|The French army on the march|
The Spanish and Portuguese terrain across which the armies of Britain and France were frequently obliged to manoeuvre was ill-adapted for military purposes, being often mountainous, rocky and barren. The roads were especially poor, which is why Lord Wellington was so excessively pleased when Strange was able by the use of magic to furnish the British army with stoutly-made roads on theRoman pattern. (These roads were naturally designed to cease to exist shortly after the British had made use of them.)
Curiously, although the British gradually got the whip hand of the French in the Peninsula, for some time a great deal of the most effective opposition to the previously-invincible 'Grande Armée' came from bands of local irregulars, who were popularly known as guerrillas. (The word is Spanish and means 'little war'.) Jeronimo Saornil, who helps in the rescue of Major Colquhoun Grant, is leader of a band of this kind. Refinements such as chivalry and honour were unknown to the guerrillas but they were surprisingly good at killing - which is, after all, the main business of war.
The earliest part of Jonathan Strange's association with Lord Wellington (early 1811 to mid 1814) happened in the Iberian Peninsula[29, 30, 31]. The two men were later reunited briefly a year later when the Corsican Tyrant returned from exile, summoned France to arms and led his country to utter defeat on the field of Waterloo.
A nice addition to the fast-growing historically authentic JS&MN-archives: Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington's Peninsular War Restitution commemorative medal.
Historica Medalla De Liberacion De España Y Portugal Nombrando Las Batallas De Wellington Contra Napoleon
('Historical Medal Of the Liberation of Spain And Portugal Naming Wellington's Battles Against Napoleon).
Struck in bronze, Wellington's bust on obverse, inscribed:
Hispaniam Et Lusitaniam Restituit Wellington (Spain and Portugal, restored by Wellington).
Reverse inscribed around the rim:
Vimiera Aug.21 1808, Talavera July 28 1809, Almeida May 5 1811
Ciudad (City) Rodrigo Jan 19 1812, Badajoz April 2 1812, Salamanca July 22 1812, Madrid August 12 1812.
Original medal struck in England and distributed amongst members of Wellington's army, 27mm in diameter.