Blockade of Almeida
After a French relief attempt failed and his troops broke out at night after blowing up portions of the fortress. The action took place during the Peninsular War portion of the Napoleonic Wars, Portugal is located near the Spanish border about 300 kilometres northeast of Lisbon. The town was captured from a Portuguese garrison during the 1810 Siege of Almeida. On 11 October 1810, Marshal André Massénas French army found itself confronted by the elaborately built, foiled by the virtually impregnable defenses, the French commander halted to wait for reinforcements. Unable to secure food, the French army wasted away from starvation. By 1 January 1811, the 65, 000-strong army had shrunk to 46,500, massena reluctantly retreated from Portugal beginning on 6 March. The British army of Viscount Wellington beat the French II Corps of General of Division Jean Reynier at the Battle of Sabugal on 3 April 1811, the next day, the British invested the fortress of Almeida. After Marshal André Massénas retreat from Portugal, the French installed a garrison of 1,400 men under Brenier in the fortress and these troops were blockaded in the town by forces under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.
Since the Anglo-Portuguese Army had no guns to breach the walls. Because of this, this operation was technically a blockade rather than a siege, from 3 to 5 May 1811, Masséna failed to relieve Almeida in the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro. During this time, the blockade was maintained by Major General William Erskines 5th and Major General Alexander Campbells 6th Divisions, campbell guarded the south and west sides of the fortress with too many soldiers and placed his men too far from the city. Though instructed by Wellington to block the Barba del Puerco bridge on the afternoon of the 10th, with great skill, Brenier slipped his men through the Anglo-Portuguese lines on the night of 10-11 May. The fortifications were rigged with explosives and blew up after the French cleared out, after overrunning a Portuguese outpost, Brenier headed northwest toward the Barba del Puerco bridge. Campbell and Brigadier General Denis Pack gave chase with some troops, another regiment arrived at the Barba del Puerco, but since the French had not gotten there yet, the unit marched to another location.
The French were intercepted just as they reached the bridge and numbers of them were killed or captured, a total of 360 Frenchmen became casualties during the night. An unwise attempt by the 36th Foot Regiment to storm the bridge was repelled with 35 casualties by the French 31st Light Infantry Regiment from Reyniers II Corps, an enraged Wellington wrote, They had about 13,000 to watch 1,400. There they were all sleeping in their spurs even, but the French got off, I begin to be of the opinion that there is nothing on earth so stupid as a gallant officer. Zimmermann, The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro, Wargamers Digest magazine
Battle of Alcantara (1809)
The Battle of Alcantara saw an Imperial French division led by Marshal Claude Perrin Victor attack a Portuguese detachment under Colonel William Mayne. After a three hours skirmish, the French stormed across the Alcántara Bridge and forced the Portuguese to retreat, the clash happened during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Alcántara, Spain is situated on the Tagus river near the Portuguese border,285 kilometres west-southwest of Madrid, while Marshal Nicolas Soult invaded northern Portugal in early 1809, two other French forces stood ready to cooperate in the subjugation of Portugal. Pierre Belon Lapisses division lurked near Ciudad Rodrigo while Victors I Corps operated in the Tagus valley, a weak force under Robert Thomas Wilson watched Lapisse while Alexander Randoll Mackenzies Anglo-Portuguese corps kept an eye on Victor. After being outgeneraled by Wilson, Lapisse marched south to join Victor, as Sir Arthur Wellesleys Anglo-Portuguese army disposed of Soults corps, the detachment under Mayne moved to occupy Alcántara.
Believing Maynes troops to be a threat, Victor marched against him. The Loyal Lusitanian Legion battalion stoutly defended the Alcántara Bridge for three hours, the French artillery silenced their guns and a supporting battalion of militia took to its heels. The bridge was mined, but when Mayne ordered the charges to be detonated, Victors infantry rushed the incompletely demolished span. The French hung around the area for a few days but finally withdrew, the next action was the Battle of Talavera. Emperor Napoleons strategy for early 1809 called for an invasion of Portugal by three columns, Napoleons plan called for Soult to capture Porto by 5 February 1809. From there, Soult was supposed to march to Lisbon and occupy it by the 16th of the same month, Lapisse was directed to move from Salamanca to seize Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, Portugal as soon as Soults II Corps got to Porto. Victor was ordered to be at Mérida by this time and he was instructed to detach a column from there to advance on Lisbon.
