The talks last from 45mins to 60 mins followed by questions and all are on a Thursday evening starting at 18:00 – 19:30.
Thursday 7th March 2024 at 6.00pm
Britain Portugal and Spain allied themselves against Napoleon’s France in the Peninsula War of 1808 to 1814. The fighting ranged far and wide, from the shores of Portugal to the border between that country and Spain and eventually right up to the north and into France. But, until 1812 the southerly route Into Spain was dominated by the great, louring fortress of Badajoz.
First the French laid siege to the city and took it with much bloodshed from the Spanish. Next, the British made several attempts to besiege and storm the French defenders, but each time they were defeated by the manoeuvrings of their enemy, most notably after the Battle of Albuera in May 1811. Following Wellesley’s capture of the northern fortress of Ciudad Roderigo in January 1812, the British had to move against the southern corridor if their ally, Spain, were to be properly supported.
So, after a series of skirmishes on the surrounding routes, Badajoz was laid siege to in early April 1812. Ground was broken, trenches and parallels dug, batteries established and, finally, the infantry went forward against the defences of the great fort using ladders to climb up those parts of the walls that have not been knocked down by gunfire and seeking to storm the two, great breaches which have been opened by the artillery.
There followed one of the bloodiest episodes in the history of the British Army. No one quite knows how many times these gallant redcoats flung themselves against the granite walls, but the breaches and palisades were soon choked with the dead and dying. The commanders thought that further assaults would be too much for man to bear, but eventually two divisions, one in the north was in the south, battered and bludgeoned their way over the walls.
Come and listen to Patrick Mercer, who knows this great fortress intimately, as he tells you about the bloodcurdling exploits that lead to a very great victory.