The 11th  Light Dragoons and 14th Light Dragoons fought the French at the Battle of Salamanca. The battle lasted only 40 minutes and is often regarded as the shortest battle in military history.

In 1812, after Wellington had successfully captured the frontier fortresses of Ciudad and Badajos, he advanced across Spain, besieging Salamanca. General Marmont concentrated the French forces of 40,000 for a decisive battle.


On 18th July a cavalry brigade of the 14th Light Dragoons and German Hussars engaged a French cavalry brigade. After the arrival of British and Portuguese infantry, the French were driven off, pursued by the 14th Light Dragoons and German Hussars. The 14th lost a total of 18 men and 20 horses.

The Battle of Salamanca on 22nd July 1812 lasted only forty minutes, and is often regarded as the shortest major battle in military history. The French were fooled by dust clouds raised by supply and baggage wagons, and believed the British to be withdrawing. The 14th Light Dragoons and The Portuguese Horse opened the battle with a charge against the leading French battalion. This broke and scattered the French.

General Thomières sent a French dragoon brigade, consisting of six squadrons of light cavalry, to outflank the British right flank in an attempt to gain the road to Ciudad-Rodrigo. The German Hussars filed across a ravine and charged. They broke through the French but were outnumbered and retired just as the 14th Light Dragoons arrived in support. The German Hussars formed up behind the 14th and the two regiments charged again. This was successful and the French were scattered and pursued. 

Wellington was quick to exploit the gap in centre of the French line, and by a sudden assault routed the French. General Marmont was wounded and the French Army was skilfully withdrawn by his deputy, Clausel.