The Knight of the Black Eagle

Titian‘s Equestrian Portrait of Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire (1548) celebrates Charles’ victory at Mühlberg
“Battle of Mühlberg, 1547”, Ángel García Pinto

If there is no way to avoid an engagement before I arrive, I cannot enjoin you too strongly to inform me post haste.

PHILIP II ON THE EVE OF THE BATTLE OF SAINT QUENTIN

War marked Europe in the late 1540s. It was the first time that a major European war had been fought in Germany. On the one side was a Catholic emperor standing not only for the unity of Christendom but for universal Christian power and, on the other, the Protestant states articulating special particularism. Charles, now a widower and usually melancholy in time of peace, was happy to be in an army again: “There goes the happiest man in the world,” his brother Ferdinand’s ambassador Martín de Salinas had written in 1536 about Charles and the war in Provence. (It was Salinas who ensured that Ferdinand received so much information about the Indies.)

On June 26, 1546, the Farnese pope, Paul III, signed a treaty agreeing to support Charles against the Protestants. But France and England on June 6 had concluded a treaty at Guînes, in the Pas de Calais, then, of course, an English possession, which freed them both from obligations to Charles. On July 26, an army of Protestant princes reached the Danube and threatened to cut off Charles, who, in his litter, marched to the river Inn, and on August 13, joined with papal troops. Next day, the Protestant Schmalkaldic League formally challenged him, sending him a herald in the traditional manner. Charles assembled his army of thirty thousand infantry and five thousand cavalry. He then amalgamated these forces with those of the Dutch count Egmont, who had five thousand cavalry. The first battle was on August 31 at Ingolstadt, Charles taking part at the head of his men, supported by Alba and Egmont. Through his victory there, Charles won control of south Germany by the end of 1546. This was the victory of Alba, then at his best as a commander.

At Christmas 1546, Charles was at Heilbronn in Württemberg. He was then weary, having slept in forty different places since August. Next spring, in April—supported by his brother, Ferdinand, with his son Maximilian, and by the treacherous Maurice of Saxony—he defeated the elector John Frederick of Saxony at Mühlberg, near Leipzig, on the Elbe. Charles commented “Vine, vi y Dios conquistó.” John Frederick was not aware that Charles could cross the Elbe at Mühlberg. Alba brought the elector as a prisoner to Charles, who treated him scornfully. The Emperor then continued north to Wittenberg, the scene of Luther’s first challenge, which John Frederick surrendered on June 4 to avoid a siege. This marked Charles’s greatest triumph and enabled him to summon a diet at Augsburg. The Battle of Mühlberg is known as the occasion for Titian’s masterpiece; it is a unique example of a great victory inspiring a great picture.

Early in 1548, Charles wrote to his son and regent, Philip, who was then just twenty-one: “Seeing that human affairs are beset with doubt, I can give you no general rules save to trust in God. You will show this by defending the faith … I have come to the conclusion that a general council [of the Church] is the only way ahead … Peace will depend not so much on your actions as on those of others. It will be a difficult task for you to preserve it, seeing that God has bestowed so many great kingdoms and principalities on you … You know yourself how unreliable Pope Paul III [Farnese] is in all his treaties, how, sadly, he lacks all [real] zeal for Christendom, and how badly he has acted in this affair of the council [of the Church] above all. Nevertheless, honour his position. He is old [he had been born in 1468, so he was eighty]. Therefore, take careful heed to the instructions which I have given my ambassador [the clever Diego Hurtado de Mendoza] in case of a [papal] election … France has never kept faith and has always sought to do me harm … Never yield to them so much as an inch … Defend Milan with good artillery, Naples with a good fleet. Remember that the French are always discouraged if they do not succeed immediately in anything which they undertake. The Neapolitans, remember, are much given to revolt. Let them be constantly reminded how the French once sacked their city … You can never manage without Spanish troops in Italy … To preserve peace, I have allowed my demands for our ancient hereditary land, for the duchy of Burgundy, to lapse. But do not altogether forget your rights there … And do not at any time be persuaded to renounce Piedmont.”

It was an emperor who wrote and one who did not forget his more remote possessions. For he went on to advise Philip to keep a watch over his fleet. It was his best defense against pirates in the Mediterranean, and it would also keep the French from interfering in the Indies. Philip should cultivate Portugal for the same reason: “Do not cease to keep yourself well informed of the state of those distant lands, for the honour of God and the care of justice. Combat the abuses which have risen in them.” Charles also urged Philip to marry again soon, since he would need more children. (His first wife, María, had died.) He suggested Elizabeth of Valois, daughter of the new king Henry of France, or Jeanne d’Albret, daughter of King Henry of Navarre, who was “very attractive and clever.”

“And as for the Indies, take care to keep a good watch to see if the French want to send an armada there, dissimulating or otherwise, and ensuring that the governors of those parts keep a good look out so that, when it is necessary, they can resist the said French; … and you should establish good intelligence with Portugal … And as for the division of the Indians, about which there have been so many conflicting reports and advice, we have even consulted Don Antonio de Mendoza, the Viceroy of New Spain, so as to be properly informed.”

The princely recipient of this letter was, however, himself now on the move. Though quite unconvinced of the need to travel as his father had done, or in the same restless fashion, he had decided to visit his future dominions in the north of Europe. On October 2, 1548, Philip left Valladolid, ignoring the determined opposition of the cortes to such a journey. With him there were the Duke of Alba, both his and his father’s chief military adviser; Ruy Gómez da Silva, the future prince of Eboli, a Portuguese courtier who would become in effect a chief minister; his longtime secretary, Gonzalo Pérez; Honorat Juan, who had been his tutor in mathematics; the clever and original Fray Constantino Ponce de la Fuente; and Juan Cristóbal Calvete de Estrella, the Prince’s learned majordomo, who would write an account of the journey. There were also the musician Luis Narváez and the blind composer Antonio de Cabezón. Vicente Álvarez, the steward, would write an account. They were a strange gathering: Alba represented the hereditary nobility, Silva the noblesse de robe; Honorat Juan was a learned preceptor of the Prince from the Borgias’ town of Játiva; Ponce de la Fuente was Christophorus Fontanus, an Erasmian preacher, a converso, and one who as a result would die in prison; and Calvete was Philip’s teacher in Latin and Greek, who wrote a fine account of La Gasca’s triumph over Gonzalo Pizarro.

The Prince’s court spent three nights at Montserrat; they stayed at Barcelona with Estefanía de Requessens, widow of Juan de Zúñiga and a foster mother to Philip, and subsequently went to Rosas, in the Ampurdán, where on November 2, 1548, they boarded a vessel in a fleet of fifty-eight galleys commanded by the unconquered Andrea Doria. Then they set off for Genoa, stopping at Cadaqués, Collioure, Perpignan, Aigues-Mortes (where they waited six days because of the wind), Hyères, Savona, and then Genoa itself (on November 25), where Philip was put up by Doria in his palace for sixteen days.

At Savona, Columbus’s father’s town, the Regent was introduced to the famous bankers Lomellini, Pallavicino, and Grillo—all of whom, or their families, were to become important in the Indies. On December 19, Philip left Genoa for Milan, of which he was already the duke. He was there nineteen days, a time filled with balls, theaters, tournaments, banquets, and local tours, and there he met the painter Titian for the first time. He set off for the Catholic Church’s congress at Trent, where he was welcomed by the elector Maurice of Saxony (his father’s ally, though a Lutheran) and the cardinals of Augsburg and Trent. The council of the Church had actually gone to Bologna because of plague in Trent. Then, after five more days of celebrations, Philip and his party set off for the Netherlands via Bolzano and Innsbruck. This journey lasted six months. It was a serious education. It was the first time he had visited his northern European dominions.

By February 13, 1549, the princely party was in Munich, with its clean streets and small houses; there was much hunting, and many dinners and picnics. Then at Augsburg they visited the all-important Fuggers. At Ulm, there was a joust on the Danube. At Vaihingen, they were greeted by Prince Albert of Hohenzollern, who escorted them to Heidelberg, a Catholic enclave in a Protestant valley, where the Prince had four days of hunting, picnicking, dancing, and drinking. Then the expedition went on to Speyer, Luxembourg, Namur, and finally Brussels, where the Prince was greeted by his aunt, the Regent María. There followed a formal reunion with the emperor Charles at the royal palace.

Charles—though, as usual in those days, ill—held many celebrations, balls, hunting parties, and tournaments in honor of Philip. The Spanish Prince met all the grandees of the Low Countries, such as the Prince of Orange and Count Egmont, both fatally associated with him later in life. On July 12, Charles and his son went on a tour of the Netherlands, which lasted till the end of October. There was a formal swearing in of Philip as the heir to the throne, and also a celebration at the beautiful palace of Binche, between Charleroi and Mons, at the end of August 1549. At Binche, Philip saw The Descent from the Cross by Rogier van der Weyden, which he had copied by Michel Coxcie and which he bought many years later. Probably he bought other Flemish paintings at this time, including several by Bosch and the popular landscapist Joachim Patinir.

