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Encyclopedia > Battle of Albuera
Battle of Albuera
Part of the Peninsular War

Marshal Beresford disarming a Polish lancer at the Battle of Albuera. Print by T. Sutherland, 1831.
Date May 16, 1811
Location Albuera, south of Badajoz, Spain
Result Indecisive[1]
Combatants
Spain
Portugal
Britain
France
Duchy of Warsaw
Commanders
William Beresford
Joaquin Blake
Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult
Strength
10,000 British
10,000 Portuguese
13,000 Spanish
38 guns
23,000 infantry
4,000 cavalry
40 guns
Casualties
5,916 dead or wounded[2] 5,936 dead or wounded[3]
Peninsular War, 1810–1814
FuengirolaBarrosaFuentes de OnoroAlbueraBadajozSalamancaVitoriaSorauren

The Battle of Albuera (May 16, 1811) saw an Allied force of British, Spanish, and Portuguese repel a French Army, under Marshal Soult, at Albuera, about 12 miles south of Badajoz, Spain. The combined forces were under the command of Lord Beresford, Marshal of the Portuguese Army. Portuguese and British forces were directly under his command; the Spanish forces were commanded by General Joaquin Blake. The battle is usually counted as a victory for Beresford in that Soult did not succeed in breaking up Beresford's siege of Badajoz. Tactically, however, the engagement ended inconclusively after a very bloody struggle; Soult's Polish cavalry destroyed an entire British brigade, while the Spaniards repelled one of the most massive French infantry attacks of the war.[4] The Second of May, 1808: The Charge of the Mamelukes, by Francisco de Goya (1814). ... Image File history File links Bereford. ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (137th in leap years). ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Albuera is a municipality in the Leyte province of the Philippines on the island of Leyte. ... Badajoz (formerly Badajos), the capital of the Spanish province of Badajoz in the autonomous community of Extremadura, is situated close to the Portuguese frontier, on the left bank of the river Guadiana, and the Madrid-Lisbon railway. ... Location Official languages Polish Established church Roman Catholic Capital Warsaw Largest City Warsaw Head of state Duke of Warsaw Area about 155,000 km² Population about 4,3 million Existed 1806–1814 The Duchy of Warsaw (Polish: Księstwo Warszawskie, Latin: Ducatus Varsoviae, French: Duche de Varsovie) was a Polish... William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford (October 2, 1768 – January 8, 1854), British soldier and politician. ... Captain-General Joaquín Blake y Joyes Joaquín Blake y Joyes (August 19, 1759 – April 27, 1827) was a Spanish military officer who served with distinction in the French Revolutionary and Peninsular wars. ... Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult, duc de Dalmatie (March 29, 1769 – November 26, 1851) was a French general and statesman, named Marshal of France in 1804. ... The Second of May, 1808: The Charge of the Mamelukes, by Francisco de Goya (1814). ... Battle of Fuengirola was one of the battles of the Peninsular War. ... The Battle of Barrosa took place on March 5, 1811 between Anglo-Spanish and French forces as part of the Peninsular war. ... The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro was fought on May 3 - 5, 1811 and resulted in an undecided battle between French troops under Marshall André Masséna and British under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. ... Combatants United Kingdom Portugal France Commanders Sir Arthur Wellesley General Philippon Strength 25,000 men 5,000 men Casualties 4,800 casualties Unknown Between March 16 and April 6, 1812, the Spanish city of Badajoz was besieged by an Anglo-Portuguese army under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley, finally... The Battle of Salamanca was fought among the Arapiles hills near Salamanca in Spain on July 22, 1812, and resulted in an Anglo-Portuguese tactical victory under Lord Wellington against the French under marshal Marmont. ... The Battle of Vitoria was fought on June 21, 1813 during the Peninsular War, between 78,000 British, Portuguese and Spanish troops, with 96 guns, under the Marquis of Wellington, and 58,000 French with 153 guns under King Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jourdan. ... The Battle of Sorauren was fought in late July of 1813 between French forces and the combined forces of Great Britain and Portugal. ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (137th in leap years). ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... The military of France has a long history of serving its country. ... The Marshal of France (maréchal de France) was one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France. ... Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult, duc de Dalmatie (March 29, 1769 – November 26, 1851) was a French general and statesman, named Marshal of France in 1804. ... Albuera is a municipality in the Leyte province of the Philippines on the island of Leyte. ... Badajoz (formerly Badajos), the capital of the Spanish province of Badajoz in the autonomous community of Extremadura, is situated close to the Portuguese frontier, on the left bank of the river Guadiana, and the Madrid-Lisbon railway. ... William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford (October 2, 1768 – January 8, 1854), British soldier and politician. ... A General is an officer of high military rank. ... Captain-General Joaquín Blake y Joyes Joaquín Blake y Joyes (August 19, 1759 – April 27, 1827) was a Spanish military officer who served with distinction in the French Revolutionary and Peninsular wars. ...


