The Armies at Talavera, 27-28 July 1809

The Armies at Talavera, 27-28 July 1809

Allied Armies

British ArmySpanish Army of Estramadura

French Army

Summary of strengths

British16,6612,969five batteries, 1,011 gunners20,641
30 guns
800 gunners, 30 guns

British and French figures are for the troops present at Talavera. The first Spanish figures are Cuesta'a official returns, the second figures the numbers present with the army at Talavera.
* French infantry figures include the divisional gunners.

Allied Armies

British Army

Commander: Sir Arthur WellesleySecond-in-command: Sir John Coape Sherbrooke

Cavalry Division: Lieutenant-General William Payne

Fane's Brigade: Sir Henry Fane
3rd Dragoon Guards
4th Dragoons

Cotton's Brigade: Sir Stapleton Cotton
14th Light Dragoons
16th Light Dragoons

Anson's Brigade: George Anson
23rd Light Dragoons
1st Light Dragoons, King's German Legion

Total Strength: 2,969

First (Sherbrooke's) Division:

H Campbell's Brigade
1st battalion, Coldstream Guards
1st battalion, 3rd Guards
One company 5/60th Foot

Cameron's Brigade: Sir Alan Cameron of Erracht
1/61st Foot
2/83rd Foot
One comapany 5/60th Foot

Langwerth's Brigade (Killed in action)
1st Line battalion, King's German Legion
2nd Line battalion, King's German Legion
Light Companies, King's German Legion

Low's Brigade
5th Line battalion, King's German Legion
7th Line battalion, King's German Legion

Total Strength: 5,964

Second (Hill's) Division: Sir Rowland Hill

Tilson's Brigade
1/3rd Foot
2/48th Foot
2/66th Foot
One company 5/60th Foot

R Stewart's Brigade: Richard Stewart
29th Foot
1/48th Foot
1st battalion of Detachments

Total Strength: 3,905

Third (Mackenzie's) Division: Sir Alexander Mackenzie

Mackenzie's Brigade
2/24th Foot
2/31st Foot
1/45th Foot

Donkin's Brigade: Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin
2/87th Foot
1/88th Foot
Five companies 5/60th Foot

Total Strength: 3,747

Fourth (Campbell's) Division: Sir Alexander Campbell

A Campbell's Brigade: Sir Alexander Campbell
2/7th Foot
2/53rd Foot
One company 5/60th Foot

Kemmis's Brigade
1/40th Foot
97th Foot
2nd battalion of Detachments
One company 5/60th Foot

Total Strength: 2,960


Lawson's Battery
Sillery's Battery
Elliot's Battery

Rettberg's Battery
Heyse's Battery

Total Strength: 1,011

Spanish Army of Estremadura

General in Chief: Lieutenant General Gregorio de la Cuesta

Second in Command: Lieutenant General Francisco de Eguia
Officer Commanding Artillery: Brigadier-General G. Rodriguez
Officer Commanding Engineers: Brigadier-General M. Zappiono

Major General of Infantry: Major General J. M. de Alos

Vanguard: Brigadier General José Zayas
2nd Voluntarios of Catalonia
Cazadores de Barbastro (2nd battalion)
Cazadores de Campo-Mayor
Cazadores de Valencia y Albuquerque
Cazadores Voluntarios de Valencia (2nd battalion)

1st Division: Major-General Marques de Zayas
Cantabria (three battalions)
Granaderos Provinciales
Tiradores de Merida
Provincial de Truxillo

2nd Division: Major General Vincente Iglesias
2nd of Majorca
Velez-Malaga (three battalions)
Osuna (three battalions)
Voluntarios Estrangeros
Provincial de Burgos

3rd Division: Major-General Marques de Portago
Badajoz (two battalions)
2nd of Antequera
Imperial de Toledo
Provincial de Badajoz
Provincial de Guadix

4th Division: Major-General R. Manglano
Irlanda (two battalions)
Jaen (two battalions)
3rd of Seville
Leales de Fernando VII (1st battalion)
2nd Voluntarios de Madrid
Voluntearios de la Corona

5th Division: Major-General L. A. Bassecourt
Real Marina, 1st Regiment (two battalions)
Africa (3rd battalion)
Murcia (two battalions)
Reyna (1st battalion)
Provincial de Sigüenza

Major General of Cavalry: Major General R. de Villalba, Marquis de Malapina

1st Division: Lieutenant General J. de Henestrosa
Voluntaris de España
Imperial de Toledo
Cazadores de Sevilla
Cazadores de Madrid

2nd Division: Lieutenant-General Duque de Albuquerque
Carabineros Reales (one squadron)
1st and 2nd Hussars of Estremadura

Total strength: 35,000 infantry, 7,000 cavalry and 30 guns

French Army

1st Corps: Marshal Victor

1st Division: Ruffin
9thLéger (three battalions)
24th of the Line (three battalions)
96th of the Line (three battalions)

2nd Division: Lapisse (killed in action)
16th Léger (three battalions)
8th of the Line (three battalions)
45th of the Line (three battalions)
54th of the Line (three battalions)

3rd Division: Villatte
27th Léger (three battalions)
63rd of the Line (three battalions)
94th of the Line (three battalions)
95th of the Line (three battalions)

Corps-Cavalry: Beaumont
2nd Hussars
5th Chasseurs

Total Strength: 19,310

4th Corps: General Sebastiani

1st Division: Sebastiani
28th of the Line (three battalions)
32nd of the Line (three battalions)
58th of the Line (three battalions)
75th of the Line (three battalions)

2nd Division: Valence
4th Polish Regiment (two battalions)

3rd Division: Leval
Nassau (two battalions)
Baden (two battalions)
Hesse-Darmstadt (two battalions)
Holland (two battalions)
Frankfort (one battalion)

Merlin's Light Cavalry
10th Chasseurs
26th Chasseurs
Polish Lancers
Westphalian Chevaux-Légers

Total Strength: 15,456

Reserve Cavalry

1st Dragoon Division: Latour-Maubourg
1st, 2nd, 4th, 9th, 14th and 26th Dragoons

2nd Dragoon Division: Milhaud
5th, 12th, 16th, 20th, 21st Dragoons
3rd Dutch Hussars

Total Strength: 5,635

Troops from Madrid

12th Léger (three battalions)
51st Line (three battalions)
King's Guard Infantry
King's Guard Cavalry
27th Chasseurs (two squadrons)

Total Strength: 5,737

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Battle of Talavera

The Battle of Talavera (27󈞈 July 1809) was fought just outside the town of Talavera de la Reina, some 120 kilometers southwest of Madrid, during the Peninsular War in Spain. At Talavera an Anglo-Spanish army under Sir Arthur Wellesley combined with a Spanish army under General Cuesta in operations against French-occupied Madrid. After fierce fighting, the Grande Armée's attacks were repulsed several times during the overnight lull in action it withdrew from the field. Wellesley was ennobled as Viscount Wellington of Talavera and of Wellington Γ] for the action.