Queen Mary of Hungary had in 1540 held a carnival to honor the Spanish conquest of Peru. But there was now a new chivalric feast in 1549 at Binche, with performances based on the novel Amadís de Gaula, characterized by a storming of magic castles and liberation of prisoners. At a later stage in the “chivalrous entertainment,” knight after knight failed to defeat a certain “knight of the black eagle,” and they were imprisoned in a “dark castle” till a new, unknown gentleman, who called himself Beltenbrós (the name adopted by Amadís during his amorous penance), defeated his adversary and, by drawing forth an enchanted sword from a stone, revealed that he was the knight for whom this adventure was reserved. This unknown, of course, turned out to be Philip.

In September, there were organized for Philip two celebratory processions entering cities: first Antwerp, then Rotterdam.

Next year, 1550, with Philip still in the Netherlands, there were further celebrations. Thus there was a carnival in February at Brussels. Three famous Spanish preachers covered themselves with glory by pronouncing sermons. This was the last night that Philip spent in Brussels: “That night His Highness did not go to bed. He stayed in the main square conversing with the ladies as they sat at their windows. A few gentlemen, young and even some old, accompanied him. The talk was of love, stories were told, there were tears, sighs, laughter, jests. There was dancing in the moonlight to the sound of orchestras which played all night.” These were happy days, which were never to recur for Philip in the Low Countries.

An expedition including Charles as well as Philip then went by boat to Louvain, Aachen, Cologne, and Bonn, on the Rhine, though stopping at night on land. They went, too, to Mainz, Worms, Speyer, and Augsburg. In the last named, the imperial Diet met in July 1550. Here or nearby in southern Germany, Philip spent a year. There he commissioned Titian’s famous Poesie, as well as a portrait of himself by the same Italian master.

There was discussion, too, at Augsburg about the future inheritance of Philip. Charles hoped to leave his son everything, in a last fling of his desire to maintain a Habsburg union, a single constitution, a single confession, and a single ruler. But his patient brother, Ferdinand, the king of the Romans, wanted the imperial throne. Ferdinand’s son Maximilian came from Spain, where he was co-regent, to argue his case. Ferdinand and Charles disputed in public. Eventually, in March 1551, a formal agreement (drafted by the adroit Granvelle) between Charles and Ferdinand arranged that, after the former’s death, the latter would be emperor, while Philip would be elected King of the Romans and be emperor after Ferdinand. He would make a similar arrangement in Spain for his cousin Maximilian. Thus European power would remain in the hands of the Habsburgs, though it was not quite evident which line it would be.

In July of this same year, Charles wrote to both the young Maximilian and his wife, María, in their capacities as regents of Spain, about the most important matter on his mind: “The fleet which goes for the gold and silver of Peru will set off, we don’t know when but we do know that any delay at all is very damaging … The people of the Council of Finance write about their problems and costs and what they have to provide this year, taking into account that, in addition to the 200,000 ducats which we permit ourselves to take from the gold and silver of Peru, another 500,000 will be needed for the settling of various other liabilities.”

Another letter of this same time dealt with the idea of contracting with the great admiral of Spain Álvaro de Bazan to guard the merchant fleets sent to the New World.

Charles was again talking of gold from the Indies before the end of the year: Thus, on December 30, 1550, he wrote from Augsburg, “La Gasca had brought 200,000 ducats from Peru, of which we will avail ourselves this year. There will be 85,000 ducats which will be remitted and have to be balanced against the fact that costs will amount to 91,716 ducats and another 60,000 ducats which, with interest, will add up to 84,200 ducats and the last slice of 20,000 ducats which, with interest, will make 20,800 ducats which altogether would mean that, from the gold and silver of Peru, we would make either 376,000 or 403,570 ducats.” Charles’s interest in money was as eternal as his incapacity with dealing with it.

In fact, between 1551 and 1555, the Spanish Crown imported from the Indies more than three and a half million pesos and private people imported more than 6 million. Charles, the mirror of chivalry and the inheritor of the great Burgundian traditions, spent hours puzzling over these figures and sums.

On May 25, 1551, Philip at last left Augsburg for Spain, traveling back via Mantua (where La Gasca explained to him in detail what had befallen him in Peru, with its 346 rich encomenderos and about eight thousand colonists). Philip went on to Barcelona, where he arrived on July 12 and as usual stayed with the widow Estefanía de Requessens. He left Barcelona only on July 31 and set off for Saragossa, Tudela, Soria, and Valladolid, his birthplace and de facto capital, which he reached on September 1. No Spanish king had spent so much time abroad, no Spanish monarch would ever know so much of the way of living in other countries, no ruler of Spain was so well prepared to be an international emperor.

On June 23, 1551, the emperor Charles sent general instructions to Philip for the government of the Indies. These included: “That you examine all the offices which become free in the Indies in a spirit of justice, alongside the president and council of that enterprise, except for those in the Casa de la Contratación, the Viceroyalties, the presidents of the audiencias and the office of fundidor and inspector of forges, as well as the other principal governors I would reserve for myself … All the other dignities and benefits should be guaranteed by the Prince.” These declarations read like statements in the Emperor’s will.

In July, Charles wrote more optimistically from Augsburg: “By letter from Seville on the 12th last, I have gathered that the fleet of the Indies has arrived in Sanlúcar with the galleons coming from all parts [that is, Peru, New Spain, the other Indies, and the islands], and everything on board has been unloaded.”

Philip wrote back on November 24, 1551: “And inasmuch as we are talking of the Indies, they say that the latest reports which have been sent are satisfactory and that, from the treasure brought from Peru by the bishop of Palencia [La Gasca], there remains to be taken to Barcelona only 130,000 ducats. And in respect of the other amount from the Indies, that is from Tierra Firme [Venezuela and Colombia], New Spain and Honduras, they say that only 80,765 ducats have yet to be delivered.” The letter went into much detail as to how the money from the Indies should be spent. In December, Philip wrote again, from Madrid: “What would be really sensible would be to establish a fleet to guard the coast of Andalusia, from cape Saint Vincent to the straits of Gibraltar, to ensure the safety of the vessels which go to and come from the Indies which is now the main route of the merchants in Seville and Andalusia and where damage can be done by the French. And this fleet could be paid for by a grant which Your Majesty could make and be financed by a tax which could be levied on all merchandise coming from the Indies.”

The naval fleet of ships named to protect the merchant ships was always exposed to illegal or even corrupt practice. Thus as much as a quarter of the galleons were carrying goods that overweighed them. The captains of these ships argued that they were rendering their vessels unfit for fighting. But these critics were told that so long as the gundecks were free, a cargo in the hold made the ships steadier. The curious part of this story was that the captains carried their illegal cargoes above decks, where they could easily be seen. Captains sometimes made 100,000 pesos from this illegal freight and more from the sale of offices on their ships to merchants.

In early 1552, Philip was at Madrid, and La Gasca, the victor of Peru, who was becoming an imperial adviser of the first rank, was with the princess María at Linz negotiating for Ferdinand with Prince Maurice of Saxony. Charles’s brother, Ferdinand, continued to show concern for the Indies, putting many questions to La Gasca, who received as a present from Ferdinand eight plates richly worked; and Gasca bought a triptych to give to the church of El Barco de Ávila, very close to his birthplace.

Charles, despite his triumph at Mühlberg, did not escape further difficulties—on the contrary. He passed the winter of 1551–52 at Innsbruck, the great city associated with his grandfather Maximilian. In the spring of 1552, he heard that the Protestant Princes, outraged by the Emperor’s treatment of their colleagues, would receive the backing of the new king Henry of France, who, with Maurice of Saxony, was ready to fall on the fortresses of Metz, Toul, and Verdun. Charles was on the point of becoming a prisoner. On March 3, 1552, Charles sent a chamberlain, Joachim de Rye, Sieur de Balançon, with instructions to his brother, begging him to try to persuade the Princes to seek peace because the Turkish peril was surely far more grave. But Maurice of Saxony (now known in imperial circles as the “kinglet”) nevertheless sent his army against Charles, and on May 23 entered Innsbruck. Charles and what there was of the court only escaped by fleeing south across the Brenner Pass into Italy in driving rain. La Gasca, the Peruvian veteran, was, remarkably, with his master in this crisis.

Charles was now at war with France on every front, and in April, Metz was seized by the constable of France, the brilliant and powerful friend of the late King Francis I, Anne de Montmorency. Metz was a city proud of being a Free Imperial City but it was free within the Holy Roman Empire just as if it were a state. Francis, duke of Guise (Le Balafré) as governor ruthlessly pulled down the suburbs and even moved the body of King Louis the Pious from Saint Arnulf’s, outside the walls, to the cathedral of Saint-Etienne, within the city. Only in the autumn did troops come from Spain, which enabled the Emperor in person to besiege Guise in Metz; but the duke was a brilliant defender in a siege, and Charles failed to recapture the place.