The siege was later abandoned when Marmont joined forces with Soult. Albuera therefore had little effect on the overall course of the war, but the effectiveness of the Polish Lancers did cause the British Army to convert some cavalry regiments to lancers after Waterloo. It also confirmed the fighting quality of the remodelled Portuguese Army. Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont, Marshal of France Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont, duke of Ragusa (July 20, 1774 - July 22, 1852), marshal of France, was born at Châtillon-sur-Seine. ... A Lancer was a cavalry soldier who fought with a lance. ...

Contents

Background

Wellington, spent the winter of 1810-1811 holding a strong line of fortifications at Torres Vedras, protecting Lisbon. French forces under Massena wintered opposite that line, unable to assault it or even to adequately feed themselves, and consequently wasted away. In March 1811, Massena recognised the untenable situation and fell back to the Spanish border fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo, covering the road from Portugal towards Salamanca. He left a small force in the Portuguese fortress of Almeida. The combination of the winter at Torres Vedras and the hurried retreat had largely destroyed his army's offensive capability. Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (c. ... Torres Vedras is a city (cidade) and municipality (concelho) in the district of Lisbon, Portugal, about 50 km north of Lisbon. ... Location    - Country Portugal    - Region Lisbon  - Subregion Grande Lisboa  - District or A.R. Lisbon Mayor Carmona Rodrigues  - Party PSD Area 84. ... André Masséna (May 6, 1758 - April 4, 1817), Duke of Rivoli, Prince of Essling, was a French soldier in the armies of Napoleon and a Marshal of France. ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Ciudad Rodrigo is a small town in Salamanca province in western Spain Its position as a fortified town on the main road from Portugal to Salamanca made it militarily important in the middle years of the Peninsular War. ... Salamanca: Plaza Mayor Towers of the Old and New Cathedrals Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Salamanca Salamanca (population 160,000) is a city in western Spain, the capital of the province of Salamanca, which belongs to the autonomous community(region) of Castile-Leon(Castilla y León). ... Coat of Arms Almeida (pron. ... Torres Vedras is a city (cidade) and municipality (concelho) in the district of Lisbon, Portugal, about 50 km north of Lisbon. ...


