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Where would you be 250 years ago?

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  • Where would you be 250 years ago?

    Imagine you are living in 1758. It is the height of the first truly world war, the Seven Years' War. The European powers are vying for control in Europe, while Britain and France are struggling for all of North America, as well as their other colonies around the world. Would you be a soldier in Frederick the Great's Prussian army? A New England Provincial fighting the French and their allied Indians in Nova Scotia? An English seaman in a British naval squadron off the coast of India? A Scottish Highlander, cutting a road through the Pennsylvania wilderness toward Ft. Duquesne? Or perhaps a French Canadian habitant called to fight in the milice to repel the British advance up the Lake Champlain corridor?

    Where would you be 250 years ago?
    "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

  • #2
    I think I would have been an adventurer mercenary if I remained in Europe, moving from one army to the next, looking for opportunities to enrich myself and climb the social ladder ! (The French army would be filled with too many stuck up aristocratic officers and the Prussian army would be too harsh for someone as independent as myself...)

    Even today I have problems staying fixed in one country and with one job (I'm 34 and I've already had about 20 different jobs and have travelled my whole life from my 3 years old till my 25th)...

    Well, in the end I believe I would have travelled to the American colonies in order to settle on the frontier and become a trapper, living in a log cabin, trading in furs, exploring and befriending myself with the local native inhabitants. I probably would have served the British as well as the French forces as the situation turned into the one or the other's favor and depending on the amount of gold I was paid ! And who would find me for being a traitor? No British or French officer would be able to find me in the thick woods of Kentucky or Ohio...

    Yes, I'm an opportunist !!!!



    Greets,
    Stratego

    PS: I've made a "Seven Years War Quiz" and it should be on air by tommorow, don't forget to check it out, sauerkraut !!!!!
    Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

    BORG

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    • #3
      I would like to be serving with General Wolfe, and to see his victory at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Wolfe was an active and restless figure. Amherst was to report that Wolfe seemed to be everywhere at once. There was a story that when someone in the English Court branded the young Brigadier mad, King George II retorted, "Mad, is he? Then I hope he will bite some of my other generals."
      Never Fear the Event

      Admiral Lord Nelson

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, Wolfe is a fascinating figure. In 1758 he was in the amphibious landing at la Coromandière cove in Gabarus Bay during the Siege of Louisbourg. It was a near failure until a few boats found a protected inlet to land, and Wolfe ordered the other boats to follow.

        This website has a good description of the landing and Siege of Louisbourg with some maps and pictures of the area.

        And Stephen Brumwell's new biography of Wolfe has recently been published. I haven't read it yet, but judging by his previous work it should be very good.
        "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Post Captain View Post
          I would like to be serving with General Wolfe, and to see his victory at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Wolfe was an active and restless figure. Amherst was to report that Wolfe seemed to be everywhere at once. There was a story that when someone in the English Court branded the young Brigadier mad, King George II retorted, "Mad, is he? Then I hope he will bite some of my other generals."
          I'll go along with that for sure.

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          • #6
            Though there were many interesting events happening around the world in 1758, for me I look to my own family history. Many of my ancestors were some of the earliest English colonists in New England including some on the Mayflower in 1620, and later Puritans during the Great Migration in the 1630s. By the middle of the 18th century, some of my distant ancestors include the Gorhams of Gorham's Rangers fame in Nova Scotia during King George's War in the 1740s and later at the Siege of Louisbourg. Other ancestors were in the Massachusetts Provincial forces during the Seven Years' War. So, if I had been living in 1758 I would have liked to have been a provincial ranger from Massachusetts in Major Scott's Provisional Battalion made up of regular light infantry and provincial rangers. In 1758 Scott's Provisional Battalion served in Cape Breton patrolling the damp woods during the siege of Louisbourg, and later in 1759 was active in the St. Lawrence River valley during the siege of Quebec.

            An article on Scott's Provisional Battalion.
            "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

            Comment


            • #7
              I would probably be some small time farmer living in the village of Schio or Magre, Italy. They are north of Padua and Verona halfway between the two cities. If not there I would be somewhere in Germany with a similar type of job. Not to sure which "state" I would be living in but probably in the northern region. Once things started getting heated in both Prussia and France I would probably pack up my things and make a break from the English Channel and Britian.
              "We Will Stay Here, If We Must All Go to Hell Together"
              -Col. John R. Cooke, 27th NC

              Avatar: My Grandfather on the right. His twin on the left. Their older brother in the middle. In their Navy Blues

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              • #8
                Interesting post and link HiredGoon, thanks.
                Never Fear the Event

                Admiral Lord Nelson

                Comment


                • #9
                  Like HiredGoon I probably would look back on my own family history. One of my ancestors was a Prussian general and later field marshal and commanded a substantial part of the coalition forces in western Germany during the seven years war consisting out of Prussians, British, hannoveranian and other German troops. I would have liked to be in his place.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Minden

                    I'm going to smuggle a little bit, but hope to make clear that I have very good reason to do so as thus I would be enabled to witness a feat practically unparalleled in military history.

