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The storming of Badajoz was an epic action which involved Wellington's infantry in some of the most savage hand-to-hand fighting of the whole Peninsular War (1812). At appalling cost in a nightmare assault during the night of the 6 April 1812, Wellington's soldiers hacked their way over the bodies of their dead and wounded and through the huge medieval walls of the town. These were held with great tenacity, skill and courage by a resolute French and German garrison. Having stormed the town the battle-crazed army went berserk and the horrors of the sacking which followed, as much as the sublime courage of the attackers, have passed into legend.
In the course of the Peninsular War, Wellington's army fought several hard battles and smaller actions, but it was the bloody sieges that troubled him more than anything else. Indeed, the performance of his army during the sieges was probably the most disappointing aspect of what was otherwise an extremely successful campaign. Taking 1808 as its starting point, this title deals with the fortress sieges that involved Wellington's AngloPortuguese army, and concentrates on four key sites in particular (Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Burgos and San Sebastián). All of these played a vital role in the war due to their strategically important positions. It documents both the sieges and the storming of the fortresses, as well as the general role of the fortresses in Spain and the impact they had on the thinking of the commanders and strategies of the armies involved.
Following the battle of Bussaco on 27 September 1810 Wellington's heavily outnumbered troops began to withdraw towards Lisbon. By the evening of 9 October the British and Portuguese began to withdraw behind a line of defensive works that had been built to the north of Lisbon. These were not the rudimentary field works that the French anticipated, but an enormous network of forts, batteries and redoubts whose construction had been started the previous November - the Lines of Torres Vedras. This 30-mile-wide line utilised the area's natural defences, damming rivers, scarping hillsides, blocking roads and establishing forts upon almost all of the hills. This title describes its design, creation and effectiveness in the face of French attacks.
Osprey's study of Salamanca (1812), the most decisive battle of the entire Peninsular War (1808-1814). Wellington smashed Marmont's French Army and his pursuit of its shattered remnants led to the famous cavalry charge of the King's German Legion at Garcia Hernandez. There would be two more years of sieges and hard fighting before the Iron Duke crossed the Pyrenees into France but from Salamanca the British and their Portuguese and Spanish allies always had the upper hand. Ian Fletcher examines this important battle in detail and also discusses the campaign which led up to it.
Osprey's Campaign title for the Battle of Vittoria during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). Despite Wellington's success against Marmont's army at Salamanca in July, the year of 1812 ended in bitter disappointment for the British. However, a year later Wellington's series of brilliant manoeuvres threw the French onto the defensive on all fronts, culminating in the final victory at Vittoria: 90,000 men and 90 guns attacking in four mutually supporting columns. The French centre gave way and both flanks were turned, their army finally breaking in flight towards Pamplona. Any French hopes of maintaining their position in the Peninsular were crushed forever. On 7 October the British set foot on the 'sacred soil' of' Napoleon's France.
The Guards fought in every major British campaign on the continent during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). They carved their place in history under commanders such as Sir John Moore and Wellington from Corunna and Talavera during the Peninsular War (1807-1814) to their legendary defence of the Chateau of Hougoumont throughout the battle of Waterloo. Ian Fletcher examines the uniforms and insignia of the Guards as worn both on campaign and on ceremonial duties in this worthy addition to the Elite series, which features a wealth of accompanying illustrations including 12 full page colour plates by Bill Younghusband.