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The Key to Lisbon

The Third French Invasion of Portugal, 1810-11

Series : From Reason to Revolution 1721-1815 #30

Author : Kenton White

The Key to Lisbon : The Third French Invasion of Portugal, 1810-11


General - Pages : 256 | Images : 13 b/w photos, 11 maps

Hardback - Date of Publication : March 2019 | Size : 245mm x 170mm | ISBN : 9781911628521 | Helion Book Code : HEL1046

This study details the preparation, planning and execution of the invasion of Portugal in 1810 by the French Armée de Portugal under Marshal Massena, and the defensive measures taken by the British and their Portuguese and Spanish allies. It also covers the practice of all armies involved during this campaign, working from original sources. These sources provide a different interpretation of some key aspects of the campaign to those which are generally accepted. The work focusses on the strategic, operational, and tactical planning undertaken by both sides in preparation for the invasion, and the actual progress of the campaign. A narrative of the battles and sieges, with analysis at the tactical-level, also brings out the differences in planning and intelligence gathering. This particular campaign is important as it has attracted little attention from historians, and was crucial as a turning point in the Peninsular War. This was the last time that Portugal was invaded by the French during the Peninsular War, and the allies’ handling of the campaign contrasted sharply with that of the French. Its success also gave Wellington political security against the ‘croakers’ back in England. The research demonstrates the difficulties both armies had in prosecuting their plans during the campaign, and highlights the stark differences in the approach taken by each commander.


“This is a carefully researched, scholarly book with numerous footnotes on most pages referring to an eleven-page bibliography, rather than a ‘popular’ history for the general reader. Wargamers who wish to recreate this campaign, rather than simply refight Bucaco, but do not already possess Oman or Fortescue will find this book an invaluable guide to the opposing commanders’ strategies, plans of operation, use of maps and intelligence and employment of engineers; those who do will still find it offers several different perspectives on the campaign and an analysis that is well worth reading. “ Miniature Wargames


“It is important to remember the context of the campaign of 1810 to understand its true significance.….the author meets the reader at the very points where the reader has come to the same questions and conclusions, without ever making him feel like he has been lectured to or led by the nose with cherry-picked evidence. The book includes the order of battles for each army. I can highly recommend the book for anyone, novice or expert in the history interested in the Third Invasion of Portugal or just the nitty-gritty aspects of carrying out a Napoleonic campaign. It’s a good read." The Napoleon Series


"Overall, this is a refreshing look at the French invasion of 1810 and is well worth reading for the new information it brings to a supposedly, well-known campaign." Mark S Thompson


"...on the whole [it] is well done and forms a good synthesis..." Vae Victis

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