Talavera 1809

Wellington’s lightning strike into Spain

Talavera 1809 cover

Talavera 1809

Wellington’s lightning strike into Spain

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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 Although the French had withdrawn leaving Wellesley the master of the field, his high casualties and approaching French reinforcements led to Wellesley withdrawing to Portugal.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.

Table of Contents

Origins of the campaign /Chronology /Opposing commanders /Opposing forces /Opposing plans /The Talavera campaign /Aftermath /The battlefield today /Further reading /Index

Product details

Published Mar 19 2013
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 96
ISBN 9781780961804
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 30 b/w; 42 col
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Campaign
Short code CAM 253
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


René Chartrand

RENÉ CHARTRAND was born in Montreal and educated i…


Graham Turner

Graham Turner is a leading historical artist, spec…


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