Wellington’s Eastern Front is often overlooked because it wasn’t considered an integral part of the Duke of Wellington’s main army operating on the Portuguese border and in western and northern Spain. But actually, the two fronts were intrinsically linked.
To the Spanish, the east coast was a matter of national survival; the ports of Tarragona, Valencia, Alicante and Cartagena sustained the nation, fed the people and the Spanish military machine. To the French, failure to gain early control of the east coast was cited by Napoleon as one of the principal reasons for the defeat of the Grande Armée and the loss of the War. To the British, the east coast was a necessary and cost effective distraction but, by 1812, it had become an integral component to Wellington’s plans and, in the end, it held the key to the successful invasion of France.
Professor Charles Esdaile wrote 'If there was ever a moment that Wellington was thrown into despair in the course of the Peninsular War, it was when the French captured the eastern city of Valencia on 8 January 1812. In this much needed addition to the literature, Nick Lipscombe has given chapter and verse as to why a front that has generally been overlooked was actually crucial to the outcome of the struggle. Highly recommended.'
Wellington's Eastern Front has been published by Pen & Sword and Nick will be talking about the campaign as part of the National Army Museum Lunchtime Talks on 2 December 2016 at the Royal Marsden Education and Conference Centre, Stewart’s Grove, London, SW3 6JJ. Entry is free. However, places must be reserved in advance by contacting the NAM customer services team on 020 7730 0717.
Friends of the British Cemetery, Elvas