Battle Honour ORTHES

Sun, 02/27/1814
Battle Honour ORTHES

The Battle Honour ORTHES is emblazoned on the Regimental Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment.

Towards the end of the Peninsular war, on the morning of 27 February 1814, 23,000 Allied troops commanded by the Duke of Wellington faced Marshal Soult's 37,000 strong French Army of Spain, posted on a line of heights across the Gave de Pau river close to the town of Orthez.

The Irish Regiments taking part in the battle included the 3/27th (Inniskillings) in General Cole's 4th Division plus the 2/83rd and 2/87th Regiments in General Picton's 4th Division. The Inniskillings had few casualties, as they were held in the reserve brigade, the 2/83rd had some 50, however, the 2/87th suffered greatly with 264 casualties.

As a result of this stubbornly fought battle the French lost 4,000 men, twice as many as the Allies. Marshal Soult's forces withdrew so quickly in the direction of Toulouse that they broke contact successfully.

Each of the three Regiments received ORTHES as a Battle Honour as did the 88th, also in Picton's Division; the Connaughts, like the 2/87th, suffered heavily with 258 casualties.