film clips from the movie 1612
which is based on events during the Russo - Polish War of 1605 to 1618.

Siege during the Russo - Polish War from the film 1612

Siege warfare from the film, 1612, part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB-Ov9hCRno&feature=related#normal)

Siege warfare from the film, 1612, part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xrcVU4go-M&feature=related#normal)

Another video from last weekends re-enactment of the Battle of Kluszyn
near Warsaw

Battle of Kluszyn, re-enactment (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLDMp7rV8QQ#normal)
Title: Re: The Hungarian hussar patrol begins
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:12 16-Jul-2010

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

The Hungarian hussar patrol begins

On the 9th July 1810 the Spanish border garrison of Ciudad Rodrigo surrendered
to the French under Ney. After a month long siege that lasted longer than
expected, leaving Napoleon's troops short of powder and shot; to continue to
their next objective, the Portuguese border fortress of Almeida.
Therefore the french had to await the arrival of their supply wagons, that are
now being heavily escorted by troops, to deter the Partisan's from harrasing their
supply columns.
The action's of the French and the partisan's are also making it extremely difficult
to travel along the highway's and byways of Spain without an armed escort. Therefore
on thursday 15th July the streets of Lisbon resounded once more to the clatter of
horseshoes, as the Hungarian hussar patrol sallied forth into the Portuguese
countryside. On a reconnaisance mission deep behind the spanish border.

This was the start of a daring 85 day mission to ride 3500 kilometers deep inside
Napoleonic Europe, to epitomise the spirit of the Austro-Hungarian hussars in their
defiance over the French and to attend various sites associated with the conflict.


Lieutenant Colonel Adam Barnabas, commanding the Hungarian raid said his
men will be visiting the barracks of all functioning cavalry regiments
in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia and Hungary during their
3 month mission. With particular emphasis on the Peninsular Wars currently
being refought on the Spanish Peninsular.

On patrol with the Hungarian hussars - read the everyday
dispatches from a trooper in the hussars as he rides across
the Iberian Peninsular

Latest dispatches from the Hungarian hussars - click here (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=hu&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fhuszarportya.blogter.hu%2F)

Latest news is that the hussar patrol continues to move forward beyond the
Torres Vedras lines after visiting Mafra. Throughout the mission, the hussars
will be practising various reconnaisence methods used in the past and
hope to call upon the assistance of locals in providing food and forage.

Hungarian hussar cantering through a Portuguese village


Hungarian officer approaches the village of Golega, seeking billets
for his men

Title: Re: Patrol beats a hasty retreat near Mafra
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:27 17-Jul-2010
Hussars beat a hasty retreat near Mafra

Less than 48 hours into their mission, the hungarian hussars had to
make a quick detour from their planned route. Not as you would assume,
by the approach of french dragoons intent on intercepting the patrol.
But by the approach of some wild Portuguese stallion's who
suddenly took a fancy to the Patrol's mares and gave chase.  :D  ;)

As the hussars beat a hasty retreat, one of the troopers damaged
his sword during the ensuing flight and it took some time for the
troopers to resume their composure before continuing their mission.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:42 25-Jul-2010

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Following his retreat from Fort Conception in Spain, Craufords Light Division
numbering 4,200 infantry and 800 cavalry, takes up position facing the French,
with his left flank resting on the fortress of Almeida while his right flank is
secured by the unfordable river Coa.
Wellington upon hearing of the French advance, asks Crauford to fall back
across the river Coa but Crauford instead chooses to make his stand by the
fortress of Almeida.

The third invasion begins, Portuguese press report on Massena's army crossing
into Portugal, following the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo

Portugal prepares to defy Napoleon's troops again (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://capeiaarraiana.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/os-200-anos-da-terceira-invasao-francesa/&ei=8I6FTOGrBdXg4AbT-pHSBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DEvoca-se%2Bagora%2Bo%2Bbicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2Bterceira%2BInvas%25C3%25A3o%2BFrancesa%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

French infantry crossing the border


Loison's division come under cannon fire


Combat on the Coa, the french attack

So it was that during the early hours of 24th July, that Ney sent forward two french
divisions commanded by Major Generals Mermet and Loison backed by cavalry
 against Craufords troops. Opposing them over a 3 kilometer front
are 5 battalions of the 43rd foot, the 1st & 3rd Portuguese Cacadores and
elements of the 52nd regiment supported by the 95th Rifles.
Shortly after daybreak Craufords 5 battalions come under determined attack
from 13 battalions of Loisons division but no sooner had this first attack been
checked by intense musketry and rifle fire from Craufords men, than several
hundred troopers of the 3rd Hussars charged into Craufords left flank,
practically annihilating a company of chosen men from the 95th Rifles.

With his line in danger of being rolled up by the French attack from the left,
Crauford orders an immediate retreat to the bridge over the Coa; while
3 battalions of british troops strived to hold back the French, the retreat was
badly delayed by an overturned wagon which necessitates abandoning some
of Crauford's guns to the French.
Nevertheless thanks to resolution of his rear guard, Craufords men make
it safely across the Coa.

French hussars charge through Crauford's left flank


Having secured their side of the river, the French are in a strong position to
complete their encirclement of Almeida. But Ney, not content with seeing
off the british, is determined to give chase and embarks on a costly attack
on the bridge over the Coa.
Here Craufords troops stand their ground and as Ney sends his best men
forward to clear the bridge, each of the three assaults by Grenadiers and his
elite Chasseurs de la Siege are beaten off with heavy casualties.

The battle ends with both sides licking their wounds and although Ney fails
to encircle and completely defeat Craufords Light Division, he has nevertheless
won the battle by securing the ground needed for Massena to commence
the siege of Almeida.
Meanwhile Crauford continues his withdraw from Almeida after midnight,
completely unmolested by the french.

Map of the Combat on the Coa (http://www.peninsularwar.org/map_coa.htm)


Account of the Combat on the Coa, from Harry Smith of the 95th diaries

Combat on the Coa from Harry Smith diary, see Chapter V (http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/hsmith/autobiography/peninsular.html)

Radio Fronteira - Combat on the Coa

Combat on the Coa, events (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.radiofronteira.com/noticia.asp%3FidEdicao%3D51%26id%3D3719%26idSeccao%3D479%26Action%3Dnoticia&ei=E15MTK76DsKSjAf11PnXDA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCYQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Do%2Bcombate%2Bdo%2Bcoa%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB)

Combat on the Coa - 200 anniversary events

Combat on the Coa, events (http://almeidajovem.blogspot.com/2010/07/comemoracoes-dos-200-anos-do-combate-do.html)

Almeida besieged - Siege of Almeida events

Siege of Almeida event program (http://www.cm-almeida.pt/Documents/programa%20cerco.pdf)

Latest dispatch from the Hungarian Hussars

Latest news from the Hungarian hussars as they cross the Iberian Peninsular (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=hu&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fhuszarportya.blogter.hu%2F)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:51 26-Jul-2010

Enemy at the Gate - the french at Almeida

Following the defeat of Craufords light division at the Combat on the Coa, the
Portuguese border fortress of Almeida finds herself surrounded by the troops of
Marshals Ney and Massena.
As the French establish camp beyond the city walls, the troops dig in for what
could be a long siege. Almeida is a well designed 18th century star shaped fortress.
Almost perfectly circular and protected by six bastions, its escarpments are armed
with 100 guns and a garrison of 4000 infantry, 400 gunners with a squadron of
cavalry, all entrusted to the command of Colonel William Cox, an officer of the
British army in command of the Portuguese garrison.
Wellington has high hopes of Almeida surviving a siege for at least of month and
ensured the town and its garrison was well stocked with food and ammunition.

With Almeida completely surrounded and sealed off, Massena entrusts the conduct
of the siege to Marshall Neys VI Corps and Ney wastes no time in sending an
emissary to the gates of Almeida demanding her surrender. Cox politely refuses
to surrender and thus the French settle down in their camps, to wait the arrival
of their heavy siege guns, still enroute from Ciudad Rodrigo.

As the town and garrison of Almeida adjusts to life under siege. Portuguese
reporters are sent to gauge the mood of the troops and its defiant Mayor,
who?s expecting a long and difficult siege but is still welcoming any visitors
brave enough to break through the french lines, to see the many events and
exhibitions being held in Ameida.

Local Portuguese news report from Almeida

TV report looks at Almeida and the mood of the garrison (https://videos.sapo.pt/Y870nQAAzmm5raAfnIKI)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 18:47 26-Jul-2010
The french make a surprise attack

Following Neys victory on the Coa, a company of british soldiers find
themselves stranded on the wrong side of the river.
Cut off during the retreat, they seek refuge down one of the many gulleys
that punctuate the river valley, here they remain until the fighting is over
before sending a man out the following morning.
Daybreak reveals that Crauford and his men have gone, leaving the French
in total control of the Coa valley.
A quick reconnoitre of the bridge finds it barricaded and guarded by
Neys troops.
With the river Coa treacherous and in flood the british have to make a
tough decision, being encumbered with wounded soldiers, the officer resolves
to move towards Almeida and hopefully ( under cover of darkness )
break through the French patrols to the city gates where they will
seek refuge within the garrison.

French hussars patrolling the approach roads to Almeida


Unknown to the british a party of French voltiguers, stumble across their
position and are about to take them prisoner, when their officer
warns them off. As the british are completely unaware of their presence,
he asks his men to keep an eye on them while he reports back to his superiors.

The French officer sees the stranded soldiers as an opportunity and as his
Voltiguers say they are moving towards the fortress, it becomes clear
they are hoping to take refuge in Almeida.
The officer approaches Ney with his plans which are simply to gather a picked
force of men to tail the british, as they approach Almeida and then rush the
gates, just as the Portuguese open them; to let the british soldiers through.
Stealth is important and with night approaching Neys officers have picked
the best troops for the task, namely Voltiguers and Chasseurs a Cheval.

As night falls, the bedraggled british troops are completely unaware that the
French are following them and as they approach Almeida, they cannot believe
their luck as they find so few French sentries blocking their path.

The officer runs across the bridge to summon the guard, a few questions are
asked before the officer of the watch signals his men to open the gate.
While the british make their way through the entrance with the wounded,
the French storm the gate overpowering the Portuguese sentries and
signalling for others to follow them.

The british fire a few shots before taking cover - at this point the alarm
is raised, as more shots ring out and theirs a flurry of activity as the
garrison is called to arms.
The officer commanding the raid knows that time is the essence, as his
men secure the gate, his troops rush forward, aided by a sketch of
the town supplied by a French spy.

The french officer is under orders to secure the governors residence and
with it Colonel Cox and hopefully the towns mayor as well.
As more French troops secure the gate, portuguese reporters are on hand
to capture the scene on video, as the fighting moves on through
the streets of Almeida.
Fortunately the french are beaten off before they reach their objective and
the fortress gates secured. But it was touch and go whether the french
would succeed or not.

The french storm Almeida

The french attack video, part1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neHdA8YnfPQ&feature=related#normal)

The french attack video, part2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1_n-83XOq0&feature=related#normal)

The french attack video, part3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAlQoGWi1Lc&NR=1#normal)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:09 29-Jul-2010

Above shows a Portuguese sentry patrolling the Lines of Torres Vedras

Almeida awaits relief as the French dig in for a long Siege

As the french tighten their grip around Almeida, their seems to be little
hope for the garrison, as Ney waits patiently for the arrival of his heavy
siege guns ( still bogged down ) on the abysmal roads, leading
from Ciudad Rodrigo to the portuguese border.

Wellington is also waiting patiently for more troops to arrive from
England and in particular the renowned riflemen of the 95th Rifles,
scheduled to land in Portugal by the 25th August.
Led by its redoubtable Commanding Officer Chumley, the peer is
expecting great things of the 95th and any other british troops
he can muster for the British relief column to Almeida.

Again were priviledged to get this revealing insight into the
calibre of the 95th's esteemed commander

Video of the Commander of the 95th, part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4pmDeu7Cys#normal)

Video of the Commander of the 95th, part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxqkNyqeFbQ#normal)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:56 29-Jul-2010
Hussars head into Spain today

Those expats who have been reading the latest dispatches from the
Hungarian hussars, will know that our gallant hussars crossed into
Spain today.
So far the patrol has continued almost without incident, other than
a few forest and brush fires that have forced them to veer from
their intended route. But overall they are pressing ahead with the
mission as planned.

Last weekend, the french governor of Salamanca received word of
the approaching hussars and detailed a number of french troops
to intercept them on the roads to Salamanca.
Therefore the French patrols were very much in evidence as they
scoured the spanish roads and byways leading to Salamanca.




French officer leading the patrol


French troops scour a spanish village seeking news of the hussars




Many villagers leave no doubt where their sympathies lie


Suffice to say the French were working on false intelligence, as the hussars
had yet to cross into Spain.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:06 04-Aug-2010
Hussars receive a warm welcome in Canizal

Regular readers of the Hungarian hussar dispatches, will be pleased to
know our troopers passed by Salamanca without incident and camped
overnight at the village of Canizal before continuing their journey
onto Valladolid.
Only the other weekend Canizal found herself at the centre of a
vigourous route march by the French, as infantry and cavalry combed the
area, hoping to engage any british troops or hussars sent by Wellington.
Campers has already been mentioned in dispatches, for keeping the
Mayor of Canizal informed of the imminent arrival of the Hungarian patrol.
Word of the hussars arrival soon spread quickly round the village,
that the hussars can be found encamped on a nearby sports field.

See latest entry in the Hussar patrol dispatches

Hungarian Hussar dispatch from Canizal (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=hu&tl=en&u=http://huszarportya.blogter.hu/426652/nemzetkozi_huszar-portya&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhgu5_KZxIt49iQr69l3-mF8Sop9EQ)

Hussars tends to their horses - as they take a break from the patrol

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:51 14-Aug-2010
Siege of Almeida weekend 27th to 30th August


As expats know British troops are scheduled to march on Almeida on
the 25th August in a bid to relieve the Portuguese garrison over the
bank holiday weekend of the 27th to 30th August.
In attendance ( BAA strikes permitting ) will be the 44th East Essex
Regiment of Foot backed up by chosen men from the 95th Rifles.
A full weekend of events are planned where visitors will be able
to visit the British and Portuguese camps in Almeida. Together with
the french encampment pitched beyond the fortress walls as Ney &
Massena's men await the arrival of heavy siege guns, with
which to breach the city walls.

Video setting the scene for the Siege of Almeida (http://videos.sapo.cv/mAHmmvZrwE2gAe07Y6Nz)

Siege of Almeida event program, click here (http://www.guerradelaindependencia.net/presentacion.asp?idioma=3)

Siege of Almeida weekend, Centro Turismo de Portugal, click here (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.visitcentro.com/en/events/2010/08/27/commemorations-almeida-siege/&ei=F3V1TN7oN5DM4gb0s9nABg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCsQ7gEwBTge&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsiege%2Bof%2Balmeida%2B1810%2B2010%26start%3D30%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB)

French troops block all roads in and out of Almeida

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:56 20-Aug-2010
Back to the Hussar Patrol

Following the start of the Siege of Almeida, its been hard to keep track of
all thats happening on the Spanish Peninsular. The gaps in my reports have
led to rumours on the forum of my untimely demise. Suffice to say such
rumours are false, as I continue to report from behind enemy lines.
Anyway preperations for the march on Almeida continue, as following a military
display and training session last weekend. Both the 44th East Essex and
95th Rifles are ready to embark for Portugal ( a situation undoubtedly helped
by the BAA strike being called off )

Obviously such news was met with consternation from the french, who
promise to give the British a warm reception when they arrive at Almeida.  :o

NATO's Hungarian Hussars form up with a Spanish regiment


In the meantime - how goes the NATO Hussar patrol, you might ask.
Well the Hungarians have done well, not only evading french
troops that scoured the countryside around Salamanca but also
to ride on beyond the Pyrennes into France !!!
Not only have they encountered a number of Spanish regiments
on their patrol but have also been welcomed  in many
spanish towns and villages along the way.

The Hungarians during the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, have
been defying Napoleon for years, as can be seen in the document
below. Many photos including that of the Hungarian Hussar patrol
on parade, can be found on page 33.

Hungary defies Napoleon (http://www.magyarhuszar.hu/site/gallery/hadak_utjan/hadak_09_gyor_screen.pdf)

The gallant Lieut. Colonel of the Patrol, has been sending back official
reports to NATO which you can browse on the link below.
Its in all in Hungarian of course but I'm sure expats will have no problem
translating them, if only they can find a good online translator.

Official Hungarian Hussar patrol dispatches (http://www.magyarhuszar.hu/site/gallery/huszarportya/huszarportya_2010.html)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 14:15 22-Aug-2010
Spies in Uniform - Espionage on the Spanish Peninsular

With the french surrounding Almeida and a multitude of Napoleon's forces
operating in Spain. Wellington would soon have to rely on a new team
of Exploring officers to venture out behind enemy lines, to bring back
what ever information they can glean of the french troops ranged
against him.

As Wellington himself would say:
All the business of war and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavor
to find out what you don't know by what you do: that's what I call 'guessing
what was on the other side of the hill.
'  Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

At the turn of the 19th century, British military intelligence was all but non-existent.
It was considered beneath the dignity of an officer to engage in the rather shady
business of spying, which before this time had been the occupation of rather
nefarious characters and people willing to sell out their mother country.

But with the growing threat of Napoleon's power in Europe and the very real
idea of war with France, General Brownrigg, the Quartermaster-General of the
British Army, went to the Commander in Chief, Frederick, the Duke of York,
with a proposal for the army to develop a unit to be known as the Depot of
Military Intelligence. He had a very good example from which to draw on:
Napoleon's own highly successful Bureau d'Intellingence.

While Brownrigg's Depot of Military Intelligence seems essential in hindsight,
at the time it was viewed with a skeptical eye. He had a hard time recruiting
competent officers when promotion and renown was won on the battlefield,
not behind a desk in London.
Every capable officer posted to the Depot wasted no time in seeing himself
posted elsewhere, so that the intelligence and skill of the remaining staff
was deplorably low.

As an example of how limited the spread of information was within the Army.
When General Wellesley arrived in Portugal, he was unable to lay hands
on an accurate map of the country. The only remedy to this problem ?
He wrote to his brother-in-law to send him one purchased with his own
funds because the Army was unable to provide this elementary necessity.

Up until the end of 1810, Wellington had to to rely on scouts and
armed patrols ( typified by the Hungarian Hussar Patrol ) to glean
whatever information can be found, behind enemy lines. But the
scouts proved unreliable and the armed patrols too costly in terms
of men and resources.

Wellington forms a Corps of Exploring Officers

Faced with a lack of information about his enemy, as well as the terrain
and countryside, Wellington wasted no time in being able to answer
such a simple question as "what is over the next hill," by starting a
corps of "Exploring Officers." Wellington recruited men who shared
three distinct skills: they were fine horsemen, skilled linguists, and able
to express themselves in writing or sketching in the briefest and
most concise terms.

One of the first duties in the winter of 1810 when the fighting was at a low
ebb, was for the Exploring Officers to map every bit of the Portuguese
countryside four miles to the inch. This they accomplished with the aid of
local inhabitants who knew their own immediate area but had often never
traveled beyond the sight of their villages or farms.

With the countryside mapped, the next duty of exploring officers was to
be sent out on reconnaissance, moving behind enemy lines, learning troop
movements and strategic information & return this news to Wellington
in a timely manner.

John Waters of the Royal Scots was known as a wily and capable man
behind enemy lines. Despite his skill and stealth, he was caught by the
French and given up for dead by his regiment.
When Wellington was told about his capture and probable execution, he
delayed the usual splitting up of a lost soldier's personal possessions,
saying that "Waters would be back and would want his things."
Wellington was right, for Waters eventually returned.

Considering that a soldier or officer caught behind enemy lines out of
uniform was immediately shot as a "spy," most of the exploring officers
wore their uniforms while they went about their jobs.
However, John Grant was one of the few officers who considered himself
a spy and went about in disguise. He identified very closely with the
Portuguese people and adopted local dress, much to the horror of his
fellow officers.

It would seem that these daring men, who took such great risks to aid their
fellow soldiers, would have been lauded after the war, but unfortunately
they were shunned by their regiments and in some cases not welcomed back
at all. They were regarded by officers of their former regiments to which they
belong as having been "gading about" while the real business of war
was being fought at the walls of Badajoz or on the fields of Salamanca.
At least history has been kinder to these heroes and their exploits and
feats of skill and daring are now part of the annals of British history
as the founding members of Britain's military intelligence service.

The activities of Wellington's exploring officers during the Peninsular Wars,
are the stuff of legends, with lone British Officers on fast mounts, scurring
across the Spanish Peninsular to spy on french troops, bases and depots,
often liaising with partisans who would pass on any captured dispatches.
Of course their activities became well known to the french who would
leave no stone unturned in giving chase and tracking down these Officers.

Upon capture, their was little the french could do to punish them as
being in uniform and whatsmore fully commisioned Officers as well.
They were entitled to the same generous courtesies bestowed on
any Officers captured during the Napoleonic Wars.
Namely to be treated as 'prisoner officer guests' upon 'giving their parole'
either to be held until the next Officer exchange or else returned to
France, to be confined to one of the numourous 'Parole Towns' just
like the ones set up in England.

Exploring Officers of the 20th Century

I'm sure many expats would be surprised at the idea of British Officers in
full uniform "gading about" the Spanish Peninsular, playing a cat & mouse
game with the french dragoons, out to catch them. Only to end up with
nothing more than a slap on the wrist if caught.
A throw back to the age of chivalry perhaps and officers being treated like
gentlemen  & the knights of old, as opposed to the other ranks of course.
Nothing like that happens in modern times unless covered by the Geneva
Well your wrong - something like that has been happening in fairly
recent times, namely throughout the Cold War. The location
being the Warsaw Pact training grounds and Soviet Army build up
points in East Germany, behind the infamous Iron Curtain. If the Cold
War ever turned hot, this was where World War III would start.

Spies in Uniform - The Military Liaison Missions in Germany

Here Wellington's desire to find out whats going on over the other
side of the hill are replaced by Churchill & many Cold War leaders
desire to know whats going on behind the Iron Curtain.

The Allied powers liaison missions were a consequence of the occupation
of Germany at the  end of the Second World War. When all four occupying
powers needed representatives in rival camps. Therefore the British, French,
American & Soviet forces established liaison missions in each others zone
of occupation.
The British Military Liaison Mission was called BRIXMIS, meaning The British
Commanders in Chief Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany.

With the start of the Cold War and the establishment of the East and West
German states, the three western allied missions in the Soviet occupation
zone ( that became East Germany ) found themselves serving 'behind the
iron curtain' But the liaison missions between the Soviet forces in
the east and the western allied forces in the west ( now all part of NATO )
continued as before but with roving patrols of a clandestine nature.
All to gather intelligence of any new Soviet and Warsaw Pact tanks,
planes, missiles and any other military hardware that would be of
interest to western intelligence agencies.

The skills required for Wellington's Exploring Officers are still of value
to the British, French & American Liaison missions, namely they should
be skilled linguists and able to express themselves in writing or
sketching in the briefest and most concise terms.
Ok skilled horsemanship has been dropped from the list to be replaced
by 'skilled drivers' namely the ability to drive and swerve themselves out
of danger when pursued by the Stasi & military police of the Soviet and
East German armies.
What we term nowadays as defensive driving.

The Military Liaison Missions

Military Liaison Missions in East & West Germany, click here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Liaison_Missions)

The BRIXMIS Mission

The British Liaison mission - BRIXMIS, click here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRIXMIS)

Listen again to The Brixmis Story, recording of Radio 4 program
The Brixmis Story, still available on the internet. Copy the link below
and paste it into the http field at the top of your browser. A file
download window will appear, choose Open - it will open up a
media player window  where you can listen to The Brixmis Story again.

http://hfsurfing.googlepages.com/BRIXMIS.mp3 (http://hfsurfing.googlepages.com/BRIXMIS.mp3)

This brings me nicely onto the highlight of this weeks entertainment
on the Military Channel ( Sky 531 in the UK ) namely ................

Secrets of the Cold War - Spy Stories, The Potsdam Mission - on
UK Military History channel, thurs August 26th at 8pm

Film preview - Keeping the Cold War, Cold - click here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmzYEnNKOpU#ws)

Whats this ? - you want more Real life Spy Stories

In response to many requests for more stories on the Military
Liaison missions in East Germany. Mainly from expats who couldn't
couldn't tune into Spy Stories, The Potsdam Mission ( which was
an edited version of the Keeping the Cold War, Cold film )

The American version of Brixmis, namely the United States Military
Liaison Mission to Group of Soviet Forces, Germany. Operated alongside
the British & French liaison missions in Potsdam, East Germany.
Unclassified annual reports on USMLM tours of East Germany are now
in the public domain.

The introductory section or 'foreward' to these annual reports leave
no doubt as to what USMLM was really up to 'besides the rather
mundane role of military liaison work'

Primary:  To conduct liaison between CinC US Army Europe and CinC
group of Soviet forces Germany.

Secondary: To exploit the USMLM status and potential for the collection
of intelligence information in East Germany,

Absolutely Riveting reports

As you would expect these are riveting blow by blow accounts
of the 'cat & mouse game' played out by US tour officers, NCO's
and their drivers, as they take photos and monitor troop movements
inside East Germany ( the former DDR ) from 1964 to 1988.

USMLM annual behind the Iron Curtain, reports (http://www.history.hqusareur.army.mil/uslmannual.htm)

UK leaving the best until last

Of course it goes without saying that the UK remain rather reticent
in coming forward with their annual reports on Brixmis. But you know
we always leave the best till last.

Derring do

Nevertheless when it comes to tales of 'derring do' Wellington's
Exploring Officers must rank highly amoungst other legendary characters
such as Biggles.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 16:42 23-Aug-2010
Back to the Hungarian Hussars, in France

With the British relief column expected to land in Portugal any day now. Their
was great jubilation over the weekend in Lisbon as Wellington's headquarters
along with JALLC in Monsanto, celebrated a milestone in the Hussar patrol's
raid across Southern Europe. Namely to penetrate the borders of France,
virtually unnoticed and unopposed.
Obviously the media news black out in Portugal & Spain has paid dividends.

Here the Hungarian hussars enter Tarbes, just below the french
Pyrennes where they surprised the French 1er regiment de hussards,
who had been enjoying quite garrison duties, until the Hungarians
showed up.

French report on the Hungarian Hussars entering Tarbes

Tarbes-Info Journal report on the arrival of the Hungarian Hussars (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.tarbes-infos.com/spip.php%3Farticle3283&ei=MndyTInLIciO4AaIxOXeCA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhussard%2Bhongroise%2Baug%2B2010%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Report from the 1er regiment de hussards, regimental journal on
their encounter with the Hungarian hussars

French hussars encounter Hungarian hussars in Tarbes (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.1rhp.info/Articles/annee_2010/hongrois_15082010/article_hongrois_20082010.html&ei=pWuKTJukBpPZ4AbPu73qCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.1rhp.info/Articles/annee_2010/hongrois_15082010/article_hongrois_20082010.html%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Hungarian Hussars enter Tarbes unopposed


Hungarian Hussars are popular with the ladies

(http://static.vd.hu/db/0F/55/huszarbj-d00002F554de34fa998fd.jpg) . . . . . (http://static.vd.hu/db/0F/56/huszarb2-d00002F56c1bc570f4467.jpeg)

Hungarian magazine article on the Hussar patrol (http://www.vd.hu/hirekvilagkep/hagyomanyorzes-huszar-modra-7318.html)

The French 1er regiment de hussards, are proud of their reputation for being
the Creme da la Creme and as can be seen from this video are equally
at home facing the British in full french Napoleonic uniform as they are in
facing more modern challenges. But as can be seen in this film, they forgot
to mount their horses after donning their Hussar uniforms.   ;)

French Hussar Regt video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qANWXS_eUCA#)

Lt Campers response to the Hungarian hussar dispatches (http://huszarportya.blogter.hu/429727/nemzetkozi_huszar-portya)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:08 26-Aug-2010

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe.html)

Almeida, August 25th 1810

Following the arrival of heavy siege guns at Marsall Ney's camp before Almeida, the
french have been busy constructing eleven gun batteries with which to bombard
the fortress walls.
The presence of heavy artillery has given Neys troops a new purpose, to break up the
daily routine of digging entrenchments and sniping at the enemy. Within Almeida,
the garrison are making good any improvements to the walls facing the new
batteries and placing their cannon accordingly.
So far no messengers or couriors have broken through the french lines, since
the departure of Crauford's division, following the Combat on the Coa.

Colonel Cox knows that its imperative to hold Almeida for as long as possible, as
Wellington makes good the first line of his three line defense system, that will
become known as the Lines of Torres Vedras. So far none of Massena's french agents
and spies have realised the significance of Wellington's defensive works.

From the following Website - click on the Bicentennial celebrations
of the siege of Almeida - under Schedule of Events, for the complete

Siege of Almeida, weekend event program starting thurs 26th August, click here (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.cm-almeida.pt/municipio/gabinetedopresidente/Paginas/default.aspx&ei=FoJ1TLxa0JLgBq2uiN8G&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDMQ7gEwBA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DRecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bhist%25C3%25B3rica%2BAlmeida%2B1810%2B2010%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB)

Portuguese press report on the third invasion of Portugal by Napoleon's
troops and the defense of Almeida

Almeida prepares to defy the French (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://capeiaarraiana.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/almeida-recria-a-3%25C2%25AA-invasao-francesa/&ei=N42FTLi-GIeh4Qaa-4TSBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBoQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DMunic%25C3%25ADpio%2Bde%2BAlmeida%2Bagendou%2Bpara%2Beste%2Bano%2Bum%2Bvasto%2Bprograma%2Bde%2Bevoca%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bdo%2Bbicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2B3.%25C2%25AA%2BInvas%25C3%25A3o%2BFrancesa%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Mounted french officer accompanied by a dragoon, deliver a message
to the Governor of Almeida


French troops exchange fire with the Portuguese garrison


French cannon being manhandled into position at Almeida

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 10:38 27-Aug-2010

Almeida Besieged

Headline in Nova Guarda

To mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Coa and Siege of Almeida, the
City will provide four days of historical recreation, on 26-29 this month
with military ceremonies, patrols and lookouts, Sentinels, assaults on
the fortress of Almeida and artillery fire.


Almeida Besieged, report from Nova Guarda journal (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.novaguarda.pt/noticia.asp%3FidEdicao%3D247%26id%3D18405%26idSeccao%3D3651%26Action%3Dnoticia&ei=WGR3TJv3N9Oa4Aa40JG6Bg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDIQ7gEwBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2BRecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2BHist%25C3%25B3rica%2Balmeida%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)


Radio Fronteira will hopefully be carrying live coverage of the Siege of

More details of the Siege of Almeida from Radio Fronteira, click here (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.radiofronteira.com/noticia.asp%3FidEdicao%3D51%26id%3D3743%26idSeccao%3D479%26Action%3Dnoticia&ei=VXp3TJ2vE4aS4gbv97WYBg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBsQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2BRecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2BHist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bdefesa%2Balmeida%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Almeida - Localvisao Internet TV

Throughout the day and through into the evening, I'm told video clips of the event will be
broadcast on Localvisao Internet TV.

TV broadcasts of the Siege of Almeida event, click here (http://www.localvisao.tv/cwtv.html?ch=119)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:25 01-Sep-2010
Battle of the Coa followed by the Siege of Almeida


Well what an eventful weekend that was, as expats know both the Battle of the Coa and
the Siege of Almeida were recreated over a bright sunny weekend. As Napoleon's troops
clashed once more with Crauford's light division defending the bridge on the Coa.
For the purposes of the battle over the weekend, highlights of which were broadcast by
Almeida - Localvisao, with further contributions from Bloggers and Podcasts. I've repeated
the outline of the battle as follows.

Combat on the Coa, the french attack

So it was that during the early hours of 24th July, that Ney sent forward two french
divisions commanded by Major Generals Mermet and Loison backed by cavalry
 against Craufords troops. Opposing them over a 3 kilometer front
are 5 battalions of the 43rd foot, the 1st & 3rd Portuguese Cacadores and
elements of the 52nd regiment supported by the 95th Rifles.
Shortly after daybreak Craufords 5 battalions come under determined attack
from 13 battalions of Loisons division but no sooner had this first attack been
checked by intense musketry and rifle fire from Craufords men, than several
hundred troopers of the 3rd Hussars charged into Craufords left flank,
practically annihilating a company of chosen men from the 95th Rifles.

With his line in danger of being rolled up by the French attack from the left,
Crauford orders an immediate retreat to the bridge over the Coa; while
3 battalions of british troops strived to hold back the French, the retreat was
badly delayed by an overturned wagon which necessitates abandoning some
of Crauford's guns to the French.
Nevertheless thanks to resolution of his rear guard, Craufords men make
it safely across the Coa.

In action with the Rifles, falling back to the Coa (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZhX08JSXGE#ws)

British troops defending the approach road to the bridge from the French


Brigadier General Crauford is seen withdrawing his troops back across the Coa


The Battle for the bridge over the Coa - as recreated last weekend

Having secured their side of the river, the French are in a strong position to
complete their encirclement of Almeida. But Ney, not content with seeing
off the british, is determined to give chase and embarks on a costly attack
on the bridge over the Coa.
Here Craufords troops stand their ground and as Ney sends his best men
forward to clear the bridge, each of the three assaults by Grenadiers and his
elite Chasseurs de la Siege are beaten off with heavy casualties.

The battle ends with both sides licking their wounds and although Ney fails
to encircle and completely defeat Craufords Light Division, he has nevertheless
won the battle by securing the ground needed for Massena to commence
the siege of Almeida.
Meanwhile Crauford continues his withdraw from Almeida after midnight,
completely unmolested by the french.

Exploring officer with his scout, return safely to British lines


British & Portuguese troops fire on French troops approaching the bridge


Marshall Ney's troops exchange fire with the British & Portuguese


A French officer directs fire on the British


French troops mount the bridge and open fire on british troops holding the
other end


Marshall Ney's troops advance as they come under withering fire


They shall not pass, Crauford deploys the 95th Rifles to snipe at the
French crossing the bridge


Crauford's Highlanders return fire on the french


The French attack, falters under the crossfire from British & Portuguese


The French are held back. Crauford has successfully repulsed three
determined attacks across the bridge. The british will now hold their ground
before withdrawing to safety under cover of darkness



British troops executing a perfect fighting withdrawl, when suddenly french
troops attack while theyre falling back & reloading

Video of British troops caught out while falling back & reloading (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHdDc7rRzGw#)

Is it a Bridge too far for the French, the Battle of the Coa 1810

Battle of the Coa, 1810 part 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6VzWr5YaK8#)

Battle is Joined, elite troops of Loison's division engage Highlanders, Riflemen and
Portuguese troops for control of the Bridge over the Coa

Battle of the Coa, 1810 part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1U6TpRgNew#ws)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:26 01-Sep-2010
Almeida besieged - August 1810


Marshall Ney leads his troops forward to Almeida


French cannon ready to open fire on Almeida


Following the French victory on the Battle of the Coa, the British & Portuguese make ready
to defend Almeida against the french, who have acquired the necessary siege guns to
reduce the fortress.
Again good weather continues as the french complete their encirclement of the fortress
before approaching the bridges over the moats and redoubts.

French infantry backed by cannon, approach the fortress walls


Portuguese troops and militia exchange fire with the french


Colonel Cox reviews the British & Portuguese troops defending Almeida


Colonel Cox orders his men out to confront the french on the fortress walls and redoubts


British open fire on French troops storming the first rampart


More french troops are sent to secure the bridges and approach roads into
Almeida which are hotly contested by the garrison of Almeida


Opening rounds of the artillery barrage on Almeida, August 1810

French & Portuguese cannon exchange shots on Almeida (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtP7ktpJTQk#)

The siege drags on through the evening, with the french contesting
the walkway to the main gate

Video of the evening siege, view from the ramparts (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HEwjoKO6yI#ws)

Video of the evening siege, part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS2ZE6HnybQ#)

Video of the evening siege, part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkTeJzpCGCY#)

Siege of Almeida 1810, as presented by Portuguese television

Battle of the Coa & Siege of Almeida, 1810 (https://videos.sapo.pt/udUi4MOT2PGVDmaQHV5A)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 14:28 06-Sep-2010
Sir, I am most impressed with your work, keep up the good work.

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:31 07-Sep-2010

Powder magazine explosion, forces Governor of Almeida to Surrender

The siege of Almeida ended dramatically last weekend for on the 26th August, at
6am, Ney opened fire with eleven of his heavy siege gun batteries. After a couple
of hours the town was ablaze, with three of the Portuguese bastions pinned down by
such a heavy bombardment, they were unable to return fire. But the walls remained

That evening, an inexplicable event happened that dashed all hopes of prolonging the
siege much longer. The main powder magazine for the garrison was being held within
an old medieval castle within the fortress walls. At about seven in the evening
the main door to the magazine was open, with a powder convoy about to leave to
resupply the guns on the southern walls. According to the sole survivor of the
disaster. A french shell landed in the castle courtyard, igniting a trail of powder that
led from the wagons leaking barrel, back to the powder magazine door within the castle.
A second barrel, just inside the door exploded, with the blast ignited the main powder
magazine below.
The resulting explosion not only obliterated the old castle but also destroyed the
cathedral nearby and subsequently removed the roofs of all but five houses within
the town.
Over 500 members of the garrison were killed, half of them gunners of the Portuguese
artillery. Some of the stones being blown so far that they killed a number of troops
manning the french siege trenches.

The force of the blast engulfs many of the Portuguese gun emplacements
on the ramparts


The defence of Almeida was effectively over. The only way to move around the town
was on the ramparts, as the interior was completely blocked by ruins. Only 39 barrels
of powder and a few hundred rounds, distributed to the troops manning the ramparts
had survived. Enough for one days fight but no more.

Cox was determined to fight on, or at least long enough to give Wellington a chance
to relieve the garrison, if he can. But this was always a forlorn hope for Wellington
had no intention of attacking Massena's army on the Portuguese border.
Unsurpringly the explosion had totally demoralised the Portuguese garrison, especially
some of the officers. Although Cox attempted to bluff the French, holding a conference
with French officers in a closed casement to hide the damage. Some Portuguese
officers told the French exactly what had happened. When Cox sent Major Barreiros
of the artillery to negotiate with the French, he changes sides and told Mass?na that
there would be no further resistance from the Portuguese.

Reassured by this, Mass?na turned down all of Coxs requests for delays, and at
seven on the evening of the 27th August renewed the bombardment. A delegation of
Portuguese officers then informed Cox that if he did not surrender, they would
open the gates. Cox had no choice but to capitulate. The very next morning 4,000
survivors of the garrison marched out of the town. Under the terms of the surrender
Mass?na had agreed to allow the militia to go home on parole while the regulars were
to be taken to France as prisoners of war.
Mass?na broke this agreement with breathtaking speed, and instead attempted to
recruit these Portuguese prisoners into the french army.

Most of the surviving regulars and 600 of the militia immediately enlisted with the
French giving Wellington a real scare.  If he could not rely on the Portuguese, then
his entire plan of campaign was in jeopardy.
He need not have worried. Over the next few days most of the three batallions
Massena though he had recruited absconded, often in large parties, and made their
way back to the Allied lines. At first Wellington was worried about employing officers
who had theoretically broken their parole, but the Portuguese government had no
such concerns, and as Mass?na had broken his word first Wellingtons concerns
were short-lived.

Portuguese press report on the dramatic explosion at Almeida, followed by the
inevitable surrender by Cox. Of course the presence of the 95th rifles, has led
to some wild speculation about Sharpe but I prefer to ignore them

The disaster at Almeida, including eye witness accounts (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://capeiaarraiana.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/o-desastre-de-almeida/&ei=vomFTNTABJKJ4Qafy6XPBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBsQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DAlmeida,%2Bdesastre%2Bque%2Bsemeou%2Ba%2Bdestrui%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Be%2Ba%2Bmorte%2Bem%2Btoda%2Ba%2Bfortaleza%2Be%2Bque%2Bditaria%2Ba%2Bcapitula%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bda%2Bguarni%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Brigadier General William Cox awaits the arrival of Massena, as his troops
surrender to the French at Almeida

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:15 09-Sep-2010

The Napoleonic Invasion continues

Bussaco 1810 - 2010

With Almeida falling to the french. Massena's campaign in Portugal will be
moving swiftly on, as the French general takes a westerly route towards
Lisbon, north of the Mondego river from Almeida to Coimbra and then
onwards down to Lisbon. Blocking Massena's advance to Coimbra will
be the Anglo Portuguese army under the command of Wellington, who will
be concentrating his forces near the village of Bussaco.

Naturally any expats keen to keep abreast of the latest developments on the
Spanish Peninsular, need do no more than mark the following dates in their
diary. Namely that the Battle of Bussaco will be refought over the weekend
of the 25th & 26th September. Although I doubt that it will as big as the
affair at Almeida, it should neverthless prove interesting.
As Sir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington will be concentrating
his army on the ridge above Bussaco, ready to stop the french march on
Lisbon, dead in its tracks.

Details on the next battle at Bussaco

Battle of Bussaco, commemorations (http://www.cm-mealhada.pt/200anosbussaco/index.php)

Program for the event (http://www.cm-mealhada.pt/200anosbussaco/ficheiros/prog_200anosbussaco.pdf)

Photo's of the 95th Rifles harrasing the French at the Combat on the Coa,
pics courtesy of 95th Rifles

Riflemen with partisan, observe the enemy (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs297.snc4/41171_447785649592_39072049592_4802383_6128657_n.jpg)

Men of the 95th Rifles sniping at the french (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs664.snc4/60411_447495084592_39072049592_4796669_4378740_n.jpg)

Men of the 95th Rifles sniping at the french (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs317.snc4/41171_447785799592_39072049592_4802412_7247640_n.jpg)

95th Rifles & French column exchange fire (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs297.snc4/41171_447785809592_39072049592_4802413_4909441_n.jpg)

Redcoats & rifles (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs324.ash2/60411_447495204592_39072049592_4796692_4379491_n.jpg)

The French form a line to engage the Rifles (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs319.ash2/59932_447789094592_39072049592_4802516_6852199_n.jpg)

Riflemen hold back the french as best they can (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs212.ash2/47495_447800789592_39072049592_4802884_2744179_n.jpg)

Once more northern Portugal will be the scene of yet another Napoleonic battle,
as the french invasion continues


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:32 09-Sep-2010
Hungarian Hussars cross southern France

As you know the Hungarian Hussars have moved on since their encounter with the
French 1er regiment de hussards in Tarbes. Latest media reports put them some 25
kilometers north east of Montpellier, at the village of Aimargues.
As they make their way rapidly across southern France towards their next
destination in Italy.

The Hungarian Hussars are receiving the the kind of logistical support and backup
team that Wellington's troops could scarcely dream of back in 1810.

NATO backup team give the Hussars an edge


French gendarmes encounter Hungarian hussars in the wood (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://ge.midiblogs.com/archive/2010/08/31/les-hussards-hongrois-a-aimargues-gard.html&ei=-GiKTMexJcrT4wbfo-TSCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://ge.midiblogs.com/archive/2010/08/31/les-hussards-hongrois-a-aimargues-gard.html%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB)

Report from the 1er regiment de hussards, regimental journal on
their encounter with the Hungarian hussars

French hussars encounter Hungarian hussars in Tarbes (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.1rhp.info/Articles/annee_2010/hongrois_15082010/article_hongrois_20082010.html&ei=pWuKTJukBpPZ4AbPu73qCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.1rhp.info/Articles/annee_2010/hongrois_15082010/article_hongrois_20082010.html%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Hungarain Hussar riding along the river bank - photo courtesy
Int. Hussar patrol


Hussar horses taking a drink in the river, following a long ride
- photo courtesy Int. Hussar patrol


Hussars also taking refreshment after a long day in the saddle
- photo courtesy Int. Hussar patrol


Heres a good Hungarian Hussar film - where we see the Hungarians
fighting the Austrians, during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848

Hussars up against the Austrians in 1848, fast forward to 03:28 for the action scenes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ9B7hlVLl0#)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:58 18-Sep-2010

The French are coming

With Almeida garrisoned, Massena's troops have been advancing along the River
Mondego with all the triumphal air of a victory march on Lisbon.
For all looks well for the french, with the border fortresses of Ciudad Rodigo and
Almeida secured to their rear. All that remains to be done is to vanquish Wellington
in battle before pursuing the rest of the british back to their warships on the
Tagus. For how could it be otherwise with the cream of Napoleon's troops at their
disposal, how can Wellington's troops fare any better than the Austrians at

French  music of the Napoleonic armies, click & minimise (http://www.amfesm.be/sound/audrapeau.mp3)

French  music of the Napoleonic armies, click & minimise (http://www.amfesm.be/sound/aupresdemablonde.mp3)

While his men are dreaming of the plunder to be had in Portugal, their commander
was dreaming of accumulating more gold from his conquests, with which to finance
his amourous conquests in the bedchamber.
Therefore the Portuguese palaces and royal residences are just the sort of
venues for entertaining his ever demanding mistress.

So confident is Massena of obtaining the victory he craves in Portugal, that
hes thrown caution to the wind and smuggled his favourite mistress
into the french army of Portugal, disguised as a Hussar.

Massena's mistress accompanies the french Marshall on campaign


While marching along the Mondego river, Massena's patrols find that
Wellington has set up a fortified position on the south bank. Here the french
were to run into a set of field fortifications on the line of the Alva river,
where the british & Portuguese hoped to delay the french for some
This left Massena with two choices, either he could continue along
the relatively easy route down the Mondego river and assail the
field fortifications, or he could take the northern route over the Mondego
river to Coimbra.
Much to Wellington's surprise, Massena chose the northern route that
 would lead him towards a high ridge that crosses the northern route, at
the village of Bussaco.
Here Wellington, hopes to challange the french in open battle and makes
his dispositions accordingly.

Finally as Massena continues his advance. Wellington and the Portuguese regency
impose a scorched earth policy, by persuading the Portuguese peasents
and labourers to abandon all villages in the invaders path. By removing all livestock
and destroying the harvest. In short, nothing should be left for the enemy, as the
people are told to seek refuge behind the Lines of Torres Vedras.

Newspaper article on the scorched earth policy of denying sustenance
to the enemy

Scorched earth policy of denying food to Napoleons troops (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://capeiaarraiana.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/os-soldados-ceifeiros-do-exercito-de-massena/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsept%2B2010%2B200%2Banos%2BMassena%2Bna%2Binvas%25C3%25A3o%2BPortugal%2B1810%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhi3nr-NfLHyKtdaNFq5t35ccGENeg)

Portuguese troops supported by camp followers, stand guard
over a Mondego river crossing


Latest news from the Hungarian hussars as they press on through Italy
towards their next destination in Slovenia, along the way they visited a
couple of Napoleon's old battlefields

The hussars reach the bridge at Lodi, this includes Lt Campers latest dispatch
to the hussars on the deteriorating situation in Portugal. (http://huszarportya.blogter.hu/432577/nemzetkozi_huszar-portya)

As above but translated into English - does obscure english messages though. (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=hu&u=http://huszarportya.blogter.hu/432577/nemzetkozi_huszar-portya&ei=ItGVTODOJcPl4Abs7cXZBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCMQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dnemzetk%25C3%25B6zi%2Bhusz%25C3%25A1r%2Bportya%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 14:30 21-Sep-2010
Excellent photos Sir, looking forward to Bussaco.  I am working on my commemoration of that battle too.  See my website???  Tom
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Дідусь on 18:11 21-Sep-2010
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Excellent photos Sir, looking forward to Bussaco.  I am working on my commemoration of that battle too.  See my website???  Tom

Atten ......... shun, Rifleman. There is no problem providing a direct link to your website:

Paul's or is it Tom's (aka Rifleman Plunket) Website (http://peninsularwardiary200.yolasite.com/)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:27 22-Sep-2010
Quite right Carl,

As theirs quite a following by other interested people and groups in the Peninsular
War. I might as well mention the other groups and individuals I've corresponded with
concerning events on the Spanish Peninsular.

Memorials and Re-enactment

Also ( for the benefit of the wider audience ) please bear in mind that many of the
battle re-enactments are recreated ( whenever possible ) on the actual battlefield.
The Napoleonic Wars like many wars, is a human tragedy in terms of the grevious loss
of life suffered by both sides during the Napoleonic conflict.
Many of the battle re-enactments like the recent Combat on the Coa are followed by
a memorial service and wreath laying. In memory of the fallen on both sides.

So in a sense you can call them memorial battles but at least their sacrifice is not
forgotten in the wider conflict that is the Napoleonic Wars.
For as you know historians tend to concentrate on the big battles and the turning point
event in many wars and forget about the other campaigns and battles that are 'in their
minds' only periphery to the crucial stages of the war.
For Spain and Portugal the Peninsular Wars was the main event, against french domination
by Napoleon. As Spain always refers to the Peninsular Wars as their War of Independence
against the French.
Of course Britain was involved but only initially in response to a request for help from
Spain and Portugal. The request from Portugal being especially poignant as Portugal has
and always will be Britains oldest ally in Europe, with bi-lateral trading ties dating back to
medieval times. Hence Portugals refusal to join a trade embargo on Britain.

Portsmouth Napoleonic Society

Anyway the other groups and parties that are following the Peninsular Wars are the
Portsmouth Napoleonic Society. An historical model soldier and wargaming club who
have moved into historical research on the period. With Portsmouths association with
the Royal Navy, Nelson & Trafalgar its no surprise theirs an active Napoleonic club
their. But with the Peninsular War re-enactments taking place in Span & Portugal their
interests have moved onto other Napoleonic conflicts and to this end, they are flying
out a party of enthusiasts to observe the Napoleonic re-enactment at Bussaco this


PNS - Portsmouth Napoleonic society (http://www.pns1814.co.uk/)

They have also presented a very imaginative diorama of the Dos de Mayo - the
Spanish uprising in Madrid 1808. Which they displayed at a recent exhibition in
the UK.

The Dos de Mayo diorama (http://www.pns1814.co.uk/shows.htm)

Portuguese commemorative stamps of the Peninsular War



Ties of Blood trilogy

A new set of Napoleonic War novels set during the Peninsular Wars, could this
be the start of another set of adventures like the Sharpe series ?
The stories are by a new author Peter Youds whose first novel. Alone with
Glory, introduces the main characters to his book.

Introduction to first book - Alone with Glory

It is 1808 and Napoleon commands mainland Europe. The Grande Armie is in
the process of conquering Spain and Portugal, a final piece in the Emperors jigsaw.
The British send help. Despite being confronted by the threat of Napoleon himself,
backed by a huge army of veterans, Sir John Moore bravely decides to head into
Spain and face the French.

Two of Moores officers on this campaign are the half-brothers Tom Herryck and
Robert Blunt, the one a Royal Engineer, the other an experienced light infantry
officer. Different kinds of men, but fiercely loyal to the army and to one another,
these two become caught up in the gripping events that lead to the
excitement and tragedy of Corunna.
The story is the first in the Ties of Blood series which follows the adventures of
a colourful cast of characters, both real and imagined, through the gripping drama
of the Peninsular War. Featuring sieges and battles, love and death, honour and
betrayal, a continuing drama which would take its final curtain some seven years
later, on the bloody fields of Waterloo.

Bicorne books, Ties of Blood website (http://www.bicorn.co.uk/Alone%20With%20Glory.html)

I've yet to read any of his books but they are sure to be of interest to anyone who
loves reading historical adventure novels set during the Napoleonic Wars.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:27 24-Sep-2010

The French score a naval victory over the British

Although perhaps of little consequence to expats, news has been trickling through
of a disaster in British naval operations against a fast frigate squadron under the
command of Commodore Jacques Hamelin at Grand Port in Mauritius.

Background to the Indian Ocean campaign

The Indian Ocean formed an essential part of a network of trade routes that
connected the British Empire. Heavily laden East Indiamen travelled from
British Indian port cities such as Bombay or Calcutta to the UK carrying
millions of pounds worth of goods. From Britain, the ships returned on
the same routes, often carrying soldiers for the growing British Indian Army.

The French held a number of islands in the Indian Ocean, the largest of which is
Mauritius ( Ile de France ) and Reunion ( Ile Bonaparte )
The French recognised the importance of these islands as a base of operations for
French privateers and warships to raid the British East India trade routes and convoys.
Therefore early in 1809, the french naval authorities, ordered five large modern
frigates to sail to IIe de France under the command of Commodore Jacques
Four of these ships broke through the British blockade of the French coast,
arriving in the Indian Ocean by the spring of 1809, where Hamelin dispersed them
into the Bay of Bengal with orders to intercept, attack, capture or destroy the
many heavily armed but extremely valuable convoys of the British East India company.
The British responded by sending Commodore Josias Rowley to take command of the
of a hastily assembled force comprised mainly of old warships, that were gathered
at the Cape of Good Hope.

Indian Ocean campaign in fiction

The conflict has been covered by one Napoleonic Wars author Patrick O'Brian, in
his Jack Aubrey book - The Mauritious Command.
Note: Jack Aubrey was the same fictional hero in the film Master & Commander.

Part of the French squadron at Grand Port


British defeat at the Battle of Grand Port, August 1810

As always, news is slow concerning the other theatres of war during the
Napoleonic Wars with the naval conflict in the Indian Ocean being but a
sideshow in the greater european conflict. A situation thats exasperated by
the great distances involved for fast packet ships and schooners carrying
dispatches to reach european waters.

Of course when the news reached Admiralty house in London, you can be sure
the Sea Lords of the Admiralty choked on their morning coffee, as they read
with disbelief at the unprecedented losses suffered by the Royal Navies, Indian
Ocean squadron. A total of four frigates and their entire crew, either killed or captured
in what was to prove to be the bloodiest frigate battle of the Napoleonic Wars.

Following Nelson's naval victory over the french at Trafalgar in 1805, the british have
become accustomed to total naval supriority over the french, with whats left of
the Emperor's grand fleet being bottled up in the French naval ports of Boulogne,
Brest, La Rochelle and Toulon.
The only issue that ever arises when the french do venture out to fight is,
how best to split the prize money amoungst the various competing Captains, eager
to board the striken french ships after being suitably peppered by a full timber
shattering british broadside.

With the army enjoying only mixed fortunes against the French on the Peninsular.
The navy are keen to safeguard their untarnished reputation and choose to
supress the report, hoping to keep things under wraps until such time as
the British naval commander in the Indian Ocean, can turn the tables on
Commodore Jacques Hamelin and his french naval squadron in Mauritius.

Full details of the Battle of Grand Port, August 1810 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Grand_Port)

Of course in France, the news is met with rapturous celebrations, particularly in
french naval circles where the french could scarcely dream of naval success
until the news from Mauritius.

The British tradition of keeping our naval reverses under the pillow, continues to
this day where the 200 anniversary of Napoleons naval victory at the Battle
of Grand Port has barely been mentioned, except as an aside in some british

Recent celebrations in Paris & Mauritious

The same can not be true in France where the Battle of Grand Port is included
amoungst the list of French victories on the Arc de Triomphe. The Mauritius
government has also been celebrating the Battle of Grand Port and on the
31st August. Prime minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam was invited to Paris
by President Nicholas Sarkozy, to attend a special wreath laying ceremony at the
Arc de Triomphe, in honour of the French naval victory in Mauritius.

