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  • Date: 22 July 1812
  • Location: Castile, Spain
  • Campaign: Peninsular War (1808-14)
  • Combatants: An alliance of Britain, Spain and Portugal against France
  • Protagonists: Lieutenant-General Arthur Wellesley, Earl of Wellington (later Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington); Marshal Auguste de Marmont
  • Outcome: Substantial allied victory

6 comments

Stephen Drake-Jones
25 February 2013, 7.48pm

If the "Fighting" 3rd

If the "Fighting" 3rd Division´s main attack was sometime after 4pm then the French were certainly not defeated and in rout after 50 mins. Ah! the English will have it so....certainly not Wellington in his offical dispatch.....July nightfall in Spain comes many hours after 4pm when fighting was still going on.

Why do we not resepect/remember the Mayor of the village of Pollo on the Duero River who rode a hell of a way to let Lord W to tell him that almost 2,000 French cavalry had just arrived and that they would, by the 23rd, be with Marmont thus putting the balance of power in favour of the enemy? Lord W knew it was the 22nd or off towards Portugal that night & catch up with his army´s baggage.

As General Foy commanding the French 1st Division at Salamanca (Arapiles to both Spanish & French even today) before this battle said "We considered Wellington the best defensive of enemy generals against us. Afterwards, the best attacking enemy general!".

As for him munching on a chicken leg in the village of Arapiles when advised the French were extending their left.... the debate will go on & on...I don´t support that....sure it was cold cuts!

Bernie
13 February 2013, 9.01pm

Defeated 50,000 in 50 minutes

Defeated 50,000 in 50 minutes but so helped by the wounding of the uneven Marmont so early in the battle. Also noted for the decisive charge of LaMarchant the founding father of Sandhurst

Symons
7 February 2013, 4.33pm

A masterclass in generalship

A masterclass in generalship giving significant strategic benefit. Wellington was in his prime and Salamanca showed his capabilities as a daring manoeuvrist. His anticipatory manoeuvres at Salamanca to counter Clausel’s central counter attack after the collapse of the French left wing were particularly admirable. Rather in the way that the Second Battle of El Alamein in 1942 was considered by many to be a turning point in World War Two, the Battle of Salamanca allowed Wellington, as with Montgomery later, to demonstrate the capabilities which gave them the political and military credit to continue their respective campaigns to the end.

Sarah King
7 February 2013, 4.25pm

If you consider Wellington's

If you consider Wellington's strategy in keeping part of the French army engaged on the east coast of Spain while he waged battle against Marmont on the other side of the country, you have to judge the Battle of Salamanca as brilliant both in concept and execution.

Drizzt22
3 February 2013, 2.10am

This has to be regarded as

This has to be regarded as the turning point of the Peninsula war.
Wellington's attack was an inspired grasping of opportunity, and finally removed his reputation as a purely defensive minded leader on a European battlefield.
Whilst not the famous finale of Waterloo, nor a recent entry to the British psyche, this battle showed the benefits of Wellingtons holistic approach.
The Spanish were constructive allies, the Portuguese army had been totally restructured, and the stage had been brutally set at Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo.
All evidence of inspired generalship beyond a few seconds of decisiveness whilst eating a chicken lunch.

Roger
2 February 2013, 10.29pm

Probably the Iron Duke's most

Probably the Iron Duke's most elegant victory.

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