Philip wanted to help his father. He wrote in May from Madrid: “I have no information about the news that Peru has sent to Panama and Nombre de Dios over 335,000 pesos.” He wrote again in June, saying that he was anxious to ensure that the Spaniards who came back from the Spice Islands would be well received: “Let them be good informers about the state of those islands.” Then in July, the Casa de la Contratación reported that the treasure brought back by La Gasca amounted to 1,906,082 escudos. Of these, 600,000 would be sent to Germany, 400,000 to the Low Countries, 200,000 to Parma, and only 200,000 to Castile, while 100,000 would be a loan to the pope.

Given the increased reliance of the Spanish Crown on its income from the Indies, the Casa de la Contratación now received new rules of conduct, following the similar reorganization that we have seen of the Council of the Indies. The headquarters would still be in Seville, but there would be a daily Mass and fixed hours of work. Functionaries who did not attend would be fined. They would have to live in the Casa and take an oath on introduction. The discussions in the afternoons would deal with licenses to go to the Indies. Votes would be by a simple majority. Grave disputes would be referred to the Council of the Indies. Sections 27 to 30 of the new rules forbade officials to receive gifts for any services or to do anything commercial in the Indies. Sections 121 to 126 listed those people forbidden to go to the Indies—Moors, new Christians (conversos), and descendants of those punished by the Inquisition—and also merchandise that was similarly prohibited, which would include “profane books and stories, books whose contents are untruthful,” with the only books permitted being those that dealt with Christianity and virtue. There was a specific decree repeating the banning of the import of romances into the New World; it was still thought that Indians might doubt the scriptures if they realized that these books were fictional. But this law had little effect.

Scientific books were not banned, but the Council of the Indies wanted strict censorship of both historical and geographical works dealing with the Indies. Sections 144 to the end of the rules of conduct dealt with how ships should sail to the Indies. Two-thirds of the water that was carried should be in well-prepared casks. The rest could go in clay pots or vats or pitchers, which were less good than casks since they sometimes broke and water was wasted.

These rules were signed in August 1552 by Philip and then were widely distributed to colonial officials, a copy being placed on every ship.

On October 7, 1552, Philip wrote to his father from Monzón, where he was attending the cortes of Aragon, to say that, in respect of paying the expenses that he had previously listed, “the principal recourse for those necessities is the Indies.”

We find Charles replying, from Metz, no less, “Insofar as the perpetuity of the encomiendas is concerned, we think that this is not the time to treat of that … All the same, we think that we have done well by arranging a contract with Hernán Ochoa for the sale of 23,000 African slaves for the Indies.”

On November 12, 1553, Philip wrote again to the emperor Charles that every year more corsairs sailed out of France intending to sack Spanish imperial ports. In the previous July, they had destroyed La Palma, in the Canaries. Yet, had it not been for the sums that now regularly reached Castile from the Indies, Spain would probably have had to abandon northern Europe.

In Spain, Hernando Pizarro, the eloquent victor of Cuzco, seemed a reproach to all. He had been condemned for the illegal execution of Almagro. He was first ordered to be sent to a prison colony in North Africa. That sentence was commuted and Hernando found himself confined in a fortress in Madrid. Finally, he was sent in June 1543 to the Castillo de la Mota, just outside Medina del Campo, city of imagination (Bernal Díaz del Castillo) and of fantasy (Amadís de Gaula). Hernando reached there in June 1543, and he remained there till May 1561. He lived comfortably, but confined all the same. At first, he lived with Isabel Mercado of Medina del Campo. Then in 1552, he married his niece, the daughter of his brother Francisco Pizarro, Francisca, who was then aged seventeen. The idea of such a marriage to Francisca had occurred at one time to Gonzalo Pizarro.

Hernando, once married to such a very rich girl as his niece, devoted his time to centralizing the management of his family’s estates in Peru, part of which had been managed by royal officials after the final defeat of Gonzalo. When eventually Hernando and Francisca left La Mota, free, in 1561, they went to live at La Zarza. That village outside Trujillo had always belonged to the Pizarro family, of which Hernando was now the head. They embarked there on “a strategy of reconstruction of their finances” and built a new palace in the main square of Trujillo (which still survives). They lived in the shadow of the coat of arms granted to Francisco Pizarro. They had also inherited Francisco’s marquessate, which, from 1576, was named as “of the Conquest.” Hernando died two years later, a survivor of extraordinary deeds into what seemed a calmer age. Francisca lived until 1598, having married again to Pedro Arias Portocarrero, son of the count of Puñonrostro.

Hernando’s fortune was large. In about 1550, it was almost as big as that of the family of Cortés—32,000 pesos a year, in comparison with the family of Cortés’s 36,800. Nor does this figure for Hernando’s income include the product of his mercantile adventures and mines. In the end, Hernando gained control of most of the estate (including the Porco mines) that the Pizarro brothers had acquired during the conquest.

M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle

The M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle is an integral part of the United States armoured forces of today. Serving both an as infantry fighting vehicle and for cavalry reconnaissance and scouting, its ability to fight alongside the Abrams Main Battle Tank is central to US warfighting doctrine.

The M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicle established a commendable combat record during deployment in the 1991 Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. During the Gulf War, Bradley vehicles from several troops of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army engaged and destroyed a number of Iraqi armoured vehicles in the Battle of 73 Easting and other engagements.

Although the Bradley was found susceptible to improvised explosive devices (IED) and rocket-propelled grenades during Operation Iraqi Freedom, its crew survivability rate was excellent. In some cases, the Bradley defeated Iraqi tanks with its TOW missiles. Special-purpose vehicles based on the Bradley include a forward observation variant and anti-aircraft and anti-tank platforms.

The first of the ‘battle taxis’, the US army’s trend-setting M75 APC, entered service in 1952. It carried a driver, a commander and a squad of ten men. It was of all-steel construction and was high, making it difficult to conceal, and it was not amphibious; it also had a petrol engine. Nevertheless, it was an impressive start. The M75 was followed by the M59, which entered service from 1954 onwards. This too was of all-steel construction, but was cheaper than the M75 to produce and was amphibious in calm conditions.

Still not satisfied, the US army persevered and its efforts in this particular development chain culminated in the M113 APC, which became the archetypical APC between 1960 and 1985. The original US army requirement was to provide a lightweight armoured personnel carrier for armour and infantry units; it had to be capable of amphibious and air-drop operation, have superior cross-country mobility, and be adaptable for multiple functions by means of kits and/or modification of its superstructure. The designers succeeded in meeting all of these objectives, and the M113 proved to be one of the most successful military designs of all time, with over 80,000 being produced for service in at least fifty armies in a production run which lasted from 1960 to the early 1990s.

The M113 had a body fabricated from welded aluminium, which protected the crew (commander, driver and eleven infantrymen) from shell splinters and small-arms fire. It was powered by a diesel engine, giving a maximum speed of 64 km/h and a range of 320 km (later increased to 485 km). The infantrymen sat on two benches facing inwards, and exited through a downward-opening rear ramp. The basic vehicle was armed with a pintle-mounted 12.7 mm machine-gun, although many users mounted heavier weapons, of which the largest to enter service was a turret-mounted 76 mm gun in an Australian version. The M113 was fully amphibious with little preparation, being propelled in the water by its tracks. Apart from the normal infantry versions a large range of specialized versions were produced, including bulldozers, flame-throwers, mortar carriers, radar vehicles, anti-aircraft gun/missile carriers, command posts, anti-tank weapons carriers, and transport for engineers, communications and recovery operations.

The M113 was very successful, but one of the reasons for its longevity was the difficulty experienced in finding a successor. By the early 1960s the US army had decided on a requirement for a mechanized-infantry combat vehicle (MICV), the first attempt at which was a vehicle designated MICV-65, of which five prototypes were produced, but it was considered too large and development ceased. In 1967 the Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) appeared, which was in essence an M113 adapted to meet the MICV requirement, but this too was deemed unsatisfactory and development ceased, although the design was later produced in large numbers for the Belgian and Dutch armies.

In 1972 the XM723 programme started, which was intended to lead to a vehicle which would serve in both armoured and infantry units, carrying a crew of three plus eight dismounting infantry. After many vicissitudes, repeated reviews (most of them antagonistic), much criticism and many redesigns, this programme resulted in the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and the initial production vehicles were eventually handed over in 1981, with the first unit forming in March 1983. Forty-one M2s were issued to each infantry battalion, where they replaced M113s, although many M113s continued to serve in other roles.