The Battle of Talavera

Combatants: British and Spanish against the French.

Generals: Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley against King Joseph Bonaparte

Size of the armies: 20,000 British and 30,000 Spanish against 46,000 French.

Uniforms, arms and equipment : Uniforms, arms, equipment and training:

The British infantry wore red waist length jackets, white trousers, and stovepipe shakos. Fusilier regiments wore bearskin caps. The two rifle regiments wore dark green jackets.

British Dragoons wore red coats and Roman style crested helmets. The Light Dragoons wore light blue. The Royal Artillery wore blue tunics.

Highland regiments wore the kilt with red tunics and tall black ostrich feather caps.

The King’s German Legion, which comprised both cavalry and infantry regiments wore black, as did other German units in the British service.

The French army wore a wide variety of uniforms. The basic infantry uniform was dark blue.

The French cavalry comprised Dragoons largely in green. The French artillery dressed in uniforms similar to the infantry, the horse artillery in hussar uniform.

The standard infantry weapon across all the armies was the musket. It could be fired at three or four times a minute, throwing a heavy ball inaccurately for only a hundred metres or so. Each infantryman carried a bayonet that fitted on the muzzle of his musket.

The British rifle battalions (60th and 95th Rifles) carried the Baker rifle, a more accurate weapon but slower to fire, and a sword bayonet.

Field guns fired a ball projectile, by its nature of limited use against troops in the field, unless closely formed. Guns also fired case shot or canister which fragmented, but was effective only over a short range. Exploding shells fired by howitzers, as yet in their infancy were of particular use against buildings. The British had the secret development in this field of ‘shrapnel’.

Winner : Both sides claimed a victory, the British on the basis that all the French attacks had been decisively repelled, with French guns captured, and the French on the basis that the British were finally forced to retreat from the Talavera position , leaving their wounded in French hands.

British Regiments:

3rd Dragoon Guards, later the 3rd Carabineers and now the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards *
4th Dragoons, later the 4th/7th RoyalDragoon Guards and now the Royal Dragoon Guards*
14th Light Dragoons, later 14th/20th King’s Hussars and now the King’s Royal Hussars *
16th Light Dragoons. Later 16th/5th the Queen’s Royal Lancers and now the Queen’s Royal Lancers *
23rd Light Dragoons, disbanded 1815
1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards*
3rd Guards, now the Scots Guards*
3rd Buffs, later the East Kent Regiment and now the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment *
7th Royal Fusiliers, now the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers *
24th Foot, later the South Wales Borderers and now the Royal Regiment of Wales *
29th Foot, later the Worcestershire Regiment and now the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment *
31st Foot, later the East Surrey Regiment and now the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment *
40th Foot, later the South Lancashire Regiment and now the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment *
45th Foot, later the Sherwood Foresters and now the Worcestershire & Sherwood Foresters Regiment *
48th Foot, later the Northamptonshire Regiment and now the Royal Anglian *
53rd Foot, later the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and now the Light Infantry *
60th Foot, later the King’s Royal Rifles and now the Royal Green Jackets *
61st Foot, later the Gloucestershire Regiment and now the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment *
66th Foot, later the Royal Berkshire Regiment and now the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment *
83rd Foot, later the Royal Ulster Rifles and now the Royal Irish Regiment *
87th Foot, later the Royal Irish Fusiliers and now the Royal Irish Regiment *
88th Foot, the Connaught Rangers, disbanded in 1922 *
97th Foot, disbanded 1815
* These regiments have Talavera as a battle honour.

British order of Battle:

Commander in chief : Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley
Cavalry: commanded by Lieutenant General William Payne
1st Brigade: commanded by Brigadier

General Henry Fane
3rd Dragoon Guards
4th Dragoons

2nd Brigade: commanded by Brigadier General Stapleton Cotton
14th Light Dragoons
16th Light Dragoons

3rd Brigade: commanded by Brigadier General George Anson
23rd Light Dragoons
1st Hussars, King’s German Legion

1st Division: commanded by Lieutenant General John Sherbrooke
1st Brigade: commanded by Brigadier General Henry Campbell
1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards
1st/3rd Guards
1 Co. 5th/60th Foot

2nd Brigade: commanded by Brigadier General Alan Cameron
1st/61st Foot
2nd/83rd Foot
1 Co. 5th/60th Foot

3rd Brigade: commanded by Brigadier General Ernst, Baron Langwerth
1st Line Battalion, King’s German Legion
2nd Line Battalion, King’s German Legion
1st Light Battalion, King’s German Legion
2nd Light Battalion, King’s German Legion

4th Brigade: commanded by Brigadier General Sigismund, Baron Löw
5th Line Battalion, King’s German Legion
7th Line Battalion, King’s German Legion

2nd Division: commanded by Major General Rowland Hill
1st Brigade: commanded by Brigadier General Christopher Tilson
1st/3rd Buffs
2nd/48th Foot
2nd/66th Foot
1 Co. 5th/60th Foot

2nd Brigade: commanded by Brigadier General Richard Stewart
29th Foot
1st/48th Foot
1st Bn detachments

3rd Division: commanded by Major General Randoll Mackenzie
1st Brigade: commanded by Major General Randoll Mackenzie
2nd/24th Foot
2nd/31st Foot
1st/45th Foot

2nd Brigade: commanded by Colonel Donkin
2nd/87th Foot
1st/88th Foot
5th/60th Foot

4th Division: commanded by Brigadier General Alexander Campbell
1st Brigade: commanded by Brigadier General Alexander Campbell
2nd/7th Fusiliers
2nd/53rd Foot
1 Co. 5th/60th Foot

2nd Brigade: commanded by Colonel James Kemmis
1st/40th Foot
97th Foot
2nd Battalion detachments
1 Co. 5th/60th Foot

Lawson’s, Sillery’s and Elliot’s batteries
Rettberg’s and Heise’s batteries

French order of battle:
Commander in Chief: Joseph Napoleon, King of Spain
Chief of Staff: Marshal Jourdan

I Corps: commanded by Marshal Victor
1st Division commanded by General Ruffin
2nd Division commanded by General Lapisse
3rd Division commanded by General Villatte

IV Corps: commanded by General Sebastiani
1st Division commanded by General Sebastiani
2nd Division commanded by General Valence
3rd Division commanded by General Leval

Cavalry Brigade commanded by General Merlin

Madrid Division commanded by General Dessolles

Reserve of cavalry:

1st Dragoon Division commanded by General Latour-Maubourg
2nd Dragoon Division commanded by General Milhaud
Artillery: commanded by General Sénarmont

Sir Arthur Wellesley crossed the border from Portugal into Spain on 2nd July 1809 with the intention of co-operating with the Spanish armies of General Cuesta and of General Venegas in an attack on the French in Madrid under Joseph Bonaparte.

