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Storming the breach at Badajoz!!!

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  • #16
    To bring this back into period - on 8th March 1801 a force 5,500 strong commanded by General Abercrombie was landed in Aboukir Bay Egypt. It was opposed by 2,000 French troops dug in in the sand hills and backed by fire from a near by castle and artillery batteries on overlooking hills. The landing was well organised. The beach had previously been secretly reconnoitred by John Moore and Sir Sidney Smith and the landing well rehearsed at Marmorice Bay Turkey. Ships boats fitted with carronades in the bows accompanied the landing barges and provided fire support on the beach. The defenders were driven back and a beach head established.

    The landing force was quite mixed including British infantry regiments including guards regiments, Swiss mercenary troops in the British service, a rifle battalion of Corsican Rangers, Maltese Artificers, Dillon's Regiment (ex French Royalist service) and a unit called 'the Ancient Irish Fencible Infantry'. A force of 6,000 French troops counter attacked the beach head but was defeated after heavy fighting during which Abercrombie was mortally wounded and one of the Swiss mercenaries captured a French eagle. The British force then advanced to lay siege to Cairo where they where joined by volunteers from the Madras and Bombay presidencies who had sailed up the Red Sea and then carried out a desert march. AFAIK this was the first time that sepoys served outside of India.
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...March_1801.jpg
    Last edited by MarkV; 18 Mar 19, 08:43.
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

    Comment


    • #17
      As the eagle was not yet introduced at this time (1801), so one could not have been captured. The eagle was introduced by Napoleon with the establishment of the Empire in 1804. With the introduction of the eagle, a new, standardized tricolor was also introduced, which had a central white lozenge and red and white triangles in the corners. This flag lasted until the new tricolor was introduced in late 1811/early 1812.

      What the British captured in Egypt was undoubtedly one of the older regimental flags, tricolor no doubt, but no eagle.

      You have given an excellent example of a well-planned period amphibious operation.
      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.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Massena View Post
        As the eagle was not yet introduced at this time (1801), so one could not have been captured. The eagle was introduced by Napoleon with the establishment of the Empire in 1804. With the introduction of the eagle, a new, standardized tricolor was also introduced, which had a central white lozenge and red and white triangles in the corners. This flag lasted until the new tricolor was introduced in late 1811/early 1812.

        What the British captured in Egypt was undoubtedly one of the older regimental flags, tricolor no doubt, but no eagle.

        You have given an excellent example of a well-planned period amphibious operation.
        Odd as the painting of the battle made in 1805 and attributed to Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg depicts the other of the two standards captured that day as an Eagle and the National Army Museum usually hot on accuracy describes it thus
        The painting illustrates a number of the principal actions of the battle although they occurred at different times: the 42nd (or Royal Highland) Regiment [later the Black Watch] capturing a French regimental standard or Eagle
        Lawson who is also usually to be relied on refers to the standard captured by the Swiss mercenary as an Eagle as well.

        The standard captured by the 42nd foot was that of a
        demi-brigade of French
        Grenadiers, known as the "Invincibles",
        (see Lt Col Groves - History of the 42nd Royal Highlanders page 10)

        and described as a legionary standard
        Last edited by MarkV; 18 Mar 19, 10:56.
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Massena View Post
          Marbot's comments and action were at the storming of Ratisbon in 1809. He was then one of Lannes' ADCs.
          Thanks Boss.


          The long toll of the brave
          Is not lost in darkness
          Over the fruitful earth
          And athwart the seas
          Hath passed the light of noble deeds
          Unquenchable forever.

          Comment


          • #20
            You're welcome.
            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.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post

              Odd as the painting of the battle made in 1805 and attributed to Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg depicts the other of the two standards captured that day as an Eagle and the National Army Museum usually hot on accuracy describes it thus

              Lawson who is also usually to be relied on refers to the standard captured by the Swiss mercenary as an Eagle as well.

              The standard captured by the 42nd foot was that of a (see Lt Col Groves - History of the 42nd Royal Highlanders page 10)

              and described as a legionary standard
              The fact remains, the eagle had not yet been adopted by the French Army and wasn't until 1804. Everyone makes mistakes.
              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.

              Comment


              • #22
                The French attack on the allied landings at Aboukir Bay (8.3.1801-impeccably planned by the Royal Navy) was successfully repulsed, but it was during the French attack on the allied position before Alexandria on March 21st 1801 that General Abercromby was mortally wounded.

                There has been a lot of hot air expelled over the years about the standard taken by the 42nd RHR (aka The Black Watch) during the battle of Alexandria. It was quickly dubbed the 'Invincible standard' by the British press from the belief that it had been captured from a unit nicknamed 'Napoleon's Invincibles,' despite the fact that there was no such unit in the French expeditionary force.