Pictures of the Battle of Grand Port commemorations in Mauritious (http://www.islandcrisis.net/2010/08/naval-battle-grand-port-bicentanary/)

Of course one can only imagine how the French celebrated the
rarest of naval victories over the british royal navy. But I can do
better than that and include a Radio RFI France english broadcast of
the victory celebrations at the Arc de Triomphe.

Listen again to the French commemorations in Paris, just click open,
to open up Windows Media player (http://telechargement.rfi.fr.edgesuite.net/rfi/anglais/audio/modules/actu/201009/INTERNET_CIF_5_09_10.mp3)

French celebrations spark Mauritius debate

Radio RFI article (http://www.english.rfi.fr/node/44766/3658)

Not a pretty sight for the Admiralty, british ships surrendering to the
French - how can it be ?

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:57 26-Sep-2010
Massena's army face Wellington at Bussaco

Luso, Portugal - Saturday 25th September 1810

A large force of 65,000 French troops under the command of Marshall Andre Massena
have been marching along the road to Coimbra when his advance guard encounters
Field Marshall Beresford's, Portuguese Cacadores ( light infantry ) before the villages
of Luso, Moura and Sula.
Here a fire fight develops as more french troops arrive on the scene. The Portuguese are
soon forced to retire to Luso, where Wellington has deployed the 44th East Essex, to
stiffen the Portuguese resolve. As Ney moves more men forward, a street battle
develops as the british contest the road to Bussaco.

British & Portuguese troops fight Massena's men, in the streets of Luso

Video of the Battle of Bussaco, preliminary moves (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAXHBw7GcHw#ws)

But for the british this is a rearguard action designed to slow down and impede the
French, as Wellington makes good his dispositions on the ridge of Bussaco. So the
british & portuguese fall back leaving the french to secure Luso, followed by Moura 
and Sula. Massena is happy to take these villages, as he deploys Ney's Corps along the
side of the road facing the high ridge commanding the road through to Coimbra.

Video of Portuguese clashes with the french in Luso (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1sE-fIZbmI#)

Portuguese infantry, led by mounted british officers, exchange fire
with the french as they fall back to the ridge at Bussaco


The Ridge at Bussaco

These are just the preliminery rounds of the battle thats sure to develop over the
weekend. As Wellington's army look down from their prepared positions ( along the ridge )
onto Massena's army deploying in the valley below.
Here the british position was a strong one as thanks to Wellington's gift for working out
the lie of the land to his advantage. He determined that the ridge was a strong natural
feature, that should be defended. Its certainly an imposing feature starting from the
Mondego river, its a long narrow, steep sided ridge that rises to its highest point at
Bussaco at an altitude of 560m. The ridge then turns north and losses some of its
height but not its steep sides, as it continues through into the mountains.

The main road to Coimbra crosses the ridge at a height of 400m,  north of Bussaco.
If  Massena were continue along the road up the ridge, he would soon come under
heavy fire from the British & Portuguese troops enscounced on the ridge. As the main
road turns right, to run north below the ridge before reaching its crossing point
over the ridge, just north of Bussaco.

The position of the Anglo-Portuguese army at Bussaco

Although Wellington was surprised by the French taking the northern route to
Lisbon via Coimbra. He wasn't unprepared for it and therefore prepared his
ground accordingly. The biggest problem with the ridge being that it extended
for nine miles, either side of Bussaco and therefore his 51,000 troops would be
stretched rather thinly. He therefore ordered his engineers to construct a
lateral communications road along the ridge ( in the time leading upto the
invasion ) in order that his men can be concentraed quickly at likely points of


Massena's army deploys at Bussaco

On the morning of the 26th September, Massena deployed his army below the ridge,
with Ney's Corps on the right, Junot's Corps in the centre and Reyniers Corps on
the left.
With the ridge obscuring most of Wellington's army, Massena and his officers could
only guess where his weakest position could be and therefore much of the day was
spent probing the Anglo Portuguese position.
The initial assesment by Ney was that the british might only have left a
covering force ( a rearguard ) on the ridge and that it could be easily driven off by
a full frontal assualt. Massena came forward and agreed with this, ordering
the assualt for tomorrow morning.
As for Wellington, he was keen to keep most of his army, out of sight of the
french and therefore positioned his infantry accordingly, on the reverse slope of
the ridge.
From his position at Bussaco, Wellington noted that the lowest part of the ridge was
crossed by a minor road from Santo Antonio do Cantaro to Palheiros, and it
was here that Wellington expected the french to strike first.
At daybreak on the 27th Wellington positioned himself above the
Palheiros road. Although the valley floor and the lower slopes of the ridge were
shrouded by early morning mist, the enemy could clearly be heard stiring as first
the sound of drums & fifes and then the heavy tread of french boots could
be heard pounding in the valley below.

Sound of french music, as Massena's troops advance (http://www.amfesm.be/sound/audrapeau.mp3)

The clash of armies at Bussaco over the weekend (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://capeiaarraiana.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/o-bicentenario-da-batalha-do-bucaco/&ei=zXeeTMitBoGYOL-pzJUM&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D25%2Bde%2BSetembro%2Be%2Ba%2Brecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bhist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bda%2BBatalha%2Bdo%2BBussaco%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3Dp%26tbs%3Dqdr:d)

Portuguese President together with the Duke of Kent will be
attending the Commemorations (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.jb.pt/tag/centenario/&ei=_H6eTJ6dBIyB4QbolcC0DQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAkQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.jb.pt/2010/09/5072%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

Above announcement as it appeared in the press (http://www.jb.pt/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/jb_primeira_2071.pdf)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 05:39 27-Sep-2010
Monday morning coverage on the Battle of Bussaco


As expats know today marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bussaco, that was
refought some 16km north, north east of Coimbra yesterday.
As usual early reports from the battlefield are sketchy, with the best account coming
from the Diario de Coimbra, who's intrepid reporters brought back this account of
the french assualt on Wellington's position at Bussaco.

Diario de Coimbra report on the battle of Bussaco, near Luso (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.diariocoimbra.pt/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D9181%26Itemid%3D111&ei=jvSfTMLYN4OJ4QaaiuCBDQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBYQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3DFaria%2Be%2BSilva%2Bcomemora%25C3%25A7%25C3%25B5es%2Bdo%2Bbicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2BBatalha%2Bdo%2BBu%25C3%25A7aco%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG)

An account of the Battle of Bussaco

The first attack was carried out by Reyniers corps, advancing up the minor southern
road, Massena?s assumption being that this would take the French behind the British
right flank.
Once Reynier was established on the crest Neys corps would advance up the main
road to Busaco at the northern end of the ridge. But far from being held by a rearguard,
on the ridge they encountered the entire Anglo-Portuguses army of 50,000 British and
Portuguese infantry supported by 60 guns.

Reynier's troops struck in the early morning mist. Heudelet sent his leading brigade
straight up the slope in a formation one company wide and eight battalions deep.
When the leading regiment reached the top of the ridge, they found themselves facing
the 74th Foot and two Portuguese battalions in line, plus 12 cannon.
The French tried to change formation from column into a line. Pelet says, "The column
began to deploy as if at an exercise. But the Allies brought intense musketry to bear.
Soon, the French infantrymen were thrown into confusion. However, they clung to a
precarious toehold on the ridge.

Several hundred yards to the north, Merle's division thrust up the ridge in a similar
formation. Picton hurriedly massed his defenders by utilizing the ridgetop road.
Met at the crest by the 88th Foot and the 45th Foot and two Portuguese battalions in
a concave line, the French tried unsuccessfully to deploy into line. Crushed by
converging fire, the French fled down the slope.

Seeing Heudelet's second brigade standing immobile at the foot of the ridge, Reynier
rode up to Maximilien Foy and demanded an immediate attack. With the Allies out
of position after defeating the first two attacks, Foy hit a weak spot in their defences.
Fortuitously, the French struck the least prepared unit in the Allied army a Portuguese
militia unit and routed it.
But the morning mist cleared, revealing no enemies in front of the British right flank.

Hearing gunfire, Ney assumed Reynier's men were enjoying success and ordered an
attack. In this quarter, the main highway climbed a long spur past the hamlets of Moura
and Sula to reach the crest at the Convent of Bussaco.
Against a very heavy British skirmish line, Loison's division fought its way forward.
Near the crest, 1,800 men of the 1/43rd and 1/52nd Light Infantry battalions lay down
waiting. As Loison's leading brigade approached the convent grounds, the two British
units stood up, fired a terrific volley at point blank range and charged with the bayonet.
The French brigade collapsed and fled leaving Edouard Simon, their commander,
wounded and a prisoner.

A short time later and slightly further south, Loison's second brigade under Claude
Ferey ran into close-range fire from two batteries plus Anglo-Portuguese musketry.
This unit was also routed. A final thrust by Antoine Maucune's brigade of Marchand's
division met defeat when it ran into Pack's Portuguese brigade. The two sides then
spent the rest of the day in skirmishing, but the French did not try to attack in
force again.

Film of the french assualts on the Ridge of Bussaco

Video of the 1st french assualt on the Ridge of Bussaco (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjjTLA1i82I#)

Yes the french are getting pretty thin on the ground in the final assualt

Video of the 2nd french assualt on the Ridge of Bussaco (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf0kyUn00PE#)

Theirs also these video accounts of the battle on sunday

Video report of the Battle of Bussaco, near Luso (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMIvJfACQgI#)

Video report of the Battle of Bussaco, near Luso (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oh6uo8FQm3s#)

Video report of the Battle of Bussaco, near Luso (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLqArQmuQgU#ws)

Five minute video of the Battle from the Anglo-Portuguese side (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcvlUsebzS0#)

The Battle was also reported on Portuguese National TV channel - RTP

Portuguese TV Report on RTP, click here to view (http://www.rtp.pt/noticias/?t=Bicentenario-da-Batalha-do-Bucaco-assinalado-com-recriacao-historica.rtp&headline=20&visual=9&article=378856&tm=4)

The French turn Wellington's flank

Although Wellington beats off the French assualt on the ridge at Bussaco, leaving the
french to recoil back down the valley with heavy casulties. The french had failed miserably
to dislodge Wellingtons troops with both left & right flank attacks being beaten off
The following day sees Massena trying to find a way around the allied position, so sending
out scouts his patrols soon find a suitable pass round the ridge, only nine miles to the
So by the end of the 28th Setptember, the first french troops are marching down the
northern pass. With his left flank turned, Wellington has no choice but to fall back to
Coimbra and back towards his prepared position along the Lines of Torres Vedras.

The final video sees Massena's troops securing the now vacant ridge above Bussaco
( following the allied withdraw ) where they raise a cheer for the Emperor, Napoleon

French troops, cry Vive La Emperor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fOegtPRIAU#)

Portuguese artillery about to open fire at Bussaco


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: MWDabbs on 22:39 27-Sep-2010
Nice collection, Campers... might just have to make a Napoleonic Wars scenario, too... will get this first one done first...  but that would really be an undertaking, too.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 22:30 29-Sep-2010
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Nice collection, Campers... might just have to make a Napoleonic Wars scenario, too... will get this first one done first...  but that would really be an undertaking, too.

Thanks Mark,  A Napoleonic Wars scenario would be interesting.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 14:16 08-Oct-2010
Sir, Your reports get in from thr front much faster than mine !!!!
See my Bussaco pages..............  Tom

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 20:16 09-Oct-2010

The British retire to the Lines of Torres Vedras

As you know the day after the Battle of Bussaco, Wellington and the Anglo-Portuguese
army were forced to retreat to Coimbra, after Massena turned his flank at Bussaco.
With the french securing the road behind him, Wellington knew he had perhaps only a
couple of days head start over Massena.
His objective now being to make all speed to his prepared positions on the Lines
of Torres Vedras, following the evacuation of Coimbra.
At Coimbra he was dismayed to see that most of its citizens are hesitant in heeding
the advice of the Portuguese regency & army, to evacuate the town as soon as
So on the night of the 29th September, Wellington declared that the french were
close by and if its citizens did not evacuate the town immediately. He would order
his troops to force them out of their homes at bayonet point. This had the desired
effect and over the next few days, the entire population joined many other refugees
on the road to Torres Vedras.

The French are coming, latest press report on Massena's advance on Lisbon (http://www.demotix.com/news/390345/french-are-coming-peninsular-war-bicentenary-portugal)

The British retreat through Portugal, accompanied by refugees - Linhas de Wellington (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRxa9-E6z7o#ws)

The Sack of Coimbra & the road to Torres Vedras

Although harsh, it was indeed fortunate that its citizens were forced to depart, taking
whatever belongings they can, to seek refuge behind the lines.
For Massena's men upon entering Coimbra, wasted no time in thoroughly sacking
the town following their month long march. It is also said that Junot's men left no
building untouched during the rampage, destroying several weeks worth of food
into the bargain.
The british were not much better during the retreat, judging by the number of
soldiers that were tried and executed for looting.
The Sack of Coimbra delayed Massena's pursuit of Wellington, significantly meaning
he could not press the british as closely as he'd like. But this was of no concern for
Massena, as his generals continue sending back reports of a British army in full retreat.
Although his vanguard continue to fight minor skirmishes with Wellington's rear,
his adversary continues to pass up many opportunities to delay him.
The only logical conclusion he can reach is that the British are racing to reach the
comparative safety of their ships and embarkation in Lisbon.
Its only on the 5th October, that the french begin to learn something different from
the british stragglers, cut off duing the retreat. That the army is retreating not to
their ships but to 'the lines'.
It would take the French another week to learn the significance of 'the lines'.

Portuguese partisans take up position ready to defy the french
pursuing the british rearguard


Portuguese partisans flee as the french deploy cavalry to clear the
road ahead


Coimbra recaptured by Portuguese Militia & Partisans

As Marshal Massena's troops bore down on the Lines of Torres Vedras. A small
french garrison left behind to hold Coimbra, comes under attack by a bold and
daring British officer by the name of Nicholas Trant.

The audacious british officer

Trant had been assigned to the Portuguese in 1809, who seeing his flair with
irregular troops, promoted him to the rank of Brigadier General in the Portuguese
army and sent him to command a corps of Portuguese militia, raised amoungst
the students of the University of Coimbra.
When Soult captured Oporto in 1809, many new recruits flocked to his
Holding Coimbra until May 1809, Trants little army joined Wellignton's march
on Oporto and helped in its final liberation from the french, subsequently
becoming the new governor of Oporto.
Wellington was quite impressed with this resourceful british officer, who had
done wonders with the enthusiastic but turbulent Portuguese irregulars.
Therefore he had no hesitation in recommending that Trant's temporary
command should become permanent.
Using Coimbra as a base of operation's Trant's irregulars then proceeded to
harass the french invasion of Portugal in the autumn of 1810.

During the retreat to the lines of Torres Vedras, Trant led a series of audacious
raids on the french columns marching from Almeida. On the 20th
September, with only a squadron of cavalry and 2000 militia he surprised the
french artillery train as it made its way down a narrow defile of a hilly road.
As the front of the artillery column came under fire and attack, alarm
spread to the rest of the column following behind.
In all the confusion 100 prisoners were taken by Trant during the raid which
delayed Massena's advance for 2 days.
Again on the day before the Battle of Bussaco, Trants partisans struck again
this time on the french army baggage train who the french guards
could barely beat off, if it wasn't for the timely arrival of reinforcements.

Coimbra recaptured

So it was that on the 7th October that Trant with 4000 militia descended
on Coimbra and recaptured the town, meeting little or no resistance from the
Here Massena had left the sick and the wounded with only a small french
It was therefore with great joy that Napier reported in his journals that Trant.
had pulled off one of the most daring raids by partisans in Portugal.
Carrying off 5000 prisoners to be escorted to Oporto for transport into
captivity in England.

Soldiers of the Imperial Guard, passing through a village (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRCidtFMd1U#)

A French Napoleonic army on the march in the Spanish Peninsular (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HXaV8O7UmM#)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:57 16-Oct-2010
September 1810 - The Great Escape

As expats know, the Peninsular Wars have been going on for some years now and
with every battle that occurs, theirs the constant problem of new prisoners to attend
to, as soldiers from both sides are taken captive during the war.

As mentioned earlier in my ramblings through the Napoleonic Wars, the prisoners
are split into two catagories, any officers taken prisoner can elect to take their
parole. Which means taking an oath, not to escape or take up arms against their
captors, in exchange for certain privelidges and looser restraints on their
These french officers might lead a 'charmed life' in England being confined to
one of the many 'parole towns' where they continue to draw a salary while in
confinement by the Parole Officer.
The two goldern rules being, not to escape and never to step outside the town
boundary, marked by parole stones. So long as they abided by these rules they
were generally treated as guests and allowed to mix and socialise with
the local community as much as they like.

Whereas the ordinary rank and file were given no such option and were therefore
confined under guard, until such time as they could be transported by sea to
Their they took their chances as to where they will be held for the duration of
the war. If they were lucky they would be sent to one of the many castles
or prisons, like Dartmoor. where in addition to their meagure allowances. They
could also earn some extra cash making trinkets, carvings or model ships
to sell at the local market.
If they were unlucky, they could be confined aboard one of the many derelict
hulks ( prison ships ) that are common place in many of the naval ports
in England. Here food and hygiene are bad and downright deplorable as the
situation gets worst with more arrivals leading to overcrowding.

French prisoners overpower their escort

The arrival of more French prisoners from the Peninsular was also leading
to overcrowding in Dartmoor which puts presure on the government to
move a number or French prisoners from Dartmoor to the new, purpose
built Prisoner of War depot at Norman Cross.
So it was that on an unusually cold and crisp early autumn morning, we
find a column of French soldiers being moved under guard on their
long trek to Cambridgeshire. As they march on from Oxford, they approach
the small village of Stanton St John when suddenly a shot is fired,
a soldier collapses on the ground and the french rush forward with
knives, overpowering the escort and siezing their weapons.
Following the escort the British had also attached a munitions wagon,
enroute to the Royal Military Ordnance Depot at Weedon Bec.
Here again the french throw off the wagon driver and sieze  powder and
muskets, distributing the arms to many of the freed prisoners.

Fully armed they proceed to a local farm house looking for food, the
farmer and his wife have already fled leaving the french to pillage what
they want from the farm and outbuildings.

The wagonmaster has raised the alarm and word of the escape soon
reaches Oxford. Fortunately for the local magistrates, a detachment
of the 95th Rifles are quartered at the local barracks and therefore
together with another detachment of regulars, they proceed to march
with all speed to Stanton St John. To apprehend the escaped prisoners.

The Eagle has flown, escaped POW's in Oxfordshire (http://www.69eme.net/files/The_Campaign_of_Stanton_St_John_Hand_Out_.pdf)

Armed & dangerous, french prisoners make a stand in


British redcoats and rifles marching to Stanton St John (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs640.snc4/60077_448847494592_39072049592_4827071_873273_n.jpg)

The French are here somewhere, Rifles proceed cautiously down one of the side roads (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs320.ash2/60077_448847544592_39072049592_4827081_4304668_n.jpg)

At long last weve found the Frenchies, lets at them lads (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs640.snc4/60077_448847719592_39072049592_4827116_7860385_n.jpg)

Ok the English have caught us but do we really want to go to Norman Cross Depot (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs331.ash2/61137_451842604592_39072049592_4885806_5216663_n.jpg)

The French are finally apprehended

Suffice to say that after after evading the British for so long, the french are
finally cornered in a field where they make a heroic last stand in a firefight
before surrending to the 95th Rifles and being returned to the prison escort.
But what puzzles the authorities is what made them rebel in the first place.
Having endured so many hardships already, its a mystery as to why they
are so reluctant to move to their new prison camp at Norman Cross.
Then one of the prisoners confides to the guard that he had a premonition,
that many years hence, a scruffy and disreputable character by the
name of Baldrick would be rummaging around the prisoners artefacts and
personal effects. Although he had suffered much from the english, this
was simply too much for any frenchmen to stand.

Time Team - the dig at Norman Cross POW Depot

The Time Team dig at Norman Cross (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05EQbImN8fI#)

The rainy weather in Portugal

Those expats returning from their holidays in Portugal, will know that the rainy weather
has bogged down military operations near Torres Vedras. With Napoleons troops coming
face to face with the Lines of Torres Vedras, this has presented a new challenge to their
general, Marshall Massena.
As Massena deliberates the obstacle before him, the rest of his army slowly catches
up with the core of the main field army along the muddy, rutted roads of northern

Meanwhile in Southern Spain

In contrast to Northern Portugal, the Costa del Sol has been enjoying some fine
autumn weather. With calm seas, that has prompted the British under Major-General
Lord Blayney to launch an audacious amphibious attack on the Polish garrison of
Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
The garrison has acquired a reputation during the Peninsular Wars of being a
rest and recuperation garrison with lazy days on the beach.
Its precisely for this reason, that the British have choosen to attack it this weekend.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 19:00 16-Oct-2010

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

The Battle of Fuengirola, October 1810

In the autumn of 1810, the British Major General Lord Blayney decided to lead an
expeditionary force from Gibraltar towards the port of Malaga and seize it by surprise.
The beaches near the Castillo de Sohail in Fuengirola seemed a perfect landing place
for his force.
The Spanish partisans informed the British about the weakness of the defenders
and the lack of reserves. They had been keeping a low profile in anticipation of
the day they can attack Napoleon's forces.
In October 1810 Blayney gathered a field force of 2/89th Regiment of Foot, a battalion
of international deserters from the French army, an artillery unit, naval gun crews and
a Spanish Toledo Regiment.
The initial British-Spanish expedition numbered some 2500 men, excluding naval
staff and crew. They boarded a small fleet consisting of two frigates, HMS Topaze
and HMS Sparrowhawk, five gunboats, several brigs, and transport sloops.

The British prepare to attack Napoleon's, Polish garrison at Fuengirola

Introduction to the Battle of Fuengirola in Spain 1810 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce_g-YHdBc4#)

The Polish garrison at Fuengirola


Polish troops parade in front of the Castillo de Sohail in Fuengirola


On October 14, 1810, the British armada reached the Cala Moral Bay, about two miles
southwest from Fuengirola. The British disembarked, and were joined on the beach by
a small number of Spanish partisans.
Blayney led his force northeast along the shore while his fleet sailed parallel toward
Fuengirola. At 2:00 p.m. they all arrived in front of the castle and the British general
sent an emissary to convince the Polish commander to surrender.
Its commander, Captain Mlokosiewicz refused and so the British ships opened fire.

Newspapers in Andalusia, report on the arrival of the British expeditionary
force to Fuengirola and the summons to the Polish garrison to surrender the
Castillo de Sohail

Malagahoy report - The British naval landings at Fuengirola (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.malagahoy.es/article/malaga/814130/fuengirola/regresa.html&ei=u7q6TJCdAt3NjAfCtYjJDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CEUQ7gEwBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecreaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bde%2Bla%2BBatalla%2Bde%2BFuengirola%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbs%3Dqdr:d)

British troops demand surrender of the Castillo de Sohail (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.diariosur.es/20101016/local/costadelsol/actos-bicentenario-batalla-fuengirola-201010161958.html&ei=eAq6TOfKMuag4QaN3NmyDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CEwQ7gEwCTgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bde%2Bla%2Bbatalla%2Bde%2Bfuengirola%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Fuengirola events report - Battle of Fuengirola, includes image gallery (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.fuengirolaeventos.com/%3Fp%3D528&ei=jKu-TLqRE9Sz4Qb4prTtAQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.fuengirolaeventos.com/%253Fp%253D528%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Fuengirola events report - The Poles hold Fuengirola again (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.fuengirolaeventos.com/%3Fp%3D405&ei=a6y-TM61IpPq4gai8eRw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.fuengirolaeventos.com/%253Fp%253D405%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Napoleon's defiant Polish troops at the Castillo de Sohail in Fuengirola


The 4th Regiment of Polish infantry of the Duchy of Warsaw ( in french service )
have Fuengirola in their battle honours

The 4th Regiment of Polish infantry at Fuengirola in Spain (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://www.pulk4.dywizjaxw.pl/public_html/index.php%3Fpid%3D16&prev=/search%3Fq%3DWyjazd%2Bz%2Bzamku%2BFuengirola%2B1810%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhj1SD5I86eHIHvv1tM7m-zKRqtfDA)

Video on the preperations for the Battle of Fuengirola (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Kg8GOhW7n8#ws)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 16:35 17-Oct-2010
Cannons roar on the Costa del Sol


Band plays the British Grenadiers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4RuNuPH3ik#)

The landing of British & Spanish troops on the beaches of the Costa del Sol, that
was accompanied by the roar of cannon fire.
Has alarmed several holidaymakers in the Spanish resort of Fuengirola, as many were
blissfully unaware of commemorative events taking place. The landings which
occured early on saturday evening, disturbed many sunworshipers who bolted from
the beaches to seek sanctuary and alchoholic fortitude in the nearest Tapas Bars
or restuarants.
As frantic calls were made to friends and tour operators, it was noted by many who
witnessed it, that only the germans were unmoved by events and prepared to
defend their sunbeds, down to the last man.   :D

El Mundo, spanish newspaper report and video (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2010/10/17/andalucia_malaga/1287306330.html)


Video showing the evening assualt by the British, accompanied by bagpipers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F63EpZni9mY#)
The British landings at Fuengirola

The sight that was unfolding on the beaches of Fuengirola was indeed impossing.
As the british continued to disembark and form up into their regimental formations,
Lord Andrew Thomas Blayney surveyed the scene in front of him.
Besides the aforementioned germans on his right flank, ahead of him stood the castle
of Castillo de Sohail, resplendant on top of a hilly mound jauntily flying the French
tricolour alongside that of the Polish eagle.
The garrison had already sounded the alarm, as the men were 'stood to' following
an attack by Spanish guerillas on nearby farm buildings used by the Poles.
With the element of surprise clearly lost by the english, Blayney marches forward
to occupy the hilly mound in front of the castle.
At the same time the British commander sends an emissary to the castle demanding
its surrender. Inside the Polish garrison, numbering no more than a little over 100
men, was led by Captain Franciszek Mlokosiewicz of the 4th infantry regiment. Who
was affronted, the British would think he would surrender the castle without a fight.
Mlokosiewicz responded to the request with the defiant reply, 'Come and take it'

Lord Blayney and the naval commander accompanying the expedition,
inspect the troops on the shores of Fuengirola


The British bombard the Castillo de Sohail

The British frigates and gunboats ( now close inshore ) opened fire. The Poles
responded by returning fire with the old castle guns and succeded in sinking one
gunboat, while causing numerous casulties on the other four gunboats.
The cannonade also proved too much for the stoical germans, caught in the
crossfire they subsequently fled the field.
The gunboats were also forced to withdraw and left it to the two frigates, now
close inshore, to continue the bombardment with Blayney attempting a
frontal assualt on the castle walls but this was beaten off with heavy casulties,
a major in the 89th regiment was killed and on the Polish side, the
redoubtable Captain Mlokosiewicz was injured.
Overnight, the frigates continued a sporadic bombardment of the castle as
Blayney landed his guns to set up two artillery emplacements, near the castle.
During the night, the request for help from the Polish garrson has borne fruit,
as extra troops from the French & Polish outposts of Mijas and Alhaurin managed
to reinforce the Polish garrison.


The Poles sally forth in a surprise attack

The following morning the bombardment continued, both by land and sea as
the british succeed in destoying one of the castle towers.
Around 2:00 p.m, reinforcements arrive offshore, in the shape of HMS Rodney
accompanied by a Spanish warship with 932 men of the 82nd Regiment of Foot.
With the castle catching fire and the number of wounded increasing steadily from
the heavy bombardment, Mlokosiewicz called a council of war where all officers
present voted to continue the fight.
Therefore the bold Captain Mlokosiewicz, resolves to mount a surprise attack on the
enemy gun emplacements. So leaving the castle mostly guarded by the wounded,
he leads 130 soldiers forward ( supported by 30 dragoons ) by sallying forth from
the castle gate.
The besiegers are taken totally by surprise and despite outnumbering their
Polish adversaries almost 10 to one, the Spanish troops covering the artillery
positions retreat in disorder. The guns are subsequently overrun by the Poles
who after fighting off the Royal navy gunners, turn the cannons against the
British besiegers.

Video of todays battle for the Castillo de Sohail and the Polish
charge on the british guns

The Battle of Fuengirola and the fight for the Castillo de Sohail (https://videos.lainformacion.com/espana/una-batalla-para-recordar_kzam8B1h0p6wn0lbgg2XU2/)


Amoungst the 40 or so prisoners, taken by the Poles was Lord Blayney's adjutant whos
escorted back to the castle. So with the guns in Polish hands, the soldiers proceeded
to bombard the british and spanish troops, regrouping on the beach. Although their
fire was ineffective ( as the Poles had no gunners amoungst them ) it did play on the
rattled nerves of the troops, rallying round Lord Blayney and his other staff officers.

The British counterattack, turns into a shambles

Using his reserve of the 89th regiment of foot, to give a little backbone to the
allied forces reassembling on the beach. Blayney orders his men to counterattack
and recapture the guns from the Poles. The outnumbered defenders wisely
abandoned the guns but not before blowing up the gunpowder.
But the British and Spanish troops could advance no further, for ( as luck would
have it ) more Polish troops from the garrison of Alhaurin, arrived on the
scene and immediately attacked Blayney's left flank.
These fresh troops gave Mlokosiewicz time to regroup his garrison once more
before counterattacking the Allied right flank.
This near simultaneous counterattack of Polish troops, joined by 30 troopers
of the french 21st Dragoons, caught the british off balance and with his troops
wavering under the attack. Blayney is captured and taken prisoner, just as
hes pushing his men forward, to make one final effort.
With their commander lost, the allies sound the retreat, what follows next
is chaos. The Spaniards after firing a few volleys at long range. retreat to the
beach, leaving the Poles to retake the guns.
The beachead is a scene of mayhem, with british and spanish soldiers
scrambling to board the boats while once more, the Poles resume their
cannonade of the british beachead.
Only the timely arrival of the 82nd foot, recently landed from the british
squadron anchored off Fuengirola, saved the beachead from being overrun by
the Poles.
As the british 74 gun ship of the line, HMS Rodney bombarded Polish positions,
the remnants of Lord Blayney's experditionary force are returned to their
transports, from whence they will return to Gibraltar.


The defence of the castle in Fuengirola was one of the few times in history
( other than at Maida and Albuera ), in which Polish soldiers fought against the
British Army. It was also one of the few decisive British defeats in the
Peninsular War.
Although in his memoirs, Lord Blayney tried to downplay the importance
of the battle of Fuengirola, he himself remained in French captivity for nearly
four years, until 1814.
His surrendered sabre can still be seen today, on permanent exhibition at the
Czartoryski Museum in Krakow, Poland.
As for the intrepid Captain Mlokosiewicz, he was showered with praise by
the commander of Franco-Polish forces ( in Malaga ) General Sebastiani.
Who visited the scene of the battle on the 16th October and showered the
Poles with praise. Consequently Mlokosiewicz was awarded the Legion d'Honneur
by the french.

Polish troops see off the last of the British boats


Naturally I'm sorry to be the bearer of such ill tidings of British efforts on
the Costa del Sol. But I'm sure many expats will take comfort from the fact
that at least we didn't lose against the french.   ;)
Besides as far as the french campaign in Portugal's concerned, Massena's
hit a brick wall thanks to the Lines of Torres Vedras.

Napoleonic battle interrupts British family life in the Sun (http://www.familylifeinspain.com/2010/10/18/the-battle-of-fuengirola/)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 04:06 19-Oct-2010

Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Aragon, Spain 1810

Aragon is situated in the northern most region of Spain with the north bordered by the
Pyrennes of France and the south featuring an arid landscape of dry plains with an empty
hilly landscape. Its semi-arid features accounts for its sparsely populated population
which are concentrated in the major cities of the region like Saragossa.
Napoleon's occupation of Spain was no more keenly felt than in Aragon and in particular
Saragossa. Where following the 'Dos de Mayo' uprising against french rule in Madrid,
the citizens of Saragossa encouraged the Spanish authorities to revolt against the
United under the command of Joseph Palafox, the self appointed Governor General
of Aragon, who encouraged the people to resist in two bloody sieges against the french.
Where although hopelessly outnumbered and beyond relief, the sieges of Saragossa
became an inspiration for the spanish people to continue the resistance.

This resistance was no more keenly felt than amoungst the bands of guerillas, partisans
and irregulars who continue to fight by ambushing the french and attacking their
supply wagons. But this fight was becoming attrocious with attrocities and reprisals
commited by both sides, highlighting the horrors of the Peninsular war.

For the French the guerillas and partisans are becoming a nightmare which necessitates
even the smallest expeditions requiring a big escort. For Suchet in particular had hoped
that by wiping out the most notourious of guerilla bands, last year. He would have
restored some semblance of order in Aragon.
Now he finds a new guerilla leader is stirring up trouble in the region and this time hes
attracting many former soldiers from the Spanish army as well as deserters from the
british army.

Therefore he mounts another military operation against the guerilla stronghold using
the best professional soldiers hes has from 3rd Corps.

News of the French Campaign in the Crimea, as reported in the Sevastopol News - Item removed (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.sevastopol-tv.ru/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D5317&ei=wNm8TJymIoX34Aas_KHJDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCMQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%258C%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%2591%25D0%25B0%25D1%2585%25D1%2587%25D0%25B8%25D1%2581%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B0%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BC%2B%25D0%25BF%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25B2%25D1%2580%25D0%25B0%25D1%2582%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B0%25D1%2581%25D1%258C%2B%25D0%25B2%2B%25D0%25B8%25D1%2581%25D0%25BF%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%2590%25D1%2580%25D0%25B0%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Sevastopol TV:
On the French campaign against the Spanish partisans, fast forward to 21:00 for full report:
Item removed since early 2011 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://sevastopol-tv.ru/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D5303&ei=bf3DTJaZNIOQ4Qb78ay6Aw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB8Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://sevastopol-tv.ru/index.php%253Foption%253Dcom_content%2526view%253Darticle%2526id%253D5303%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB)

Fortunately heres a great photo album of the French Campaign in the Crimean Peninular -
to make up for the missing Sevastopol TV reports. ALSO SEE RADIO MOSCOW BROADCAST BELOW. (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.liveinternet.ru/journalshowcomments.php%3Fjpostid%3D137699968%26journalid%3D3838331%26go%3Dnext%26categ%3D0&ei=4cQUTvuuCtC6hAftk_3mDQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CC8Q7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%2592%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%259F%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BB%25D1%2583%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B5%2B1808-1814%2B-%2B%25D0%25A4%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BC%2B%25D0%25A1%25D0%25B5%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BB%25D1%258C%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%2B%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BD%25D1%2582%25D0%25B5%25D1%2580%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B5%25D1%2582%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D854%26bih%3D467%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26prmd%3Divns)

General Suchet leads his men against the Crimean partisans of Aragon



The aftermath of a Spanish guerilla attack on a french patrol


A french officer is captured and taken away


Another frenchmen is bound and gagged before being taken for questioning


The Spanish partisans in their Lair


Suchet's men encounter the Partisans


The Partisan's comprising some former Spanish soldiers open fire


French cavalry arrive on the scene and the order is given to charge


French cavalry with dragoons charge the Partisans, scattering them in the melee


The Partisans are overrun after making a last stand against the french


General Suchet orders a final salute for the fallen french soldiers


Suchet and the other french offers salute each other after a successful campaign


The French camp high in the foothills



French soldiers survey the surrounding area for partisans


Footnote - Fans of the Sharpe TV film series, will know only too well that the
first three episodes of Sharpe were filmed in the Crimea 16 years ago.
Therefore I'm sure many of them will pleased to know that the Spanish partisans
are still resisting the french, after all these years.

The Napoleonic Wars on the Russian Front

Its no doubt apt that the russians & ukrainians were re-enacting their own version
of the Peninsular Wars in the Crimea. As it not only dovetails nicely with the
200th anniversary events, taking place on the Spanish Peninsular but it also
serves as an introduction to the Russian re-enactment movement in the former
Soviet Union.
As compared with western re-enactment societies, the russian & ukrainian
re-enactment scene is fairly recent. Only gaining ground following Gorbachev's
reforms of the Soviet Union, epitomised by Glasnost & Perestroika in the late 1980's.
Like the Peninsular Wars, the Russian's are nearing their 200rd anniversary events
in their struggle against Napoleon Bonaparte. With Napoleon's invasion of Russia
in 1812, or as the russians would call it 'the Patriotic War of 1812'

So their big battle re-enactment is the Battle of Borodino, held every year north-west
of Moscow. Another annual event is the Battle of Maloyaroslavets, just south-west of
Moscow which was another big battle during the Patriotic War of 1812.
This time recreating a battle following Napoleon's retreat from Moscow in
October 1812. Where the french army endeavoured to fall back across a more fertile
and unravaged region of Russia, towards Ukraine rather than via their line of advance
through Smolensk.
Here the Russian imperial army under Kutusov fought a fierce battle which although
indecisive in outcome, forced Napoleon to abandon the southern route in favour of
his previous route, that would cause so much privation to the army.

Voice of Russia, Radio Moscow broadcast on Napoleonic re-enactment (http://english.ruvr.ru/radio_broadcast/2249159/12529538.html)

Battle of Maloyaroslavets. October 1812 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Maloyaroslavets)

Anyway the Russian's re-enacted the Battle of Maloyaroslavets, last weekend on
a cold and frosty autumn day. Its nothing to do with the events of 1810 but the
photo's are so good that it serves as a good example of a Napoleonic re-enactment
in Russia.

Photos from the re-enactment are best seen using broadband

Battle of Maloyaroslavets, recreated (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://gegege-no.livejournal.com/38519.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.reenactor.ru%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhjuarz0Dhjz-1N2eD24ccUGet_jrQ)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:54 04-Nov-2010

The French encounter the Torres Vedras Lines

The first French troops to discover the Lines of Torres Vedras were Montbrun's cavalry.
They reached Sobral on 11th October and soon realised that the hills south of the village
were lined with fortifications. The following day Montbrun's men moved east, to make
room for Junot's 8th Corps.
That afternoon Junot drove the British outposts out of the village ( called the first combat
of Sobral, 12th October 1810 ), in what would turn out to be the only French success
against the Lines.

Video of Massena's men coming up against the Lines of Torres Vedras - Linhas de Wellington (https://vimeo.com/46413017)

Combat of Sobral, October 1810

The village of Sobral was just outside the Torres Vedras lines but the british had
established a picket line composed of men from Sir Brent Spencers division.
The arrival of Montbrun's cavalry before Sobral clearly unnerved Spencers Light division
and under cover of darkness, the troops were withdrawn but overnight Spencers men
were ordered to return to their posts in Sobral.
On the 12th October, Junot's infantry battalion's started to arrive. With infantry from
Clausel's division now in place, the french decided to attack Sobral and push Spencer's
Light division out of the village.
At least six battalion's of Clausel's division moved into Sobral and forced the pickets from
Erskines and Lowes brigades to retreat 300 yards, crossing a ravine that separated
Sobral from the lower slopes of Monte Agraca. There the British reformed, establishing
a fallback position that halted the french attack.

Standoff at Torres Vedras, Portuguese video presentation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzicAmytnTo#ws)

Two days later Junot ordered a second attack on the Light division, south of Sobral.
Against their new picket line, that was now strengthened by a barricade,
blocking the high road across the Lines of Torres Vedras.
To soften up the british position, Junot bombarded their lines first before
sending in the compagnies d'elite of the 19th French Infantry regiment. To drive in
the british outposts, now manned by the 71st Foot regiment.
The scale of the french attack forced the british to abandon their advance line but
as they regrouped behind the colours.
The rest of the 71st gathered together and launched a counter attack that completely
threw the french off balance, forcing them to retire to Sobral where they reformed
behind Menard's brigade.
The british pursued as far as the village before falling back on their picket lines.
Junot declined to attack again and decided to strengthen his position around
Sobral instead. Although the battle rates as being no more than a skirmish, with the
british suffering 67 casualties against the 120 suffered by the french.
It did catch the attention of Marshal Massena, who caught his first sight of the
Torres Vedras Lines and the problems it was causing the french, as he
witnessed the failure of the french attack.

A wounded french soldier receives treatment in Sobral


Massena's men set up camp outside the Torres Vedras Lines

Rightly or wrongly Massena decided not to risk his army in an all out attack of the
Torres Vedras lines and so instead 'his grand army' settled down in their new
positions outside the Torres Vedras Lines.
Although scouts and patrols were dispatched to reconnoitre the Lines, their were no
discernable weak spots that Massena could exploit, to turn Wellington's flank
( like he did at Bussaco )
This time he would have to wait and see if the British would come out and fight
where he stood.

Portuguese tv reporter checks out the state of the Torres Vedras lines (http://sic.sapo.pt/online/video/informacao/nos+por+ca/2009/11/200-anos-das-linhas-de-torres-sistema-de-defesa-de-lisboa-comecou-a-ser-construido-em-180927-11-2009.htm)

This would prove to be a long wait with neither side wanting to risk all in a
final battle. For Wellington had planned, all along to wear down the french resolve.
By staying behind the lines, until starvation and lack of fodder 'due to the british
scorched earth policy' forced Massena to withdraw from Portugal.


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 15:43 12-Nov-2010
A detachment of rockets, reached Lisbon in November, 1810.
1st Lt W. F. Lindsay, R.A., two NCO?s and 12 Gunners, landed from the Charlotte, a transport, in charge of an ?Equipment of Congreve?s Rockets?.  They were attached to Fane?s Brigade of Portuguese Cavalry which was patrolling the other side of the river Tagus.

Santarem on the north bank of the Tagus, occupied by the French, was "rocketed" by Lindsay?s detachment on 13th November.  The rockets were fired from the South bank, across the river, presumably to burn the yards where the French are constructing boats and pontoons. 

It was reported ?he only fired a few of the carcass rockets, and without much apparent effect, except putting to the route a large convoy of baggage, marching towards Golegam, amongst whom a rocket fell."

The bombardment had little effect and the Rocket Troops seem to have returned home, Wellington did not ever seem to be impressed with rockets.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:57 13-Nov-2010

Walking the Torres Vedras Lines - a special bicentennial edition of
Itinerante magazine

The travelling magazine for ramblers and walkers in Portugal, Itinerant has launched a
special bicentennial edition to their quarterly magazine.
Published in English & Portuguese, Itinerant also has a presence on the internet.
The fouth quarter edition, released this week features 96 pages of text and
photos of walks along the Torres Vedras Lines, highlighting places of outstanding
natural beauty or historical importance and all for 4.96 Euros.

Editorial Introduction

Itinerante, Special edition (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_1RypsSSdlfI/TN3SsOwoMmI/AAAAAAAAAyE/V94wyl-hp08/s1600/img184.jpg)

A year later we return to the theme of the Napoleonic wars, this time to devote
ourselves exclusively to the Lines of Torres Vedras. Despite its relative recent
history, this effective defence barrier is relatively unknown to the Portuguese.
It was however crucial to the defence of Lisbon during the third french invasion
of Portugal. For many historians, Massena's retreat from the Lines of
Torres Vedras was the first sign of a decline in Napoleon's fortunes and although
not as dramatic as Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, it nevertheless marked a
turning point in french fortunes on the Spanish Peninsular.
For taking advantage of natural obstacles in the landscape, Wellington's engineers
had erected a four tier defensive line with a total length of 90 kms incorporating
152 fortifications, connector roads and visual telegraph communication system.
A formidable feat for its time, with only the first line fully complete when
Massena's troops encountered the Lines.

Itinerante, the french napoleonic invasions of Portugal (http://itinerante.pt/invasoes-francesas-na-genese-do-portugal-contemporaneo/?lang=en)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:18 16-Nov-2010
Massena falls back on Santerum

By the middle of November it was clear that the French could no longer
stay close to the Lines and therefore Massena decided to pull back to
Santarem where he expected to see out the winter while
awaiting reinforcements.
So on the night of 14 November, protected by a dense fog, the
French pulled out of their lines, and began to march north.
The fog lingured on until late morning and even then it took some time
for the British to discover the French had gone ( partly because one of
the French brigades had posted dummy sentries in their lines, using
straw men wearing old shakos).
This gave the French a head start, and Wellington's pursuing
troops did not catch up with them until 17 November.

Massena accompanied by his mistress and aides inspect their new quarters


By 18 November the French were in their new camps around Santerum
where it was clear the french held a stronger defensive position.
Here Massenas foraggers had more joy finding food and other supplies
to hold out during the winter.
Also General Elbe was attempting to construct a pontoon bridge with
which to attack Wellingtons isolated positions on the south bank of the Tagus.

Santerum on the Tagus comes under rocket attack

Early in November 1810, a detachment of Congreve Rockets arrived in Lisbon
aboard the the British warship, HMS Charlotte. The Royal artillery rocket
troop was commanded by Lieut Lindsey who had two NCO's and 12
gunners under his command.
They were soon attached to Fane's Portuguese cavalry which was charged with
patrolling the south bank of the River Tagus, against any incursion by the

On the 8th November disturbing news was arriving at Fane's headquarters in
Almeirim, that the french were gathering a flotilla of boats and other materials
( eg planks, rope and poles ) at Santerum in order to cross the Tagus.
These reports acquired from peasents fleeing the french, were later confirmed
by Portuguese spies. That the french were indeed gathering river boats, enough
to construct a pontoon bridge across the Tagus.

Fane after assesing the situation, thought it a golden opportunity for Lindsey's
Rocket troop to prove their worth. as the sails, planks, rigging and other
combustable material gathered by the french would be the perfect target
for Congreve Rockets.
Therefore as dawn broke on the morning of the 16th November,
Lieut Lindsey fired up to forty-two Congreve rockets at the quayside of
The effect of the rocket attack was hard to judge, as four or five of them fell
into the town another four disintegrated as they flew out of the rocket frames,
leaving only 32 to fly about all four corners of the Quayside, causing
much alarm but ( as far as we can tell ) very little damage.

Wellington, upon reading Fane's report of the rocket attack on Santerum
was clearly unimpressed by Congreve's rockets

Death to the French by CS Forrester


The british attack on Santerum has also been portrayed in one of CS Forresters,
Napoleonic adventure books about Rifleman Dodd of the 95th Rifles during
the Peninsular Wars.

Rifleman Dodd and his struggle against the French behind enemy lines

The novel relates to the adventures of a British soldier cut off from his regiment
and forced to survive for several months behind enemy lines.
During the British retreat from Coimbra, Dodd becomes separated from his regiment and
is cut off from Wellington's troops, with the entire French army between him and the lines
at Torres Vedras. In an attempt to get around the French, he heads for the Tagus River,
hoping to follow it to Lisbon.
However, the French are there ahead of him and he has no option but to live off the land
and try to survive. He joins a group of Portuguese guerrillas and spends two months with
them, harassing the encamped French army, killing sentries and laying ambushes for
scouting parties and supply animals.

Rifleman Dodd and the British rocket attack on Santerum

After two months of guerrilla fighting, Dodd hears artillery fire from about ten miles away.
He can tell by the sound that it is neither a battle nor a siege. He knows that anyone
exchanging artillery fire with the French could only be an ally, so taking his friend, Bernardino
and sets out to see whats happening. Along the way they meet another Portuguese guerrilla,
whose name they never learn, who leads them to the site of the firing. There he sees British
soldiers on the other side of the Tagus firing rockets at the town of Santarum, and the
French returning cannon-fire to stop them.
Dodd deduces that there must be something in the town that the British want to set on fire;
furthermore it must be something near the river. From this he can guess what the target
must be: the French are trying to construct a pontoon bridge across the Tagus, and the
British are firing the rockets to try to burn the pontoon boats, rope, timber and paint that
are warehoused by the river.

Unable to dislodge the British rocketeers from their entrenchments on the far side of the river,
the French gather up all the bridge-building supplies and move them further up river, to a
position where the British can neither see them or fire on them. Dodd determines to destroy
the bridging materiel himself.
He and Bernardino along with the unnamed guerrilla, return to their band's headquarters, only
to find that while they were gone the French had discovered and destroyed the whole band,
hanging the men on trees and taking away the women and food.

The three have nothing to eat, so the unnamed guerrilla visits the French encampment that
night, kills a sentry and steals a pack mule. They slaughter the mule and smoke the meat,
giving them enough food in their packs for several weeks. Then they set out to find the new
bridge-building headquarters. Before they find it they are surprised by a French patrol; they
run for cover, but Dodd's two friends fall and are captured. From the safety of the rocks
Dodd looks back to see his friends hanged. He resolutely goes on alone, and finds the
French encampment.
He patiently hides in the rocks watching the business of the camp for several days. Finally
he goes in by night, kills two sentries, and spreads highly flammable grease and oil (kept in
cauldrons by the French for tarring rope, greasing cordage, and waterproofing their boats)
over the pontoons and timber and rope, and sets it all on fire. From his hideout in the rocks
he sees the whole encampment burn, and is pleased with his success; he never learns that
orders had arrived only that day for the French to burn the encampment themselves, since
Massena had ordered a retreat.

Dodd avoids the retreating French army and happily rejoins his regiment, unacknowledged,
unthanked and unconcerned about the months spent behind enemy lines.

Death to the French by CS Forrester on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-French-C-S-Forester/dp/0330020676#_)

Rifleman Dodd in Sharpes Escape

In Sharpe's Escape one of Bernard Cornwell's Richard Sharpe novels (which were
partly inspired by Death to the French) a Rifleman named Dodd is separated from Sharpe's
company during a skirmish in 1810. Cornwell acknowledged on his website that the
character was based on the same individual depicted by CS Forrester.

Video of the Royal Horse Artillery, rocket troop (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgCIJDs5pLY#)

Note - the above is a follow up to Rifleman Plunket's great report, as I've included
the background to the British attack on Santerum. The report to Wellington also
mentioned that the attack occured on the morning of the 16th November ?
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:39 19-Nov-2010
Conclusion of the Hungarian Hussar Patrol

For those of you who were following the Hungarian Hussar patrol on their epic
journey across Europe from Lisbon to Budapest. Heres the Hungarian tv interview
of the hussars following their return to Hungary. Where they attended a
military ceremony.

Final dispatch from Lieut Col Adam Barnabas, CO of the Hussar Patrol

I'm happy to report that the Hungarian Hussar Patrol riding across 5
countries on Portuguese horses has accomplished its mission. The patrol crossed
the Hungarian border on 18 Sept and the closing ceremony of The Multinational
Hussar Patrol event took place in Budapest Castle on 15th October. Exploiting
this opportunity I would like to express our deep thanks to you for your unforgotten
supportive approach. I wish you all the best and please give my regards to all
members of the NATO JALLC community.

Hungarian Hussar patrol arrives in Hungary (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=hu&u=http://www.dunatv.hu/kultura/huszarportya.html&ei=sMPlTLuDO8G2hAfu0LX4DA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CD4Q7gEwBw&prev=/search%3Fq%3DNemzetk%25C3%25B6zi%2BHusz%25C3%25A1r-portya%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB)

Interview with the commanding officer of the Hungarian Hussar patrol (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=hu&u=http://www.fmh.hu/cimlapon/20101008_szep_lany_hozta_haza&prev=/search%3Fq%3DNemzetk%25C3%25B6zi%2BHusz%25C3%25A1r-portya%26start%3D30%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhgqgWC_vqdeuLuTNBIEKvc40CoMTg)

Video of the Hungarian Hussar patrol's final ceremony in Hungary (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_88dkB2KHM#)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:52 24-Nov-2010

Yet another Fort opens on the Lines of Torres Vedras

With winter drawing in the french under Massena have decided to establish their
headquarters at the town of Santerum overlooking the Lines of Torres Vedras,
on the north bank of the Tagus.
Wellington's content to see them settle down beyond the lines, as his engineers
continue to toil away on any remaining work to be done on the first line of defence
while making preperations for work on the fall back, second line of defence works
behind Torres Vedras.
Only three weeks ago the Portuguese completed the restoration of redoubt
number 38 in the town of Forte de Casa, further strengthing the lines against
the french. This was opened with great ceremony on the 4th November where
the President, as well as other visiting dignatories congratulated the people
and council of Vila Franca de Xira; for all their hard work in restoring the
redoubt to visitors and acting as a further deterrent to Napoleon's ambitions
in Portugal.

Troops encamped by a redoubt on the Lines of Torres Vedras, ready
to face the french


Map of Anglo-Portuguese & French positions, Lines of Torres Vedras
October to December 1810, Click on map to enlarge (http://linhasdetorresvedras.net/ficheiros/documentos_historico/mapa_linhas_de_torres_vedras.png)

Wellington's Redoubt is opened with great ceremony (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://semanal.omirante.pt/index.asp%3FidEdicao%3D469%26id%3D69588%26idSeccao%3D7505%26Action%3Dnoticia&ei=UWfsTN2XF8WwhAfr8pnNDA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDIQ7gEwBTgU&prev=/search%3Fq%3DA%2Bdefesa%2Bdas%2BLinhas%2Bde%2BTorres%2Bnov%2B2010%26start%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB)

Video of the Opening ceremony at Forte de Casa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vll-I9lejos#)

Reports of french troops looting towns and villages

As Massena's troops settle down before the lines of Torres Vedras their have
been numourous reports of looting and foraging of french dragoons and
hussars in search of grain, wheat, wine, fruit, straw and hay.
The presence of such a large army of 60,000 men including 15,000
cavalry under Massena, is proving a great burden for the Portuguese towns
and villages through which the french army had marched through
and around which the many troops had established their camps and
Napoleon's troops have posted dire warnings to any inhabitants who
might try to resist the invaders.

Journal de Beirao, carries reports of looting by Napoleon's troops (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://obeirao.net/jornal/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D981&ei=oXz5TIeRHcqJhQfgg-ioCQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CE4Q7gEwCTge&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dcomando%2Bdo%2Bmarechal%2BAndr%25C3%25A9%2BMass%25C3%25A9na%2Bnas%2BLinhas%2Bde%2BTorres%26start%3D30%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26prmd%3Do)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, Portugal defies Napoleon
Post by: Lt. Campers on 17:19 14-Dec-2010
Portugal defies Napoleon

Portugal has minted a limited edition of commemorative coins to
mark the 200th anniversary of the Lines of Torres Vedras.

Bicentennial commemorative 2.5 Euro coin


Combat at Sobral - October 1810

Also just released a couple of weeks ago is the Video of the Combat
of Sobral where Massenas troops, led by Junot attack the Lines of
Torres Vedras at Sobral.

Combat at Sobral, Junot's troops attack the Lines of Torres Vedras (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVbEg12JhUc#)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:55 22-Jan-2011

Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe.html)

The latest from the Siege of Cadiz

Well as you can see the 1811 campaign season is upon us already, in a conflict thats
stretched from the port of Sebastopol in the Crimea to the Lines of Torres Vedras on the
With Wellington's men waiting patiently for Massena's lack of supplies and stretched
communication lines, to test the resolve of the French Marshal in his field headquarters
at Santerum. Another french army under Soult, has taken the opportunity to lay siege to
the last border fortress to defy the french, at Badajoz.