The M2 was constructed of welded aluminium with spaced, laminated armour on the front and sides, and was armed with a turret-mounted 25 mm chain-gun, a coaxial 7.62 mm machine-gun and a twin TOW anti-tank missile launcher. The vehicle crew consisted of commander, driver and gunner, and seven infantrymen were carried, of which six were provided with firing ports and periscopes. Thus, after a protracted and very expensive development process, the US army finally obtained a MICV which was only marginally better than the German Marder, which had preceded it into service by some fifteen years.

With its roots in the Vietnam era, the M2/3 Bradley fighting vehicle did not enter service with the U.S. Army until 1981. Even then, controversy swirled around its perceived combat capabilities.

At the height of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army was seeking a replacement for its M113 armoured personnel carrier. Combat experience had revealed that the M113 was difficult to manoeuvre in jungle terrain, its high profile was susceptible to shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons such as the Soviet-made rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), and its armament was insufficient to lend substantial direct fire support to infantry.

Although there were clearly defined specifications for the new fighting vehicle that eventually became the M2/ M3 Bradley fighting vehicle, progress was slow. Some sceptics questioned its light armour protection and the real contribution its 25mm (0.98in) main weapon could make on the battlefield. The concerns raised were largely based on the poor performance of the Soviet BMP-1 troop carrier during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Nevertheless, the requirement that a new fighting vehicle maintain offensive pace with the emerging main battle tanks of the period and the need for rapid reconnaissance and the advance of infantry to take and hold territory remained paramount.

Brokering the Bradley

Named in honour of General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, a hero of the Allied victory in World War II, the Bradley fighting vehicle weathered controversy, Congressional inquiry and funding battles on Capitol Hill before production was authorized in February 1980 and the M2/M3 entered service in 1981, a full 15 years after the research and development that produced it had begun.

The Bradley has been constructed in two basic configurations. The M2 infantry variant was initially designed to carry a crew of three and seven combat-ready infantrymen who entered and exited the vehicle through a rear access hatch. Later, the troop capacity of the M2 was reduced to six. The M3 cavalry version carries the three-man crew and a pair of scout infantrymen. Produced by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, nearly 6800 Bradleys have been built.

Calculated Combination

In keeping with the armoured equation that attempts to balance firepower, armour protection and mobility, the Bradley has been designed and steadily upgraded to perform scouting and infantry support missions. In combat during the Gulf War of 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003, its tank and armoured vehicle killing prowess came into sharp focus as well.

The Bradley is powered by a Cummins VTA-903T eight-cylinder diesel engine capable of a top speed of 66km/h (41mph). Its torsion-bar suspension is adequate for rapid movement across desert sands and through marshy or uneven terrain with a power-to-weight ratio of 14.7 kilowatts (19.74hp) per ton. Armour protection is, out of necessity, light compared to main battle tanks. Spaced laminate armour and additional steel plating are sufficient to protect against small arms and shells up to 23mm (0.98in), enhancing the base protection of aluminium alloy 7017 explosive-reactive armour (ERA).

While it may be considered a light weapon, the M242 chain gun is capable of penetrating the armour of enemy vehicles firing armour-piercing ammunition with a core of dense depleted uranium. High explosive shells are effective against softer targets. The gunner chooses the appropriate ammunition through an automated remote dual selection system and is, therefore, able to engage multiple and varied targets in quick succession. The Bradley carries 900 rounds of M242 ammunition.

Anti-tank armament includes the proven TOW missile system carried in a collapsible rack on the left side of the turret. Seven missiles are routinely carried in combat zones. Infantry support is also available with a coaxial 7.62mm (0.3in) M240C machine gun with 800 rounds loaded and ready and 1540 rounds stored in reserve.

Veteran Variations

Following the Gulf War combat experience, an ODS (Operation Desert Storm) upgrade was authorized for the Bradley. Countermeasures against missiles were introduced, as well as the introduction of global positioning and digital compass systems, a tactical navigation system and better laser rangefinding equipment in the A2 variant. The A2 variant is also capable of interfacing with the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) command system. Infantrymen are accommodated with bench seating and heating elements for the preparation of hot meals.

With the follow-on A3 upgrade, FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) sighting was installed along with an electro-optical imaging system and better fire control. Currently, the GCV fighting vehicle is in development following the cancellation of the earlier Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles programme in 2009. The successor to the Bradley is anticipated by the end of this decade.

LOC Performance awarded $67.6M for M2/M3 Bradley Kit Installation

Bradley M2/M3 – Tracked Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Thousand Bomber Raid

In Britain, General Alan Brooke and Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal had been having an increasingly acrimonious spat about the use of air power, with the Chief of the Imperial General Staff arguing vehemently for a separate Army air arm independent of the RAF. Portal had rebuffed such a suggestion, arguing there were not anything like enough aircraft operating to justify such a move and pointing out the by now well-trodden argument that airmen, rather than soldiers, were the best placed to judge how air forces should most effectively be used. Coningham’s men had certainly proved that point very clearly.

Things were also looking up for Bomber Command. At the end of May, Air Marshal Harris had launched the first-ever Thousand Bomber Raid against Cologne. Although the daily numbers in his squadrons had still been only around 400, by scouring Training Command and borrowing 250 aircraft from Coastal Command, as well as using aircraft that really were almost obsolete, he had managed to reach the magic 1,000 mark – 1,047 to be precise. It was a high-risk coup de théâtre, but one that proved, on the whole, pretty successful, inflicting heavy damage on an important target. The German High Command had been pleasingly appalled – in fact, as early as the end of April, well before the raid, they had already been muttering to the Italian delegation at Salzburg about the effects of bomb damage.

Most importantly, the raid was a terrific public-relations success, which is exactly what Harris had hoped. Headlines about it were splashed all over British newspapers. In her diary, Gwladys Cox excitedly quoted London’s Evening Standard. ‘“This is the most glorious First of June in all our island’s annals,”’ it claimed, ‘and all because “some 1,000 young British pilots have thwarted Hitler’s strategy anew.”’ ‘1,500 PLANES IN BIGGEST RAID,’ pronounced the Daily Mirror. ‘3,000 TONS BOMB STORM’. ‘German radio began to wail last night about the great RAF raid on Cologne,’ it added gleefully. ‘A special transmission from Cologne said: “Much misery had come over our town.”’ That papers like the Mirror were blatantly exaggerating didn’t bother Harris one jot. Two more similar raids followed in the ensuing weeks and, although it was not something Harris could mount regularly, they did much to stop the back-sniping and show all concerned that Bomber Command could, after all, pose a serious threat to Germany’s war machine.

Harris was also now receiving increased numbers of two exciting new aircraft. The first was the twin-engine de Havilland Mosquito, which had been conceived as a light and very fast bomber but was proving its use in other ways as a reconnaissance and even fighter aircraft. Most, however, were heading straight to Bomber Command and, because they were largely – and incredibly – built of wood and had a maximum speed of over 400 mph, they were not only immune to most radar, but there was no German plane that could catch them. With the potential to carry bombs as well as cannons and machine guns, the Mosquito was a highly versatile and extremely fine aircraft.

The machine that Harris wanted as his workhorse, however, was the Avro Lancaster, which back in April had already dropped the war’s first 8,000lb bomb. Numbers were only slowly rising, but gradually Harris was able to increase those squadrons now equipped with this big bomber. His aim was for the whole of 5 Group to be equipped with Lancasters and he was keenly aware that until then, and until navigational aids improved, little meaningful damage could be inflicted on Germany.

These difficulties and the logistical issues of converting a squadron of four-man crews into one of seven was just one of the challenges facing Guy Gibson, who was now a Wing Commander and the CO of 106 Squadron, one of the squadrons currently converting from the troublesome twin-engine Avro Manchester to the bigger and better four-engine Lancaster.

Gibson’s Lancasters arrived five at a time from the Avro plant at Woodford near Manchester, flown in by the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). Harris was planning to set up special Heavy Conversion Units, but Gibson and his squadron – which, including staff and ground crew, amounted to around 800 men – were to convert and train themselves. He was twenty-three.

Also still new to Bomber Command was a navigational device called GEE, first tested the previous year. This was a radar pulse system that enabled a navigator on board an aircraft to fix his position by measuring the distance of pulses from three different ground stations in England. It was hoped this would massively improve navigation and thus, in turn, bombing accuracy, but it was not proving as accurate as scientists had hoped. The Ruhr industrial heartland was about the limit of its range and it was nothing like good enough to aid blind flying. This meant Harris’s bombers were still largely dependent on clear skies and preferably a half-decent moon – but that in turn made them easier targets for German flak-gunners and night-fighters. Furthermore, by the summer of 1942, as scientific and technological developments on one side were repeatedly answered on the other, the Germans had successfully worked out how to effectively jam GEE. As the British had trumped Knickebein, so the Germans had found an answer to Harris’s latest navigational leap forward.

