Wellington's often quoted description of the British Army as the "Scum of the Earth" was both damning and exaggeration in almost equal parts.
True the army's ranks were filled with the scrapings of the Magistrates' courts - debtors... vagabonds... petty criminals. But they were also filled with honest tradesmen... runaway apprentices... unemployed weavers and disaffected farm labourers. All of them ready to "take the King's shilling."
Out of these unlikely and disperate elements Wellington forged a professional army that fought and defeated Napoleons' finest - from Salamanca to Waterloo.
The Peninsular Campaign (1808-1813) was a long, gruelling struggle for all the combatants. Britain and France and their allies fought a series of great battles that saw the devastation of war rage across Spain and Portugal. Both sides experienced victory and defeat before the British eventually triumphed in 1813.
The British (71st Highlanders) were originally uniformed in the Highland fashion of kilts and bonnets before converting in 1805 to light infantry style of trousers and shako.
The French (3rd Line Infantry Regiment) Grenadiers can be instantly recognised by their red cords, facings and white gaiters. The Voltigeurs (skirmishers) by their yellow and green cords, facings and black gaiters.