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Battle of Vitoria. Europe in By the year France had achieved domination over the great majority of continental Europe. Britain alone had withstood the power of France, achieving security against invasion through Nelson's victory over the combined French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar The tide began to turn in when Napoleon created a new enemy by usurping the Spanish throne in favour of his brother Joseph. The Spanish uprising that followed encouraged Britain to send an expeditionary force to the Iberian Peninsula. The ensuing war was to play a major part in Napoleon's downfall.

The War: Consolidation, The road to war began in the autumn of when Napoleon moved French troops through Spain to invade Portugal. After feeding more than , troops into Spain under the pretext of supporting the invasion, Napoleon deposed the existing Spanish monarch in April in order to place his own brother Joseph on the throne. Although the ensuing Spanish uprising can hardly have come as a surprise to Napoleon, he failed to see that the revolt could never be completely suppressed. Britain now had a new ally in Spain and in August landed an expeditionary force under the command of Lt.

Sir Arthur Wellesley at the mouth of the Mondego river in Portugal.

The Napoleonic Wars (2): The empires fight back 1808–1812

The Battle of Vimeiro was the first occasion on which Napoleonic offensive tactics combining skirmishers, columns and supporting artillery fire failed against the British infantry line and Wellesley's defensive skills. Junot was defeated, though an opportunity to inflict further damage on the French was lost as the out-ranked Wellesley was replaced first by Burrard and then by Dalrymple.

Wellesley's victory was still sufficient to persuade the French to evacuate Portugal as part of a controversial agreement which became known as the Convention of Sintra. Moore struck towards Burgos and the northern flank of Napoleon's army, succeeding in drawing French forces away from southern Spain before being forced to retreat westwards. Napoleon meanwhile had transferred command of the pursuit to Soult and returned to Paris, never again to lead an army in the Peninsula. In April Wellesley, freed from criticism over the Convention of Sintra, returned to Portugal and assumed command of all British-Portuguese forces.

Immediately, he implemented three innovations in army organization: the infantry were for the first time divided into autonomous divisions, each infantry brigade was provided with at least one company of riflemen, and - to mutual benefit - one battalion of Portuguese infantry was placed in each of five British brigades. After defeating Soult at Porto on 12th May, Wellesley crossed the border into Spain, joined forces with the Spanish general Cuesta, and marched eastwards. On 27thth July, French armies under Joseph attacked the allies north of Talavera.

The British-Portuguese lines held throughout the Battle of Talavera , finally compelling Joseph to abandon the battlefield.

The victory had, however, been costly and, with Soult threatening to cut the road to Portugal, Wellesley was forced to fall back. A further bloody battle took place at Albuera on 16th May as Soult's move north was intercepted by a combined British-Portuguese-Spanish force under Beresford. Although Beresford's handling of the battle - in which the French made the largest single infantry attack of the War - attracted much criticism, Soult was finally forced to retreat.

French armies continued to threaten Wellington throughout the latter months of , but at no time were able to catch him at a disadvantage. With glorious victory behind him Napoleon now turned his attention to Russia and invaded in Yet the army was not the Grand Armee of old, and even the capture of Moscow availed him nothing.

The Napoleonic Wars (2): The empires fight back – - Osprey Publishing

The foe remained elusive, the decisive battle remained unfought. This book tells the full story of the now legendary retreat from Moscow, as the fighting force that had vanquished Europe perished in the snows of the Russian winter. Biographical Note. He is a founding member of the International Napoleonic Society. Todd Fisher has a life-long fascination with the Napoleonic period, and is Chief Executive Officer of Emperor's Press and Napoleon Journal, both of which specialize in Napoleonic history.

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Britain, however, with their naval victory at Trafalgar, had contained the infection to the continent, and essentially prevented Napoleon's dominance from being truly effective. Within only six short years, during which he would be considered to have won the majority of the battles, he was on the defen By the end of , Napoleon was Emperor of France and the Empire, and the dominant power on the Continent.


Within only six short years, during which he would be considered to have won the majority of the battles, he was on the defensive and headed towards inevitable defeat against the allied powers of Europe at Leipzig, the "Battle of The Nations" This is the book of those paroxysms of violence that caused this decline in Central and Eastern Europe, as the story of the "Spanish Sore" is handled in another book this is a British series, after all- that was their epic - so we follow the "Austrian Rebellion" of , and the Russian Campaign of It's well worth the short time spent.

The book really takes advantage of the 95 page Osprey Format. There is even a touch of other storylines mixed into the narrative, as the Jacob Walter Memoir and some other anecdotal elements are added to give you a better feel for the period. I've read a lot of the period, and there were still a few nice touches I had not known before in the prose.

This is really a great resource for the Junior reader- a great book to help with a report of just to understand a complex period. It's just a really useful book for anyone who wants to understand the basics without having to develop a library like mine A strong recommendation.

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View 1 comment. Jul 17, Thom Swennes rated it really liked it.

Background 1789–1802

Before I read this book, I reread the first book, covering the years Albeit a pleasurable endeavor, even for a second time, I had another motive. Because the two books belong together, rereading the first creates a continuity that is essential to rate the entire work.

The French army had been almost constantly engaged in war since the beginning of the French Revolution in This period, , saw many great victories but the message was written in the sand. This missive demonstrates that military weapons, organization, and tactics, are constantly evolving. Napoleon understood this very well and was constantly changing his troops to stay ahead of the development curve.

Other European powers saw the phenomena but were largely unable to keep up; making their changes almost obsolete upon implementation. It also shows that the sizes of the opposing armies were growing larger and larger. As can be logically concluded, the numbers of causalities also grow consistently.

Peninsular War

Like its predecessor, this is a great book for budding historians. Jan 06, Declan Waters rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Napoleon's declaration of war against Russia and his advance on Russia is perhaps his best known mistake. This book takes a brief look at the battles against Austria and Charles, and then Napoleon's advance on Russia.

Due to space, there is a brief description of all the aspects, but no details in much of the sections as is expected when trying to cover such a large period of time in such a large conflict. The Pennisula war is referred to in passing, but this is dealt with by another book in th Napoleon's declaration of war against Russia and his advance on Russia is perhaps his best known mistake. The Pennisula war is referred to in passing, but this is dealt with by another book in the series, and so forms no part of Fisher's descriptions and explanations of the battles and human impact of the march.