Oldest Allies - Alcantara 1809

Oldest Allies - Alcantara 1809

René Chartrand


Osprey Raid sequence #34

During the battle for Spanish independance from Napoleonic France, Portuguese and British troops introduced a bold raid into southern Spain, siezing the traditional urban of Alcantara.

Napoleon had left his brother Joseph as King of Spain with a few 300,000 French troops to place down the Spaniards, the majority of whom had revolted opposed to French rule. at the start of 1809, British forces held so much of Portugal, whereas Marshal Soult attacked the north. Porto and many of the top Douro River basin have been taken by means of the French, yet they met with stiff resistance from semi-regular and guerrilla-like Portugese troops led via common Silveira within the northeast. Taking the struggle to the French, a part of the British-led unswerving Lusitanian Legion, besides quite a few Portuguese troops, raided deep into Spain.

Both British and Portuguese leaders (including the warrior-like Bishop of Porto!) initiated raids into Spain. whilst Soult occupied Porto in January 1809, Sir Robert Wilson was once additional east with a part of his green-uniformed dependable Lusitanian Legion on the fort of Almeida, having led quite a few hundred males into Spain, to be joined by means of hundreds of thousands of patriots, and at last achieving the outskirts of Salamanca. in the meantime, in Lisbon, command of the British military handed to Wellington. In may well 1809, he marched north to free up Porto whereas Silveira's levies pressed the French within the northeast.

While Wellington and Silveira attacked Porto and northern Portugal, it used to be vital to maintain the French occupied somewhere else in Spain, to avoid their large armies in Spain converging on northern Portugal and supporting Soult. To this finish, Marshal Beresford, commanding the reorganized Portuguese military, indifferent a wide a part of his most desirable troops - the British-led dependable Lusitanian Legion - to raid the Spanish province of Estramadura, a ways to the south.

1,800 males of the dependable Lusitanian Legion, besides different Portuguese troops, lower than the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mayne crossed the mountains into Estarmadura and raided the French border posts. The French quickly fled, and the raiders quick occupied Alcantara (the seat of the Medieval knightly order that bears its name). From the following, a few raiding events went extra east into Spain to reason as a lot hassle as attainable to draw the eye of the French. This new Raid identify will element all features of this compelling conflict of forces.

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