The Duke in the Peninsula: Arthur Wellesley and the Application of Operational Art During the Peninsular War 1809-1813
Anthony R. Blackburn
"From April 1809 through June 1813 the Duke of Wellington, commander of the Anglo-Portuguese army, created a well-disciplined military organization, defended Portugal from two French invasions, and successfully ended French control of Spain. During the campaign, Wellington led a diverse coalition of forces from Great Britain, Portugal, and Spain with varying degree of skill, discipline, and morale against a powerful French army that had successfully subdued many other parts of Europe. Wellington's nineteenth-century campaign provides tremendous insight into the operational level of war, employing military forces by integrating ends, ways, means, and risk that linked tactical actions to strategic outcomes including protecting Portugal, ending Bonapartist control in Spain, and ending Napoleon's regime in France. [...] Wellington's campaign demonstrates the effective application of operational art to achieve desired results even against an aggressive and stronger enemy. His ability to correctly determine the proper course of action through visualizing and understanding the operational environment aided in his skillful handling of the army during those four years. Viewing this nineteenth century campaign through the modern elements of operational art provide valuable lessons for operational artists today."