Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics



Portuguese Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars

By João Centeno

In May 1806, the Portuguese Army was consisted of  brigades and 3 Divisions:  South, Center and North.  The North and Center Divisions was authorized an artillery regiment, except the one of the South, which would have 2 regiments:

Division

Regiment

North

Artillery Regiment #4: Oporto

Center

Artillery Regiment #1: Lisbon

South

Artillery Regiment #2: Algarve
Artillery Regiment #3: Estremoz

The regiments were to have batteries (at that time called companies) with the following pieces:

2 pieces of 3 Pounders
2 pieces of 6  Pounders
1 of 9  Pounders
1 howitzer of 5 ½.

It was in these circumstances the Portuguese army was found, when Napoleon's troops invaded the country in 1807.

On 30 September 1808, the artillery regiments were reorganized and the reorganization was set on 14 October 1808, because of the French invasion. Prior to that, the regiments had been demobilized by the Decree of December  1807. The reorganization of 1808, was in the same mold of the organization of 1806, the year that they were organized into 4 regiments. The Regiment of Artillery No. 1 (Lisbon), however was formed into batteries, to which was given the name of brigades, composed of 6 guns.

Under the command of the Marshal Beresford, the artillery regiments were reorganized.  The  regiments were composed of a company of firemen, another of miners, one of pontooniers and 7 companies of gunners, with a total of 1,148 men assigned to the regiment.

In 1812, an artificers battalion was formed.  The artillery regiment would consist only of gunners.  Later in 1812, an artillery drivers battalion was created.  This reduced the number of brigades in the regiment to 10, each with 6 guns.  The batteries were generally organized with 5 guns and 1 howitzer and had 140 men each.

After March 1809, 13 brigades of artillery of campaign were constituted with 6 pieces each.  This was reduced to 11 brigades in 1810.

Seven campaign brigades were assigned to Wellington’s army.  Each brigade had:

2 pieces of 3   Pounders  
4 pieces of 6   Pounders 
1 piece of 9  Pounders 

The 4 remaining brigades  were in reserve in Trás-os-Montes.

In 1812, 8 campaign brigades were committed to Wellington's Army:

5 brigades with 9 - Pounders and a 5.5 inch howitzer
3 brigades with 6 - Pounders

The remaining 8 brigades would be in reserve on Portuguese soil.               

The Artillery was divided in 4 regiments, with about 1.200 men each, of the which were formed the batteries for campaign service and fortifications.

The Commandant-General of the Artillery was Major General José António of Rosa,  who was appointed in May of 1809. The artillery did not have an equivalent to the British General of Ordnance.

On campaign, the Portuguese Artillery was commanded by Alexander Dickson, A.Tulloh and Romão of Arriaga.  Dickson, was so effective commanding the Portuguese artillery, he was named  the commander of all of Wellington’s artillery in September 1813.

 

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