South of the Tagus, the Portuguese fortress of Elvas and the Spanish fortress of Badajoz stood on the main road out of Portugal to Madrid. French operations in the area were the responsibility of Soult, who was also otherwise occupied (for example, pursuing a siege of Cadiz). In January, 1811, Soult stripped the Cadiz siege lines in order to put together a field force and moved on Badajoz. In response, British and Spanish forces attempted to break the siege of Cadiz, leading to the Battle of Barrosa March 8, 1811. Barrosa was a tactical defeat for the French, but was not exploited to disrupt the siege. Badajoz surrendered on March 10, 1811 (supposedly as a result of bribery rather than military operations), and Soult promptly returned to the Seville area to support the siege of Cadiz and prevent any repetition of the move that had led to Barrosa. Location    - Country Portugal    - Region {{{Region}}}  - Subregion {{{Subregion}}}  - District or A.R. Portalegre Mayor José Almeida  - Party PS Area 631. ... Badajoz (formerly Badajos), the capital of the Spanish province of Badajoz in the autonomous community of Extremadura, is situated close to the Portuguese frontier, on the left bank of the river Guadiana, and the Madrid-Lisbon railway. ... Location Location of Madrid in Europe Coordinates : 40° 23’N , 3°43′0″W Time Zone : CET (GMT +1) - summer: CEST (GMT +2) General information Native name Villa de Madrid (Spanish) Spanish name Villa de Madrid Founded 9th century Postal code 28001-28080 Area code 34 (Spain) + 91 (Villa de... This article is about the Spanish city. ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Badajoz (formerly Badajos), the capital of the Spanish province of Badajoz in the autonomous community of Extremadura, is situated close to the Portuguese frontier, on the left bank of the river Guadiana, and the Madrid-Lisbon railway. ... The Battle of Barrosa took place on March 5, 1811 between Anglo-Spanish and French forces as part of the Peninsular war. ... March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in Leap years). ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... March 10 is the 69th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (70th in leap years). ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... NO8DO (It has not abandoned me) Location Coordinates : ( ) Time Zone : CET (GMT +1) - summer: CEST (GMT +2) General information Native name Sevilla (Spanish) Spanish name Sevilla Founded 8th-9th century BC Postal code 41001-41080 Website http://www. ...


Wellington took the view that all four of the aforementioned fortresses should be taken to protect Portugal from further invasion, and to allow the movement of his Anglo-Portuguese forces into Spain. (Fortress towns were particularly important because of the poor state of communications in the Peninsula: they were difficult to bypass and the logistics of moving and supporting an effective siege train were problematic.) He decided to split his forces, and attempt to take both Almeida and Badajoz. 20,000 men (of whom 10,000 were British) under Beresford were detached to besiege Badajoz, while Wellington marched with about twice this number on Almeida.


Wellington had no effective siege train. He therefore blockaded Almeida, with a covering force just to the east. Massena's attack on this position was defeated at the Battle of Fuentes d'Onoro on May 5, 1811. As a result, Almeida was evacuated by the French on May 11, 1811 (In one of the more humiliating episodes of the British army, the entire garrison slipped through the siege lines without losing a man or raising the alarm). Coat of Arms Almeida (pron. ... The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro was fought on May 3 - 5, 1811 and resulted in an undecided battle between French troops under Marshall André Masséna and British under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. ... May 5 is the 125th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (126th in leap years). ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... May 11 is the 131st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (132nd in leap years). ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


Meanwhile, Beresford managed to assemble a siege train of sorts from antique Portuguese guns held at Elvas, and began siege operations against Badajoz May 8, 1811. Soult marched with about 24,000 men to its relief. Soult's command included the 591 man Polish Onvistula Uhlan (Lancer) Regiment (minus one squadron) and a regiment of Grenadiers formed from two Grenadier companies drawn from each of 4 infantry regiments from the Duchy of Warsaw. The composite Grenadier regiment was under the command of Colonel Varrere. Beresford moved to a strong covering position on a north-south ridge behind a stream astride the Badajoz-Seville road at Albuera 12 miles from Badajoz, and 12,000 Spanish troops under Blake further south marched to join him. May 8 is the 128th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (129th in leap years). ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Uhlan dressed in the characteristic czapka Uhlans (as in German; also spelled Ulan, Polish: Ułan) were originally Polish light cavalry soldiers armed with lances; later they also served in the Prussian and Austrian armies. ... A Grenadier was originally a specialized assault trooper for siege operations, first established as a distinct role in the early 17th century. ... Location Official languages Polish Established church Roman Catholic Capital Warsaw Largest City Warsaw Head of state Duke of Warsaw Area about 155,000 km² Population about 4,3 million Existed 1806–1814 The Duchy of Warsaw (Polish: Księstwo Warszawskie, Latin: Ducatus Varsoviae, French: Duche de Varsovie) was a Polish...


Prelude

On May 15, Beresford's cavalry screen of 2,500 men was driven back from the right bank of the Albuera River with some ease by the French cavalry (the British brigadier-general in charge was later relieved of command). In the small hours of May 16, Blake's forces joined Beresford (unbeknownst to Soult) and were deployed at the south end of the position. May 15 is the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (136th in leap years). ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (137th in leap years). ...


