Battle of Maguilla


Battle of Maguilla

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Maguilla


caption=
partof=Peninsular War
date=June 11, 1812
place=Maguilla, Spain
result=French victory
combatant1=flagicon|France French Empire
combatant2=flagicon|United Kingdom United Kingdom
commander1=Brig-Gen Lallemand
commander2=Brig-Gen John Slade
strength1=700 cavalry
strength2=700 cavalry
casualties1=51 killed and wounded, a few captured
casualties2=40 killed and wounded, 118 captured

In the Battle of Maguilla on June 11, 1812, a French cavalry brigade commanded by Brigadier General Lallemand routed a similar-sized British cavalry brigade led by Brigadier General John Slade.

Background

Slade's brigade was covering Rowland Hill's corps, which protected Badajoz. On April 6, this fortress had been captured by the Duke of Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army in the Battle of Badajoz. In May, Hill had mounted a successful raid in the Battle of Almaraz. Maguilla is 17 km northeast of Llerena in the Spanish province of Extremadura.

Battle

Lallemand's 700-strong brigade consisted of the 17th and 27th Dragoon Regiments. Slade also commanded 700 sabres from the 1st "Royal" Dragoons and 3rd "Prince of Wales" Dragoon Guards Regiments. [Smith p 378] The two forces deployed opposite one another, but Lallemand kept one of his six squadrons in reserve, out of sight of the British.

Slade ordered a charge, which threw back the French horsemen. The British dragoons galloped wildly after the fleeing Frenchmen, capturing about 100 cavalrymen. Slade failed to reform his troopers and they soon came up with the reserve French squadron. This unit waited until their adversaries had covered a mile, then they attacked the disorganised British from flank and rear. The five defeated squadrons also turned on their tormentors and the result was a rout of the British.

Result

The British lost 40 killed and wounded and 118 captured. [Oman p 106] The French suffered 51 killed and wounded. Most of the French who were captured at the beginning of the action escaped. [Smith p 378] The next action would be the Battle of Salamanca.

After the battle, Wellington wrote Hill, "I have never been more annoyed than by Slade's affair. Our officers of cavalry have acquired the trick of galloping at everything. They never consider the situation, never think of manoeuvring before an enemy, and never keep back or provide for a reserve." [Oman p 106] This was not the only occasion that Wellington's cavalry charged out of control. Other incidents were Taylor's 20th Light Dragoons at the Battle of Vimeiro, George Anson's 23rd Light Dragoons at the Battle of Talavera, the 13th Light Dragoons at the Battle of Campo Mayor and William Ponsonby's 2nd Brigade at the Battle of Waterloo.

Notes

References

* Oman, Charles. "Wellington's Army, 1809-1814." Greenhill, (1913) 1993.
* Smith, Digby. "The Napoleonic Wars Data Book." Greenhill, 1998.


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