The Spanish battery at Cadiz


Video film of the French besieging the Spanish port

The french bombarding Cadiz, part1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIpQiit8EWo&feature=related#normal)

The french bombarding Cadiz, part2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4IoNn_YtL8&NR=1#normal)

Residents of Chiclana de la Frontera near the french siege lines, protest
against Victors Troops


Spanish journal - EL Mundo reports on the hardships of the french siege (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2010/02/06/andalucia/1265480760.html&ei=NFg7TdrQPMqWhQfEpqizCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCcQ7gEwATgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3DRecreaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bde%2Bla%2Bbatalla%2Bde%2BChiclana%2B2011%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D735%26bih%3D408%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26prmd%3Divns)

Victors troops are depleted

To bolster his efforts, Soult has ordered Victor to part with many of his men, thus depleting
the number of french troops besieging Cadiz. These moves have not gone unnoticed by the
British and their Spanish allies who have been intercepting some of the french dispatches
thanks to the efforts of the Spanish Guerillas.
Therefore plans are afoot to lift the siege and corner Victors army in open battle by
attacking his men on two sides. Of course these preperations are being held behind closed
doors but their grand designs are already being aired on video.

The Allies break out - plans to surprise the French besieging Cadiz

Plans to attack the French besieging the port of Cadiz in Spain, video (https://vimeo.com/11765462)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:13 02-Feb-2011
Sharpes Fury - Richard Sharpe & the Siege of Cadiz

I'm sure many would be interested to know how far the Richard Sharpe books have come in
relation to the Bicentennial events. Well the Siege of Cadiz in 1811 appears in Sharpes Fury
where according to the book.

. . . . .(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/17/BernardCornwell_SharpesFury.jpg/200px-BernardCornwell_SharpesFury.jpg)

January 1811 - Mystery and Intrigue in Cadiz

The British sally forth to the River Guadiana ( from their Portuguese strongholds ) with a small
force seeking to break a key bridge across the river.
The mission is commanded by the young Brigadier General Moon, a man with no love for the
upstart rifleman, and meets disaster when Sharpe and his men encounter a brutal
opponent in the French Colonel Henri Vandal, commander of the 8th Regiment of the Line.
Running from their first encounter, Sharpe and his small band of survivors are driven by
Vandal into the fortress city of Cadiz, which is already besieged by the French under
Marshal Victor.

In Cadiz Sharpe finds himself in the employ of British ambassador Henry Wellesley, younger
brother to the Duke of Wellington, who is struggling to keep the various factions in Cadiz
united against the French.
To remedy this Sharpe finds himself drawn into a deadly game of intrigue between the British
spymaster Lord Pumphrey and a shadowy murderous faction that is threatening to break the
fragile alliance between Spain and Britain apart.

The tensions that have grown up between the British and Spanish allies are heightened by
the threat to the city and the only chance seems to be a lifting of the siege. The joint army,
led by the British General Thomas Graham and Spanish General Lapena, seeks to take the battle
to the French; however the Spanish refuse to fight, leaving the British isolated.
It also means Richard Sharpe will meet Colonel Vandal for a second time at the Battle of Barrosa.

Cadiz under Siege, highlights of the Spanish defending the Port of Cadiz, 1810

Spanish cannon & troops march to their positions on the city wall (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1SB6L44l0I#)

British & Spanish troops march into Chiclana

Video of British and Spanish troops in Chiclana (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKPppv0rqxo#)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:52 09-Feb-2011
French troops marching out of Chiclana to reinforce Soult


Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe.html)

The Allies sieze the opportunity of raising the Siege of Cadiz


In January 1810, the city of Cadiz, both a major Allied harbour and effective seat
of Spanish government following the fall of Madrid, was besieged by French troops
of Marshal Soult's I Corps under the command of Marshal Victor.
The city's garrison initially comprised only four battalions of volunteers and recruits, but
the Duke of Alburquerque reinforced the city by ignoring orders from the Spanish Junta
to attack Victor's superior invading army and instead took his 10,000 men down south
from Seville to reinforce the city port of Cadiz.
By doing so he saved the city from being taken by Victor's invading army in Andalusia.

The ruling Spanish Junta, under pressure from widespread protests and mob violence,
resigned and a five man Spanish Regency was set up to govern in its place.
The Regency recognising that Spain could only be saved with Allied help, immediately
asked the newly ennobled Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, to send reinforcements
to Cadiz. By the middle of February, five Anglo-Portuguese battalions had landed, bringing
the garrison up to 17,000 men and making the city virtually impregnable.
Additional troops continued to arrive and by May, the garrison was 26,000 strong, while
those of the besieging French forces had risen to 25,000 men.

Although the siege tied up a large number of Spanish, British and Portuguese troops,
Wellington accepted this as part of his strategy, since it also tied up a significant number
of French troops in a fruitless siege.

However by January 1811, Victor's position was deteriorating. Soult had ordered Victor to
send almost a third of his troops to support his efforts in besieging Badajoz, reducing the
French army surrounding Cadiz to around 15,000 men.
Victor had little chance of making progress against the fortress city with a force of this
size, nor could he afford to withdraw, as the garrison of Cadiz, if let loose, was large
enough to overrun the whole of Andalusia.

British & Spanish plans are set in motion

Following the withdrawl of many of Victor's troops to help Soult secure Badajoz, the Allies
sense an opportunity to bring Marshal Victor to battle and raise the siege of Cadiz.
To this end, an Anglo-Spanish expedition is being sent by sea from Cadiz to Tarifa, with
the intention of marching north to engage the French rear.
This force comprising some 8,000 Spanish and 4,000 British troops, under the overall
nominal command of the Spanish General Manuel la Pena ( a political accommodation since
hes widely regarded as incompetent ! ) is effectively commanded by Lieut General Sir
Thomas Graham of the Anglo Portuguese division.
To coincide with la Pena's assault, it is arranged that General Zayas would lead a
force of some 4,000 Spanish troops to sally forth from Cadiz, via a pontoon bridge from
the Isla de Leon.

How the assualt will fair is yet to be seen but theirs already a flurry of expectation
in the Spanish press and on TV

Breakdown of the forthcoming events in the Guia de Cadiz news (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.guiadecadiz.com/es/noticias/febrero/2011/conmemoracion-del-bicentenario-batalla-chiclana-llega-su-momento-algido&ei=ZNhRTZCpK8uR4AbUxMSCCQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCQQ7gEwATgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenario%2Bde%2Bla%2BBatalla%2Bde%2BChiclana%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D816%26bih%3D461%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26prmd%3Divns)

The Official Bicentennial website (http://www.bicentenariochiclana.com/Bicentenario_Batalla_Chiclana/Inicio__.html)

Video of latest preperations for the forthcoming Battle announced on Spanish TV (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy__vg34hvY#)

Spanish TV video sets the scene of the Battle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuBpKH5KFNI#ws)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:19 15-Feb-2011
Massena's position before the Torres Vedras Lines becomes untenable

As expats know French troops have been facing the Torres Vedras Lines since the
11th October with no sign that Massena's army is ever likely to breach the lines
preventing him from securing his ultimate prize, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.

It becomes clear that the French Marshal is biding his time in the hope that Ney
or Soult would send reinforcements from Spain. But no such troops are forthcoming
and in light of the meagre foraging and food resources surrounding the districts of
Leiria, Rio Maior, Santarem and Tomar where Massena's troops are quartered.
Privation and starvation are beginning to take their toll on the french army.

Presidential visit to the forts around Sobral (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.publico.pt/Cultura/cavaco-silva-inaugura-hoje-reabilitacao-de-quatro-fortes-com-duzentos-anos_1443797&ei=ovZnTbyaLIjNhAekldDsDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB4Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Bas%2Btropas%2Bluso-brit%25C3%25A2nicas%2B2011%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D778%26bih%3D420%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26prmd%3Divns)

Portuguese & Spanish partisan's, militia and guerillas harry the french rear

As mentioned before Massena's communications with Ney & Soult was being
harried by partisan's and guerillas operating in his rear, requiring a strong military
escort for any supplies or reinforcements to get through.
The trials and tribulations facing the French armies this year ( 1811 ) are
covered by the following Portuguese articles.

A Portuguese partisan watches a french patrol pass by


Portuguese account of an attack on a French supply convoy (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://dosenxidros.blogspot.com/2011/02/o-entardecer-do-dia-1-de-fevereiro-de.html&ei=EMBZTbTrMcW7hAeui-WbDA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCsQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Btropas%2BGeneral%2BMassena%2B2011%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB%26prmd%3Divns)

Portuguese report on the state of the French Army as Massena considers withdrawl (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://linhasdetorres.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html&ei=d5RZTZqfJJKzhAfynqHXDA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CE4Q7gEwBjgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Blinhas%2Btorres%2Bvedras%2B2011%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB%26prmd%3Divns)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:17 28-Feb-2011
The Barrosa campaign - British & Spanish troops land south of Cadiz


Following the reduction of Victor's besieging army surrounding Cadiz. British and
Portuguese troops under the command of Lieut General Sir Thomas Graham sailed
off to the Spanish town of Tarifa but were diverted by adverse winds to the Andalusian
resort of Algerciras, further along the coast. Consequently he had to march back to
Tarifa in order to join up with Spanish troops, led by General La Pena, arriving aboard
British & Spanish ships ( on 27th Feb ) from Cadiz.
Here the joint expeditionary force, now numbering 12,000 men came under the
combined command of the Spanish General, La Pena.
From Tarifa, La Pena planned to march for Cadiz, in the hope of enveloping the
French siege lines with an attack on two fronts. One by the garrison of Cadiz sallying
forth upon the french and the other by his own forces attacking Victor's troops
from behind, thus splitting Victors army in two.

British naval expedition off the Andalusian coast

To further strengthen the Allied troops, a force of 1600 Spanish irregulars under
General Beguines were ordered to come down from their strongholds in the Ronda
mountains and meet up with the Allied Army marching on Cadiz.
Unaware of the delays in sailing, Beguines had marched as far as Medina-Sidonia
in search of the allies, only to be caught up in a running battle with french troops
quartered about the town, guarding Victors right flank.
With no British or spanish troops in sight, Beguines irregulars retired back to the mountains.
But the alarm was enough to alert General Cassagne ( holding Medina-Sidonia ) of the
impending threat to the south and sent word to Victor of developing situation to his

British soldiers & Marines marching along the coast road to Chiclana


Meanwhile La Pena, in Tarifa had been considering two routes to Cadiz, the easiest and
most straight forward route was to follow the coast road through Vejer de la Frontera and
Sonil & then forward to the southern tip of the Isle de Leon. This route had the advantage of
allowing La Pena to establish contact with the garrison of Cadiz but would also allow Victor
to fight close to his own siege lines, reducing the amount of time his siege works would
be vulnerable to attack.
The other route went inland to Medina-Sidonia and would place the Allied army directly
behind Victors field headquarters, forcing the french general to come out of his lines to deal
with the new threat.

La Pena chooses the inland route and the Allied columns march as far as Casa Viegas where
a couple of companies of french troops are surprised and captured by the Spanish. From the
prisoners it emerges that 3000 troops are holding Medina-Sidonia. The allies are soon
informed by scouts from Beguines irregulars, that Medina-Sidonia is being held by a
much stronger force than had been anticipated.
Rather than engage the french, La Pena decides the Allies should abandon Casa Viegas
and march across country to rejoin the coast road. The change of plan plus bad weather
and La Pena's insistance on marching only at night, means the Allies are now two days
behind schedule.
La Pena sends word to Cadiz informing General Zayas of the delay but his dispatch
fails to arrive. So on the 3rd March, Zayas launches his sally as planned, throwing up a
bridge of boats across the Santri Petri creek, over which a battalion of Spanish troops is
sent forward to establish a brideghead to await the arrival of the main force.
Victor responds by sending six companies of french Voltiguers to storm the bridgehead
to prevent any Spanish breakout. In the ensuing fight, Zyas loses the new bridgehead but
manages to retrieve the pontoon bridge.

Spanish press report on the Anglo-Spanish campaign (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.lavozdigital.es/cadiz/v/20110227/ciudadanos/chiclana-vuelve-derrotar-franceses-20110227.html&ei=CSZqTczbL4O3hQfmqqntDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CE0Q7gEwAw&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecreaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bde%2Bla%2BBatalla%2Bde%2BLa%2BBarrosa%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26biw%3D743%26bih%3D554%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Divns)

Spanish troops marching to confront the french at Chiclana


With the threat from Cadiz neutralized and reports from his dragoons that a strong Allied
force was amrching along the coastal road. Victor proceeded to set a trap for the Allies.
Victor decided to post Villatte?s division on Bermeja peninsula, with orders to delay the
allied advance. Leval and Ruffin were posted at Chiclana, three miles inland.
Once the allies were engaged with Villatte?s division, Leval and Ruffin who would be
on their flank ( concealed behind the thick Chiclana forest ) would attack the allies as
they become engaged by Villatte?s division.

The Battle of Barrosa ( Chiclana ) 5th March 1811

Video of the Battle of Barossa in Spain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDFVcUde76U#)

On the morning of 5 March the allies marched right into Victor?s trap. After a night march
they reached the beach just south of the village of La Barrosa, and the hill of Cerro del
Soon after dawn the allied cavalry reached the top of the Cerro del Puerco, from where
they could see Villatte?s division blocking the road to Cadiz.
La Pena decided to attack at once to clear the road and sent Lardizabal's division to
make the attack. Villatte and Lardizabal had similar numbers of men and the first Spanish
attack failed.
La Pena then sent in reinforcements, while Zayas attacked Villatte in the rear from the
Isla de Leon. Sensibly Villatte retreated east across the Almanza Creek.

The allies were now in a reasonably strong position at the southern tip of the French lines,
with the Spanish on the Bermeja peninsula and Graham at Barrosa and on the Cerro
but La Pena decided that his army was too stretched out, and ordered Graham to move
north, away from Barrosa.
Five Spanish and one British battalion would form a rearguard on the hill. After protesting
about this order, Graham reluctantly moved off, following a forest track.
When Victor learnt of this movement he decided to spring his trap. Leval was sent to attack
Graham in the woods, Ruffin to seize the hill and the French cavalry to block the coastal
road south of Barossa.
The five Spanish battalions on the hill were under orders to follow Graham off the hill and so
when the French attacked withdrew. The one British battalion remained for a little longer
before being forced to follow.

Victor had not achieved his main aim, of hitting the allies while they were stretched out
along the shore, partly because the allied army was much smaller than he had believed and
therefore much more compact. However he was now in a good position to trap them on the
Bermeja peninsula and force them to retreat back into Cadiz.
He was prevented from achieving this by Graham. The moment he discovered what was
happening, Graham decided to turn back and launch a counterattack. A line of skirmishers
was sent back immediately, to hold the French off for long enough for the main force to
turn back. Two separate battles developed ? one between Leval?s division and Wheatley's
brigade and one between Ruffin?s division and Dilke?s brigade. Both developed in a similar way.
The line of skirmishers suffered heavy casualties but held the French up long enough for the
rest of Graham's men to form their lines.
The French attacked in columns but were beaten off, eventually retreating back to the east.

French skirmishers firing


Result of the Battle

The battle of Barrosa was a triumph for the British army. A superior French force was repulsed
with the French suffering heavier casualties. Ruffin and Laval lost 244 dead, 1684 wounded
and 134 missing (a total of 2,062 casualties) while Graham lost 201 dead and 1,037 wounded
(a total of 1,238 casualties).
The French also lost 337 men in the early clash with La Pe?a?s men who had suffered similar losses.
The French were thrown into a state of some panic - at the council of war, the following day
the french decided to abandon their lines, if the allies made any serious attempt to attack them.

Report on the Anglo-Spanish victory in the weekend press (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.diariodecadiz.es/article/provincia/914639/la/ciudad/revive/la/historica/victoria/ante/las/tropas/francesas.html&ei=I5xqTd6iHY2whAee2onaBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CF4Q7gEwBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dfotos%2BBatalla%2Bde%2BChiclana%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D795%26bih%3D562%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Divns)

Fortunately for Victor no Allied attack came. La Pena behaved dreadfully during the main part
of the battle on 5 March. For two hours Graham was fighting only two miles from the Spanish
position, but instead of coming to his aid, La Pena decided the British had no chance of avoiding
defeat and refused to advance to support them, much to the frustration of General Zayas.
On the morning of 6 March, Graham announced that he could no long serve under La Pena and the
British troops returned to the Isla de Leon. Thus Victor's army resumed the siege that would drag
on for another year.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 14:16 28-Feb-2011
Very good report Lt, and very quick off the mark. I am still working on Barrosa for my web-site and will report soon.  I have heard a rumour that an Eagle was taken during the battle - I shall investigate more.....
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 14:25 01-Mar-2011
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Very good report Lt, and very quick off the mark. I am still working on Barrosa for my web-site and will report soon.  I have heard a rumour that an Eagle was taken during the battle - I shall investigate more.....

Its no rumour Rifleman,

From all the reports coming out of Cadiz. following last weekends action.
I can confirm that a french Imperial Eagle of the 8th Ligne was captured during heavy fighting
between Wheatley's brigade and french infantry of Leval's division at Barossa.

A French Imperial Standard can be seen as British & Spanish troops parade after the battle


Although Barossa was a victory for the Allies who witnessed the french retreat from the field.
It ended amid much acrimony and animosity between Lieut General Graham and the
spanish commanding officer, General La Pena. Graham had no doubt that La Pena had left
the british to their fate when attacked by the two french divisions.
The following day Graham collected his trophies and wounded from the field and marched
them back to Cadiz.
La Pena despite all protestations and advice to march forward against the distressed french at
Chiclana, refused to move. Preferring to remain entrenched at Bermeja until 6th March
before crossing back into Cadiz via the Isla de Leon.

Despite the conduct of their commanding officer both the Spanish success at Almanza Creek
and Graham's actions at Barrosa Ridge gave a much needed boost to Spanish morale.
La Pena was subsequently brought before a court-martial, mainly for his refusal to pursue
the retreating French, where he was acquitted but relieved of command.
Graham was also removed after falling out with the Spanish regency in Cadiz and joined
Wellingtons army back in Portugal.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:53 06-Mar-2011

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Massena's troops march north

As many expats in Portugal know, the French under Marshall Massena have been quartered
in and around Santerum, facing the Lines of Torres Vedras for almost 6 months. Where the
french hoped Wellington might be pursuaded to come out and attack them on their
fall back positions on the Tagus.
But no attack came and as foraged supplies and stores began to run out, Massena gave in
to his generals demands, to either retire to Spain or move north to seek out better quarters
and fresh supplies elsewhere.
Therefore overnight on the 4th March, the french began to move out of Santerum and other
surrounding districts so that by the morning of the 5th March, every Corps in Massena's
army was on the march.

French troops under General Loison's command, march through Tomar


In order to mask his true intentions, Massena dispatched General Loison to Tomar in order
to make a faint across the river Tagus, hoping to fool Wellington's scouts, into believing
his motives are to threaten Allied positions along the south bank. This was accomplished
by erecting a couple of decoy bridges across the Tagus, that were subsequently
destroyed by Loison's troops. As his soldiers raced after Marshall Ney's Corps who had
doubled back to Leira, before marching on Pombal.

For most of the weekend of the 4th to the 6th March, Wellington was merely content
to watch the french go, relieved to see them finally abandon their positions along the
Lines of Torres Vedras.

The French in Portugal - video of french soldiers enjoying the local
Tapas Bars & Restaurants

Video of the french in Portugal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv97c5C4R4I#)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 13:38 08-Mar-2011
Massena marches for Coimbra in northern Portugal


French troops under the command of Marshall Massena, continue their march for Coimbra
with Montbrun's dragoons in the lead, scouting ahead of the main body. Troops of
Loison's, division having completed their feint across the Tagus, destroyed the last of
the remaining decoy bridges on the 7th March before returning to join Ney's rearguard
at Leira.

Portuguese report on the destruction of Leira (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.cm-leiria.pt/PageGen.aspx%3FWMCM_PaginaId%3D28449%26noticiaId%3D36769%26pastaNoticiasReqId%3D27568&ei=_vx1TanFE4qMswau7ZyRBQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDIQ7gEwATgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Bas%2Btropas%2Bfrancesas%2Bleira%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D709%26bih%3D422%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26prmd%3Divns)

The french having exhausted their meagre supplies and half rations, are in a sullen
mood as they march north for Coimbra. This leads to a number of outrages and
wanton destruction along the way.
As the trail of destruction left behind in the wake of Massena's army is indescribable,
with the worst of the devastation taking place in Leira. Where deserted by its inhabitants
who sought refuge behind the Lines, the half starved french vented their anger and
frustration at finding no food by killing and looting before setting fire to the entire
town as they left.

Portuguese partisan's observe the French columns as they march past


The Allies under Wellington didn't stir beyond the Torres Vedras lines until the March 6th,
and even then his divisions were too widely scattered to make an effective pursuit,
due to the confusion over Massena's intial movements. Still by the 9th March
Massena's intentions had become clear, that he was making for Pombal and then
Coimbra, after securing a crossing over the Mondego river.

Dairio de Coimbra - Pombal & Redinha Parish councils make hasty preperations against
the french (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.diariocoimbra.pt/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D11667%26Itemid%3D135&ei=5O11TeeKCobSsgbS87SFBQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB8Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bda%2BBatalha%2Bda%2BRedinha%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D771%26bih%3D429%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26prmd%3Divns)

More on those preperations against the French (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.pombal97.com/index.php%3Flang%3Dpt%26post%3D898&ei=mO91TZ74PNODhQevrPX9Bg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CD4Q7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bda%2BBatalha%2Bda%2BRedinha%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D771%26bih%3D429%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns)

Campaign map of Portugal 1808-1811 (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_qqOj1Wxj-tI/SLx7IjkiCqI/AAAAAAAAAWs/by5KQip9Qgc/s1600-h/Digitalizar0001.jpg)

This weekends events were discussed in a special meeting of Pombal Parish Council


Stage is set for Bicentenary battle over the weekend (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://noticiasdocentro.wordpress.com/&ei=4dt3TYbGEY2zhAfW152HBw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDwQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bda%2BBatalha%2Bda%2BRedinha%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D792%26bih%3D411%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns)

Ahead of him, the Portuguese militia and partisans are already galvernised into action
by the ever active Nicholas Trant, who began securing or blowing up bridges across
the Mondego river, in order to prevent Massena taking Coimbra.
Wellington never rated Trant's militia very highly when confronted by regular french
troops and therefore sent word that Trant should retreat if pressed by Massena.

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:47 11-Mar-2011
French troops enter Pombal


On the 10th March, french troops under the command of Marshall Ney entered the
town of Pombal, securing the castle ( Castelo de Pombal ) on the high ground
above the town.
Ahead of him Massena and his advance party of french dragoons under Montbrun,
have begun reconnoitering the Mondego river by the morning of the 11th March
and found it in flood. With many of the major bridges having been siezed by
Portuguese irregulars and Coimbra held by Nicholas Trants militia. Massena needs
to buy time in order to secure a crossing.
Already he had gained a head start over the Britsih but with the main thrust of the
french retreat becoming apparent by the 9th March. Wellington soon dispatched his
Light Division under the command  of Sir William Erskine ( comprised of the 95th
Rifles and a battalion of Portuguese Light infantry, Cacadores ) from Packs brigade.
Ekskine was making good progress against the French and by the 10th, the Light
Division was only a days march away from Ney's rearguard, as he entered Pombal.

Crisis meeting called for the 19 March at a local restaurant in Serra de Moita


Latest news of Events in and around Pombal (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.cm-pombal.pt/seu_municipio/destaques2/destaque.php%3Fsubaction%3Dshowfull%26id%3D1299500369%26archive%3D%26start_from%3D%26ucat%3D%26&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2Bda%2BBatalha%2Bda%2BRedinha%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D698%26bih%3D433%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhgLrgZ6N1fi-s6aTqO4up-DdQcS0Q)

French troops march into Pombal and secure the square




The fall of Pombal wasn't without incident - as can be seen by this video

The French take Pombal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvvFfz3TFAI#)

Wellington's troops arrive on the scene

On the morning of the 11th March, reports began arriving at Ney's headquarters that the
British were nearby and had been reinforced by Picton's 3rd Division. The news caused
alarm amoungst the french, as Ney soon realised, he would be greatly outnumbered by
the advancing British vanguard.

Ney posts a battalion of french troops to defend the castle

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:18 13-Mar-2011
The battles of Pombal and Redinha

The stage is set for the first of two battles or should we say rearguard actions between
the British Light Division and Ney's 16th Chasseurs ( 16th Light Infantry ) as Wellington
saw an opportunity to cut off the two isolated battalions holding Pombal. So on the 11th
he sent in Elders battalion of Cacadores ( Portuguese Light Infantry ) supported by two
companies of Erskines 95th Rifles across the bridge with the Light Division standing by
in support.

French troops withdrawing from Pombal


Meanwhile Picton's 3rd division was sent off to outflank the French position from Wellington's
left flank.
At first all went well for the Allies, as Elders battalion supported by the 'crack shots' of the
95th Rifles, took the bridge over the Ancos river and fought their way into Pombal and
onwards upto the castle. Ney realising that his men in the castle were about to be cutoff,
led four battalions of the 6th & 69th Ligne ( that he held in reserve ) down from the heights.
Sweeping all before them, Elders men were put on the backheel and were driven out of
town and back across the bridge.
Although he had retaken the town, Ney didn't stay long after barricading the main street,
he proceeded to set fire to a number of houses before retiring back up the hill with his
entire force.
The Light Division was left to retake Pombal which took time with all the fires and mayhem
in Pombal & the late arrival of Picton's 3rd division. Therefore under cover of darkness the
french managed to fall back to the next river course at Redinha by the river Soure.

The battle of Redinha, 12th March

Map of Battle of Redinha, courtesy The Napoleon Series (http://www.napoleon-series.org/images/military/maps/peninsula/redinha.jpg)

Video of the battle or Redinha, refought (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFx2yI2yafQ#ws)

On the 12th March, Ney lined up his men with Mermet's division next to the Soure river
overlooking the allies moving across a small plain on one side and Marchand's division, north
of the village, on the far side of the Ancos river thats linked by a narrow bridge.
His troops formed two rank lines, supported by artillery, with skirmishers placed at strategic
intervals to the front and cavalry positioned further back.

Following yesterdays events, Wellington was taking no chances. It took until 2pm in the
afternoon for the British Light Division ( including Packs Portuguese & Picton's 3rd Division )
to be joined by reinforcements comprising the 4th Division with the British 1st & 6th
divisions coming up close behind.
It was only now that Wellington ordered in his attack. With the 3rd Divison going in against
the french left flank while the Light Division attacked Ney's right flank. While Coles troops
advanced on Ney's centre.

Picton's division succeeded in mastering the heights and the French fell back. The allies
followed but were brought in range of all six of Ney's guns and the British fell back with
heavy losses.
A bayonet charge from three small battalions of the 27th, the 59th and all Ney's tirailleurs
drove the British-Portuguese all the way back to the foot of the heights. On Ney's right,
the Light Division suffered a similar fate. They managed to eject the French skirmishers
posted in the wood but were met and driven back by infantry and cavalry hidden from view.
Cole's men were unable to make any progress.

With both of his flanks driven back, Wellington advanced his centre to attack the position
of the French in front. Ney responded with the 25th Light and the 50th of the line, supported
by artillery and the 3rd Hussars and the 6th Dragoons.
There was a discharge of musketry and artillery, followed by another bayonet and cavalry
charge, and the Anglo-Portuguese centre was thrown into confusion. At this point when the
allied centre faltered, Ney might have been on the verge of winning a spectacular victory
had he been able to more fully engage Mermet's division, driving the allies into the valley Arunca.
But the Duke of Elchingen was prudent and recalled his troops back to the bridge, and for an
hour continued repulsed further assaults on his position, breaking the ranks of the
Anglo-Portuguese with intense musket fire.

Portuguese troops fighting for control of the bridge at Redinha


By four o'clock Ney had broken all the allied assaults, until Wellington rallied his entire army
in four lines and advanced them onto the French position, again attempting to turn both flanks.
Ney, with no reserves left, fired a salvo from his cannon, creating a screen of smoke to conceal
the withdrawal of his troops across the river.
Redinha was put to the torch and Ney assumed a new positioned on the other side of the
Ancos river. Wellington's again attempted to turn both flanks but Ney withdrew his rearguard
to prevent being trapped, retiring to the village of Condeixa.


Ney has been praised for his remarkable handling of the rearguard. For the loss of 229 men
he had held Wellington up for an entire day, giving Massena the time needed to force his way
across the Mondego River. Wellington himself believed the entire French army was upon him,
and was disappointed to discover that it was merely a rearguard.

Unfortunately for the French Massena failed to take advantage of that chance. Crucially, in
the two days bought by Ney, Massena had not attempted a coup de main against Coimbra,
even though Trant's rather weak garrison had orders to retire immediately if strongly pressed.
By the end of 12 March the French were still to the south of the river and in danger of being
trapped by Wellington.
The only alternative route open to Massena was to retreat east towards the Spanish border,
and the only road available led east from Condeixa. With the British close to that village, on
the morning of the 13th March. Massena began the long costly retreat back into Spain which
marked the complete failure of his great invasion of Portugal.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:44 14-Mar-2011
The French leave behind a trail of destruction following their retreat

As expats know the Portuguese will be counting the cost of the trail of devastation
left behind by Massena's army following the burning of Leira, Pombal and the village
of Redinha.
With the french firmly on their way back to the Spain, following their departure from
Condeixa-a-Nova. It merely leaves the Anglo-Portuguese to follow up and secure
these liberated towns and restore order, following much fighting over the weekend
during the french retreat.

A Cavalry officer reports on the latest dispositions of the french


Leira was the most devasted town where the french vandalised, looted and burned
many buildings. Those people who banded together with the partisans were soon
embroiled in running street battles with Ney's troops, as they setup barricades to
frustrate the french retreat.

Bitter fighting was reported around Leira, as the Partisans clashed with
French troops

Film of Partisans behind a barricade as they clash with the french (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBj8SAg28Qc#ws)

Pombal, as we know was set ablaze by the french, after thowing back Erskines attack
across the bridge which delayed the Light divisions pursuit of Ney, until the british had
passed through the blazing town.
Finally Condeixa-a-Nova was subjected to looting and arson as the last french regiments
filed out of the town before the british and portuguese army arrived.

Condeixa remembers the passage of French troops (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.cm-condeixa.pt/noticias/noticia.php%3Fid%3D848&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Binvas%25C3%25A3o%2Bfrancesas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D828%26bih%3D475%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhhrm22DawLG5yfPd-yDSmuzhBx-ow)

Portuguese troops march through Condeixa-a-Nova on their way to
attend a ceremony


The Portuguese present arms

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:19 16-Mar-2011

Lines of Torres Vedras blogspot retires from the fray

With Massena's army withdrawing from Portugal, the french no longer pose a
threat to Lisbon and the Lines of Torres Vedras. Therefore a Portuguese website on
the Peninsular Wars in general and the Torres Vedras lines in particular, has decided
to withdraw from the fray.
I have quoted this website before as its posted a lot of interesting information
and events in the past.

The LTV announcement (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://linhasdetorres.blogspot.com/2011/03/chegamos-ao-fim.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2BGuerra%2BPeninsular,%2BRecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2BHist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bda%2Bbatalha%26start%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D697%26bih%3D372%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhjM58SY-3QmBk8EUTsUrePjjgmZNA)

Lines of Torres Vedras blogspot (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Flinhasdetorres.blogspot.com%2F)

Coimbra was held by Nicolas Trant, a british officer in the Portuguese army
who's handling of militia & irregular troops kept the French at bay in Coimbra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Trant)

Coimbra celebrates its liberation, from being spared a second occupation
by the french under Massena

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 17:52 22-Mar-2011
The Combat of Foz de Arouce, 15th March 1811

Following Massena's retreat from Condeixa-a-Nova, the french entered the village of
Foz de Arouce, near the town of Lousa. Here many of Ney's exhausted troops
made camp across the Ceira river, after a gruelling night march to escape
Wellington's encroaching Anglo-Portuguese army.
The french made camp above the village where Massena left instructions for
Ney to destroy the bridge once all his troops were safely across. Instead Ney chose
to disobey the order and left three brigades on the southern side of the river.
Namely all of Merchand's division and one brigade of Mermet's, containing the
25th Leger and the 27th Ligne to hold their positions.
This deployment risked disaster as the same heavy rains that had left the Montego
river in flood ( thwarting Massena's attempt to cross the Mondego ) also affected
the Ceira river, making it treacherous to cross except by bridge.
The bridge itself wasn't in good condition, having been damaged in an attempt
to blow it up by Trant's Partisans.

Wellington's pursuit was however delayed by a combination of a heavy fog and fires
arising from the french setting the town of Miranda de Corvo ablaze. The 3rd and
Light Divisions did not reach the French positions on the Ceira until four in the
afternoon. Then seeing the French arrayed in some strength decided to camp and
wait for the rest of army to catch up with them next day.

Map of the Combat of Foz de Arouce, click on map to enlarge (The Napoleon Series) (http://www.napoleon-series.org/images/military/maps/peninsula/foz.jpg)

Wellington himself arrived just before dusk, and decided to attempt to surprise the
French. Ney's men were clearly not expected an attack that late in the day and
were caught by surprise. The Light Division attacked the French right and the 3rd
Division their left. The greatest success was achieved by some companies from the
95th Rifles, who managed to reach the centre of Foz de Arouce, and threatened
to capture the bridge.

British Riflemen of the 95th, pick their way forward after yet another skirmish
with the french


Hearing gunfire to their rear, the French 39th Ligne broke, and attempted to cross
the bridge. Their route was blocked by some French cavalry, attempting to re-cross
the river to take part in the fight, so the infantry were forced to try the ford.
The river was too high for this, and a significant number of the French were swept
away and drowned. Perhaps even worse for their morale, the regiment?s eagle was
lost, swept away by the waters ( it was later recovered by the allies and sent
away to London).

Diario de Coimbra report on last weekends Combat at Foz de Arouce (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.diariocoimbra.pt/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D11843%26Itemid%3D111&ei=6aiITa_HMJKJhQexmN3EDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC4Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Binvas%25C3%25A3o%2Bfrancesas%2Bda%2BGuerra%2BPeninsular%2BFoz%2Bde%2BArouce%2BLous%25C3%25A3%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D834%26bih%3D453%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns)

Ney managed to retrieve the situation, charging the 95th Rifles with the third
battalion of the 69th Ligne, and forcing them to retreat. With the passage of the
bridge secured, the French were able to retreat to the north bank of the river
although they came under artillery fire from both sides as they crossed the bridge !

The British only suffered 71 casualties during the fighting at Foz de Arouce. French
losses were much heavier, somewhere between 250 and 400. Only the lateness of
the day and the fading light prevented the British from inflicting much heavier
casualties on the retreating French.

The long retreat, punctuated by battles and skirmishes with Wellington's
troops and Partisans have withered away the French army, so Ney can only
field his campfollowers in last weekends re-enactment. Perhaps the 95th
Rifles should go easy on them next time !

Video of the Combat of Foz de Arouce, last weekend (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLLJ1MyIbNg#)

The combat at Foz de Arouce effectively ended the close pursuit of the French.
Wellington let his men rest on the following day, partly to allow a supply convoy
to arrive and partly because he was satisfied that Mass?na had no choice but to
retreat all the way to Spain, for between Foz de Arouce and the border there
were no areas where the French army could hope to find enough supplies to
remain for any length of time. The French would briefly attempt to hold a
position on the Alva River but without success.

Report on last weekends battle in Portugal (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://arganil.eu/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D2311:comemoracoes-do-bicentenario-das-invasoes-francesas%26catid%3D106:lousa%26Itemid%3D100262&prev=/search%3Fq%3D200%2Banos%2Binvas%25C3%25A3o%2Bfrancesas%2Bda%2BGuerra%2BPeninsular%2BFoz%2Bde%2BArouce%2BLous%25C3%25A3%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D834%26bih%3D453%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhhQaWMlk6ElSuQVcBO1Ej9SjMvYsw)

Soldiers relive camp life of the Napoleonic Wars (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.diariocoimbra.pt/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D11843%26Itemid%3D111&ei=ucKUTdLDIcer4Aa78aW-DA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDkQ7gEwATgU&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dcomemora%25C3%25A7%25C3%25B5es%2Bdo%2BBicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2BGuerra%2BPeninsular%2Bfoz%26start%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D773%26bih%3D450%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Divns)

More on the military camps (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.amicor.pt/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D6485:foz-de-arouce-comemorar-os-duzentos-anos-das-invasoes-francesas-em-acampamento-militar%26catid%3D64:actualidade%26Itemid%3D81&ei=ucKUTdLDIcer4Aa78aW-DA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CFQQ7gEwBDgU&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dcomemora%25C3%25A7%25C3%25B5es%2Bdo%2BBicenten%25C3%25A1rio%2Bda%2BGuerra%2BPeninsular%2Bfoz%26start%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D773%26bih%3D450%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Divns)

Portuguese troops parade in Foz de Arouce

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:52 30-Mar-2011
Massena launches a raid on the village of Freineda

After the fighting at Foz d'Arouce, Wellington paused for a day to allow a supply convoy to
catch the army. His main aim had always been to force the French out of Portugal, and now
they were in the mountains Wellington was aware that a lack of supplies would prevent
Massena from making a lengthy stay at any one place.

Here the Portuguese army along with the militia and partisans, had been busy removing all
food and supplies along Massena's line of retreat, placing them in secret supply depots
which Wellington would secure during his advance. One such supply depot is located at the
village of Freineda, near the spanish border where various food and other essential equipment
had been placed out of harms way. Only for it to be betrayed to french spies who quickly pass
on the information to Massena. With his army impoverished and in need of supplies, he quickly
realises the importance of the news and dispatches a flying column to sieze the village.

The french ( comprised of the 3eme & 66eme de Ligne ) make good progress, despite the
rugged terrain and by a series of forced marches find themselves outside Freineda within a
couple of days. But their movements have not gone unnoticed by the Partisans, as the
Portuguese hastily send in the only reinforcements they could spare, namely a light
artillery detachment.

By the time the french arrive, the Portuguese had already made their dispositions by setting
up a series of barricades, using straw bales, barrels and overturned carts.
The french after reconnoitring the position decide to make a full frontal assualt on the
village. What follows is a desperate struggle as they press forward, fighting from street to
street to secure Freineda but with the Partisan's sniping behind many windows and rooftops
the attack makes slow progress. Then with the Portuguese falling back in good order. Its finally
left to the Portuguese guns to fire a deadly cannonade into the ranks of the french troops,
that sends them reeling from the village. Broken and dispirited the french officers try in
vain to rally their men but they have no stomach for the fight, therefore they return empty
handed to Massena's camp.
Following the failure of the raid, Massena's left with no choice but to continue his
retreat to Spain.

As you can see the promise of fine food and wine proves too much for the
french to resist


The Portuguese prepare to receive the french


French troops exchange fire with the Portuguese as they fight on the village square



French troops make it onto the village square but are eventually beaten off

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 14:05 10-Apr-2011
Peace retuns to the Peninsular - but in England the march goes on

The Battle of Sabugal April 1811

Following the raid on Freineda, Massena decides to let his men rest a few days along
the banks of the Coa before continuing his march to Spain. Here his plans are
interupted by the british who fight one last action at Sabugal.
Here Wellington found that the french positions had become stretched out along
the Coa, leaving Reyniers 2nd Corps somewhat isolated at Sabugal by the 2nd April.

Riflemen of the British Light Division in action against the French


Wellington decides to attack the following morning but the attack becomes a little
uncoordinated due to a thick fog and the blunderings of the commander of the
Light Division, General Erskine.
The French pickets, seeing the british & portuguese soldiers emerge from the mist,
opened fire and fell back where Merles's division ( alerted by the shots ) had
formed up to receive them but the sheer number of troops leading the attack
in Beckwiths brigade proved too much. Despite a valiant counterattack by Merle
the french fell back and are soon forced in headlong retreat by the jubilant british.

Reyniers division suffered heavy casualties in the fight but Wellington was unable to
exploit his victory due to the heavy mist shrouding the battlefield. This gave
Massena time to extricate his men before continuing his retreat to Cuidad Rodrigo
in Spain.

Meanwhile, somewhere in England, Sharpes March is planned

Having finally seen the last of Napoleon's troops leave Portugal, peace returns to
the Spanish Peninsular but not for long.
As Expats know the War in the Spanish Peninsular is entering a dramatic phase.
The french reeling from yet another abortive invasion of Portugal are on the
backfoot, with the guerillas becoming emboldened in Spain. Napoleon has no choice
but to send more troops to the Peninsular.
The British seeing a change in fortunes are rapidly gathering reinforcements for
the Peninsular, a march is planned along the Chilterns this summer, as once
again British ( and French :o ) Napoleonic troops march through the english
countryside ( all in aid of charity of course  :D  :D  ;) )

The Sharpes March websites

Sharpes March - Introduction (http://www.sharpesmarch.com/)

Sharpes March - the cause (http://www.sharpesmarch.com/the-cause.html)

Sharpes March - the route (http://www.sharpesmarch.com/the-route.html)

The Participants (http://www.sharpesmarch.com/the-participants.html)

Sharpes March on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharpes-March/174301692584396?sk=wall)

As you would expect, the 95th Rifles reconnoitre the route (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLTnaVvgLHM#)

Sharpes Eagle, end song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfoevwcXytE#ws)
Title: Re: The French take the Indie
Post by: Lt. Campers on 18:32 17-Apr-2011

Wellington's naval supplies are threatened by French Corsairs

Following the Battle of Trafalgar, many of Napoleon's warships have lain bottled
up in french ports, enjoying only the occasional breakout to frustrate the British
naval blockade. Most notable being the French squadron sent to harass and attack
the British East India convoys in the Indian Ocean back in 1809, as highlighted
in the Patrick O'Brian book, The Mauritius Command.
With the french admiralty reluctant to risk any of her first rate ships ( the much
vaunted, Ships of Line ) against the battle hardened Royal Navy, particularly
against naval captain's with a fearsome reputation, as epitomised by Captain
Thomas Cochrane.

Listen to the Jack Aubrey adventure - The Mauritius Command, pt 2 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b0105s46)

Listen to the Jack Aubrey adventure - The Mauritius Command, pt 3 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b010dgrb)
Captain Thomas Cochrane (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Cochrane,_10th_Earl_of_Dundonald)

Captain Cochrane is the new naval hero of the Napoleonic Wars, whose exploits
filled the pages of The Naval Chronicle, with tales of daring do raids along
the French coast, crippling maritime trade and wreaking havoc on any French
warships that crossed his path. Cochrane's raids caused so much alarm in
in Paris, that Napoleon dubbed him The Sea Wolf.
But Cochrane fell out of favour with the Admiralty when, following the Battle of
Basque Roads in April 1809. He questioned the resolve and authority of the
commanding officer leading the attack, Admiral James Gambier ( known to his
fellow officers as Dismal Jimmy )

Battle of Basque Roads, 1809 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Basque_Roads)

Although the 2 day battle was a success for the british, destroying and capturing
many French warships during the raid. Gambier refused to follow up his victory by
destroying the rest of the French fleet at Basque Roads ( offshore from La Rochelle )
Therefore Cochane chose to ignore Gambier's repeated orders to disengage from
the enemy on the third day, leading to accusations and recriminations on both sides.
When parlament chose to applaud Gambier for his victory over the French. Cochrane
protested, accusing the Admiral of failing to destroy the French fleet by follow up
the attack.

The Battle of Basque Roads


Gambier called for a court martial, for which he was acquitted and cleared of all
charges against him while Cochrane, for his part was expelled from the Navy, as
well as his seat in Parliament.

With Cochrane gone, the french become bolder in their raids from La Rochelle &
Saint Malo, using Privateers ( or Corsairs ) to attack the vulnerable British
Merchant ships, carrying vital supplies to the peninsular.
Worst still Admiral Pellew's old ship, HMS Indefatigable falls victim to a chance
encounter with french frigates. Trying to break out of the British blockade of Brest,
following a storm, they fall upon the Indie on her own and caught on a lee shore.
Following a fierce cannonade the Indie is disabled and succumbs to a storming
party of French marines, Having taken their prize, the french make for Saint Malo
where the Indie is laid up awaiting repairs.
The lessons learnt from their battles with Cochrane, are not lost on the French who
see Wellington's supply ships as a tempting target for their own sea wolves, namely
the bands of French privateers ( or Corsairs ) who prey on English shipping.
The only way the Royal navy can respond to the threat are by assigning warships to
escort the merchant vessels, sailing past the French coast to Portugal or Spain.

Therefore Napoleon shows his favour by presenting the privateers with the Indie
as the new flagship of the Corsairs.

Its enough to make you weep, the Indefatigable under French colours ! !


The name of the Corsairs new Pirate ship


Storm of protest follows the capture of the Indie

Although the loss of the Indie is seen as no more than an embarrassment for the
Admiralty, who's command of the seas remain unchallenged while Napoleon's
navy remains idle in port.
The action's of the French privateers are becoming a strain on naval resources, where
warships are required elsewhere to frustrate Napoleons ambitions, wherever they
may be. Whether it's in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean or even the Indian Ocean and
the vital trade routes with India and China.
A more vocal outcry has come from the scores of women who have been following
the adventures of Horatio Hornblower, developing an equal fascination for his mentor,
Admiral Pellew.
The fact that the Hornblower series was cut short, just after hed been promoted to
Captain was a serious blow. As many were looking forward to the eagerly anticipated
encounter between Captain Horatio Hornblower and Lady Barbara Wellesley, with
all the talk being about who will play Lady Barbara to Ioan Grufford's, Captain
With the Indie now in French hands, that moonlit encounter on the quarterdeck
between Lady Barbara and the stern faced Horatio Hornblower, looks as far away as
ever. Undeterred the Hornblower appreciation society has written scores of petitions
to the Elysee Palace, asking the French to return the Indie but without success.

The Indie under French colours

Here's the French Privateers website which includes a video of the Corsairs
returning from yet another raid on British merchant ships.

The Etoile du Roy, Corsairs flagship (http://www.etoile-du-roy.com)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Claus on 20:27 17-Apr-2011
Much as I do adore your posts - here you're wrong. Indie never fell into French hands...

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 21:07 17-Apr-2011
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Much as I do adore your posts - here you're wrong. Indie never fell into French hands...

Quite right Claus,
Just testing you but of course the Grand Turk, aka HMS Indefatigable has fallen into
French hands although not quite in the way I've described it.
Although I have nothing against the new owners, who no doubt have no connection
with Napoleon or the french military ( so I'm sure they will take good care of her )
Nethertheless the honour of the british navy dictates that the Indefatigable, should not
be lost without a fight, hence my discription of the chain of events leading upto her
As you know I always try to interweave historical events with contemporary
re-enactments taking place in the peninsular, that at times stretch the imagination.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed the French Pirate video  ;)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 14:27 20-Apr-2011
What terrible news !!  The Old Indi taken.  Surely they are some Jolly Jack Tars and Marines with hearts of oak that would go in and cut her out ?  Or at least re-paint her !  She looks like she is being prepared to be taken to Paris and displayed at Disney Land. :-\
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:23 25-Apr-2011

Cannons roar across the border - May 1811

Following the withdraw of Marshall Massena's army to Spain, Wellington's attention is drawn
to the border fortresses that straddle the frontier between Spain and Portugal, dominating
the countryside either side of the main Lisbon to Madrid road.
Almeida, Cuidad Rodrigo and Badajoz being the most important of the border fortresses in
the area. Badajoz falls to the french on the 10th March after Soult succeeded in breaching
one of its walls. As for Almeida it still remains in french hands, following Massena's retreat.
Although its garrison is tiny numbering just 1300 men under the command of General Brennier
it can still hold out, as the garrison has enough food to last a month and with Wellington having
no siege train with which to reduce the walls, his army proceeds to establish a blockade,
hoping to starve garrison out.
Massena who has nothing to show for the great invasion of Portugal, except the fortress
of Almeida, is determined to relieve the garrison and consolidate a foothold in Portugal.
Here he's helped by a large number of french reinforcements that are waiting for him at
Cuidad Rodrigo, together with much needed supplies with which to replenish the army.
Therefore on the 2nd May, Massena marches again to relieve Almeida.

The news is greeted with surprise and dismay by Wellington, who's facing a much
larger force than the one he pursued from Portugal, namely a total of 48,000 troops
against his own Anglo-Portuguese army of 38,850 men.
Nevertheless Wellington decides to block Massena's path and with a keen eye for the
lie of the land, establishes a reasonably strong position along the line of the Dos Casas
stream, a southern tributary of the Agueda River.
Although the stream itself is insignificant, the section in front of the Allied left runs through
a deep ravine that would prove daunting for any French attack on Wellington's left flank.
The Allies right wing is not so strong. As the Dos Casas climbs into the hills, the valley
becomes much less pronounced.where Wellington?s initial position rests on the village of
Fuentes de Onoro; which climbs up from the river to the top of the ridge, and is itself
a very defensible position, but south of the village the ravine disappears, leaving little
to stop the French outflanking Wellington's line with great strength.
The line of the Dos Casas also happens to straddle the Spanish and Portuguese border.

News of Massena?s march from Cuidad Rodrigo was closely observed by the Light Division
who with four regiments of cavalry become embroiled in a number of small scale skirmishes
with Massena's advance guard.
By the 3rd of May the scouts of the light division are forced to retire into the main
position at Fuentes de Onoro, where the bulk of the Allied army are positioned to
their right.

The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro, 3 to 5 May 1811


With Wellington's troops now in position, with the bulk of Allied army posted to the right of
Fuentes de Onoro. The lefts held by the 5th Division (Erskine), with the 6th Division (Campbell)
to their right. The 1st, 3rd and 7th Divisions and Ashworth's Portuguese brigade were on the
hills above Fuentes de Onoro on the Allied right, with the Light Division in reserve.
The village itself is held by 28 light companies detached from their parent battalions,
1800 strong, supported by 460 men from the 2/83rd.
Mass?na arrived in front of the Allied position on the afternoon of 3 May. He too recognised
the strength of the Allied left, and so most his forces were concentrated opposite Fuentes
de Onoro. The 2nd Corps made up the French right, with one brigade from 8th Corps in the
centre with 6th Corps and 9th Corps on the French left, with five of Massena's eight infantry
Massena decides to make a frontal assault on Fuentes de Onoro on the afternoon of 3 May.
he ten battalions of Ferey's division of 6th Corps were to attack the village while 2nd Corps
was to make a diversionary attack on the Allied left.
The attack on the left came to nothing, but the attack at Fuentes de Onoro made some
progress. Ferey's first brigade managed to capture some of the lower lying building in the
village before being pushed back, but then his second brigade managed to force the British
back to the highest parts of the village. Wellington was forced to send in three fresh battalions
to clear the French out of the village. By the end of the day the French attack had been
repulsed, at a cost of 652 casualties, including 167 prisoners. The British had lost 259 men,
amongst them Colonel Williams, the original commander of the light companies.

The Battle of  Fuentes de Onoro website (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bde%2Bla%2Bbatalla%2BFuentes%2Bde%2BO%25C3%25B1oro%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB%26biw%3D759%26bih%3D476%26prmd%3Divnso&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=es&u=http://ayuntamientofuentesdeonoro.com/%3Fcontenido%3Dbatalla&usg=ALkJrhj5MfR4oc12XmkjX9Ja6Fu78faDoA)

The battle in miniature (http://www.rafaelpardoalmudi.com/NBfuentes_2.html)

The french encampment near the village of Fuentes de Onoro


Massena's troops take up their positions at Fuentes de Onoro


The Battle on the 4 May

The only fighting on 4 May took place in Fuentes de Onoro, where the British and French
exchanged musket fire across the Dos Casas. Massena spent the day scouting out the
Allied position, and discovered how weak Wellington's right flank was. One infantry battalion
was posted in the village of Pozo Bello, two and a half miles south of Fuentes de Onoro,
while a band of Spanish guerrillas under Julian Sanchez held the village of Nava de Aver,
another two and a half miles to the south. The ground between the two villages was passable
by cavalry, and Pozo Bello was much more exposed to a frontal assault than Fuentes de Onoro.
Mass?na decides to attack around the Allied right with 17,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry,
using the divisions of Marchand, Mermet and Solignac and almost all of his available cavalry.
Three more divisions would attack Fuentes de Onoro, while Reynier would threaten the Allied left.
Mass?na hoped to break the Allied centre and outflank their right at the same time, crushing
Wellington?s army.
Wellington was also aware of the threat to his right, and so decided to move his 7th Division
into Pozo Bello. This was his weakest division, containing two British battalions, the Chasseurs
Britanniques, the Brunswick Oels and five battalions of Portuguese troops, a total of 4,590 men.
A cavalry screen was also put in placeguarding the line from Fuentes de Onoro to Nava de Aver.

The battle on the 5 May


The fighting on 5 May fell into two distinct sections. First was the French attack around the
British right, which forced the 7th Division to retreat and Wellington to form a new line.
This was followed by the French attack on Fuentes de Onoro. Massena had planned a third
and final stage, once the village had been captured, in which all six French infantry divisions
on the south of the battlefield would attack the British lines, but this attack would never
be launched.
The outflanking move began with a clash between two regiments of Montbrun's dragoons
and two squadrons of the 14th Light Dragoons round Nava de Aver, on the extreme right
of the Allied line. After a running fight the British cavalry were forced to retreat to Pozo Bello.
The same happened to the north of the village, where the 16th Light Dragoons and the
1st Hussars of the King's German Legion were also forced back to Pozo Bello by much
larger formations of French cavalry.
The French infantry then appeared in front of Pozo Bello. Two battalions of the 7th Division
were posted in the village, with the rest of the division on the hillside to the west.
Marchand's division attacked the village, forcing the two isolated battalions to retreat back
towards the rest of the division, although only after suffering 150 casualties.

Wellington responded to this new threat by forming a new line, running west across the ridge
behind Fuentes de Ororo. The 1st and 3rd Divisions and Ashworth's Portuguese were used to
form this new line, with its left in the village, while the 5th and 6th Divisions remained in their
original positions on the old Allied left. This new line formed up well before the French could
arrive to attack it.
Wellington's second problem was how to prevent the 7th Division from being cut off and
destroyed. His response was to send Crauford's Light Division into the gap to hold off the
advancing French.
The isolated Allied cavalry helped to prevent any disaster befalling the 7th Division before
the Light Division could arrive to help, conducting a skilful running retreat which allowed
the 7th Division to take up a relatively strong position. Only once the British infantry were
safely in their new position were the French able to attack, and this cavalry attack was
soon repulsed. Meanwhile the Light Division marched along the top of the ridge, and joined
up with the 7th Division. This allowed the 7th to retreat back to the main Allied line, taking
up a new position on Wellington's right.
The Light Division then carried out a textbook retreat in the face of a strong force of French
cavalry, forming into infantry battalions and pulling slowly back into the new Allied line.
On the few occasions that the French managed to get artillery into position, the outnumbered
Allied cavalry was able to break up the gun batteries. Eventually the Light Division reached
safety in the part of the line held by the 1st Division.
This ended the heavy fighting on the Allied right, for although three infantry divisions
were now moving into place to threaten the British lines, Massena had decided not to use
them until Fuentes de Onoro was in his hands.

