Monday, 16 May 2011

200 years ago: The battle of La Albuera

The battle of La Albuera was the bloodiest battle of the Peninsular War. An Allied force commanded by Beresford and containing 39,000 British, Spanish and Portuguese with 48 guns, faced a French force of 24,000 men and 48 guns commanded by the Marshall Soult.
This battle is part of the British epic (see for example Die hard) and only in recent years, the Spanish participation has started to receive the due acknowledgements. Both sides claimed the victory, although actually the battle was an Allied tactic victory.

The battle is profusely covered in internet and it is very interesting to make a comparison of the French, Spanish and British versions of the battle, as shown in the respective Wikipedia pages:
French version: Bataille d'Albuera
Spanish version: Batalla de La Albuera
British version: Battle of Albuera

A refight of La Albuera using Napoleon's Battles can be seen at my web site: La Albuera (May 16, 1811).

The game resulted in a Substantial Allied Victory and was very different to the real battle. The Spanish Guard and Foreign infantry units fought very well and were the key to the French rout. On the contrary, the Anglo-Portuguese infantry units behaved very badly and only the sacrifice of the Spanish cavalry avoided the collapse of the Allied flank. The British cavalry (both Light and Heavy) fought following their historical role and were finally dispersed. No square was broken and the Lancers of the Vistula were routed by the British Heavy Dragoons.
It is a pity that history can not be so easily re-written!

1 comment:

  1. This is one battle that I'd love to recreate. The fact that the Spanish acquitted themselves so well adds to the interest. If it wasn't for Zayas' disobedience, Beresford would have been beaten soundly!