Tag Archives: Rifles in the Peninsular

The Battle of Salamanca – Regimental Day of The Rifles

The Battle of Salamanca, 22 July 1812, Wellington directs the attack, from a contemporary print.

The Battle of Salamanca, 22 July 1812, Wellington directs the attack, from a contemporary print.

RIFLES HISTORY  – The Battle of Salamanca 22 July 1812 –  Annually The Regimental Day of The Rifles.22 July 1812 saw Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, execute one of his most stunning victories over the French forces during the Peninsular War in Spain & Portugal. It showed his brilliance as an offensive general as he beat 40,000 Frenchmen in 40 minutes.

All forming Regiments of The Rifles had antecedent who fought in this action; 1/11th (Devonshire) nicknamed ‘The Bloody 11th’ for the heavy casualties taken this day, the 32nd (Cornwall), 43rd (Monmouthshire) LI, 51st (Yorkshire) LI, 52nd (Oxfordshire) LI, 53rd (Shropshire), 5/60th (Kings American Rifles),1/61st (South Gloucestershire) who after having had 6 reliefs of officers shot away in the colour party finished the day with Privates Nicholas Coulson and William Crawford carrying them in the final assault , 68th (Durham) LI engaged from early morning and throughout the day, and 1/2/3rd Bns 95th Rifles, who with the rest of the Light Division were instrumental in defeating the French rear-guard. For this reason it is chosen as the Regimental Day of The Rifles.

Our ancestors of 1812 set high standards of discipline, courage, initiative and decisive action, and the British attacks can be aptly described as Swift & Bold, providing a fine example of soldiering for today’s Rifles to follow.

Salamanca Day is a Day all Riflemen and former Janners, Glosters, Lightbobs and Jackets can celebrate and recall with pride. The actions of the Regiments  ancestors this day are written large in the tales of The Peninsular War.