French Grenadiers are poised to add their weight to the attack on Fuentes de Onoro


British & Portuguese troops man the barricades at Fuentes de Onoro


The attack on the village began once the French cavalry was seen to have turned the Allied
right. First to move was Ferey's division, making its attack two hours after dawn.
The first attack drove the 71st and 79th regiments out of the lower and middle parts of
the village, but they were then joined by the 2/24th, and were able to drive the French
back to the river.
The French attack was then reinforced by the eighteen elite grenadier companies of
Drouet's division. Their prowess and distinctive bearskins convinced most British observers
that they were being attacked by the Imperial Guard, even though none of that elite
were present in Massane's army.
This fresh attack forced the British to pull back to the highest ground in the village, but
the grenadiers were unable to capture the very highest points of Fuentes de Onoro,
or to reach the plateau beyond.
Seeing that his attack was close to success, Drouet sent in most of Conroux's and
Claparedes Divisions to make what he hoped would be the decisive attack that would
break the Allied line. Eight fresh battalions hit the beleaguered defenders of Fuentes
de Onoro, and finally forced them completely out of the village.
Massena's decision not to attack Wellington?s new line would now cost him dearly.
Mackinnon's brigade, on the left of that line, was free to launch a counterattack on the
French. For one column would attack column. Mackinnon sent the 74th and 1/88th Regiments
in two columns to attack the French. The column of the 88th hit the column of the 4th
battalion of the 9th Leger in the streets of Fuentes de Onoro, and one of the few bayonet
battles of the Peninsular War followed. After a few minutes the French battalion turned
and fled.
At the same time the 74th reached the village, and in combination with the survivors
of the original defenders drove the French out of the upper and middle sections of the
village. The French suffered 1,300 casualties in the attack on the village, while the
British defenders lost 800 men, 458 in the 71st and 79th regiments.
The British and Portuguese suffered 1,452 casualties on 5 May, the French 2,192.
Both sides suffered most heavily during the fighting in Fuentes de Onoro, just as they
had on 3 May.
The battle of Fuentos de Onoro (http://ilovewargameing.21.forumer.com/a/posts.php?topic=2113&start=0)

Complete Spanish photo report on the battle of Fuentos de Onoro (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.ciudadrodrigoaldia.es/2011/05/31/aldea-del-obispo-y-fuentes-de-onoro-recrean-las-batallas-de-la-guerra-de-la-independencia/&ei=Cq7qTeS_F43F8QP7ntyQAQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CGAQ7gEwBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBatalla%2Ben%2BFuentes%2Bde%2BO%25C3%25B1oro,%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26biw%3D792%26bih%3D572%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divnso)

The British sustain casualties during the Battle of Fuentos de Onoro


Wellington takes Almeida

The failure of the French attack on Fuentes de Onoro ends the battle. As Massena's
refuses to strike Wellington's strong position while the village remained in Allied hands.
So the French remained motionless opposite Fuentes de Onoro throughout the 6 and
7 May, in order to cover the retreat and to issue new orders for General Brennier to quit
On the 8 May the French withdraw from their lines retreating again to Ciudad Rodrigo.
Then on the night of  the 10th May Brennier?s small force successfully breaks through the
Allied blockade, escaping safely to the French lines, but only after destroying large parts of
the defences of Almeida.

French casualties over the two days of fighting came to around 2,750, Allied casualties
to 1,700. Massena's last attempt to retain at least a foothold in Portugal had failed.
Even if it had succeeded, his time in command was coming to an end. Napoleon had
decided to replace him with Marshal Marmont.
He had reached Ciudad Rodrigo on 8 May, and two days later received his new orders.
On the 12th May Marmont took command of the french Army of Portugal, ending
Massena's military career.

Polish Lancers patrolling the Spanish border, photo courtesy of Arsenal

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:32 25-Apr-2011
General William Beresford's campaign in Estramudera

Marshall William Beresford was one of the most important british generals of the
Peninsular Wars but his talents had until now been confined to the task of reforming
the Portuguese army ( for which the Portuguese honoured Beresford by making him
a Marshall of Portugal in 1809 )

Spanish Guerillas find a traitor in the ranks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCAcn8d77EU#ws)

Although a brilliant organizer he was not perhaps the most able battlefield commander
in Wellington's army, nevertheless he was considered a safe pair of hands with which
to command the second of Wellington's Anglo Portuguese armies, that was stationed
to the east of the Tagus.
This force numbering some 18,000 men was positioned to challenge any march along
the south bank of the Tagus by Massena but following the French withdraw to Spain,
Wellington ordered Beresford to march his army ( comprised of three divisions namely
the British 2nd & 4th divisions and Hamilton's Portuguese division ) to Spain on the
8th March, to relieve Badajoz. But during the march Beresford receives word that
Badajoz has fallen, meaning his new mission would be to recapture it.

Although such a task would be difficult and take time, Beresford was heartened by the
fact that Soult had left Badajoz for Andalusia and left much weaker army commanded
of Marshall Mortier.
Mortier quickly organizes his defenses for hearing that Beresford's marching his way
he decides to consolidate his forces and abandoning any outlying forts that the French
had recently captured such as Campo Mayo.

The scene is now set for a bitter campaign as the British, Spanish, Portuguese and French
armies struggle for control of the Spanish border region of Estramudera with, at its centre,
the powerful Spanish fortress of Badajoz that bars the road to Madrid and control of the
Spanish kingdom.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 19:47 27-Apr-2011

Theme music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Polo__3sxW4#)

British commerce in the Baltic

In April 1808, Admiral James Saumarez is given command of Britain's Baltic fleet where his
flagship is none other than Nelson's old ship, HMS Victory. His appointment comes at a time
of crisis in Britain's relations with her Baltic neighbours.
Denmark has been at war with Britain, since the Battle of Copenhagen back in 1807 where
she was forced to surrender most of her maritime fleet. The kingdom of Denmark & Norway
have been mounting a series of gunboat battles and sorties against British merchant ships
ever since, making it very unwise for any british naval vessel to find herself alone and
stranded off the Danish coast.

On top of which Napoleon's german allies of the Confederation of the Rhine have been closing
their ports to british trade since 1806, a move closely followed by Napoleon's Polish allies of
the Duchy of Warsaw.

Russia has been forced to follow suit as part the onerous terms of the Treay of Tilsit hammered
out between Napoleon & Tsar Alexander in July 1807. The last to fall into line with Napoleon's
continental blockade is Sweden who was forced to accede to the demands, as part of the
peace treaty between ( Napoleon's new found ally ) Russia and Sweden following the war
over Finland.

Nevertheless Napoleon's blockade is causing great hardship amoungst Russia merchants who
value Britain as one of their greatest trading partners, dating back to Elizabethan times.
The russian court as well as much of the government are also highly critical of the embargo
and start turning a blind eye to a great deal of illicit trade that carries on in Russia's baltic

Napoleon's no fool to whats been going on in the Baltic and makes a return visit to many of
countries, cities and towns along the coast, hoping to bolster support and receive pledges of
men and supplies from the many princes, dukes and governments bordering the Baltic for the
war in Spain.
In Poland ( the Dutchy of Warsaw ) in particular, he received further pledges of infantry and
cavalry ( the most useful being, Polish Lancers ) for his campaign in Spain.

Napoleon receives cheers from his Polish troops on a recent visit to Danzig ( Gdansk )


The Republic of Danzig during the Napoleonic Wars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search/Free_City_of_Danzig_Napoleonic)

Against this background the British Admiral Saumarez needs to tread carefully through the diplomatic
jungle of the Baltic. Many british merchants are keen to continue trading with Sweden and Russia
having been encouraged by the apparent 'blind eye' of these respective goverments.
The British Admiralty are also keen to maintain trade in the Baltic, particularly as such trade
maintains relations with Sweden & Russia with a view to undermining french influence in the region.

The threat from the Privateers

With the french navy still bottled up in the Channel ports, theirs few french warships to trouble
Saumarez's squadron in the Baltic. Of immediate concern are the brigs and gunboats of the Danish
navy and privateers operating off the Danish & Norwegian coast.
To counter this a convoy system is set up whereby Saumarez and the Admiralty agree dates
( concluded in March ) for the escort of British merchant ships through Norwegian & Danish
waters of the Skagerak & Kattegat.
But the greatest threat, causing some alarm amoungst british merchants were the activities of
french privateers operating out of Danzig. The Danzig raiders were growing bolder in their attacks
on british commerce with some, such as the Tilsit achieving particular noteriety, taking
several rich prizes off Pillau, until her career ended in 1809. But any respite from the Danzig
raiders was short lived when another french corsair called the Sedimane appeared on the
scene wreaking havoc on any british merchant ships that crossed her path. As for Napoleon,
he regarded privateering as an intergral part of the war against British trade and was well
aware of the damage the privateers were causing to british shipping in the Baltic.

Saumarez's answer to this was to setup the Inshore Squadron with a view to intercepting
the privateers as they emerge from their lair. But such measures are of limited value when the
real answer is to destroy the Polish warship protecting the privateers in Danzig harbour.

Napoleon's state visit to Gdansk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaxVeUEORWI#)

The British Inshore Squadron on patrol


A Captain comes forward with a bold plan

Therefore a bold naval Captain ( who shall remain nameless ) from Saumarez's squadron puts
forward a rather bold idea to enter Danzig harbour under the guise of a nuetral warship, flying
false colours. Once past the harbour fort the British Captain would endeavour to attack the
Polish warship, protecting the inner harbour befoe opening fire on as many privateers as he
can, before making good his escape.
The date time and for the raid is set for early in the morning of the 16th April 1811. The Captain
uses a captured Polish warship to enter Danzig harbour and all goes well for the British until
the harbour master sends out a boat to question the mysterious naval ship.

The french raise the alarm

As you can see from the film, the french patrol boat approaches the ship and a french officer
( wearing a Grey greatcoat ) jumps on board to question the ships captain and his lieutenants.
But something goes wrong, the Captain's papers are not in order and whats worse, a british
marine ( still in his redcoat uniform ) provokes shouts and accusations from the french officer.
The British shoot the french officer, who's seen tumbling overboard; with the shots heard onshore
by the french garrison. With cries of Remember the Indie, the British start to open fire on the
french, hoping to force their way past and onto their prey, a Polish warship anchoured just inside
Danzig harbour.

The British raid on Danzig harbour, April 1811 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0LV3ypUdEA#ws)

Closeup of the British raid on Danzig harbour (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K2MSnB3RT0#ws)

British bombarding the fort (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP68Q-d72A0#ws)

More cannon are trained on the British (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ3SKc7ifWc#ws)

The Battle as seen from the Ferry (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w9F06dxOms#ws)

Closeup of the Polish warship (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_eq23W-G48#ws)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Claus on 21:09 27-Apr-2011
Let me set the Hornblower issue right.
He is and was fictional. Brilliant novels, and rather boring tv-serial.
He was never a captain of HMS Indefatigable, just midshipman and acting liutenant under Pellew.
His commands were: HMS Hotspur; HMS Atropos; HMS Lydia (where he fell in love with Lady Barbera); HMS Sutherland; HMS Witch of Endor. After that he became first a commodore, and then a flag officer; meaning that he never again commanded a ship.
I know that you know, Champs  :D.
So this is just to inform your readers...
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:35 27-Apr-2011
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Let me set the Hornblower issue right.
He is and was fictional. Brilliant novels, and rather boring tv-serial.
He was never a captain of HMS Indefatigable, just midshipman and acting liutenant under Pellew.
His commands were: HMS Hotspur; HMS Atropos; HMS Lydia (where he fell in love with Lady Barbera); HMS Sutherland; HMS Witch of Endor. After that he became first a commodore, and then a flag officer; meaning that he never again commanded a ship.
I know that you know, Champs  :D.
So this is just to inform your readers...

Quite right Claus,
Of course for the fictional tv-serial world of Hornblower, the limited number of replica square sail ships ( that stand a chance
of looking the part ) in the Hornblower series. Means that the same ship eg The Grand Turk has doubled up as a french
frigate, as well as Pellew's HMS Indefatigable.
She might double up again, as another Hornblower ship (maybe ) if the Hornblower tv-serial is ever relaunched. But their
again maybe HMS Rose ( Capt Aubrey's HMS Surprise ) from Master & Commander might be available instead ?
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:29 28-Apr-2011

Napoleonic Armies gather on the Spanish border

As British, Portuguese and Spanish armies gather for next months confrontation in
Spain. The french are already mustering their forces for the inevitable clash on the
spanish border, as the rival armies seek control of the Spanish province of Estramudera
with its all important fortress of Badajoz, controlled by the French.

The sound of drums beating as Napoleon's troops gather in Spain (http://royalgreenjackets.org/3emmeligne/index.php)

Napoleon's recent visit to Danzig ( Gdansk ) and the Polish Duchy of Warsaw, last year
has produced results. As infantry regiments from the Vistula Legion, together with troopers
from the world renowned Polish Lancers, earmarked for Spain.

Polish troops gather in Warsaw for the Peninsular campaign (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://www.arsenal.org.pl/aktualnosci/rekonstrukcje-historyczne/439-albuera-1811-2011-informacje-organizacyjne.html&ei=TgmyTY2_D4Ky8gPAzdiVDA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB8Q7gEwADg8&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpolish%2Blancers%2Balbuera%2B2011%26start%3D60%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB%26biw%3D776%26bih%3D525%26prmd%3Divns)

On the British side several front line infantry regiments are promised for Spain, including ( of
course ) the 95th Rifles who performed so well at Almeida last year.

Crisis talks are held in Badajoz on the forthcoming battle in Estramudera (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenario%2Bde%2Bla%2BGuerra%2Bde%2BIndependencia%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB%26biw%3D755%26bih%3D427%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=es&u=http://www.badajozonline.tv/2011/03/02/actos-para-conmemorar-el-bicentenario-de-la-guerra-de-la-independencia/&usg=ALkJrhjl1p1vI6C1Gzih9461DN5-YDhwlA)

Spanish Radio report on the forthcoming Battle of Albuera in May (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/audios/reportajes-emisoras/reportaje-emisora-badajoz-batalla-de-la-albuera-29-04-11/1086794/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbatalla%2Bde%2BLa%2BAlbuera%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26biw%3D846%26bih%3D484%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&usg=ALkJrhg2VIk2a4ULqknDJH3qXTQO_60gCg)

The Official website on the forthcoming clash at Albuera in Spain (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenario%2Bde%2Bla%2Bbatalla%2Bde%2BLa%2BAlbuera%2BAniversario%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26biw%3D903%26bih%3D552%26tbs%3Dqdr:y%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=es&u=http://www.laalbuera.es/bicentenario/&usg=ALkJrhjthfhQXroxQvQmPOlaQrFTPmxwbg)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 04:09 06-May-2011

Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

The French plan a surprise at Albuera

After capturing Badajoz, Marshal Soult has been forced to return to Andalusia, where
French control has been threatened in his absence. 11,000 troops had been left behind to
defend Badajoz and Estremadura but these forces were soon threatened by allied troops
commanded by the British Marshal Beresford, who crossed the border with a force of
25,000 Anglo-Portuguese troops, that were soon joined by a further 2,500 Spanish
soldiers under General Casterious.
Beresford marched for Badajoz where he surrounded the fortress on the 6th May but lacking
the necessary guns to besiege it, proceeded to blockade the fortress city instead.


Soult realizing that the French were in danger of losing control of Badajoz and Estremadura,
tidied up his affairs in Andalusia before gathering his forces for the relief of Badajoz.
Having received reinforcements, including many Polish troops of the Vistula Legion
serving in Andalusia. He marched out of Seville on the 10th May, hoping to surprise
Beresford at Badajoz but the Spanish patriots discovered his plans and news soon
reached Beresford on the 12th May; forcing him to lift the siege of Badajoz and move
his troops to Albuera where his forces concentrated to block the main road to Badajoz.

On the 15th May a strong detachment of allied cavalry were soon observing the french
as they march through the village of Santa Marta ( south of Albuera ) , Soult's army
numbers 25,000 men including horse and artillery, whereas Beresford's army has grown
to some 34,500 men, after being joined by a further 12,000 spanish troops.

Video of British light Dragoons & Hussars patrol near Albuera (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42_x42BBbPw#)

Although the British numbers are strong in numbers, the French have been making
meticulous plans for the forthcoming battle, with Napoleon negotiating some strong
reinforcements from the Polish kingdom of Warsaw for the ongoing campaign in Spain.
The Polish Vistula legion have been attached to Soult's army and included in their numbers
are the fearsome Polish Lancers, who will prove a match for any British cavalry pitted
against them. Of greater concern to the British are the secret arrangements for a
company of Polish Sharpshooters to be included amongst the french.

Napoleon & his French marshal's have been concerned by the high number of casualties
suffered by French officers during the Portuguese campaigns of 1809 & 1810. All of
which can be attributed to the deadly fire of the 95th Rfles armed with their Baker Rifles.

The real Ducos during the Peninsular Wars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Ernest_Ducos_de_La_Hitte)

A French artillery lieutenant by the name of Ducos, was particularly impressed by the
deadly fire of the 95th Rifles, which had left many artillery officers dead or badly
wounded following an encounter with the British rifles during the Battle of Bussaco.
Hoping to avenge the loss of his fellow officers, Ducos encounters a company of
Polish Sharpeshooters or Jagers amougst the Polish contingent serving in Spain.
These marksman are deadly accurate but have been unnoticed by the french, therefore
Ducos persuades Soult to make use of the Polish Sharpshooters and deploy them
against the British light division, in the hope of encountering the Rifles.

Intrigue surrounds the Battle of Albuera

Readers will no doubt be surprised that the french are going to so much trouble to
deploy Polish Sharpshooters in Spain for the forthcoming Battle of Albuera this
weekend. No doubt the success of the 95th Rifles during the siege of Almeida and
at Bussaco have dented gallic pride in their Napoleonic armies. Particularly with the
high casualties suffered by Massena during his retreat from Portugal.

Secret negotiations have been taking place between Paris and Warsaw for a crack
regiment of Polish Police Marksman, disguised as Polish infantry to join Soult's army
at Albuera. Fortunately the plot has been uncovered thanks to intercepted messages
over the internet and the greatest code breaker ever devised for the web, namely
Google translate.

Suffice to say the British, Portuguese and Spanish armies of General Beresford will
have a real fight on their hands this weekend, in what will be an historically close fought
battle which will be closer than you think, if the 95th rifles are keeping their heads

Polish police raise a Napoleonic regiment to fight at Albuera

The Polish Police in Napoleon's Army (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://www.grajcar.police.pl/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.grajcar.police.pl/index.php)

Their deployment on the Spanish Peninsular (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://www.grajcar.police.pl/grupa.php&ei=7EfDTaCCDIaEhQfcg8GBBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsite:www.grajcar.police.pl%2B1811%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D781%26bih%3D486%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB%26prmd%3Divns)

A young Polish recruit fires a musket on the Police range (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zk1XSqPCU#ws)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:25 14-May-2011

The Battle of Albuera May 1811

The morning of the 16th May, sees Beresford's troops deployed on a line of hills
behind the village of Albuera. To the left lies Hamilton's Portuguese division, with
Collin's brigade in reserve and Otway's cavalry on the flanks. The centre of the Allied
linewas made up by William Stewart's 2nd Division, with Cole's division behind the British
lines. The right wing is made up of Blake's Spanish troops, with from left to right the
divisions of Lardizabal, Ballasteros and Zayas, each with one brigade in the front line
and one in reserve. On the far right is Loy's cavalry. Albuera itself was defended by
two battalions of Alten?s Kings German Legion ( KGL ) infantry. The main Allied forces
were hidden on the reverse side of the line of hills, making them invisible from Soult's position.
When Soult arrived opposite Albuera, the only troops visible were Alten's KGL infantry and
the two cavalry units on the flanks. He assumed that Blake's force was still some way to
the south, and so decided to attack around the Allied right flank, in the belief that this
would split the Allied position in half. His plan was helped by two factors; the hills
between the streams south of Albuera were covered in Olive groves, which hid
French movements and Long?s retreat on the previous day meant that there were no
Allied cavalry units on the east bank of the Albuera River to watch the French.

Soult?s force was split into three divisions. The first attack would be launched by Girard
and Gazan's divisions of the 5th Corps, with Girard in the lead. Werl's division would act
as a reserve, and would also appear to threaten the front of Blake?s line. Albuera itself
would be threatened by part of the French cavalry and Godinot's brigade.


The Battle begins

The battle began with Godinot?s attack on the Allied centre, which appeared to confirm
Beresford?s assumptions about Soult?s plans, but soon after this attack began, the French
cavalry under Latour-Maubourg appeared far to the Allied right. Soon after this, the first
French infantry appeared on the Allied right. Beresford responded by ordering Blake to
move his entire second line to the right, to form a new line across the hill, at right angles
to the main line. Blake agreed to do this but then when Beresford returned to the centre
of the line, he decided to only move four battalions of Zayas's division into the new line.

French infantry approach the British lines


The French advanced in a mixed formation. In the centre of Girard?s division four battalions
formed up in a single column of attack, with each battalion in columns of double companies.
On each flank was one battalion deployed in line, and another battalion in column, ready
to form a square if the Allied cavalry attacked. This gave the French a frontage of around
500 men, with three battalions in columns and two in lines. Gazan?s division was following
rather too closely behind, in the same formation.

When Blake realised how strong the French column was, he began to move more troops to
support Zayas, but they arrived too late to form a secure line before the French attack
began. Zayas's four battalions had to hold off an entire French division. As the French attack
developed, Latour-Maubourg?s cavalry moved around the rear of the French infantry, taking
up a new position on Girard?s left, while Werl's infantry moved in place to act as a reserve.
Soult had successfully turned the Allied flank, but would be unable to take exploit this
stunning initial success.

French infantry fire their muskets


The main action began when Girard?s column launched their attack on Zayas's line. Zayas
had found a strong position to defend, forcing the French to attack uphill. As the French
attacked, the Spanish line held, Of the 2,000 men in the four battalions involved, 98 were
killed and 517 wounded, by far the highest rate of lose in the Spanish forces present.

Beresford responded to this new threat by ordering William Stewart to move the entire 2nd
division to support the Spanish, with Colborne?s brigade at the front, followed by Hoghton's
and then Abercrombie?s. Beresford expected Stewart to form his entire division behind the
Spanish line, before advancing into the battle. He was badly let down by Stewart.
Beresford?s army had originally been commanded by Rowland Hill. When Hill was taken ill,
Stewart had taken control of the army, but he had failed to appreciate Wellington's defensive
plans around Lisbon, had repeatedly asked for permission to attack the French, and had been
replaced by the more stable Beresford. Now Stewart though he saw a chance to win a quick
victory by attacked the French flank before they could respond to the arrival of the British
troops. Colborne?s brigade was sent around Zayas?s right flank, and launched an attack on
the French left.

For a moment Colborne's attack prospered. Girard's attack was badly disrupted, and just as
Stewart had hoped, would not regain its momentum, but Colborne?s men paid a terrible price.
Stewart had apparently refused to form up his flanking battalions in squares in case of a
French cavalry attack, and now he paid for that. Latour-Maubourg directed his nearest
cavalry regiments, the 1st Lancers of the Vistula and the 2nd Hussars, to attack the exposed
British right.
Hidden by a heavy hail storm, the French and Polish cavalry crashed into the side of the
1/3rd Regiment ( the Buffs ). This one battalion lost 643 of its 754 men at Albuera, most of
them in this one moment. The next two regiments in line, the 2/48th and the 2/66th also
suffered heavily, losing over 500 men. Colborne's brigade lost 1,413 out of its initial
2,166 men. Some of the Polish cavalry even threatened Zayas?s own position, while Beresford
was forced to defend himself against a lancer.

British cavalry come under fire from french troops


The British line

Through all of this the Spanish line held. Girard decided that his own division was now
exhausted, and decided to make his next attack with Gazan?s division. This allowed the Allies
to reinforce their line. Hoghton's brigade replaced Zayas?s battalions, while Abercrombie's
replaced Ballesteros's. Hoghton's brigade, supported by the 2/31st Regiment, the only part of
Colborne?s brigade to have survived intact, would face the main French attack in one of the
classic confrontations between line and column.
The British formed up in a line 850 men long and two deep, while the French attacked in what
was virtually one massive column. By the time this part of the battle ended, Hoghton's brigade
had lost 1,027 of its 1,651 men while the French had suffered around 2,000 casualties.
Neither Soult nor Beresford made any effective contribution to this phase of the battle, but
for different reasons. Soult had simply lost his nerve. When he reached the top of the ridge
and realised how big the Allied army was, he abandoned his offensive plans, and decided not
to support Gazan and Girard with either his reserves or cavalry, but instead fought a
semi-defensive battle.

Beresford had intended to reinforce the front line, but his efforts failed. He had two intact
divisions on the field; Hamilton's Portuguese division at the northern end of the field, and
Cole?s division behind the old Allied front line, now forming a new withdrawn right wing,
watching the French cavalry.
Beresford decided to use Hamilton's division to reinforce Hoghton. This division had moved
south to replace Stewart's division, but had taken up a position closer to Albuera, and so
needed more time to move across the battlefield than Beresford had believed.
They would not arrive to take part in the main battle, and the entire division suffered
at least 100 casualties.

The Allies counterattack

The decisive British and Portuguese counterattack came from Lowery Cole's 4th Division.
Cole had been watching the fighting with increasing concern, but he was aware that
Latour-Maubourg's cavalry would pose a potentially deadly threat to any advance he
might make. He dispatched a messenger to Beresford to ask for orders, but he was
badly wounded.
Eventually Colonel Henry Hardinge, the Deputy-Quarter Master of the Portuguese army,
helped to convince Cole that if he did not attack the battle might be lost.
Cole formed his division into a mixed formation. Each flank was protected by a unit in
column, with Harvey's Portuguese brigade performing that role on the vulnerable right
flank. The centre of the line was formed by three battalions of the Fusiliers, two
battalions from the 7th and one from the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Soult responded by sending Latour-Maubourg to attack Cole?s right and Werl's division
to attack his centre.

Neither French attack succeeded. The Portuguese troops on the right held off the cavalry
attack, while the three Fusilier battalions held off an attack by nearly three times their
number of French infantry. Once again French columns failed to break British lines, and
Werl? retreated after losing 1,800 of his 5,600 men. The cost to the fusiliers had been
high; they had lost 1,045 of their 2,015 men, amongst them General Myers, who was
killed in the fighting.
At the same time as Cole was defeating the French reserves, Abercrombie?s brigade
finally got into the action. It had been formed up next to Hoghton?s, but had only been
attacked by skirmishers.  With their flank protected by Cole's advance, Abercrombie's
men were free to attack Gazan and Girard's men from the flank, and the French
column broke and fled.
This effectively ended the battle. Beresford's army was in no condition to pursuit the
defeated French, for both of his British divisions had been badly mauled, the Spanish were
not considered to be capable of the required movement, despite their proven ability on
the defensive, and the Portuguese forces were not strong enough to act on their own.
Soult was able to retreat back across the stream south of Albuera, and form up a strong
defensive position.
The two armies remained in place all next day, before Soult decided to retreat back to
Andalusia on the 18th May. The Allies had won, but at a terrible cost.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:35 14-May-2011

Albuera refought, the weekend battle plans of the 7th & 8th May

ALBUERA 2011 Battle Plan

The Allied Army is deployed behind the village of Albuera. Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry.
with the Kings German Legion in the village, on their flank are Portuguese infantry and artillery.
The Spanish Armies of Castaos and Blake are formed up with the rest of the Allied line.
With Stewart's Division in support.
The French army enters the field. The cavalry first, followed by Godinot's Brigade, then the
bulk of the French Army, Girard and St Euxebry Divisions (with his brigades under the command
of Gazan and Werle comprising both infantry and artillery )

Phase 1 - Soult attacks the village

The movement on the village: Godinot's artillery is deployed while the French Cavalry supported
by infantry advance towards the village. The bulk of the French Army stops along the way and
form an artillery battery while the infantry remain behind the line of artillery. The first attack on
the village of Albuera begins.
The French advance on what would be the road parallel to the banks of the river Albuera.
The column is made up Godinot?s infantry and heavy artillery ahead of them, Latour Maubourg's
cavalry. There is a French cavalry charge which is met by the Allied cavalry. Theirs a melee.
While the French artillery is preparing to fire on the village and the infantry continues to advance.
The cavalry finish their skirmish and return behind their infantry.
Godinot?s troops attack the village and are repulsed by the KGL and the Portuguese Artillery.
As the French infantry retires, the Allied Cavalry threatens them and French cavalry intervene.
Short cavalry melee ensues. while this is taking place, the main body of Soult's Army is deployed.
A small section of troops is detached to go in support of Godinot, while the rest begin advancing
on the flank of the Allied Line in their own Brigade columns.
Godinot continues his attacks on the village throughout the battle, with the KGL being reinforced
by Portuguese infantry with the chosen men of the 95th rifles in support. The Village scenario
continues as events develop elsewhere.

Phase 2: The French flank attack


The Allied army reacts to the French flanking movement, the Allied right wing consisting of
Blake's Spanish troops deploy into a hammer shape to engage the troops of Girard and Gazan.
As the infantry deploys and gets into position, there is a cavalry charge by Latour Maubourg.
This is met by the Allied cavalry - a melee takes place- The Spanish troops. Lardizabal's Brigade,
Canarias regiment and Campo Mayor regiment are deployed. These are supported by Zayas
and Walloon Guards and Toledo Regiment. -1st attack:
The advancing French are unable to deploy all their troops, however, their attack was very
strong, supported by a large mass of artillery fire. The first assault results in the Spanish troops
of Zayas and Ballesteros resisting the French attack, heavy casualties on both sides.
The French retire in disorder, during this attack the French general Pepin was killed.
The French regiments withdraw and reform.

The 2nd French attack

After the failure of the first French assault and as a result of the heavy casualties suffered by
the first Spanish line, there is a rotation of troops, the existing line is replaced by the Toledo
regiment and Royal Walloon Guards.
They will face the second French assault, which is more intense than the first one. Heavy
casualties ensue as these are suffered by both sides.

Phase 3 - The British move up in support
Meanwhile fighting continues for possesion of the town - The Rifle brigade is withdrawn from
its position and put in reserve alongside the British Line. Castaos troops take their place.
At the start of the second French attack, the British advance in support of the Spanish.
Stewart?s troops move forward with artillery support, (Colbourne, Houghton and Abercrombie )
Once they reach the Spanish battle line they are to take post on the right of their line.
A French column attacks, here Girard's troops and Werle attack again, supported by French
cavalry. the first brigade of Stewart's Division under the command of Colonel Colborne,
advances in a column of companies, and form line.

Phase 4 - The French attack the Buffs

They remain exposed to the sudden attack by Latour.Maubourg's hussars and Polish lancers,
who attack from the flank and maul them. The Buff's regiment is annihilated and a flag
captured (the scenario is prepared and practiced, the person capturing the flag has practiced
it with the standard bearer )
Other scenarios will also be played out such as Latham's wounds etc. The 57th is also wiped
out ( scenario of Colonel Inglis shouting "Die Hard, my men, Die Hard" ), as well as 66 and 48
are also annihilated. Only the 31st time a form Square.
The French cavalry attack has to move along the british line, riding round the blocks of men
and moving on to the next one until they reach the Spanish infantry when they move to the
rear of the British line, to attack Beresford and his staff.

Phase 5 - The Allied cavalry counterattack


The Allied cavalry counter-attack at that moment and push the French cavalry back behind
the French lines, a melee takes place in the area behind the French lines, there is a large open
area where the cavalry can manoeuvre and charge and melee safely away from infantry
and artillery.
The cavalry in this area can enjoy themselves, initiative for the cavalry commanders to
practice their skills against each other. The Fusiliers Brigade advances the moment the Allied
cavalry begin their charge. They will reach the hill by the time the cavalry have left the area.
The British line advances to reach the top of the hill, where they stop and fire several volleys,
before advancing 5 paces, and fire again, then advance another 5 paces and fire again, and
keep this up, until the French infantry begins to fall back and eventually abandon the area.
The British Line then stops and dresses up the line accordingly.

Phase 6 - The Spanish fight back

Meanwhile the Spanish units of Casta?os and half of Blake?s troops will be fighting Godinot's
troops in the centre of the Allied line. Half of Blake?s troops will be firing on the French forces
of Godinot Girard and Gazan.
A French column attack to the centre of the British-Spanish line on the hill will be stopped and
destroyed with musketry. The French forces will then retire slowly, firing and retiring, withdrawing
to their start lines.
At this moment the cavalry of both sides end their melee?s and return to their respective lines.
The fighting in the centre of the line opposite Castaos forces and in the village starts to slow down.
Godinot witdraws his men from the village (after having captured half of it). The KGL retires, then
reoccupies the village entirely with the Portuguese infantry and artillery on their flank
Any remaining French forces are withdrawn from the village with shots becomng more sporadic.

Phase 7 - The French retire

The French lines are rearranged, Godinot facing the village of Albuera, and the Spanish unit of the
Centre. Gazan & Girard & Werle & Latour Maubourg fall back and line up behind the French Artillery.
The French Cavalry takes position behind them.
The Allies enter the village the KGL with the Portuguese and Spanish units reforming their lines.
The Spanish regiments in the centre of the Allied deployment reform their line of battle.
British troops are then withdrawn towards the top of the hill, to form up in line.
The allied cavalry is behind the British and Spanish lines at which point, the shooting stops.
The armies are facing each other, and in silence. It's the end of the day, the end of the battle,
but with both sides, ready to fight again if necessary.
The Narrator explains that the battle was not resumed the next day and the French retreated
to Seville, leaving the field of Albuera in Allied hands.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:41 14-May-2011
Photos from the Battle of Albuera, courtesy of Arsenal, polish forum

Marshall Soult - commander of Napoleon's troops at Albuera



Marshall William Beresford, directing allied operations at Albuera


British troops form a square as French & Polish cavalry hover menacingly nearby


Polish lancers rally for another attack on the British square


A cavalry charge taking place



Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:42 14-May-2011
The Napoleonic Armies descend on Albuera (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCcrLNtv_lY#ws)

Albuera refought, the weekend battle plans of the 7th & 8th May

ALBUERA 2011 Battle Plan unfolds with video's

The Allied Army is deployed behind the village of Albuera. Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry.
with the Kings German Legion in the village, on their flank are Portuguese infantry and artillery.
The Spanish Armies of Castaos and Blake are formed up with the rest of the Allied line.
With Stewart's Division in support.
The French army enters the field. The cavalry first, followed by Godinot's Brigade, then the
bulk of the French Army, Girard and St Euxebry Divisions (with his brigades under the command
of Gazan and Werle comprising both infantry and artillery )

Phase 1 - Soult attacks the village

The movement on the village: Godinot's artillery is deployed while the French Cavalry supported
by infantry advance towards the village. The bulk of the French Army stops along the way and
form an artillery battery while the infantry remain behind the line of artillery. The first attack on
the village of Albuera begins.
The French advance on what would be the road parallel to the banks of the river Albuera.
The column is made up Godinot?s infantry and heavy artillery ? ahead of them, Latour Maubourg's
cavalry. There is a French cavalry charge which is met by the Allied cavalry. Theirs a melee.
While the French artillery is preparing to fire on the village and the infantry continues to advance.
The cavalry finish their skirmish and return behind their infantry.
Godinot?s troops attack the village and are repulsed by the KGL and the Portuguese Artillery.
As the French infantry retires, the Allied Cavalry threatens them and French cavalry intervene.
Short cavalry melee ensues. while this is taking place, the main body of Soult's Army is deployed.
A small section of troops is detached to go in support of Godinot, while the rest begin advancing
on the flank of the Allied Line in their own Brigade columns.
Godinot continues his attacks on the village throughout the battle, with the KGL being reinforced
by Portuguese infantry with the chosen men of the 95th rifles in support. The Village scenario
continues as events develop elsewhere.

Opening ceremony, followed by the French attack on Albuera (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ALQUho1v9o#)

Phase 2: The French flank attack

The Allied army reacts to the French flanking movement, the Allied right wing consisting of
Blake's Spanish troops deploy into a hammer shape to engage the troops of Girard and Gazan.
As the infantry deploys and gets into position, there is a cavalry charge by Latour Maubourg.
This is met by the Allied cavalry - a melee takes place - The Spanish troops. Lardizabal's Brigade,
Canarias regiment and Campo Mayor regiment are deployed. These are supported by Zayas
and Walloon Guards and Toledo Regiment.
The advancing French are unable to deploy all their troops, however, their attack was very
strong, supported by a large mass of artillery fire. The first assault results in the Spanish troops
of Zayas and Ballesteros resisting the French attack, heavy casualties on both sides.
The French retire in disorder, during this attack the French general Pepin was killed.
The French regiments withdraw and reform.

Video report of the battle from the French side (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WN3uoonmTEA#)

Video report of the battle from the Spanish side (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdMpWR9r0uw#)

The 2nd French attack

After the failure of the first French assault and as a result of the heavy casualties suffered by
the first Spanish line, there is a rotation of troops, the existing line is replaced by the Toledo
regiment and Royal Walloon Guards.
They will face the second French assault, which is more intense than the first one. Heavy
casualties ensue as these are suffered by both sides.

Phase 3 - The British move up in support
Meanwhile fighting continues for possesion of the town - The Rifle brigade is withdrawn from
its position and put in reserve alongside the British Line. Castaos troops take their place.
At the start of the second French attack, the British advance in support of the Spanish.
Stewart?s troops move forward with artillery support, ( Colbourne, Houghton and Abercrombie )
Once they reach the Spanish battle line they are to take post on the right of their line.
A French column attacks, here Girard's troops and Werle attack again, supported by French
cavalry. the first brigade of Stewart's Division under the command of Colonel Colborne,
advances in a column of companies, and form line.

Phase 4 - The French attack the Buffs

They remain exposed to the sudden attack by Latour.Maubourg's hussars and Polish lancers,
who attack from the flank and maul them. The Buffs" regiment are overrun and a flag
captured ( the scenario is prepared and practiced, the person capturing the flag has practiced
it with the standard bearer )
Other scenarios will also be played out such as Latham's wounds etc. The 57th is also wiped
out ( scenario of Colonel Inglis shouting "Die Hard, my men, Die Hard" ), as well as 66 and 48
are also annihilated. Only the 31st time a form Square.
The French cavalry attack has to move along the british line, riding round the blocks of men
and moving on to the next one until they reach the Spanish infantry when they move to the
rear of the British line, to attack Beresford and his staff.

Phase 5 - The Allied cavalry counterattack

Riding with the 12th Light Dragoons video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXCpeVTlcMI#)

The Allied cavalry counter-attack at that moment and push the French cavalry back behind
the French lines, a melee takes place in the area behind the French lines, there is a large open
area where the cavalry can manoeuvre and charge and melee safely away from infantry
and artillery.
The cavalry in this area can enjoy themselves, initiative for the cavalry commanders to
practice their skills against each other. The Fusiliers Brigade advances the moment the Allied
cavalry begin their charge. They will reach the hill by the time the cavalry have left the area.
The British line advances to reach the top of the hill, where they stop and fire several volleys,
before advancing 5 paces, and fire again, then advance another 5 paces and fire again, and
keep this up, until the French infantry begins to fall back and eventually abandon the area.
The British Line then stops and dresses up the line accordingly.

Phase 6 - The Spanish fight back

Meanwhile the Spanish units of Casta?os and half of Blake's troops will be fighting Godinot's
troops in the centre of the Allied line. Half of Blake's troops will be firing on the French forces
of Godinot Girard and Gazan.
A French column attack to the centre of the British-Spanish line on the hill will be stopped and
destroyed with musketry. The French forces will then retire slowly, firing and retiring, withdrawing
to their start lines.
At this moment the cavalry of both sides end their melee's and return to their respective lines.
The fighting in the centre of the line opposite Castaos forces and in the village starts to slow down.
Godinot witdraws his men from the village (after having captured half of it). The KGL retires then
reoccupies the village entirely with the Portuguese infantry and artillery on their flank
Any remaining French forces are withdrawn from the village with shots becomng more sporadic.

The Battle of Albuera refought (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1pgJL0VOFI#ws)

Phase 7 - The French retire

The French lines are rearranged, Godinot facing the village of Albuera, and the Spanish unit of the
Centre. Gazan & Girard & Werle & Latour Maubourg fall back and line up behind the French Artillery.
The French Cavalry takes position behind them.
The Allies enter the village the KGL with the Portuguese and Spanish units reforming their lines.
The Spanish regiments in the centre of the Allied deployment reform their line of battle.
British troops are then withdrawn towards the top of the hill, to form up in line.
The allied cavalry is behind the British and Spanish lines at which point, the shooting stops.
The armies are facing each other, and in silence. It's the end of the day, the end of the battle,
but with both sides, ready to fight again if necessary.
The Narrator explains that the battle was not resumed the next day and the French retreated
to Seville, leaving the field of Albuera in Allied hands.

After the battle report from the commander of his Britannic majesties allied forces,
presently engaged on the Spanish border (http://peninsularwar200.org/reenact%20albuera%20report.pdf)

Heres a video of the Polish Contingent at Albuera

A typical day at the Polish encampment at Albuera (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNTUjwopPXw#ws)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:25 20-May-2011

Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe.html)

The Battle of Albuera as seen on Spanish tv and press reports

As last weekend was officially the 200th anniversary of the Battle of
Albuera in Spain. No doubt those expats who fought their way over to
Albuera, to see the action the other weekend.
Will be keen to check out the latest press releases and tv reports from
the battle in Estremadura.

Albuera Bicentennial ceremony (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.ejercito.mde.es/eu/noticias/2011/05/912.html%3F__locale%3Deu&ei=wpDVTZLnD8bz-gaij6HVBw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CEUQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbatalla%2Bde%2Balbuera%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26biw%3D704%26bih%3D449%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Divns)

Spanish tv report (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://tv.canalextremadura.es/tv-a-la-carta/videos/bicentenario-de-la-batalla-de-la-albuera-16-de-mayo&ei=T5HVTcrtHoiA-wbh_fHJBw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CEEQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbatalla%2Bde%2Balbuera%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26biw%3D667%26bih%3D490%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns)

Video of The Battle of Albuera in miniature (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8h83Ym5LR8#)

Finally - don't forget to browse back to the article, Cannons roar across the border for a
Spanish photo report on the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro and more photos from last months

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:07 24-Jun-2011

The Siege of Tarragona, May to June 1811

Back to the Napoleonic & Peninsular Wars will be reporting from the historic Spanish
coastal port of Tarragona ( south west of Barcelona ) this weekend.
Where the french under the command of General Loius Suchet, have been besieging
the spanish garrison with little effect. Here the british navy, under Admiral Codrington has
been frustrating Suchet's every move, by harrasing the french besiegers with cannon fire
and transporting large numbers of reinforcements ( by sea ) to bolster the spanish defences.
The Emperor Napoleon, keen to mop up these isolated spanish garrison's on the Med, has
promised Suchet a marshal's baton, if he should take Tarragona.

General Suchet is one of the most energetic & ruthless french general's campaigning on the
Spanish peninsular who ( as expats know ) put down a guerilla uprising in the Spanish
( Crimean ) province of Aragon back in October 1810.
Therefore he wastes no time in pursueing his goal by methodically overruning the
cities outer defences and pushing back its defenders into the inner city. Rumour has
it that the french have been helped by spies, traitors and turncoats within the city.
Whatever the truth, the scene is set for one of the bloodiest sieges of the Peninsular
Wars, as the french attempt to take the city by storm with little regard to civilian casultiies.

Spanish report on the Siege of Tarragona (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenario%2Brecreacion%2Bdel%2BSitio%2Bde%2BTarragona%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2_____en-GB%26biw%3D861%26bih%3D457%26tbs%3Dqdr:y%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=es&u=http://www.adn.es/local/lleida/20110622/NWS-1154-Tarragona-Frances-Guerra-batalla-recrea.html&usg=ALkJrhiXlD718Qa9eQrXmPKchVb520LCow)

Catalonia report -Tarragona relives siege by Napoleon's troops (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ca&u=http://www.lamalla.cat/infolocal/camp_tarragona/article%3Fid%3D471015&ei=9iMFTrPLMI2t8QPVnvWyDQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CFQQ7gEwBg&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenari%2Bdel%2BSetge%2Bde%2BTarragona%2B1811%2B2011%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D854%26bih%3D539%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns)

The arrival of French troops are the talk of the local Ladies Sewing club (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://elmondolivia.blogspot.com/2011/06/fin-de-semana-y-un-poco-de-costura.html&ei=8p0HTtOGG8qr8AOP8qDYDQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CEEQ7gEwBDgy&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenari%2BTarragona%2B1811%2B2011%26start%3D50%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D734%26bih%3D525%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 05:27 26-Jun-2011

French troops stormed the city of Tarregona yesterday

French troops, under the command of General Louis Suchet, stormed the city port of Tarengona
in Catalonia yesterday. Causing great alarm amoungst the long suffering inhabiatants, who
took shelter where they could; as french troops fought their way into the city centre.
Spanish soldiers fought bravely behind improvised barricades and walls, as they tried to
stem the assault following the breach of the city walls by the guns of Napoleon's army.


Napoleon has set great store by the capture of Tarragona, as its fall will free more men
( currently tied up in fruitless Mediterranean sieges ) to face Wellington's troops who are
currently massing on the Spanish / Portuguese border ready to march on Madrid, once the
Spanish border fortress of Badajoz has fallen to the Allies.
Therefore Suchet has been given a free hand, to take Tarragona by whatever means possible,
no matter how high the cost in terms of lives and munitions. The result is a ferrocious assault
on the city walls, following a methodical bombardment of the fortress walls.
The city of Tarragona could expect no mercy from the french ( as the rules of engagement for
any city that refuses to surrender and is finally taken by assualt ) as the troops are given
free rein to rape, loot and pillage as they please.

As expats can see from the photos, the french had to fight the spanish defenders every step
of the way, as the soldiers became embroiled in a number of street battles. The news of its fall
and particularly the nature of the assualt, only serves to harden the spanish resolve against
the french Napoleonic rule of Spain.





Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:00 28-Jun-2011
Video of the French attack on the city of Tarragona

Suffice to say I'm unable to verify the quality of this video, as I'm logged on through
a site which prevents users from viewing video.

Highlights from the Siege of Tarragona, 1811 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epYrGsBm34s)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:16 07-Aug-2011
The restoration of the Napoleonic fort at Forte san Vincente, Torres Vedras

British expats living in & around Torres Vedras, Portugal would have noticed a hive
of activity surrounding the restoration of the Napoleonic fort at Forte san Vincente.
Built as part of the Line of Torres Vedras, this fort held a central position along the 46km
Torres Vedras lines, with commanding views over the many approaches to the town.

For this reason it was one of the key Semaphore signalling stations erected along the lines
to warn of the approach of the french.
As you know I went into some detail surrounding the background of Wellington's Semaphore
stations in an earlier post but suffice to say, when fully working it had the capability of
sending messages along the lines in 7 minutes and from Wellington's HQ to any point on the
Lines in 4 minutes.

With Napoleon's troops still operating in Spain, expats can take comfort from the fact that,
should Napoleon's men ever try to invade Portugal again. The Forte san Vincente Semaphore
station is operational and can be seen for miles around, giving timely warning of the approach
of the french.

Of course the fort is well worth a visit, as its been restored to something approaching its
former glory and will no doubt feature in future re-enactments. Obviously the restoration work
has taken some years to complete and ( thanks to the credit crunch ) the cash strapped british
and portuguese governments have left it to the Norwegian, Icelandic and Liechtenstein
governments to fund the project. Which I think was terribly decent of them.

News report from Torres Vedras (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.cm-tvedras.pt/outros/noticias/detalhes/%3Fid%3D1696&ei=lrs9TvWFA4bJhAeP_622Ag&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CB0Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.cm-tvedras.pt/outros/noticias/detalhes/%253Fid%253D1696%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1W1_____en-GB%26biw%3D811%26bih%3D471%26prmd%3Divnsfd)

The Semaphore at Forte san Vincente in operation


A signal is relayed from the Fort


One of the imposing bastions at Forte san Vincente

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:13 18-Aug-2011

Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe.html)

French troops are still holding out in Almeida

Reports have been coming in from expats living in & around Almeida of a garrison
of french troops still holding out in the city fortress, long after Messena's army
withdrew from Portugal.
As expats will know, the french garrison under General Brennier was supposed
to have vacated Almeida by the 10th May, following the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro.
Obviously the french in Almeida had other ideas and decided to stay put in defiance
of the bicentennial script.
Maybe the french high command are keen to maintain a foothold in Portugal with the
hope of distracting Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army besieging Badajoz.

Whatever the reason the french garrison have defied Wellington long enough
and therefore a strong force of 13,000 British and Portuguese troops under Major
General William Erskine is dispatched to lay siege to Almeida and evict the
troublesome french from the border fortress.

A view of Ekskines encampment as they march for Almeida


Sequence of events over the weekend of the 26, 27, 28 and 29th August

Friday will see the Anglo-Portuguese troops in camp as their officers deliberate
about the best way of assualting the fortress walls of Almeida.
In the meantime visitors will be able to watch the french posting guards along
the city wall.

Saturday will see the Anglo - Portuguese army in camp again as final
preperations are made for the coming assualt on Almeida.
22:00 hrs. Under cover of darkness Wellington's troops make a determined
assualt on Almeida which is eventually beaten off by the french.

Sunday. Brigadier General Brennier judging his position untenable, determines
to escape through Wellingtons lines. Therefore with great skill his small force
of 1400 men manage to evade the troops blockading Almeida but the alarm is
raised and troops from Ekskines 36th regiment soon catch up with the french at
Malpartida where a desperate fight ensues.
Expats will be able to watch the fighting in Malpartida, as the french try to make
good their escape.

The complete french at Almeida campaign program (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2B200%2Bespagne%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_en%26biw%3D911%26bih%3D371%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=pt&u=http://www.cm-almeida.pt/municipio/agendadomunicipio/Paginas/cercodealmeida2009.aspx&usg=ALkJrhg-sOXA3BU9zVSsDqbVHQVXPd86pQ)

For those expats keen to catch up on the latest news concerning this weekends
action in and around Almeida.
Heres this weeks press reports:

Almeida besieged Again !!! (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.cafeportugal.net/pages/agenda_detalhe.aspx%3Fid%3D3896&ei=XORWTtzWJ4mh8QPG3oSZDA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB4Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DVII%2BRecria%25C3%25A7%25C3%25A3o%2BHist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bdo%2BCerco%2Bde%2BAlmeida%2Bde%2B26%2Ba%2B28%2Bde%2BAgosto%2B2011%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D842%26bih%3D486%26prmd%3Divns)

More on this weekends Siege of Almeida 1811 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.ointerior.pt/index.asp%3Fidedicao%3D616%26idSeccao%3D7620%26Action%3Dseccao&ei=08FYTqiBK86Rswa954DYCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDkQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dcerco%2Bde%2Balmeida%2B1811%2B2011%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D1129%26bih%3D601%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns)

Don't forget on sunday the action moves onto Malpartida, a small village some
3 kms north-east of Almeida. Where Eskines troops hope to corner some of
General Brennier's troops making good their escape from Almeida.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 14:49 04-Sep-2011
Video of last weekends Siege & encampment in Almeida

Here's the latest video of the Siege of Almeida last weekend
showing the allied encampment before Almeida. As you can see
Wellington's troops are bearing up well from the rigours of the
campaign, as they prepare to confront the last defiant french
outpost in Portugal.
The film goes into some detail about everyday life for many
soldiers on campaign in the Peninsular, whether they be British,
French or Portuguese with ( of course ) the early evening assualt
on the french garrison of Almeida. A desperate fight as Wellington's
troops try to storm the fortress.

TV report on the french eviction from Almeida, 1811 (http://videos.sapo.mz/pQV0evoZfk1ZVzl58hwI)

Video of the Allied assualt of Almeida (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0K4TFk6uJc#ws)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 10:50 06-Sep-2011
Better late than never !!  Glad to see that the French have been pushed out at last.  Tom
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:52 16-Sep-2011
A Vintage year marked by a Vintage Port as Napoleon's troops
are driven out of Portugal

With autumn descending on the Spanish Peninsular, Wellington's
troops can look back at a job well done. as the last of Napoleon's
french troops are driven back across the border.
With french fortunes now firmly on the backfoot, Beresford
and Wellington make two unsuccessful siege attempts to breach
the walls of the french held fortress at Badajoz but without success
as its defences prove too formidable for Wellington's engineers.
In the end Wellington's forced to abandon the siege as the wily
Marshal Soult is soon reinforced by Marmont's 9th Corps who
helps to drive back the Allied army to its Portugueses defensive
postions near the Portuguese border. On a line running from Elvas
to Campo Major along the Caya river.
Here the french are content to merely hold their side of the border
while Soult reinforces the french garrison at Badajoz with an extra
2000 men with extra supplies. As french efforts are about to be
diverted elsewhere in a campaign that will weaken forces facing
Portugal as the french prepare a new offensive against Valencia.

A commemorative Vintage Port is released to celebrate the
Allied victories in the Peninsular and at the Battle of Oporto
in 1809

Warres Liberation of Oporto 2009 Vintage Port (http://www.warre.com/static/6516_Warre2009_launchsheet.pdf)

Captain William Warre, an Anglo Portuguese officer in Wellington's army (http://www.warre.com/section.php?id=1094)

The french campaign in Valencia 1811

On the 25th August 1811, Napoleon's Chief of Staff, General Berthier
issued orders in Paris, for the invasion of Valencia. The spanish city and
province of Valencia has long defied french rule and the imposition
of their puppet King Joseph. Encouraging the revolt of its spanish
troops under General Joachim Blake, the revolt has enjoyed mixed
fortunes with gains and losses on both sides.
Now a new more dynamic leader has arrived on the scene,
namely General Suchet who has succesfully captured three spanish
garrisons along the coast at Tortosa, Tarragona ( mentioned in
my earlier dispatches  ) and Figueras.
Its General Suchet and his french ( Army of Aragon ) who will be
entrusted with the invasion of Valencia, in an attempt to bring
the rebellious province to heel. So on the morning of the
15th September, three french columns march into Valencia.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 04:50 19-Sep-2011
Wellington moves against Ciudad Rodrigo

With Portugal safely secured by Wellingtons troops, his attentions
turn once more to the french held fortresses on the spanish border
Closest to the frontier lies Ciudad Rodrigo a small second rate fortress
defended by some 2000 french troops. This garrison was already
feeling isolated and cut off due to the constant attentions of the
spanish partisans and guerrillas on its communications and supply lines.
Therefore although Wellington was reluctant mount a full scale siege
of Ciudad Rodrigo ( that might draw him into open confrontation with
the far stonger forces of Marshal's Soult & Marmont ) their was nothing
to stop him moving his forces forward and surrounding the fortress
in a tight blockade.
          This he proceeded to do throughout August and into September,
drawing in a total of 46,000 men to take up various positions in and
around the border town, to the south and west of Ciudad Rodrigo.
          Even though their was no immiediate threat of an attack
against the garrison the french felt they could not let this situation
continue and therefore the french decide to combine the armies of
Marshal Marmont and General Dorsenne to create a formidable
force of 58,000 men with which to relieve the garrison at Cuidad
Rodrigo. On 22 September Marmont appeared at Tamames, twenty
miles to the east of Ciudad Rodrigo, while Dorsenne was a few
miles further north at San Mu?oz.

