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Bunker Hill - 6/17/1775

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  • Bunker Hill - 6/17/1775

    This marked the first time that Americans from various colonies got together to fight a common enemy. After retreating into Boston, the British left the Charlestown Peninsula undefended. The Americans took the opportunity to occupy this ground which was of little strategic significance but had a tactical significance of being high ground. The problem is that the Americans built their fortifications on two hills, Breeds, and Bunker right behind it. Rather than create a defense in depth, it weakened American firepower and dissipated mass. They should have occupied one or the other, but not both hills. The Americans also lacked unity of command. Nobody is quite sure who was in charge on the American side in the battle.

    For their part, the British violated the principle of maneuver, thinking that their well trained troops would simply climb the hill and push the Americans back frontally and they would run and never be heard from again. It took three tries before they gained the American position, after the Americans were running low on ammo (again,thanks to poor American Unity of Command). Eventually, the British prevailed only after taking some 1,000+ casualties. Later on in the war, the British seemed to learn from their mistakes by relying on maneuver against Americans behind fortifications. (This they did at Long Island and Brandywine). The American's left the battle than a rosier view of their abilities than was warranted, thinking that they could hold out against the British, regardless of the situation.
    I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

  • #2
    Battle of Bunker Hill - 17 June 1775

    Battle of Breed's Hill / Bunker Hill

    After retreating from Lexington in April, 1775, the British Army occupied Boston for several months. Realizing the need to strengthen their position in the face of increasing anti-British sentiment in and around Boston, plans were developed to seize and fortify nearby Dorchester Heights and Charlestown peninsulas. The peninsulas offered a commanding view of the seaport and harbor, and were important to preserving the security of Boston. The Americans caught word of the British plan, and decided to get to the Charlestown peninsula first, fortify it, and present sufficient threat to cause the British to leave Boston. On 16 June, 1775, under the leadership of Colonels Putnam, and Prescott, the Patriots stole out onto the Charlestown Peninsula with instructions to establish defensive positions on Bunker's Hill. For reasons that are unclear, they constructed a redoubt on nearby Breed's Hill. The next morning, the British were astonished to see the rebel fortifications upon the hill and set out to reclaim the peninsula.

    General Howe served as the commander of the British main assault force and led two costly and ineffective charges against the Patriot's fortifications without inflicting significant casualties on his opponents. After obtaining 400 reinforcements which included sorely needed ammunition for his artillery, Howe ordered a bayonet charge to seize Breed's Hill. In this third attempt, the British were finally able to breach the breastworks of the American redoubt and the Patriots were forced to retreat back to the mainland.

    This battle, though victorious, proved costly for the British. Of the 2400 British soldiers in Howe's command, the 1054 casualties accounted for nearly forty percent of their ranks. The American casualties were 441, including 30 captured, with most being inflicted during the retreat. The battle served to proved to the American people that the British Army was not invinsible. It became a symbol of national pride and a rally point of resistance against British rule.

    References:
    http://www.wpi.edu/Academics/Depts/MilSci/BTSI/Hill/
    http://www.masshist.org/bh/ (good info & a quiz)
    http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/today/jun17.html
    http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps...r/42bunker.htm
    Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
    Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


    "Never pet a burning dog."

    RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
    http://www.mormon.org
    http://www.sca.org
    http://www.scv.org/
    http://www.scouting.org/

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Battle of Bunker Hill - 17 June 1775

      Originally posted by Janos
      Battle of Breed's Hill / Bunker Hill

      After retreating from Lexington in April, 1775, the British Army occupied Boston for several months. Realizing the need to strengthen their position in the face of increasing anti-British sentiment in and around Boston, plans were developed to seize and fortify nearby Dorchester Heights and Charlestown peninsulas. The peninsulas offered a commanding view of the seaport and harbor, and were important to preserving the security of Boston. The Americans caught word of the British plan, and decided to get to the Charlestown peninsula first, fortify it, and present sufficient threat to cause the British to leave Boston. On 16 June, 1775, under the leadership of Colonels Putnam, and Prescott, the Patriots stole out onto the Charlestown Peninsula with instructions to establish defensive positions on Bunker's Hill. For reasons that are unclear, they constructed a redoubt on nearby Breed's Hill. The next morning, the British were astonished to see the rebel fortifications upon the hill and set out to reclaim the peninsula.

      General Howe served as the commander of the British main assault force and led two costly and ineffective charges against the Patriot's fortifications without inflicting significant casualties on his opponents. After obtaining 400 reinforcements which included sorely needed ammunition for his artillery, Howe ordered a bayonet charge to seize Breed's Hill. In this third attempt, the British were finally able to breach the breastworks of the American redoubt and the Patriots were forced to retreat back to the mainland.

      This battle, though victorious, proved costly for the British. Of the 2400 British soldiers in Howe's command, the 1054 casualties accounted for nearly forty percent of their ranks. The American casualties were 441, including 30 captured, with most being inflicted during the retreat. The battle served to proved to the American people that the British Army was not invinsible. It became a symbol of national pride and a rally point of resistance against British rule.

      References:
      http://www.wpi.edu/Academics/Depts/MilSci/BTSI/Hill/
      http://www.masshist.org/bh/ (good info & a quiz)
      http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/today/jun17.html
      http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps...r/42bunker.htm
      Regarding your last few sentences, the knowledge that the Americans could beat the British was important, but sometimes they had a false sense of confidence about it. At both Long Island and Brandywine, Washington left one flank hanging and the Continental Army paid dearly for it. As a corollary, the British (All three commanders present, Gage, Howe and Burgoyne) were hesitant about striking dug in Americans from directly from the front again.

      Another thing, occupation of the Charlestown peninsula, stuck the Americans' necks into a noose. Although, it showed that the Americans were going to be proactive in Boston's defense.
      I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Re: Battle of Bunker Hill - 17 June 1775

        Originally posted by Tom DeFranco
        Regarding your last few sentences, the knowledge that the Americans could beat the British was important, but sometimes they had a false sense of confidence about it. At both Long Island and Brandywine, Washington left one flank hanging and the Continental Army paid dearly for it. As a corollary, the British (All three commanders present, Gage, Howe and Burgoyne) were hesitant about striking dug in Americans from directly from the front again.

        Another thing, occupation of the Charlestown peninsula, stuck the Americans' necks into a noose. Although, it showed that the Americans were going to be proactive in Boston's defense.
        Good observations! Thanks.

        JS
        Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
        Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


        "Never pet a burning dog."

        RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
        http://www.mormon.org
        http://www.sca.org
        http://www.scv.org/
        http://www.scouting.org/

        Comment


        • #5
          Jeff, thanks. That battle has always interested me. Plus, like you stated earlier, in not so many words, the victory was Pyrrhic. Jeff, what do your British buds over there have to say about the battle?
          I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

          Comment


          • #6
            I know that the Americans were low on ammunition, and some were forced to throw ROCKS! I'm not sure if any of those caused casualties though.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tom DeFranco
              Jeff, thanks. That battle has always interested me. Plus, like you stated earlier, in not so many words, the victory was Pyrrhic. Jeff, what do your British buds over there have to say about the battle?
              There is no serious discussion of it. Overall, it seems much more significant to us than it is to them...we were just one corner of a huge empire that broke away. The centuries in India seem to have had a much larger effect on them.

              JS
              Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
              Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


              "Never pet a burning dog."

              RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
              http://www.mormon.org
              http://www.sca.org
              http://www.scv.org/
              http://www.scouting.org/

              Comment

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