Almanza 1707


This wonderful painting is by Buonaventura Ligli and Filippo Pallota, completed in 1709. It is to be found in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. On the right. In the foreground is the French commander, the Duke of Berwick surrounded by ADCs either waiting to take orders off to some part of the field, or bringing him information. Berwick set out his men in two lines with infantry in the centre, the French cavalry on the left flank and the Spanish cavalry on the right. But when he saw that the British cavalry were facing his right wing he switched the French cavalry over to the right. There were four other mounted British regiments at Almanza, the 1st, 4th, 7th and 8th Dragoons. The British made up about one third of the 15,000 strong army. The Portuguese comprised one half, and the rest were Dutch, German and French Huguenots. The best Portuguese cavalry were led personally by their General, Das Minas. He was accompanied by his mistress, dressed as a cavalry officer, but she was killed in the battle.


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by Stephen Luscombe