The emperor assumed that Soult and Victor would be able to send messengers to each other. This assumption ignored the likelihood that Portuguese and Spanish guerillas would prevent Soults dispatches from reaching his colleagues, Soult marched south on 30 January 1809, aiming for Portugal. After being repelled in his attempt to cross the Minho River in mid-February, his forces marched to Ourense. Soults cavalry crushed a Spanish brigade at La Trepa on 6 March, at the Battle of Braga on 20 March, the French routed a Portuguese army consisting of a few regulars and 22,000 militia. The First Battle of Porto on the 29th was another lopsided French victory marked by terrible Portuguese loss of life, but despite being established in Porto, Soult found his communications cut by General Silveiras regular and irregular forces and he had no idea of the whereabouts of Lapisse. Meanwhile, Marshal Victor won a victory over General Gregorio García de la Cuestas Spanish army at the Battle of Medellín on 28 March 1809
Battle of Allenstein
You may be looking for the Siege of Allenstein. The Battle of Allenstein, known as the Battle of Inkowo was an engagement during the early stages of the 1807 Fourth Coalition Napoleonic campaign in Poland. While the battle resulted in a French field victory and allowed for a pursuit of the Russian army. After crushing the Prussian forces in 1806, Napoleon and his Grande Armée advanced east into the Polish provinces of Prussia, the arrival of winter led the Emperor to order his army to winter quarters, thinking that the Russians will do the same. Quite fortuitously, the French of Michel Neys Corps, who had disobeyed orders and overextended his foraging array, thus Napoleon was able to read into Bennigsens intentions and set up what was supposed to be the decisive manoeuvre of the campaign. This allowed Bennigsen to realize the danger in which his army lay. On February 3rd, these arrived at Allenstein and the Inkowo plateau. Seeing an opportunity for a battle, Napoleon ordered four more army corps to march to the battlefield.
He was helped in his task by the fact the French only attacked towards 15,00 hours, when the French eventually attacked, the Russians were prepared and used their fifteen cannon and musketry to inflict heavy losses to the advancing enemy. Nevertheless, the Russian tactical disposition, defending a defilé rather than occupying high ground, with night falling and his position completely compromised, Bennigsen decided to hasten his retreat and ordered Kamensky to extricate his force and withdraw to Deppen. Both sides suffered high losses, with the Russians forced to abandon six cannon. Despite this tactical success, Napoleon failed to bring the Russians to give decisive battle, the French did capture the intact strategic bridges over the Alle, which the Russians omitted to blow up. French pursuit resumed the day, resulting the capture of sixteen cannon. A series of skirmishes led to the Battle of Hoff on February 6th, followed by the Battle of Eylau, dEylau à Friedland,1807 la campagne de Pologne.
Dictionnaire des batailles de Napoléon, 1796-1815, dictionnaire Napoléon, A - H. ISBN 978-2-213-60485-5
Battle of Agnadello
The Battle of Agnadello, known as Vailà, was one of the most significant battles of the War of the League of Cambrai and one of the major battles of the Italian Wars. On 15 April 1509, a French army under the command of Louis XII left Milan, to oppose its advance, Venice had massed a mercenary army near Bergamo, jointly commanded by the Orsini cousins, Bartolomeo dAlviano and Niccolò di Pitigliano. The Orsini had orders to avoid a confrontation with the advancing French. By 9 May, Louis had crossed the Adda River at Cassano dAdda, who was at Pandino, hurried back to position his forces, numbering around eight thousand, on a ridge overlooking some vineyards. Pitigliano had been moving ahead of Alviano, and was several miles away when the French began their attack, in reply to Alvianos request for help, he sent a note suggesting that a pitched battle should be avoided, and continued his march south. Meanwhile, with the remainder of the French army, had reached Agnadello, the French now surrounded Alviano on three sides and proceeded to destroy his forces over the next three hours.
The Venetian cavalry collapsed and fled, and Alviano himself was wounded and captured, of his command, more than four thousand were killed, including his commanders Spoleto and del Monte, and 30 pieces of artillery. Although Pitigliano had avoided engaging the French directly, news of the battle reached him by that evening, faced with the continued advance of the French army, he hurriedly retreated towards Treviso and Venice. Louis proceeded to occupy the remainder of Lombardy, the battle is mentioned in Machiavellis The Prince, noting that in one day, the Venetians lost what it had taken them eight hundred years exertion to conquer
Battle of Agounennda
Bigeard and his regiment were sent to hunt down the Commando after it had carried out several successful ambushes against French units. They met at Agounennda where the French paratroopers tried to ambush the FLN force, Bigeard managed to redeploy and surround the FLN force, it withdrew successfully albeit with heavy casualties. However, the French were unable to recover large caches of weapons - the FLN having taken them off the field, the battle altered FLN tactics, reminding them that they were unable to meet the French in open battle. Conversely, it gave the French renewed confidence in a military victory, sceptics on both sides saw it as evidence that neither faction would ever gain ascendancy in the others arena. The FLN avoided military combat with the French, relying on guerilla warfare, in early May 1957, Commando 41 of the Algerian National Liberation Front routed a Spahi unit, killing 60 men while only losing 7 men themselves. Roughly two weeks later, on 21 May, the same unit ambushed a detachment of the 5th Algerian Tirailleur Battalion near Médéa, a captain and 15 tirailleurs were killed in the engagement, while others where persuaded to defect, the FLN only lost 1 killed and 2 wounded.
