Salamanca - The Peninsula Series

Posted on Tuesday 24th July 2012


Salamanca is the first DVD in the new three-part Peninsular War Collection of films by Battlefield History TV, which aims to explore the whole of the Battle of Salamanca which reaches its bi-centenary in late July 2012.
In the now familiar and successful BHTV style the team visit the unchanged ground where the highlights of the battle took place and use it as a canvas to explain the battle that, in July 2012, reaches its bi-centenary. They are helped in their work by one of the greatest authorities on the battle: author and battlefield guide Julia Page. The whole production is lavishly illustrated by high quality maps that compliment the vivid explanation and re-enactment footage. The sights and sounds of a Napoleonic battle make this an unmissable production that brings together the detail with fast moving illustration.
The Battle of Salamanca - 22 July 1812
Since his return to the Iberian Peninsular 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. He studiously avoided battles that he could not win and fell 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, Busaco and Fuentes de Onoro.
Now Wellesley was ready to take the battle to the French and with the capture of the border fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz he had two routes open for him into the heart of Spain. Supported by Viscount Hill’s Corps guarding the Tagus crossings and a policy of distraction, which kept the other French Armies in Spain fixed in their areas, the target was Marshal 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 manoeuvres, almost like a throw back to the wars of the ancient regime, Wellesley waited for Marmont to make a mistake. Finally that moment came when Marmont, convinced that Wellesley, who he described as ‘a defensive general’, was falling back to Portugal, over extended his line of march in his eagerness to cut him off. Wellesley now seized his opportunity to attack.
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.

Salamanca - The Peninsula Collection trailer.

image

Taking it Further


Salamanca
(DVD)
ISBN: 5060247620183

Only £12.99 RRP £16.99

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…
Read more at Pen & Sword Books...

Of further interest...