Although 106 Squadron contributed eleven aircraft to the Thousand Bomber Raid, Gibson was ill, much to his frustration, and so missed it. After recuperation and leave, he finally flew his first combat operation in a Lancaster on the night of 8/9 July. ‘I’m always terrified every time I go on ops,’ he later confessed to a fellow pilot. Standing around the crew rooms before the flight was the worst part. ‘It’s a horrible business,’ Gibson wrote. ‘Your stomach feels as though it wants to hit your backbone. You can’t stand still.’ He found he would smoke far too many cigarettes, laugh too loudly, and sometimes had to go to the lavatory because he felt sick. Somehow, once he was in the cockpit with the engines running, ready to take off, he felt better. ‘Then it’s all right. Just another job.’

That night, they attacked Wilhelmshaven, one of 285 aircraft. ‘Very dark but good,’ Gibson jotted in his logbook. ‘Bombed from 12,000 feet. Bombs fell in dock areas but not sure whether submarine yards were hit. Opposition fairly accurate.’ They had not hit the U-boat yards, as it happened. Rather, reports suggested damage to the dockyard buildings, a department store and a number of houses. Some twenty-five were killed and a further 170 injured. This rather insignificant return from so much effort underlined the problem of strategic bombing nearly three years into the war: that what was needed was very many more big aircraft with better means of achieving bombing accuracy.

The Thousand Bomber Raid had done severe damage to both the reputation of Germany’s night-fighters and the Luftwaffe leadership. At the time of the attack on Cologne, Göring was entertaining Milch and Speer at Burg Veldenstein, his childhood home near Nuremburg, and that night he was rung personally by Hitler, who told him the Cologne Gauleiter – governor – had reported hundreds of bombers over the city. How could this be, Hitler wanted to know. Göring assured him the Gauleiter was mistaken – only seventy had come over, he told the Führer blithely; in truth, he had no idea. The following morning, Göring learned that around forty had been shot down, which then looked like a big victory until London announced that over a thousand bombers had indeed raided Cologne. When Hitler confronted him, Göring squirmed that this was a lie, and ordered Jeschonnek to play along. ‘It is out of the question,’ Hitler told his own staff, ‘that only seventy or eighty bombers attacked. I never capitulate to an unpleasant truth. I must see clearly if I am to draw the proper conclusions.’ That was rubbish, but it was also neither here nor there. Göring’s and the Luftwaffe’s reputation had taken a big dent.

Despite this, Milch’s overhaul of aircraft production was going reasonably well. He had successfully removed Willi Messerschmitt from managerial control and had stopped the cosy up-front payments for aircraft delivery. This had been disastrous for the Heinkel company, which had enabled Milch to push Ernst Heinkel into a purely development role too. Junker was also brought under tighter financial control, which meant that three of the major aircraft producers, previously rather errant, unfocused and hugely wasteful, were now directly under Milch’s eagle eye.

He had also put in a number of rationalization measures, which had seen production numbers rise while consumption of aluminium had stayed the same. Fighter production, for example, had risen from just over 200 a month at the end of 1941 to 349 per month by June – a trend that would continue to rise. None the less, Milch was still saddled with some projects that he could do little about. Aircraft, from first drawings to large-scale production, took about four years, and so in the middle of 1942 the Luftwaffe was still dealing with planes that had first been brought to the table before the war.

The Heinkel 177, for example, had not gone away, but was still being tinkered with and tweaked because it was too late to start afresh on a completely new four-engine bomber. Göring had only finally seen this monster in May on a visit to the aircraft-testing base at Rechlin and had been horrified to learn that its four engines had been coupled, one on top of the other, so that each pair powered one propeller. Incredibly, until then the C-in-C of the Luftwaffe had not known about this feature on the only major heavy bomber being developed. ‘How is such an engine to be serviced on the airfields?’ he railed. ‘I believe I am right in saying you cannot even take out the sparking plugs without pulling the engine apart!’ A few weeks later, on a visit with Speer to the Peenemünde research establishment, they saw an He177 taking off on a test flight with 4 tons of bombs. Soon after, it banked to the starboard, side-slipped and blew up. A coupling had broken on the propeller shaft.

There had also been problems with the FW190’s engine, the BMW 801D, and with the Me109G’s Daimler-Benz DB605. By the summer, these were being ironed out, but it meant the build-up of the Luftwaffe was still not as fast as Milch, Göring or Hitler would have liked. Milch was not only deeply shaken by the first Thousand Bomber Raid, but was also obsessed with production figures from Britain and the threat of American mass production. The attack on Cologne had given him a stark indication of what was to come. ‘Comparison of German aircraft production with the figures available to us from Britain,’ he told Göring in June, ‘shows that the British are making both more bombers and fighters than we are.’ Göring was dumbfounded.

With this inevitable bomber onslaught coming, it was the defence of the Reich that now dominated Milch’s thoughts on strategy. Protecting Germany adequately was taken very seriously by the Luftwaffe High Command and the dressing-down Göring had received following the Thousand Bomber Raid had demonstrated that in this they were not alone. Luftwaffe flak units had in fact been fewer at the beginning of 1942 than they had been six months earlier due to the heavy losses over the Eastern Front. However, from April, improvements were made as concentrations of three flak batteries were attached to one radar detection unit, and by increasing the number of guns per battery from four to six for heavies, twelve to fifteen for light, with from nine to twelve searchlights per searchlight battery. Furthermore, heavy guns were gradually being upgraded from the 10.5cm models to the much harder-hitting and more powerful 12.8cm, which had a much bigger burst range, and from the 150cm models to 200cm. Overall, numbers of flak units would rise by 35 per cent in 1942 and within the Luftwaffe Command Centre, based in Berlin and responsible for the defence of the Reich, there were eight ‘Air Districts’, which included 838 heavy flak batteries in all and 538 medium and light flak batteries. That amounted to over 13,000 guns. Already, then, Bomber Command was making an impact, for that was a lot of German guns and manpower that were not being used at the front.

While the Luftwaffe was growing its flak defences, the night-fighters under General Josef Kammhuber had continued to achieve some notable successes, and none more than Helmut Lent. By May, he had thirty night victories to his name as well as a Knight’s Cross, and was also now commander of his own Gruppe, II/NJG2, feted by Hitler and Göring and known throughout the Reich as the leading night-fighter ace. Like Guy Gibson, he had still been only twenty-three years old when he took command of the Gruppe back in January.

The Thousand Bomber Raid, however, had also underlined the need to improve radar both on the ground and in the air, as well as to increase the number of night-fighters, as Kammhuber had been repeatedly urging since the summer of 1940. The Himmelbett system used on the so-called Kammhuber Line worked because a night-fighter could be vectored to a lone enemy bomber in any one zone at a time. Back in England, Dr R. V. Jones, who had earlier cracked the Knickebein and X-Gerät beam systems, now worked out that if bombers crossed over into occupied Europe using the same route and in quick succession, not only would collisions be minimized but the Himmelbett zone over which they crossed would quickly become overwhelmed and no longer work – as Lent discovered on the night of the first Thousand Bomber Raid. Although he had been one of those who had taken off to intercept the attack on Cologne, even he had been unable to engage a single bomber. This new tactic by Bomber Command was known as the ‘bomber stream’.

New radar and navigation technology was being developed in Germany, however. A ‘giant’ Würzburg radar had started to come into service, as had an improved Freya known as a Mammut. Both were essentially the same as earlier models but with larger reflectors, which gave them increased range. A further radar, the Wassermann, was the finest early-warning radar that had yet been developed anywhere in the world, with a range of some 150 miles and fully rotational. Finally, in early 1942, the Lichtenstein onboard radar set came into service. With a maximum range of 2 miles and minimum of 200 yards, Kammhuber had hoped this would be a crucial piece of equipment and had urged Hitler to give Lichtenstein the highest priority in production.

The first four sets were fitted to some of Helmut Lent’s aircraft at Leeuwarden, where its shortcomings quickly became apparent. For Lichtenstein to work, large aerials and reflectors had to be added to the nose of the aircraft, which acted as an airbrake and badly affected the machine’s handling. Most pilots, like Lent, would rather stick to the system of improved ground radar and being vectored to the target by ground controllers. Certainly he was managing just fine without Lichtenstein – in June 1942, he flew ten combat sorties and shot down nine, including a Halifax destroyed during a raid on Bremen. ‘Once again, God mercifully looked after me when I was in action,’ Lent wrote in a letter to his parents. ‘The 40th was a hard, four-engined nut to crack. Praise be to God, he didn’t succeed in dropping his bombs on Germany. He was forced to jettison them, and I was able to see just what the monsters can carry. Down below, a path of high explosives and incendiaries a kilometre long flared up.’

In the air, out at sea and on land too, British and German forces continued to battle it out that summer of 1942. In North Africa, however, the British had managed to avert annihilation. Along the Alamein Line, deadlock had been reached. After Rommel had put his Panzerarmee on to the defensive, the Auk had twice tried to turn the tables and break the position, but each time the Axis forces had held. Now, both sides were exhausted.