Joseph also had aggressive plans, intending to use Marshal Soult’s corps to invade Portugal. On 20th July 1809 Wellesley joined General Cuesta and advanced to attack Marshal Victor’s corps near Talavera. On 22nd July 1809 the British began probing Victor’s positions .

Hearing of Wellesley’s advance Soult, positioned to the North, proposed that Victor hold the British and Spanish armies while he marched south and put his army of 30,000 men between Wellesley and his base in Portugal.

Victor in the face of the attacks on him withdrew, with Cuesta’s Spanish army following him. At Torrijos, forty five miles to the East, Cuesta was confronted by Joseph Bonaparte’s army of 46,000 men. Cuesta retreated and joined Wellesley at Talavera.

During the final part of this retreat the French advance guard surprised a brigade of British foot and inflicted heavy casualties.

By the evening of 26th July 1809 the British and Spanish army was in position at Talavera on the north bank of the River Tagus. The Spanish occupied the town and the close ground to the North. Beyond their positions a line of high ground formed the main position for the British troops, ending in the Cerro de Medellin. Between the Cerro and the mountains of the Sierra de Segurilla lay a narrow valley.
The Talavera position provided the high ground Wellesley favoured for a defensive battle.

Marshal Victor’s corps led the French advance and had surprised the British brigade in the evening. Victor decided to assault the Cerro de Medellin, the dominating feature of the British line, without delay, although it was now night. The division of General Ruffin made the attack. The French reached the summit before the British troops realised they were there and there was considerable confusion. General Hill brought up a reserve brigade and drove Ruffin’s men from the Cerro. The rest of the night was spent by the British waiting for a further French assault.

At 5am Marshal Victor sent Ruffin’s division back up the Cerro, a battery of fifty guns supporting the attack. This time the British were ready. Wellesley’s troops were lying down behind the crest of the hill out of the line of artillery fire. As Ruffin’s infantry reached the top of the hill the British 29th and 48th Foot stood up and charged with the bayonet, driving the French back down the hill and across the Portina brook.

There was a pause in the battle for two hours while Joseph Bonaparte consulted with his chief of staff, Jourdan, Victor and Sebastiani. Victor urged that Sebastiani should attack the British right at its junction with the Spanish formations, while he attacked the Cerro yet again. Joseph, anxious for a victorious outcome agreed.

Sebastiani’s columns attacked at the point where the hills were lowest. His left column, after bitter fighting, was driven back by the 7th Fusiliers and the 53rd Foot. His right column attacked the British Foot Guards and the 83rd Foot. The French were driven back by the Guards, but during the course of the pursuit the Guards were taken in enfilade by a French battery and driven back in confusion, while Sebastiani’s columns returned to the attack. Wellesley brought up the 48th Foot, behind which the Guards were able to reform, and the dangerous French counter-attack was held and repelled.

In the meantime Ruffin’s division had been ordered to make its third assault on the Cerro, which it did with little enthusiasm and no success.

In the valley to the North of the Cerro, Victor’s right hand division attempted to outflank the British line. Wellesley launched Anson’s cavalry brigade in a charge on the French infantry. A hidden defile brought disaster to the cavalry. The 1st Light Dragoons, King’s German Legion plunged into the defile. The 23rd Light Dragoons charged on to be met by the French Infantry in square and suffered significant casualties.

The French assault petered out and Joseph’s army retreated during the night, leaving several guns in British and Spanish possession.

French losses were 17 guns and 7,268 men. The British lost 5,363 men killed and wounded.

The morning after the battle Brigadier General Robert Craufurd’s Light Brigade marched into camp with bugle horns playing, having marched 42 miles in 26 hours in an attempt to reach the army in time for the battle.

The next day Wellesley heard that Soult with 30,000 men was near to cutting the route to Portugal, forcing a precipitous British retreat to the Portuguese border.

Having just arrived, the Light Brigade had to march for another fifteen hours to secure the Almaraz Bridge before Soult could take it, thereby keeping open communications with Lisbon.

History: The Battle of Talavera 1809

On October 1808 Sir John Moore took command of the Anglo-Portuguese army. He boldly led his 23,000 men into Spain, but a month later had to retreat rapidly, pursued by the enemy. His strategic position was not good, his Spanish allies had been defeated and had proved to be untrustworthy, and he faced a French force of approximately 200,000 men commanded by Napoleon himself. An intelligence intercept allowed him to threaten an isolated French force at Saldana but learning that Napoleon was aware of his intentions, he began the epic retreat to the port of Corunna. In January 1809 Moore turned and engaged the chasing French, extricating his army, but at the cost of his own life. Sir John was a real warrior of Albion, so this was a great loss to both the British Army and the allied cause.

With the British ejected, the French overwhelmed Portugal, their grip on the country only hampered by logistical difficulties. On the 22nd of April 1809, the British returned with Wellesley landing in command of an Anglo-Portuguese army. During May, the allies executed a brilliant campaign forcing the French under Marshal Soult to abandon Oporto with the loss of their artillery and baggage. By the start of July, Wellesley had moved into Spain and made contact with the 33,000 strong Spanish army under Cuesta by the 20th both armies then manoeuvred to force Marshal Claude Victor’s 1st Corps away from menacing the Portuguese border. Victor duly fell back and retreated first to Almaraz and then to Talavera. Wellington now believed that he had a real chance of capturing the Spanish capital, Madrid, before the French armies could converge on him.

The Allies made contact with Marshal Victor near the city of Talavera on the 23rd of July, but missed a chance to maul him when the Spanish refused to fight, as it was Sunday, allowing Victor to withdraw. Cuesta chose to pursue, whilst Wellesley remained at Talavera de la Reina, approximately 75 miles south west of the Spanish capital. Cuesta’s pursuit stumbled to a halt when he caught up with Victor, who was now reinforced by General Sebastiani’s 4th Corps and by King Joseph’s Royal reserve at Torrijos. Outnumbered, the Spanish turned and rejoined the British, now pursued in turn by the French. The allied chance to capture Madrid had gone.

