Talavera 1809: Wellingtonis Lighting Strike into Spain

Talavera 1809: Wellingtonis Lighting Strike into Spain


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Talavera 1809: Wellingtonis Lighting Strike into Spain by Rene Chartrand, Graham Turner

The battle of Talavera in 1809 was one of the major battles of the Peninsular War and Arthur Wellesley's first victory in Spain itself, following which he was created Viscount Wellington of Talavera and Wellington.
Having driven the French forces in Portugal under Marshal Soult out of the country following his victory at the battle of the Douro, Wellesley went onto the offensive and led his army into Spain where he joined up with a substantial forces under the Spanish General Cuesta in order to attack a smaller French force under Marshal Victor at the town of Talavera de la Reina to the south-west of Madrid. Delays caused by the Spanish allowed Victor to withdraw, whilst promised supplies also did not arrived, and a combined French force gathered opposite Wellesley's position that now outnumbered the Anglo-Spanish force.
The French army's nominal commander was King Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, but marshals Victor and Jourdain exercised the actual command. On the night of the 27th the French launched their first attacks, followed up by a general assault on the 28th. Although Wellesely's forces were outnumbers, and a sizeable contingent of the Spanish ran away, he had chosen a superb defensive position and was able to beat off successive French attacks, though at a heavy cost in terms of casualties. Although the French had withdrawn leaving Wellesley the master of the field, his high casualties and approaching French reinforcements led to Wellesley withdrawing to Portugal. His foray into Spain had an enormous effect on Spanish morale as they realized they were not alone in the struggle. British redcoats had had got to within 70km of Madraid, and they would return in future years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781780961804
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 03/19/2013
Series: Campaign Series
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

René Chartrand was born in Montreal and educated in Canada, the United States and the Bahamas. A senior curator with Canada's National Historic Sites for nearly three decades, he is now a freelance writer and historical consultant. He has written numerous articles and books including over 30 Osprey titles. He lives in Gatineau, Quebec, with his wife and two sons.

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