Spanish guerilla cavalry, known as the Lancers of Castille move
gingerly through a french held town


At this point Wellington had 46,000 men (including 41,000 infantry
and 3,100 cavalry) facing Ciudad Rodrigo. His army was spread out
in an arc to the west and south of Ciudad Rodrigo. On the left of the
line were the 1st and 6th Divisions, under the command of General
Graham, west of the town, on the River Azava. Wellington and the
4th Division were at Fuento Guinaldo, ten miles to the south, at the
south western tip of the line. Next in line was the 3rd Division, at
El Bodon, six miles north of Wellington, and almost half way to
Ciudad. Finally the Light Division was posted at Martiago, another
three miles to the east and almost due south of the town.

Residents of El Bodon make preperations for this weekends clash
between the two armies


This deployment exposed each fragment of Wellington?s army to the
risk of a crushing defeat before reinforcements could reach them. It
also made it almost impossible for Wellington to concentrate his army
at Fuente Guinaldo without interference, for the French could easily
thrust into the gap between the widely separated left and right wings.
Wellington left his troops in this dangerous position because he did not
believe that the French intended to advance beyond Ciudad Rodrigo.

Threrefore the scene is set for yet another confrontation between the
Anglo Portuguese army of Wellington and the french, who's cavalry
have already been pushing forward in a bid to establish contact with
the beleagured garrison.

Local historical account of the Battle of El bodon 1811 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.leonoticias.com/frontend/leonoticias/Un-Combate-Que-Pudo-Cambiar-La-Historia-vn79719-vst306&ei=LxV1Ton-Doi-0QXWmISoCA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDgQ7gEwATgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3DConmemoraci%25C3%25B3n%2Bdel%2BCombate%2Bde%2BEl%2BBod%25C3%25B3n%2BFuenteguinaldo%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D738%26bih%3D388%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Combat of El Bodon event program (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://ciudadrodrigoaldia.es/2011/09/07/toros-y-recreaciones-belicas-para-celebrar-el-bicentenario-del-combate-de-el-bodon/&ei=n5t2Tt_4D5K00QW37LSXCA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CD0Q7gEwBA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DFuenteguinaldo%2By%2BEl%2BBod%25C3%25B3n%2Bse%2Bunen%2Bpara%2Bconmemorar%2Bel%2BBicentenario%2Bde%2Bla%2Bbatalla%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D795%26bih%3D300%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 10:11 19-Sep-2011
Will have to leave the Cavalry to hold the line for a while....I'm off to track done some of the Vintage Port !!  Thank you for the link - Tom.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:09 26-Sep-2011
British troops hold Marmont`s  cavalry at bay

Wellingtons troops fought a highly fluid battle over
the weekend, as a large body of french cavalry
commanded by Montbrun attempted to disrupt
the Anglo - Portuguese armies withdrawl from their
exposed positions surrounding Cuidad Rodrigo.

Dusk falls on the British encampment near Cuidad Rodrigo (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.salamanca24horas.com/provincia/53680-los-primeros-recreadores-se-instalan-en-el-bodon-en-un-ambiente-festivo&ei=SlePTvfBFMOp8APH3Pku&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB0Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.salamanca24horas.com/provincia/53680-los-primeros-recreadores-se-instalan-en-el-bodon-en-un-ambiente-festivo%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D739%26bih%3D318%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Map of the Battle of El Bodon, 25th September 1811, click on map to enlarge (http://www.napoleon-series.org/images/military/maps/Portuguese/elbodon.JPG)

The battle which was to be called the Combat at
El Bodon, saw british infantry constantly turning
to form squares, to stave off the ferrocious french
cavalry attacks. Montbrun was keen to disrupt the
Britidh withdrawl by whatever means possible but
the british redcoats held firm throughout.

British troops find the road blocked by french infantry as they
try to make good their withdraw from El Bodon


Spanish lancers of Don Julian`s regiment harass
Marmont`s infantry, as they attempt to attack
Wellington`s army. (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.lagacetadesalamanca.es/provincia/2011/09/26/combate-bodon-vuelve-revivirse-despues/40043.html%3Futm_source%3Drss&ei=TliPTunOMpSo8APiiNUP&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB0Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.lagacetadesalamanca.es/provincia/2011/09/26/combate-bodon-vuelve-revivirse-despues/40043.html%253Futm_source%253Drs%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D832%26bih%3D334%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns)

French cavalry attacking british troops at El Bodon,
as Partisans attempt to disrupt the french attacks (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://noticias.terra.es/fotos/actualidad/fichafoto.aspx%3Fitemurl%3D/2011/gente-y-cultura/0925/fotos-media/recreacion-historica-el-combate-de-el-bodon-hace-hoy-200-anos-se-revive-en-el-oeste-salmantino&ei=AFmPTu_uGJDA8QOUrdUE&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB0Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://noticias.terra.es/fotos/actualidad/fichafoto.aspx%253Fitemurl%253D/2011/gente-y-cultura/0925/fotos-media/recreacion-historica-el-combate-de-el-bodon-hace-hoy-200-anos-se-revive-en-el-oeste-salmantino%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D739%26bih%3D318%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns)

British soldiers open fire on the french, as they strive to make
good their retreat to Portugal


The Battle of El Bodon - the Video

I`m sure many expats have been keenly awaiting the full video version
of the Battle of El Bodon, as theirs nothing like a good old
fashioned cavalry charge to test the metal of Wellington`s
troops while under fire from the french. Well, as Sharpe would
say 'the men have done themselves, proud !!!'

Video highlights of the Battle of El Bodon 1811 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUvaRHJYhdM#ws)

Fighting in the streets of El Bodon

Heres another video showing a platoon of British, Spanish & Portuguese
soldiers ( cut off by Wellington's hasty retreat ) fighting it out on the
streets of El Bodon. As expats can see 'the thin red line' has a real
fight on their hands, as seasoned french troops of Marmont's Corps
enter the town. Fortunately for them, the 95th Rifles were on hand
to even up the odds, living up to their reputation for being:
the first in the field & the last from the fray.

British troops become embroiled in a street fight (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5i9SghzDq8#)

Montbrun's cavalry encounter a Portuguese gun battery during
their pursuit of the British


A British cavalry officer leads a spanish guerilla band in a daring
counter attack on Marmont's infantry


The british form square as french cavalry circle around them hoping
to break the british square


Marshal Suchet`s troops attack the city of Sagunto

Meanwhile in the Spanish province of Valencia, Souchets
troops stormed the city of Sagunto with reports of
heavy street fighting over the weekend, as french troops
endeavouref to secure the city and castle of Sagunto.

Napoleon`s troops storm Sagunto (http://www.morvedre.info/gent/sagunto-recrea-la-batalla-y-el-asedio-de-sagunto-por-parte-de-las-tropas-napoleonicas)

An illustration plate of the Lancers of Castille, that operated
around Cuidad Rodrigo as irregular guerilla cavalry

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 04:59 14-Nov-2011

Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

The french march into Estremadura

In October 1811 a french division under the command of General Jean-Baptiste Girard
crossed the River Guardiana into Estremadura at Merida. The french expedition had
several objectives, including: raising taxes, finding food to support the army but the
biggest reason was to teach the spanish a lesson for their continued defiance of
the french and support of the partisans.
Consequently Girard wasted no time in advancing on the city of Caceres and demanding
5000 dollars from its residents. Any objections being sorted out at the point
of a bayonet with the local british expat community being thrown out bag and
The speed of Girards advance has been the cause of some consternation in the
Spanish press as can be seen from the report below.

Napoleon's troops return to the Sierra de Montachez (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.hoy.es/20111025/local/prov-caceres/tropas-napoleonicas-vuelven-sierra-201110251808.html&ei=eVnATq3SIcav8QOpgumjBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCEQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.hoy.es/20111025/local/prov-caceres/tropas-napoleonicas-vuelven-sierra-201110251808.html%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D1029%26bih%3D471%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Wellington sends Hill to challenge the french

Facing the french in Estremadura are British and Allied troops under the command
of Major-General Rowland Hill  who attained command of British troops in southern
Estremadura ( from Beresford ) following the Battle of Albuera.
Hill wastes no time in gathering his troops together, combining his forces with
those of the local Spanish forces.
Together they march against Girard on the 22nd October, with the aim of pursueing
the french and bringing him to battle at the earliest opportunity.

General Girard leads his army through Estremadura, unaware thet
the British are soon in hot pursuit of his men


The first day, the allies march 30 miles in a day that brings them within
striking distance of the french. Hill encouraged by their progress, pressed on
his men to move more rapidly but were soon slowed down by heavy rain, that
continued to hamper their progress.
Hill therefore decide to dispense with much of his baggage as well as the
heavy nine pounder guns which accompanied the baggage train. Instead he
continues with only a light Portuguese six pounder battery while the while the
soldiers carried only a minimum of equipment and three days worth of food.
This way the British continued the pursuit of the french, with Girard still in
blissfull ignorance of the pursuit. After eluding the British for several days, on the
27th, Girard marches only a small distance to stop the night in the town of

Major General Hill leads his troops on horseback


The Battle of Arroy dos Molinos

On the evening of the 27th October, Hills forces had reached a point 4 miles
from the town of Arroyomolinos where he carefully positioned his troops to
encircle the village by ordering the 71st Highlanders into the village of Alcuescar,
3 miles from Arroyomolinos.
During the night their was a violent hail storm that left the french pickets so cold,
they had their backs turned against the wind to find shelter.
Consequently it was from this direction that Hills attack commenced on the
morning of the 28th October.
Hill's plan of attack was simple, Wilson's brigade, plus three Portuguese battalions
would march around the south of the town to the east to block any escape
along the roads leading to Merida or Truxillo. Howard's Brigade and the Spanish
under Mirillo would attack straight into the town while the cavalry would operate
between the two infantry columns.

All went well for the British from the very beginning. Under the cover of a
dense fog they were able to approach within a few hundred meters of the town
before the alarm was given. Howard's brigade charged immediately into the
town hitting the battalion that was acting as the rear guard.
This battalion quickly crumbled and the British swept everything before them,
finally halting at a wall on the fall side of the town. According to one soldier in the
71st Highlanders, Girard was nearly captured 'as he came out of the mayor's house,
frantic with rage'. Never will I forget the grotesque figure he made as he threw
his cocked hat upon the ground and stamped upon it, gnashing his teeth."

The rest of General Dombrouski's brigade had just begun forming up on the
other side of the town when the attack hit. The brigade quickly moved down the
road towards Merida, but were threatened by the British and Spanish cavalry.
Girard ordered his cavalry to cover the retreat at all costs, while the infantry
retreated along the Truxillo road.  This road, like the rest of the roads
in the area was narrow, muddy, and lined with low stone fences.
The infantry raced down the road hotly pursued by Howard's brigade.

The French were in a trap with no way to go except due east: to the north was
the Sierra de Montanchez, a long chain of steep hills while to the west and the
south were the British. By moving quickly and abandoning all their wagons,
the French nearly escaped when their column was hit by the lead units of
Wilson's Brigade, the light companies of the 28th, 34th and the 39th Regiments,
coming from the south.
The three companies hit the first battalion in the flank and succeeded in slowing
down the rest of the column until the rest of the British and Portuguese could
come up. Girard, seeing there was no escape, ordered his men not to stop
and fight but to attempt to move cross-country and to climb the high hills.
He and about 400 men succeeded, however the rest of the column was penned
in and forced to lay down their arms.

Video, before the Battle, parade through Arroyomolinos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8bukJlnkek#)

Video film of the Battle of Arroy dos Molinos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54tIwtWYjNE#)

The British victory was not total. The French had started their march earlier than
expected and General Remond's brigade, which had departed the town about
an hour before the attack, escaped unscathed. Despite this, the French loses
in the battle were staggering. Of the six infantry battalions and three cavalry
regiments engaged, about 1,000 men were killed or wounded. In addition to
these casualties, another 1300 men and 30 officers were made prisoners.
Most of the casualties were among the infantry, who lost about 80% of their
Additionally General Bron, the commander of the Cavalry, the Prince of Aremberg,
commander of the 27th Chasseurs, and Colonel Andr?, the chief-of-staff of the
5th Corps.
Girard lost all of his baggage, guns, 6 caissons of ammunition, and the 5,000
dollars tax levied on the town of Caceres. British losses were less than
80 men killed and wounded. General Girard was subsequently relieved by
Marshal Soult and returned to France in disgrace.

After the Battle, Napoleonic troops parade in Arroyomolinos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1DPKph4Mss#)

French drums of the 34eme de Ligne are captured by the British

The French 34th and 40th Regiments suffered extremely heavy losses during
the battle, although to Marshal Soult's relief the eagle standards of the two regiments were
not lost to the British.
He wrote to Napoleon: L'honneur des armes est sauve; les Aigles ne sont pas tombes
au pouvoir de l'ennemi. [The honour of the army is saved; the Eagles did not fall
into the hands of the enemy.]

Although the standards were not lost, the same cannot be said for the 34eme regimental
drums ( and drum majors mace ) which all fell into the hands of the
34th Cumberland Regiment of foot. The modern day, Kings Own Royal Border
Regiment based in Carlisle.
The drums, presented by Napoleon Bonaparte himself, fell into British hands
following the Battle of Arroy dos Molinos.
The drums were paraded by the royal Border Regiment, every 28th October until 2006 to
celebrate the important victory but have since been placed in the Carlisle Castle museum.
Their are plans for them to be shown in a special regimental exhibit  sometime after 2010.

Sharpe, Over the Hills & far Away (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe_-_Over_the_Hills_and_Far_Away.html)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Claus on 09:12 14-Nov-2011
Thanks (where, oh where is that button...). Well done, as usual
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 14:18 15-Nov-2011
I agree, many thanks.  Tom.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:26 27-Nov-2011
Servicemen of the KORBR recall Arroyo dos Molinos

Five years ago, special services of remembrance were held for the Kings Own Royal
Border Regiment ( KORBR ) which was about to be merged into 2 other regiments as
part of a strategic defence review.
Consequently they were celebrating the last Arroyo Day as the KORBR before their
amalgamation which had been held annually on the 28th October, since their famous
victory over the french in 1811.
For ever since landing in the Peninsular, the 34th nicknamed The Cumberland
, called their french counterparts of the 34eme de Ligne, The Parlez Vous
and it was always their greatest ambition to meet and overcome them in battle.
General Rowland Hills actions against the french in Otober 1811, gave them that
opportunity. Surprising and overcoming their french counterparts in open battle
where they scored such a complete victory, that they captured the 34emes
mace and drums intact.

Soldiers gather to celebrate Arroyo Day (http://www.cumbrialife.co.uk/soldiers_gather_to_celebrate_arroyo_day_1_395989?referrerPath=2.2021)

The mace and drums are still in the regiment's possession and are paraded
every year in front of the 1st Battalion, carried by drummers in period uniform
of Napoleon's french 34eme de Ligne, as can be seen in this British Pathe newsreel.

BRITISH PATHE NEWSREEL - Trooping the French Drums (http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=5455)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 04:34 25-Mar-2012

Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Spain in the spring of 1812

The beginning of 1812 sees Wellington planning to launch an offensive in Spain. For after
spending the later half 1811 pinned down in Portugal, unable to move east, due to far
superior French forces blocking his path.
The new year presented better opportunities for Wellington, as it became clear that
Napoleon would have to confront Russia which was straining at the leash, of a highly
unpopular alliance that was strangling Russian trade.
Thanks to the excellent intelligence network Wellington has fostered in Spain, the British
were soon aware that Napoleon was withdrawing some of hes best troops from Spain,
as first the Guard cavalry, many of his Polish units and finally the Imperial Guard itself
departed for France. Obviously something was a foot, as Napoleon never campaigned
anywhere without the Imperial Guard.
Also events in the east with Marshal Suchet's invasion of Valencia taking longer than
usual, as hes forces became bogged down near Saguntum, forcing the French to
redistribute their armies, moving more troops east.

French troops marching through a Spanish town


The Siege of Cuidad Rodrigo, January 1812

For Wellington, the time was ripe for him to descend on one of the key Spanish fortresses
on the main Portugal to Spain road, namely Cuidad Rodrigo. The place was not a first class
fortress and had fallen with ease to the French. Under the French, the fortifications had
undergone some improvements but not enough to offset the years of dereliction and decay.
Nevertheless the French garrison, some 2000 strong had plenty of cannon with which to
over awe the British, if only they had sufficient gunners to man them.
Laying siege to Cuidad Rodrigo from the 5th January until the 8th. Wellington, lacking an
adequate siege train, was not a man to stand idly by and see he's troops bogged down in
a long siege.  Particularly with Marmont's French ( Army of Portugal ) likely to march to
its aid.
Therefore Wellington decided to take the fortress by a series of assaults from the 9th until
the 19th January progressively taking a series of outlying forts and redoubts before the
main assault through the breach of the fortress during the night of the 19th January. When
Barrie?s small force of 2000 men was simply overwhelmed by the British who proceeded
to sack the town following the town following its fall, much to Wellington's annoyance.

Marmont had expected the fortress to hold out for three weeks and had planned he's
relief column accordingly. As it was this had to be withdrawn following the fall of the
fortress as the Marshal surmised it will be needed elsewhere once Wellington moves
against the next fortress Badajoz in Extremadura, in Spain.

Spain 1812 as depicted in Sharpe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Odqg6_k5E8#)

The Siege of Badajoz begins, March 1812 onwards


Following the fall of Cuidad Rodrigo, Wellington's Anglo - Portuguese army moved onto
Badajoz, hoping to capture this vital fortress that lies astride the main road to Spain and
Wellington's line of communications back to Lisbon.
Here the French garrison ( some 5000 strong ) commanded by General Philippon would
prove to be a far tougher nut to crack as it possessed fortifications much stronger than
Almeida or Cuidad Rodrigo.
With a strong curtain wall covered by numerous strongpoints and bastions, Badajoz had
already repulsed two unsuccessful sieges and was well prepared for a third attempt, with
the walls strengthened and some areas surrounding the curtain wall flooded or mined with
The Allied army, some 27,000 strong outnumbered the French five to one and after
encircling the town, began to lay siege by preparing trenches, parallels and earthworks to
protect the heavy siege guns facing Badajoz.  The work would prove awkward and difficult,
as torrential rain blighted the trenches.  As the work progressed, the French made a
series of raids to try and destroy the lines advancing against the fortress wall but were
repeatedly beaten off by the renowned British 95th Rifles.

A Daily account of the Siege of Badajoz, as it happened 200 years ago plus commemorative events (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://badajoz1812.blogspot.com/&ei=rHNuT6f3FM_68QOh2-DRBg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCYQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbadajoz1812.blogspot.com%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Exhibition about the Two Sweethearts of the Peninsular Wars, namely Sir Harry & Lady Smith (http://peninsularwar200.org/smithexhibition.pdf)

The second siege of Astorga in northern Spain

Meanwhile the Spanish army in northern Spain with the help of partisans and guerrillas will
be closing in, for the second siege of the key northern fortress town of Astorga with a
battle planned for the last weekend in April.
Astorga standing astride the main Spanish road between Madrid and the northern ports of
Corruna and Ferrol is a key town in the hands of the French.

The curious tale of the Fourth Invasion of Portugal - April 1812

While Wellington besieged Badajoz, Marshall Marmont led his French, Army of Portugal
across the border on the 3rd April 1812. Marching to Sambucus in Portugal, where
Marmont established his headquarters in Sabugal. From their he sent a flying column
of troops towards Almeida. with the intention of taking it by surprise.

Fortunately Brigadier Trant, the English officer commanding the Portuguese militia
in Northern Portugal got wind of Marmont's intentions and concentrated his forces
along the road to Almeida. Although the French attacked Trant's forces, they were
unable to break Trant's troops, who proceded to withdraw to Almeida.
In the meantime Wellington received news of the French incursion and proceded
to make plans to march his troops towards Almeida, as soon as Badajoz had fallen.

Marmont seeing that surprise had been lost and not wishing to confront Wellington's
Army returning to Portugal, returned to Spain on the 24th April.

The fourth Invasion of Portugal in April 1812 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://capeiaarraiana.wordpress.com/category/arquivo-historico/invasoes-francesas-arquivo-historico/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bduque%2Bwellington%2Bmadrid%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D815%26bih%3D433%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=p4MqUMaXAo25hAft54HoCQ&ved=0CG4Q7gEwAg)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Rifleman Plunket on 14:11 26-Mar-2012
Glad to see you are back in the saddle again.  Tom.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:46 28-Mar-2012
Napoleonic raid planned for May

A definate 'heads up' for british expats keen to follow in the
footsteps of Wellington and the British army as they march
across the spanish peninsular this summer.
A surprise attack against a french strongpoint is planned for May
and many visitors & tourists will have a rare opprortunity to
accompany one of the british columns as they cross rugged
terrain, to descend on french entrenched position's along the
River Tagus. The name of the event is La Ruta de Los Ingleses.

La Ruta de Los Ingleses ( The route of the British )

La Ruta de Los Ingleses, has been a regular commemorative,
18 km hike across some of the most striking spanish countryside.
To be held on the 19th May, participants will learn the history
and chain of events, that leads upto one of the most daring
raids of the Napoleonic and Peninsular Wars.
Being the bicentennial year of this historic event, the 18 km
hike will feature performances of the battle as the british
column, under General Hill closes in on its objective.

British troops overpower French piquets


Spanish newspaper report on the forthcoming event (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.hoy.es/v/20120212/prov-caceres/ruta-ingleses-tendra-centro-20120212.html&ei=fzNyT5GtAYrT8gOSv8xW&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CFYQ7gEwBA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DLa%2BRuta%2Bde%2BLos%2BIngleses%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns)

More details about La Ruta de Los Ingleses (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://blogs.hoy.es/senderosextremadura/2012/02/29/la-ruta-de-los-ingleses-conmemora-el-bicentenario-el-19-de-mayo/&ei=KTNyT67VJoSL8gPhyshh&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDoQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3DLa%2BRuta%2Bde%2BLos%2BIngleses%2B2012%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D758%26bih%3D470%26prmd%3Dimvns)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:22 06-Apr-2012

The Preobrajensky March, click & minimise - above is the Chernigov regiment of the 1980's (http://media.vad1.com/temporary_url_20070929kldcg/preobrajensky-march-leningrad_military_district_headquarters_band.mp3)

Russia and the War of 1812

Well this year marks the 200th anniversary of the French invasion of Russia by
Napoleon Bonaparte and as such it's going to be one of the most momentous events
in the forthcoming Campaign season. Of course the events surrounding the
French invasion of Russia have been well covered in film and literature with the
most memorable being Leo Tolstoy's, War and Peace. So instead, I'm going to
start my introduction to the War of 1812 by looking at the history of the Napoleonic
re-enactment movement in Russia.

From an underground group of history buffs with model soldiers to fully fledged armies

The Russians can thank the St Petersburg military historian, Oleg Sokolov for founding
the Napoleonic reconstruction movement in Russia. He alone established a small group
of enthusiasts interested in the Napoleonic Wars, who would gather together with their
various collection of model soldiers to recreate battles in miniature back in 1976. Before
moving onto studying and recreating the Russian and French officer uniforms of the
Napoleonic Wars. Over time, Oleg's club organised trips and tours of the Napoleonic
battlefields of Russia but as far as re-enactment was concerned, this would remain
just a dream, as the Soviet authorities viewed such activities with suspicion, as harking
back to the days of Russian imperialism. Still in spite of the constant fears of repression,
the Russian military historical clubs reached out to other 'like-minded' clubs in Russia
and Ukraine, with the Ukrainian military historical club having their first meetings in
May 1985. Yet again, revolving around model soldiers and wargames.
Nevertheless the Soviet government allowed some 'special anniversary' re-enactments
at Borodino, to commemorate 'The Patriotic War of 1812'

The effects of Glasnost and Perestroika

All this changed when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union and
introduced a series of reforms of the Soviet system under the name of glasnost and
perestroika.  The greater openness that came with glasnost, enabled historical
groups like Oleg's the freedom to explore the past without any fear of censorship
from the authorities. Naturally Oleg's military-historical group wanted to go much
further than miniature war games, battlefield  tours and research, to recreate
the parades, marches and battles from the past but nobody had the necessary
expertise in Soviet Russia, to establish or organise such re-enactments.

Here the impetus for recreating Napoleonic regiments & living history in Russia
would emanate from the brilliance of Soviet film director Sergei Bondarchuk and
with the knowledge acquired by the Soviet Army, in training and supplying the
soldiers for his big battles.

Napoleonic re-enactment and the Soviet Army

War & Peace 1965 to 1967

Napoleonic re-enactment within the Soviet Army, dates back to the epic War &
Peace film, released in four parts in so many years by the Soviet film studio
Mosfilm. One of the most memorable films in Russian cinema, it would take
7 hours to watch all four parts.
Here the director Sergei Bondarchuk used the services of 12000 film extra's
from the Soviet Army, dressed as French and Russian soldiers of the
Napoleonic Wars for the big battle scenes, like Borodino.

Waterloo filmed in 1969 for release in 1970

The Soviet army would be called upon again, for another Napoleonic epic
called Waterloo. Which was a Soviet-Italian co-production, filmed in English
and Russian by director Sergei Bondarchuk. With Rod Steiger as Napoleon
and Christopher Plummer as Wellington, it depicts the preliminary events
leading upto and including the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Another lavishly expensive film, who's real costs were reduced by filming it
in the Soviet Union. Mosfilm was rumoured to have contributed more than
$4 million to the costs, together with 16,000 soldiers from the Soviet Army,
a full brigade of Soviet cavalry ( 2000 strong ), fifty circus stunt riders and
a host of engineers and labourers to prepare the battlefield, in the rolling
farmland outside Uzhhorod in Ukraine.
To recreate the battlefield of Waterloo authentically, the Russians bulldozed
away two hills, laid five miles of road, transplanted 5000 trees, sowed fields
of rye, barley and wildflowers and reconstructed four historic buildings.

Months before the cameras started rolling, the 16,000 Soviet soldiers underwent
Napoleonic drill practice, learning musket drill, battle formations with sabre,
bayonet and artillery practice. So that when the camera's finally started rolling,
the big battle was to see 'the thin Red Army line' of the British, squaring up
against Napoleon's Soviet lmperial Guard, strongly supported by French
Bolshevik cavalry.
The dress rehearsals for the Battle of Waterloo, didn't always go according to
plan, as it was found that the average Soviet army conscript, had a deep
aversion to boldly standing still within a British square with French cavalry
charging down upon them.
The producers tried in vain to allay the Soviet conscripts fears, by marking
white lines which the cavalry promised never to cross. Nevertheless despite
their best efforts, anyone watching the scenes from the battle of Waterloo
closely, would notice some British infantry squares breakup and run, quite
disgracefully in the background.
A fact that didn't go unnoticed by British intelligence, who wouldn't hesitate in
sending a memo to NATO's Supreme headquarters in Belgium, saying Soviet
conscripts might waiver in the face of a bold French cavalry charge.
Nevertheless, it was said, at the time that director, Sergei Bondarchuk
commanded the seventh largest army in the world and if the Prague Spring
had started a year later, then Brezhnev would have been hard put to intervene
in Czechoslovakia, with his reserves already committed against Napoleon in Ukraine.


Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, GSFG and their involvement in Napoleonic

From the end of the second world war and through to the early 1990's, the Soviet
Union maintained a huge military presence in the former East Germany, of tanks and
armoured personnel carriers, artillery, fighter aircraft and bombers of every description,
as well as a variety of short to medium range missiles. In short a great arsenal which
together with other forces from the Soviet Bloc's, Warsaw Pact countries, posed a
constant threat to the peace and security of Western Europe.
With the armies of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact outnumbering NATO's ground
forces by 2 to 1 or more in tanks and other equipment. NATO was relying on the swift
mobilisation of American forces airlifted to Western Europe, to counter any Soviet
offensive in Europe. In fact it was said at the time, that the only thing that would
stop the Soviets from reaching the Channel ports ( come an invasion ) was a lack
of boots.
Then in 1985 Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika was sweeping through Eastern
Europe where many communist states ( with the exception of East Germany ) were
relaxing their surveillance on people, allowing individuals to openly study and
question the past, including the re-enactment of famous battles.
This openness was even felt within the ranks of the Soviet military stationed in
Leipzig. A number of ( like minded ) officers were interested in the Napoleonic wars
and no doubt encouraged by older officers ( and other ranks ) who were involved
in the filming of War & Peace and Waterloo. Sought out inspiration from the fledgling
eastern European re-enactment societies that were emerging within the GDR and
Czechoslovakia, back in the early 1980's.

Thanks to attending early re-enactments at Jena and Leipzig, the Soviet garrison in
Leipzig, formed their own Russian Napoleonic regiment in 1986, under the command of
Captain Anatoly Novikov, called the Chernigov regiment of 1803-1813, a Russian-
Ukrainian regiment that had fought at the Battle of the Nations, Leipzig in 1813. At
first the Chernigov regiment attended ceremonial events by mounting guard at
memorial's and monuments in the GDR, before becoming more involved in historical
re-enactments at Jena and Leipzig, in 1987 and 1988.

During 1988, Captain Anatoly Novikov visited his old friend Oleg Sokolov in Leningrad
( now St Petersburg ) after being transferred to Russia and brought across the
notion that Oleg's club could not only recreate the arms and uniforms of Napoleonic
regiments in Russia but also organise small scale Napoleonic battles and marches.
Other officers from the GSFG's, Chernigov regiment, were also instrumental in setting
up other Regiments in Moscow and Kiev, with Captain Semchenko forming a Russian
regiment in Moscow while Lieutenant Krylov, established a French regiment in Kiev.
Thus the nucleus of the early Russian & French Napoleonic regiments were being
formed across the Soviet Union, with their first big event being the Komsomol
organised, Napoleonic march from Moscow to Berezina in the summer of 1988.

Note - the reconstruction of a Russian Napoleonic Tsarist regiment within the ranks
of the Soviet Army was a political 'hot potato' even during the Soviet Union's
enlightened times under Gorbachev ( 1985 - 1991 ) As the Soviet Army was
seen as the stalwart upholder of Socialism and Communism throughout the
Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It was therefore an inspired choice by Captain
Novikov's ( Glory to the Motherland club ) in choosing the Chernigov Regiment
which was to achieve notoriety ( after the Napoloeonic Wars ) for mutinying in
support of the Decembrists Revolt of 1825 - 1826.
Obviously such revolt's against Tsarist autocracy were eulagized by the Soviet

Chernigov Regiment revolt of 1826 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernigov_Regiment_revolt)

The great Napoleonic march or campaign of 1988

It was clear from the start, that in order for this great Napoleonic event to succeed,
it must be done with the approval of one of the leading Soviet organising committees;
in this case the Central Committee of the Komsomol. The government approved
youth movement ( for ages 18 to 28 ) within the Soviet Union.
At first Komsomol approval wasn't forthcoming  due to the complexity of the
campaign but once Captain Novikov and the other servicemen, presented their
case; including feasibility studies & logistics, the Central Committee was won over
and gave their backing for the historic march and campaign, from Moscow to


Original Soviet newspaper report from 1988 (http://www.vokrugsveta.ru/vs/article/4051/)

The route of the march was to go from Moscow to Borodino, then onto Maloyaroslavets,
Tarutino, Smolensk, Polotsk, Borisov and Berezina before returning to Moscow.
With the Soviet Armies, 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya tank division providing
transportation and logistical support, cars, staff and communication, leaving the
Komsomol to arrange accommodation and setup venues near battle sites, where
lectures on the Napoleonic Wars, parades, demonstrations and battle re-enactments
could take place, with the backbone of the fledgling napoleonic regiments being
the Chernigov regiment.
In total just over 100 people became involved in the campaign, including some
re-enactors from East Germany ( GDR ) and Czechoslovakia and it proved to be
a great success, attracting much publicity and interest amongst Russians intrigued
by novelty of seeing Russian Tsarist soldiers from the past, come to life at regular
re-enactments in Borodino. In fact it's thanks to the March of 1988, that the first
regular battle re-enactments started at Borodino in September each year.

How it all began - the Napoleonic march of 1988, photo album & newspaper clips

The Napoleonic March in Russia 1988, Note move your mouse over the options
below to move forward and backwards through the newspaper clips (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?anno=2&hl=en&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://www.litulan.ru/clabhist/clabhistpmb.php%3Fnav%3Dn%26page%3D1&usg=ALkJrhjnWMw_QediKAyLZAs2sZHFw1W_fA)

The first All Union Napoleonic campaign of 1988 on video

The first campaign of 1988 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HalGklq_agg#)

Many major Russian re-enactment regiments are created

Following the success of Napoleonic campaign of 1988, more military history clubs
sprang up in Moscow and Leningrad forming their own Napoleonic regiments and
in November 1988, a representative team of 30 re-enactors are sent to East
Germany to attend re-enactment events in Leipzig and Berlin, together with the
CSFG's Chernigov regiment.
The spring of 1989, sees the Central Committee of the Komsomol organise the
first All Union Congress of re-enactors, the results of which established the
Federation of military historical clubs, who's formation was backed by most of the
Soviet military, including the GSFG in Germany, the Kantemirovskaya division,
together with incidental backing from various Soviet military districts.
Thanks to their support, the military historical clubs can openly parade with flag's
bearing Tsarist symbols.

Other military historical clubs soon sprang up with regiments and battles from
different era's. As re-enactment societies delve into many periods of Russian
history, from Medieval through to the Great Northern War of Peter the Great,
the Napoleonic Wars of 1812 to 1814 and the Second World War.

Russia Today, History Alive video - Borodino in two parts (http://rtd.rt.com/films/history-borodino-napoleon-tribute/#part-1)

Oleg Sokolov and his french troops make it to Paris


The campaigns of Oleg Sokolov 1989 to 2012

It will come as no surprise that Oleg Sokolov, as well as being the founding
father of Russian Napoleonic re-enactment movement, was also its greatest
advocate in establishing French regiments in Russia.
With his love of french history and the campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte,
it didn't take him long to attain the position of french marshal and command
his own army on the russian battlefields. Being awarded the french
'legion of honour' for he's many books on the napoleonic era. Oleg embarked
on a grand tour of Europe, visiting many European battle re-enactments
across western europe, together with his re-enactment group. As well as
organizing the annual Battle of Borodino near Moscow.

Suppressing the Spanish partisan's in the Crimean Peninsular

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, ITV filmed the popular peninsular war
series, Sharpe in  the Crimea and over the years established a loyal band
of Spanish partisans with which to harass the local French grenadier garrison
in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.
Therefore Oleg, hearing the plight of his french grenadiers, organizes
The War in the  Peninsular campaign, a series of running battles and skirmishes
against the partisans and Spanish irregular soldiers that are hiding out, in the
foot hills and mountains of the Crimean national park.
This protracted campaign, runs over a number of days, stretching Oleg's french
forces to the limit, as they move from camp to camp in pursuit of their elusive
Spanish guerillas and partisan's. Before finally tracking them down, high up
in their mountain lair, in what would prove to be the final showdown with the
partisans and their mischievous guerilla leader.

Over the years, the many campaign's and battles fought in Russia and the
former Soviet Union, have taken their toll on Oleg, who looks a mere shadow
of he's former self, as can be seen from he's haggard face and rugged looks
in the Russia Today - History Alive video report above.

Oleg's French troops on campaign in the Crimea


Full report on the October 1810, War in the Peninsular (http://www.expatua.com/forum/index.php?topic=1975.msg50621#msg50621)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:54 13-Apr-2012

Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe.html)

British siege of Badajoz, 16th March - 6th April 1812

In March 1812, the Anglo-Portuguese army moved on to Badajoz to capture
the town and secure Wellington's lines of communication back to Lisbon,
the principle base of operations for the allied army.
Badajoz was garrisoned by some 5,000 French soldiers under General
Philippon, where the fortress town possessed far stronger fortifications than
Almeida or Ciudad Rodrigo and would prove a tougher nut to crack. With a
strong curtain wall covered by  numerous strong points and bastions,
Badajoz had already thwarted two unsuccessful sieges by the British
and was well prepared for a third attempt, with the walls strengthened
and some areas around the curtain wall flooded or mined with explosives.
The allied army, some 27,000 strong, outnumbered the French garrison
by over five to one and after encircling the town, began to lay siege by
preparing trenches, parallels and earthworks, to protect the heavy siege
artillery, work made difficult by prolonged and torrential rainfalls.
As the earthworks were prepared, the French made several raids to try to
destroy the lines advancing toward the curtain wall, but were repeatedly
fended off by the redoubtable British 95th Rifles before being repulsed by
Wellington's redcoats.


With the arrival of heavy 18lb and 24lb howitzers, the allies began an
intense bombardment of the town's defences whilst one of the defensive
bastions was seized by redcoats from General  Thomas Picton's 3rd Division.
The capture of the bastion allowed more extensive siege earthworks to
be dug and soon a maze of trenches were creeping up to the high stone
walls as the cannons continued to blast away at the stonework.
By April 5th two breaches had been made in the curtain wall and the soldiers
readied themselves to storm Badajoz. The order to attack was delayed for
24 hours to allow another breach to be made in the wall.
News began to filter to the allies that Marshal Soult was marching to relieve
 the town and an order was given to launch the attack at 22:00 hrs on April 6.
The French garrison were well aware of what was to come, and mined the
large breaches in the walls in preparation for the imminent assault.


With three large gaps in the curtain wall and with Marshal Soult marching
to the town's aid, Wellington ordered his regiments to storm the town
at 22:00 on the 6th and the troops made their way forward with scaling
ladders and various tools. The first men to assault the breach were the
men of the Forlorn Hope, who would lead the main attack by the 4th Division
and Craufurd's Light Division while diversionary attacks were to be made
to the north and the east by Portuguese and British soldiers of the 5th Division
and Picton's 3rd Division.
Just as the Forlorn Hope were beginning their attack, a French sentry was
alerted and raised the alarm. Within seconds the ramparts were filled with
French soldiers, who poured a lethal hail of musket fire into the troops at
the base of the breach. The British and Portuguese surged forward en masse
and raced up to the wall, facing a murderous barrage of musket fire,
complemented by grenades, stones andbarrels of gunpowder with crude
fuses and even bales of burning hay.



The furious barrage devastated the British soldiers at the wall and the
breach soon began to fill with dead and wounded, over whom the storming
troops had to struggle.
Despite the carnage the redcoats bravely continued to surge forward in
great numbers, only to be mown down by endless volleys and shrapnel
from grenades and bombs. In just under two hours, some 2,000 men
had been killed or badly wounded at the main breach, while countless more
men of the 3rd Division were shot down as they made their diversionary
assault. General Picton himself was wounded, as he climbed a ladder to try
to reach the top of the wall. Everywhere they attacked, the allied soldiers
were being halted and the carnage was so immense that Wellington was
just about to call a halt to the assault when the soldiers finally gained a
foothold on the curtain wall. FitzRoy Somerset, Wellington's military secretary,
was the first to mount the breach ]and afterwards secured one of the
gates for British reinforcements before the French could organise a
fresh defence.
Picton's 3rd Division finally managed to reach the top of the wall and
simultaneously link up with men of the 5th Division, who were also
making their way into the town.] Once they had a foothold, the British
and Portuguese soldiers had gained the upper hand. The French realizing
they could no longer hold out, General Philippon withdrew from Badajoz
to the neighbouring outwork of San Cristobal where he later surrendered
after the town had fallen.



Bicentennial of a bloody night, the Storming of Badajoz, April 1812 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.hoy.es/v/20120408/badajoz/bicentenario-noche-sangrienta-20120408.html&ei=f-iFT8GpDMii8QOi2fHWBw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CEMQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bsitio%2Bde%2Bbadajoz%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D969%26bih%3D320%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Complete guide to the events leading upto the Siege of Badajoz, 1812 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.hoy.es/20120410/local/badajoz/actos-centrales-bicentenario-seran-201204101156.html&ei=dumFT83QNdSp8QP198nDBw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CGkQ7gEwBjgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bsitio%2Bde%2Bbadajoz%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D1026%26bih%3D493%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns)


The ferocity of the British attack on the breach at Badajoz, combined with
the stubbornness of the French resistance, cost the British and Portuguese units
dearly, with some regiments losing up to 40 per cent of their strength either  killed
or wounded during the assault.
With success came the excesses of wanton destruction, looting and disorder
as the british redcoats turned to sacking the town, killing, raping and shooting
any civilians who crossed their path or dared to get in their way.
Wellington, upon entering Badajoz was outraged by the extent of the destruction
committed by his troops and promptly convened a court martial for many of
the soldiers caught looting, to be flogged in front of their regiment the next
day. Gallows were also erected but no one was hanged for their crimes.

Events marking the Bicentennial of the Siege of Badajoz on the 21st April (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.hoy.es/20120410/local/badajoz/actos-centrales-bicentenario-seran-201204101156.html&ei=dumFT83QNdSp8QP198nDBw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CGkQ7gEwBjgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bsitio%2Bde%2Bbadajoz%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D1026%26bih%3D493%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Model soldier diorama of the Siege of Badajoz, 1812 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.hoy.es/v/20120411/badajoz/arrancan-actos-bicentenario-20120411.html&ei=WQGGT8yYJofb8AOx4b3ABw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CFMQ7gEwAw&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bsitio%2Bde%2Bbadajoz%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D999%26bih%3D437%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Video of the Diorama on display (http://www.hoy.es/v/20120411/badajoz/arrancan-actos-bicentenario-20120411.html)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:17 23-Apr-2012

Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Spain April 1812

Following the fall of Badajoz, Wellington decides to consolidate he's position on the Spanish
border and mop up any remaining French troops in Estramadura. With the campaign moving
into Spain, Wellington's keen to move he's river borne supplies up the two main arteries of
Portugal ( namely the Tagus and the Douro ) to new supply depots on the border, ready
for his next move into Spain.
Meanwhile a number of French garrison's remain in Wellington's path, the most notable
Being Astorga in the province of Leon. Which sits astride the main road from Madrid to
the Spanish naval ports of Corruna and Feroll, recaptured by the Spanish.
Spanish troops under General Santocildes are keen to liberate Astorga by taking the Spanish
fortress garrisoned by the French, therefore both civil and military leaders have been
arriving from Leon, for  meetings at Wellington's field headquarters in Estramadura.
The British are more than keen to help them in their struggle against the French, as the
garrison poses a threat to Wellington's left flank, as he's army prepares to march against
Marshall Marmont's army, quartered in and around Salamanca. If the Spanish can take the
town or at least 'bottle up' the French garrison within its walls, it will give the Duke's army
a free hand, to concentrate against Marmont.

Spanish representatives from Leon gather at Wellington's headquarters


For the people of Leon, conditions were becoming harsh under the French who are feeling
hemmed in by a continuous state of unrest, caused by the partisans and guerrillas attacking
their supply lines, necessitating the need for military escorts and convoys.
Those Spanish troops that continued to resist the French, had taken to the hills in 1808 &
1809 in order to regroup under new leaders by the end of 1810 & 1811. These troops
had formed themselves into new Spanish armies and thanks to the plentiful supplies of
arms and ammunition  that were beginning to filter their way through overland from
Portugal or smuggled in by sea along the Spanish coast.. Were now able and ready to take
The offensive, one such army was General Santocildes, sixth army of Galacia that marches
to Astorga in order to begin the Spanish siege.

Video on preparations for the second siege of Astorga 1812 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.bierzotv.com/html/2012/04/2012041403_presentacion-2sitio-de-astorga.html&ei=riORT9exMseW8QO1otnBCA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CEAQ7gEwATgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenario%2Bde%2BSitio%2Bdel%2BAstorga%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Dimvns)

The Second siege of Astorga 27th to 29th April

Once more Astorga will relive the events surrounding the second siege of Astorga. As the
rival armies make camp on Friday 27th April before turning out for a full parade through the
town of Astorga at 12:30 on Saturday. Obviously this will be the lull before the storm, as
the Spanish army under General Santocildes approaches Astorga and attacks the French
forward positions in the village of Valdeviejas about 17:00hrs. A bitter battle will follow as
the Spanish fight their way through the streets of Valdeviejas with the French falling back
into the fields beyond.
How long the fighting will last into the evening, I cannot say but by Sunday morning, the
Spanish hope to have entered Astorga by 11am after storming the town walls, no doubt
the French will continue to resist through the streets of Astorga before the French
commander, General Remond Charles capitulates in the town square about 1pm.
Napoleon's troops gather once more in Astorga (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.lacronicadeleon.es/2012/04/15/el-bierzo/ponferrada-y-astorga-unidas-por-la-recreacion-de-las-batallas-napoleonicas-146532.htm&ei=gYuUT5i1Ns_f8QOLuLjODA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CD4Q7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3D500%2Bfigurantes%2Brecreaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bhist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bsitio%2Bastorga%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26tbas%3D0%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Storm clouds gather over Eastern Europe

As relations between the Emperor Napoleon and Tsar Alexander deteriorated over
Russia's reluctance to fully comply with the Treaty of Tilsit, Napoleon realised their
will be an inevitable showdown with Russia and so throughout the period 1810 to
1812. He concentrated on training extra troops, until the French contingent of
Napoleon's Grande Armee grew to 250,000 men which included a number of
veteran units recalled from the Spanish Peninsular. But this was not enough to
invade Russia, he figured he would need hundreds of thousands, more troops in
order to successfully mount a campaign against the Russian's.
To accompolish this Napoleon called upon he's central European allies and vassal
states, namely the Austrians, Prussians, Bavarians, Dutch, Spanish and Italian
armies to contribute troops to towards he's Grande Armee. By the end of 1811
over 200,000 French troops are stationed near Russia's western border and by
the Spring of 1812, the Grande Armee occupied practically all strategic positions
close to the Russian border.

Napoleon's coach breaks down on the march to Poland


Napoleon's troops gather in Poland ( Duchy of Warsaw ) and East Prussia

Russia for her part wasn't oblivious to the gathering storm clouds in eastern Europe.
As Russia's ambassador to Paris Alexander Kurakin, sent detailed reports to he's
master in St Petersburg, of the large numbers of French and allied troops gathering
in eastern Europe, noting that Napoleon never campaign's without he's Imperial Guard.

St Petersburg, Saturday 21st April


Theme music (http://media.vad1.com/temporary_url_20070929kldcg/preobrajensky-march-leningrad_military_district_headquarters_band.mp3)

Events are moving a pace in Russia as the Tsar and he's general staff , view the
build up of Napoleon's Grande Armee in Poland with increasing alarm. Consequently
the Tsar's ordered the infantry and cavalry regiments of the Russian Imperial Guard
to leave St Petersburg and march to the Russian armies border deployment area at
Vilna this weekend.
Before leaving St Petersburg, troops of the Imperial Guard mount a parade of military
maneuver's, musket drill and cavalry exercises for the people of St Petersburg prior to
receiving a blessing from the Orthodox priest before departing for Vilna.

Russian Imperial Guard to march against Napoleon (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.reenactor.ru/index.php%253Fshowtopic%253D70856%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://www.fontanka.ru/2012/04/21/071/&usg=ALkJrhgdpGamIjf-ezampNXln_h3Ou0iKQ)

In St Petersburg today a special parade for regiments marching off to war in 1812 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://news.rambler.ru/13662264/&ei=JmyVT8emD)

Video of the Imperial Guard on parade (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFtKOIuschM#)

The Russian Imperial Guard are a familiar sight in St Petersburg


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:19 24-Apr-2012
Russian partisan's filmed training near St Petersburg

With french troops massing on Russia's western borders, the russians have been
looking at ways of wearing down Napoleon's Grande Armee, if they should ever
dare invade Mother Russia.
For this they have drawn their inspiration from the exploits of the Spanish guerillas
in the Peninsular Wars, tying down thousends of troops in countless skirmishes
and raids on Napoleon's supply lines, in order to sap the will of the mighty french

Russian Partisan's of 1812, Vasilisa Kozhinov (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B6%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0,_%25D0%2592%25D0%25B0%25D1%2581%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B8%25D1%2581%25D0%25B0&ei=Bs6VT6mWFJS68gOkvbjiCQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwiki%2B%25D0%2592%25D0%25B0%25D1%2581%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B8%25D1%2581%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B6%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Russian TV reporters have been following the filming of Vasilisa Kozhinov in woods,
south of St Petersburg where the camara's reveal some nasty surprises in store
for Boney's troops.

Russian partisans in action (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwx21ujsfQQ#)

Russian TV report (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHodbrEKIvA#)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:45 25-Apr-2012
Russian preperations for a Napoleonic invasion of Russia

Russia has long been bracing itself for a Napoleonic invasion. In November
1811 Emperor Alexander I wrote to his sister Catherine in Yaroslavl: "We've
been on the alert here. The situation has become explosive and military
operations may start at any minute". Also, Russia's Minister of War Michael
Barclay de Tolly wrote to Count Nikolai Rumyantsev, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, that sooner or later France would go into war and that this war
would determine the future of Russia.
In hes letter, Barclay concluded that Russia was unprepared for the defense
of its western borders because of an insufficient number of its armed forces,
scarce food reserves, weak fortresses and lack of artillery, ammunition and

In 1810 the Ministry of War presented a project to strengthen the defenses
of Russia?s western borders. The plan envisaged strengthening the
defensive line along the Zapadnaya Dvina and the Dnieper. To this end,
it provided for the construction of new fortresses and renovating of old
ones in adjacent areas, and for stocking these areas up on food, ammunition
and uniforms. The plan also stipulated strengthening the Riga Fortress, which
was to be provided with a six-month supply of food for the garrison and for
its population of 20,000; creating a fortified camp between Friedrichstadt and
Jacobstadt for 25-30,000 men, with provisions for three-months, building a
fortress near Dinaburg or Drui; and building similar fortresses near Borisov,
Bobruysk and Rogachev.

In southern Russia the focus was on Kiev, which had to be upgraded to
a top defense facility and filled with food reserves and spare depots.
Fortified camps were also to spring up near Zhitomir, where they had
to sustain 50,000 people for three months and near Mozyr, for
10-15,000 people.

Many Russian military commanders and statesmen had stressed the need
to fortify Russia?s western borders. A whole number of projects were drawn
up and was presented at the end of the 18th century. Unfortunately, the
projects remained on paper only. It was not accidental then that shortly
before the war with France, the Ministry of War could supply no data about
the condition of fortresses on the western borders.
Several drawings were retrieved from the archives. However, as they
were made in 1781, they did not reflect the true state of affairs.

Given the political situation, a thorough assement of the state of Russia's
western borders began in 1810. New fortresses, camps, depots and
warehouses were built along the Neman, Dvina and Berezina.
The fortresses of Riga, Drissa, Dinaburg,  Borisov, Bobruysk and Kiev,
which were situated in areas which might see the potential retreat of
the Russian army, were of particular importance.

A Russian Imperial Ball to be held in St Petersburg next month


Heres a brillaint opportunity for expats living in the St Petersburg area to step out
in style with their best Regency frocks and jackets of the 1800's, for the Russian
Imperial Ball to be held at the White Hall Mansion, Kshesinskaia.
As Russia's staging a big 'regency ball' to coincide with the 200th anniversary
events taking place across Russia and ( in keeping with the spirit of Tolstoy's,
War and Peace ) hopefully you will see generals, officers, ambassadors and
military attaches dining or waltzing across the dance floor.
Of course whether you will see a Natasha Rostova awaiting her Prince Andrei
Bolkonsky at this event is anyones guess.

Details of the Russian Imperial Ball of 1812 (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://historicaldance.spb.ru/index/announces/aid/60%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://historicaldance.spb.ru/index/announces/aid/60&usg=ALkJrhjqvyOY3PzHjbxaoK8chB_epZOMSQ)

The Real War & Peace Ball on video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PhQOaYJNbA#ws)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:25 28-Apr-2012
The 1812 campaign gets underway while another Imperial Ball is planned for Moscow

As you know from my last post the 1812 campaign is slowly getting underway in Russia.
Already the Russian Imperial Guard is marching towards its border deployment area in Vilna,
while Partisan's are filmed training in the backwoods of St Petersburg.
Although tensions are mounting on the border, Napoleon's Grande Armee has declined to
move, showing not the slightest intention of crossing the border, leading many to speculate
whether Napoleon's ambition's lie elsewhere or that the differences between the two
empires will be resolve diplomatically without any recourse to war.

Russian TV report on last weekends parade in St Petersburg (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://mir24.tv/news/society/4891226&ei=uA2bT568BNCK4gTbu_mpDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://mir24.tv/news/society/4891226%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Leaving the many fine young officers and other members of the Russian Imperial staff
to do what ? well erm, let me see now. The gathering of troops and military parades
have certainly attracted many female admirers, some looking for a suitable marriage or
a love match while others may be hoping to further their families ambitions and influence
at court by marrying a russian noble, serving in the Tsar's army.

Video of a Russian Imperial Ball of 1812 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViQW7mZE5SM#)

So we have the perfect excuse to organise, yet another Imperial Ball, this ones going to
be held in Moscow next month on the 6th May. Details below:

Historical Society 'Ball at the Russian country estate "has the honour to invite May 6 this
year at the ball, dedicated to Denis Davydov, a hero of the War of 1812, poet and partisan.
Congress of the guests from 13.30., The beginning of the ball at 15.00., Ending at 21.00hrs
Address: Glinishevsky lane 6 (metro station "Pushkin", "Okhotny Ryad")
Dress Code: Ladies - ball gowns in the fashion of 1800-1825 yy, gentlemen - military uniforms,
frock coats and 1800-1850 GG
The program includes: historical dances of the first half XIX century accompanied by string
quartet A.O.Neronovoy, poems and songs based on poems D.V.Davydova performed
A.Smirnova, card room with games of the XIX century, a quiz, raffle, interesting guests,
exquisite dance Society of Moscow, buffet.

The cost of the invitation card - 1500 russian rubles.

Follow the Russian Imperial Ball on Livejournal (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://spring-ball.livejournal.com/tag/2012-05-06%2520%25D0%2591%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BB&ei=Eg2bT_-HMOfi4QSY8_GpDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC8Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://spring-ball.livejournal.com/tag/2012-05-06%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns)



Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:10 28-Apr-2012
Back to the Napoleonic Wars, live transmission from Astorga, Spain


Well this will be a first for my Back to the Peninsular Wars blog, as today sees
Lieut Campers broadcasting live on Spanish television ( I wish ), as spanish
troops descend on the village of Valdeviejas, to dislodge french troops from
their forward positions, just outside Astorga.
Battle is scheduled to commence at 17:00hrs with the camara's rolling at
16:45 ( CET time ) one hour ahead of UK time but an hour behind the time
in Ukraine.
Hopefully I'll be the first in the field alongside, Spanish tv channel Radio
Television de Castilla y Leon  ( or RTVCL.ES for short ) as Spanish troops
fight their way through the streets of Valdeviejas before forming up to do
battle with french troops lined up in the fields beyond Valdeviejas.

As expats know from my previous post, the two armies are at present encamped
before Astorga, ready for this weekend battles.

