Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Peer review/Battle of Bailén

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Battle of Bailén[edit]

Hunkered down and re-wrote this incredibly confused—and confusing—little episode pretty much from scratch over the holidays. See what you think. I'll probably get around to fleshing out Dupont's invasion of Andalusia in a bit more detail, and I really should consult the Spanish sources—Toreno's Historia del Levantamiento, Guerra, y Revolución de España and Solís' Los guerrilleros de 1808 will have lots to say on the Spaniards. But for the moment I'll concentrate on any issues you bring up. Albrecht (talk) 01:53, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Abraham, B.S.[edit]

Just a few MoS issues that stick out:

  • An endash (–) is required between date ranges used in the article and page ranges used in citations.
    • Done, thanks.
  • The lead should be expanded to a good three paragraphs for an article of this size.
    • I can probably come up with something better, but for the moment: Done.
  • Per current MoS, dates should be delinked.
    • I must have half-suspected this, because I only linked half the dates. Done.
  • Several sentences at the end of paragraphs, and in some places entire paragraphs themselves, and unreferenced and need to be, especially if you wish to bring the article higher up the quality scale.
    • Yes, those citation holes were mostly leftovers from the previous version. I think I've plugged the gaps—especially Castanos' statements towards the end. I might need something more specific regarding "sentences at the end of paragraphs," but I'll keep looking it over.

Cheers, Abraham, B.S. (talk) 03:16, 4 January 2009 (UTC)


Good work Albrecht. i've done some formatting and copyediting. it should not take too much to get it up to good article level though it will need at least:

  • more inline citations e.g. for figures.
    • Hmm, I cited the army strengths in the Infobox earlier, and battle sections seem pretty densely cited. I'll take another look.
      • e.g. 80,000 strong. i'll try and put citation tags for any others needed. i think some people think it looks better if there is an inline citation at the end of every paragraph. Tom B (talk) 19:20, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
        • Oh, okay. (That's Chandler for sure.) Tags would actually help a lot.
  • check consistent use of Bailén and Baylen.
    • I haven't the foggiest why the article on the town is at Baylen—British historians adopted the Spanish spelling at the turn of the century, so the archaic version certainly isn't "the most common English-language name." Should I just redirect and stamp out the problem there?
      • it maybe best to change the article name for the town. it seems all other languages that use the latin alphabet refer to it as Bailén. though would clearly need to keep some references to Baylen e.g. Wellington quotations and also note in the article on the town. have a think, Tom B (talk) 19:20, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
        • I've added a parenthetical note on the archaic English spelling in the lead paragraph. Hope that takes care of it.
  • consistent formatting for book citations, recommend using cite book.
    • Laziness; I would've caught this eventually. Done.

