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Author:Battlefield History TV Ltd
Dimensions:5.25" x 7.5"
Publisher:Pen and Sword Digital
Item No. 5060247620879

Since his return to the Iberian Peninsula in 1809, General Arthur Wellesley (later The Duke of Wellington) had with his small army been a constant thorn in the side of a series of Napoleon’s Marshals in Spain, studiously avoiding battles that he could not win and falling back before superior forces to the Lines of Torres Vedras in 1810. By 1812 he had forged a successful Anglo Portuguese Army with a string of victories to their credit that included Talavera, Bussaco and Fuentes de Onoro.Now Wellesley was ready to take the battle to the French and with the capture of the border fortresses of Cuidad Rodrigo and Badajoz in the winter and early spring of 1812 he had two routes open for him into the heart of Spain. Supported by Hill’s Corps guarding the Tagus crossings and a policy of distraction, which kept the other French Army’s in Spain fixed in their areas, the target was Marshall Marmont’s Army of Portugal. This army was concentrated around the city of Salamanca but fell back as the Allies approached. In a series of maneuvers, almost like a throwback to the wars of the Marlborough Wellesley waited for Marmont to make a mistake. Finally that moment came when Marmont, convinced that Wellesley “a defensive general”, who was falling back to Portugal and in his eagerness to cut him off, his line of march became over extended.The bulk of the Anglo Portuguese Army concealed from Marmont behind a ridge attacked in echelon and defeated four French Divisions in a desperately hard fought battle during which the 44th captured a French Eagle. But the French were far from totally beaten and they put up a creditable rearguard action but were driven from the last ridge by attacks supported by the skillful employment of artillery. Sadly the victory was not total as a Spanish General who had been tasked to hold a vital bridge had withdrawn his men and was too embarrassed to tell Wellesley.Wellesley’s whole campaign, culminating in the battle, which destroyed the main French Field Army in Spain, was a master class in generalship, which according to Maximilien Foy put him in the class of Frederick the Great or Marlborough. The Victory of Salamanca ensured that the French would have to evacuate southern Spain and eventually leave Spain completely.

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