                    I would like to be at the Allied side near Minden on August 1st, 1759, where a feat took place which makes me proud to be infantry, even 249 years after the date!!

                    For those unfamiliar with the story of the Battle of Minden: during this battle British and Hanoverian infantry, white and red roses in their hats from the previous day when they advanced through gardens, through wrongly translated orders from their German commander, advanced against French cavalry, in fact infantry attacked cavalry!!

                    Unsupported by the rest of the Allied army and under crossfire of 60 French cannon, they advance. Aides-de-camp try to stop them but they march on unperturbed through gunfire against three blocks of French cavalry who prepare to charge against them. The nine infantry battalions (6 British and 3 Hanoverian) receive each cavalry charge with musket fire when they have advanced within 10 yards, slaughtering horses and men, throwing them back and then move on...
                    After the first shamefully failed attack the French want revenge. The nine battalions moving on like a juggernaut are attacked frontally by the second block of French cavalry while approached in the right flank by French infantry and artillery. The Allies repeat their hattrick, blasting the charging cavalry off the field and then turning right to deal with he infantry /artillery threatening their flank.
                    British cavalry in the meantime doesn't manage to move onto the battlefield to take full advantage of the miracle their infantry is creating. The rest of the Hanoverian army however is coming to the rescue of the nine valiant and isolated infantry battalions who now have to face a third cavalry attack, which they deal with as coolly as they did with the first two!!
                    Although the British cavalry is still not moving, the Hanoverian infantry horse artillery plus cavalry coming to the rescue is driving the rest of the French off the battlefield and safeguarding victory...
                    Of the roughly 4,400 men in the battallions that advanced, 1,300 were wounded or killed.

                    This event is one of the most decisive victories of the annus mirabilis 1759 and like Agincourt shows clearly what determined infantry is capable of when it is able to suppress its urge to run from cavalry!
                    The Battle of Minden is in my opinion quite rightfully commemorated still every day on August 1st and a perfect candidate for the presented occasion.
                    Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 24 Apr 08, 19:10.
                    BoRG

                    You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The roaming Ranger!

                      Another great and very detailed post by Captainsennef, as he once again proves why his brilliant contributions to this forum are quite invaluable and very well received. Very vivid, with sharp prose, and his graphic, step-by-step descriptions of the British/Hanoverian infantry fearlessly advancing against the French cavalry, ultimately defeating them in the process (with some help from additional, well trained Hanoverian regiments, written in this manner that was well illustrated by Captainsennef!) makes for great and wonderful and lively reading. Wish I had that talent.

                      If I had lived 250 years ago there is this very good chance that I would have been this hard-bitten, rough-hewn, irrepressible backwoodsman with this fervent desire to join the fearsome, superbly motivated Scottish/Irish Rangers (aka Roger's Rangers, though there were other outfits of active Ranger units whose tactics, choice of weapons and various techniques were nearly identical to those of Roger's regiment), who roamed the vast frontier during the bloody French and Indian War of 1754-1763, dutifully serving the British Empire and acting as these thoroughly trained, elusive, non-pareil guerilla fighters whose skill at close quarter combat with blade weapons was exceptional.

                      For their unrivalled ability to smell, track, follow, set and spring various ambushes and traps was quite outstanding, and, for them, 2nd nature (though the inherently silent and deadly Native Americans of that vast, untamed and virgin region may have been their equals in that respect).

                      Also, they were quite ferocious, impervious to all kinds of adverse weather conditions, and the type and particular style of guerilla warfare that those super tough and hardy Rangers practiced, executed and perfected was deeply hardwired into their Irish and Scottish genetic code, for the overwhelming majority of those frontier warriors were Irish, Scottish and/or Scots-Irish---(though mainly the latter, who were otherwise known as the Ulster Scots!)---or came directly from one of those two blood-stained Celtic realms. So their amazing and turbulent journey took them from one bloody and war torn country to another, even more violent land of deep, primeval forests and these majestic mountain ranges stretching for miles upon miles and which dominated and comprised much of the landscape.

                      Those vigorously bellicose, impossible to control Irish/Scottish Rangers of old (whose faces were sometimes painted!) were also thoroughly trained and highly proficient in the use and ways of Indian weapons, such as tomahawks and short knives, and they would often charge and plunge into battle (when fighting the various Indian tribes that they went up against, like the Cherokee and Shawnee!) wielding these two handed swords in much the same manner that their far-off ancestors would, yet they were just as visceral, just as capable, just as savage and equally devastating, as they ferociously engaged the natives, screaming these bloodcurdling war cries and emerging from the thick forest growth with painted faces and gleaming weapons (though of course the natives were equally ferocious, formidable and tough as the Rangers they faced, if not more so on some occasions!)!

