recreacion sitios de badajoz






After the withdrawal of troops under the Duke of Wellington, the French armies of Portugal and Andalusia are concentrated in the vicinity of Badajoz.
With its presence and operations in the area, the war slowed down in much of Extremadura, the margin of the surprise coup and counter-coup activities of the different guerrillas. This situation lasted almost a year, after which, the square was not sufficiently protected by close supports, with only the usual garrison of about 5,000 men under General Philippon.
In the face of this situation and with the well-learned lesson of the previous year, Wellington takes his precautions by protecting the roads of the south and placing a major army in the vicinity of LLerena. General Castaños stationed in Valencia de Alcántara, awaits immediate orders to reconquer Ciudad Rodrigo. British troops supported by Portuguese regiments are distributed by Vilaviaosa, Estremoz and Portalegre, keeping Elvas as a spearhead in front of occupied Badajoz.

Versão Portuguesa   Versão Portuguesa

In the face of this situation and with the well-learned lesson of the previous year, Wellington takes his precautions by protecting the roads of the south and placing a major army in the vicinity of LLerena. General Castaños was stationed in Valencia de Alcántara, with the immediate mission of reconquering Ciudad Rodrigo. His troops, with the support of Portuguese regiments, placed them in Vilaviaosa, Estremoz and Portalegre, keeping as always Elvas (extraordinarily fortified) as the spearhead of the front against Badajoz.

On March 12, 1812, in a very fast enveloping movement, the Anglo-Luso troops completed the encirclement of the city, leaving it totally isolated. The city was much more prepared to withstand a siege, but the war machine that stalked it was extraordinarily powerful. Immediately tantled attacks were initiated through the alcazaba area, but a violent rifle fire forced the retreat. Meanwhile, engineers were striving to prepare the ground for further attacks.

Meanwhile, trench lines gradually approached the edge of pits and bulwarks. The blows of the besieged, who sometimes came out in small groups and others with more than 1,000 men, destroyed the newly completed works. At each attack, the besieged immediately responded with counter-punches, thus spending the days as the fence tightened.


mapa asesio aliado 1812


On March 12, the Anglo-Portuguese army carried out a rautary enveloping manoeuvre, completed the fence of Badajoz, becoming completely isolated from the square. During the long period of occupation of the city, the French had repaired the ruins of the fortification, raising even new defenses, so it was much more prepared to withstand a new siege. Immediately the beitiators began tantrum attacks through the alcazaba area, but violent artillery fire and rifles forced them to retreat again and again. From the beginning of the operations the engineers devoted themselves to preparing the ground for further attacks, gradually bringing the parallels and trenches closer to the glacis and pits that protected bastions and curtains.
The besieged responded continuously by going outside and dealing hand blows, sometimes in small groups and sometimes with more than 1,000 men, destroying the newly completed works.

Although this hampered and delayed siege works, the city's siege was inexorably tightened. From 20 to 25 the gunnerfire exchange was very intense, causing significant casualties on both controls, while the situation appeared to be stabilized. However, on the 25th after an intense duel the Fort of picuriña is taken from the French by General Kempt's men. The English use their somewhat elevated platform to dump the fire of their cannons against the strongholds of the Trinity and St. Mary (which the fort once defended).
The great battle around Badajoz, continues over time and at the same time it takes a lot of lives on both sides. In some days the dead exceed one hundred and logically the number of wounded is even higher. Wellington receives some reinforcements and despite numerous casualties continues to bring the entrenchments closer to the pits. The French, for their part, sow these mines and prepare deadly booby traps as a last defense, before the dreaded melee attack.

With the passage of days some curtains or wall canvases begin to resent and their repair becomes more and more expensive. This made the besiegers think that it was time to attack to finally storm the city, as the French were waiting for reinforcements from the north and this would force Wellington again to leave the siege. Dozens of heavy-caliber cannons continually dropped their deadly cargo against bulwarks and curtains, which began to crumble. Some gaps in the St. Mary's area were beginning to be practicable, so that Governor Philippon began preparing his bosses to deal with the final assault.

The Revellín de San Roque is also attacked, as its possession along with that of the Picuriña, avoided crossfire and served as unbeatable support platforms. The departures of French battalions to destroy the Allied works were becoming less frequent and especially not effective, as they cost many lives and were fiercely repelled by the besiegers.
During the 30th and 31st, more than 4,000 rounds of all types were crossed in the sector along the Picuriña, Trinidad and Santa Maria. The attackers suffered the loss of more than 1,000 men and the besieged (French and the inhabitants of the city) suffered great destruction and no less death. Despite this, the city was perfectly resisting the siege and strongly responded to the attacks without showing that the spirit of the garrison was falling.
Faced with this situation, Lord Wellington ordered the Revellín de San Roque to be taken at all costs and destroyed the dams of Rivillas Creek, in order to have a new foothold to leave the field free to advance the infantry.
After twenty days of siege, on 6 April Arthur Wellesley ordered the final assault on Badajoz Square. Within 22 hours the order was given to bridge the gaps and as usual the first waves starred the Forlorn Hope. This attack was carried out by the strongholds of Trinidad and St. Mary where practicable gaps had been opened. Successive attacks were carried out by the 4th Division and the Craufurd Light.

brechas 1812 Badajoz

Gaps between St. Mary and The Trinity

asaltos badajoz 1812

Bastion of St. Joseph and moats successfully assaulted by the forces of Leiht.

asaltos badajoz 1812

Detail Allied attack on Santa Maria and La Trinidad in 1812 on the present city

asalto san vicente 1812

Bastion of St. Joseph and moats successfully assaulted by the forces of Leiht.

asalto castillo1813

Castle slopes tainting by the Anglo-Portuguese of Picton in 1812.

Simultaneously to the north and east, Portuguese soldiers from the 5th Division and English men of the 3rd Picton carried out simultaneous attacks of distraction, one on the slopes of the Castle entrusted to General Picton and the other by General Leith that from the fort of Pardaleras marched to attack the stronghold of St. Vincent.
Under the established plan, the waves of attackers were ongoing and the confrontation was violent. While the attackers went down to the pits and approached the gaps, they exploded the mines and traps mounted by the French, piling up hundreds of dead and wounded, on whose bodies they tried to climb the successive waves they were trying to reach the top of the gaps.
The reaction of the besieged was energetic, coming to a fierce defense of the terrain, with terrible hand-to-hand struggles that prevented us from going over french lines.

The Duke of Wellington was about to suspend the bloody and costly attack, when he received the news that Picton through the Castle and Leith for the stronghold of St. Vincent, had managed to penetrate the square, ordering to persist in the final attack. The French, who also heard the news, saw that the city was overtaken by three different points and that it had its hours counted. Consequently, Philippon and his General Staff protected by his personal guard, decided to leave the city by the Bridge of Palmas, taking refuge in the Fort of San Cristobal. Faced with these events, the rest of the garrison ceased the struggle and laid down arms. The next day the French accept the capitulation.
After the tough battle, the Allies accounted for a total of 4,888 casualties, with 40% of Craufurd's Light Division losing. Taken over, the 3,500 French soldiers still defending the square were captured.
The city was razed, its main buildings destroyed and worse, the occupying troops looted palaces and temples, raped and knifed many of its inhabitants, who were only prisoners of the French. The Duke of Wellington, who was able to stop the of vengeance that his troops developed, allowed it as a relief from the victorious warrior. When he put order in the square, in the face of the fury of the Spanish and Portuguese officers who participated in the siege, the damage caused was already irreparable.

Antonio García Candelas        Suggestions and impressions