Press announcement of live broadcast of the Battle of Astorga (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.diariodeleon.es/noticias/cultura/cyltv-retransmitira-en-directo-recreacion-de-batalla-de-astorga_686365.html&ei=Cx-bT-rQIpSw8QPiooiLDw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDkQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bde%2Bsitio%2Bsegunda%2Bastorga%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D855%26bih%3D423%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvnso)

Radio Television de Castilla y Leon, announces live broadcast of the Napoleonic battle of Astorga (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.rtvcyl.es/ficha/EA741303-A740-6FFC-D1E9DABF692AF43B/20120425/regreso/1812/espectaculo/televisivo/inedito/700/actores&ei=qx2bT72BLtDoOdLA8PsB&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDcQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3DCastilla%2By%2BLe%25C3%25B3n%2BTV%2Bla%2BBatalla%2Bde%2BAstorga%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns)

More information on the 2 hour and 15 min TV coverage from Spain although
nothing about it being shown on their internet site (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.frecuenciadigital.es/noticia/2-noticia/13221-castilla-y-leon-tv-emite-en-directo-la-batalla-de-astorga.html&ei=4dGbT9qHINLc8gPEpqDgBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CE8Q7gEwAzgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dnapole%25C3%25B3nicas%2BBicentenario%2Bdel%2Bsitio%2Bastorga%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D699%26bih%3D430%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 17:03 28-Apr-2012
French troops take up their positions around Astorga


The above photo shows french troops marching through Astorga today, ready to
take up positions in the fields east of the village of Valdeviejas, ready for this
afternoons battle with the Spanish under General Santocildes.
Already a map of the weekends campaign has been produced and can be viewed on
the link below.  The plans show two events, 'Actividades Para Hoy en Valdeviejas'
which is the battle being staged this afternoon and the other is 'Actividades Que
se Desarrollaren en Astorga a Lo Largo Del Fin DE Semana' which will be the
battle for Astorga itself on sunday.

CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR LIVE COVERAGE OF THE BATTLE OF ASTORGA AT 16:45 CET Time (http://www.rtvcyl.es/Directo.aspx)

Spanish paper, Diario de Leon with today's news and plans for the weekend battles, just click
on the related documents (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.diariodeleon.es/noticias/astorga/la-ciudad-que-cambio-suerte-de-guerra_686957.html&ei=EPWbT_OZLcml8gPt9PzgDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBicentenario%2Bdel%2Bsitio%2Bde%2Bastorga%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D847%26bih%3D499%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Title: Re: Rain stops play in Napoleonic Battle
Post by: Lt. Campers on 18:43 28-Apr-2012
Rain stops play in Napoleonic Battle


For all those expats who faithfully logged onto the Spanish tv site for
this afternoons battle. I'm afraid 'rains stopped play' as many would have
noticed Napoleon's french hussars getting thoroughly soaked to the
skin out their in Spain, during the line up for today's battle.

Of course its down to the umpire to determine whether the grounds fit
enough to 'do battle' tomorrow but it looks like a long trek home back to a
cold, wet campsite for many of the Napoleonic soldiers in Spain.
As for me - well its back to a nice warm Taverna for Lieut Campers.

French troops return to camp in Astorga


Battle of Astorga halted by heavy rain and hail (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.elconfidencial.com/ultima-hora-en-vivo/2012/04/suspendida-recreacion-batalla-astorga-granizo-20120428-733319.html&ei=aD2cT937Eser8APs36XtDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CE8Q7gEwAw&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbatalla%2Bde%2Bvaldeviejas%2Bastorga%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26biw%3D730%26bih%3D501%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Battle between French & Spanish suspended by rain (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.ileon.com/actualidad/017656/la-batalla-entre-franceses-y-espanoles-en-astorga-suspendida-por-lluvia&ei=aD2cT937Eser8APs36XtDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CFYQ7gEwBA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbatalla%2Bde%2Bvaldeviejas%2Bastorga%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26biw%3D730%26bih%3D501%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Spanish TV broadcast suspended by rain (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.rtvcyl.es/Noticia/FA010D76-98B7-6FE0-963B8B81AECDFBB3/tormenta/obliga/suspender/batalla/astorga&ei=aD2cT937Eser8APs36XtDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CD8Q7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbatalla%2Bde%2Bvaldeviejas%2Bastorga%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26biw%3D730%26bih%3D501%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Whether any re-enactment will be broadcast tomorrow, I cannot say but
its looking pretty doubtful, as theirs no mention of it in the RTVCL.ES
program schedule   :-\

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Claus on 19:37 28-Apr-2012
Well, keep up the good job!  :)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:25 29-Apr-2012
Napoleonic soldiers recover in their wet and muddy campsite


Heres some more news from the Spanish papers in Leon about yesterdays
torrential rain that 'called off' the scheduled battle in the fields near the
village of Valdeviejas just beyond Astorga.
By all accounts the sunday re-enactments in Astorga will continue as normal
but without any live coverage from RTVCL.ES TV although chances are their
will be some excerpts of it on the evening news.

Rain & hail won the day at Valdeviejas (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.lacronicadeleon.es/2012/04/29/leon/el-granizo-gano-en-valdeviejas-147988.htm&ei=MAKdT7f5A8v58QOjnLHaDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CEAQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbatalla%2Bdel%2BValdeviejas%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D692%26bih%3D416%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Napoleon's soldiers seek shelter following heavy rain (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.diariodeleon.es/noticias/provincia/una-bandera-blanca-de-granizo-evita-combate-en-valdeviejas_687166.html&ei=7gSdT_zDGsS_8gPihcHbBg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CGUQ7gEwBjgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3DLa%2Bbatalla%2Bde%2BValdeviejas%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D710%26bih%3D431%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Video of the Battle of Valdeviejas on Spanish TV (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7e3SKFSB7M#)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:33 01-May-2012
Spanish troops storm the city of Astorga


Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Events leading up to the storming of Astorga

When Santocildes reached Astorga, Lieutenant General Marquis of Portago had
already begun siege operations against the garrison of 1200 French soldiers
bottled up in the city with little hope of relief from outside.
The french under General Remond Charles had fortified the town against the
spanish with the help of the hapless citizens who had been pressed into labour
on the defensive works and other barriers.
With Santocildes arrival, heavy siege guns had been brought forward to bombard
the walls of the city fortress but the siege becomes a protracted affair, as the
spanish have insufficient gunpowder to mount a continuous bombardment of
the city walls. Therefore to reduce hardship and to bring the siege to a
speedy conclusion, Santocildes and his co commander, General Brown resolve
to charge the city walls and take the city by storm.

At first the attack goes well, as the french are surprised, no doubt caught off
their guard after recovering from a severe storm that struck the city the
day before, leaving many soldiers to dry off in their barracks. But as the
alarm is raised, the french quickly deploy round the parapet's of the city
walls and the many makeshift barricades thrown up in the city.
The hail of musket fire that rain's down on the spanish troops, puts the
spaniards off their stride, falling back to regroup round the colours, no
doubt brought into line by a timely whack across their backs by some
irate regimental officers.

So the second assualt goes in, but more disciplined than the first, with
Spanish troops inching forward, following british musketery drill practice
of firing sustained volleys into the french ranks guarding the road into
the city centre.
As the french fall back on their barricades the Spanish move forward
bringing in cavalry to attack the french dragoon's that are menacing
the spanish flanks and side roads into Astorga. Now the spanish
general commits his reserve of partisan's and spanish volunteers into
the fray, as the french are pushed back by sheer weight of numbers
into the city square.
Now with the french surrounded and their back to the wall, the french
general calls a parley. Following which he agrees to capitulate and
surrender the city of Astorga to the Spainish.

Video of the Storming of Astorga1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZYnuHqYiBI#)

Video of the storming of Astorga2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmFnaBtsOgg#)

Spanish troops storm the walls and enter Astorga







From Astorga to Salamanca, the Peninsular campaign in Spain

Following the Siege of Astorga, Spanish papers turn to the prospects for
Wellington's Spanish campaign in June & July, culminating in the Battle of
Salamanca ( or as the Spanish would call it the Battle of Arapiles )
Noting that although the Battle of Valdeviejas turned out to be a washout,
the 1812 Peninsular campaign continues unabated.

Astorga gives respite to recreate Salamanca. The Peninsular campaign, so far in Spain (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.abc.es/agencias/noticia.asp%3Fnoticia%3D1157290&ei=EkmlT_aRAoPb8AOB98jgBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CEYQ7gEwAjgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bdel%2Bsegunda%2Bastorga%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D928%26bih%3D434%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvnso)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:18 11-May-2012

Theme music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Polo__3sxW4#)

Attack on the French convoy in the Bay of Alassio,  May 1812

The past two days have witnessed a naval action in Alassio bay ( north-west Italy )
followed by the landing of Marines and other British troops, to secure the Italian
town of Languelia before seizing various merchant ships sheltering within its harbour.

The action started late on the evening of 9th May, when the British 74-gun ships
HMS America and Leviathan, Captains Josias Rowley and Patrick Campbell, together
with the 18-gun brig-sloop Eclair, Captain John Bellamy, fell upon a French convoy
of 18 heavily laden merchant  vessels, which took refuge under the town and
batteries of Languelia.

A French frigate fires upon a British man of war in Alassio Bay



The french convoy find sanctuary in Languelia

The british gave chase exhanging shots with a french frigate protecting her escort
but were too late in overhauling the French convoy which sheltered under the lee
of the french battery commanding Languelia harbour.


The British being denied their prey, held a council of war where upon it was
determined that the marines of both ships should join forces, to mount an attack
at daybreak on the batteries commanding the bay, spike the guns before
proceeding to attack and dislodge the French and Italian troops holding the town.

Although the landing went well, it wasn't without incident when a chance shot
from one of the French shore guns struck and sank one of the America's yawls,
causing the death of 10 marines and one of the seamen from drowning.

Once ashore, a party of marines under Captain Owen, was detached to carry
a battery of five 24 and 18 pounders to the eastward; which he performed in
a very spirited manner, the French officer who commanded falling in the attack.



The main body of the marines, in the mean time, rapidly advancing through a
severe round of grapeshot, carried the battery adjoining the town of Languelia,
consisting of four 24 and 18 pounders and one mortar, although protected by
a strong body of the enemy posted in the wood and in several adjoining
buildings ; upon the latter of which the guns of the battery were immediately
turned with great effect.

The French troops were now driven from the houses lining the beach by the fire
of the 18 gun Brig Eclair, now operating close offshore. The boats of the squadron,
under Lieutenant William Richardson, assisted by Lieut's. Molesworth and Moodie
of the America and Alexander Dobbs & Richard Hambly of the Leviathan, masters
mate and several young officers, not named in the despatch, then proceeded to
bring out the captured vessels and barges of the convoy.
After considerable effort 16 laden barges were towed off while another was burnt
while another was too badly damaged and was beached by round shot.
After securing their prizes, the marines were re-embarked in perfect order under
covering fire from the Eclair.

Another French convoy of 3 square riggers and a lateen assembled at Languelia
and Alassio, also came under attack from the British squadron where Captain
Campbell of the Leviathan with the Imperieuse, frigate Curacoa and the 18 gun
Brig Eclair, detached a party of Marines under Captain Owen to go ashore.
Where, under the cover of fire from the Eclair, landed between the two towns.
Scarcely had the Marines formed up on the beach, than they were attacked by
double their number of French troops.
The British responded with great fortitude, beating off their attackers before
reforming and counterattacking the French with the bayonet, driving them back
on their batteries.
After spiking the guns of the French battery the marines returned to their ships,
who tried to manoeuvre their ships close inshore but failed to get close enough
to capture any of the French ships moored in the harbour.

Italian newspaper report and FULL VIDEO ACCOUNT of the British attack on Languelia (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3DRievocazione%2Bstorica%2Bdella%2Bbattaglia%2Bdi%2BLoano%2B1812%26start%3D30%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D902%26bih%3D481%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=it&u=http://webtv.ivg.it/2012/04/14/loano-gli-inglesi-conquistano-il-comune/&usg=ALkJrhj1USKP589Rlj34XDfsRXNSuK5MDQ)

Italian newspaper complaining about the British raids, condemming the British for
carrying out these acts of Sabotage & Piracy (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=http://albengacorsara.it/2012/04/14/loano-1812-sveglia-alle-7-negli-accampamenti-delle-truppe-inglesi-e-francesi/&ei=DT-oT-qkF4PT8gO2rP31BA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CGcQ7gEwBzge&prev=/search%3Fq%3DRievocazione%2Bstorica%2Bdella%2Bbattaglia%2Bdi%2BLoano%2B1812%26start%3D30%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D902%26bih%3D481%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Another video of the Landings at Languelia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCbq-OUm_lY#ws)

British soldiers and marines march upon the town hall in Languelia


The French flag is lowered following the surrender of the French & Italian garrison

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:46 19-May-2012
The Siege of Tarifa 1812


Theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe.html)

Although chronologically the historical siege lasted from 19th December 1811
to the 5th January 1812. The Bicentennial Siege of Tarifa will be refought this
weekend to mark the 200th anniversary of the Napoleonic siege.
For once the heavy rain that's fallen across much of Europe, the UK and even
The Spanish Peninsular these last few weeks ( causing the cancellation of a
televised battle near Astorga last month ) would be welcome at Tarifa.
As can be seen from the historical account of the siege.

The Siege of Tarifa in 1812


Situated in southern Spain with a rocky island jutting out into the straights
Of Gibraltar, Tarifa was a small but important coastal town during the Peninsular
Wars. Situated between the British colony and Mediterranean naval base of
Gibraltar and Spanish held port of Cadiz in the west. It was held and garrisoned
by Spanish troops who refused to surrender when Marshall Victors troops
invaded Anadalusia in 1810.
Aided and abetted by the British Royal Navy and the garrison of Gibraltar, it
would prove a useful springboard for attack by the allies in their efforts to attack
Victor's rear during the siege of Cadiz and for this very reason the French tried
to take it on two occasions.

Program of events for the Siege of Tarifa 19th - 20th May (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://estrechoverde.wordpress.com/tag/bicentenario-del-sitio-de-tarifa/&ei=sLK2T_OmHcbX8QOAq-XJCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CHsQ7gEwBg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bdel%2Bsitio%2Bde%2Btarifa%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D867%26bih%3D419%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Spanish press report on this weekends events (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.horasur.com/tarifa-recrea-este-fin-de-semana-el-bicentenario-del-sitio-con-un-amplio-programa-de-actos/&ei=l2C3T7y2GIra8APwreTFCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CHQQ7gEwAw&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bdel%2Bsitio%2Bde%2Btarifa%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D1035%26bih%3D493%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

The Siege of Tarifa took place from 20th December 1811 to the 5th January 1812, in
an unsuccessful attempt to one of the few remaining Spanish-held strongholds in
Andalusia. The small coastal town of Tarifa had been occupied by a small
Anglo Spanish garrison early in 1811, and by October 1811 the garrison expanded
following  the addition of a British brigade under Colonel Skerrett and a Spanish
brigade under General Copons, a combined force of just under 4,000 men.
In November the garrison made an attack on an outlying part of the French lines
around Cadiz and Marshall Soult, replied by sending a strong force of 10,000
men to besiege and take the town.

Tarifa appeared to be a very weak defensive position to hold. It had no modern
fortifications, and was only protected by its medieval walls. The town was also
surrounded by low hills, ideal for French bombardment. At the north eastern
corner of the walls a stream entered the town, and this was considered to be the
weakest point in the walls. The defenders made a great effort to create an inner
line of defences inside the walls, expecting them to be more effective than
the walls themselves.

To the south of the town is a rocky island, connected to the mainland by a
sandy causeway. This had been fortified, and would have been an ideal
location for a last stand by the garrison, if the town should ever fall into
French hands.

The French detached 15,000 men from the siege of Cadiz, under the
command of Marshal Victor. Although they began to move on 8 December,
heavy rain slowed them down, and the 10,000 men allocated to the actual
siege itself did not reach Tarifa until 19 December. This slow journey played
a major part in the failure of the French plans, for they had to carry all of their
food with them, and used up a significant amount of their supplies during the
The siege began on 20 December, when the French pushed in the British and
Spanish pickets, and by 4pm the town was blockaded. Work on the first parallel,
facing the north eastern wall of the town, began on the night of 23-24 December,
before the bombardment began on the morning of 29 December.
By the end of the first day there was already a breach in the walls.
The breach caused alarm amongst the garrison and townspeople, with Colonel
Skerrett argueing in favour of evacuating the town and pulling back to the rocky
island to the south, and was so convinced of his case that he ordered the only
heavy gun in the town to be spiked.
Skerrett was opposed by his junior officers, while General Copons made it clear
that he was going to defend the walls regardless. One of Skerrett's junior officers,
Major King, the commander of a detachment from Gibraltar, sent a message back
to General Campbell in Gibraltar, warning him of Skerrett's plans and Campbell
replied, making it clear that the British were to defend the town. He also withdrew
the transport ships at Tarifa, making it impossible for Skerrett to carry out his plan.
The French bombardment continued on 30 December, and by the end of the day
the breach was sixty feet wide. That evening the weather intervened. A torrential
rainstorm caused a flash-flood, which swept away some of the defensives on the
north eastern wall, but also flooded the French trenches and camps. The French
had planned to storm the breach at dawn on 31 December, but were forced to
delay their attack for several hours in the hope it would all dry out.

This gave the defenders time to prepare for the onslaught. A battalion of Copons's
troops held the breach, with the British 87th Regiment of Foot on the walls to either
side, and part of the 47th in a town to the south east.

The French began their attack at 9am, and soon came under heavy musket fire.
The rain had turned the ground outside the town to mud, and so the French
advance was much slower than normal. Even so, some of the leading French
troops reached the top of the breach, just to discover a fourteen-foot drop
into the town. The rest of the French attacking force then turned right, and
attempted to break into the town along the line of the stream, but the portcullis
protecting the stream had been repaired in time after the floods, and this
attack also failed. The French were forced to pull back to their trenches,
having suffered anywhere between 210 and 400 casualties.
The British losing some 36 men and the Spanish another 20.

The weather continued to play a major part in the siege. The rain meant that
the besieging force was cut off from the main French armies around Cadiz,
and on 1 January the various French camps outside Tarifa were cut off from
each other. Food was running short in the French camps and General Leval
was already convinced that they needed to retreat. Victor refused to agree and on
1 January, attempted to reopen the bombardment, but another heavy rainstorm
hit the area on the night of 3-4 January, and even Victor had to admit that the
French cause was hopeless. On the night of 4-5 January, after spiking nine of
their twelve heavy guns, the French abandoned the siege.

The Siege of Tarifa and the Irish question


The Siege of Tarifa will also mark the meeting of two Irish Regiments who were
diametrically opposed to each other, in so much as they fought on opposite sides
during the many wars between Britain and Spain but thanks to Napoleon's invasion,
find themselves fighting side by side in defence of Spain.
To explain why the Irish were divided over British rule in Ireland and why so many of
them chose to join the French and Spanish armies during the 18th century is to delve
into the Irish troubles but many got caught up in one of the Jacobite Rebellions in
Ireland 1691 and chose to emigrate to France following the Treaty of Limerick.
Giving rise to the term of phrase, The flight of the Wild Geese, for any Irish soldiers
choosing to fight as mercenaries in French or Spanish armies.
Of course in the Sharpe books, you have the Spanish Compania Irlandesa in Sharpes

The Flight of the Wild Geese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Geese_(soldiers))

In fact the composition of the two armies fighting at Tarifa this weekend will be
much like those that fought during the siege ( including a detachment of the
95th Rifles ) the only absence being the presence of a Polish regiment in
Victor's army.

Asoc. Historico-Cultural Teodoro Reding - Swiss troops in Spanish sevice
Lord Edward,s Owen, Regimiento Irlanda - Irish troops in the service of Spain
87th Regiment of Royal Irish Fusiliers - British regiment
27th Honourable Company of Foot - Irish troops in French Service ?
32nd Cornwall Regt of Foot - British Regiment
57th West Middlesex Regiment (La Albuela, Badajoz) - British
Gibraltar Reenactment Group - British garrison troops
Jena1806 Assoc 18eme Regiment d,Infanterie de Ligne (alemania) - French Regt founded in East Germany
2nd Battalion 95th Rifles Regiment of Foot (Reino Unido) - British
Guardia Salinera Islea de San Fernando - Spanish
Voluntarios Batall de Bailen (Bailen) - Spanish
Bailen porla Independencia (Bailen) - Spanish
Porla Rsistenciade Algodonales (Cadiz) - Spanish
De Recreacion Historico-Cultural deAsturias (Oviedo) - Spanish
Recreadores de Galicia (La Coruna) - Spanish
Asociacian Historico-Cultural Forlon Hope (Badajoz)
Los Desastres dela Guerra (Mostoles) - Spanish
Husares de Iberia (La Coruna) - double up as French or Spanish husssars
Voluntarios de Madrid - Spanish
Voluntarios de Aragon (Zaragoza) - Spanish

The Irish Regiment, Lord Edward's Owen in Spanish Service


Sharpe, Over the Hills & far Away (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe_-_Over_the_Hills_and_Far_Away.html)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 19:26 19-May-2012

Royal Navy ships wait offshore as British and Spanish troops take up defensive

French troops under the command of Major General Jean Francois Leval begin
encircling Tarifa, just as British and Spanish troops parade in front of the Mayor
of Tarifa before taking up defensive positions along its Medieval walls.
Offshore the Royal Navy lies in wait, secure under the lee of the rocky island,
ready to provide covering fire along the islands exposed sandy causeway; in
case the garrison are forced to withdraw from Tarifa, in the event of any successful
assualt on the town walls.
The scene is set for a fierce battle this evening, as Leval brings he's cannon
forward, to bear upon its ancient walls.

Video of British and Spanish troops parading through Tarifa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8A0JhZBWuc#)

Meanwhile the Russian's prepare in Moscow

Preperations continue for the forthcoming confrontation with the French
who are still gathering their forces in Poland, ready for a possible
invasion of Russia this summer.

TV news report on Russian troops preparing to meet the french in Moscow (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.vesti-moscow.ru/rnews.html%3Fid%3D169782&ei=bwO4T9SzBJD88QOty_2-Cg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CHAQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25BE%25D1%2582%25D0%25B5%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%25D1%258F%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%2B%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BA%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D922%26bih%3D385%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

English TV news channel - Russia Today looks back at 1812

Heres a special report from the Russian Satellite TV news channel,
Russia Today on the special exhibition to mark the 200th anniversary of
Napoleon's invasion of Russia and the Battle of Borodino, near Moscow.

Russia Today video on the biggest battle of the Napoleonic Wars (http://www.rt.com/news/prime-time/borodino-battle-museum-moscow-204/)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Claus on 19:39 19-May-2012
Always a pleasure to see and read your stuff  :).
Must admit that I adore it most, when good old sailing men-o-war are involved...
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 21:53 20-May-2012

The French attack Tarifa

As the sun comes down over Tarifa, Leval lines up hes french troops before its long
Medieval walls, ready for the assualt.


Enemy at the Gate


Cannon fire pound the town walls with round shot and eventually make a
breach wide enough for the French general to order the assualt.


French infantry storm through the breach and out onto the streets of Tarifa,
where they encounter the garrison's second line of defences, made up of
barricades and overturned carriages and carts. Therefore Leval orders hes
men to form into a wedge formation with which to storm the barricades.

French troops storming the Breach


The British regroup round their barricades


British troops look grim but determined, as they sit tight behind their barricades
ready to receive the french assualt.


Theirs heavy fighting in the town square as some of Leval's french troops manage
to break through the barricades.


Video of the struggle for the Town Square (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ric006l4vIw#ws)

Colonel Skerrett calls in his reserves, comprised of British troops backed up by
Spain's Irish brigade. For once we see the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers fighting side
by side with their renegade Irish counterparts from the Spanish army.
These fresh Irish troops prove too much for the French who've had enough of
the fight and fall back in disarray, back through the town walls with their officers
bellowing after them in anger, at this sudden change in fortune. Just as it
looked as if the French would carry the day.
It was during the repulse of the French grenadiers by the Royal Irish Fusiliers,
that a famous song was played by the regimental band, when the
commanding officer of the 87th, Hugh Gough drew his sword, as the enemy
ran from the walls and made the band strike up the 'Garry Owen', pursueing
the fugitives some two or three hundred yards.

The Garry Owen regimental song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFGQMSDMdxM#)

And heres Garry Owen played by the Royal Irish Fusiliers at Tarifa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKGaT-nxjPQ#)

Map of Tarifa in 1812, click to enlarge (http://www.napoleon-series.org/images/military/maps/peninsula/tarifa.jpg)

After the Battle - Tarifan's count the cost of the Siege


Following the repulse of Victor's French army at Tarifa, a crowd has gathered
to survey the damage caused by the french artillery bombardment against the
town wall's. The breach is quite substantial and its easy to see how Napoleon's
troops managed to scale the breach, by piling bales of hay at the foot of the
wall. In the background the Spanish garrison can be seen forming up in the

Sharpe, Over the Hills & far Away (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe_-_Over_the_Hills_and_Far_Away.html)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 22:06 28-May-2012
Russian's prime their moustaches, before Napoleonic invasion


With more troops gathering at Napoleon's headquarters in Poland, the
French Grande Armee looks menacingly across the border at
With tension's reaching breaking point between the Napoleonic and
Russian Empire, Alexanders troops continue their preperations to
receive the enemy. As can be seen from this Russian TV news
bulletin from Moscow, last weekend.

TV News - Russians prepare to defend Mother Russia (http://www.1tv.ru/news/social/208230)

More Russian TV coverage of the 1812 re-enactment (http://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201205271834-vkvb.htm)

Ladies Day at Borodino, Russian & French cavalry with their Campfollowers, part1 (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25BE%25D1%2582%25D0%25B5%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%25D1%258F%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%2B%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BA%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D982%26bih%3D552%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://fotoromantik.livejournal.com/168436.html&usg=ALkJrhgmFFkqyEqMy_vII8vabkHMmH6dUA)

Ladies Day at Borodino, Russian & French cavalry with their Campfollowers, part2 (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25BE%25D1%2582%25D0%25B5%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%25D1%258F%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%2B%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BA%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D982%26bih%3D552%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://fotoromantik.livejournal.com/168753.html&usg=ALkJrhhkAPi5ywGFXIwxsPHq2PglmAleSw)

That all important moustache, primed & ready to confront the French


Just to illustrate how much Russian Officers valued their moustache's, we have
the example of Nadezhda Durov ( known as the Cavalry Maiden ) who's one
of those rare examples of women who enlist for military service disguised
as a man. Who distinguished herself in many Russian campaign's against the
French under the name of Alexander Sokolov, saving many of her comrades
in the heat of battle which earned her the Cross of St George from the
Tsar himself, just as the secret of her identity came out.
Far from being thrown out of the Russian Army, she was promoted to
Lieutenant in the Mauripol Hussars, a Ukrainian regiment of great
renown in the Russian Army.
Where she continued her military service, fighting in the many great
battles of the 1812 campaign, most notably Borodino, rising to the
rank of Captain of Hussars. She might have gone further but was
held back due to the Russian preference for their senior officers
to sport moustache's.

The Cavalry Maiden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadezhda_Durova)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:55 03-Jun-2012
NATO's Hungarian Hussar Patrol

Regulars of Back to the Napoleonic Wars might well remember,
NATO's little foray into the Peninsular Wars back in 2010.
The Hungarian Hussar patrol which followed a group of
Hungarian cavalrymen, who followed the old byways on their
long arduous ride from Lisbon to Budapest. Passing through
many of the notable Portuguese and Spanish battlefields
of the Napoleonic wars. As well as calling on some of the
few surviving cavalry regiments in Portugal, Spain and
Well here we see the commander of the Hussar Patrol,
talking to Hungarian TV this year about the patrol back in
2010. Its in Hungarian but theirs some great cavalry action.
Note the Hungarian TV video might need the Microsoft,
Silverlight plugin.

Adam Barnabus, looks back at the Hungarian Hussar Patrol (http://videotar.mtv.hu/Videok/2012/03/25/14/Szellem_a_palackbol___Adam_Barnabas_ezredes_huszarportya_gyujtemenye.aspx)

Back to the Hungarian Hussar Patrol (http://www.expatua.com/forum/index.php?topic=1975.msg47397#msg47397)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 22:03 11-Jun-2012
French troops beaten back at Zelenograd

In a precursor to Napoleon's bicentennial invasion of Russia, the Russian's
have been surprised by a flying column of French troops, hoping to sieze
key towns on the road to Moscow.
Last weekend a flying column of French light infantry supported by hussars
of Napoleon's elite cavalry tried to take Zelenograd ( Зеленогра́д ),
37 kilometers north-west of Moscow. No more than a village in 1812, it
expanded during the 20th century
to become a closed city up until 1989, with it being the centre of the Soviet
electronics industry ( the Silicon Valley of the Soviet Union )
Its still an important centre for the Russian Federation's microelectronics and
computer industry & therefore a key town to hold.

Russian news report of the battle near Moscow (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.netall.ru/gnn/130/576/643671.html&ei=kzPWT9-NAqax0AWM8ZCxBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CGwQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D10%2B%25D0%25B8%25D1%258E%25D0%25BD%25D1%258F%2B2012%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%2597%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B3%25D1%2580%25D0%25B0%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%25A0%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BA%25D1%2586%25D1%258F%2B%25D0%25B1%25D0%25B8%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D1%258B%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D813%26bih%3D552%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Anyway with the french beaten back by the Russian's garrisoned in
Zelenograd, Napoleon's troops set fire to the Russian dacha's and cottages
surrounding the village before offering battle in the fields beyond.
The Russian garrison secures the village before moving  forward with
cavalry on either wing, ready to deploy on the outskirts of the hamlet.
The russian commander brings forward a number of field guns with which
to 'soften up' the french position.

The Battle begins with an exchange of cannon fire between the russian
field guns and french horse artillery before launching an attack.

Video of the Battle of Zelenograd, near Moscow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpnrAkGKtFg#)

Napoleon's troops swing east to attack the Closed City of Sarov

Following the Battle of Zelenograd last weekend, Napoleon's flying
column, far from licking its wounds and falling back on Poland.
Swings east and descends on the Closed City of Sarov, causing 
consternation in Russia and a crisis in the Kremlin ( as the city is
still closed to all un-authorised Russians and foreigners )
With the Russian high command taken aback and still choking on
their samovar tea by this latest twist of events.
Troops are quickly dispatched to Sarov to repel the impudent french.
Battle will be joined on the 12th June as the Tsar's Russian
Imperial troops descend on the french, who are currently making
merry on the proceeds of their capture of Sarov by liberating
a cellar full of vodka and wine from the Underground monastery.

Sarov - Russia's secretive Closed City (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarov)

Napoleon's troops clash in Sarov, an 1812 re-enactment,
see schedule of events for 12th June (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.sarov.net/news/%3Fid%3D26219&ei=t2rWT9PXFoSn0QWt2NmGBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CH0Q7gEwBA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25A1%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%2B1812%2B2012%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D884%26bih%3D528%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:23 14-Jun-2012
From the Forbidden city of Sarov to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia,
Russians clash with Napoleon's troops in Russia


Above shows Russian cavalry scouts riding ahead to seek out
the French

Yesterday saw Russian troops in action across Russia, as Napoleon's
troops fought to retain two footholds in Russia, namely the forbidden
city of Sarov in the Nizhny Novgorod district of Russia and ( most
ambitious of all ) Krasnoyarsk, the capital of Siberia.
Despite these cities being far removed from the historic route of
Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, they nevertheless wanted to
share in the bicentennial celebrations taking place across Russia
on the eve of Napoleon's invasion of 1812, later this month.
With the 12th June being a National holiday for Russian independence
day ( from the Soviet Union ) both these events were well attended
and even Oleg Sokolov was in hes element on horseback,
resplendant in his uniform as a Marshal of France.

Russian infantry marching through Krasnoyarsk to confront
the French


Russia's Channel One reports on the fight for Krasnoyarsk (http://www.vesti.ru/only_video.html?vid=426098&asf=1&path2=http%3A%2F%2Fkrasnoyarsk.rfn.ru%2Fv%2F668803.asf)

Channel One's writeup on the Battle for Krasnoyarsk (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html%3Fid%3D819828%26cid%3D17&ei=OvvYT_-oIqqJ0AXAtPSZBA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CGkQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%2B%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BA%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%26hl%3Den%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D840%26bih%3D526%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Video - Russians prepare to confront the French at Krasnoyarsk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjMR28yESs4#)

Video - Napoleonic battle for Sarov, fought within the bounds of the Forbidden City (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUxoDY8H-n4#ws)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 20:21 14-Jun-2012
Russian troops setup camp in the village - as Napoleon finalises he's invasion of Russia

With tensions mounting daily on the Russian border, a village wakes up to find the
Tsar's Russian Imperial soldiers encamped on the village green.
Its a scene no doubt repeated across many parts of the Russia, as the deteriorating
political situation reaches an empasse, with many commentators no longer saying
'if the french invade Russia' but rather 'when the french invade Russia'

With the Russian Army encamped on their doorsteps, many residents are complaining
about bugle calls and drum rolls waking up them up, first thing in the morning.
Not to mention the amount of horse manure on the road, although some gardeners
have welcomed the presence of the cavalry, for providing much needed free manure
for their allotments and gardens.

TV news report from the Russian encampment (http://риановости.рф/1812_video/20120614/661633101.html?id=)

The same Russian encampment report on video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdHS54UdNRU#ws)

By invitation from the Moscow City Council, their gathered the
descendants of the Generals and Majors of the War of 1812

Moscow welcomes descendants of the War of 1812 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.1tv.ru/news/culture/209469&sa=X&ei=LU_aT6n3O4TR8gO1g_CoBA&ved=0CG4Q7gEwATgo&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25B8%25D1%2581%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BB%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B8%25D1%2582%25D1%2581%25D1%258F%2B200%2B%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B5%25D1%2582%2B%25D0%259E%25D1%2582%25D0%25B5%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B5%2B1812%26start%3D40%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D934%26bih%3D474%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Russian documentary film looking at the events leading upto
Napoleon's Invasion of Russia

Russia's War of 1812, preliminary events (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jFfN4svb5o#ws)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:51 18-Jun-2012

Band plays the British Grenadiers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4RuNuPH3ik#)

Wellington crosses the Aguada and into Spain, capturing Salamanca

On the 13th June, Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army, comprising eight infantry
divisions, one cavalry division and fifty-four guns, marched out of Fuentes Guinaldo
and Ciudad Rodrigo, to cross the River Aguada and into Spain.
Ahead of them lay Castile and the provincial city of Salamanca where Wellington
hoped to bring to battle, one of the three French armies commanded by
Marshal Marmont.

In doing so the british were in high spirits, as their commander had carefully laid the
ground for a successful campaign against the french by isolating Marmont from any
reinforcements from Soult, Souchet and the French puppet, King Joseph in Madrid.

On the 18th May, General Sir Rowland Hil with 7000 men conducted a successful
raid ( in the south ) on the french Pontoon bridge over the Tagus at Almaraz,
capturing and demolishing five small forts protecting the crossing, as well as the
bridge itself. See Routa des Inglesis from an earlier post.
To harrass Marmont's rear, Wellington called on Julian Sanchez and his fellow
guerilla leaders to harry the french in Castille and Navarre, with the Royal Navy
raiding french held towns along the Spanish coast.
To hold Soult's attention in the south, General Hill together with the Spanish
General Ballesteros ( in Tarifa ) are to keep the french in check near Cadiz.
Finally Welligton urged Spanish General Jose Maria Santocildes, Army of Galicia
to go on the offensive and take Astorga ( the famous Siege of Astorga ) mentioned
in my earlier post.

Spanish partisan's harrasing the French rear


The swift advance of the British on Salamanca has caught Marmont by surprise, as
his forces are somewhat dispersed. With only two infantry and one cavalry division
defending Salamanca, the french general orders his troops back. issuing orders
for his 'Army of Portugal' to leave Salamanca and concentrate at Fuente Sauco.
Nevertheless Marmont hadn't entirely abandoning Salamanca to the British, as
hed left a garrison of 800 men with 36 guns to fortify three convents. These being
converted into improvised forts with which to deny the old Roman bridge across
the River Tormes at Salamanca to the British.

Marmont's troops withdraw from Salamanca


While Marmont was concentrating his forces at Fuente Sauco, he sent constant
requests for reinforcements from Marshall Jourdan and General Caffarelli but to
no avail as each of these generals were occupied by local concerns.
With Salamanca abandoned, the Anglo-Portuguese army entered the city on the
17th June, much to the joy of the Spainish people who welcomed them as

The presence of the fortified convents in Salamanca came as a surprise to
Wellington who found the french had reinforced these positions with masonry
and earthworks, clearing an area of land around the fortified convents to give
a clear field of fire for their cannon.
Although Wellington could encircle the forts and leave a force to besiege it,
he risked reducing the strength of the Allied army and exposing his lines of
Therefore he orders Clinton's sixth division to besiege the forts while the rest
of the Allied Army  marches east to form a defensive line, from San Critobal
to Cabrerizos. Here Wellington hopes draw Marmont back to Salamanca in
an effort to relieve the forts.

Map of the Salamanca Campaign, June to July 1812


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:05 23-Jun-2012

Napoleon declares War on Russia

On the 22nd June 1812, France ( under Napoleon Boneparte ) declared war on
Russia, as hes army makes good its final preperations before crossing the border.


With events likely to move quickly over the coming months, the Russian
International News Agency ( Ria Novosti ) has setup an interactive blog
Chronicling The War of 1812, with a breakdown of the people and events involved
in the conflict, as the Napoleonic invasion unfolds.
Of course its in Russian but with Google translate, you can convert most of it
into English except for the maps. Overall its a pretty clever site and the best I've
seen on the War of 1812. With 3d graphics and moving armies on maps.
I've included the address for the interactive map but it can also be found on the
sites homepage by clicking the box in the top left hand corner.

Ria Novosti, Napoleon's Invasion of Russia 1812 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://ria.ru/1812_chosen/20120605/662481921.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://ria.ru/1812_chosen/20120605/662481921.html%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=3_bkT8aDDYXF8gPqk_SwCg&ved=0CD0Q7gEwAA)

War of 1812, interactive map (http://ria.ru/1812_chosen/20120605/662444505.html)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Fraucha on 08:02 23-Jun-2012
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Napoleon declares War on Russia

On the 22nd June 1812, France ( under Napoleon Boneparte ) declared war on
Russia, as hes army makes good its final preperations before crossing the border.

129 years later to the day, the Germans followed. On the internet that would be considered "Trending Now" news.

I always enjoy reading this thread!
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:20 24-Jun-2012
Napoleon delivers an epic speech to his men, as hes army prepares
to invade Russia


In a message to the Grande Armee Napoleon wrote, that Russia had swore
eternal alliance with France and war with England. It violates its oaths today.
Russia is pulled by its fate; its destinies must be achieved !

For Napoleon, the Russian campaign was intended to induce what many
today would call a forced friendship. The emperor demanded that Tsar Alexander
adhere to the main conditions of the Tilsit treaty, a continental blockade
of England, France's arch rival. However, the Russian Empire was simply
unable to fulfill the enslaving conditions forced upon it, by the 1807 Tilsit treaty.
By refusing to trade with England, Russia had practically suffocated its own
economy. Foreign trade had fallen by 43% and by 1809 Russia's budget
deficit had skyrocketed more than tenfold, reaching 157 million rubles.

Another aim of Napoleon was create a counterbalance to Russia by
re-establishing Poland as an independent state including the territories of
Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine. In fact, Napoleon initially dubbed the campaign
as the Second Polish War. The emperor of France promised his troops that
the peace achieved following the campaign would finally rid Europe of Russia's

To achieve this the Emperor Napoleon had accumulated a formidable
force with which to subdue Russia but would prove to be too big to sustain
in Russia.
Far from being an entirely French army, hes men was drawn from many
nations within the Napoleonic empire.

In June 1812, the Grande Armee numbered 554,500 men, comprised of:
300,000 Frenchmen and Dutchmen
95,000 Poles
35,000 Austrians
30,000 Italians
24,000 Bavarians
20,000 Saxons
20,000 Prussians
17,000 Westphalians
15,000 Swiss
4,000 Portuguese
3,500 Croats

During the early of hours of the 23rd June, Napoleon rode out of Kovno, to select three
crossing points across the River Nieman into Russia. After inspecting the river he
ordered hes engineers to construct three pontoon bridges across the Nieman, which
was accumplished that day.

French engineers engaged in building Pontoon bridges across the river


Meanwhile French agents also brought news of the russian forces, placing Bagration
near Volkovisk and Barclay between Lida and Keidany, with reserves near Svenciany.
From Ney's Third Corps headquarters at Marianpole, came the report of a Jewish
merchant who had just returned from Lithuania, the Russians were pulling their
forces back, leaving a only few Cossacks to keep an eye on the French.
Alexander's generals were left guessing at just how great were the forces
Napoleon had brought to their borders. The highest estimates, those of Barclay
de Tolly and Phull, credited Napoleon with having close to 250,000 men.
In reality, the Grande Armee was twice as massive, totalling 437,500 plus two
corps in reserve.

War of 1812 in Russia, part 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2h2R8UblpM#ws)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: P-N on 01:25 24-Jun-2012
Crikey!  That photo of Napoleon (with the 1812 microphone) has an uncanny resemblance to you John!
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:36 24-Jun-2012
Judging by P-N's comments - looks like my covers been well and truely blown.
Still back to the task in hand !!!

Napoleon's Grande  Armee crosses the Niemen


Theme music to War & Peace (http://folk.ntnu.no/makarov/temporary_url_20070929kldcg/so-shall-thy-children-welsh_guards.mp3)

Today French forces under the Emperor, Napoleon Boneparte crossed the River
Niemen to invade Russia. With him are 450,000 men of various nationalities
including the elite Imperial Guard, with another 200,000 men ready to follow
behind him in reserve.
Against him, the Russians, had perhaps 230,000 men massing near Vilna.
The french are looking for a quick victory over the Russian Army and one thats
decisive enough to bring Tsar Alexander back to the negotiating table, like he did
at Tilsit in 1807. Of course events will prove otherwise but at this stage Napoleon's
troops are feeling highly confident, as russian tv camera's record their parade in
Kaunas before venturing across the Nieman. Where the russian's have sprung a
little surprise for Napoleon on the other side of the Nieman.

Historically theirs little the Russian commander of the 1st Western Army, Barclay de
Tolley can do except start to retreat towards Vilna. As Napoleon's forces streamed
across the Niemen, comprising part of the 1st Army Corps, Davout, 2nd Army Corps
Oudinot, 3rd Army Corps, Ney, 1st Cavalry Corps Nansuti, 2nd Cavalry Corps and
the Guard under Monbrena. All destined to march on Moscow.

Ria Novosti TV Report on the crossing of the Nieman (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.ria.ru/1812_video/20120624/680639073.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259E%25D1%2582%25D0%25BA%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B5%25D1%2582%25D1%2581%25D1%258F%2B%25D0%25BC%25D0%25B5%25D0%25B6%25D0%25B4%25D1%2583%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BE-%25D0%25B8%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B9%2B%25D1%2584%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BB%25D1%258C,%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25B2%25D1%258F%25D1%2589%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%25D1%2587%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BB%25D1%2583%2B%25D0%259A%25D0%2590%25D0%25A3%25D0%259D%25D0%2590%25D0%25A1%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D914%26bih%3D419%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=RNrmT9-SAciA8wPHxJicCg&ved=0CFMQ7gEwAA)

TASS Newsflash - 200 years ago, French Imperialist forces led by Napoleon invade
Mother Russia, in russian but the only way to watch the video (http://www.itar-tass.com/c9/454446.html)

Napoleon's army parades through Kaunas, accompanied by their campfollowers

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:23 25-Jun-2012
Full coverage of Napoleon's troops securing a bridgehead across the Niemen

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/Voltigeurs_of_a_French_Line_regiment_crossing_the_Danube_before_the_battle_of_Wagram.png/220px-Voltigeurs_of_a_French_Line_regiment_crossing_the_Danube_before_the_battle_of_Wagram.png) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/4c/Voltigeurdlgarde.jpg/170px-Voltigeurdlgarde.jpg)

Heres a selection of video's showing the French rowing across the Niemen in
open boats, in order to establish a bridgehead on the Russian side of the
Niemen before reinforcements arrive by barge.

Where Russian light infantry scouts exchange shots with the french before
retiring from the river bank, in order to summon reinforcements.
In the meantime the French send more troops across by barge which land
and form up into battalions before marching inland where they soon
encounter a sizeable Russian force commanded by Barclay de Tolley
arrayed for battle, ready to drive the french back into the river.

French Voltigeurs make their first landings across the Niemen (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAauHd4imd8#ws)

More French troops arrive by barge and muster on the River bank (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaAuNaGkSfE#ws)

Napoleon's troops march inland to confront the Russian's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2K5YNQDMx4#ws)

More of Napoleon's troops disembark to march inland and do battle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSV4ZMP5-HE#)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:53 30-Jun-2012
Russia embarks on the Don Cossack Patrol in September


The Cossacks are Coming, music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Michael_Strogoff.html)

To commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812, the russians will be launching
a Don Cossack tour of Europe, following the route of Ataman Matvei Platov,
commander of the Don cossacks during the Russian campaign against Napoleon.
Starting from Moscow, the Donetsk team will proceed through Smolensk, Minsk,
Kaunas, Warsaw, Leipzig and Nancy to finish the campaign in Fontainebleau,
south-east of Paris. Where the march will conclude with a concert at Fontainebleau
The squad will include 25 riders - all hereditary Cossacks, who have devoted
years of training specifically for this campaign. They will have to overcome a total
of nearly three thousand miles riding on horseback, all dressed in the uniforms
of the Don Cossacks of the Napoleonic era.
Equipment and saddles for the horses was given the highest priority. Even the
cloth on the dress prepared by old fashioned materials, that are no longer produced,
said the representative of the organizing committee of the campaign, the head
of the charity fund "Russian Heritage" Alexander Bukovsky. One of the problems
for the organizers of the Cossack "tour" began, oddly enough with the roads.
Over the past 200 years, Europe has changed dramatically, and therefore the
route has had to be carefully chosen, to ensure the passage of horses.

The purpose of The Cossack Patrol is to not only to reflect on past historical events
in Russian history but also to help restore the popularity of the Don breed of
horses - the famous Dons.
The Don horse is unique in its endurance. Her daily mileage of 310 miles - a record.
According to one of the organizers of the campaign, Sergei Shishkaryov philanthropist.
This was the only horse in the whole of Russian cavalry, which had the capability and
power to travel all the way to Paris from the Zadonsk steppe.
In the army Ataman Platov, they had up to 160 thousand of Don stallions. Unfortunately,
in recent years, the population of this species has decreased dramatically.
Today, in the whole of Russia there are only 243 Dons. Therefore we hope to attract
the attention of European breeders to this wonderful breed.

PDF Presentation document of the Russian Cossack march on Paris, 1812 - 2012 (http://dostoyanierossii.ru/media/Presentation_DR_eng.pdf)

Don Cossack March on Paris 1812 - 2012, home page (http://dostoyanierossii.ru/en/about-foundation/)

TV news conference on the Cossack March from Moscow to Paris (http://www.newstube.ru/media/moskva-parizh-na-loshadyax)

Cossacks to March on Paris again, Voice of Russia (http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_04_05/Cossacks-Paris/)

Cossacks back in the Saddle, Euronews video (http://prod-euronews.euronews.net/2012/04/30/the-return-of-the-cossacks/)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:31 01-Jul-2012

Russian theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Michael_Strogoff_-_Ending.html)

Vilna falls to the French as the Russians pull back

Latest news from the russian front is that Napoleon's army entered Vilna ( modern day
Vilnius ) with barely a fight on the 27th June. As the Russian's under Barclay de Tolly
fall back in the wake of the french advance. Already Napoleon's troops are getting
a foretaste of the harsh russian weather to come, as the french encounter heavy
rain and hail storms, making many roads impassable and slowing down the french
To make matters worst, soldiers from the much vaunted Grande Armee are already
deserting in search of food and plunder. Consequently Napoleon is forced to stay
several days in Vilna into July, in order wait for the rest of hes men and baggage
train to catch up with him, after making it through the muddy roads.
Nevertheless Napoleon remains supremely confident of bringing the russian
barbarian's of the north to battle.

Russian's prepare a redoubt alongside a key road to Moscow


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:22 04-Jul-2012
Marmont's fortified convents fall to the British

Beginning on the 17th June, Wellington's Sixth division laid siege to the three
fortfied convents of St Vincente, San Cayetano and La Merced which together
formed a defensive triangle around the old roman bridge across the River Tomas
in Salamanca. These improvised forts had the advantage of providing mutual
support in the event of a siege, with a field of fire covering the old bridge denying
all passage to Wellington's men which suffered the inconvenience of seeking
passage elsewhere via neighbouring river fords.

Wellington determines to take the forts

By the 19th June, sufficient cannons were in place, to commence the
bombardment of the three forts beginning with St Vincente and San Cayetano.
While Wellington's gun battery had had limited affect on San Vincente, the
bombardment of San Cayetano proved more successful, seriously damaging
the parapet and destoying many of the palisades.
So much so, that an assualt on San Cayetano was ordered on the afternoon
of the 23rd June, to be mounted by two British brigades of Hulse and Bowes,
some 350 strong.
A full frontal assualt was made on the damaged wall's of the french fort but
the assualt proved to be a disaster, as the scaling ladders were not long enough
to reach the top of the damaged walls.
Consequently the British brigades suffered heavy casualties during the fighting
with one of the brigades commanders, General Bowes mortally wounded in
the action.

Following the repulse of the first assualt, Wellington resolved to continue the
bombardment on all three forts, employing howitzers loaded with red hot shot
to fire down upon the roof of the forts in order to create fire and mayhem within
the garrison.

By dawn on the 27th June, the damage to the walls of the forts was sufficiently
great, as to have made two breaches in the largest forts and this, coupled with
the deteriorating morale of the french garrison in controlling the fires. Left the
French forts sufficiently weakened for Wellington to mount a full scale assualt.
This time the British assualt was carried out with much success, as the french
offered little or no resistence to the besiegers, as they broke through the

La Gaceta de Salamanca, Wellington captures the French forts (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=es&tl=en&u=http://www.lagacetadesalamanca.es/opinion/2012/06/27/doscientos-anos/65543.html&usg=ALkJrhjRZMD9JPgBzrZbihv98Daj8-U8lQ)

Wellington secures the French forts, video from Sharpes Sword (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jBroj9Fa0I)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:56 09-Jul-2012
French troops crossing a bridge in Russia as they march towards Smolensk


French victory march music of 1812 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXmljXjwZko)

Adverse weather conditions slows down Napoleon's advance

As expats living in Kiev this summer will know, the stormy weather
followed by hot humid temperatures are playing havoc with the French armies
advance through the Russian Empire of 1812, just as much as its affecting travel
conditions today.
For once the recent weather of the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia
are a mirror image of the weather thats slowing down Napoleon's advance back
in 1812 and of course Napoleon's invasion ( re-enacted ) today.
As one commentator of the time will note:
The thunderstorms that came and went into other downpours,  turning the roads of
Lithuana ( many of them, no more than dirt tracks ) into bottomless mires. Wagons
sank up to their hubs; horses dropped from exhaustion; men lost their boots.
Stalled wagons became obstacles that forced men around them and stopping
other supply wagons and artillery columns from passing by.
Then came the sun which would bake the deep ruts into canyons of concrete, where
horses would break their legs and wagons their wheels.
A Lieutenant Mertens, serving with Ney's III corps, reports in his diary that
oppressive heat followed by rain, left them with dead horses and camping in swamp-like
conditions with dysentery and influenza raging though the ranks with hundreds in a
field hospital that had to be set up for the purpose.

Barclay after abandoning Vilna, continued hes retreat, ordering his troops to force towns-
people and villagers along the way, to take whatever they can and abandon their homes,
burning their barns, stables and foodstores in order to leave nothing to the enemy, as
Barclay began implimenting a scorched earth policy against the French.
With the exception of the occasional rearguard clash Barclay's troops were left
unhindered in their movements, as they continued their march east towards Smolensk.
Leaving Napoleon's troops free to continue to their advance into Russia.

For Napolean's best methods for employing the Grande Armee are working against it.
Rapid forced marches quickly caused desertion, starvation, exposed the troops to filthy
water and disease, while the logistics trains lost horses by the thousands, further
exacerbating the problems. Some 50,000 stragglers and deserters became a lawless
mob warring with local peasantry in all-out guerrilla war, that further hindered supplies
reaching the Grand Armee which was already down 95,000 men.

Cossacks get the better of the French light cavalry

Even more worrying for Napoleon, he's hussars and other light cavalry that he employs
in reconnaissance and other intelligence gathering operations, are shocked to find
themselves outclassed by their Russian counterparts, in particular the Cossacks.
Therefore he orders some of hes light infantry brigades to accompany the hussar patrols
but in doing so, loses contact with Barclay's forces, leaving Napoleon guessing where
the opposition might be.

A Napoleonic army on the march


Smolensk City Council hold an emergency meeting

Yesterday Smolensk City Council held an emergency meeting as Napoleon's troops
continue their advance through Russia.
As you can see from the video, the Russian authorities are becoming alarmed at the
sight of Russian troops falling back towards Smolensk, therefore the City Council are
finalisng thier plans for the bicentennial defence of Smolensk.

Smolensk City Council finalise their preperations for the defence of the City (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.reenactor.ru%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://www.rentv-smolensk.ru/item_video.php%3Fid%3D1016&usg=ALkJrhhKQyn4mO51kxUwZKQTkg6XnTRv2A)

Voice of Russia, Full TV report on Napoleon's current advance into Russia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvTdWERtcV0&)

Embassy of the Russian Federation in the UK, advises against all non essential
travel to the Smolensk region of Russia (http://www.rusemb.org.uk/1812/5)

The Patriotic War of 1812 - complete guide to the French invasion of Russia
Recommended website in English with Breakdown of military leaders, Order of Battle, etc (http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20120713/174489757.html)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 22:38 12-Jul-2012
The Salamanca campaign - Wellington probes French positions on the Douro

When Marmont learned that hes forts in Salamanca had fallen, he retreated to the
Douro River, where he occupied a line from Pollos to Simacas. Securing all the
river crossings in the area.
Wellington followed up and by the 4th July he's army was also concentrating on
the Douro. Here he spent the next 10 days looking unsuccesfully for a way to cross
the river.
With Marmont's troops holding all the key points across the river, thier was no
immediate danger of an attack. Therefore Wellington orders a small force across
the Douro at Castronouevo, on the 2nd July, to start probing operations against
the French, led by D'Urban's Portuguese cavalry brigade. The cavalry brigade broke
through and were soon strarting to disrupt Marmont's communications in the
rear, forcing the French general to send two French columns in pursuit of
By the 15th July, Wellington decided that D'Urban's force had accomplished all
it could do and ordered it back, to rejoin the main army.

British tourists and Expat's gather in a local Taverna to refight Salamanca
with Saucers and Bread Rolls

With the Battle of Salamanca coming up. British expats and tourists in Salamanca,
try to make sense of the Napoleonic campaign being played out around them.