Soult's plan was to feint an attack on the town of Albuera on the road with one brigade and take the bulk of his force on a wide flanking move to the south, against the Allied right wing. Albuera is a municipality in the Leyte province of the Philippines on the island of Leyte. ...


Four platoons of Polish Uhlans crossed the Albuera. General Long responded by deploying two squadrons of the 3rd Dragoon Guards. The first squadron of this regiment was destroyed by two Polish platoons. When the second squadron attacked, the Poles retreated to the river. However, when the dragoons' fire became too intense, the Polish forces retreated across the river. As the Uhlans began to withdraw after crossing the river, they had to fight the British dragoons. Polish losses were 14 killed and 3 wounded, while the British suffered 20 killed and wounded. A light dragoon from the American Revolution French dragoon, 1745. ...


Battle

Attack on Albuera

A brigade of infantry commanded by General Godin pushed back a brigade of the King's German Legion (KGL) under General Altena. They crossed the river at a bridge but took heavy losses from Portuguese artillery fire, which displaced some of the Germans from the village. When Napoleon imposed the Convention of Artlenburg (Convention of the Elbe) on July 5, 1803 the Kurfürstentum Hannover (Electorate of Hannover) was disbanded and its army dissolved. ...


French Flank Attack

Beresford detected Soult's move and attempted to redeploy his forces. The Spanish forces (upon whom the flank attack would fall) were ordered to face south. The British 2nd Division under General Stewart behind Albuera was replaced by a Portuguese division and moved south to extend the right flank to the west, echeloned behind the Spaniards. The 4th Division under General Cole remained in reserve. However Blake, commanding the Spaniards, refused to move his troops because he was sure the main attack would be upon Albuera village.


When the French V Corps under the command of General Girard began its attack on three Spanish divisions under the command of Generals Zayas, Lardizabal, and Ballasteros, only Zayas's men were aligned to meet the attack (on his own initiative). The flanks of V Corps were covered by horse artillery. On the left flank of V Corps, a French dragoon division under the command of General Latour Mauborg took its position. On its right flank was General Werle's infantry division. José Pascual de Zayas y Chacón (1772 – 1827) was a Spanish divisional commander of great skill and daring and a leading Spanish Army figure in the Peninsular War. ... Horse Artillery were light, fast moving and fast firing artillery units which provided fire support to the cavalry elements of armies in the 18th and 19th centuries. ...


Destruction of Colborne's Brigade

Zayas' Spaniards fought well and General Stewart's 2nd Infantry Division, along with a battery from the KGL, moved to assist them. Colborne's brigade advanced in line to fire into the left flank of the attacking French infantry column. The French were shattered and Stewart ordered a charge. However at this point a rainstorm reduced visibility (and made it very difficult to fire a musket). The British infantry were in line, with little or no firepower and unaware that French cavalry, which had made a wider flanking move was to their right and behind them.


At this moment, General Latour Maubourg sent the Uhlan Regiment and the 10th Hussars Regiment against them. The three British regiments involved (3rd Regiment of Foot, 2/48th Regiment of Foot and the 66th Regiment of Foot)were almost totally destroyed. The 31st Regiment of Foot was able to form square just in time to save itself from destruction by the French/Polish Lancers. The Uhlans captured five regimental flags and five cannons from the KGL battery. Meanwhile, some troops attacked a battalion of the 31st Infantry Regiment, but were repulsed. Next, the Uhlans attacked a Spanish Brigade commanded by General d'Espana and Beresford's staff. Some of the Spanish troops, mainly those from Ballesteros's and Lardizabal's divisions, escaped. This portion of the battle ended with the unsuccessful attack of the British 4th Dragoon Regiment, which lost 27 soldiers. Polish Hussar Hussar (original Hungarian spelling: huszár, plural huszárok; via the French hussard) refers to a class of light cavalry, Hungarian in origin but subsequently imitated throughout Europe. ... Dating to 1572 the 3rd Regiment of Foot was one of the oldest regiments in the British Army. ... The 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot was a Line Regiment of the British Army first formed in 1694. ... A regiment is a military unit, consisting of a group of battalions, usually four and commanded by a colonel. ... A small cannon on a carriage, Bucharest. ...


