The Duke of York's Flanders Campaign (Hardback)
Fighting the French Revolution 1793–1795
Revolution was on everyone’s lips. The ancien régime had been cast aside and King Louis XVI had been executed in front of a mocking crowd. Every crowned head in Europe trembled with fear – ideas knew no frontier. The monarchies of Europe had to act swiftly to crush the Revolution, and a coalition of the great powers of Britain, Austria, Prussia and Spain was formed to restore the natural order.
The armies of the First Coalition gathered round France’s borders, the largest of which was assembled in Flanders. Composed of Anglo-Hanoverian, Dutch, Hessian, Prussian and Imperial Austrian troops, its aim was to invade France and restore the nobility to what was considered their rightful place. Opposing them was the French Armée du Nord.
In command of the Anglo-Hanoverian contingent was the son of George III, the Duke of York. The campaign was a disaster for the Coalition forces, particularly during the severe winter of 1794/5 when the troops were forced into a terrible and humiliating retreat. Britain’s reputation and that of its military leaders was severely diminished, with the forces of the Revolution sweeping all before them on a tide of popularism.
Yet, from this defeat grew an army that under the Duke of Wellington would eventually crush the Revolution’s greatest general, Napoleon Bonaparte. Of the Flanders Campaign, Wellington, who fought as a junior officer under the Duke of York, remarked that the experience had at least taught him what not to do!
Napoleon Series research editor Steve Brown has produced one of the most insightful, and much-needed studies of this disastrous but intriguing campaign, with particular focus on the British Army's contribution. With copious maps and nineteen appendices including detailed orders of battle, he concludes this important work with an analysis that draws striking, and significant comparisons with the Flanders campaigns of 1914 and 1940. How history repeats itself!
The assault was failing. Wellington's men had stormed the walls of the great frontier fortress of Badajoz only to be beaten back with terrible losses. Then on the keep of the old castle the French flag was torn down and a British officer's red jacket was hauled up the flagpole. It was the signal – the British were inside Badajoz! This was one of the most famous incidents during the Peninsular War and marked not only the turning point in the capture of Badajoz but of the entire conflict. The jacket belonged to Lieutenant James MacPherson of the 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment. The 45th had landed…By Steve Brown
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