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Barossa - 5 March 1811

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Brief Summary of the actual Battle:

The battle was fought for control of Barossa hill. A Spanish - British army was attempting to break out of the siege of Cadiz. The British commander, Gen Graham, felt that control of Barossa hill was vital to protect the right flank of the operation. However, the Spanish Gen Zayas thought otherwise and only posted a weak flank guard at Barossa.

French Marshal Victor noticed that Barossa was weakly held and thus attempted to outflank the Spanish-British army. Victor sent Laval with his division to engage Graham's British force. In the meantime, Ruffin's division - led personally by Victor - swept round the Barossa hill and routed the weak Spanish force detailed to hold the feature.

Graham saw the danger and sent in his 1 light battalion (under Major Brown) to attack Ruffin's division then occupying Barossa hill. The other light battalion (under Col Barnard) engaged Laval's division while Wheatley's brigade was sent hastily to reinforce him. In the meantime, Dilke's brigade rushed to take Barossa hill - behind Brown's heavily outnumbered force.

Dilke's outnumbered brigade rushed up Barossa hill and made a frontal assault on the French defenders which fell back under the hail of fire and subsequent hand-to-hand combat. The retiring French were not allowed to regroup - being pounded all the while by British artillery. A similar fate befell Laval's division and the French retreat was hastened by the charge of the 2 sqns of KGL Hussars attached to Graham's force.

Objective:

Take and hold Barossa hill.

Initial Deployment:

British:

CinC General Graham

1st Bde (Wheatley)

-28th Gloucesters (1bn) (line)
-67th Hamptonshire (1bn) (line)
-87th Prince of Wales Irish (1bn) (line)

2nd Bde (Dilkes)

-1st Foot Guards (1bn) (guard)
-2nd/3rd Foot Guards (5 coys) (guard)
-95th Rifles (3 coys) (elite)

Other troops:

-Combined Light Battalion (veteran)

-Combined Light Battalion (veteran)

-KGL 2nd Hussars (2 sqns) (elite)

-6x9pdr RA bty (line)
-4x9pdr RA bty (line)

-Spanish cavalry (3 sqns) (2nd Line)

- Spanish Infantry (2 bns) (2nd Line)

Total: 5,830men


French:

CinC Marshal Victor

1st Bde (Ruffin)

-9th Legere (1bn) (veteran)
-24th Line (2bns) (line)
-96th Line (2bns) (2nd line)
-Provisional Grenadiers (1bn) (veteran)

2nd Bde (Leval)

-8th Line (2bns) (line)
-45th Line (1bn) (line)
-54th Line (2bns) (2nd line)
-Combined Grenadiers (1bn) (veteran)

Cavalry

-1st Dragoons (3sqns) (line)

Artillery


-6x6pdr Foot Arty bty (line)

Total: 6,600 men

Sources:

Digby Smith, Greenhill Napoleonic Data Book

Lt Gen Sir William Napier, English Battles and Sieges in the Peninsula

Windrow and Embleton, Military Dress of the Peninsular War 1808-1814

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