On arrival at Talavera, the Spanish were offered the right wing position (around Talavera itself) by Wellesley, who was dubious as to whether the Spanish would stand in the open. Talavera was surrounded by olive groves and stone walls, which made it into a formidable defensive position. The Spanish that were not deployed in Talavera also took up strong positions along a sunken road protected by more stone walls. The British took the Allied left, and deployed along a low ridge and a hill known as the Cerro de Medellin. To reinforce the centre of the line they built a redoubt at Pajar de Vergara.

Wellesley intended to do what he and is soldiers did best, fight a defensive battle. He was satisfied with his own forces’ situation, defending high ground where he could protect them from the worst of the French fire. He also hoped his Spanish allies would stand in their shielded positions. On the British front, the 1st Division held the Medellin, with the 2nd Division to its left the 4th Division supported the redoubt. In the second line, Fane’s and Cotton’s cavalry were in reserve whilst the Spanish crossing points at the Alberche river were protected by the 3rd Division.

The French, recognising the strength of the Spanish positions, deployed the majority of their 46,000 troops against Wellesley, intending to defeat the British first and then move against the Spanish. Victor’s I Corps deployed on the French right facing the British and Portuguese, while Sebastiani’s Corps held the centre. On the left, Milhaud’s horsemen faced almost the entire Spanish army. Opposite the Medellin, 30 French cannon were situated on the Cerro de Cascajal, while Latour-Maubourg and the Madrid garrison remained in reserve. Formidable!

The Battle

The battle of Talavera began on the afternoon of the 27th July and started badly for the Allies with the initial action taking place at the Casa de Salinas, a ruined house about a mile west of the Alberche river. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, Sherbrooke’s and Mackenzie’s divisions had been posted on the east bank of the river to protect the river crossing for the Spanish. Cuesta’s army arrived on the evening of the 26th, but did not cross the river until the 27th. The British then withdrew once the Spanish were safe across the Alberche. Mackenzie was ordered to act as a rearguard during these manoeuvres, whilst Wellesley used the Casa de Salinas to keep an eye on proceedings. Despite pickets having been posted, Lapisse’s division of Victor’s 1st Corps was able to cross the Alberche undetected and surprise Mackenzie. Three battalions were routed, 500 men lost and Wellesley nearly captured. The situation was steadied by the actions of the 45th Nottinghamshire and riflemen of the 60th Royal Americans, allowing Wellesley to rally the fugitives. The British were able to extricate themselves without further interference, despite the harassing fire of French horse artillery.

On the night of July 27th, Victor sent Ruffin’s Division to seize the Cerro de Medellin. Limited visibility saw two of Ruffin’s three regiments getting lost in the dark, but the 9th Leger still routed Sigismund Lowe’s exposed brigade and stormed the Medellin. This came about as Hill’s Division, which should have been on the crest of the Medellin, was actually camped a half mile away. The British managed to contain the situation and the French attack was eventually countered by Stewart’s Brigade.

Battle for the Cerro de Medellin courtesy of Osprey Publishing

On the same evening, French dragoons were sent to probe the Spanish lines. Well before the French were in range, the entire Spanish line fired a volley at the horsemen. This event precipitated four Spanish battalions to throw down their arms and flee in panic, seemingly frightened by the sound of their own weapons. Just less than 2,000 Spanish fled the field, looting the British baggage train on the way.

The following morning saw no change in Victor’s plan. He was convinced that he could capture the Cerro de Medellin without support from the rest of the army. This was the first time Victor had fought against the British and he did not expect them to stand against his columns. Once again, Ruffin’s 5,000 men were selected for the Medellin assault following an artillery bombardment. The French came on in attack columns covered by skirmishers, each regiment’s three battalions advancing side-by-side. When Ruffin’s Brigade got within effective musket range, Tilson’s and Stewart’s Brigades, supported by Sherbrooke’s Brigade, emerged from cover in the now standard British two-deep line. Their volley fire halted the rattled French columns, which attempted to form line and return fire. To the cheers of the British, the French soon broke and fled as Sherbrooke proceeded to enfilade them. The fleeing French were pursued from the Cerro de Medellin by Stewart’s Brigade, the British ending their pursuit at the portina and then retiring back to their lines.

This phase of the battle had cost the French nearly 1,500 casualties. Hill’s Brigade, the most heavily engaged British formation, lost 750 men, with Hill himself receiving a head wound.

The defeat of Ruffin’s Division heralded a meeting of the French command: Victor, Sebastiani, Joseph and his chief of staff, Jourdan. The latter two favoured a defensive action they knew that Marshal Soult was marching with 30,000 men to threaten the Allied rear which would force their retreat. Meanwhile, Victor argued for an all out attack on the Allied left and centre. The argument was ended when news reached the French that a Spanish force under General Venegas was moving to take Madrid at the same time the generals discovered that Soult was delayed and would not now be able to threaten the Allied rear. The French could not allow the politically symbolic capital to fall to the Spanish, and would need to free formations from this encounter to fend them off. A full-scale assault was ordered against the British line.

The Divisions of Lapisse and Sebastiani and Leval’s Germans were selected for the task of driving Cuesta’s and Wellesley’s combined armies away. Lapisse’s Division was to attack the Cerro de Meddelin, followed by Leval’s Division, which was to attack the point in the line where the British and Spanish forces met. Finally Sebastiani was to attack the Guard’s Brigade and part of Cameron’s Brigade in the allied centre. Leval was to send his troops forward after Lapisse’s attack was delivered but as Leval’s forces moved to their starting positions through rough terrain, they soon lost contact with the rest of the French army. Leval, believing his approach march had taken too long sent his forces forward to the attack – but he was too early. The rough terrain, mainly made up of olive groves, disordered his columns and they emerged from the terrain facing the Spanish left, British right and a gun battery on the Pajar de Vergara.

The deadly fire from the artillery redoubt smashed into the French columns before it and quickly dispersed them. Leval enjoyed some success, but was eventually driven off by the brigades of Campbell and Kemmis, losing 700 men and six guns.

