Iberian Peninsula

Napoleonic Wars in the Iberian Peninsula: Battles during 1810


Other battles and skirmishes fought in the Iberian Peninsula

The battles discussed below are usually smaller skirmishes, or sometimes battles fought outside the main areas of conflict between the French and the Allied Armies.

The French often overwhelmed or scattered Spanish forces of various sizes. These forces nearly as often reformed right behind the marching French, not always to harass rearguard and baggage, but often to cut their communications. The allies (British, Portuguese, and Spanish) were nearly always better informed than the Imperial forces. Captured couriers and dispatches gave the British enough examples that they were often able to decipher French codes and signals.

Battle at Coa River, July 24th, 1810

The French, though short on supplies, crossed the Spanish/Portuguese frontier, headed toward the fortress of Almeida on July 21st 1810. This approach was covered by Craufurd and his Light Brigade. Craufurd decided to stand and fight short of the only bridge over the Coa River and gorge, just 2 miles from Almeida.

Ney began a general advance, fiercely contested by the British troops. In a second rush, the French turned the British from their position, and sent them scrambling for the bridge. This soon became congested with their guns and transport. The French cavalry was soon among them. The Brigade contracted and for a time found themselves penned in a masonry enclosure. The broke out the far wall and the British infantry held long enough for the cavalry, guns, baggage and forse to cross the bridge.

Nay attempted to force the bridge in three separate assaults, but were repelled each time by the British guns. The battle came to an end under a heavy thunderstorm. Craufurd vacated the area afterwards, but it was still 3 weeks before the French could gather the necessary guns and supplies to reach the last distance to Almeida.

Siege of Almeida, August 15-27, 1810

Marmont and Ney besieged the city on August 15th, after having taken the weaker Cuidad Rodrigo accross the border, and cleared British/Portuguese forces from the area. The city was strongly garrisoned and well suplied. It was built on rocky ground, making the digging of the necessary trenches difficult. It could have been expected to withstand a prolonged siege.

Fate took a hand however. Bombardment of the walls and city began on August 26th, 1810. Approximately 13 hours later, on the 27th, when a shot hit the powder magazine inside the fort. The castle disappeared, every building was reduced to ruins, and 500 Portuguese died. The governor, a William Cox, surrendered under pressure from his men.

Siege of Tortosa, December 16 - January 2 1810

Tortosa was a small but strategically located town in Catalan. It was taken by siege and storm by Suchet. This was one of many things going the way the French wanted at the end of 1810 and through 1811.




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This site last updated March 2006 by babbage