Battles of the Peninsular War 1808 to 1814:
Battle of Roliça: The first battle fought by the British in the Peninsular War, on 17th August 1808; also, the first of the string of victories over the French won by Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington. Podcast of the Battle of Roliça.
Battle of Vimeiro: Sir Arthur Wellesley’s (later the Duke of Wellington) victory over the French army of Marshal Junot in Portugal on 21st August 1808, in the opening stages of the Peninsular War; a battle that nearly ruined Wellesley’s military career. Podcast of The Battle of Vimeiro.
Battle of Sahagun: The dawn attack by the British 15th Hussars, on 21st December 1808 in the snow, that routed a French cavalry brigade and set the standard for British cavalry in the Peninsular War; ‘Success to the Fifteenth; and ‘God Save the King’. Podcast of the Battle of Sahagun.
Battle of Benavente: The second cavalry battle, fought on 29th December 1808, establishing the early predominance of British cavalry over French in the Peninsular War. Podcast of The Battle of Benavente.
Battle of Corunna: The battle, also known as the Battle of Elviña, that ensured the escape of the British army from Spain on 16th January 1809, during the Peninsular War, with the death of Sir John Moore at the moment of success. Podcast of the Battle of Corunna.
Battle of the Douro: This battle, also known as the Second Battle of Oporto, saw Sir Arthur Wellesley’s (later the Duke of Wellington) successful passage of the River Douro at Oporto in Portugal, on 12th May 1809 during the Peninsular War, forcing Marshal Soult’s French army into headlong and disastrous retreat to Spain. Podcast of the Battle of the Douro.
Battle of Talavera: The British victory south of Madrid on 28th July 1809 over Joseph Bonaparte, the King imposed on Spain by Napoleon and his French army in the Peninsular War. Podcast of the Battle of Talavera.
Battle of the River Coa: The British Light Division’s fierce battle to escape from Marshal Ney’s French corps across the River Coa on 24th July 1810 in the Peninsular War. Podcast of the Battle of the River Coa.
Battle of Busaco: Wellington’s highly successful holding battle fought on 27th September 1810 in Western Portugal against Marshal Massena’s invading French army, as the British and Portuguese withdrew to Lisbon and the Lines of Torres Vedras, during the Peninsular War. Podcast of the Battle of Busaco.
Battle of Campo Maior: The Peninsular War action fought on 25th March 1811, where the British 13th Light Dragoons charged and swept away a larger force of French cavalry before capturing a train of artillery. Podcast of the Battle of Campo Maior.
Battle of Redinha or Pombal: The indecisive battle fought on 12th March 1811 in Western Central Portugal, during Massena’s retreat from the Lines of Torres Vedras to the River Mondego, following the unsuccessful French attempt to capture Lisbon during the Peninsular War. Podcast of the Battle of Redinha or Pombal.
Battle of Sabugal: The brilliant Peninsular War action fought on 3rd April 1811 by the Light Division against Reynier’s French Second Corps on the north-eastern border of Portugal during Massena’s retreat to Spain. Podcast of the Battle of Sabugal.
Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro: Wellington’s hard fought battle on 3rd to 5th May 1811 in the Peninsular War to prevent Massena relieving the fortress of Almeida. Podcast of the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro.
Battle of Albuera: Marshal Beresford’s hard-fought battle against Marshal Soult on 16th May 1811 during the Peninsular War, with his army of British, Portuguese and Spanish troops. Podcast of the Battle of Albuera.
Battle of Usagre: The brisk battle fought on 25th May 1811 in the Peninsular War, where a powerful force of French dragoons was overwhelmed by the British 3rd Dragoon Guards and 4th Dragoons with their Spanish and Portuguese allies. Podcast of the Battle of Usagre.
Battle of El Bodon: The successful rear-guard actions fought on 25th September 1811 in the Peninsular War, west and south of Ciudad Rodrigo, by Wellington’s troops against French cavalry. Podcast of the Battle of El Bodon.
Storming of Ciudad Rodrigo: The sudden capture by Wellington, on 19th January 1812, of Marmont’s ‘base of operations’ for the intended French third invasion of Portugal, during the Peninsular War. Podcast of the Storming of Ciudad Rodrigo
Storming of Badajoz: Wellington’s capture, on 6th April 1812, of the second French base on the Portuguese border, the southern gateway for the British invasion of Spain, during the Peninsular War. Podcast of the Storming of Badajoz
Battle of Almaraz: Rowland Hill’s resourceful destruction of the fortified French bridge of boats at Almaraz over the River Tagus on 19th May 1812, during the Peninsular War. Podcast on the Battle of Almaraz
Battle of Salamanca: Wellington’s victory on 22nd July 1812 over the French army of Marshal Marmont, during the Peninsular War, leading to the re-capture of Madrid; also known as the Battle of Los Arapiles or Les Arapiles. Podcast of the Battle of Salamanca
Battle of Garcia Hernandez: The Second Day of the Battle of Salamanca, on 23rd July 1812, during the Peninsular War, when King’s German Legion Dragoons overwhelmed French infantry squares during the French retreat.
Battle of Majadahonda: The engagement on 11th August 1812 in the Peninsular War between Wellington’s advanced guard and Joseph Buonaparte’s cavalry rear-guard.
Attack on Burgos: Wellington’s unsuccessful assault on the Spanish City of Burgos, between 19th September and 25th October 1812, during the Peninsular War, following the Battle of Salamanca.