The Divisions of Lapisse and Sebastiani attacked next. The French battalion columns came on in two separate and distinct attack waves made up of twenty four battalions, pitched at the eight battalions of Sherbrooke’s 1st Division. The French advance made good time until they moved into effective musket range. The British regiments opened fire simultaneously, and once again the French were checked by the effect of the British volleys. The front echelon soon broke and fled, and with hearty cheers the British charged forward to complete their discomfort. Some British battalions, including the Guards, got out of hand and pursued too far and were in turn checked by artillery and musketry from the second wave of French troops. This caused heavy casualties and the British retired in confusion.

This precipitate movement had made a hole in the British line, which Lapisse now moved to exploit. In all his battles, Wellesley showed an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time when a crisis loomed. This situation at Talavera was no exception and he personally ordered the 48th Northamptonshire Regiment to plug the gap, to be quickly reinforced with Mackenzie’s Brigade. The next stage of this clash now saw 3,000 British face 8,000 Frenchmen of the second wave. An intensive fire fight saw the French turned away in defeat, the two-deep line beating the column once again. The action cost the French over 2,000 casualties, including Lapisse who fell mortally wounded. The British suffered just over 600 casualties, including Mackenzie who had been killed. Wellesley had defended the position brilliantly.

With the defeat of the main French attacks, poor Ruffin’s Brigade was again sent forward to attempt a flanking manoeuvre on the Medellin, supported by elements of Villatte’s Division. This effort was stalled by Wellesley’s deployment of Anson’s and Fane’s cavalry Brigades. Wellesley also sought assistance from Cuesta, who responded by sending Bassecourt’s Division and the Duke of Albuquerque’s cavalry division. The pressure applied by the British cavalry meant that the French attack floundered as they were obliged to fall back in square formation. Although the 1st KGL Light Dragoons advanced in good order, the British 23rd Light Dragoons went out of control, charging past the squares formed by Ruffin’s infantry into the supporting French cavalry. The 23rd were badly mauled, losing half their strength before they made their way to safety. This melee was the last action of the battle, Joseph’s army leaving the field to defend Madrid against the Spanish threat.

Charge of the Spanish Cavalry courtesy of Osprey Publishing

One appalling postscript to the battle was the grass fires that suddenly took hold on the tinder-dry fields, killing numerous stranded wounded from both sides.


French casualties at Talavera totalled 7,300. The Spaniards lost about 1,200 men Wellesley’s losses of 5,500 amounted to more than 25% of his entire force.

Although an allied tactical victory, Talavera could be seen as a strategic victory for the French. Wellesley’s army had been bled white and Marshal Soult’s fresh army had swung south, threatening to cut off Wellesley from Portugal. Thinking that the French were weaker than they actually were, Wellesley moved east on August 3rd to block them, having left 1,500 wounded in Spanish care. Surprised by Soult’s numbers, the British commander sent the recently arrived Light Brigade to secure a route out of Spain. With a safe line of retreat, Wellesley considered joining with Cuesta again, when he found out that his Spanish ally had abandoned the British wounded to the French and was proving to be generally uncooperative. Wellesley was further compromised by poorly coordinated Spanish troop movements and broken promises over the supply of equipment and rations. In the spring, the threat of French reinforcement led to Wellesley retiring into Portugal.

For his efforts, after this battle Wellesley was created Viscount Wellington of Talavera.

Aquatint by T Sutherland after W Heath, published by J Jenkins, 1 June 1815. From 'The Martial Achievements of Great Britain and Her Allies from 1799 to 1815'.

The Battle of Talavera on 27-28 July 1809 took place to the south-west of Madrid. An Anglo-Spanish army of 50,000 men commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley and the Spanish General Gregorio de la Cuesta, faced 46,000 Frenchmen under Marshal Claude Victor and the French King of Spain, Joseph Bonaparte.

One of the bloodiest battles of the war, Talavera was something of a stalemate. Although the French withdrew from the field, Wellesley was forced to return with his force to Portugal after another French army under Marshal Soult threatened his lines of communication. Further operations were also restricted by the lack of co-operation between the British and their Spanish allies.


Victor urged his superiors for a massive attack, but Joseph and Jourdan chose to peck away at the Anglo-Spanish position. At dawn, the guns on the Cascajal opened up, causing some loss among the British infantry formed in the open. Having learned the hard way about the destructive power of French artillery, Wellesley soon pulled his soldiers back into cover.

Again, Ruffin's division attacked the Medellín. Each battalion was formed in a column of divisions with a width of two companies and a depth of three. (French battalions had recently been re-organized into six companies.) Each regiment's three battalions advanced side-by-side with only a small gap between units. This would make each regimental attack roughly 160 files across and nine ranks deep. When Ruffin's men got within effective range, the British emerged from cover in two-deep lines to overlap the French columns. Riddled by fire from front and flank, and with their rear six ranks unable to fire, the French columns broke and ran.

Victor shifted Ruffin's survivors to the right against the Segurilla and supported them with one of Villatte's brigades. Lapisse, Sebastiani and Leval (from right to left) then launched a frontal attack against the British 1st and 4th Divisions. Alexander Campbell's men and the Spanish defeated Leval's attack, which went in first. Lapisse and Sebastiani then advanced in two lines using the same regimental columns that Ruffin had employed. Henry Campbell's Guards brigade (1st Division) routed the French regiments opposite them, then charged in pursuit. Running into the French second line and intense artillery fire. The Guards and the Germans with them were routed in their turn, losing 500 men, and carried away Cameron's brigade with them. Seeing Guards and his centre broken, [12] Wellesley personally brought up the 48th Foot to plug the hole caused by the dispersal of Sherbrooke's division. Backed by Mackenzie's brigade (3rd Division), the 48th broke the French second line's attack as the Guards rallied in the rear. Lapisse was mortally wounded.

The main French attack having been defeated, Victor pushed Ruffin's men into the valley between the Medellín and the Segurilla. Anson's cavalry brigade was ordered to drive them back. While the 1st KGL Hussars advanced at a controlled pace, the 23rd Light Dragoons soon broke into a wild gallop. The undisciplined unit ran into a hidden ravine, hobbling many horses. Those horsemen who cleared the obstacle were easily fended off by the French infantry, formed into squares. The 23rd Light Dragoons charged past the squares and ploughed into Beaumont's cavalry, drawn up behind Ruffin. The British dragoons lost 102 killed and wounded and another 105 captured before they cut their way out. After the battle, the mauled regiment had to be sent back to England to refit. However, this ended the French attacks for the day. Joseph and Jourdan failed to employ their reserve, for which they were bitterly criticized by Napoleon.

