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Salamanca 1812: Wellington's Year of Victories [Hardcover]

Peter Edwards

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Book Description

21 Feb 2013
1812 was the year in which the Peninsular War swung in the favour of the combined forces of the British, the Spanish and the Portuguese. This was the result of a series of victories over the French gained by the allied armies under Wellington, and this is the subject of Peter Edwards's compelling new history. The year began with Wellington launching a series of raids in Estramadura to distract French attention from preparations for an assault on Ciudad Rodrigo, which was taken in late-January. There followed the capture of Badajoz and the advance on Salamanca, which was captured after a ten-day siege. The Battle of Salamanca, on 22 July, saw some 50,000 French troops arrayed against a similar number of allies. Using ground astutely, Wellington gained a crushing victory, inflicting over 14,000 French casualties. Although there was a rebuff at Burgos later in the year, Wellington's forces were firmly on the march to victory in the Iberian peninsula. Peter Edwards uses an excellent range of sources to bring to life this pivotal year in the Peninsular War. His work offers a fascinating insight into the strategy, the command decisions and the experience of combat 200 years ago.

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Salamanca 1812: Wellington's Year of Victories + The Battle of Barrosa, 1811: Forgotten Battle of the Peninsular War + A Bold and Ambitious Enterprise: The British Army in the Low Countries, 1813 - 1814
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About the Author

Peter Edwards, who died in 2012, was a British Army officer, a farmer and military historian. He made a special study of the Peninsular War, in which his regiment, then the 48th (Northamptonshire) Foot, fought. He wrote two previous books on the battles of the war: Talavera: Wellington's Early Peninsular Victories 1808 - 9 and Albuera: Wellington's Fourth Peninsular Campaign, 1811.

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5.0 out of 5 stars 1812: Gamechanger... 31 July 2013
By D. S. Thurlow - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In "Salamanca 1812", historian Peter Edwards asserts that the string of victories won by the future Duke of Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese Army over their French opponents in that year changed the course of the Peninsular War. The year's results were all the more remarkable in light of the significant risks that Wellington faced and in spite of a disappointing set-back at Burgos at year's end and a harried retreat back to the Portuguese frontier.

Edwards takes an interesting path to his conclusion, with expansive accounts of the major battles, including the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, the Salamanca campaign, and the allied thrusts to Madrid and Burgos. In the process, he relies heavily on a well-chosen selection of first person accounts to tell much of the story. His narrative is both tactically detailed and explicit about Wellington's campaign challenges, including the strategic dilemma he faced after Salamanca. The text includes a nice selection of maps and illustrations.

Edwards freely acknowledges the work of his predecessors, including Oman on the War and Rory Muir on Salamanca while offering his own very solid scholarship. His prose often reverts to the vernacular and the personalized, which may please some readers and perhaps annoy others. However, the end result is a highly readable history of "Wellington's year of victories", well-recommended to students of the Peninsular War.
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