                The 42nd collaborated in the destruction of a a French battalion that had penetrated the British line in the dark and Major James Stirling, the commander of the regiment's left 'wing,' seized the unit's standard from a surviving officer. It is now thought that this unit was a detachment of grenadiers (carabiniers) from the 21eme Demi Brigade Legère, which would account for some soldiers of the 42nd hearing they had defeated Napoleon's Bons grenadiers, rather than any spurious unit of Invincibles. The standard was put in the charge of a Black Watch grenadier, Serjeant Sinclair, but subsequently lost when he was wounded in a French cavalry attack.

                At some later point, Antoine Lutz, a soldier of Alsatian origin in Stuart's Regt (recruited from German speaking odds and sods in Spanish service, including former French POWs like Lutz) presented himself at Army HQ with a French standard that he had captured. He was tipped generously and sent on his way (later his regiment gave him a special badge to wear on his coat). After the allied victory, the flag was sent back to Britain with the official dispatches, in the care of a Black Watch officer. As a result, it was assumed to have been the flag originally captured by the 42nd and while the regiment as a whole never claimed this, Serjeant Sinclair did. It has to be said, the regiment did not strenously dismiss the story which grew up that Lutz had found the flag on the ground after Sjt Sinclair had been knocked out and then claimed he had taken it from a French officer. William Cobbet the radical journalist stoked the controversy, challenging the slur on Lutz's honesty that denied him his just credit for taking this much valued prize. This was particualrly important as Lutz had subsequently been charged with murder of a fellow soldier back in England. The scandal dragged on in one way or another for the next fifteen years.

                This is why in Loutherbourg's original 1802 painting of the battle of Alexandria in the Scottish National Museum (See below), a Black Watch serjeant and a figure representing Lutz are tactfully depicted together presenting the standard to the wounded Abercromby (Lutz however is the one holding the trophy). It is definitely a standard not an eagle (Napoleon was not crowned Emperor until 1804).

                Groves' history of the Black Watch- the first popular history of the regiment, is fairly conventional as such publications often can be, so it is not surprising that seventy years- after the event [correction : ninety]. it repeats the 'Invincible standard' legend. Sadly, the National Army Museum currently, in its online presence at any rate, cannot be relied on for accuracy, and indeed is responsible for recycling some lamentable old tosh; creaky 'traditions' and canards that should have been put out of their misery long ago. Hope that helps.
                Last edited by jf42; 19 Mar 19, 04:41.

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                • #23
                  Thanks for this

                  What are your sources?
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Too numerous to mention here. Piers Mackesy's excellent 'British Victory in Egypt' isn't a bad start, with handy bibliography. I don't know whether Carole Divall's recent work breaks new ground.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by jf42 View Post
                      Too numerous to mention here. Piers Mackesy's excellent 'British Victory in Egypt' isn't a bad start, with handy bibliography. I don't know whether Carole Divall's recent work breaks new ground.
                      What is the title of Carole Divall's book?
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Slightly off the topic, but we did once have proper handbagging session here, over the atrocities after both the Peninsula stormings!
                        I'm reading a nice little book about Queen Victoria and the building of Empire. It's stated that at frequent storming of various bastions by British/Sepoy soldiers widespread naughtiness in the aftermath was conspicuous by it's absence.
                        In finest tradition His Grace the Duke of Wellington is reputed to have put this down solely to the absence of booze in Muslim countries!



                        The long toll of the brave
                        Is not lost in darkness
                        Over the fruitful earth
                        And athwart the seas
                        Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                        Unquenchable forever.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Massena View Post

                          What is the title of Carole Divall's book?
                          'The British Army in Egypt 1801: An Underrated Army Comes of Age.' (Helion, 2018)

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
                            Slightly off the topic, but we did once have proper handbagging session here, over the atrocities after both the Peninsula stormings!
                            I'm reading a nice little book about Queen Victoria and the building of Empire. It's stated that at frequent storming of various bastions by British/Sepoy soldiers widespread naughtiness in the aftermath was conspicuous by it's absence.
                            In finest tradition His Grace the Duke of Wellington is reputed to have put this down solely to the absence of booze in Muslim countries!


                            'Slightly off the topic'- and not really true. From Seringapatam to Lucknow, there were examples of mayhem. By the way, India was not 'a Muslim country.'

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              The two stormings I'm on about where in a predominantly Muslim country, I'll have a look in the book and give you their names,. As for Lucknow that's a very different fish in a kettle. Tommy Atkins certainly did take the gloves off during the Indian Mutiny.
                              The long toll of the brave
                              Is not lost in darkness
                              Over the fruitful earth
                              And athwart the seas
                              Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                              Unquenchable forever.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
                                The two stormings I'm on about where in a predominantly Muslim country, I'll have a look in the book and give you their names,. As for Lucknow that's a very different fish in a kettle. Tommy Atkins certainly did take the gloves off during the Indian Mutiny.
                                Can't really blame them especially after Cawnpore.
                                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.

                                Comment

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