Talavera and Wellington’s 1809-10 Campaigns

The previous post in this series on the Napoleonic Wars described the background to the Peninsular War and the situation in April 1812.

General Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, returned to Portugal on 22 April 1809 to take command of the British troops there. He re-organised the army, improved its administration, set up a divisional structure that improved its fighting efficiency and made it more flexible, increased the number of skirmishers and integrated the British and Portuguese armies. The re-opening of hostilities between France and Austria meant that the French were able to deploy fewer troops in Spain than in 1808, and Napoleon no longer commanded them in person.

The pictures on this post were taken by myself, when I visited the battlefields of Wellington’s 1809-12 campaigns in Spain as part of a tour conducted by Ian Fletcher of Ian Fletcher Battlefield Tours. This was very informative and visiting the battlefield is an invaluable way of understanding the battle. I have no connection with IFBT except as a very satisfied customer.

Maps are also vital in understanding battles for copyright reasons I have provided links to websites with maps of the battlefields rather than copying the maps directly into this post. Click here for a low resolution map of the Peninsular War.

On 12 May Wellesley crossed the River Douro, forcing the French out of Portugal. His army of 20,000 men then joined up with Cuesta’s 35,000 strong Spanish army. They were attacked at Talavera de la Reina on the night of 27 July by 46,000 French troops. A hard fought battle lasted the whole of the next day, before the French withdrew. Wellesley was created Earl of Wellington for his victory.

Monument to Battle of Talavera

There was no reverse slope at Talavera the belief that Wellington’s battles always featured one is based on the incorrect assumption that Waterloo was typical. A motorway now runs through the battlefield and a modern memorial has been constructed. Wellington and Cuesta agreed to attack Marshal Victor’s 22,000 French troops on 23 July, but the Spanish did not move. Charles Esdaile suggests that the most likely reason is that Cuesta thought that he was heading into a trap.[1] Wellington also halted as well as lacking support from Cuesta, his army was suffering from supply problems. Cuesta moved forward, encountering the French on 25 July. Victor had now been reinforced by General Sebastiani and King Joseph, bringing the French army to 46,000. Luck and French mistakes enabled him to escape the trap and rejoin Wellington. The Allied army withdrew to a better defensive position, covered by Mackenzie’s Division of British troops. Wellington was almost killed or captured whilst conducting a forward reconnaissance.

The Allied army was now deployed along the Portiña, a stream that was easily crossed. Woods and olive groves restricted the scope for cavalry charges but gave infantry the opportunity to launch surprise attacks. The French were outnumbered, but they could concentrate against either the British or the Spanish, screening the other with cavalry, and obtaining local superiority.

Victor, the only French commander then present, attacked the British position on the Medellin hill on the night of 27 July. This attack failed, as did another one on at 5 am the next day. Sebastiani and Joseph then arrived. They and Marshal Jourdan, Joseph’s military adviser, were reluctant to attack, but Victor persuaded them to resume the assault on the British. The debate amongst the French commanders meant that the attack did not start until 2 pm.

Portina stream. More foliage today than in 1809.

Until then, British and French troops fraternised at the Portiña, the only source of water on the battlefield. During this war British and French soldiers, including officers, maintained good relations when not required to kill each other. Sentries were not fired on, enemy wounded were cared for, prisoners were not mis-treated and sources of food and water in no man’s land were shared.

The French attacks failed, but British casualties were high, 5,365 dead, wounded and captured out of 20,000 according to Jac Weller.[2] French casualties were 7,268, but there were 46,000 French troops present. Spanish casualties were light, since the French attacked only the British.

The battle prejudiced Wellington against Spanish troops, whose commanders were slow to move, and against his own cavalry, which performed poorly. Ian Fletcher argues that the cavalry did well elsewhere in the war, but usually when Wellington was not present.

Until he was appointed to command the Spanish Army in 1813, Wellington commanded an Anglo-Portuguese army, including a contingent of Germans, that was about 50,000 strong. It normally faced similar sized French forces, although there were up to 300,000 French troops in Spain. The others were tied down by the Spanish Army, Spanish guerillas, and the threat of a popular uprising. Most of the battles of the Peninsular War were won by the Anglo-Portuguese army, but the Spanish played a significant role in the war.

Napoleon had left Spain in January 1809 he believed that the campaign was won and was concerned that Austria was planning to re-enter the war. His 1809 campaign against Austria began when he arrived in Germany on 16 April, a week after the Austrians invaded Bavaria. On 21 May at Aspern-Essling the Archduke Karl became the first general to defeat Napoleon. The Emperor re-grouped and avenged this loss at Wagram on 5-6 July, but suffered heavier casualties than in his previous victories. He imposed harsh terms on Austria and was able to send reinforcements to Spain.

Wellington was not able to follow up his success at Talavera. Another 50,000 French troops under Marshal Soult were advancing and threatened to cut Wellington’s communications with Portugal. He therefore withdrew south, halting in Badajoz in September 1809 for a period before moving the bulk of his army to Almeida. He used the subsequent period of inactivity to begin construction of the Lines of Torres Vedras. British and Portuguese engineers constructed a formidable defensive barrier in the hills north of Lisbon.

There were then two main routes between Spain and Portugal, each protected by a fortress on either side of the border. In the north these were Ciudad Rodrigo in Spain and Almeida in Portugal. The southern route was covered by Badajoz in Spain and Elvas in Portugal. The terrain in between was unsuitable for artillery and supply wagons, as the French had found in 1807 when Junot invaded Portugal through this route.

An army crossing the frontier between Spain or Portugal had to take all four of these fortresses in order to protect its lines of communication. Elvas, weaker than the others, was returned to Portugal by France in 1808 under the terms of the Convention of Cintra and remained in Portuguese hands for the rest of the war.

Marshal Massena now commanded the French troops in the Peninsula, who were reinforced after the end of the war with Austria. He began his campaign by laying siege to Ciudad Rodrigo in May 1810. A gallant defence by the Spanish under General Herrasti lasted until 10 July. Wellington refused to march to their aid because he could not risk facing Massena in the open. Massena had less difficulty in taking Almeida, which had to surrender on 26 August after its magazine accidentally blew up.

Massena then advanced on the Busaco Ridge, a move that played into Wellington’s hands as it was a strong defensive position. Massena had 65,000 men, but his attacks on 27 September were beaten off by the 52,000 strong Anglo-Portuguese army. Wellington declined to follow up, instead withdrawing to the defensive Lines of Torres Vedras. Massena realised that he had no chance of successfully assaulting these and withdrew to Santarem, suffering significant losses to starvation and disease because of Wellington’s scorched earth policy.

