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|Battle of Pombal|
|Part of the Peninsular War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Pombal (March 11, 1811) was a sharp skirmish fought at the eponymous town during Marshal Masséna's retreat from the Lines of Torres Vedras, the first in a series of lauded rearguard actions fought by Michel Ney. The French were pursued by Wellington and his British-Portuguese army but the Allied advance was energetically contested by Ney's efforts, preventing Wellington from crushing Masséna's army when it was critically vulnerable.
Pombal is a city and a municipality in Leiria District in the sub region Pinhal Litoral in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 55,217, in an area of 626.00 km². The population of the city of Pombal proper is about 18,000 inhabitants.
André Masséna, 1st Duc de Rivoli, 1st Prince d'Essling was a French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon, with the nickname l'Enfant chéri de la Victoire.
The Lines of Torres Vedras were lines of forts built in secrecy to defend Lisbon during the Peninsular War. Named after the nearby town of Torres Vedras, they were ordered by Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, constructed by Sir Richard Fletcher, 1st Baronet, and his Portuguese workers between November 1809 and September 1810, and used to stop Masséna's 1810 offensive.
At the Battle of Pombal, Ney turned to face the larger Anglo-Portuguese forces and defeated their attack.
Unable to break the Lines of Torres Vedras, Ney was given charge of the rear-guard while the main body of the French army withdrew from Portugal. The rear-guard consisted of Mermet's and Marchand's divisions.
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe. It is bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.
From the very beginning, Marshal Ney deceived the 'Iron Duke' (Wellington), manoeuvring his troops so that Wellington believed that the French were about to return to Torres Vedras, and thus he suspended an offensive operation for several hours, giving Masséna a huge running start.
When it became clear to Wellington that he had been deceived, the British-Portuguese left Torres Vedras and began a pursuit. The British-Portuguese caught up with Ney at the town of Pombal.
Torres Vedras is a municipality in the Portuguese district of Lisbon, approximately 50 kilometres (30 mi) north of the capital Lisbon in the Oeste subregion of the Centro region. The population as of 2011 was 79,465, in an area of 407.15 square kilometres (157.20 sq mi).
A British advanced-guard much larger than that of the French, the latter consisting of only two battalions of the 6th Light Infantry, attacked the town of Pombal. The two French battalions were overwhelmed by numbers and, after a bitter struggle, the French were forced out of Pombal.
It was then that Ney rushed in and spoke to the 6th Light Infantry."Chasseurs," he said, "you are losing your beautiful reputation, and you will dishonour yourselves forever if you do not drive the enemy out of Pombal. Come on! Those who are brave, with me!" With these words he galloped towards Pombal and the sixteenth Chasseurs charged with great enthusiasm. The Anglo-Portuguese was driven out, all the way to the Arunca River where several allied soldiers drowned.
Arunca River is a river in Portugal. It is located in the municipalities of Soure and Montemor-o-Velho.
Despite his success, Ney promptly set fire to the town of Pombal and continued his retreat on the right bank of the Arunca. The next action would be the Battle of Redinha.
The Battle of Redinha was a rearguard action which took place on March 12, 1811, during Masséna's retreat from Portugal, by a French division under Marshal Ney against a considerably larger Anglo-Portuguese force under Wellington. Challenging the Allies with only one or two divisions, Ney's 7,000 troops were pitched against 25,000 men. In a typical rearguard action, Ney delayed the Allied advance for a day and bought valuable time for the withdrawal of the main body of the French army.
British general Sir Thomas Picton was impressed by Ney’s actions, as the former was able to observe the latter’s deceiving movements, claiming that it was a "perfect lesson in the art of war".
Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton, a Welsh officer of the British Army, fought in a number of campaigns for Britain in the Napoleonic Wars. According to the historian Alessandro Barbero, Picton was "respected for his courage and feared for his irascible temperament". The Duke of Wellington called him "a rough foul-mouthed devil as ever lived", but found him capable.
The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.
In the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro, the British-Portuguese Army under Lord Wellington checked an attempt by the French Army of Portugal under Marshal André Masséna to relieve the besieged city of Almeida.
The Battle of Buçaco or Bussaco, fought on 27 September 1810 during the Peninsular War in the Portuguese mountain range of Serra do Buçaco, resulted in the defeat of French forces by Lord Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese Army.
General William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford, 1st Marquis of Campo Maior, was an Anglo-Irish soldier and politician. A general in the British Army and a Marshal in the Portuguese Army, he fought alongside The Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War and held the office of Master-General of the Ordnance in 1828 in Wellington's first ministry.
The Combat of the Côa was a skirmish that occurred during the Peninsular War period of the Napoleonic Wars. It took place in the valley of the Côa River and it was the first significant battle for the new army of 65,000 men controlled by Marshal André Masséna, as the French prepared for their third invasion of Portugal.