A layman's guide to the Battle of Salamanca, video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fca4nEnHUxE#ws)

Salamanca to mark the bicentenary of the Napoloenic battle in Spain (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.massalamanca.es/salamanca/10764-salamanca-conmemorara-el-dia-22-el-bicentenario-de-la-batalla-de-los-arapiles.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bde%2Bsalamanca%2Barapiles%2B1812%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D983%26bih%3D453%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=s5wBUOS9NvOU0QWilOCIBw&ved=0CEQQ7gEwAA)

Bicentenary of the Battle of Salamanca 1812 - 2012 event programme,
courtesy of the Peninsular200.com website (http://peninsularwar200.org/salamanca12.pdf)


Over the hills, sung by the 95th Rifles (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfoevwcXytE#ws)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: P-N on 20:45 14-Jul-2012
A link for you Lt C:

http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20120713/174489757.html (http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20120713/174489757.html)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 11:10 15-Jul-2012
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
A link for you Lt C:

http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20120713/174489757.html (http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20120713/174489757.html)

Thanks Nik but already got it covered in my previous post, updated early yesterday.
See below:

Voice of Russia, Full TV report on Napoleon's current advance into Russia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvTdWERtcV0&)

The Patriotic War of 1812 - complete guide to the French invasion of Russia
Recommended website in English with Breakdown of military leaders, Order of Battle, etc (http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20120713/174489757.html)

Also check out the Voice of Russia, video ( in english ) posted by the Russian Embassy.
Its one of several on The Patriotic War of 1812, to be found on the Embassy of the
Russian Federation ( in London ) website.
Obviously the Russians are expecting a lot of visitors for the bicenennial battle
near Moscow, with latest figures saying over 100,000 people will be attending.

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:01 15-Jul-2012
Latest updates from the Spanish & Russian front

As regulars of my Back to the Napoleonic Wars column will
know, events are moving rather rapidly on both the
Spanish and Russian fronts and therefore I will either
amend or post new information as they become available.

The Battle of Salamanca will be refought, together with
associated commemoration services, so far publicity for
this event has been somewhat low key. As Spanish councils
struggling with austerity measures, are keeping a low profile
on commemorative events.

The Russian's on the other hand, are really milking their
War of 1812 or should I say, The Patriotic War of 1812 for
all its worth. Laying on a host of commemorative events
and re-enactments, refighting various stages of the French
invasion of Russia in 1812.
The Russian embassy in London's website has a host of
information and background on the Napoleonic invasion of
Russia which will be of interest to regulars of this column.

A word of warning to anyone thinking of travelling to Russia
to watch the Battle of Borodino in September.
This is being billed as a major Russian and International event.
Enthusiasts would have booked their hotel's for the event
ages ago. The Russians are expecting over 100,000 people
to watch the bicentennial re-enactment therefore many
hotels are likely to be either full or expensive.

Voice of Russia, Full TV report on Napoleon's current advance into Russia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvTdWERtcV0&)

Embassy of the Russian Federation in the UK, website information
on The Patriotic War of 1812 (http://www.rusemb.org.uk/1812/5)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:07 16-Jul-2012

The Russian defensive plan runs awry

As mentioned before, the Russian's are running a defensive campaign in
the face of overwhelming odds, as Napoleon's troops advance on all fronts.
In the centre the main French army, led by Napoleon himself, continues to press
forward against Barclay de Tolly's, 1st Western Army, while Marshall Davout and
Prince Jerome Boneparte, confront Bagration's 2nd Western army to the south.

In the north Marshall MacDonald is tasked with leading hes troops against the
Russian baltic port of Riga, while Marshall Oudinot seeks to secure a crossing
across the Dvina River and press forward, to secure the Russian Imperial Capital
of St Petersburg.
Once  MacDonald's taken Riga, he was to continue north and join up with
Marshall Oudinot's army in order to take St Petersburg.

A breakdown of the Russian Army in 1812 (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://ria.ru/1812_chosen/20120703/690837439.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%2592%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B5%2B%25D1%2581%25D1%2580%25D0%25B0%25D0%25B6%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B5%2B1812%26start%3D50%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D734%26bih%3D550%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=oVdaUJ-_Fca_0QWYuYDoBw&ved=0CDQQ7gEwADgy)

Russian video report follows the two armies summer campaign in Russia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbGAIN3TIEg)

Video on the role of the Russian Hussars during the Napoleonic Wars (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0Bilyu7Ofo)

Barclay de Tolly's army was falling back on the fortified camp of Drissa, which had
been prepared ( some time before ) in a natural defensive position, occupying a
bend in the Dvina river. Where he would join up with General Wittgenstein
forces and the Tsars.
Inspired by the example of Wellington's Torres Vedras Lines, the idea was for
the Russian's to stand on the defensive at Drissa holding the line of the Dvina
river, while the invaders starved, allowing Bagration's army to harry french
communications with his cossacks.

The fortified Camp at Drissa (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%25D0%25A1%25D1%2580%25D0%25B0%25D0%25B6%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B5_%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4_%25D0%259A%25D0%25BB%25D1%258F%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B8%25D1%2586%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BC%25D0%25B8&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25B1%25D0%25B8%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D1%2583%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259A%25D0%25BB%25D1%258F%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B8%25D1%2586%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BC%25D0%25B8%2B1812%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=BgsDUOr7IqOG0AX_5Pi3Bw&ved=0CFcQ7gEwAA)

War of 1812 in Russia, part 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blel0JxAzlU#ws)

A bemused Russian Militsia officer halts traffic as Wittgenstein's
troops cross the road to St Petersburg


But the Russian plan of waging a defensive war along the line of the Dvina river
was becoming unstuck, due to the sheer size of the French forces ranged against
them. As the french drew near, the Tsar became convinced it will become a
death trap and therefore orders Barclay de Tolly to continue hes retreat to
Smolensk, while he retires to Moscow.
As for Lieut General Count Peter Wittgenstein's forces, numbering some 18,000
men, these are ordered to march towards to St Petersburg, in order to cover
the approach roads to the Imperial Capital.

Oudinot's French troops make a bid for St Petersburg

While Marshall MacDonald's ( mainly Prussian ) troops endeavour to encircle
and besiege the Baltic port of Riga. Oudinot, strikes out for St Petersburg
and attempts to cross the Dvina river at Dinaburg ( Daugavpils ) but are
repulsed by the russian garrison. Therefore marching upstream, Oudinot
finds another bridge near Polotsk and crosses unopposed, here he finds
himself in a position to cutoff the Russian's from St Petersburg and trap
the Russian general.
Now Wittgenstein finds himself in dire straights, as Oudinot's army numbers
28,000 men against which he can only muster some 17,000  to 18,000 men.
Rather than wait to be attacked, Wittgenstein goes on the offensive.

The Battle of Klyastitsy, 18th to 19th July 1812


On the 16th July, three cavalry regiments of the French advance guard are
ambushed by four squadron's of Russian Hussar's, under the command of
Major-General Kulneva assisted by 500 Cossacks.
Although the russian's are beaten off, the French are clearly 'taken aback'
by the incident and therefore Oudinot decides to take up defensive positions
around the village of Klyastitsy.
At 2pm on the 18th July, the Oudinot sends troops forward to Yakubov to seek
out the enemy and soon runs into Wittgenstein's troops marching towards them.
A brutal battle ensues with the Russian endeavouring to take the village but
without success, only the onset of nightfall ends the fighting, as both sides
are locked in a stalemate.

The following day the fighting resumes, with the Russians mounting an all out
assualt on the French positions in Klyastitsy which are beaten off by counter
attacks by the french, followed by further assualts by the russians.
Eventually the French positions in and around Klyastitsy become untenable
and Oudinot orders hes troops to fall back across the bridge.
On the opposite bank, Oudinot has positioned hes cannon with which to
beat off any further Russian attacks, while he sets fire to the bridge.

While Wittgenstein's Belorussian Hussars rode off to locate a ford with which
to bypass the French position, he orders the 2nd battalion of the Pavlovsk
Grenadiers to attack the bridge. Eventually the Russian take the French
positions across the river Driss, forcing Marsall Oudinot to retreat back to
the river Dvina where he garrisoned Polotsk.

Video of the Battle in Russia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLVGoNIwAG0&feature=related)

The French lost 900 men killed with over 3000 more captured and taken
prisoner. Although Oudinot took this as only a minor setback and hoped
to resume the offensive once Riga had fallen. The fact remained that
Wittgenstein had saved St Petersburg from the French, for which he
would receive many honours from Tsar Alexander in what was the first
success by the Russian's in the War of 1812.

The weekend's re-enactment also incurred casulties, from a broken wooden
brush fired from a cannon. According to accounts, the splinters from the brush
injured three men and a women, all participants in the battle.
Obviously the above highlights the risks run by re-enactors, despite stringent
safety procedures. Our thoughts are with the injured and their families.
See newspaper reports below.

Ria Novosti TV video report on saturday's Battle of Klyastitsy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QBJq_R2tE0&feature=youtube_gdata)

Russia's Channel 1 news reports on the Battle for St Petersburg ( Windows Media Player ) (http://www.rtr.spb.ru/vesti/vesti_2012/upload/16-7-2012/Rekon.wmv)

Russia's NTV News channel on the Battle for St Petersburg, includes nice clip
of French hussars attacking the cannon (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.ntv.ru/novosti/313330/&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25BE%25D1%2582%25D0%25B5%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%25D1%258F%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%2B%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BA%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D835%26bih%3D522%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=BPEGUMmZGIjA0QWM37DCDQ&ved=0CHYQ7gEwBg)

St Petersburg Gazette - French march on  St Petersburg halted at Klyastitsy (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.spbvedomosti.ru/article.htm%3Fid%3D10289971%40SV_Articles&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.spbvedomosti.ru/article.htm%253Fid%253D10289971%2540SV_Articles%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=FBcDUO6RLajC0QXL1JmWBw&ved=0CCcQ7gEwAA)

Napoleon's plans thwarted by the Sevsky Regiment (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://go32.ru/news/politic/2824-napoleonovskie-plany-razbilis-o-doblest-sevskogo-polka.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25B1%25D0%25B8%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D1%2583%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259A%25D0%25BB%25D1%258F%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B8%25D1%2586%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BC%25D0%25B8%2B%25D0%259E%25D1%2582%25D0%25B5%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%2B1812%26hl%3Den%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D1014%26bih%3D526%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=VtoDUJKsBMXS0QWB8pmVBw&ved=0CHcQ7gEwBA)

Near St Petersburg a battle is fought against Napoleon's troops, four people are injured (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.newsru.com/russia/16jul2012/rekonstr.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25B1%25D0%25B8%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D1%2583%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259A%25D0%25BB%25D1%258F%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B8%25D1%2586%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BC%25D0%25B8%2B%25D0%259E%25D1%2582%25D0%25B5%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%2B1812%26hl%3Den%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D1014%26bih%3D526%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=Q9UDUOXSBsTE0QWQpsSOCA&ved=0CGsQ7gEwAQ)

French artillery softening up Russian positions at Klyastitsy


Russian Army and Hussars


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:30 20-Jul-2012
The Rifles to be given the freedom of the City as the 95th Rifles prepare to do battle

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

The bicentenial of the Battle of Salamanca ( known as Batalla de los Arapiles in Spanish )
will see representatives of both the modern British and Spanish army, alongside their
Napoleonic counterparts, for this weekends bicentenial commemorations in Spain.
The mayor of Salamanca, Alfonso Fernandez Manueca announced today that the keys
to the City will be presented to the Commander of UK Land Forces, Sir Nicholas Parker,
who is also commander the British Armies, The Rifles Regiment in honour of Wellington.

Soldiers of the British Rifle Regiment have been travelling in Salamanca to take part in
the weekend commemorations and no doubt been swapping anecdotes with members
of the 95th Rifles, as they arrive in Salamanca to do battle with the French.

Commander of the British Rifles Regiment to be given the freedom of the City (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.massalamanca.es/salamanca/10811-el-ayuntamiento-entregara-las-llaves-de-la-ciudad-a-sir-nick-parker.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsir%2Bnicholas%2Bparker%2Bcommander%2Bthe%2Brifles%2Bsalamanca%26hl%3Den%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D977%26bih%3D456%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Dimvnso&sa=X&ei=YlUIUOKnHOPN0QXb-e3pBA&ved=0CF0Q7gEwAg)

Marmont moves against Wellington

The situation that will greet the new arrivals, couldn't be more dire for the British. The
French interpreted Wellington's reluctance to cross the Douro as a sign of weakness.
As they assumed the British were waiting for General Hill ( covering the Tagus to the
south ) to move to Salamanca in support of Wellington.
With Hill remaining steadfast on the Tagus, King Joseph orders Marmont to take the
offensive which he does by repairing the bridge at Toro on the 15th and sending his
troops across the Douro early on the 16th July.
The French appear intent on cutting off Allied communications with Salamanca, as
reports come in of Marmont manouvering hes troops to attack hes flank.
Furthermore, despatches from hes scouts reports additional French troops marching
to Marmonts aid from the south.
Wellington feels compelled to fall back and concentrate hes forces in a good defensive
position, somewhere across the River Guareno.
Therefore the Allies gather their forces on the 16th and march towards Rueda while
the Allied rearguard retires to Castrajon. By the morning of the 17th July, the bulk
of the Allied army occupies a line along Guareno river from Fuente la Pena to Catrillo,
preparing for an anticipated attack from the French.
Instead Wellington receives reports that the French have fallen back across the
Douro and broken the bridge at Toro.

Wellington falls back to the Guarena

In fact the French were not falling back, as Marmont had prepared a carefully
orchestrated ruse, to deceive Wellington's scouts and exploring officers into thinking
hed retired. When in fact, hes army had done a quick about turn on the Douro and
recrossed the river at Tordesillas, marching hard to reach Rueda and La Seca by
the morning of the 17th.
Bonnet crossed at Pollos, and by nightfall the French army, concentrated around
Nava del Rey. On the morning of 18th July Wellington set out with most of his cavalry
to supervise the rearguard's retreat. When he arrived at their position near Rueda,
he found the rearguard commander, Cotton beset by an all out assualt by the
French. Cotton had sent out cavalry patrols early in the morning but they soon
rushed back to report a large French force bearing down upon them.
Marmont was trying to turn the Allied left flank and force them to retreat, which
Wellington obliged. Fortunately the French didn't press home their advantage, as
the British were able to carry out their retreat across the River Guarena, suffering
only the occasional sharp skirmish.

With his army now safely behind the Guarena, Wellington prepared for the sort
of defensive battle he preferred and for a while it looked like the French might
leave him in peace. When suddenly a small force on the French right makes a
desparate attempt to cross the Guarena and swoops down on the Allied
left flank.
Some heavy fighting occurs before the French are pushed back across the
river. By evening the fighting ceased and the two armies settle down and
camp on opposite sides of the river.
Both armies rested on 19th July, but that evening the French began to edge
southward and Wellington feels compelled to mirror their movements,
towards Salamanca.

Map showing the Parallel march of the British allied and French armies

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Claus on 00:55 20-Jul-2012
Thanks for the great job!  :)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:36 22-Jul-2012

The Parallel March to Salamanca

The past two days have seen Wellington's allied army, composed of British, Portuguese
and Spanish soldiers, shadowing the movement's of Marmont's French ( Army of
Portugal ) on opposite sides of the River Guarena.
In Spain this turns out to be a long hot and gruelling march, interspersed by the odd
sharp skirmishs as both sides probed for weaknesses during the long march.

Proclamation to the poeple Canizal concerning the movement of troops along the
River Guarena (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.laopiniondezamora.es/comarcas/2012/07/21/intrahistoria-batalla/614982.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecreaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bhist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bla%2Bmarcha%2Bparalela%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D921%26bih%3D526%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=Vx8LUP3LJ4Sg0QXCjqTECg&ved=0CG0Q7gEwAA)

Spanish TV presentation of the Parallel March (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR1w0JUdGqU&feature=youtu.be)

Although historical accounts differ on the exact composition and size of the two
armies. Marmonts army numbers a little over 50,000 men comprising 8 infantry divisions
and 2 cavalry divisions plus 78 cannon.
The infantry divisions being Maximilian Sebastien Foy's 1st (4,900), Bertrand Clausel's
2nd (6,300), Claude Francois Ferey's 3rd (5,400), Jacques Thomas Sarrut's 4th (5,000),
Antoine Louis Popon de Maucune's 5th (5,000), Antoine Francois Brenier de
Montmorand's 6th (4,300), Jean Guillaume Bartholemy Thomieres's 7th (4,300), and
Jean Pierre Francois Bonet's 8th (6,400).
Pierre Francois Joseph Boyer led 1,500 dragoons and Jean-Baptiste Theodore Curto
commanded 1,900 light cavalry. Louis Tirlet commands 3,300 artillerymen and there
were also 1,300 engineers, military police and wagon drivers.

Wellington's Allied army numbers in excess of 48,500 men including 8 infantry divisions,
2 independant brigades, 5 cavalry brigades and 54 cannon.
The infantry divisions were Henry Campbell's 1st (6,200), Edward Pakenham's 3rd (5,800),
Galbraith Lowry Cole's 4th (5,191), James Leith's 5th (6,700), Henry Clinton's 6th (5,500),
John Hope's 7th (5,100) and Charles Alten's Light (3,500). Carlos D'Espana commanded
a 3,400-man Spanish division, while Denis Pack (2,600) and Thomas Bradford (1,900)
led Portuguese brigades.

Stapleton Cotton supervised the cavalry brigades. These included 1,000 British heavy
dragoons led by John Le Marchant, 1,000 British light dragoons under George Anson,
700 Anglo-German light horse under Victor Alten, 800 King's German Legion (KGL)
heavy dragoons led by George Bock and 500 Portuguese dragoons under
Benjamin D'Urban. Hoylet Framingham commanded eight British (RHA: Ross,
Bull, Macdonald; RA: Lawson, Gardiner, Greene, Douglas, May) and one
Portuguese (Arriaga) six-gun artillery battery.

Throughout the following two days ( 20th to 21st July 1812 ) both armies marched in
parallel columns to the south towards Salamanca. Wellington ordering his army into
three columns, while Marmont marched in two columns. During the march officers
from both sides saluted each other in friendly fashion, while occasionally cannon
exchanged a more violent salute. With Officers on sides comparing the spectacle as
being more akin to a military parade than the preliminary stage of a battle.

The French gradually moved ahead of the Allies, as Marmont seeks to turn
Wellington's right wing and perhaps even envelope him completely but the two
armies were marching so closely together as that he was unable to do so.
So when Marmont inclined his march to the southwest, Wellington was forced
to follow suit.
Even when the two armies diverged at Cantalpino and with Marmont still
endeavoured to quicken the pace, so that ( by the end of the day ) he
succeeded in reaching the fords at Huerta first and turning Wellington's flank,
but both armies were nearing exhaustion by the long march and were in no
mood to fight.
Despite a series of skirmishes along the way, losses had been light mainly
due to stragglers along the way.

French troops marching in parallel to Wellington along the Guarena valley



Video of British, Spanish & Portuguese troops in the Parallel March (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnnXepVKbko#)

The following morning ( 20th July ) Wellington's army took up new defensive
positions at San Cristobal which they had occupied the previous month.
Marmont, in the meantime, crosses the Tormes at Huerta and La Encina,
leaving two divisions between Babila Fuente and Huerta to cover the crossing.
Wellington naturally followed suit, crossing the Tormes later that afternoon.
By nightfall the two armies bedded down for the night, bivouacked opposite
each other in the hills.
The French army is situated south of Calvarisa de Ariba and Manchon while the
Allied army is positioned north of Nuestra Senora de la Pena, the following
day will see one of the most decisive battles of the Peninsular War.

The Spanish host the Parallel March, includes a Proclamation to the
Spanish people living near Salamanca (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.asoproca.org/IV_Marcha_Paralela/IV_Marcha.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecreaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bhist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bla%2Bmarcha%2Bparalela%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=Sx4LUMqPGJTB0gW18-3pCg&ved=0CGgQ7gEwBA)

Spanish paper, Diario de Salamanca checks out Wellington's encampment (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://diariodesalamanca.es/2012/07/21/arapiles-recrea-un-campamento-militar-antes-de-librar-la-ultima-batalla/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsalamanca%2B1812%2B2012%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D940%26bih%3D526%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=GN8KUNaILYO40QXnyp3sCg&ved=0CHMQ7gEwCQ)

Introduction to the Parallel March (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://ocio.laopiniondezamora.es/agenda/zamora/espectaculos/zamora/eve-728425-iv-recreacion-historica-la-marcha-paralela-guarena.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drecreaci%25C3%25B3n%2Bhist%25C3%25B3rica%2Bla%2Bmarcha%2Bparalela%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=Sx4LUMqPGJTB0gW18-3pCg&ved=0CFkQ7gEwAA)

Spanish paper Salamanca24hours on sundays forthcoming re-enactment (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.salamanca24horas.com/provincia/70945-440-personas-recrean-la-batalla-de-los-arapiles-en-su-200-aniversario&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bde%2Bsalamanca%2Bdos%2Barapiles%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D879%26bih%3D439%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=2rsLUNiJH5OZ0QWNrPHWCg&ved=0CGsQ7gEwAA)

French cavalry reconnoitering British troops, marching along the Guarena valley (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFU4eWfa6YU#)

Video of Wellington's Army on the march (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWBdqclKrdk#)

Wellington's staff seek out quarters in a Spanish village


Our brave boys encamped before Salamanca getting a well deserved rest


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 14:15 22-Jul-2012

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpe.html)

The Battle of Salamanca, July 22nd 1812

The morning of Wednesday, 22 July 1812, dawned sunny, but oppressively hot
and humid. Overnight the two armies tried to sleep as best they could, despite
a heavy thunderstorm that lasted much of the night.
With both armies just outside Salamanca, Wellington continued with his policy
of refusing to engage Marmont, as he knew from intelligence reports, that
King Joseph's french, Army of the Centre was on its way and should arrive within
the next 24 hours.
Therefore Wellington's only concern is with maintaining an orderly retreat back
to Cuidad Rodrigo. Marmont on the other hand was keen to do battle with
Wellington before reinforcements arrived, so he could claim all the credit of
defeating the English commander by himself.

That morning Wellington received reports that some of Marmont's troops
were trying to take up positions on the slopes of the two steep hills, the
Arapiles ( south of Salamanca )
His officers thought nothing of it, but Wellington immediately saw the
danger and ordered the French repulsed. following which he ordered two
infantry divisions to take up positions below the ridge of the closer hill,
out of sight of the French. He supervised their placement himself, with
the intention of covering his retreat to Portugal, which he was planning
to begin under cover of darkness that night.
He had already sent his baggage train and commissariat wagons on the
road to Ciudad Rodrigo, and ordered up two more divisions from
Salamanca, then waited and waited for Marmont to make his move.

A french cannon fires, as Riflemen of the British 95th Rifles move in
against the French on the Arapiles


Wellington and his senior officers had been up since dawn, none of them
having had a chance for a meal. At mid-day, Wellington descended the
near Arapile hill and joined his senior staff at a nearby farm where they
had a good view of most of the area. A very late breakfast had been
provided for them in the farmyard.
However, as there were some bullets falling in the area, from a number of
skirmishes taking place nearby, the meal had to be moved around the
corner of farmhouse. For a time, Wellington paced near the wall of the
farmyard, dodging bullets and intently scanning the area near the
Dos Arapiles with his spy-glass.
Eventually, one of his officers persuaded him to eat some bread and part
of a roast chicken, a delicacy in comparison to the fare they usually had
while on campaign. Having no flatware or even a knife available, Wellington
grabbed one of the legs of the roasted fowl and ate it with one hand, while
continuing to periodically sweep the area between Dos Arapiles with his
About two o'clock, he saw something through his glass which made him
rise from the table with a whoop of delight, nearly knocking the table over.
He threw the partially-eaten chicken leg over his shoulder and shouted,
'By God! That will do !' and ran to his horse, ordering his men to follow him,
with all speed.

A Cartoon of Wellington and his staff having breakfast


Wellington galloped closer toward the Dos Arapiles, then pulled up, once
again studying the area between them with his spy-glass, and saw the
French troops marching through the gap.
Exactly what he had been hoping to see. He turned to his Spanish aide-de-camp
Miguel Ricardo de Alava y Esquivel, who had accompanied him, and remarked
in triumph, "Mon cher Alava, Marmont est perdu!" ( My dear Alava, Marmont is lost! )
Years later, Alava would tell the tale and add with a grin, "I knew that something
'very serious' was going to happen when something so precious as the leg of a
roast fowl was thus thrown away!" What was about to happen was 'very serious'
indeed, for Marmont had made a fatal error in judgement and Wellington knew
he was now in the perfect position to crush the French.

Marshall Marmont makes a blunder

Marshal Marmont had seen a large cloud of dust in the distance, and thereby
assumed Wellington was in retreat. What the French commander had actually
seen was the dust from the British supply train, but he was not to know that no
troops accompanied the wagons. Marmont's first mistake was that though he
had reports of the troops of Wellington's left wing, he believed them to be a
small rear-guard force, left to cover the bulk of Wellington's retreating army.
Secondly, in his haste to smash what he believed to be a disorganized and
fleeing horde, he ordered his main force south, then west, with the intention
of striking the British right flank.
But in fact, what Marmont had done was order his army to march past the
ridge behind which Wellington had earlier that morning stationed two of his
most powerful divisions.
Worse was to come for Marmont, he had ordered his best troops too far
out, and some of the slower troops fell behind, thus over-extending and
weakening his line. A blunder which Wellington was quick to turn to his own

Packenham's division advances against the disorganised French line


French infantry line fires a volley against the British


Leaving de Alava, Wellington galloped over to his brother-in-law, Sir Edward
Pakenham, who had been placed in command of the 3rd Division, when
General Picton had been forced to return to England after being severely
wounded at the Siege of Badajoz. Wellington himself had created the division,
known as the "Fighting 3rd," and placed great faith in them. To his brother-in-law
he said, "Ned, do you see those fellows on the hill, Throw your division into
column and have at them"
In response, General Pakenham held out his hand to Wellington and said,
"I will, my Lord, by God, if you will give me your hand." Some in the vicinity
thought Wellington seemed a little embarrassed by Pakenham's show of
emotion, though he did shake his brother-in-law's hand, if rather stiffly.
However, Pakenham galloped off almost immediately to give the 3rd their
orders, and Wellington said to one of his officers, "Did you ever see a man who
understood his orders more clearly than Pakenham?" Wellington then galloped
away to give his orders to the other division commanders.

French cavalry charging the British Square



Wellington struck hard and fast, all of his divisions following his precise orders
and never wavering. They smashed the French troops, who were completely
unaware of the two divisions hidden behind the ridge. Marmont had been hit by
an exploding shell early in the battle, was badly wounded and carried to the rear.
Several other French senior officers were killed or severely wounded and the
French army was given no chance to re-group.
The main battle was over in less than an hour. It was later said that Wellington
had "defeated 40,000 men in 40 minutes." Near the end of the battle, Wellington
was struck in the thigh by a musket ball, while riding at the head of a cavalry
charge, but fortunately, it passed first through his holster and inflicted only a
minor wound.

The British and their Allies are Victorious

Complete victory was snatched from the British by the failure of a Spanish
commander whom Wellington had stationed at the ford of the river near Alba de
Tormes. Wellington believed the garrison would prevent the remains of the French
army from crossing the river, and they would be trapped.
Earlier in the day, the garrison commander had sent Wellington a request to
evacuate the garrison. Wellington immediately sent a refusal and ordered him
to maintain his position. But unbeknownst to Wellington, the Spanish commander
had already abandoned his post and had apparently sent the request to Wellington
after he had done so.
Thus the weary French troops managed to effect their escape, across the
Tormes River. Wellington's forces pursued the French the following day, and several
regiments of the french rear-guard cavalry were defeated in another battle, but
still the main body of the French army managed to escape.

Wellington seeks shelter amoungst the British & Portuguese infantry squares


The night after the battle, many of the residents of Salamanca, who had seen
much of the conflict, came out onto the battlefield, with carts and wagons filled
with provisions, including bushels of fresh fruit and water. This was a great relief
to men who had had little to eat for more than a day, and had gone without water
for nearly as long, while fighting a grueling battle under the burning sun.
These people went all over the field, doing their best to aid all the soldiers they
could find. And they did all of this without payment, though the Spanish were
used to being paid by the English for all provisions. The soldiers on the field that
night never forgot the kindness and consideration shown them by the people
of Salamanca.

The Battle of Salamanca, part one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W839wnOlBRI#ws)

The Battle of Salamanca, part two (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A5CahxbLbo#ws)

Spanish TV report on the Battle of Salamanca (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drNfQcq4fuo#ws)

La Gazeta de Salamanca, video report on the Battle of Arapiles ( Salamanca ) (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.lagacetadesalamanca.es/salamanca/2012/07/22/batalla-arapiles-vuelve-revivirse-200-anos-despues/67876.html%3Futm_source%3Drss&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbicentenario%2Bde%2Bsalamanca%2Bdos%2Barapiles%26hl%3Den%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D1040%26bih%3D526%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=HgQMUNauC8mm0QWRhISnCg&ved=0CGgQ7gEwAA)

More new video's of the 95th Rifles in action in Portugal, falling back to the Coa in 1810 (http://www.expatua.com/forum/index.php?topic=1975.msg49024#msg49024)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:47 28-Jul-2012

Russia's general Essen, sets fire to Riga's suburbs as MacDonald's troops close in

Meanwhile over in Russia, the military governor of the Latvian city of Riga,
orders the burning of the outlying suburbs of Riga, as MacDonald's troops close
in to lay siege to the city-port. In a pre-emptive move by Essen to deny
MacDonald's Prussian troops food and shelter, as well as giving a clear field
of fire for the cannon mounted on Riga's fortress walls.
So nervous were the Russians to the approach of Napoleon's troops, that
the order to torch the buildings arose when a watchmen ( stationed in one
of Riga's tallest church towers ) spotted a cloud of dust in the distance and
quickly mistook a herd of cows to that french soldiers, kicking up dust as they
march in the distance.

French infantry marching through Latvia


Most Russian generals at the time believed Napoleon's initial moves on Moscow
were a ruse and that Napoleon intended to take St Petersburg first. Of course
this theory soon fell apart, as Napoleon's main army continued towards

Marshall Etienne MacDonald ( a frenchmen of Scottish descent ) the commander
fo the 30,000 strong Franco-Prusssian force, sent to take Riga before pressing
onto St Petersburg, is full of confidence with the ease of the invasion, so far.

While Essen commands only a garrison force of 14,000 men but these are
soon supplemented by the arrival of General Steinheil with 10,000 men, while
the British Royal Navies, Baltic Squadron ( now firm allies of Russia ) provides
naval assistance to the soon to be beleagured port.

The Russians take up defensive positions at Ekau

Essen for his part, refuses to be hemmed in by Napoleon's troops and on the
18th July, dispatches General Levizov with 3,000 or 4,000 men, to secure the
left bank of the River Dvina at Ekau, overlooking Riga Castle. Following this
the 27th Prussian division (7,000 strong ) of MacDonald's army, moves east to
confront the Russian postions at Ekau. Where General's Gravet & Kliest draw
up their troops ready for battle, the following day.

The Battle of Gross-Ekau, 19th July 1812

On the morning of the 19th July, the Prussian General Gravet, began an artillery
bombardment on the Russian positions at Gross-Ekau and after dislodging the
russian's from a nearby wood, sent in his cavalry, the Westphalian Cuirassiers
to attack the russian line. At the same time General Kliest with the rest of
the Prussian infantry, attacked from the east and rolled up the Russian line.
This left Levizov with no alternative but to retreat to Riga and abandon all hope
of maintaining Russian positions on the west bank of the Dvina.
Following this the Russian's again, set fire to another set of outlying dwellings
on the outskirts of Riga, to deny shelter to the biesieging Prussian's of MacDonald's

Polish troops exchanging fire with the Russians


Napoleon's hussars always find time for the ladies


Russian newspaper report on the Battle of Gross Ekau, near Riga (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%2B%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BA%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%2B%25D0%25A1%25D0%25BC%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B5.%2B2012%26hl%3Den%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D988%26bih%3D423%26tbs%3Dqdr:m%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://news.mail.ru/inworld/latvia/society/9683350/&usg=ALkJrhgpCSt1QROC0s1yPg0EMSvtd8GBPQ)

Newspaper report on the Battle of Gross Ekau (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.reenactor.ru%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://www.ves.lv/article/222696&usg=ALkJrhh_x4tWdDMcmffJS6C7YX9TOjb4Ng)

RiaNovosti TV examines the flintlock musket of the War of 1812 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShqS4ncGBTA)

As Napoleon's troops march further into Russia towards Smolensk, the Russians
hold yet another historic ball this weekend


The Russian ball Anthem (http://www.russian-ball.ru/upload/medialibrary/102/102e6a13abcd075c0d7b0f5173276b0a.mp3)

Ball will be held July 28, 2012 in the estate "Bernovo." Guests to arrive before 14.00.
The beginning of the ball - at 14.30., Ending - at 19.00. Price visit Ball 1200 rubles.
In addition, the designated mandatory dress code for the guests of the ball.
For gentlemen - dress coat, tuxedo, a suit of dark-colored, tie, bow tie, a scarf.

For the ladies - this is a one-color evening dress full length gloves. Cape or tippet
is desirable.
The program will be performed by the original ball dances period 1812 - polonaises,
mazurkas, waltzes, quadrilles, country dance and cotillion.

Russian Newspaper Tver News on the announcement of the weekend Ball (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.tvernews.ru/news/111072/&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%2598%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25B1%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BB%2B%25D1%2583%25D1%2581%25D0%25B0%25D0%25B4%25D1%258C%25D0%25B1%25D0%25B5%2B%25D0%2591%25D0%25B5%25D1%2580%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%2B1812%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D965%26bih%3D429%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=DP4UUNnYBMaa1AXWxYHABw&ved=0CG0Q7gEwAA)

The Real War & Peace Ball on video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PhQOaYJNbA#ws)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Fraucha on 07:00 28-Jul-2012
The Russian needs a straighter scope...
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: P-N on 10:25 28-Jul-2012
I've been invited to go watch the reenactments as Napoleon reaches the outskirts of Moscow on 2/3 September, the Battle of Borodino.  (About 130 kilometers from Moscow I think).

Needless to say, I'm going as it would seem silly to turn down such an invitation when I've nothing better to do and still have a valid Russian Visa.

Camera will be taken Lt C, so if you want a large number of unique photos for your blog, I'll email them to you.
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 11:28 29-Jul-2012
Enjoy your trip to Borodino, Nik.

Frankly its too expensive for me but I should be reporting from the sidelines. Its being
billed as the biggest Napoleonic bicentennial event before Waterloo with a pretty
good campaign run up before the big event. Pics and video's are always appreciated  ;)

Oh by the way, as your favourite regiments, the 95th Rifles. I've included a link to
a new video I found on the net of the 95th Rifles, in action in Portugal. See above.

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: P-N on 13:02 29-Jul-2012
I must admit to some boyish excitement having been invited.  I'll naturally email you all the photos I take for your blog as they won't be much use for mine other than to explain my absence from posting during those days :D

Onwards the 95th!
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:39 30-Jul-2012
Russian bureaucracy threatens Napoleonic reinforcements

With Napoleon's Grande Armee ( re-enacted ) marching through Russia. Moscow news
channel Mosobl TV reports on a hitch in the re-enactors strategy of relying on
reinforcements from abroad via Moscow's airports and stations.

Visa support for foreign participants is not yet assured. Apparently the French and Belgians
have been refused visas.  Despite an assurance, that the issue of entry permits to Russia
would be done in time for Borodino and without a visa fee.
Also, the organizers need to consider a system of "green corridor" in airports and train
stations, as almost all the reenactors come with copies of firearms or edged weapons of
the time.

Mosobl TV report on the problem's facing Napoleon's invasion of Russia (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://mosobltv.ru/%3Fan%3Dnews_page%26uid%3D23258&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%2591%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BB%2B%25D0%25B2%2B%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D1%2581%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%2B%25D1%2583%25D1%2581%25D0%25B0%25D0%25B4%25D1%258C%25D0%25B1%25D0%25B5%2B1812%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D1033%26bih%3D526%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=9rEVUKzdBoqi0QXU2YGYDw&ved=0CH0Q7gEwBg)

Will Napoleonic reinforcements clear customs in time


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 22:36 30-Jul-2012

Grand Balls of Imperial Russia, video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTWy-p4RlZE)

You shall go to the Ball - Imperialist Russia comes alive at Bernovo manor in Tver

The ladies are dressed in fashionable ball gowns of the early 19th century, while the
gentlemen sport military uniforms, coats and evening dress. Historical Society 'Ball at the
Russian country estate" holds about 18 balls in the beautiful estates of the Russian state,
to relive the long lost days of Imperial Russia at the time of the Napoleonic Wars.

Yet this time, we are told by guests at the celebratory ball, that the choice of the manor
was not by chance as this year we have an anniversary - 200 years since the victory in
the Battle of Borodino.
So the ball is dedicated to the heroes of the war in 1812, the heroes of the war from the
province of Tver, the three men, whose portraits are in the Military Gallery of the Winter
Palace in St. Petersburg. They are Seslavin, Svechin and Olsufiev.

The names of these soldiers, Tver still holds in awe - they were born and raised in the
Tver province. Alexander Seslavin, Nikonorov Svechin and Zahar Olsufiev fought valiantly
in the Battle of Borodino before Moscow.
Zahar Olsufiev in particular fought throughout the Russian campaign of 1812 to 1814,
where he was wounded and taken prisoner by the french as the Russian's marched
on Paris. In fact while a prisoner he was presented to Napoleon himself.
Eventually he managed to break free only a few weeks after the capture of Paris by
Allied troops in 1814.

Video of the Grand Ball at Bernovo manor, last weekend part1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9gdK9Slo5KI)

Video of the Grand Ball at Bernovo manor, last weekend part2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nahl85posB4)

The Real Russian Imperial Ball from War & Peace (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ViQW7mZE5SM)

Back to the Grand Balls of 1812, Tverigrad.ru reports on the Historic Ball on the
Bernovo manor estate (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25BF%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B0%25D1%2588%25D0%25B0%25D1%258E%25D1%2582%2B%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%25B8%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D1%2587%25D0%25B5%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25B1%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BB%2B1812%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D1006%26bih%3D427%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://tverigrad.ru/video/v-odnoj-iz-usadeb-tverskoj-oblasti-proshel-nastoyashhij-bal&usg=ALkJrhgYoNyoGqeNjWFVPhaWR1JA4d0NAg)

The Russians have also been known to hold Ballroom Dances on campaign,
as can be seen by this Grand ball at a Russian military encampment

Video of Ballroom Dancing Encampment (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=kVCiOYkKBFs)

Meanwhile over in St Petersburg, we have a nice video of a Napoleonic cavalry
melee in the Peter and Paul Fortress, followed by Cossack Archery

Napoleonic cavalry clash & Cossack archery (http://www.fontanka.ru/2012/07/29/043/big.1.html)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:05 03-Aug-2012

Russian's make a stand in Smolensk as Napoleon's troops close in

As you know the Russian 1st Western Army under Barclay de Tolley have been retreating
towards Smolensk, prefering to engage in 'hit and run tactics' rather than make a stand
against the French while at the same time denying all food and shelter to the enemy
with their 'scorched earth policy'
Napoleon therefore determined to race for Smolensk before Prince Bagration with the
2nd Western Army could fall back on Smolensk ( as Napoleon had hoped Jerome's forces
would keep Bagration at bay )
As it was Bagration was very much in the dark about the enemies intentions and with
a number of conflicting orders coming in from Czar Alexander and Barclay. Bagration
took it upon himself, to march for Smolensk where he would join forces with Barclay's
troops and make a stand before the city of Smolensk.

The role of the Russian Hussars in the Tsar's Army, with english subtitles (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZyLMEnJWDo#)

On August 14, 1812 forces under the command of Joachim Murat, Marshal Davout and
Michel Ney, crossed the Dnieper River at Rassna using bridges constructed overnight.
The plan was to race toward the city, taking it without a fight, and march north to
attack the rear of the main Russian forces under the overall command of General
Barclay de Tolly.

Russian village children watching Napoleon's cavalry march past, video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwewuSNbxUA#ws)

As it was a detachment of Don Cossack's, under the command of Captain Zimovnov
reached the village Dubrovno, pausing outside the village. The Captain sent forward
a few Cossack's under Sergeant Chikunova to inspect the village.
Suddenly they were hit on both sides of the street by a volley of musket fire from
the French hiding in a few houses,
Therefore Chikunova, together with the renowned Cossack Ignat Demidov, galloped
down the street to alert the Russian infantry, stationed near the market, but in so
doing was seriously wounded, where both Ignat and his horse were taken prisoner.
Captain Zimovnomu tried to intervene but an attack was not possible because the
streets are so narrow. Therefore with the enemy disturbed by the clash, Sergeant
Chikunova, began to cross the Dnieper river.

Russian Generals observe the French advance from across the Dnieper river


Riding down river, Zimovnomu and hes cossacks, came upon the village of Rassna,
where they found the french had built a couple of bridge of boats, over which they
were crossing the river Dnieper, in an effort to cut off the Russian general Barclay,
from Smolensk.
Upon discovering the French crossing, Zimovnomu informed his superiors, who decided
to harry the french incursion before the French replied by sending in their Lancers, to
beat off the russian attack.

Video of events surrounding the forthcoming Battle for Smolensk (http://smolensk.rfn.ru/video.html?id=21149&type=r)

Map showing Barclay de Tolley's retreat to Smolensk, August 1812 (http://warsonline.info/cache/othod290713435296631343529647_thumb_medium570_.jpg)

With Napoleon shifting hes headquarters to Vitbesk, he was soon to receive news
that Prince Bagration's 2nd Army had beaten him to Smolensk and was soon to
join forces with Barclay de Tolley's troops on the 2nd August.
The long march and pursuit of the Russian's were taking their toll on the French army,
with Napoleon's Guard corps of Ney, Eugene Beauharnais, Saint-Cyr, the three divisions
of the corps of Davout and Murat's cavalry, that was 220,000 strong when they crossed
the Neimen; were reduced to little more than 150,000 men by the time they reached

Video of Russian troops, fighting a rearguard action near Smolensk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgIaWeMsyng#ws)

Video of previous clashes with the French at Smolensk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjiYV5bLHz4)

Russian troops entering Smolensk from across the river

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 12:29 04-Aug-2012

Napoleon's troops prepare to attack Russian positions in Smolensk

Attempts to drive a wedge between the two Russian armies of Barclay de Tolley
and Prince Bagration by the French and defeat them in detail have failed; as
the two main forces of the Western Army, arrive in Smolensk on the 3rd August.
With Barclay de Tolley assuming overall command of the two armies, Prince
Bagration's forces have decided to take up positions on the left bank of the Dniepr
while Barclay de Tolley's troops occupy the right bank of the river in Smolensk.
Both forces are awaiting the arrival of the French who've been resting at Vitebsk,
following a long five week march.

As usual, the intervening days have been punctuated by skirmishes with the French,
as Napoleon sends out foragers to replenish the armies food supplies while his
troops lie exhausted in Vitebsk.

News of the Armies of Barclay de Tolley and Prince Bagration, joining forces at Smolensk (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.admin-smolensk.ru/~1812/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.admin-smolensk.ru/~1812/%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=pTAeULGhCKiT0QWK-YHQDw&ved=0CFQQ7gEwAA)

Ria Novosti on the meeting of the two Russian Generals at Smolensk (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.youreporter.ru/ugc_contest/20120803/715936495.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.youreporter.ru/ugc_contest/20120803/715936495.html%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=HrYeUM6xHqOh0QWvmoHQCw&ved=0CCgQ7gEwAA)

With Napoleon's Grande Armee taking up positions around the city of Smolensk, a
number of commemorative services have been taking place in and around Smolensk.
As the Russians prepare to make their first great stand against Napoleon's invading
French army.

Russian troops attend a ceremonial procession and service in Smolensk (http://smolensk.rfn.ru/video.html?id=23265&type=r)

Napoleon and hes officers looking through telescopes at Smolensk


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 16:08 14-Aug-2012

The Battle for Smolensk, August 1812

While the Russian's concentrated their two armies around Smolensk,
the French are spread over a vast area with Murat's cavalry being
stationed in Rudna, while the 3rd infantry Corps, under Ney positioned
behind at Liozno, the 4th infantry Corps near Velizh and Surazh while
the two divisions of Marshal Davout are deployed between Vitbesk
and Babinavichy while in Vitebsk lies the guards and one other infantry

Russia's Channel 1 report on the Battle for Smolensk (http://www.1tv.ru/documentary/fi7727/sn2/fd201209021055)

Ria Novosti looks at the Battle for Smolensk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-8WZDvp1uw)

Smolensk, an historic fortress city of bastions and thick stone walls of
12,600 inhabitants, is spread on both sides of the Dniepr river.
Because of its historic and strategic importance at the crossroads of every
major road from the west to Moscow. Napoleon assumed the
Russians will make a stand and choose to fight outside the city to avoid
its destruction.

Russian television presentation on the Smolensk campaign (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnLty1jQBCg#)

Voice of Russia, Battle of Smolensk, part 1 (http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_06_04/76427564/)

Voice of Russia, Battle of Smolensk, part 2 (http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_06_05/76427658/)

Voice of Russia, Battle of Smolensk, part 3 (http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_06_06/76428003/)

Voice of Russia, Battle of Smolensk, part 4 (http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_06_07/76428166/)

On the 2nd August, Napoleon made his move by ordering the divisions
of Marshal's Murat, Davout and Ney to march on Smolensk. At Krasny they
encountered Russian troops under the command of General Neverovsky
and fought a fierce battle which continued into the evening.
Although heavily outnumbered, Neverovsky managed to delay the enemy
long enough to make good his retreat to Smolensk; where another Russian
division, commanded by General Nikolai Rayevsky prepared to defend Smolensk.
The original plan was to make a  stand in front of the city but this was soon
altered, to mount a defence within the city itself,  with troops and cannon
manning the fortress walls and garrisoning several city buildings.

On the 4th August, the three French general's of Murat, Davout and Ney
approached the city from the south to take up new positions beyond the
city walls. Napoleon, hoped that by fighting for Smolensk, he can draw the rest
of the Russian army to fight a conclusive battle for the city, so he orders his
cannon forward to begin an intense bombardment of city.


The two Russian generals are now in the unenviable position of trying to hold
off 180,000 men of Napoleon's Grande Armee, until reinforcements arrive to
relieve the city. Barclay de Tolley, on the other hand, has little intention of
defending Smolensk and orders Prince Bagration's 2nd Army to leave the city
along the Moscow road on the 5th August. Napoleon reacts by odering a general
assault on the city, at first the attack goes well with his troops capturing two
suburbs in the city. Then the intense bombardment sets fire to a number of
city buildings,  as French troops make valiant but futile efforts to scale the walls.
But with the fires growing in intensity and out of control, the Russian's are
finding it more  difficult to throw back the French, so under cover of darkness
the Russian's, together with the few remaining residents, make good their
escape, with only Dokhturov's and Konovnitsyn's Corps left to cover the retreat.
These troops didn't remain long as a couple of hours  before dawn on the
6th August, they too vacated the city, destroying the city bridge as they left.


The French entered the city, soon afterwards, with the French suffering estimated
losses of 4,200 troops while the Russians took an equal amount of casualties.
Smolensk lay in ruins as the French contemplated their next move.
By abandoning Smolensk, Barclay de Tolly had preserved the army to fight
another day on grounds of he?s own choosing but the decision didn't go down
well with many of his fellow officers, who found abandoning Smolensk without a
determined fight, almost too much to bear.

Russian infantry falling back on the road to Moscow


Map of the Battle for Smolensk, 1812


The Battle of Valutino

As Napoleon contemplated his next move in Smolensk, his officers report  a large
Body of Russian troops awaiting the French on the road to Moscow at Valutino. With
all hope of encircling the Russian?s gone. Napoleon is keen to attack the Russian's
wherever they might stand and thinking that General Tutchkov's troops at Valutino
must be the rearguard sefeguarding the Russian retreat;  orders his three generals,
Davout, Junot and Ney together with Murat's cavalry to attack the Russian positions
at Valutino.

As the French arrived at Valutino, Barclay's main force of three infantry divisions
Together with a Corps of cavalry, are strung out to the north, marching from Stabna
to Gorbunovo.
So far they have eluded the French, who lost contact with Barclay's troops overnight ,
following their departure from Smolensk. Tutchkov's troops are in a strong position
as they occupy high ground covered by marshy ground on either side, with a small
stream, the Stragan to their front.
Therefore Napoleon, thinking that Tutchkov?s troops are protecting the main body,
Orders Ney to attack. This he proceeds to do by bombarding the Russian positions
before launching the assault  but the french infantry attack soon gets bogged down
crossing the Stragan while Murat's cavalry are equally ineffective crossing the marsh.

Russian cavalry attacking a French infantry square


French cavalry clash with Russian hussars


To the south and on the right flank of the French army lay Junot's division, which
Stood motionless on the battlefield. Murat urges Junot to attack the Russian's but
besides a few cavalry skirmishes, refuses to commit his men in the assualt.

Finally Ney launches one last infantry assault against the Russian's which carries the
day, driving off Tutchkov's troops from the ridge overlooking the stream.
But most of Barclay's army had escaped and were safely marching towards Lubino.

Those dancing Hussars are having a Ball at Smolensk, video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPTyLbhvbG4&)

Your army went that way - Straggler from the Russian army seeks directions


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 17:20 14-Aug-2012

Russian theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Michael_Strogoff_-_Ending.html)

Cossacks embark on their epic march to Paris

With Napoleon's army breaking through at Smolensk, the Russian's are having
to resort to desparate measures, in order to divert French troops away from

Therefore last sunday the Russian's inauguated the Cossack march on Paris at
a special service in Moscow. These modern day Cossacks from the Don region
of Russia, will be spending three month's on campaign in the saddle. Following
in the footsteps of Count Matvei Platov who led the Tsar's Don Cossack's at the
start of a two year campaign against the French in 1812.

Russia Today video news item - Russian's on bicentennial victory ride to Paris (http://rt.com/art-and-culture/news/cossacks-celebrate-napoleon-victory-485/)

Video of the Cossacks parading in Moscow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARK7e9s73Mw)

TASS - Russia's Don Cossacks to march on Paris (http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/491481.html)

Telegraph - Cossacks embark on epic march on Paris (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/9470749/Cossacks-set-off-on-historic-ride-from-Moscow-to-Paris.html)

Sky News - Cossacks set out for Paris from Moscow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VraHUt-UY_E#ws)

Russia Today video on the Cossack March (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsGVun_KHU8)

Novayagazeta - Start of the Cossack Patrol in Moscow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=xpNM9r9XwLI)

Ria Novosti TV video reports on Cossack march to Paris (http://en.rian.ru/video/20120813/175188998.html)


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:41 17-Aug-2012

The Cossacks are coming music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Michael_Strogoff.html)

Cossacks clash with Napoleon's troops on the road to Smolensk

Wednesday saw the the Don Cossack patrol reach the city of Gagarin, on the third
day of their bold expedition to march on Paris; so far the cavalry expedition have
travelled 160 kilometers on horseback, since leaving Moscow on sunday.
200 years ago the city of Gagarin ( known as Gzhatsk in 1812 ) witnessed the
retreat of the Russian Army, as Barclay de Tolly's troops fall back along the road to
Moscow. In their wake can be seen columns of russian refugees, with plumes of
smoke billowing behind them; as many homes and farms have been put to the
torch by the retreating Russian's ( as part of the scorched earth policy ) to deny
food and shelter to the enemy.

After passing through the Russian ranks, the Don Cossack patrol soon encounter
the French, as Murat's cavalry try to harry the hussars of the Russian rearguard,
covering the retreat to Moscow. Where they soon become embroiled in a melee,
as seen in the photo above.


Fortunately the Cossacks being 'the best light cavalry in the Russian army, are
able to extracate themselves from the fight and resume their march to Smolensk
where journalist's from TASS have been following their movements.

TASS - The Don Cossack Patrol arrive in the Smolensk region of Russia (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.itar-tass.com/c9/496304.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0-%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D827%26bih%3D442%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=nXctUJmwO6ia0QW-9YD4Dw&ved=0CHQQ7gEwBw)

Smolensk News - Don Cossack patrol arrives in the Smolensk region (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0-%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26biw%3D904%26bih%3D536%26tbs%3Dqdr:h%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://smol.kp.ru/online/news/1219248/&usg=ALkJrhhTx3Pb1QbmS9vaagbLZc82cx1soQ)

TASS - 16th August, Cossack patrol passes through Semlevo village
and nearby lake, reputed to have been used to dump looted treasures
from Moscow (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.itar-tass.com/c397/498048.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%2522%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0-%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%2522%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D887%26bih%3D415%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=tQAuUMvSDoOw0QWVuoDQDQ&ved=0CF4Q7gEwAg)

Smolensk News - video of the Cossack Patrol following the old Smolensk road (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLM1OCsnwfQ#)

TASS - 17th August, latest report from our TASS Correspondent near Smolensk (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.itar-tass.com/c9/498918.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0-%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D652%26bih%3D458%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=rfsvUNj9OIbE0QXQvYHYDA&ved=0CHgQ7gEwCDgK)

TASS - 18th August, Cossack patrol takes a weekend break in Smolensk (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.itar-tass.com/c9/499165.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0-%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D844%26bih%3D458%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=lO0vUKSlKsqi0QWe84HwDA&ved=0CFoQ7gEwAA)

What's it all about - Presentation on the Cossack march to Paris (http://dostoyanierossii.ru/media/Presentation_DR_eng.pdf)

Ria Novosti video in English - Reviewing the French invasion of Russia, so far (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWeDIWw4_UM#ws)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:49 20-Aug-2012


Russian theme music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Michael_Strogoff_-_Ending.html)

On this day, the Russian army crosses the Dniepr river into safety

On the 20th August 1812, two Cossack regiments forming the rearguard of
Barcly de Tolley's army, successfully defended the crossing of the Russian army
near the village of Solovieva. Where four pontoon brdges had been constructed
for the two russian armies of Bagration and Barclay de Tolley, to cross over
the Dniepr river, to relative safety on the left bank.
Although the French pressed hard to disrupt the crossing; the cavalry and
cossacks of the rearguard, had kept the French at bay, long enough for the
Russian's to complete the crossing; and for the reaguard to fall back; just
before blowing up the improvised bridges.

Consequently, that night the Russian's were able to bivouak in peace. Safe from
any fear of pursuit by Napoleon's cavalry.

Russian TV report on the Cossack Patrol parade in Smolensk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM2AvrAb350)

Spectator video report of the same parade in Smolensk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdvAlkhrM_M#)

TASS - The Cossack Patrol crosses the border into Belarus this evening (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.itar-tass.com/c13/500359.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0-%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D1010%26bih%3D526%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=op0yUImzFaiy0QWt94DoDA&ved=0CFsQ7gEwAg)

Russia's Channel One news report - Cossacks were sent to Minsk (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.1tv.ru/news/social/213695&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0-%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D773%26bih%3D509%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=zrEyUPzCOpD2sgbSqoHwAg&ved=0CG8Q7gEwCDgK)

Note - The Cossack Patrol parade in Smolensk wasn't without controversy.
As you can see from the Spectators video.
The parade was held at the Spartak stadium, where the public were enticed
in by 'free admission' only to find that they were herded together on the East
stand whereas, most if not all the Cossack dances and parades were held in
front of the West stand. Where admission was unsurprisingly by invitation only.
Hence the jeers, whistling and cries of 'Shame' on the video.

