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Oldest Allies Alcantara 1809 (Raid) [Paperback]

René Chartrand
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 Sep 2012 Raid (Book 34)
Although somewhat overshadowed by Wellington's main campaign in the north, the Alcantara raid was an outstanding success. The primary objective of alarming and distracting the French forces in Spain was achieved. Furthermore, the raiders also succeeded in preventing a French incursion into Portugal and tied down one of Napoleon's best marshals. There were further raids to come, but the 1809 Alcantara raid delivered a strong, permanent message: that the Anglo-Portuguese were willing and able to strike back against the French, and that they would support their Spanish allies as much as they were able.

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Oldest Allies  Alcantara 1809 (Raid) + Borodino 1812 (Campaign) + Talavera, 1809: Wellington's Lightning Strike into Spain (Campaign)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey (20 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849085889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849085885
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 18.3 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Provides a detailed survey of the raiding parties that occupied Alcantara in 1809, becoming one of the most successful anti-French operations in history."
- James A. Cox, "The Midwest Book Review"

About the Author

Rene Chartrand was born in Montreal and educated in Canada, the United States and the Bahamas. A senior curator with Canada's National Historic Sites for nearly three decades, he is now a freelance writer and historical consultant. He has written numerous articles and books including over 30 Osprey titles. He lives in Gatineau, Quebec, with his wife and two sons.

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have book. 7 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sadly, the Portuguese soldiers of the Napoleonic War have long been neglected. Read this book and realise that that Special Forces style warfare was around a lot earlier than the Second World War. Highly recommeded and a must read for those interested in the Peninsualr War.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recomended 8 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful short book detailing the Portugese Loyal Lusitanian Legion's often overlooked action holding the bridge at Alcantar. I would recomend it to anyone with an interest in the Peninsular wars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight 31 Mar 2013
By Jeremy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book gives an excellent insight into the Loyal Lusitanian Legion and its exploits, however it doesn't actually focus quite enough time on Alcantara and is rather short.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Daring Holding Action... 8 Oct 2012
By D. S. Thurlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Peninsular War of 1808-1814 has long been a favorite topic of scholars of the Napoleonic Wars and especially of fans of the role of the British Army in the conflict. Sir Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, led an intial British expeditionary force into Portugal in 1808, and would finally eject French Imperial forces from Spain in 1813. Yet there was an intermediate period, between the departure under French pressure of Sir John Moore's Army from Corunna, Spain, in January 1809, and Wellesley's return to Portugal six months later. During that interim period, a small British force under Sir John Craddock held Lisbon, ceding much of the rest of Portugal to French and Spanish occupation forces.

Rene Chartrand's "Oldest Allies: Alcantara 1809" is a fine Osprey product covering the actions of the Loyal Lusitanian Legion, a brigade-sized Portuguese combined arms force, trained and equipped by Britian. Under the aggressive leadership of of Sir Robert Wilson, the Loyal Lusitanian Legion contested French control of key points on the Portuguese-Spanish frontier for six months in 1809. A series of raids, and at least one serious fight, disrupted and confused French commanders and helped open the way to Wellesley's lightning counterstrike at Marshal Soult's French Army in Oporto later in the year.

Chartrand chooses to center his narrative on the battle for the ancient Roman bridge at Alcantara, where a Loyal Lusitanian Legion force held off elements of a French Corps for nine hours and seriously interfered with French planning. The action has been largely overlooked in histories of the Peninsular War, and Chartrand's account goes a long way toward rectifying that deficiency.

"Oldest Allies: Alcantara 1809" comes with the usual excellent Osprey selection of maps, photographs, illustrations and diagrams, and is highly recommended to students and general readers interested in the Peninsular War.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative reading..... 4 Oct 2012
By lordhoot - Published on Amazon.com
I have to admit, I know almost nothing about Alcantara or Loyal Lusitanian Legion. Only vague sentences here and there but nothing really specific. So I found it quite informative reading about this operation that very few other authors touched. However, the author painted more or less a very broad strokes probably due to page limitation and I was slightly disappointed that Atcantara raid was only 12 pages although they were very informative 12 pages. There are a lot more information on the strategic maneuvering between the British, Portuguese and French forces in and around the border between Spain and Portugal. Maybe the author spent too much discussing the strategic situation from Napoleon's initial invasion to the setting of the Alcantara raid. Wasted pages but I only took one star away for that.

I found the book to be well written and since I don't have any frame of reference, I am taking the author's premise for granted. If I am wrong, feel free to point out Mr. Chartrand's errors. The maps were pretty handy and graphic art were quite nice. There are several uniform drawings in full color that should help any modelers out there and overall, I enjoyed reading the book that does ultimately shed a lot of light on the Loyal Lusitanian Legion and its activities since this unit didn't last too long in operation.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting info on a little known part of the Napoleonic Wars 6 Oct 2012
By Rick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Almost everyone knows about Waterloo, the steadfastness of the British soldier, but not many are aware of the contribution of others, this book helps fill the void. Especially the contribution of the Portuguese!
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