General Armand PhilipponGeneral best known for his determined resistance at the sieges of Badajoz
Born: August 27, 1761
Place of Birth: Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France
Died: May 4, 1836
Place of Death: Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe: PHILIPPON on the west pillar
The son of a merchant, Armand Philippon enlisted in the infantry regiment of Lorraine in 1778. Twelve years later in 1790 he was promoted to sergeant major and then in August of 1792 he was named a capitaine in the 7th Battalion of Volunteers of Bec d'Ambès. Philippon was sent to the Army of the Western Pyrenees and in June of 1794 he distinguished himself defending Iramenaca. For this achievement he was promoted to chef de brigade and he became chief of staff of his division. Philippon later served with the Army of the West in 1795 and then in 1799 he joined the Army of the Danube. Later that year he served with the Army of Italy and then in November of 1800 he was named commander of the 87th of the Line.
In 1802 Philippon served in Switzerland before he went to serve in Italy. In 1803 he took command of the 54th of the Line and he was sent to the Army of Hanover. In 1804 he was named an Officer of the Legion of Honor. Philippon took part in the campaign of 1805 against the Third Coalition as part of the Grande Armée and he fought at the Battle of Austerlitz. In February of 1807 he joined Lapisse's division.
Philoppon was sent to the Army of Spain in September of 1808. In 1809 he served at the Battle of Talavera and in 1810 he served at the Siege of Cadiz. In 1810 he was also named a Baron of the Empire and promoted to général de brigade. 1811 was a year for Philippon to make a name for himself, for he distinguished himself at the Battle of the Gebora and he was then named governor of Badajoz. That May the British General Beresford led a combined British-Portuguese force to lay siege to Badajoz. Philippon and his men repulsed the first siege which was lifted when the besiegers were forced to march to confront Marshal Soult's relief force. Soult was defeated at the Battle of Albuera and so the Britsh-Portuguese army returned to lay siege once again in late May and early June, but they were forced to lift the siege and fall back when a stronger French relief force moved into the area. In recognition of his service Philippon received a promotion to général de division in July. He remained at Badajoz and the British returned to lay siege to Badajoz in March of 1812. Philippon had less than 5000 troops and was heavily outnumbered. Nevertheless, he was determined to hold Badajoz. During the fierce fighting, Philippon was wounded on April 3rd, and he and his men continued to hold their ground against the superior numbers. After the defenses were finally breached, the French continued to fight in the streets of the city and eventually Philippon fell back into a church. Running out of ammunition, he surrendered on April 6th. Philippon was taken prisoner but he escaped in July and returned to Paris.
In 1813 Philippon was named commander of the 1st Division of I Corps and he served during the campaign in Saxony that year. In June he began serving under General Vandamme and in August he fought at the disastrous Battle of Kulm. Philippon managed to avoid being taken prisoner, however he was immediately replaced by General Cassagne and retired from the army, possibly due to the events at Kulm.
Updated September 2019
© Nathan D. Jensen