Smolensk Online news report with pictures and video of the Cossack
parade in the Spartak stadium (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://smol.kp.ru/daily/25934.5/2882619/&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%25BC%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26hl%3Den%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D903%26bih%3D489%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=6qkyUNGLDI_4sgaJwoGwAg&ved=0CF4Q7gEwAw)

The Official Cossack March video of the celebrations in Smolensk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yp-zZpF5yMM)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:37 22-Aug-2012

CLICK HERE for theme music from the BBC version of War & Peace (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGq07Lup73Y)

The 175th Anniversary of the Battle of Borodino

Heres an interesting Soviet TV video of how the Battle of Borodino was refought
in Soviet times, on the occasion of the 175 anniversary commemorations in
Russia and Moscow back in 1987.

Soviet re-enactment of the Battle of Borodino, 1987 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyvtiL-tqIM#)

The Battle of Borodino refought, 1812 - 2012

As for the 200th Anniversary commemorations taking place next week, a wealth
of information can be found on  'The Patriotic War in 1812 - 1814'  website, with
details of all the attractions and events taking place, over the weekend of the
1st and 2nd September.
Of course some events start sooner with musuems mounting special displays on
the 27th August.

Reconstruction of the Battle of Borodino - Information for visitors (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26start%3D40%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D761%26bih%3D504%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ru&u=http://1812-2012-ru.livejournal.com/23750.html&usg=ALkJrhjdz69Kn0w5huvzQ-YzzdY9DwmHSg#cutid1)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:21 22-Aug-2012

Theme music & clips from the film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL88Hjp62pE)

Lines of Wellington, a Portuguese War & Peace to appear in Portugal's
cinemas & TV screens this autumn

Just when you thought that you were safe from the French, Portugal will
be launching their own version of War & Peace, this autumn.
Called Linhas de Wellington. Initially to be screened in Portuguese
cinema's this October, their are also plans for it to appear on one of
the Portuguese channel's, as a mini TV series by the end of the year.
The film follows the fortunes of soldiers and refugees who are
forced to retreat to the Torres Vedras Lines, following the Battle
of Bussaco in September 1810.

Obviously I've included a film clip from the Portuguese movie below:

The Lines of Wellington, website (http://www.linesofwellington.com/en/lines_wellington_home.php)

The Making of Linhas de Wellington (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.clapfilmes.pt/A_filme_em_producao.php%3Fid%3D124&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.clapfilmes.pt/A_filme_em_producao.php%253Fid%253D124%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=Xpw0ULGqEO-10QWTyoGoBg&ved=0CEwQ7gEwAA)

Film clip, Massena's men encounter the Lines of Torres Vedras (https://vimeo.com/46413017)

Film clip, The British encampment in Portugal (https://vimeo.com/46375979)

Linhas de Wellington film review in the Guardian, 4th September (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/sep/04/linhas-de-wellington-review?newsfeed=true)

Note - I've also updated my entry for September 1810, with video and photos
from Lines of Wellington, see page 9.

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:04 24-Aug-2012

The Cossacks are Coming, music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Michael_Strogoff.html)

Cossacks lay wreath's at the Battle of Berezina memorial

On the eleventh day of the march from Moscow to Paris, the Cossacks rode 75 kms
from Borisov to the town of Pleshchenitsy, where they came upon the site of the
Battle of Berezina. This being the last significant battle of Napoleon's invasion of
Russia in 1812. Where the French army fought to maintain their passage over the
Berezina river from the Cossacks of the pursuing Russian army.
Here they laid wreaths and said prayers before mounting up for the rest of their
long march through Belarus.

TASS - Cosaack Patrol lay wreaths at Berezina, before continuing their journey (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.itar-tass.com/c95/502823.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D961%26bih%3D526%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=l6M2UNI25prUBcjNgOgM&ved=0CDkQ7gEwAA)

Great Live Journal website with pics of the Cossack Patrol (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://alex-i1.livejournal.com/85728.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D1011%26bih%3D438%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=M602ULHvCoKp0AWV_YCIBg&ved=0CDkQ7gEwAA)

Moscow 24 hr news about the Cossacks at Berezina river (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.m24.ru/videos/1699&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BD%25D1%258B%25D0%25B9%2B%25D0%25BF%25D0%25BE%25D1%2585%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%2B%25D0%259C%25D0%25BE%25D1%2581%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B2%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%259F%25D0%25B0%25D1%2580%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B6%26start%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D899%26bih%3D480%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=u7U2UOGzF-nC0QWW4IDICA&ved=0CDgQ7gEwADgU)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:01 25-Aug-2012

Napoleonic Film Night (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Film_76_To_98.html)

Back to the Napoleonic Wars presents - The Mysteries of Lisbon

Well with the campaign in Russia in full swing & about to reach its climax next
weekend and with the French in full retreat ( after losing Madrid to Wellington ) in
the Spanish Peninsular.
I feel its high time to take a break from this years campaign and introduce
a film produced by the same director as Linhas de Wellignton namely Raul
Ruiz called the The Mysteries of Lisbon.

The Mysteries of Lisbon, Film trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C-SpvtDXEo#ws)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:17 30-Aug-2012

Russian National anthem theme music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGq07Lup73Y)

Kutuzov takes command

With Napoleon's troops pressing ever near Moscow. Tsar Alexander ( pictured above )
is facing a crisis of confidence in his Minister of War & Commander in Chief, General
Barclay de Tolley.
Despite the Russian armies victory over the French at Klyastitsy; putting paid to
Napoleon's chances of siezing the Imperial capital, St Petersburg and Marshall
MacDonald being held in check at the Siege of Riga.
Napoleon still presses forward with his main army along the old Smolensk road to
Moscow. While Barclay's troops continue to fall back before him. The constant
retreat, together with tensions within the inner circle of the Russian high command
( namely between the two Generals, Pyotr Bagration and Mikhail Barclay de Tolly )
are reaching boiling point.
The invasion is also reaching a climax but with huge territories being lost to the
French and the army failing to stop Napoleon at Smolensk. Both the army, the
aristocrats and even the ordinary people are becoming increasingly angry over
the indecisiveness shown by their commander & Minister for War, Barclay de Tolley.
The fact that de Tolley is of Scottish descent and surrounds himself with German
advisors does little to endear him with the Russian people.

Alexander at the head of his troops in St Petersburg


Bagration seeing the growing tensions build up amoungst hes Senior Officers
and Aides both within the Ministry & Field headquarters, calls upon the Emperor,
Tsar Alexander to put an end to the crisis and call a meeting to determine
who will assume overall command of the Russian Army in its hour of need.

The Emperor, not wanting take responsibility for settling the issue, assembles
a special committee to deal with it. The committee comprising General Field
Marshal Nikolai Saltykov, an army chief from St Petersburg Sergei Vyazmitinov,
special advisors Prince Pavel Lopukhin and Count Viktor Kochubei, as well as
the Russian Police Minister, Alexander Balashov.

All were to agree that the best man for the job was General Mikhail Kutuzov,
who had only recently come out of retirement from his estate in Ukraine,
to take charge of the defence of St Petersburg. To defend the capital,
Kutuzov had only five dragoon squadrons, nine infantry brigades and three
artillery companies, altogether comprising little more than 8,000 troops.
But he soon augments it by calling on volunteers to be formed into regiments
of militia.

The committee's choice in choosing Mikhail Kutuzov, comes as little surprise
to the Russian high command as hes a general of great experience who
served for many years in the Russian high command as a prodigy of the
much estemed military chief of the late 18th century, Alexander Suvorov.
But it was a choice that wasn't ever to go down well with Tsar Alexander
and the Russian court, who blamed the old General Kutuzov for hes
intransigence at the Battle of Austerlitz and quarrelling with hes emperor
over the Russian dispositions at Austerlitz. As it turned out Kutuzov's
objections proved correct and might have prevented the Russian army from
falling into a trap that would lead to its defeat at Austerlitz.

RiaNovosti video sets the scene for the decisive battle to come (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWeDIWw4_UM)

Upon hearing the committee's choice it took the Emperor, three days to
reconcile himself with their decision. Nevetheless on August 20th he
approved the appointment and signed a decree placing General Kutuzov
as Commander in Chief of all Russian Armies.
On that day, couriors were dispatched to Barclay de Tolly, Bagration,
Tormasov and Chichagov informing them on Kutuzov`s appointment.
That very evening the field commander arrived at the imperial palace on
Kamenny Island in Saint Petersburg, to be presented to the Emperor.

The choice was a popular one, that was universally accepted throughout
the Russian Army and both the military & the people felt a new sense
of purpose followiing the appointment of Kutuzov.

Russian Officers attending a Cathedral memorial service at Our Lady of Kazan


Kutuzov a rather corpulent and aged General, who's never afraid to speak
his mind; had already turned 67, following his appointment as Commander
in Chief. A deeply religious man, Kutuzov went straight to the Russian
Orthodox cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan following the news, where he
removed his uniform and all hes medals and prayed with bended knees,
with tears pouring down his face.

RiaNovosti video looking at the French & Russian encampments (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.ria.ru/1812_video/20120828/729279053.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.ria.ru/1812_video/.../729279053.html%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=nSA_UIzUE6i_0QX0l4DQCQ&ved=0CCUQ7gEwAA)

Following his appointment, Kutuzov remained only three more days in
St Petersburg before setting out for the front on the 23rd August. As
events were unfolding quickly, that demanded his presence at field
headquarters, then located at the village of Tsarevo - Zaimishe.

General Kutuzov takes command of his forces covering the road to Moscow


Russian troops become embroiled in a preliminary battle against the French,
as Kutuzov reconnoiters the village of Borodino, as a suitable battlefield
with which to confront the French.

French attack Russian troops near Borodino, video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRp5nOasGe0)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:55 30-Aug-2012

The Russian's prepare their positions in the fields surrounding the village of Borodino,
as the French ( pictured above ) continue their march on Moscow.

Russia's Channel 1 looks back on Napoleon's progress so far, beginning with Smolensk (http://www.1tv.ru/documentary/fi7727/sn2/fd201209021055)

Kutuzov prepares to make at stand at Borodino

After assuming command of the army, Kutuzov quickly organizes a strong
rearguard army under the command of General Konovsytsyn, and then orders the
Russian Army to prepare for battle.
Soon after taking command Kutuzov recognised that Barclay's decision to retreat
was correct but the Russian troops could not retreat any further without a fight.
With Moscow ( the ancient and spiritual capital of Russia ) within Napoleon's
grasp; it was psyclogically and morally repugnant to the Russian's to let it fall
without a fight.
A battle had to occur in order to save the morale of the soldiers. Therefore
Kutuzov had to quickly establish a defensive position where the Russian's could
stand and fight the French. This being the area surrounding the village of Borodino,
some 125 kilometres or 78 miles from Moscow.
Therefore he orders another retreat to Gzhatsk (Gagarin) on August 30 where by this
time, the ratio of French to Russian forces had shrunk from 3:1 to 5:4. So the time
was ripe to fight.

Russia's Channel 1, visits the French & Russian encampments on the road
to Borodino today and interviews General Kutuzov (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.1tv.ru/news/social/214434&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.1tv.ru/news/social/214434%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=9dU_UJWQMer80QWslYCICw&ved=0CCcQ7gEwAA)

A defensive line was soon established by the village of Borodino. But Borodino field
was too open and had too few natural obstacles to protect the Russians' center and left
flank but some protection was afforded by the Kolocha river, because it blocked both
the  Smolensk-Moscow roads, and because there weren't any better locations.
Starting on September 3, Kutuzov strengthened the line with earthworks, including
the Raevski Redoubt in the center-right of the line and three open, arrow-shaped
"Bagration fleches" (named after Pyotr Bagration) on the left.

The initial Russian position, which stretched south of the new Smolensk Highway
(Napoleon's expected line of advance), was anchored on its left by a pentagonal
earthwork redoubt erected on a mound near the village of Shevardino.
But soon, the Russian generals realized that their left wing was too exposed and
too vulnerable. So the Russian line was moved back from this position, but the
Redoubt remained manned, Kutuzov stating that the fortification was manned
simply to delay the advance of the French forces.

Documentary on the Patriotic War of 1812, to be shown in four parts

On the Bicentennary of the Battle of Borodino, Channel One has prepared a number
of special documentaries. Событиям 1812. Events in 1812 a serial drama-documentary.
The first series "Invasion" this Saturday at 10.50 and on Sunday - restored version
of Sergei Bondarchuk's Oscar-winning film "War and Peace."

War of 1812 in Russia, part 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCcHWqqJAQ0#ws)

French cavalry under Murat, continue to mount attacks upon the Russian


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 19:48 01-Sep-2012

Napoleon's troops deploy and camp out near Borodino

Yesterday saw the last troops of Kutuzov's troops falling back to Borodino, along the
old Smolensk road, these being the rear guard under Konovnitzin and some cavalry,
which were soon followed by the French advance guard.

To secure Konovnitzin's crossings across the Kolocha River, the Russian command
dispatched the Lifeguard Jagers. Konovnitzin's cavalry forded the river on the left
side of Borodino village. His artillery moved across the bridge by the village.

French light infantry fording a river near Borodino


In the afternoon Napoleon and Eugene arrived to reconnoitre the Russian positions
around the Borodino village. After 2pm Napoleon rode to Marshal Davout. Eugene
left the Italian Guard in reserve and directed the 13th and 14th Infantry Divisions
to deploy in the first line. Gerard's 3rd Infantry Division (from Davout's corps)
supported them from the south.

Video of the First skirmish with Russian Milisiya at the Guardhouse (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a3l7oZ6U6k)

Some fighting occured when several French battalions covered with numerous
skirmishers and Russian light troops ( 3rd Battalion of Lifeguard Jagers, Elisavetgrad
Hussars, and three regiments of Cossacks).
The Russians held their positions by Borodino until late into the night, when the
fighting broke down and both armies retired to their encampments.

History alive, Borodino, part 1 (http://rtd.rt.com/films/history-borodino-napoleon-tribute/#part-1)

History alive, Borodino, part 2 (http://rtd.rt.com/films/history-borodino-napoleon-tribute/#part-2)

Russia Today - History Alive, Borodino documentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg9bd27fP9k#)

Moscow News Channel One, film's today's dress rehearsal battle at Borodino (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.1tv.ru/news/culture/214581&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%2591%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BD%25D0%25BE%2B%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%2B%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BA%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D826%26bih%3D338%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=kVtCUPDnIMiW0QWmhYGoBQ&ved=0CDgQ7gEwADgK)

NEWS FLASH, TV news report on the Borodino clashes and maneuvers today (http://www.vesti.ru/only_video.html?vid=442839)

Channel One's drama documentary - War of 1812 in Russia

To coincide with tomorrows re-enactment of the Battle of Borodino, heres the
first part of the Channel One drama documentary, called Invasion. Being
broadcast tonight in Russia and shown below on video.

War of 1812 in Russia, part 1 Invasion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NioFaLgcAAM#ws)
Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 14:46 02-Sep-2012

The Battle of Borodino begins

Latest reports from Russia say that Napoleon troops attacked the Shevardino
redoubt yesterday afternoon which lies on Kutuzov's left flank ( on a front thats
8 kms in length  )

The initial attack on Shevardino came from the south-west, where Polish cavalry
encountered the Cossacks near Yelnia. After a brief skirmish, the Cossacks retreated
toward Utitza and Poniatowski turned his forces northward to attack the left wing of
the Russian positions at Shevardino.

Map of the attack on the Shevardino redoubt (http://napoleonistyka.atspace.com/map_of_war_1812_battle_of_Shevardino.png)

Then the Russians were counterattacked by French cavalry and were thrown back
Preceded by several voltigeur companies, the 16th Division (Krasinski) moved over
the ravine and through brushes, while the 18th Division and the cavalry secured
the road and protected the flank against any Cossack attack.
Krasinski's troops suffered from the Russian guns and the Russian jager skirmishers.
The charge briefly halted the Polish advance but could not stop it.

A fierce battle ensued as Napoleon deployed more cannon and fresh infantry battalions
into the fray. French voltigeurs seized the village of Doronino and wood adjacent to it.
French columns kept moving forward but the Russian artillery forced them to take cover
in the wood and buildings. The New Russia Dragoon Regiment attacked the French
skirmishers deployed in the open. Whereuopn the voltigeurs formed square and
repulsed the cavalry.
Then the Russians were counterattacked by French cavalry and were thrown back

Meanwhile Marshal Davout crossed the Kolocha River with four divisions, with
six companies of voltigeurs in skirmish order "covering themselves as much as
possible, were ordered to keep a constant fire on the [Russian] artillery men at
the guns on the redoubt. ... A battalion of line infantry was placed in rear of the
knoll to support the voltigeurs.
Simultaneously, Morand's 1st Infantry Division threatened the enemy right flank.

Despite canister fire and cavalry charge the French line infantry steadily advanced
towards the redoubt. General Compans then deployed 8 guns on the knoll,
200-250 m west of the redoubt. whereEarlier, the Russian Kiev Dragoons helped
infantry and gunners in removing the horse guns from the knoll.

Poniatowski sent the 2nd (Polish) Infantry Regiment through the wood to flank
the Russians. The Poles fought with Russian jagers supported by the Tarnopol
Infantry Regiment.
The Tarnopol Reegiment attacked in a column formation with music playing and
soldiers singing. Right in front of my eyes, the regiment made a bayonet charge.
The combat was brief and their regimental commander was wounded by a musket
ball in the back of his head. He was carried out and the regiment wavered.

The pressure from the French and Polish troops was too much for the enemy.
The XII Position Company (Battery) began to withdraw from the redoubt, and the
27th Infantry Division began to waver. Half of Compans' division closed in and
charged the redoubt from one side, and the other half from the other side.

The Russian's wavered and then fell back. By 7 pm the French had fought their
way into the redoubt and captured 5 or 7 cannons.
Bagration ordered a counterattack in order to regain the redoubt, Three times
the redoubt changed hands with one French battalion almost completely
annihalated holding the redoubt.

By evening the struggle was over, with the Russian's retiring for the night,
although fighting still continued, with Russian skirmishers still sniping at
the French from nearby woods.

Russia's Channel One visits the rival encampments, as both commanders
give interviews before today's events (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.1tv.ru/news/social/214595&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.1tv.ru/news/social/214595%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=YkVDUMrjJKnG0QWuqYC4Ag&ved=0CCQQ7gEwAA)

Following on from Russia Today's - History Alive Documentary.
RT returns to Borodino for this documentary

RUSSIA TODAY Documentary Borodino 1812 - 2012 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hZUxHBsnhw#)

Channel One news on the Battle of Borodino

Report includes modern day ceremonials with Vladimir Putin, including guest of honours,
the former French President Giscard d'Estaing, Charles Bonaparte ( descendant of
Napoleon ) and various decendant's of the Imperial Russian family, as well as the
French Ambassador to Moscow.

Russia's Channel One, reports on the major battle at Borodino today,
including modern day ceremonials (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.1tv.ru/news/social/214607&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.1tv.ru/news/social/214607%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=TptDULqCBIWW0QWOuIHYCA&ved=0CCQQ7gEwAA)

Part 2 of the Patriotic War of 1812

Channel One has just produced the second part of their drama documentary on the
Patriotic War of 1812. this part deals with the Russian retreat and events leading
upto the Battle of Borodino in September 1812.

War of 1812 in Russia, part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZraMh7AWEbM)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:22 03-Sep-2012

Cannons roar and musket balls fly, at the Battle of Borodino

The Russian position at Borodino consisted of a series of disconnected
earthworks running in an arc from the Moskva River on the right, along its
tributary, the Kolocha ( whose steep banks added to the defense), and
towards the village of Utitza on the left.
Thick woods interspersed along the Russian left and center (on the French side
of the Kolocha) made the deployment and control of French forces difficult,
aiding the defenders. The Russian center was defended by the Raevsky Redoubt,
a massive open-backed earthwork mounting 19 12-pounder cannons which
had a clear field of fire all the way to the banks of the Kolocha stream.

Kutuzov was very concerned that the French might take the New Smolensk
Road around his positions and on to Moscow. so placed the more powerful
1st Army under Barclay on the right, in positions which were already strong
and virtually unassailable by the French. The 2nd Army under Bagration was
expected to hold the left.
The fall of Shevardino unanchored the Russian left flank but Kutuzov did
nothing to change these initial dispositions despite the repeated pleas of his
generals to redeploy their forces. Thus, when the action began and became
a defensive rather than an offensive battle for the Russians, their heavy
preponderance in artillery was wasted on a right wing that would never be
attacked, while the French artillery did much to help win the battle.

Colonel Toll and others would make attempts to cover up their mistakes in
this deployment and later attempts by historians would compound the issue.
The Russian position therefore was just about 8 kilometres long with
about 80,000 of the 1st Army on the right and 34,000 of the 2nd Army on
the left.

The Bagration fletches

The first area of operations was on the Bagration fletches, as had been
predicted by both Barclay de Tolly and Bagration. Napoleon, in command of
the French forces, made errors similar to those of his Russian adversary,
deploying his forces inefficiently and failing to exploit the weaknesses in
the Russian line. Despite Marshal Davout's suggestion of a maneuver to
outflank the weak Russian left, the Emperor instead ordered Davout's First
Corps to move directly forward into the teeth of the defense, while the
flanking maneuver was left to the weak Fifth Corps of Prince Poniatowski.

The initial French attack was aimed at seizing the three Russian positions
collectively known as the Bagration fletches, four arrow-head shaped,
open-backed earthworks which arced out to the left en echelon in front
of the Kolocha stream. These positions helped support the Russian left,
which had no terrain advantages. There was much to be desired in the
construction of the fletches, one officer noting that the ditches were much
too shallow, the embrasures open to the ground, making them easy to
enter, and that they were much too wide exposing infantry inside them.

The fl?ches were supported by artillery from the village of Semyanovskaya,
whose elevation dominated the other side of the Kolocha.
The battle began at 06:00 with the opening of the 102 gun French grand
battery against the Russian center. Davout sent Compans's Division against
the southernmost of the fletches, with Dessaix's Division echeloned out to
the left. When Compans exited the woods on the far bank of the Kolocha,
he was hit by massed Russian cannon fire; both Compans and Dessaix were
wounded, but the French continued their assault.

Davout, seeing the confusion, personally led the 57th Line Regiment forward
until he had his horse shot from under him; he fell so hard that General Sorbier
reported him as dead. General Rapp arrived to replace him, only to find Davout
alive and leading the 57th forward again.
Rapp then led the 61st Line Regiment forward when he was wounded (for the
22nd time in his career). By 07:30, Davout had gained control of the three fletches.
Prince Bagration quickly led a counterattack that threw the French out of the
positions, only to have Marshal Michel Ney lead a charge by the 24th Regiment
that retook them. Although not enamoured of Barclay, Bagration turned to him
for aid, ignoring Kutuzov altogether; Barclay, to his credit, responded quickly,
sending three guard regiments, eight grenadier battalions, and twenty-four
12-pounder cannon at their best pace to bolster Semyаnovskaya.
Prince Bagration was wounded here as early as 09:30 hours while
Colonel Toll, and Kutuzov moved the Guard Reserve units forward as early
as 9 am.

During the confused fighting, French and Russian units moved forward into
impenetrable smoke and were smashed by artillery and musketry fire that
was horrendous even by Napoleonic standards. Infantry and cavalrymen had
difficulty maneuvering over the heaps of corpses and masses of wounded.
Murat advanced with his cavalry around the fl?ches to attack Bagration's
infantry, but was confronted by Duka's 2nd Cuirassier Division supported
by Neverovsky's infantry. This counterpunch drove Murat to seek the cover of
allied W?rttemberger infantry. Barclay's reinforcements, however, were sent
into the fray only to be torn to pieces by French artillery, leaving Friant's
Division in control of the Russian forward position at 11:30.

Dust, smoke, confusion, and exhaustion all combined to keep the French
commanders on the field (Davout, Ney, and Murat) from comprehending
that all the Russians before them had fallen back, were in confusion, and
ripe for the taking. Napoleon, who had been sick with a cold and was too
far from the action to really observe what was going on, refused to send
his subordinates reinforcements; he was hesitant to release his last
reserve, the Imperial Guard, so far from France.


First attack on the Raevsky Redoubt

Prince Eug?ne de Beauharnais advanced his corps against Borodino,
rushing the village and capturing it from the Russian Guard Jaegers
However, the advancing columns rapidly lost their cohesion; shortly
after clearing Borodino, they faced fresh Russian assault columns and
retreated back to the village.
General Delzons was posted to Borodino to prevent the Russians retaking
it. Morand's division then crossed to the north side of the Semyenovka
stream, while the remainder of Eugene's forces crossed three bridges
across the Kolocha to the south, placing them on the same side of the
stream as the Russians.
He then deployed most of his artillery and began to push the Russians back
toward the Raevsky redoubt. Broussier and Morand's divisions then
advanced together with furious artillery support. The redoubt changed
hands as Barclay was forced to personally rally Paskevitch's routed regiment.
Kutuzov then ordered Yermolov to take action; the general brought forward
three horse artillery batteries that began to blast the open-ended redoubt,
hile the 3rd Battalion of the Ufa Regiment and two Jaeger regiments brought
up by Barclay rushed in with the bayonet to eliminate Bonami's Brigade.
The Russian reinforcements' assault returned the redoubt to Russian control.
French and Russian cavalry clash behind the Raevsky redoubt. Eugene's
artillery continued to pound Russian support columns, while Marshals Ney
and Davout set up a crossfire with artillery positioned on the Semyonovskaya
heights. Barclay countered by moving the Prussian General Eugen over to the
right to support Miloradovich in his defense of the redoubt.

The French responded to this move by sending forward General Sorbier,
commander of the Imperial Guard artillery. Sorbier brought forth 36 artillery
pieces from the Imperial Guard Artillery Park and also took command of
49 horse artillery pieces from Nansouty's Ist Cavalry Corps and La Tour
Maubourg's 4th Cavalry Corps, as well as of Viceroy Eug?ne's own artillery,
opening up a massive artillery barrage. When Barclay brought up troops
against an attacking French brigade.
During the height of the battle, Kutuzov's subordinates were making all
of the decisions for him; according to Colonel Karl von Clausewitz, famous
for his work On War, the Russian commander "seemed to be in a trance."
With the death of General Kutaisov, Chief of Artillery, most of the Russian
cannon sat useless on the heights to the rear and were never ordered
into battle, while the French artillery wreaked havoc on the Russians.

The Cossack raid on the French Northern Flank

On the morning of the battle at around 07:30, patrols of Don Cossacks
from Matvei Platov's squadron had discovered a ford across the Kolocha
river, on the extreme Russian right (northern) flank. Seeing that the
ground in front of them was clear of enemy forces, Platov saw an opportunity
to go around the French left flank and into the enemy's rear. He at once
sent one of his aides to ask for permission from Kutuzov for such an
operation. Platov's aide was lucky enough to encounter Colonel von Toll,
an enterprising member of Kutuzov's staff, who suggested that General
Uvarov's Ist Cavalry Corps be added to the operation and at once
volunteered to present the plan to the commander-in-chief.

Together, they went to see Kutuzov, who nonchalantly gave his permission.
There was however no clear plan and no objectives had been drawn up, the
whole manoeuvre being interpreted by both Kutuzov and Uvarov as a feint.
Uvarov and Platov thus set off, having just around 8000 cavalrymen and
12 guns in total, and no infantry support. As Uvarov moved southwest
and south and Platov moved west, they eventually arrived in the undefended
rear of Viceroy Eugene's 4th Corps. This was towards midday, just as the
Viceroy was getting his orders to conduct another assault on the Raevski
redoubt. The sudden appearance of masses of enemy cavalry so close to
the supply train and to the Emperor's Headquarters caused panic and
consternation and prompted Eug?ne to immediately cancel his attack
and pull back his entire Corps westwards to deal with this alarming situation.

Meanwhile, the two Russian cavalry commanders tried to break what French
infantry they could find in the vicinity, but, having no infantry of their own,
the poorly coordinated Russian attacks came to nothing. Unable to achieve
much else, Platov and Uvarov moved back to their own lines and the action
was perceived as a failure by both Kutuzov and the Russian General Staff.
As it turned out, however, the action had the utmost importance in the
outcome of the battle, as it delayed the attack of the 4th Corps on the
Raevski redoubt for a critical two hours. During these two hours, the
Russians were able to reassess the situation, realize the terrible state
of Bagration's 2nd Army and send reinforcements to the front line.
eanwhile, the retreat of Viceroy Eug?ne's Corps had left Montbrun's 2nd
French Cavalry Corps to fill the gap under the most murderous fire, which
used and demoralized these cavalrymen, greatly reducing their combat
effectiveness. The delay contradicted a military principle the Emperor had
stated many times: "Ground I may recover, time never.
Also, the Cossack's raid contributed to Napoleon's later decision not to
commit his Imperial Guard to battle.

Final attack on the Raevsky Redoubt

At 2pm, Napoleon renewed the assault against the redoubt, as Broussier's,
Morand's, and Gerard's divisions launched a massive frontal attack, with
Chastel's light cavalry division on their left and the II Reserve Cavalry Corps
on their right.
On the Russian sides, 24th Division of Likhachov was sent into the battle.
The Russians fought bravely under Likachev's motto: "Brethren, behind us
is Moscow !" But the French troops approached too close for the cannons
to fire, and the cannoneers had to use everything to fight against their foes.
General Caulaincourt ordered Watier's cuirassier division to lead the assault.
Barclay watched Eug?ne's assault preparations and countered it, moving his
forces against it.
The French artillery, however, began bombarding the assembling force even
as it gathered. Caulaincourt led the attack of Watier's cuirassiers into the
opening at the back of the redoubt and met his death as the charge was
stopped cold by Russian musketry.
General Thielmann then led eight Saxon and two Polish cavalry squadrons
against the back of the redoubt, while officers and sergeants of his command
actually forced their horses through the redoubt's embrasures, sowing
confusion and allowing the French cavalry and infantry to take the position.
The battle had all but ended, with both sides so exhausted that only the
artillery was still at work. By 15:30, the Raevsky redoubt fell with most of
the 24th Division's troops. All the Russian cannoneers in Raevsky also died
right next to their cannons, and General Likhachev was captured by the
French. But, besides the dead Russian troops were the corpses of 1000
Caulaincourt's cuirassiers, including Caulaincourt himself.

However, the fall of the Raevsky redoubt did not have much meaning.
The Russian troops successfully moved to the rear without being destroyed
(despite suffering heavy losses). So, in spite of losing some areas in the
battlefield, the Russian formation was prevented from collapsing.
On the French side, the gain of the Raevsky redoubt cost them large
casualties and, after that, Napoleon himself ordered his troops to retreat
to the starting line. The Russians then reoccupied their previous positions.

The village of Utiza

The third area of operations was around the village of Utiza. The village was
at the southern end of the Russian positions and lay along the old Smolensk
road. It was rightly perceived as a potential weak point in the defense as
a march along the road could turn the entire position at Borodino. Despite
such concerns the area was a tangle of rough country thickly covered in
heavy brush well suited for deploying light infantry. The forest was dense,
the ground marshy and Russian Jaeger were deployed there in some
numbers. Russian General Nikolay Tuchkov had some 23,000 troops but
half were untrained Opolchenye (militia) armed only with pikes and axes
and not ready for deployment.
Poniatowski had about 10,000 men all trained and very eager to fight but
his first attempt did not go well. It was at once realized the massed troops
and artillery could not move through the forest against Jaeger opposition
so had to reverse to Yelnya and then move eastward. Tuchkov had
deployed his 1st Grenadier Division in line backing it with the 3rd division
in battalion columns. Some four regiments were called away to help
defend the redoubts that were under attack and another 2 Jaeger
regiments were deployed in the Utitsa woods, weakening the position.
The Polish contingent contested for the village of Utiza, effecting its capture
with their first attempt but Tuchkov had ejected the French forces by 08:00.

General Jean-Andoche Junot led the Westphalians to join the attack and
again captured Utiza, which however was set on fire by the departing
Russians. After the village's capture, Russians and Poles continued to
skirmish and cannonade for the rest of the day without much progress.
The heavy undergrowth greatly hindered Poniatowski's efforts but
eventually he came near to cutting off Tuchkov from the rest of the
Russian forces.  General Barclay sent help in the form of Karl Gustav
von Baggovut with Konovnitzyn in support. Any hope of real progress
by the Poles was then lost.

Russia's 24 hour news, Battle of Borodino as presented on TV (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_sjVx-mgsU)

The resolve of the Russian army breaks

Towards 15:00, after hours of heroic and stoic resistance, the Russian
army was in dire straits, but the no less valiant French forces were
exhausted and had neither the necessary stamina nor the necessary
will to carry out another assault of the enemy line. At this crucial juncture,
Murat's chief of staff, General Augustin Daniel Belliard rode straight to
the Emperor's Headquarters and, according to General Sigur who
wrote an account of the campaign, told him that the Russian line had
been breached, that the road to Mozhaysk, behind the Russian line,
as visible through the gaping hole the French attack had pierced,
hat an enormous crowd of runaways and vehicles were hastily
retreating, and that a final push would be enough to decide the
fate of the Russian army and of the war.
Generals Daru, Dumas and Marshal Louis Berthier also joined in and
told the Emperor that everyone thought the time had come for the
Imperial Guard to be committed to battle.  But the Emperor responded
by refusing to commit the Guard, as he valued the Corps so much that
he refused to commit his best troops in any costly pursuit.


The End of the Battle

The Russians had moved to the next ridge-line in much disarray,
however that disarray was not seen from that distance with the dust
and haze raised by an army on the move. Kutuzov ordered the Russian
Guard to hold the line and so it did. Not all the artillery that the French
army had was enough to move it. Those compact squares made good
artillery targets and the Russian Guard stood in place from 4pm to 6pm
unmoving under its fire resulting in huge casualties.
All he could see were masses of troops in the distance and thus nothing
more was attempted. Neither the attack, which relied on brute force,
nor the refusal to use the Guard to finish the day's work showed any
brilliance on Napoleon's part.

Russian TV News report on the Battle of Borodino, near Moscow (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.5-tv.ru/news/59282/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.5-tv.ru/news/59282/%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1W1SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=4clDUIGKDYn80QXlmoD4Ag&ved=0CCQQ7gEwAA)

The road to Moscow is open
General Kutuzov and his staff held a crisis meeting at Fili village, where
Kutuzov decided that the Russian army had to retreat from Moscow. Only the
misplacement of Russian forces by Kutuzov over both Bagration's and Barclay's
protest prevented the ruin of the French army that day, both the Prussian
Staff Officer Karl von Clausewitz, the historian and future author of On War.
Alexander I of Russia noting that the poor positioning of troops in particular
had hobbled the defense. Barclay communicated with Kutuzov in order to
receive further instructions.
According to Wolzogen (in an account dripping with sarcasm), the
commander was found a half-hour away on the road to Moscow, encamped
with an entourage of young nobles and grandly pronouncing he would drive
Napoleon off the next day. Despite his bluster, Kutuzov knew from dispatches
that his army had been too badly hurt to fight a continuing action the
following day. He knew exactly what he was doing: by fighting the pitched
battle, he could now retreat with the Russian army still intact, lead its recovery,
and force the weakened French forces to move even further from their bases
of supply.
On September 8, the Russian army moved away from the battlefield in twin
columns to Semolino, leaving the road to Moscow clear for Napoleon and the
French army to take at their leisure. While Kutuzov's army falls back to lick
their wounds, regroup and await further reinforcements & supplies from
Russia's reserve forces.


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 23:57 03-Sep-2012

Russian marching song from 1812 (http://sovmusic.ru/m/soldatus.mp3)

After the Battle of Borodino assessment

The full battle, as broadcast live on Channel One, fast forward to 1:04:00 to skip the ceremonials (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbY4RyfkLe8)

Channel Ones assessment of the Battle of Borodino, including video of the event (http://www.vesti.ru/only_video.html?vid=443149)

Russia Today video of the battle without commentary from RT website (http://rt.com/art-and-culture/news/napoleon-battle-reenactment-borodino-184/)

Russia Today video of the battle without commentary, Youtube film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyaUNK0cgx4#ws)

Part 3 of the Patriotic War of 1812

This is the third part of the historical documentary drama, beginning with the
Russian decision to make a stand at Borodino and the big battle fought on the
7th September 1812.
Then it goes onto to explain why Kutuzov decided to abandon Moscow to the
french and Napoleon's frustrations in being unable to force Tsar Aleaxnder to
surrender and admit defeat. With the Russian's forcing ever greater hardship
on the French Army, as they dallied too long in Moscow before being forced
to retreat.

War of 1812 in Russia, part 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wGZoaVMQe0#ws)

Part 4 of the Patriotic War of 1812

This being the fourth and final part of the Channel One documentary drama
of the War of 1812 in Russia. In the final program we see an increasingly
frustrated Napoleon, couped up in his headquarters at the Kremlin in Moscow.
With Alexander refusing to come to the negotiating table with Napoleon, he
tries to make overtures to General Kutuzov instead but all to no avail.

Meanwhile his armies position in Moscow becomes increasingly untenable,
as Russian partisans, encouraged by Kutuzov; attack Napoleon's communication
lines with his garrison at Smolensk.
While Napoleon continues to wait, Kutuzov's army is joined by fresh reinforcements
and supplies from the interior; and although insufficient to move on the offensive,
it does give the Russians the opportunity to gradually encircle the French in

Finally Napoleon leaves Moscow in October and tries to withdraw south-east,
avoiding the devastated Old Smolensk road. But the Russian's will have none
of it and block Napoleon's retreat to the south east. Forcing the French to
return via the devastated route to Smolensk and a bitter winter to come.

War of 1812 in Russia, part 4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyzHPfK4JHI&feature=relmfu)

Daily Ukrainian review - interesting TV reviewers comments about Channel One's
War of 1812, historical documentary drama.

Ukrainan Daily Newspaper article on the War of 1812 documentary drama (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.day.kiev.ua/234816&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25D0%25B2%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B9%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2B1812%2B%25D0%25B3%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4%25D0%25B0%2B%25D1%2580%25D0%25B5%25D0%25BA%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D1%2580%25D1%2583%25D0%25BA%25D1%2582%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B2%26hl%3Den%26tbo%3D1%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26biw%3D884%26bih%3D550%26tbs%3Dqdr:d%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=_59PUJDKJYak0QWEkYG4AQ&ved=0CEMQ7gEwAQ)

Napoleon's Russian campaign enters its most desparate phase - as
the Russian's call on their partisans to resist the French

Women partisan's against the French, new film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McOyiR_5Zfk#ws)

Russian Partisan's of 1812, Vasilisa Kozhinov (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B6%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0,_%25D0%2592%25D0%25B0%25D1%2581%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B8%25D1%2581%25D0%25B0&ei=Bs6VT6mWFJS68gOkvbjiCQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwiki%2B%25D0%2592%25D0%25B0%25D1%2581%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B8%25D1%2581%25D0%25B0%2B%25D0%259A%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B6%25D0%25B8%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns)

Map marking the turning point of the French Invasion of Russia


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:14 13-Sep-2012

Russian National Anthem, theme music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGq07Lup73Y)

Russian TV Reporter missing in action at Borodino

Mystery still surrounds missing NTV news reporter Vera, who disappeared
while filming the Battle of Borodino, near Moscow on the 2nd September.
Vera was part of a special news team covering the bicentennial event
and was reporting live, in front of camara's before vanishing.
She was last seen on camara straying onto the battlefield, where she and
her colleagues were overrun by French cavalry and disappeared from view
during the melee.
Colleagues immediately began a search but despite efforts from volunteers
and Police, no trace of her can be found. Her bosses at NTV consequently
launched an appeal to the public about her whereabouts, thinking she
might have got lost amoungst the crowds, attending the event.
So far no trace of her can be found. Then almost a week ago, a tramp walked
into the NTV office and deposited a video before disappearing from the NTV


Russian & NTV Officials are still somewhat mystified by the revelations from
the tape but have released it on Youtube nevertheless.

Russian TV Reporters trip to 1812 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkxIiM1szdQ&feature=plcp)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 03:28 16-Sep-2012

French victory march music of 1812 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXmljXjwZko)

Napoleon takes Moscow as the Russian's decide to abandon the city

With his army exhausted and still licking its wounds following Borodino. On the
13th September, General Mikhail Kutuzov is in the unenviable position of
deciding whether or not, to make one last stand to defend Moscow against
the French or abandon the city to its fate.
It was a decision made worst by the fact that, he had given his word to the Tsar;
that he'd never allow Moscow to be taken by the French; but with the French
pressing forward ( as seen from the photo above ) and Murat's cavalry within
sight of the city walls, it was a decision he could no longer delay taking.

Kutuzov's Council of War at Fili


Therefore at 4pm on the 13th September, Kutuzov convenes a Council of War,
with all his general's and staff officers present, to gathered round a table in a
wooden hut in Fili, a village on the outskirts of Moscow.
The motion put forward by Kutuzov was a bleak one. To fight the French at
the Gates of Moscow would be to court disaster. As the army is in no fit
condition to fight another battle against Napoleon; so soon after Borodino.
He had no doubt that the army would be destroyed; meaning that both the
army and its ancient capital would be lost. Whereas to abandon Moscow and
withdraw into the interior; would preserve the Russian army, in order to
regain its strength, supplies and reinforcements with which to resume
the offensive, once the enemy had weakened.

Kutuzov's motion caused outrage and consternation amoungst his officers;
who were opposed at seeing the ancient Russian capital of Muscovy, abandoned
without a fight. But Kutuzov's views prevailed and finally the motion was
carried by the council, with the orders being sent out to the army by 11pm
that the withdrawl would begin that very night.

Moscow's residents and merchants flee from the city


For many residents and citizens of Moscow, the decision of the army to
abandon the city came as no surprise; as many Muscovites had decided
to pack their bags and leave with as much of their belonging's as they
can carry, soon after the news of Borodino. By the time Kutuzov gave
the order to leave, many of Moscow's wealthy and middle class residents
had already left; only the foreign merchants remained. As Moscow's
governor wasn't taking any chances that the army might make a stand
and instead ordered all his officials to leave.

At first the army moved silently through the streets of Moscow, in the
early hours of the 14th September; comprised of cavalry of Barclay de
Tolley's troops, then militia and finally the infantry, artillery & supply wagon's.
All moving a column at a time, through Moscow to Kolomna gate, the troops
crossing over the Moskva river by a wooden bridge, while the cavalry
were sent across a nearby ford.

By 8am, the army was now in full motion, with Kutuzov riding up to his
command post at Dragomilovskoy to oversee the operation. From here
he was able to identify bottlenecks in the procession where his troops were
becoming cluttered. Therefore he dispatched one of hes orderlies,
Prince Golitsyn to tidy up its progress.
Passing through the Kolomna gate, Kutuzov waited for information
about his rearguard, led by General Miloradovich. While General
Barclay de Tolley remained on the Yauza bridge until 6pm in the afternoon,
trying to maintain order amoungst the passing troops. Here he sent aides
accompanied by Cossacks to direct its movements and collect stragglers.

Not all the troops had passed through the city before Marshall Murat's
advance guard of Polish Hussars, blocked their exit from Moscow, taking
up positions at Drogomilovskoy. This development alarmed Kutuzov who
sent one of his aides, under a flag of truce to Murat, asking that hes
rearguard be allowed to leave the city unmolested, otherwise they
would fight to the last man and set fire to the city.
Murat remembering the devastation of Smolensk, gave his word and
stepped aside, to let the last of Kutuzov's troops leave the city.

Murat reads Kutuzov's request to let his army pass


For Murat and Napoleon, Moscow was theirs for the taking and as
the French Grande Armee reached the summit of Poklonnaya Hill, the
whole of Moscow could be seen before them, Napoleon, keen to survey
the city, took a long look through hes telescope.
Murat with the vanguard moved onto Dragomilovskoy outpost where he
ordered Poniatowski to move forward to Kaluga, while the troops of
Viceroy Eugene de Beauharnais were despatched to Tver.
Many of the troops, could hardly hide their joy and rushed forward, with
the cavalry before them, galloping to the Russian capital.

Moscow TV news - on Suvorov Square, Napoleon's troops clash with
Kutuzov's men, as the Russian's prepare an Imperial Ball (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201209151915-ktt5.htm&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201209151915-ktt5.htm%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB380%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=6BtVUInRPKm30QXLqoGACg&ved=0CCQQ7gEwAA)

Napoleon, riding up to Dragmilovskoy outpost, dismounted and
waited for a deputation from Moscow. From here he expected to
receive an official deputation from the city, in order to recieve terms
and the keys to the city. But no such delegation arrived; time went by.
Finally one of his aides rode by to report that Moscow was empty.
Napoleon demanded that he be led in by a deputation of Boyars
but no one of any authority could be found in Moscow, as many had left.

Finally Napoleon marched into Moscow at the head of his elite Imperial
Guard, comprised of the Young Guard, establishing his headquaters
at the Kremlin.
Their he appointed Marshall Mortier as governor general of Moscow
with General Dyuronel as hes Commandant. The rest of Napoleon's army,
including the Old Guard with Marshall Davout, camped outside Moscow
on both sides of the Smolensk road.

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:06 19-Sep-2012

Moscow burns as Napoleon's dreams of victory turn to ashes

Before leaving the city, the Russian governor of Moscow Count Rostopchin, left
instructions for his Police Superintendent; Vorozenko to set fire to the city.
Rostopchin intention being primarily the destruction of food, granaries,
warehouses and munitions that couldn't be carried away by the Russian army.
His intention being to deny anything that could be of use to the French
while they occupied of Moscow.
At the same time Rostopchin, dismissed the fire brigade and destroyed all
fire appliances and hoses that could be useful to the enemy.

Vorozenko took Rostopchin orders at face value and detailed his men
accordingly; to gather fuses and all sorts of combustible material; to be
placed in buildings, warehouses and granaries; either to be blown up or
set on fire.

Therefore just as Napoleon and his troops retire for the evening, after
taking possesion of the city. A series of small fires brake out, nothing much
at first; just a series of fires in different parts of the city, which were
initially attributed to the carelessness of the troops; seeking quarters in
many of the abandoned homes and buildings.

Then later that evening at about 10:30, General Armand de Caulaincourt
is woken by his orderly; with news that many parts of the city are becoming
engulfed in flames. Caulaincourt immediatley alert's his men to call out
the cities fire brigade, detailing many of his troops to fight the flames.
Few firemen can be found in Moscow and instead Caulaincourt officers
encounters Moscow's policemen actively laying incendiary devices along
with fuses with which to set the various buildings alight.

French troops open fire on Incendiarists on the streets of Moscow


After initial resistance, many of these incendiarists are arrested and brought
before the emperor Napoleon, who confirm that many had been ordered
to prepare the fires on the orders of Rostopchin.

Consequently Napoleon details more men to fight the fires but by the
morning of the 15th September, the fires are now burning out of control;
as many of the building's are made of wood, with the wind spreading
the flames even further.
Such was the intensity of the fire that by noon the heat from the flames
are making life unbearable in the Kremlin. Therefore Napoleon and
his staff officers are forced to seek refuge at the Petrovsky Palace,
just outside Moscow.

As the fires continued to rage, order amoungst the troops brake down
as officers prove incapable of restraining their men from looting and
pillaging the city, perputrating many acts of violence against any
remaining Muscovites who get in their way.

By the 18th September the fires begin to die out, after reducing over three
quarters of the ancient city to ash and rubble. Its only then that Napoleon
and his officers feel safe enough to return to their headquaters in
the Kremlin. Where they wait in anticipation of a deputation from the
Tsar to discuss terms for peace and an armistice, that never comes.

Video of the Fire of Moscow in 1812 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gnTKCorJy0)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 02:51 20-Sep-2012

From 1812 to 2012 and back again - the Patriotic War celebration's in Moscow

The Patriotic War of 1812 laser light video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPMrWGEDP04&)

Moscow's students daub walls with Napoleonic graffiti (http://www.newstube.ru/media/v-moskve-poyavyatsya-graffiti-na-temu-vojny-s-napoleonom)

Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 01:57 25-Sep-2012

Operations around Moscow September to October 1812

The devastation of Moscow following the great fire of 1812 left
three quarters of the city in ruins. Although Napoleon put a brave
face on it; the fact was that much of the cities food supplies, stores &
munitions went up in smoke along with many of the great warehouses.
With his troops picking through the remains of the ruins, his men can
be seen billeted about town; in the grounds of some of the great houses,
sitting on chairs while breaking up furniture for firewood and helping
themselves to whatever fur coats and cashmere jackets they plundered
from the surrounding houses, merchants stores and warehouses.
Nevertheless Napoleon continued to wait in the Kremlin, hoping that
an emissary from the Tsar would arrive at any time to sue for peace.
For how could it be otherwise; for by all the rules of war, the French
had won by defeating the Russian army in a major battle at Borodino
and capturing their capital. Ok Kutuzov's army was still intact but in
no fit state to confront the French again anytime soon.

While his soldiers scavenged the ruins of the city and what remains
of the houses still standing for food and supplies. Napoleon's generals
pandered to the emperor's well being by organising daily parades of
his finest troops but little could hide the woes of the French army
which was suffering from growing pangs of hunger & malnutrition.
The situation being made worst by the growing number of attacks on
Napoleon's extended lines of communication with Smolensk and
beyond. Not only were Kutuzov's hussars and Cossacks harrying the
French but a growing number of partisan's or guerrilla's were emerging
from the farmers,  peasant's & serfs who's communities had been thrown
upside down by the attention's of the French.
When Napoleon sent out parties to search for food and forage
away from the main roads to Moscow and Smolensk, they were
often met by angry mobs of peasants armed with axes and pitchforks.

Kutuzov's army which had retreated south-east of Moscow to Tarutino
was now resting in the Kaluga region of Russia. Which contained not only
huge amounts of food and other supplies with which to replenish the army
but also a small arms factory at Tula.
From here Kutuzov was able to encourage and assist the growing bands
of partisans and guerrilla's that were causing such a nuisance to Napoleon's
bands of scavenging parties and foragers that he sent out with wagons to
replenish the Grande Armies food supplies in Moscow.
Their attacks were growing  bolder every day and with Kutuzov's backing.
They were becoming more organised and better planned, with raids taking
place almost daily outside Smolensk, Moscow, Ryazan and Kaluga.
On food convoys and French reconnaissance missions, taking many French
officers and men by surprise.

French parade in Pavlovsky Posad, east of Moscow last weekend


Video of the French camp & parade, fast forward to 3:11 for the parade (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7Kc56oZZvo)

Battle of Vohonskoy Bogorodsky, September 1812

Towards the end of September 1812, Napoleon sent Marshal Ney out with
a large force of troops to occupy the city of Bogorodsk ( present day Noginsk )
some 30 miles east of Moscow. From here Ney was expected to send out heavily
armed scavenging parties, with which to secure food and other supplies from
many of the surrounding towns, villages and hamlets.
This Ney proceeds to do with great vigour, much to the anger and dismay of
many poor farmers and peasants who are either shot or evicted at the point
of a bayonet.

The French attack the village as the peasants prepare their ambush


Farmers in Vohonskoy, learning of the fall of Moscow called upon the
leader of the one biggest bands of Partisans in the area, Gerasim Kurin for
help. The two parties joined forces and together they protected the region
from the attentions of the French. But with the French sending out
heavily armed patrols from Bogorodsk, to protect their foraging parties and
food convoys, the stakes had been raised. Therefore Kurin calls upon the
commander of Kutuzov's troops, patrolling the area to send in reinforcements
with which to drive the French out of Vohonskoy.

What follows in the pictures and video's are an account of the battle which starts
innocently enough with a French patrol arriving with wagons at Vohonskoy, seeking
food and supplies. When the villagers refuse to help, many of them are attacked
and shot.
Fortunately Gerasim Kurin guerrilla band of serfs and peasant's are lying in wait
ready to ambush the French, just as Russian cavalry supported by infantry and
Cossacks arrive nearby.

Kurin's peasants quickly overpower the French and take prisoners


Kurin's guerrilla band surprise the French patrol and quickly overpower
them, carrying off many prisoners but Ney's troops are also lying in wait, just
across the river and launch a counter attack against the guerrilla's.
French artillery pound the village house's setting some on fire, as Ney's troops
move forward to engage the guerrilla's.
Here the Russian army enters the fray, sending forward infantry and cavalry
with which to engage Ney's troops, a battle ensues. As the village becomes
the scene of bitter fighting between the two armies.

Battle of Vohonskoy 1812, fast forward video to 5:43 to see the start of the battle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4uVmN-vrjI&)

Battle of Vohonskoy, video picks up where the Russian army intervenes
and engages the French in open battle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=We7ehg3zXBg#ws)

Battle of Vohonskoy, video shows the Russians drive the French out of the village (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKCzPTjiztM#ws)

Battle of Vohonskoy, video see's Marshal Ney's troops under intense bombardment,
as they seek to withdraw back to their camp at Bogorodsk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXOWTfW5ZW0#ws)

Moscow TV news reports on Ney's battle at Vohonskoy (http://mosobltv.ru/?an=news_page&uid=25694)

French cannon opens fire, as the guerrilla's take cover


Russian infantry attack Ney's troops as they deploy for battle


Title: Re: Back to the Peninsular Wars, events in Portugal and beyond
Post by: Lt. Campers on 00:56 02-Oct-2012

Theme Music (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Sharpes.html)

Wellington's Spanish campaign, Burgos & the Spanish attack on Tordesillas

Wellington's victory at Salamanca gravely undermined the French occupation of Spain.
The loss of Marmont's army left Napoleon's brother, King Joseph dangerously exposed in
Madrid and with his forces amounting to little more than 14,000 men they were no match
for Wellington. Joseph quickly sought help from Soult but the Marshal refused to come to
his aid in Madrid.
Wellington with 56,000 troops reached Valladolid, north west of Madrid on the 30th July.
Leaving Lieut General Henry Clinton with 18,000 troops to watch what remained of
Marmont's army, under General Clausel in northern Spain. Wellington continued his
 march on Madrid. A French advance guard of Trelliard's dragoons were beaten back in
an inconclusive battle, north-west of Madrid which forced Joseph to abandon his capital
and seek refuge with Marshal Suchet at Valencia on the east coast of Spain.


Wellington feared that if Joseph & Suchet joined forces, his position in central Spain
would become perilous. Therefore he was counting on the autumn rains to keep the
Tagus river high, preventing Joseph and Soult from threatening his southern flank. He
also hoped his Spanish allies, would delay any French counterattack towards Madrid.
Thus giving him much needed time to besiege and capture the French garrison at
Burgos. With Burgos in his hands Wellington hoped to slow down any French
counterattack from the north by Clausel but Burgos proved a harder nut to crack, as
the French garrison proved most able at thwarting any attempts to storm the town.

The Spanish 6th army operating