Iberian Peninsula

Napoleonic Wars in the Iberian Peninsula: Talavera July 28th & 29th 1809


Introduction

After the succes of Oporto, the British Army moved south to Abrantes, through Coimbra. Here supplies were brought up, and the army's short-comings addressed. Wellesley formed the brigades into four Divisions, each with their own commander, infantry, guns and cavalry. From here, he left by July 10th 1809 for Spain and his meeting with the Spanish Army of Estremadura under General Cuesta.

Wellesley wanted to threaten Madrid, forcing the French to fall back and consolidate his forces, leaving other parts of Spain thinly covered. He made it some 2/3 of the way finding the French assembled at Talavera de la Reyna in mid-July.

Current Situation in the Peninsula

 

Preliminaries

 

Terrain

Wellesly occupied a defensive line some 3 miles long north from Talavera to Sierra de Segurilla. The north of the british flank was protected by these rocky hills, and the southern end was anchored on the city of Talavera which straddled the River Tagus. There was a creek running north-south in front of the British position to help break up a French charge.

 

Participants

 

The battle

A French corp attacked precipitously on the 27th.

Brit 1st Division attacked unordered, crossing the brook.

Anecdotes and ancillary events

Results

The army showed its amateurism with a bloody score, 5,365 brit casualty to French 7,268.

Wellesly left the battle, meaning to meet the remnants of Marshal Soult's corp. A few days into the march, he got access to captured communication that Soult had gained the forces of General Ney and had som 30,000 forces, not just a defeated 18,000. He proceeded to pull back to Bajados by early September of 1809.

A month later, he in October, he gave the orders to begin the constructions that formed the " Lines of Torres Vedras" north of Lisbon. These would become necessary during the campaigns of 1810 since Napoleon had again defeated a coalition in Europe by the end of 1809.

Political situation

Major General Wellesly was made Viscount Wellington.




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