1705 – Allied offensive in Extremadura
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The campaign lasted from April to October 1705
The events of 1704 had persuaded the Allies to make more serious efforts to push the war in Spain. The Duke of Schomberg was removed from the command of the troops in Portugal and replaced by the Earl of Galway, a French Huguenot exile.
For the campaign of 1705, Galway was at the head of a British contingent consisted of about 3,000 men, more specifically:
- Harvey's Horse
- 1st Royal Dragoons
- Henry Cunningham's Dragoons
- Queen’s Royal Regiment of Foot aka 2nd
- William Stewart's Foot aka 9th recently exchanged against the prisoners of Blenheim
- Holcroft Blood's Foot aka 17th
- Robert Duncanson's Foot aka 33rd
- Brudenell's Foot
Furthermore, the Dutch contingent, under General Fagel, counted about 2,000 men; and the Portuguese army, under General de Corsana, fielded 12,000 men.
To avoid friction it was arranged that these three generals should hold command alternately for a week at a time.
Even though the main attack was planned on the east coast of Spain, another offensive would be conducted in Extremadura.
In April, Galway, seconded by the Count de las Galveas, advanced from Portugal with an army of 24,000 men and penetrated into Spain at La Codosera. He then appeared in front of Valencia de Alcántara. The town resisted for a few day but was finally taken and plundered.
In mid-May, Galway marched on Albuquerque. The defenders, under Colonel Domingo Losada, evacuated the town and took refuge in the castle. Losada refused to surrender and the Allies undertook a formal siege of the castle, bombarding its old medieval walls and digging two mines.
After a siege of nine days, the Castle of Albuquerque finally surrendered. Losada obtained the honours of war for the garrison and retired with colours flying.
On his arrival at Badajoz, Colonel Losada was removed from command and imprisoned. He managed to escape shortly afterwards and to take refuge in Portugal.
After the capture of Albuquerque, the Allies marched to Jerez de los Caballeros and captured the place.
Early in June, the Allies laid siege to Badajoz, which was the last fortress defending the frontier of Extremadura. Its capture would also open the road leading to Madrid. The place was defended by Antonio Luis de Sousa with 1,000 men. However, the Maréchal de Tessé sent a cavalry corps to relieve the city and the Allies retired to Caia.
On 1 October, the Allies made a new attempt against Badajoz. This time, their army, under the command of the Marquis of Minas, Galway and Fagel, consisted of approx. 30,000 men (25,000 foot, 5,000 horse) with 60 cannon and 15 mortars, and a baggage train of 3,000 carts and wagons and more than 1,000 pack mules.
The Allies were unable to completely invest Badajoz, which continued to receive supplies and reinforcements from the right bank of the Guadiana River.
On 5 October, two Allied batteries, located in Picuriña and the Osario, opened on the walls of Badajoz. The trenches were already within musket range.
During this time, the Maréchal de Tessé was assembling a relief army of 13,000 foot and 7,000 horse between Talavera (Talavera la Real) and Lobón. He had mobilized all the men between 18 and 60 years old of the Province of Extremadura and received reinforcements from Ciudad Rodrigo.
On 11 October, the Allies opened against Badajoz with 30 guns and 12 mortars. However the artillery of the defenders replied very effectively, delaying siege work and setting fire to the battery. Galway was severely wounded (losing a hand) and General Fagel had to take charge of the siege. Nevertheless, the Allied artillery managed to create a 50 m. wide breach in the San Pedro Bastion.
General Fagel did not dare to launch an assault because of the proximity of the small Franco-Spanish relief army.
Tessé’s Army marched to Malpartida (unidentified location), forded the Guadiana River at Hoces (unidentified location), crossed the Sagrajas Forest and reached the bridge on the Gévora River at Gévora, where it drove back a Portuguese outpost and marched to Fuente de Cuadrejones (unidentified location), located near Fort San Cristóbal and the Guadiana River. From this fort, Tessé’s artillery could support the artillery of Badajoz.
On 13 and 14 October, Tessé took advantage of Fagel’s hesitations and occupied the Gévora Line.
On 15 October, the Allies continued to bombard Badajoz.
On 16 October, the Allies lifted the siege of Badajoz and sent their artillery to Elvas.
On 17 October, the Allies retired unmolested.
On 18 October, the Allies reached the village of Telena (unidentified location).
On 19 October, the Allies crossed the river (probably the Rio Caia) near Telena .
Arre Caballo – Guerra de Sucesión Española. Campañas de 1.705