Combat of Barquilla (1810)

Last updated
Combat of Barquilla
Part of Peninsular War
Date11 July 1810
Location
Heights of Barquilla, north of Villar de Puerco, Castile and León, Spain
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg French Empire Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Flag Portugal (1750).svg Portugal
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg Pierre Gouache Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Robert Craufurd
Strength
200 infantry
30-40 cavalry
unknown
Casualties and losses
31 captured 32-40 casualties

The Combat of Barquilla (11 July 1810) was a minor skirmish between British and French forces two days after the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, in which Robert Craufurd attacked French grenadiers covering a foraging party. The French grenadiers, formed in a single square, made a fighting withdrawal, fending off British cavalry and escaping unscathed.

Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo (1810) siege

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.

Robert Craufurd Scottish soldier

Major-General Robert Craufurd was a British soldier. After a military career which took him from India to the Netherlands, he was given command of the Light Division in the Napoleonic Peninsular War under the Duke of Wellington. Craufurd was a strict disciplinarian and somewhat prone to violent mood swings which earned him the nickname "Black Bob". He was mortally wounded storming the lesser breach in the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo on 19 January 1812 and died four days later.

Foraging Searching for wild food resources

Foraging is searching for wild food resources. It affects an animal's fitness because it plays an important role in an animal's ability to survive and reproduce. Foraging theory is a branch of behavioral ecology that studies the foraging behavior of animals in response to the environment where the animal lives.

Contents

Background

The Anglo-Portuguese under Craufurd were forced back to Fort Conception during the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, which fell on the July 9th 1810. During this period the French launched raids near the allied positions.

Anglo-Portuguese Army Combined English and Portuguese army during the Peninsular War

The Anglo-Portuguese Army was the combined British and Portuguese army that participated in the Peninsular War, under the command of Arthur Wellesley. The Army is also referred to as the British-Portuguese Army and, in Portuguese, as the Exército Anglo-Luso or the Exército Anglo-Português.

In retaliation, Craufurd took five or six squadrons of cavalry and several companies of infantry to attack and cut off a raiding party sent by General Roche Godart. These squadrons of cavalry included the 1st Hussars from the King's German Legion, and the 16th and 14th Light Dragoons.

14th Kings Hussars

The 14th King's Hussars was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1715. It saw service for two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated with the 20th Hussars to form the 14th/20th King's Hussars in 1922.

Two days after Ciudad Rodrigo fell, at four o'clock on the morning of the 11th of July, the British came into contact with a small body of troops near the village of Barquilla. The badly outnumbered French force, under the command of Captain Pierre Gouache, was covering a foraging party in a corn field. It consisted of two companies of grenadiers of the 22nd Regiment of Junot's corps (around 200 men) supported by around 30 cavalry.

Battle

Craufurd brought up three squadrons of cavalry (the KGL 1st Hussars, the 16th and 14th Light Dragoons) to attack the French infantry, formed in a single square in a corn field. The first attack was made by the hussars of the KGL. As the horsemen closed in, the French grenadiers stood up and opened fire. However, the hussars then proceeded past the infantry square and charged the French cavalry. Upon seeing how large the British force was, the cavalry surrendered.

1st Hussars Canadian military unit

The 1st Hussars is an armoured Primary Reserve regiment of the Canadian Forces, currently based in London and Sarnia, Ontario.

Meanwhile, the 16th Light Dragoons came forward and failed to come in contact with the square. The 14th Light Dragoons, led by Colonel Talbot, managed to attack the square but were badly repulsed. Talbot and eight of his men were killed and many horsemen were wounded.

The squadron was thrown in disorder but was recalled. However, Craufurd was too slow in bringing up his infantry and the French infantry withdrew without having suffered any casualties.

Aftermath

Despite having taken around 30 cavalry prisoner the combat was a failure. The British suffered 30-40 casualties, and failed to defeat the much smaller force of French infantry whilst allowing the infantry to escape with minimal losses.

Although the Combat of Barquilla was a minor incident during Masséna's campaign, it was damaging to Craufurd's reputation. Two weeks later, despite suffering defeat, Craufurd redeemed himself at the Battle of the Côa. Captain Gouache, on the other hand, received recognition for his achievement and was promoted.

André Masséna French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

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.

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