Eighth Army had been saved and the deep crisis at the beginning of the month had passed. None the less, while to the Germans it was clear that Rommel had once again overreached his forces, to the British it was also clear that change was needed. The first six months of 1942 had thrown a succession of bitter and humiliating blows at the British war effort. That trend needed to be reversed, and quickly.

In Britain, General Alan Brooke and Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal had been having an increasingly acrimonious spat about the use of air power, with the Chief of the Imperial General Staff arguing vehemently for a separate Army air arm independent of the RAF. Portal had rebuffed such a suggestion, arguing there were not anything like enough aircraft operating to justify such a move and pointing out the by now well-trodden argument that airmen, rather than soldiers, were the best placed to judge how air forces should most effectively be used. Coningham’s men had certainly proved that point very clearly.

Things were also looking up for Bomber Command. At the end of May, Air Marshal Harris had launched the first-ever Thousand Bomber Raid against Cologne. Although the daily numbers in his squadrons had still been only around 400, by scouring Training Command and borrowing 250 aircraft from Coastal Command, as well as using aircraft that really were almost obsolete, he had managed to reach the magic 1,000 mark – 1,047 to be precise. It was a high-risk coup de théâtre, but one that proved, on the whole, pretty successful, inflicting heavy damage on an important target. The German High Command had been pleasingly appalled – in fact, as early as the end of April, well before the raid, they had already been muttering to the Italian delegation at Salzburg about the effects of bomb damage.

Most importantly, the raid was a terrific public-relations success, which is exactly what Harris had hoped. Headlines about it were splashed all over British newspapers. In her diary, Gwladys Cox excitedly quoted London’s Evening Standard. ‘“This is the most glorious First of June in all our island’s annals,”’ it claimed, ‘and all because “some 1,000 young British pilots have thwarted Hitler’s strategy anew.”’ ‘1,500 PLANES IN BIGGEST RAID,’ pronounced the Daily Mirror. ‘3,000 TONS BOMB STORM’. ‘German radio began to wail last night about the great RAF raid on Cologne,’ it added gleefully. ‘A special transmission from Cologne said: “Much misery had come over our town.”’ That papers like the Mirror were blatantly exaggerating didn’t bother Harris one jot. Two more similar raids followed in the ensuing weeks and, although it was not something Harris could mount regularly, they did much to stop the back-sniping and show all concerned that Bomber Command could, after all, pose a serious threat to Germany’s war machine.

Harris was also now receiving increased numbers of two exciting new aircraft. The first was the twin-engine de Havilland Mosquito, which had been conceived as a light and very fast bomber but was proving its use in other ways as a reconnaissance and even fighter aircraft. Most, however, were heading straight to Bomber Command and, because they were largely – and incredibly – built of wood and had a maximum speed of over 400 mph, they were not only immune to most radar, but there was no German plane that could catch them. With the potential to carry bombs as well as cannons and machine guns, the Mosquito was a highly versatile and extremely fine aircraft.

The machine that Harris wanted as his workhorse, however, was the Avro Lancaster, which back in April had already dropped the war’s first 8,000lb bomb. Numbers were only slowly rising, but gradually Harris was able to increase those squadrons now equipped with this big bomber. His aim was for the whole of 5 Group to be equipped with Lancasters and he was keenly aware that until then, and until navigational aids improved, little meaningful damage could be inflicted on Germany.

These difficulties and the logistical issues of converting a squadron of four-man crews into one of seven was just one of the challenges facing Guy Gibson, who was now a Wing Commander and the CO of 106 Squadron, one of the squadrons currently converting from the troublesome twin-engine Avro Manchester to the bigger and better four-engine Lancaster.

Gibson’s Lancasters arrived five at a time from the Avro plant at Woodford near Manchester, flown in by the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). Harris was planning to set up special Heavy Conversion Units, but Gibson and his squadron – which, including staff and ground crew, amounted to around 800 men – were to convert and train themselves. He was twenty-three.

Also still new to Bomber Command was a navigational device called GEE, first tested the previous year. This was a radar pulse system that enabled a navigator on board an aircraft to fix his position by measuring the distance of pulses from three different ground stations in England. It was hoped this would massively improve navigation and thus, in turn, bombing accuracy, but it was not proving as accurate as scientists had hoped. The Ruhr industrial heartland was about the limit of its range and it was nothing like good enough to aid blind flying. This meant Harris’s bombers were still largely dependent on clear skies and preferably a half-decent moon – but that in turn made them easier targets for German flak-gunners and night-fighters. Furthermore, by the summer of 1942, as scientific and technological developments on one side were repeatedly answered on the other, the Germans had successfully worked out how to effectively jam GEE. As the British had trumped Knickebein, so the Germans had found an answer to Harris’s latest navigational leap forward.

Although 106 Squadron contributed eleven aircraft to the Thousand Bomber Raid, Gibson was ill, much to his frustration, and so missed it. After recuperation and leave, he finally flew his first combat operation in a Lancaster on the night of 8/9 July. ‘I’m always terrified every time I go on ops,’ he later confessed to a fellow pilot. Standing around the crew rooms before the flight was the worst part. ‘It’s a horrible business,’ Gibson wrote. ‘Your stomach feels as though it wants to hit your backbone. You can’t stand still.’ He found he would smoke far too many cigarettes, laugh too loudly, and sometimes had to go to the lavatory because he felt sick. Somehow, once he was in the cockpit with the engines running, ready to take off, he felt better. ‘Then it’s all right. Just another job.’

That night, they attacked Wilhelmshaven, one of 285 aircraft. ‘Very dark but good,’ Gibson jotted in his logbook. ‘Bombed from 12,000 feet. Bombs fell in dock areas but not sure whether submarine yards were hit. Opposition fairly accurate.’ They had not hit the U-boat yards, as it happened. Rather, reports suggested damage to the dockyard buildings, a department store and a number of houses. Some twenty-five were killed and a further 170 injured. This rather insignificant return from so much effort underlined the problem of strategic bombing nearly three years into the war: that what was needed was very many more big aircraft with better means of achieving bombing accuracy.

The Thousand Bomber Raid had done severe damage to both the reputation of Germany’s night-fighters and the Luftwaffe leadership. At the time of the attack on Cologne, Göring was entertaining Milch and Speer at Burg Veldenstein, his childhood home near Nuremburg, and that night he was rung personally by Hitler, who told him the Cologne Gauleiter – governor – had reported hundreds of bombers over the city. How could this be, Hitler wanted to know. Göring assured him the Gauleiter was mistaken – only seventy had come over, he told the Führer blithely; in truth, he had no idea. The following morning, Göring learned that around forty had been shot down, which then looked like a big victory until London announced that over a thousand bombers had indeed raided Cologne. When Hitler confronted him, Göring squirmed that this was a lie, and ordered Jeschonnek to play along. ‘It is out of the question,’ Hitler told his own staff, ‘that only seventy or eighty bombers attacked. I never capitulate to an unpleasant truth. I must see clearly if I am to draw the proper conclusions.’ That was rubbish, but it was also neither here nor there. Göring’s and the Luftwaffe’s reputation had taken a big dent.

Despite this, Milch’s overhaul of aircraft production was going reasonably well. He had successfully removed Willi Messerschmitt from managerial control and had stopped the cosy up-front payments for aircraft delivery. This had been disastrous for the Heinkel company, which had enabled Milch to push Ernst Heinkel into a purely development role too. Junker was also brought under tighter financial control, which meant that three of the major aircraft producers, previously rather errant, unfocused and hugely wasteful, were now directly under Milch’s eagle eye.

He had also put in a number of rationalization measures, which had seen production numbers rise while consumption of aluminium had stayed the same. Fighter production, for example, had risen from just over 200 a month at the end of 1941 to 349 per month by June – a trend that would continue to rise. None the less, Milch was still saddled with some projects that he could do little about. Aircraft, from first drawings to large-scale production, took about four years, and so in the middle of 1942 the Luftwaffe was still dealing with planes that had first been brought to the table before the war.

The Heinkel 177, for example, had not gone away, but was still being tinkered with and tweaked because it was too late to start afresh on a completely new four-engine bomber. Göring had only finally seen this monster in May on a visit to the aircraft-testing base at Rechlin and had been horrified to learn that its four engines had been coupled, one on top of the other, so that each pair powered one propeller. Incredibly, until then the C-in-C of the Luftwaffe had not known about this feature on the only major heavy bomber being developed. ‘How is such an engine to be serviced on the airfields?’ he railed. ‘I believe I am right in saying you cannot even take out the sparking plugs without pulling the engine apart!’ A few weeks later, on a visit with Speer to the Peenemünde research establishment, they saw an He177 taking off on a test flight with 4 tons of bombs. Soon after, it banked to the starboard, side-slipped and blew up. A coupling had broken on the propeller shaft.