                      Though if not a Ranger I may have been just this regular farmer tending to my crops, plowing my fields (and my wife, or mistress!), sowing my oats (no pun intended!) and clearing trees to make way for more farmland. Either way I would have made the most out of my life, whether it be engaging wild Indians in brutal, do-or-die, winner take all hand-to-hand combat or harvesting various crops to eventually consume.

                      Also, I think that I would love to serve in Frederick the Great's magnificently trained, superbly disciplined, fiercely cohesive and highly formidable infantry formations that were trained in this radically new style of warfare predicated principally upon taking perpetual offensive action, while maintaining this remarkable capacity for seamless, mass manueverability as the troops advanced in lock-step formation, continuously keeping their battlefield alignments intact under all conditions and circumstances, no matter how adverse, deadly or withering the fire being poured into them.

                      Furthermore, their ability to keep up this certain rate of fire and non-stop accuracy was also extremely impressive and 2nd to none, and those Prussian soldiers were also first-rate shock troops who were very adept at handling, fighting and jabbing with their bayonets. Just serving under Frederick the Great would be inspiration enough, and the sublime joy of taking on and defeating, successively---and while deploying these radically new, highly effective tactics---the professional armies of the French, Austrians and the Russians would be more than enough to make any soldier extremely proud, drastically raising the collective spirits of the whole army and engendering this fever pitch sustained by national pride! The Prussians were very tough to defeat indeed (though I also believe that nearly 2/3rds of their fearsome Army was comprised of mercenaries from various countries like Ireland, Scotland, England, Switzerland, Serbia and Croatia along with fighting troops from other parts of Germany and Pomeranians from the Northeast)!
                      Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 26 Apr 08, 15:45.

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                      • #12




                        August 1th, 2009.
                        Today is the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Minden

                        Battalions involved wear red or white roses to commemorate


                        Originally posted by MajorSennef View Post
                        I'm going to smuggle a little bit, but hope to make clear that I have very good reason to do so as thus I would be enabled to witness a feat practically unparalleled in military history.

                        I would like to be at the Allied side near Minden on August 1st, 1759, where a feat took place which makes me proud to be infantry, even 249 years after the date!!

                        For those unfamiliar with the story of the Battle of Minden: during this battle British and Hanoverian infantry, white and red roses in their hats from the previous day when they advanced through gardens, through wrongly translated orders from their German commander, advanced against French cavalry, in fact infantry attacked cavalry!!

                        Unsupported by the rest of the Allied army and under crossfire of 60 French cannon, they advance. Aides-de-camp try to stop them but they march on unperturbed through gunfire against three blocks of French cavalry who prepare to charge against them. The nine infantry battalions (6 British and 3 Hanoverian) receive each cavalry charge with musket fire when they have advanced within 10 yards, slaughtering horses and men, throwing them back and then move on...
                        After the first shamefully failed attack the French want revenge. The nine battalions moving on like a juggernaut are attacked frontally by the second block of French cavalry while approached in the right flank by French infantry and artillery. The Allies repeat their hattrick, blasting the charging cavalry off the field and then turning right to deal with he infantry /artillery threatening their flank.
                        British cavalry in the meantime doesn't manage to move onto the battlefield to take full advantage of the miracle their infantry is creating. The rest of the Hanoverian army however is coming to the rescue of the nine valiant and isolated infantry battalions who now have to face a third cavalry attack, which they deal with as coolly as they did with the first two!!
                        Although the British cavalry is still not moving, the Hanoverian infantry horse artillery plus cavalry coming to the rescue is driving the rest of the French off the battlefield and safeguarding victory...
                        Of the roughly 4,400 men in the battallions that advanced, 1,300 were wounded or killed.

                        This event is one of the most decisive victories of the annus mirabilis 1759 and like Agincourt shows clearly what determined infantry is capable of when it is able to suppress its urge to run from cavalry!
                        The Battle of Minden is in my opinion quite rightfully commemorated still every day on August 1st and a perfect candidate for the presented occasion.
                        Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 01 Aug 09, 08:47.
                        BoRG

                        You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MajorSennef View Post




                          August 1th, 2009.
                          Today is the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Minden

                          Battalions involved wear red or white roses to commemorate
                          Great post!!! Which were the brits batts involved?
                          A ME LE GUARDIE
                          "Di noi tremò la nostra vecchia gloria. Tre secoli di fede e una vittoria". Gabriele D'Annunzio

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                          • #14
                            My family came to America and settled in Berks Co Pennsylvania around that time so I would probably be fighting Delaware or Shawnee raiding parties.

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                            • #15
                              St. Francis

                              Since my ancestors were still either in England or Ireland I might either be in a British regiment or perhaps with Rogers on the St. Francis expedition.

                              There is a new book out on the Rangers, War on the Run, which is excellent.

                              Sincerely,
                              M
                              We are not now that strength which in old days
                              Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                              Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                              To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

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