Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Lines of Torres Vedras

 We started our tour at Fort St Vincent near the town of Torres Vedras.  It was major fort that has been largely preserved in the front of of the two lines near the western end.  From there to the Atlantic the forward line was mainly a river line with dams flodding the valley.  This fort  has a small interp centre.  For 1 euro (seniors discount) you get a short movie of re-enactors with the historical background, a small display & a map of the sites for self driving tour.  The maps shows the forts that have survived but was woefully inadequate as far as helping one find them.  If Ms Google didn't recognise the fort's name you had to be  extremely lucky to find a signpost to it.

Fort St Vincent had impressive stone lined ditches & walls.
The fort is huge.
Plan of the fort.
All the forts are on top of hills with perfects fields of fire overlapping the next fort.  And in 1810, the ground wasn't covered in bloody gum trees.
In between the major forts were smaller forts holding half a battalion & a battery.  The ones we found had been eroded away to bumps in the ground, but their command of the surrounding land was always obvious,
This is a view from Fort Carvalha the highest point in the lines.  We could ses the Tagus from there.
There were two lines of fortresses.  In between there was a military road.  Portuguese troops garrisoned the forst while the Brits were in reserve between the lib]ne ready to move to ant troube spots.  The pic is of a model of a signal station at St Vincent interp centre.  All the forts had a comms tower so news of any French moves was immedaitely sent to HQ.  
This is Fort Feira, part of the second line, which was acually more desnse than the first line.  There was also a thrid line defending the British navy's landing zone.  Messina had no hope.


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