I have listened to Zack's podcast on discipline and conduct of British troops in the Peninsular campaigns and I am mindful of the events surrounding Cuidad Rodrigo and Badajoz. I'm also of the understanding that Spanish troops were not encouraged to continue with Wellington's army deeper into French territory from 1814 at least in part due to concerns of reprisals. Very little I have speaks to the conduct of Portuguese troops in either Spanish or French territory. It seems clear that their alliance with Spain was an unnatural one born of circumstances just as that of the British with the Spanish. Like the Spanish over the French occupation, the Portuguese had much to be bitter about. How does their record compare to either of their allies?
top of page
bottom of page
Thanks for this. With the Spanish troops, from memory I think they were actually sent back when a division proved that it could not be trusted when it came to plundering.
We don't know as much as we would like about the Portuguese troops. Certainly they exacerbated the situation at Badajoz. Its worth bearing in mind that they were retrained along the British system (unlike the Spanish), so their discipline system would have been similar, though I don't know of much surviving material for the Portuguese army.
My sense is that the Portuguese were as inclined to plunder for subsistence as the British were - I've not come across anything to suggest that they were any better or worse, from the accounts of officers and rank and file, but we don't have hard data on prosecutions to give us a clear picture.