Retreat from Burgos: Wellington’s retreat to Ciudad Rodrigo following the unsuccessful Attack on Burgos in the autumn of 1812 in the Peninsular War.
Battle of Morales de Toro: The successful cavalry action fought by the British Hussar Brigade against the French 16th and 21st Dragoons on 1st June 1813, during the Peninsular War.
Battle of San Millan and Osma: The clash in the mountains of Northern Spain on 18th June 1813, during the Peninsular War, between the van of Wellington’s advancing army and General Reille’s French ‘Army of Portugal’, withdrawing on Vitoria.
Storming of San Sebastian: The hard-fought struggle to capture San Sebastian, the small city port on the north-east coast of Spain near the French border, between 11th July and 9th September 1813 in the Peninsular War.
Battle of the Pyrenees: The Battle fought between 25th July and 2nd August 1813 in the western Pyrenees Mountains, during the Peninsular War; Wellington decisively repelling Marshal Soult’s incursion across the border, intended to re-establish French occupation of Spain.
Battle of San Marcial: The Battle fought on 31st August and 1st September 1813 along the French border, during the Peninsular War; with Spanish troops decisively repelling the French attack.
Battle of the Bidassoa: The Battle fought on 7th October 1813, during the Peninsular War; Wellington’s army crossing the River Bidassoa into France.
Battle of the Nivelle: The Battle fought on 10th November 1813, during the Peninsular War; Wellington’s army crossing the River Nivelle and moving from the Pyrenees Mountains into the plains of France.
Battle of the Nive: (including the Battle of St Pierre): The Battle fought between 9th and 13th December 1813; Wellington’s army crossing the River Nive and moving further into France; a battle with some of the fiercest fighting of the Peninsular War.
Battle of St Pierre: The Battle fought on the last day of the crossing of the River Nive by Wellington’s army, on 13th December 1813; described as some of the fiercest fighting of the Peninsular War.
Battle of Orthez: The Battle fought on 2nd February 1814, during the Peninsular War, in the south-west of France, that saw Wellington push Marshal Soult’s Army of the Pyrenees back across the River Adour.
Battle of Tarbes: The Action fought by Wellington against Marshal Soult on 20th March 1814 in Southern France, during the Peninsular War; where the three Battalions of the 95th Rifles distinguished themselves.
Battle of Toulouse: The Battle fought by Wellington against Marshal Soult on 10th April 1814 outside the French City of Toulouse in Southern France; the last battle fought by Wellington in the Peninsular War
Sortie from Bayonne: The terrible night-time clash outside Bayonne on 14th April 1814, that marked the end of the Peninsular War, but occurred after the abdication of the Emperor Napoleon on 4th April 1814.
Reference Works for the Peninsular War:
Authoritative Histories of the Peninsular War:
History of the Peninsular War by Sir William Napier
History of the Peninsular War by Sir Charles Oman
History of the British Army by John Fortescue
The life of His Grace Arthur, Duke, Marquis, and Earl of Wellington by Francis L. Clarke
Modern Accounts of the Peninsular War:
The Peninsular War: A Concise Military History by Michael Glover
The Peninsular War by Ian Fletcher
The Peninsular War by Charles Esdaile
Corps and Regimental Histories:
History of the King’s German Legion by North Ludlow Beamish
Historical Record of the Tenth, the Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Hussars
Origin and Services of the Coldstream Guards by Colonel Mckinnon
Historical Record of the 14th (King’s) Hussars by Colonel Hamilton
History of the Rifle Brigade, formerly the 95th by Sir William Cope
Works dealing with particular features of the Peninsular War:
Campaign of the Left Wing of the Allied Army, in the Western Pyrenees & South of France, in the Years 1813-1814, under Field-Marshal The Marquess of Wellington by Robert Batty (captain in 1st Foot Guards)
Wellington’s Headquarters: The Command and Administration of the British Army during the Peninsular War by S.G.P. Ward
Life in Wellington’s Army by Antony Brett-James
Wellington’s Regiments by Ian Fletcher
Redcoats against Napoleon, the 30th Regiment during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars by Carole Divall
Inside the Regiment: The Officers and Men of the 30th Regiment during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars by Carole Divall
Wellington’s Army in the Peninsula 1808-1814 by Michael Glover
A History of the Medical Department by Lieutenant General Sir Neil Cantlie
Peninsular Preparation: The Reform of the British Army 1795-1809 by Richard Glover, Cambridge University Press
The Battle Honours of the British and Indian Armies 1695-1914 by NB Leslie
Wellington’s Men Remembered: A register of memorials to soldiers who fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo (2 vols) by Janet and David Bromley
Contemporary Recollections by soldiers:
Memoirs of a Sergeant in the 43rd Light Infantry Regiment
Intelligence Officer in the Peninsula (letters and diaries of Charles Somers Cocks) by Julia Page
Adventures with the Rifle Brigade by John Kincaid
Diary of a Cavalry Officer in the Peninsular War and Waterloo Campaign 1809-1815 by Lieutenant Colonel Tomkinson 16th Light Dragoons
Letters of Private Wheeler edited by B.H. Lidell Hart
Recollections of the Peninsula by Moyle Sherer 34th Regiment
The Private Journal of Judge-Advocate Larpent
An Ensign in the Peninsular War, letters of John Aitchison edited by W.F.K. Thompson
A Journal of a Cavalry Officer in the Corunna Campaign 1808-1809 by Captain Alexander Gordon of the 15th Hussars