16 May 1811
Battle Tour Guides
brutal, in-your-face battle where pure courage won the day
for the British.
force under Marshal Beresford
had moved south away from Badajoz to fend off Marshal
Soult's attempt to relieve the first siege of that frontier
up positions at Albuera with some 35,000 men, made up of
British, Portuguese and Spanish troops, Beresford readied
himself for Soult's 24,000 troops.
a superb flanking manouevre, the French marshal attacked
the Allies right wing, brushing aside Spanish units and
got ready to roll up the defenders' line.
Many of General Joachim Blake's
Spaniards fought bravely against great odds and a British
counterattack failed with massive casualties - the result
of a blinding downpour that hid the proximity of Polish
lancers until it was too late.
British brigade suffered 80% casualties.
second French attack almost succeeded, due to General d'Espana's
refusal to reinforce the line and poor communication high
in the British command.
A decision by General Lowry Cole to hit the French column
on its flank turned the battle, but it was still desperate
For much of the firefight British and French troops were
within 20 paces of each other.
After four hours of bitter fighting the French broke before
a British charge and the day was won.
Marshal Beresford was severely criticised for his leadership
during the battle, but was backed up by the Duke