The Logistical Challenges of a Nineteenth-Century Siege (Ciudad Rodrigo 1812) by Dr Mark S Thompson

Hosted by the Society for Army Historical Research (United Kingdom).

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Dr Mark S Thompson spoke to the Society about the logistical challenges of the 1812 siege of Ciudad Rodrigo on 21 July 2022. Synopsis Transport was one of the most challenging aspects of operating in the Iberian Peninsula. Poor roads, large rivers, mountains and lack of wheeled and ‘hoofed’ transport were all major constraints. This was never more apparent than when trying to move a siege train to its intended target. The challenges and complexity of preparing for a siege are not well understood. The allied siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in January 1812 is seen as a example of a well run siege. But was it? This presentation will describe the operation and show that there were many components of the preparation that were less than ideal.

Biography Dr Mark S Thompson is an independent military historian specializing in the Peninsular War 1808-14. His first book, ‘The Fatal Hill’ covered the campaign culminating in the battle of Albuera in May 1811. In 2009, he completed a PhD at the university of Sunderland focusing on the role of the Royal Engineers during this period. This was published as ‘Wellington’s Engineers’ in 2015. He has subsequently published books on John Burgoyne, Wellington’s Favourite Engineer (2020) and Wellington and the the Lines of Torres Vedras (2021). He is currently writing a book on the 1813 siege of San Sebastian due for publication in 2023. Mark is a member of the British Commission for Military History, the Friends of the Lines of Torres Vedras and the Society for Army Historical Research.

See his website at for details of all his published works.