will try and come back to work and have a look at some point, Tom B (talk) 16:02, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you both. Albrecht (talk) 17:18, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Foy, Hamilton, Larchey and Napier are very old references so maybe outdated, pls see discussion at Wikipedia:RS#Scholarship, Tom B (talk) 18:59, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Part of the problem with Peninsular War historiography is this: the older sources are the only ones to go into any detail—Glover devotes less than two pages to Dupont's entire campaign; Gates (minus illustrations) maybe five pages; Chandler gives the battle and its aftermath about two and a half. Esdaile may be a bit better in this regard (and is a considerably more reliable source all around, considering the author wrote his doctoral dissertation at Oxford on the Spanish military institutions during the war.) Even Napier's multi-volume ouvrage only allots 10 or 11 pages to Bailén, making General Foy's account all the more important. Larchey, a primary source (hence the date), is only cited twice, with a view to adding some colour (with eyewitness accounts).
It really comes down to making judicious use of the older sources, comparing French, British, and Spanish accounts, and cross-checking with the recent material wherever possible (although this also has its limits; Glover, whose credentials consist of "reading history at St. John's College," is just as pervasively biased and analytically lazy as Napier. Reading their bios, one gets the sense that the average British military "historian" of the mid-twentieth century was really a talented amateur, often an ex-colonel, sleeping under a Lady Butler canvas in a pathological love affair with Wellington)—Napier, for instance, is notoriously unfair on the Spaniards and painfully unacquainted with the Spanish documentation, so I don't trust him much further than "15th Foo Regiment advanced to the River Foo on the 12th of Fooctober."
Finally, I'll note that Battle of Albuera and Battle of the Gebora, both featured articles, cite Napier and actually rely overwhelmingly on Oman (1911)—not a huge improvement in terms of the date—so I'm hoping this issue isn't a huge obstacle. Let me know what you think. Albrecht (talk) 22:46, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like a reasonable justification particularly 'older sources are the only ones that go into detail'. Tom B (talk) 00:04, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Coupigny is introduced without describing who he is. who's coussigny? You may also want to do some work on linking e.g. noon and olive grove are linked, probably unnecessary, whilst ordenes not linked even though they are described as famous, are they related to Order of Alcántara? In the aftermath section you say damage to France was irreparable but then go on to detail France's reconquest. The engraving of Tudela on the arc de triomphe is unnecessary detail for this article. cheers, Tom B (talk) 21:37, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Ah yes, Antoine Malet de Coupigny, a Spanish divisional general of French origin. I was planning to write a short section early in the article on the two armies (which would allow me to use Esdaile and Chartrand, easing the reliance on old sources), introducing the divisional commanders there. However, my sources are not detailed enough for a full "Order of Battle" proper. Would a collapsable table do the trick? The Ordenes Militares were part of the massive reorganization of the Spanish Army during the War of the First Coalition, but it's not worth the trouble to call them "famous." Removed.
description of armies sounds very relevant as long as not overly duplicating existing text. i'm not the final judge just pointing out that i'm sure some elements need brief intro. at the mo, the first time he's mentioned is 'Coupigny advanced his division' rather than explaining he was one of Reding's generals. if a collapsible table added to article by adding description to elements then great. Tom B (talk) 00:04, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
The damage to France was obviously not irreparable; however, the damage to France's strategic situation was; the first invasion failed, and Napoleon basically had to start over from scratch in November and bring most of the Grande Armée into the country. Albrecht (talk) 23:01, 4 January 2009 (UTC)


Thank you for your sterling work on this fascinating article; I very much enjoyed reading it, and learned a few things in the process ;) I can't really add much to the comments above regarding the sourcing and content, which looks excellent, but there were a few stylistic points I noticed:

  • Layout: the various callout quotes, images and such make the article look a little untidy in places (particularly towards the end). I'm not advocating wholesale change, but it might be worth considering if all the images are really necessary (for example, "Wounded cuirassier") and if things can be formatted differently, or at least consistently. The use of {{cquote}} is discouraged in articles; <blockquote>...</blockquote> is preferred; and images should not normally be left-aligned under a section heading.
    • Thanks! I'm not particularly attached to the wounded cuirassier, although (if all goes well) I should be adding a good deal of text over the next few days, so we may yet find a place for the poor guy. I'll make sure to convert those quotes to blockquote as well; the idea was to differentiate the secondary sources from quotes by historical actors, but hey, MoS is the MoS. But at any rate I'll keep all this in mind and we can thrash out the details soon.
  • Wikilinks: the article appears to be overlinked in places. Current practice is to use high-value links only, so for example dates should no longer be linked (which is in any case a formatting rather than linking function), and nor should common words like "fleet" and "surgeon", and familiar place names like "Spanish", "Spain", "Madrid" etc.
    • Noted. I'll run through it presently.
  • Although the prose is generally very good, a thorough copyedit may be useful at some point, and I'd strongly recommend it if you intend to take the article further than GA to ensure the article follows Wikipedia's in-house style.
    • May be a little bit of my sources' style seeping through! A few helpful editors have been nibbling away with copyedits here and there; hopefully we'll bring it up to par soon. Are there any specific concerns?
      • I don't think it would be massively useful to list specifics here, as it's more of a general observation; your comment re "sources seeping through" was the impression I got ;) Once the content is fully in place per the above reviews, it's nothing a general copyedit for style and consistency won't address. EyeSerenetalk 17:28, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

All the best, EyeSerenetalk 11:41, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks very much. I hope to justify all these vague "will do's" above! Albrecht (talk) 04:31, 7 January 2009 (UTC)