March 16 1812: Siege of Badajoz Begins

On March 16 1812, Wellington arrives in the Spanish town of Badajoz. He has moved south towards Badajoz after his victory in Ciudad Rodrigo on January 19. Badajoz, along with Rodrigo, guarded the invasion routes from Portugal into Spain. The cities had to be taken if Wellington and his British and Portuguese army was to campaign deep into Spain against the French.

Wellington finds about 5,000 French troops, under the command of Major General Armand Philippon, defending Badajoz. The British and Portuguese army have about 27,000 men and outnumber the French forces by about five to one. The allies encircle Badajoz and begin to lay siege by preparing trenches, parallels and earthworks. The siege was made more difficult by heavy rainfalls. French forces made several unsuccessful attacks to try to destroy the siege trenches but were beaten back by the British 95th Rifles. 

On March 25, General Thomas Picton's 3rd Division stormed and captured an area known as Picurina. This allowed the allies to expand their siege works so that by March 30 the  breaching batteries were in place. It took the next week to create three openings in the city's defenses. 

On April 6, 1812,  Wellington orders an assault on Badajoz that would result in one of the bloodiest battles for the British and Portuguese army... to continue....

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