The Battle of Sabugal was an engagement of the Peninsular War which took place on 3 April 1811 between Anglo-Portuguese forces under Arthur Wellesley and French troops under the command of Marshal André Masséna. It was the last of many skirmishes between Masséna's retreating French forces and those of the Anglo-Portuguese under Wellington, who were pursuing him after the failed 1810 French invasion of Portugal.
In the Siege of Almeida, the French corps of Marshal Michel Ney captured the border fortress from Brigadier General William Cox's Portuguese garrison. This action was fought in the summer of 1810 during the Peninsular War portion of the Napoleonic Wars. Almeida is located in eastern Portugal, near the border with Spain.
Jean Gabriel Marchand, 1st Count Marchand went from being an attorney to a company commander in the army of the First French Republic in 1791. He fought almost exclusively in Italy throughout the French Revolutionary Wars and served on the staffs of a number of generals. He participated in Napoleon Bonaparte's celebrated 1796-1797 Italian campaign. In 1799, he was with army commander Barthélemy Catherine Joubert when that general was killed at Novi. Promoted to general officer soon after, he transferred to the Rhine theater in 1800.
The Battle of the Gebora was a battle of the Peninsular War between Spanish and French armies. It took place on 19 February 1811, northwest of Badajoz, Spain, where an outnumbered French force routed and nearly destroyed the Spanish Army of Extremadura.
In the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, the French Marshal Michel Ney took the fortified city from Field Marshal Don Andrés Perez de Herrasti on 10 July 1810 after a siege that began on 26 April. Ney's VI Corps made up part of a 65,000-strong army commanded by André Masséna, who was bent on a third French invasion of Portugal.
Nicholas Trant (1769-1839) was a British Army officer who led Portuguese irregular troops in several actions during the Peninsular War. His best known exploits were the recapture of Coimbra from the French in October 1810 and the successful defense of the line of the Mondego River in March 1811.
In the Blockade of Almeida a French garrison under Antoine François Brenier de Montmorand was surrounded by approximately 13,000 Anglo-Allied soldiers led by Generals Sir Alexander Campbell, 1st Baronet and Sir William Erskine, 2nd Baronet. After a French relief attempt failed, Brenier and his troops broke out at night after blowing up portions of the fortress. To the fury of the British army commander Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, most of the French escaped due to their commander's single-minded determination, British fumbling, and remarkably good luck. The action took place during the Peninsular War portion of the Napoleonic Wars. Almeida, Portugal is located near the Spanish border about 300 kilometres (186 mi) northeast of Lisbon. The town was originally captured from a Portuguese garrison during the 1810 Siege of Almeida.
The Battle of Casal Novo was a rear-guard action fought on March 14, 1811, during Massena's retreat from Portugal. During this retreat the French rear-guard, under command of Michel Ney, performed admirably in a series of sharp rear-guard actions. At Casal Novo, the recklessness of Sir William Erskine resulted in costly losses in the Light Division.
In the Battle of Campo Maior, or Campo Mayor, on 25 March 1811, Brigadier General Robert Ballard Long with a force of Anglo-Portuguese cavalry, the advance-guard of the army commanded by William Beresford, clashed with a French force commanded by General of Division Marie Victor de Fay, marquis de Latour-Maubourg. Initially successful, some of the Allied horsemen indulged in a reckless pursuit of the French. An erroneous report was given that they had been captured wholesale. In consequence, Beresford halted his forces and the French were able to escape and recover a convoy of artillery pieces.
Anne-François-Charles Trelliard or Treillard or Treilhard, born 7 February 1764 – died 14 May 1832, joined the cavalry of the French Royal Army as a cadet gentleman in 1780. During the French Revolutionary Wars he fought in Germany and Holland, eventually rising in rank to become a general officer in 1799. He led a corps cavalry brigade at Austerlitz in the 1805 campaign. In the 1806-1807 campaign he fought at Saalfeld, Jena, and Pultusk.
Jean-Jacques Germain Pelet-Clozeau became a French general in the Napoleonic Wars and later was a politician and historian. He joined the French army in 1800 and became a topographic engineer. He joined the staff of Marshal André Masséna and was wounded at Caldiero in 1805. He served in southern Italy in 1806 and Poland in 1807. He was wounded at Ebelsberg and fought at Aspern-Essling and Wagram in 1809.
The Battle of Sobral saw an Imperial French army led by Marshal André Masséna probe the Lines of Torres Vedras defended by Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese Army. The clash occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Sobral de Monte Agraço Municipality is located about 13 kilometres (8 mi) southeast of Torres Vedras and 33 kilometres (21 mi) north of Lisbon, Portugal.
The Fort of São Vicente is located in the town and municipality of Torres Vedras, in the Lisbon District of Portugal. In 1809 it was the first of 152 forts, redoubts and other defences to be developed as part of three defensive lines between the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus that were designed by the Duke of Wellington to protect the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, from possible invasion by French troops during the Peninsular War. These came to be known as the Lines of Torres Vedras. Together with the Fort of Alqueidão, it is considered the most important fortress of those constructed for the Lines.