By Ian Fletcher
Following the conflict of Bussaco on 27 September 1810 Wellington's seriously outnumbered troops started to withdraw in the direction of Lisbon. by way of the night of nine October the British and Portuguese started to withdraw in the back of a line of protective works that were outfitted to the north of Lisbon. those weren't the rudimentary box works that the French expected, yet a major community of forts, batteries and redoubts whose building were began the former November - the traces of Torres Vedras. This 30-mile-wide line utilised the area's ordinary defences, damming rivers, scarping hillsides, blocking off roads and constructing forts upon just about all of the hills. This identify describes its layout, production and effectiveness within the face of French assaults.
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Extra resources for Lines of Torres Vedras 1809-11 (Fortress, Volume 7)
It was constructed in such a way as to cover the approaches, and is a fine example of the way in which engineers turned away from the elaborate star-shaped forts of the previous century. The ditches and interior walls have been somewhat artificially preserved with concrete. It serves as a focal point for commemoration of the Lines of Torres Vedras. qxd These two bomb-proof traverses ran parallel to each other and allowed guns, men and ammunition to move freely along the fort at San Vicente with a relatively large degree of protection.
It appears that, for once, French intelligence had failed him, which is remarkable given the fact that the French had already occupied Lisbon once, when Junot marched into the capital in November 1807. It seems incredible that nobody left Masséna detailed reports of the topography north of the capital. Masséna was not the first French officer to discover the Lines, however, that particular distinction falling to Montbrun, whose cavalry came up in front of Sobral on 11 October. During the next three days there was some sharp skirmishing in front of Sobral, the most severe coming on 14 October when Junot attacked Spencer’s piquets to the south of the place.
It seems incredible that nobody left Masséna detailed reports of the topography north of the capital. Masséna was not the first French officer to discover the Lines, however, that particular distinction falling to Montbrun, whose cavalry came up in front of Sobral on 11 October. During the next three days there was some sharp skirmishing in front of Sobral, the most severe coming on 14 October when Junot attacked Spencer’s piquets to the south of the place. Little advantage was gained by the French, however, and when Masséna came up himself he at once realised just how difficult things would be over the next few weeks.