Lieutenant Colonel Marcel Bigeard and his 3rd Colonial Parachute Regiment - recently returned from operations in Algiers - were tasked with hunting down the unit. French intelligence suggested that the unit would move west, tasked with escorting commanders of Wilya 4 to a rendezvous with other FLN forces near Médéa, Bigeard decided to ambush Commando 41 on their way and picked Agounenda on the Oued Boulbane, a known FLN route. Bigeard and the 3e RPC was transported by truck from their base at Sidi Ferruch to Hill 895, from there Bigeard and his 700 paratroopers made a cold, 4-hour night approach march under strict noise and light discipline. Before dawn the paratroopers was in place and concealed, the Headquarters and mortars were on Hill 1298, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Companies and the Reconnaissance Squadron on foot were spread over 10 km on four crests overlooking the enemy’s probable route. The 4th and Support Companies were in reserve, while helicopters, the forewarned Si Azzedine, leading a column of at least three companies, was attempting to outflank the 3rd Company from the north.
Captain Llamby and his 100 men, outnumbered three to one, came under intense pressure, the helicopters in reserve at Médéa were already on their way, Bigeard ordered the Support Company to be lifted onto the high ground north of 3rd Company. The first sticks jumped from the helicopters at 10,55, despite support from tactical aircraft, the paratroopers were too thinly stretched to maintain a tight cordon, around 200 FLN fighters managed to slip away through the cracks. The FLN left behind 96 dead and 12 prisoners, but managed to withdraw with most of their wounded, while the French paratroopers lost 8 killed and 29 wounded, the French were unable to recover large caches of weapons - the FLN having taken their guns with them. Despite the high FLN casualties, the French only recovered 45 weapons from the battlefield, the French was encouraged by the success air portability on the battlefield. The FLN on the other hand learned that large-scale engagements in the heart of the country had to be avoided at all costs
Battle of Aljubarrota
The Battle of Aljubarrota was a battle fought between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Crown of Castile on 14 August 1385. The result was a victory for the Portuguese, ruling out Castilian ambitions to the Portuguese throne, ending the 1383–85 Crisis. Portuguese independence was confirmed and a new dynasty, the House of Aviz, was established, scattered border confrontations with Castilian troops would persist until the death of John I of Castile in 1390, but these posed no real threat to the new dynasty. To celebrate his victory and acknowledge divine help, John I of Portugal ordered the construction of the monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória na Batalha and the founding of the town of Batalha. The king, his wife Philippa of Lancaster, and several of his sons are buried in this monastery, in October 1383, King Ferdinand I of Portugal died with no son to inherit the crown. The only child of his marriage with Leonor Telles de Meneses was a girl, in April of that same year the King had signed the Treaty of Salvaterra de Magos with King Juan I of Castile.
The treaty determined that Princess Beatrice was to marry Juan I, king of Castile, the powerful merchants of the capital, were enraged at being excluded from the negotiations. Without an undisputed option, Portugal remained without a king from 1383–85, the first clear act of hostility was carried out in December 1383 by the faction of John, the Grand Master of the Aviz Order, with the murder of Count Andeiro. This prompted the Lisbon merchants to name him rector and defender of the realm, the Castilian king would not relinquish his and his wifes claims to the throne. In an effort to normalize the situation and secure the crown for himself or Beatrice, in April 1384, in Alentejo, a punitive expedition was promptly defeated by Nuno Álvares Pereira, leading a much smaller Portuguese army at the Battle of Atoleiros. This was an example of the use of the tactic of forming an infantry square to repel cavalry. In order to secure his claim, John of Aviz engaged in politics, on 6 April 1385, the Council of the kingdom assembled in Coimbra and declared him King John I of Portugal.
Enraged by this rebellion, Juan I ordered a host of 31,000 men to engage in an invasion in May. On the news of the invasion by the Castilians, John I of Portugals army met with Nuno Álvares Pereira, there they decided to face the Castilians before they could get close to Lisbon and lay siege to it again. English allies arrived at Easter of 1385, consisting of a company of about 100 English longbowmen, veterans from the Hundred Years War, the Portuguese set out to intercept the invading army near the town of Leiria. Nuno Álvares Pereira took on the task of choosing the ground for the battle, russell notes that the two Portuguese leaders had already shown themselves masters of the new developments in methods of warfare, i. e. the use of archers and dismounted men-at-arms. At around 10 oclock in the morning of 14 August, the army of John I took its position at the side of this hill. As in other battles of the 14th century, the dispositions were as following
Battle of Kehl (1796)
In this action of the War of the First Coalition, the French drove the Swabians from their positions in Kehl and subsequently controlled the bridgehead on both sides of the Rhine. In the 1790s, the Rhine was wild and difficult to cross, in places more than four or more times wider than it is in the twenty-first century. Its channels and tributaries wound through marsh and meadow and created islands of trees, the fortifications at Kehl and Strasbourg had been constructed by the fortress architect Sébastien le Préstre de Vauban in the seventeenth century. The crossings had been contested before, in 1678 during the French-Dutch war, in 1703 during the War of the Spanish Succession, critical to success of the French plan would be the armys ability to cross the Rhine at will. At the end of the Rhine Campaign of 1795, the two called a truce, which lasted until 20 May 1796, when the Austrians announced that it would end on 31 May. The Rhine River flows west along the border between the German states and the Swiss Cantons, a few miles north and east of Basel, the terrain flattens.
