Our most recent addition is this terrific short work by Mick Sayce and marks the ‘reboot’ of Gladius after an enforced hiatus due to a family bereavement forced me to put the business on hold for a while.
By 1807, Napoleon’s enforcement of a non-trading pact and coastal blockade of Britain – known as the Continental System – stretched from Russia and the Baltic, right around the northern coast of Europe and all the way down to the coastline of Spain. However, on the south-western corner of Europe was Portugal, a country that was openly trading with its ally Britain, and this situation could not be tolerated. The country was given an ultimatum by Napoleon, readily accepted by the Portuguese government, but not by the general population or, for that matter, by Great Britain. So, just in case anything should happen, Napoleon ordered Général de Division Androche Junot and his 25,000 strong Corps of Observation of the Gironde to occupy the country as soon as possible and stop the trade.
Starting from Bayonne in France and marching overland through Spain, he entered the capital Lisbon on 30th November 1807 and took it almost without a fight. Because of his success, he was elevated to be the Governor of Portugal and given the title Duc d’Abrantes by Napoleon in recognition of his perceived victory.
Meanwhile, in England, the implacable enemy of the ‘upstart’ Napoleon, plans were afoot to return Portugal to being a trading partner. A relatively unknown and recently promoted officer, Lieutenant General Arthur Wellesley, was ordered to take command of a 9,000-man expeditionary force which had originally been intended for South America, but was instead ordered to Portugal to join up with a further 5,000 troops coming from Gibraltar.
Wellesley and his small army landed in Portugal in August 1808, and the Peninsular War now began in earnest.
This 32-page booklet covers the campaign in detail, focusing on two famous battles that proved the superiority of the British line over the French attack column: Roliça and Vimeiro, which took place within four days of one another.
With excellent maps, detailed Orders of Battle, a list of the key military personalities involved and a special mention of the British ‘secret weapon’ – spherical case shot – there is much here of interest to both military historians and wargamers alike.
You can buy Wellesley Versus Junot in Portugal, 1808 from our Payhip shop here for just $2.49.