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1808-14 - THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGNS - 71ST and 74TH
The Peninsular Campaigns in Portugal, Spain and the South of France were fought by the British Army, under the Duke of Wellington (and briefly Sir John Moore), against the French. The British were helped in this task by their Portuguese and Spanish allies.
British sea power enabled landings to be made in Portugal and aided the establishment of troops there, thus enabling a ‘running sore’ in the side of Napoleon’s Europe. Wellington’s victories over most of Napoleon’s famous Marshals, including Massena, Soult, Ney, Junot, Victor and Marmont, gave fresh heart to conquered European States and encouraged their leaders to further resistance. His eventual liberation of Spain and invasion of France, in conjunction with the French failure and defeat in Russia, forced Napoleon’s abdication in 1814, with the consequent liberation of Europe.
No finer Army than the British Peninsular Army has ever existed. To this day, Regiments take great pride in their Peninsular achievements.The 71st and 74th, together or severally, were present throughout almost the whole of the campaigns, the 71st in General Sir Rowland Hill’s Second Division as Light Infantry and the 74th in General Sir Thomas Picton’s Third Division (‘The Fighting Division’). The two Regiments distinguished themselves over and over again, one or both taking part in every major battle except for Talavera and Albuera and in almost all the other engagements as well.
Of all the battles they fought, the Regiment takes especial pride in their actions during the final seige and capture of Badajoz and the Battle of Vittoria.
"No Regiment was awarded more Peninsular Battle Honours".
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