There had also been problems with the FW190’s engine, the BMW 801D, and with the Me109G’s Daimler-Benz DB605. By the summer, these were being ironed out, but it meant the build-up of the Luftwaffe was still not as fast as Milch, Göring or Hitler would have liked. Milch was not only deeply shaken by the first Thousand Bomber Raid, but was also obsessed with production figures from Britain and the threat of American mass production. The attack on Cologne had given him a stark indication of what was to come. ‘Comparison of German aircraft production with the figures available to us from Britain,’ he told Göring in June, ‘shows that the British are making both more bombers and fighters than we are.’ Göring was dumbfounded.

With this inevitable bomber onslaught coming, it was the defence of the Reich that now dominated Milch’s thoughts on strategy. Protecting Germany adequately was taken very seriously by the Luftwaffe High Command and the dressing-down Göring had received following the Thousand Bomber Raid had demonstrated that in this they were not alone. Luftwaffe flak units had in fact been fewer at the beginning of 1942 than they had been six months earlier due to the heavy losses over the Eastern Front. However, from April, improvements were made as concentrations of three flak batteries were attached to one radar detection unit, and by increasing the number of guns per battery from four to six for heavies, twelve to fifteen for light, with from nine to twelve searchlights per searchlight battery. Furthermore, heavy guns were gradually being upgraded from the 10.5cm models to the much harder-hitting and more powerful 12.8cm, which had a much bigger burst range, and from the 150cm models to 200cm. Overall, numbers of flak units would rise by 35 per cent in 1942 and within the Luftwaffe Command Centre, based in Berlin and responsible for the defence of the Reich, there were eight ‘Air Districts’, which included 838 heavy flak batteries in all and 538 medium and light flak batteries. That amounted to over 13,000 guns. Already, then, Bomber Command was making an impact, for that was a lot of German guns and manpower that were not being used at the front.

While the Luftwaffe was growing its flak defences, the night-fighters under General Josef Kammhuber had continued to achieve some notable successes, and none more than Helmut Lent. By May, he had thirty night victories to his name as well as a Knight’s Cross, and was also now commander of his own Gruppe, II/NJG2, feted by Hitler and Göring and known throughout the Reich as the leading night-fighter ace. Like Guy Gibson, he had still been only twenty-three years old when he took command of the Gruppe back in January.

The Thousand Bomber Raid, however, had also underlined the need to improve radar both on the ground and in the air, as well as to increase the number of night-fighters, as Kammhuber had been repeatedly urging since the summer of 1940. The Himmelbett system used on the so-called Kammhuber Line worked because a night-fighter could be vectored to a lone enemy bomber in any one zone at a time. Back in England, Dr R. V. Jones, who had earlier cracked the Knickebein and X-Gerät beam systems, now worked out that if bombers crossed over into occupied Europe using the same route and in quick succession, not only would collisions be minimized but the Himmelbett zone over which they crossed would quickly become overwhelmed and no longer work – as Lent discovered on the night of the first Thousand Bomber Raid. Although he had been one of those who had taken off to intercept the attack on Cologne, even he had been unable to engage a single bomber. This new tactic by Bomber Command was known as the ‘bomber stream’.

New radar and navigation technology was being developed in Germany, however. A ‘giant’ Würzburg radar had started to come into service, as had an improved Freya known as a Mammut. Both were essentially the same as earlier models but with larger reflectors, which gave them increased range. A further radar, the Wassermann, was the finest early-warning radar that had yet been developed anywhere in the world, with a range of some 150 miles and fully rotational. Finally, in early 1942, the Lichtenstein onboard radar set came into service. With a maximum range of 2 miles and minimum of 200 yards, Kammhuber had hoped this would be a crucial piece of equipment and had urged Hitler to give Lichtenstein the highest priority in production.

The first four sets were fitted to some of Helmut Lent’s aircraft at Leeuwarden, where its shortcomings quickly became apparent. For Lichtenstein to work, large aerials and reflectors had to be added to the nose of the aircraft, which acted as an airbrake and badly affected the machine’s handling. Most pilots, like Lent, would rather stick to the system of improved ground radar and being vectored to the target by ground controllers. Certainly he was managing just fine without Lichtenstein – in June 1942, he flew ten combat sorties and shot down nine, including a Halifax destroyed during a raid on Bremen. ‘Once again, God mercifully looked after me when I was in action,’ Lent wrote in a letter to his parents. ‘The 40th was a hard, four-engined nut to crack. Praise be to God, he didn’t succeed in dropping his bombs on Germany. He was forced to jettison them, and I was able to see just what the monsters can carry. Down below, a path of high explosives and incendiaries a kilometre long flared up.’

WWI Armoured Cars: 3 of 3 Parts

THE FRENCH ARMORED WHEELED VEHICLES

Already in 1902, the company C. G. V. (Charron, Girardot & Voigt) presented the first known French armored vehicle, the CGV 1902 at the Motor Show of that year. Actually, it is the adaptation of an armored cylinder in the rear seats of an ordinary automobile. The armament consisted of a Hotchkiss 8mm ma- chine gun. The vehicle was evaluated in Chalons the following year, but that eventually ended.

With the participation of Commandant Guye, the company CGV submitted to the Ministere de la Guerre the CGV modele 1906, its first entiérement Blindée Automobile de Guerre. This vehicle was evaluated in the fall of that year. The main drawback of this vehicle was its unsatisfactory power to weight ratio but did employ some successful innovations such as the engine being located inside the vehicle as well as tires that could be used for up to 10 minutes after being pierced by a bullet or something similar. It seems that the French army used four Charron armored vehicles. Russia ordered twelve vehicles and then two more to replace two that were requisitioned by the German Government in the transit to Russia via Germany.

The French Army also acquired some Mitrailleuse Hotchkiss 18 HP automobiles (1903), Panhard-Genty 24 HP (1906), Clément-Bayard (1908), Panhard 24 HP (1911) all in small quantities.

In the first weeks of the war, several Automitrailleuses Improvisées and Voiturettes Automitailleuses were created on the ground using commercial vehicles of various brands such as Delahaye, Delaunay-Belleville, Mercedes, Panhard, Peugeot, Renault, Legrand, etc.

AUTOMITRAILLEUSES BLINDÉES AND AUTOCANONS PEUGEOT

The first armored cars were hastily produced by Peugeot and modified in August 1914. They were based on a commercial vehicle, the Peugeot 4×2 153, built in series between 1913 and 1916. These early conversions used a machine gun, usually a Saint-Étienne Modéle 1907 centrally mounted on a pivot or on a tripod in the rear of the vehicle and was provided with a small shield. The first side plates were 5.5 mm and eventually applied to the entire vehicle.

In late August 1914, the Lieutenant-Lesieure Desbriere proposed to Général Gallieni, that in order to fight the Germans and their wheeled armored vehicles, they would have to convert some of the Peugeot 146 18 HP into 37mm Marine Auto Canons, giving them a small 37mm gun Modéle 1885. Things quickly got under way and the first modified vehicles fire tests were conducted on September 13 in Vincennes. Gallieni gave the order to start production of numerous vehicles armed this way. A few days later, Lesieure-Desbriere went to the Parisian factory in Saint Chamond to address the issue of the shields.

These vehicles were assigned to the Marines, organized in Groupes d’Autocanons de 37 mm de la Marine, with two sections of four vehicles, three armed with cannons and a fourth as a supply vehicle which was unarmed. Later, two Automitalleuses and a shuttle car were added to each section. Général Gallieni had decided to form 24 Groupes d’Autocanons de 37 mm, with a total of 192 Peugeot chassis although only 144 were armed. Général Joffre estimated on October 22nd that twelve groups would be enough, one for each Cavalry Division and two kept in reserve, so finally, production was reduced to 90 Auto canons de 37 mm and 31 supply cars.

As we have previously indicated, each section of the Groupes d’Autocanons of 37 mm de la Marine was assigned with two Automitailleuses. The first twelve sections were improvised vehicles equipped by five different factories. Those five factories were Renault, Peugeot, Delaunay-bel, Delhaye, and Panhard. From the seventh group on, they were standardized vehicles with Renault Automitrailleuse ED type of 18-20 HP. A hundred units were built in Lyon, whose deliveries began in late October 1914.

In December 1914, a specifically designed variant appeared. Conceived by Capitaine Renaud, this vehicle barely resembled earlier versions. It was now covered by armored plates. The radiator was protected by steel doors despite the extra weight of the shield. This was in part compensated by the use of double rear wheels. Although it was armed with a machine gun, Modéle Saint-Étienne 1907, the most common weapon was the 37mm gun, now mounted on a barbette mantlet. The replacement began in Vincennes at a rapid pace. They had numerous Peugeot type 146 chassis so that the preparation of the shield and mounting was performed in December 1914, without harming the setting up of the groups equipped with the initial model, whose late unit, the number 12 was completed on December 24. The last three groups organized were the 13éme, 14eme and 15eme Groupes d’Autocanons de 37 mm de la Marine crews completed their vehicles on January 13 1915. But, at that time, with a static front of trenches and fields of barbed wire, the task of `free hunting of German cars’ was finished so a few vehicles were used in patrols near the front, but their actions had little influence on the development of events.