The next post in this series will cover Wellington’s 1811 campaign, including the battles of Fuentes de Oñoro and Albuera.

[1] Charles Esdaile, The Peninsular War: A New History (London: Allen Lane, 2002), p. 201.

[2] Jac Weller, Wellington in the Peninsular (London: Greenhill Books, 1992), p. 104.

Talavera, battle of

Talavera, battle of, 1809. On 28 July Wellesley's British army of 20,000 men, co-operating with Cuesta's Spanish army of 34,000 men (who saw little action), were attacked by 46,000 French commanded by King Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jourdan. A night attack achieved surprise but was thrown back. Then the French mounted a series of assaults against the British centre, followed by a turning movement in the north. All were unsuccessful. Although Talavera was a clear British victory, Wellesley, who had been abandoned by Cuesta, retreated to Portugal. As a reward for his victory, Wellesley was created Viscount Wellington.

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The Armies at Talavera, 27-28 July 1809 - History

The 1st Guards were in the Peninsula from the beginning but were reinforced by the 2nd Guards Brigade (Coldstream and Scots) in May 1909. In overall command was Sir Arthur Wellesley, under whom they successfully crossed the Douro, captured Oporto and covered themselves in glory at Talavera on 28th July 1809. They were part of Sherbrooke's 1st Division, in the centre of the line. They suffered a severe artillery bombardment and then an attack by 15,000 French infantry. They held their fire until the enemy were at a range of 50 yards and then fired a withering volley. As the French struggled to recover, the Division charged them and drove them back. Unfortunately they pressed on too far and had to be rescued by the 48th Foot. The Coldstreamers lost 300 out of 1,000 men. They were awarded a battle honour for Talavera on 12th Feb 1812 and a special medal was struck for 'meritorious officers'.

Fuentes d'Onoro 1811

Wellesley withdrew to his well prepared defensive lines of Torres Vedras for the winter. 1810 was not a very active year but in the spring of 1811, after a long march, the Guards Brigade were present at Fuentes d'Orno (3rd-5th May 1811) where the 1st Division was now under the command of Maj-Gen Miles Nightingall, a hypochondriac who managed to get himself wounded in the foot. Only the Light Companies saw action, while the rest of the Brigade remained on the crest of a ridge overlooking the village, also suffering casualties from artillery fire. It was a victory against the French, led by Massena, but Wellesley, who was now Viscount Wellington of Talavera said that 'if Boney had been there we should have been beat'. However, it was a battle honour for the Coldstreamers.

A composite Guards Battalion was sent to Spain in March 1810 which included 3 companies from the 2nd Battalion, all commanded by Maj-Gen W T Dilkes. They were garrisoned in Cadiz but found themselves under siege for two and a half years. In 1811 they were part of a sortie under Maj-Gen Thomas Graham which turned out to be a hard 15 hour march to Barossa followed by a desperate fight, lasting an hour and a half, against a well-rested force that was twice their number. They suffered the loss of a third of their number but earned a battle honour and another gold medal for the officers. They returned to Cadiz where the siege continued.

Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz 1812

Although the Guards Brigade were part of the 1st Division which was present at all the major battles of this year they did not have a central role. In the unwritten rules of war, armies were supposed to rest during the winter months but Wellington stole a march on the French and besieged Ciudad Rodrigo in January. The siege lasted from 8th January to 19th and Viscount Wellington received an Earldom as a reward. He moved on to Badajoz, in April, which was not so easy. Another unwritten rule of war at the time was that during a siege, if the walls are breached, the besieged must surrender. But the French Governor, Armand Philipon decided to make life very difficult for the British. As a result, when the town was finally captured the soldiers went on the rampage that lasted for two days.

The Battle of Salamanca was fought on 22nd July 1812. The action took place south of the Spanish city of Salamana which is on the River Tormes, 100 miles north-west of Madrid. Wellington commanded an army of 50,000 British, Portuguese and Spanish against Marmont's French. It was a brief battle lasting less than an hour, resulting in a resounding victory for the Allies and the shattering of the French Army of Portugal. The Allies marched triumphantly into Madrid on 12th August and then moved on to besiege Burgos in September. But this had to be abandoned on receipt of news of the impending approach of King Joseph and Marshal Suchet. Wellington was forced to withdraw to Portugal on a march that brought considerable suffering to his hungry troops.

Two Guards Brigades, 1813

When the siege of Cadiz was lifted after Salamanca, the composite Guards Battalion were free to join Wellington's army. There were now two Guards Brigades, both of which had Coldstream Guards. The 2nd Brigade was composed of the 1st Battalions of the Coldstream and Scots Guards while the 1st Brigade was composed of the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 1st Guards and the composite battalion of Coldstream and Scots Guards. After a quiet winter they moved north-east to drive the French from Spain. They crossed the Duoro on 4th June and won the Battle of Vittoria on 21st June 1813.

San Sebastian 1813

The last two obstacles to Wellington in Spain were Pamplona and San Sebastian. The task of storming the fortified coastal town of San Sebastian was given to Lieut-Gen Thomas Graham who had commanded the Guards at Cadiz. The siege took 9 weeks from 12th July to 8th Sept and resulted in heavy casualties. The Guards battalions offered a volunteer party of 200 which suffered the loss of 160. The first storming of a breach took place on 25th July and failed, but on 31st August the attack succeeded and the town was taken. The French still occupied the castle which was not surrendered until 8th September. Much of the horror of Badajoz was repeated at San Sebastian and this time the looting, raping and killing lasted a week.

The Guards Brigades were involved with the crossings of various hazardous rivers. These were the Bidossa 7th Oct 1813, the Nivelle 10th Nov 1813, the Nive 9th Dec 1813 and the Adour 23rd Feb 1814.

The 2nd Guards Brigade distinguished themselves on this last operation when 6 companies of the Scots Guards and two of the Coldstream crossed the river before dark and held a precarious bridgehead all night, until relieved the next morning. The operation is also of interest because this assault force used a new rocket battery against the French and it apparently had a very discouraging effect on them.

The Guards were not involved in the battle of Toulouse but Bayonne proved to be a final and tragic chapter in the Peninsula War for them. The French commander of Bayonne, Thourenot made a sortie from the town with 6,000 men and was met by both Guards Brigades. This was a confused battle in the dark on the night of the 10th April 1814 (5 days after Napoleon had abdicated), and 506 men from the Guards were lost, including Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Sullivan. These men lie in a special Guards cemetery which still exists today.

