BHM #636 - 1808


The Battles of Rolica and Vimiero
British Historical Medals 636 - 1808 British Historical Medals 636 - 1808
Obv. Victory flying left. BY THE MERCY OF GOD.
Rev. AUG. 17 & 21 / ROLIERA & VIMIERO / 1808
Br. 15 published by E. Thomason. Br. N
AM.
The battle of Rolica was the first battle of the Peninsular War in which Sir Arthur Wellesley had more men than La Borde, his French opponent. The numbers of men actually engaged were about equal and the French casualties amounted to about 700 men compared with 485 British.
   The battle of Vimiera was fought on the 21st August at the village of that name some nine miles from Torres Vedras. Sir Arthur Wellesley took up a defensive position on two ridges and high ground which necessitated Junot's attacking this position. As a result of some attempted outflanking movements by the French they found themselves in ravines which stopped their progress. The French assault on the centre was repulsed and a final cavalry charge by the British completed the rout of the French army. The defeat at Vimiero was still a matter of astonishment to the French, in spite of being out-numbered, for the French army, attacking in open field, had not been defeated for many years. French losses amounted to some 2,000 men including 1,200 wounded in addition to at least 13 artillery pieces captured. The British losses were 135 killed, 534 wounded and 51 taken prisoner or counted as missing.
   One of a set of medals issued in 1815 (see No. 888).
from British Historical Medals, Volume 1, p. 156
 
Someone made a terrible hash of the names of the battles. But was it the engraver (probably) or BHM? Of course it's possible that this piece was an early strike that was later corrected.

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