The Attack Fails

The French attack then fell upon Houghton's brigade (29th Regiment of Foot, 1/48th Regiment of Foot and the 57th Regiment of Foot) of the 2nd Division, which held its ground despite heavy casualties. Colonel Inglis, of the 57th Regiment of Foot fell mortally wounded; but in his last moments kept calling to his men to “die hard“. So far, the battle had gone well for the French. However, Soult had become aware by now that Blake's army had joined Beresford and was therefore reluctant to gamble his last reserves to secure victory. // Early History The 29th Regiment of Foot was raised in 1694 by Colonel Thomas Farrington, an officer of the Coldstream Guards during War of the Grand Alliance known in America as King Williams War. ... The 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot was a line Regiment in the British Army . ... Die Hard is a Hollywood action film released in 1988, written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza, starring Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Alan Rickman, William Atherton, and directed by John McTiernan. ...


Beresford's 4th Division under Lowry Cole then attacked up the ridge from the west. The Fusiliers Brigade (7th Regiment of Foot & 23rd Regiment of Foot), Portuguese 11/23 Brigade and 7th Caçadores particularly distinguished themselves. They repelled cavalry charges by dragoons and Uhlans, and advanced to within close range of the French columns. They exchanged musket fire for about 20 minutes, suffering over 1000 casualties. The French infantry - which must have suffered at least as badly - finally broke as the British survivors mounted a fierce bayonet charge. (Redirected from 23rd Regiment of Foot) Official name The Royal Welch Fusiliers Colonel-in-Chief HM Queen Elizabeth II Colonel Major-General Brian Peter Plummer CBE Nicknames Motto Nec Aspera Terrent Anniversaries St. ... The US Marine Corps OKC-3S Bayonet A bayonet (from French baïonnette) is a knife- or dagger-shaped weapon designed to fit on or over the muzzle of a rifle barrel or similar weapon. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Napier: "Morning came, and both sides remained in their respective situations, the wounded still covering the field of battle, the hostile lines still menacing and dangerous. The greater multitude had fallen on the French part, but the best soldiers on that of the allies, and the dark masses of Soult's powerful cavalry and artillery, as they covered all his front, seemed alone able to contend again for the victory; the right of the French also appeared to threaten the Badajos road, and Beresford, in gloom and doubt, awaited another attack." Wellington's reaction to Beresford's report: "This won't do. Write me down a victory."[1]
  2. ^ Allied (British, Spanish, Portuguese): 5,916 dead or wounded (of whom 4,159 were British and about 2,000 Spanish: Wellington commented, "another such battle would ruin us").
  3. ^ The Allies claimed 8,000; Soult claimed 2,800. (He also claimed his force was about 18,000 men: whatever his good points, they did not include scrupulous veracity.) The French army later calculated its casualties to be 5,936. Curiously, French casualties are often stated as high as 7,000 and even 10,000. The Uhlans lost 130 soldiers killed, wounded, or captured. Captain Kajetan Wojciechowski, who took part in the battle, reported that the Uhlans lost 16 officers and 200 soldiers. The Polish grenadiers, who covered the French withdrawal, also took heavy casualties.
  4. ^ "The steadfastness of General Zayas' battalions at Albuera deserves much greater appreciation than it receives. The Peninsular War is of great importance in the tradition of the British Army. It is unfortunate that much of this tradition is anti-Spanish, more than it is anti-French."[2]

Sir William Francis Patrick Napier (December 7, 1785 - February 12, 1860), British soldier and military historian, third son of Colonel George Napier (1751-1804) was born at Celbridge, near Dublin. ...

References

  1. Andrzej Krzysztof Szymański (August of 2000). "Albuera, zapomniana karta z dziejów kawalerii polskiej ("Albuera: A forgotten charge in the history of the Polish cavalry")". Mówią Wieki 8/2000.

External link

  • Vistula Uhlans "The Picadors of Hell" at Albuera

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