|← Previous Item||
Bussaco (Ney’s Assault)
|Next Item →|
Bussaco (Ney’s Assault)
Uncertain how his army of 50,000 troops, composed of equal portions British and Portuguese, would deal with another open clash with the larger French army, Wellington had deployed most of his forces on the reverse slope of Bussaco ridge and …
Uncertain how his army of 50,000 troops, composed of equal portions British and Portuguese, would deal with another open clash with the larger French army, Wellington had deployed most of his forces on the reverse slope of Bussaco ridge and awaited attack. Marshal Andre Massena did not let his uncertainty of the Allied position deter him from attacking. He planned a two-phase attack, first with Reynier’s Corps on what Massena believed was the British right flank, followed by Ney attacking the left after Reynier met with success. Massena kept Junot’s corps in reserve, to exploit success wherever it happened. Reynier’s disjointed attacks were beaten back, but hearing the heavy gunfire, Ney assumed Reynier’s men were enjoying success and ordered his attack. Just after 8am, Ney sent Loison’s and Marchand’s divisions against the British left. Loison’s Division forced back a stubborn enemy skirmish line and then advanced to capture a troublesome British battery. Two concealed British light regiments (the 43rd and 52nd) awaited the French. As the French neared the battery, Crauford ordered these troops to stand and pour murderous volleys into Loison’s columns. Within minutes, Loison’s Division was streaming back down the hillside in full retreat. Meanwhile Marchand’s Division had advanced to the foot of the ridge, but after several unsuccessful assaults up the hillside, Ney called off Marchand’s attack. Massena accepted the futility of making any further attempts to storm the ridge and withdrew. Massena’s cavalry subsequently found a road leading past Wellington’s army and when Massena advanced along it, Wellington resumed the retreat to the fortified Lines of Torres Vedras.
The Battle of Buçaco or Bussaco, fought on 27 September 1810 during the Peninsular War in the Portuguese mountain range of Serra do Buçaco, resulted in the defeat of French forces by Lord Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese Army. Having occupied the heights of Bussaco with 25,000 British and the same number of Portuguese, Wellington was attacked five times successively by 65,000 French under Marshal André Masséna. Masséna was uncertain as to the disposition and strength of the opposing forces because Wellington deployed them on the reverse slope of the ridge, where they could neither be easily seen nor easily softened up with artillery. The actual assaults were delivered by the corps of Marshal Michel Ney and General of Division (Major General) Jean Reynier, but after much fierce fighting they failed to dislodge the allied forces and were driven off after having lost 4,500 men against 1,250 Anglo-Portuguese casualties. However, Wellington was ultimately forced to withdraw to the Lines of Torres Vedras after his positions were outflanked by Masséna's troops.
Wikipedia: Battle of Bussaco