Complete title reads, War to the Death - The Sieges of Saragossa 1808-1809. The two sieges of Saragossa are not the most famous of the Peninsular War, but they in many ways were the foreshadowing of the bloody urban battles of the 20th and 21st centuries. After the French invaded Spain in 1808 and the Spanish revolted, Napoleon sent thousands of French troops to crush the rebellion. Although most Spanish armies were defeated in battle the city of Saragossa held out, defended by both soldiers and civilians. There was brutal house to house, street by street fighting. This is an excellent book to read and my first choice for those who want to learn about the Peninsular War's bloodiest siege. The Spanish throughout the war almost always were defeated on the open field by the French when fighting without British support. At Saragossa they stood their ground and held out with the same tenacity as the Soviets at Stalingrad. Although the guns used in the fighting were no different than other early 19th century battles, the huge amount of artillery, grenades and total warfare in an urban environment was a eerie foreshadowing of the horrors to be visited on places like Stalingrad, Berlin, Hue, Grozny, and Fallujah in the next century.

War to the Death

  • 1974 Macmillan Publishing Company NY

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