Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest NetGalley

The Light Division in the Peninsular War, 1808–1811 (Hardback)

Napoleonic Peninsular War Military 19th Century

By Tim Saunders, Rob Yuill
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 312
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations & 15 black and white maps
ISBN: 9781526757326
Published: 16th April 2020



You'll be £25.00 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase The Light Division in the Peninsular War, 1808–1811. What's this?
+£4.50 UK Delivery or free UK delivery if order is over £35
(click here for international delivery rates)

Order within the next 11 hours, 7 minutes to get your order processed the next working day!

Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available - Buy the Hardback and get the eBook for £1.99! Price
The Light Division in the Peninsular… ePub (160.2 MB) Add to Basket £4.99
The Light Division in the Peninsular… Kindle (52.2 MB) Add to Basket £4.99

Histories of the Light Division have tended to be incomplete, being based on memoirs of a few well known diarists, principally from the 95th Rifles. The authors of this book, the first volume of two, have sought memoirs from across the division, including the artillery, the King’s German Hussars and others to complete a broader history of Wellington’s elite division.

Light infantry was not new a concept in 1803, but at Shorncliffe Camp Sir John Moore developed a progressive ethos, set of tactics and training for the newly converted light infantry regiments. With the 95th Rifles they were melded into a brigade that was to form the basis of the incomparable Light Division.

From the outset of the Peninsular campaigns in 1808 they delivered results way beyond their scant numbers, but it was during the epic winter retreat to La Corunna that they showed their metal. Returning to the Peninsular months later, the irascible Brigadier Craufurd led the Light Brigade in terrible march to reach Wellington at Talavera; heavily laden and in the heat of summer.

Over the winter of 1809/10, Craufurd,s battalions, now elevated to the status of a division, provided the army’s outposts. This was work that Craufurd excelled in and actions abounded, including the Combat on the Côa, where the division fought hard to escape Marshal Ney’s trap.

In 1810, with Wellington withdrawing to the Lines of Torres Vedra, the Light Division played a significant part in the battle of Buçaco Ridge, while the following year they drove Marshal Masséna’s army back into Spain having fought almost daily actions en route.

This history of the Light Division is not simply a series of set piece battles but provides a wider picture of campaigning and what it was to be a light infantry soldier.

A curious and interesting book for those who love naval history of all time and who like stories based on real facts.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

As featured by

Friends of Cumbria's Museum of Military Life newsletter

A good read, even those familiar with the period and the Peninsular War will likely find this useful.

The NYMAS Review

The authors deliver solid combat narratives with primary sources incorporated skilfully, particularly the reminiscences of Rifleman Harris of the 95th. They add box-out text sections, covering extraneous information such as weapons, equipment, and uniforms. Reenactor photographs showing loading and basic tactics, including the famous Plunkett Position, and clear maps and modern photographs of terrain illuminate the narrative. Napoleonic wars enthusiasts will enjoy this book very much.

Read the full review here

Beating Tsundoku

A new book from leading historians in their field. The authors are also former soldiers and battlefield guides. The popular perception of the Light Division has been created by the excellent series of novels following the career of Sharpe of the 95th Rifles. This book provides a full and accurate picture of the Division. – Most Highly Recommended

Read the full review here


This work is recommended for the non-specialist reader who will enjoy the extracts from a variety of diaries, and I am sure for the specialist, there will be new discoveries and interpretation. Read this and look forward to the second volume!

Robert Bartlett

The Division didn’t just contain the famous 95th Rifles. This book makes a determined attempt to include sources from the other units in the division, including the cavalry, and covers the activities of their Portuguese forces as well (although with limited sources available for this period). Although the events covered are often very familiar, this means that we do get a different view of most of them, and a better idea of the full range of the Light Division’s activities.

Read the full review here

History of War

It does a very good job telling the story of the multitude of small actions and the sometimes repetitive experience of the light troops, infantry cavalry and gunners, that screened the British Armies in the Peninsular.

Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Our opinion of this book is best summed up by imploring the authors, Tim Saunders and Bob Yuill, to let us have volume two as soon as possible. This book about the Light Division is well focused and doesn’t drift off into writing about the wider campaign more than is necessary to tell the Division’s story. Of particular interest are the many insights into the lives of the officers and ordinary infantry soldiers between the battles. The story flows easily along the timeline from the Division’s inception to its fruition.
There are a large number of maps and photographs interspersed throughout the text. Many photographs are of the locations today which would be a big help to anyone visiting the battlefields and marching routes.
We highly recommend this book and look forward to volume two.

Read the full review here

Clash of Steel

As would be expected in any work involving Tim Saunders, this account of the Light Division between 1808-1811 is quite excellent and delivers both an overview and detail. It is supported by well curated maps and images, particularly those images that define the landscape so well. This volume is highly recommended and I am looking forward to its companion volume covering 1811-1814.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Tim Saunders

TIM SAUNDERS served as an infantry officer with the British Army for thirty years, during which time he took the opportunity to visit campaigns far and wide, from ancient to modern. Since leaving the Army he has become a full time military historian, with this being his sixteenth book, and has made nearly fifty full documentary films with Battlefield History and Pen & Sword. He is an active guide and accredited member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides.

Perfect Partner

The Light Division in the Peninsular War, 1811–1814 (Hardback)

By the middle of 1811, Brigadier General Robert Craufurd’s Light Division was emerging as the elite of the Peninsular Army and Wellington was seeking opportunities to go over to the offensive, following the expulsion of Marshal Masséna from Portugal. After a period of outpost duty for the Light Division on the familiar ground of the Spanish borders, Wellington seized ‘the keys to Spain’ in the epic sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. Still reeling from the loss of General Craufurd, ‘The Division’ led the army against Marshal Marmont and after a protracted period of marching and counter…

By Tim Saunders, Rob Yuill

Click here to buy both titles for £55.00
More titles by Tim Saunders

More titles by Rob Yuill

Customers who bought this title also bought...

Other titles in Pen & Sword Military...