Bergen-op-Zoom 1814

In March 1814 a composite Brigade of Guards, numbering 1,000 men, from all three regiments joined an unsuccessful expedition against Antwerp. The fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom was the scene of a disaster when a failed attack ended in the death or capture of two thirds of the Guards Brigade.

The Waterloo Campaign 1815

The leaders of the Allied nations were assembled in Vienna, carving up Napoleon's empire when they heard of his escape from Elba. When it was realised that this was a serious comeback the four countries, Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia agreed to contribute 150,000 men each to an army to be led by Wellington. In the event, only Britain and Prussia provided troops although the British Divisions included a large number of Hanoverians and King's German Legion.

The Coldstream Guards were represented by their 2nd Battalion in this campaign. They were in the 2nd Guards Brigade with the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards under Major-General Sir John Byng. The two Guards Brigades were in the 1st Division under Major-General George Cooke. On Thursday 15th June 1815 the Guards brigades were camped at Enghien. Many of the officers were at Lady Richmond's Ball in Brussels with Wellington. Some time after midnight, news came through that Napoleon's army was two and a half miles away from Quatre Bras, so everyone had to move fast.

Quatre Bras 1815

The Guards had very little sleep that night and set off at a brisk pace, arriving at the cross roads at 1700 hrs on 16th June by which time the battle had been going for three hours. It was a hot day and the men were exhausted and thirsty after their 26 mile march but they had to go straight into battle as they arrived. Despite this they managed to fight bravely against the French in Bossu Wood. The battle was a long hard struggle and the men were exhausted.

The hot weather turned into a severe thunderstorm and torrential downpour on the evening of the the 17th. The army spent the wettest night many of them had ever experienced and woke up on sodden, muddy ground. It was 18th June 1815. The two armies were occupying ridges with 1,200 yards between them along a frontage of about 4,200 yards. Napoleon delayed the start of the battle in the hope that the ground would dry out, so little happened until 11.30am.

From Wellington's viewpoint the three main buildings that formed landmarks on the battlefield were La Haye Sainte in the middle, Papelotte on the left, and Hougoumont on the right. The chateau of Hougoumont was a manor house and farm with ornamental garden, orchard and woods. The 1st Guards were posted on the ridge behind the chateau and some of them had been involved in a skirmish around Hougoumont on the evening of the 17th. But the defense of the buildings was given, initially, to the Light Companies of the Coldstream and Scots Guards under the command of Coldstreamer, Lieut-Col James Macdonnell, the personal choice of Wellington. They spent the morning barricading all the gateways into the enclosure of buildings, except for the north gate which had to remain accessible to supplies and reinforcements.

The first attack came from troops in Reille's Corps under the command of Jerome, who was ordered by his brother Napoleon, to take Hougoumont at all costs. He took the order literally and many Frenchmen died in the attempt, by the end of the day the number was 8,000. The first attack was repulsed by firing from within the chateau and outside. More attacks came, but thankfully without artillery which could have destroyed the walls of the enclosure. Those guardsmen who were still outside managed to withdraw into the chateau and the north gate was shut, but before it could be barricaded it was rushed by a party of 12 brave Frenchmen led by Lieutenant Legros, a large man with an axe. They barged in but all died fighting. Only a young French drummer was allowed to live. The closing and barricading of the gates was accomplished by Macdonnell and nine others.

Sir John Byng ordered three companies of the Coldstream Guards under Lt-Col Dan Mackinnon to go down and support the beleaguered garrison. They drove the French from the west wall and entered the enclosure. Napoleon himself became involved and ordered howitzer fire to be used. Incendiary shells were fired at the buildings and they caught fire, killing many of the wounded who were inside. Colonel Alexander Woodford entered the struggle with the remainder of the Coldstream Guards, leaving two companies on the ridge to guard the Colours. They fought their way into Hougoumont to reinforce the defenders. Woodford outranked Macdonnell but at first declined to take command away from him.

The situation became critical at one stage so that the King's German Legion were sent forward to counter-attack on the outside of the building. This effectively proved the last straw for the French who gave up their attempts to take Hougoumont. Woodford was commanding the garrison at the end of the battle when Wellington ordered a general advance to pursue the French. The force inside the enclosure ranged from 500 to 2000, but they managed to keep a whole French Corps occupied all day. The casualty figures for the Coldstream Guards on the 18th June was one officer and 54 other ranks killed, 7 officers and 249 other ranks wounded. Four men were unaccounted for.

Battle Notes

British Army
• Commander: Wellington
• 6 Command Cards
• 6 Tactician Cards

5 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 3 7 3 2 1 2 3

French Army
• Commander: Joseph and Victor
• 5 Command Cards
• 3 Tactician Cards
• Move First

15 6 2 5 1 1 4 6

15 Banners

Special Rules
• The French gain 1 Temporary Victory Banner at the start of the turn for each Cerro De Medellin hill hex occupied.
• The French gain 2 Temporary Victory Banners at the start of the turn if enemy units do not occupy both redoubt hexes.
• The French gain 1 Temporary Victory Banner at the start of the turn for each building hex occupied.
• The Allies gain 1 Temporary Victory Banner at the start of the turn if no French units occupy any Cerro De Medellin hill hexes. The Allies start with 1 Victory Banner.
• The Allies gain 1 Temporary Victory Banner at the start of the turn if no French units occupy any town hexes in Talavera. The Allies start with 1 Victory Banner.
• The Portina Brook will stop movement, but does not have any battle restrictions.
• The Spanish Guerrilla Action rule is in effect. The Allies start with one Guerrilla counter.
• Exception to Terrain Tile rules: Rugged Hill hexes of Sierra De Segurilla can be entered. Treat as hill terrain except: Infantry battle at –1 die up and hill to hill, and Cavalry battle up, down and hill to hill at –2 dice.

Battle Notes

Allies Army
• Commander: Wellesley
• 5 Command Cards

Allies Corps Commanders
Right Center Left
Command 2 2 2
Tactician 1 2 2
Guerilla 1 - -

10 2 1 1 3 2 7 2 1 4 2 3 1

French Army
• Commander: Joseph / Victor
• 5 Command Cards
• Move First

French Corps Commanders
Left Center Right
Command 2 3 3
Tactician 2 2 2

20 5 6 4 6 1 5

13 Banners

Special Rules
• The Spanish Guerrilla Action rule is in effect. The Spanish player starts with one Guerrilla counter.

• The Portina Brook will stop movement, but does not cause any battle restrictions.

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