In 1796, the plain on both sides of the river, some 19 miles wide, was dotted with villages and farms, at both far edges of the flood plain, especially on the eastern side, the old mountains created dark shadows on the horizon. Tributaries cut through the terrain of the Black Forest, creating deep defiles in the mountains. The tributaries wind in rivulets through the plain to the river. The Rhine River itself looked different in the 1790s than it does in the twenty-first century, between 1927 and 1975, a canal was constructed to control the water level. In the 1790s, the river was wild and unpredictable, in places four or more times wider than the twenty-first century incarnation of the river. Its channels wound through marsh and meadow, and created islands of trees and it was crossable at Kehl, by Strasbourg, and Hüningen, by Basel, where systems of viaducts and causeways made access reliable. The German-speaking states on the east bank of the Rhine were part of the vast complex of territories in central Europe called the Holy Roman Empire, the considerable number of territories in the Empire included more than 1,000 entities.
When viewed on a map, the Empire resembled a patchwork carpet, both the Habsburg domains and Hohenzollern Prussia included territories outside the Empire. There were territories completely surrounded by France that belonged to Württemberg, the Archbishopric of Trier, archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and brother of the Holy Roman Emperor, served as commander-in-chief. In total, Charles’ troops stretched in a line from Switzerland to the North Sea, compared to French coverage, Charles had half the number of troops covering a 211-mile front, stretching from Renchen, near Basel to Bingen. To the north, Wilhelm von Wartensleben’s autonomous corps stretched in a line between Mainz and Giessen. It was an army entirely dependent for support upon the countryside it occupied for provisions, until 1796, wages were paid in the worthless assignat, after April 1796, although pay was made in metallic value, wages were still in arrears
Battle of Alkmaar (1799)
For the 16th century siege, see Siege of Alkmaar. Though the battle ended in a draw, the Anglo-Russians were in a position at the end of the battle that favored them slightly in a strategic sense. This prompted Brune to order a strategic withdrawal the next day to a line between Monnickendam in the East and Castricum in the West, there the final battle of the campaign would take place on 6 October. Torrential rains made the roads impassable, the defenders profited from this lull in the campaign by completing their inundations in the low-lying eastern part of the North-Holland peninsula. These soon made their defenses in that part of the country impregnable, as a consequence a repeat of the thrusts by Sir Ralph Abercromby toward Hoorn, and general Pulteney toward Oudkarspel along the Langedijk had become pointless. The Langedijk was now an island in a big lake that could easily be defended by the 1st Batavian Division of General Herman Willem Daendels. The delay had the advantage for the force, however.
The Duke of York, aware that French reinforcements from Belgium were on the way, the attack was to be made on 30 September, but it turned out that the roads were still very bad, the soldiers sunk to their knees into the mud. The attack was advanced to 1 October, but again had to be postponed and Chatham were to support the Russians in their attack on Bergen and to maintain contact with Abercromby. These dispositions make clear that the main thrust of the attack again was towards the village of Bergen, other than the first battle of Bergen this time the attack would be concentrated on a much narrower front, between Schoorl and the North Sea. As Abercromby was supposed to advance along the beach to a point beyond the left flank of the French, the first stages of the battle went according to the British plan. To allow all columns to advance at the time the start time had to be delayed till low tide to allow general Abercrombys column to make use of the beach. Soon Coote and Chatham drove the French outposts from the villages of Camp and Groet, essens central column advanced cautiously.
Meanwhile and Sedmoratzky drove the French and Batavian troops out of the villages of Schoorl, here the Russians halted and limited themselves to shelling Koedijk and Bergen with their artillery for the remainder of the day. Meanwhile, the French left wing had fallen back on the village of Bergen and this was a strong position and York realized they had to be removed from it to secure success. He therefore ordered Chatham to bring up his brigade from the plain and they managed to push the French back and forced them to give up their position in the heights near Bergen. The French noted the Russian hesitation and at this time launched a counterattack from Bergen in two columns under generals Gouvion and Boudet. These attacks were countered by the British Reserve in cooperation with Cootes brigade