On March 5, 1916 these units stopped relying on the Marina to be assigned to the 81éme Regiment d’Artillerie. Thus, the presence of armored vehicles in the Marine closes and opens another episode, although short and unfortunate, in that Auto canons and Automitailleuses were committed to the Artillery, who poorly used them. Finally, headquarters issued an instruction in which the Auto canons and Automitailleuses were to be assigned to the Cavalry with a new organization. Each group would have a Voiture de Laison blindée from an unspecified model for the group leader, and three sections each with two more Auto canons and an Automitailleuse plus a motorcycle and a car shuttle. Further armament was modified with the old 37mm modele 1885 cannon which was replaced by another of the same caliber, the Puteaux SA Semi-automatic which fired twice as fast. Ninety vehicles were requested on February 3, 1917 although it is possible some were intended for the new Ségur-Lorfeuvre. Sixty of these guns were installed with Auto canons Modele Peugeot 146, but also in some modified Renault ED Automitailleuses. Finally, Saint-Etienne 8mm Modele 1907 machine guns were replaced on vehicles that still kept them for other Hotchkiss Modele 1914 of the same caliber.

At the same time, the number of groups was adjusted due to the reduction of cavalry divisions. There were not more than seven in mid-1917 and six at end the year. In fact, 13 groups were held, two divisions and one reserve.

In 1918, they took part in the combat against the German offenses along the whole front. Afterwards, some of the armored cars from Peugeot and Renault were used in the warfare that followed this stage, although most of the fighting involved the Renault F. 17, which were more effective in difficult terrain than Peugeot with its narrow wheels. At the end of the conflict, at the time that the new White came to the units, the service unit count was 39 Renault and 28 Peugeot.

AUTOMITRAILLEUSE LEGERE D’ INFANTERIE ARCHER

When the implementation of the new Peugeot Modele 146 chassis shields were about to start, an unexpected interruption came about which com- promised the development of the planned program. This interruption was the Automitailleuses Archer, a vehicle designed by a civil mining engineer, mobilized with the rank of Sergeant J. Archer, who was also a businessman who imported American Hupmobile cars, which he considered adequate to resist the incorporation of light armor. Archer obtained from the Ministere de la Guerre, in December 1914, the Constitution of the Groupes d’Autocanons de 37 mm de la Marine with the intended material and his own ideas were submitted for evaluation. When the evaluation was completed on December 19th, a report in which it was emphasized that the Archer was but an invention that was not likely to render any service was issued. However, a second model was presented in February 1915, having very satisfactory shooting results, so four vehicles were commissioned to provide the division of General Albert Gerard Leo d’ Amade, de l’Armée d’Orient, for the Dardanelles expedition. Two other copies requested on May 27, 1915, were assigned to Détachenet d’Armée de Lorraine.

AUTOMITRAILLEUSE WHITE TBC

In November 1914, Sergeant Pierre Gasnier of Aéroanautique Militaire, pro- posed to his superiors the project of an Automitrailleuse. The project was approved on November 26, 1914 and evaluated in February 1915. The vehicle was built on the chassis of a passenger car known as the Gobron 40 HP. It was shielded with steel plates from the factory of Saint-Chamond, 5 to 7 mm thicker. The model was proposed to equip Groupes d’Autocanons 37mm de la Marine, but on June 21 they responded to this proposal that there were already a sufficient number of such vehicles in service and there were no reason for substituting the Renault ED.

But the idea of a complete shield returned on September 10, 1915, the date in which the Brigadier Marc Fabry presented to the Sous-Secretary d `État de l’Artillerie et des Munitions his project: an automobile with an armored observation tower intended to equip a long vehicle with four wheels and two driving positions. The basic objectives proposed by Fabry were to pro- vide infantry officers in the field a large observatory, protected and with a high degree of mobility. Unknowingly, Fabry had invented the artillery observation vehicle. Finally, it was thought that to support infantry in the tower, a 37 or 45mm cannon or a machine gun or even both could be mounted. So, with the approval of Général Joffre, seduced by the capacity of the tower to shoot in every direction, on February 17, 1916, Delaunay- Belleville signed a contract for the mounting of twenty double direction frames and absolute Jeffery adhesion, with steel plates provided by Saint- Chamond and the Fabry tower.

In late September 1916, the prototype was sent to the Centre d’Instruction des Automitauilleuses at Versailles. There it was found that its excessive weight of 6150 kg to the lean frame made it inappropriate for any war service. The constructed units were dedicated exclusively to training.

While the factory of Delaunay-Belleville proceeded to make the prototype, Jeffery-Fabry, one of the giants of the French automotive industry, De Dion- Bouton and Puteaux, on November 15, 1915, announced to the Minister of War their project of a Blockhaus Automobile, designed by Commandant Guye. The vehicle was completed before the end of the year and presented on February 14 1916. This vehicle was armed with a 37mm cannon firing back and a Hotchkiss machine gun firing forward. In August, the cannon was replaced by another 75mm gun. But this vehicle had certain problems, most importantly, it was not equipped with two driving positions, which at the time was considered essential, which combined with their excessive weight, nearly seven tons, disqualified it for production.

Another attempt to achieve a complete armored Automitrailleuse took place with a contract on September 28, 1915 for an Automitrailleuse Segur & Lorfeuvre on a lighter chassis frame of a Panhard K14 truck, which was delivered to the Centre d’Instruction des Automitauilleuses on May 17, 1916.

It could be armed with a machine gun or 37mm gun and could reach 50 km/h with a 16HP engine. In July 1916, an order for 50 copies, later raised to 300 in January 1917 were manufactured, but the priority was for tanks and artillery tractors so the request to Segur & Lorfeuvre was reduced to ten units on February 5, and finally being canceled.

But the urgency to find a replacement among the vehicles in service for the Groupes Automitailleuses Autocanons Cavalry, led Capitaine Castelbajac, director of the Centre d’Instruction des Automitauilleuses, to find a suit- able frame for a new Automitrailleuse and after ruling out many of the existing, he decided to use the light truck, 2 ton White TBC of American origin, of which the Army had a large number. Headquarters made available one of these vehicles to Lorfeuvre at the Centre d’Instruction des Automitauilleuses to conduct preliminary tests. On March 30, 1917 the transformation began. This transformation, along with an armored body, involved a rear driving position with a steering wheel and the installation of a tower, designed by Castelbajac, armed with a Puteaux SA 37mm cannon and an 8mm Hotchkiss machine gun. Despite the advantages of the vehicle, mass production started only in the spring of 1918, to begin manufacturing 130 units, given the impossibility of the Ministere de l’Armement to fix the number of vehicles required on 6 April, the Cavalry required 170 units. On June 29, new requests made a total of 230 required vehicles.

The First White TBC were delivered to 10eme Groupes Automitailleuses Auto canons de Cavalerie, on October 3, 1918. In practice, the vehicle Segur & Lorfeuvre had to wait almost two years to enter service, arriving just in time to participate in the occupation of the Rhineland.

Dettingen, Bavaria, 27 June 1743

King George II, who succeeded his father to the british throne and to the electorate of Hanover in 1727, had three passions: the Queen, music, and the army. Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach was probably the most intelligent woman a British king has ever had the fortune to marry. By relentlessly championing Robert Walpole as ‘prime minister’ she played no small part in consolidating both the Hanoverian succession – which in spite of the ghastly Stuart alternatives was by no means universally popular – and constitutional monarchy itself. Nor was she merely a power behind the throne: when the King was away on state business in Germany, as he frequently was, Caroline had vice-regal authority. A contemporary verse ran:

You may strut, dapper George, but ’twill all be in vain,

We all know ’tis Queen Caroline, not you, that reign.

They had eight children, and despite – perhaps even because of – his several mistresses, George was devoted to her. When she was dying, in 1737, she urged him to take another wife. ‘Non,’ he replied resolutely: ‘j’aurai des maîtresses!’ And he had a pair of matching coffins made with removable sides, so that when he followed her to the grave (twenty-three years later) they could lie together again.

George inherited his passion for music from his father, whose protégé Handel he continued to champion: he is famously credited with the custom of standing during the ‘Hallelujah chorus’, and Handel composed the anthems for Caroline’s funeral, as he had for the coronation. But like his cousin Frederick William I of Prussia (der Soldaten-König), George believed the army to be the first and noblest occupation of a king. He certainly took little interest in government, which was ably if corruptly (in modern eyes; the eighteenth century was on the whole more tolerant) conducted by Walpole. It all worked rather well.

George was also physically brave. He had fought at Oudenarde, the third of Marlborough’s great ‘quadrilateral’ of battles (alongside Blenheim, Ramillies and Malplaquet), and would sometimes parade in his old battle coat. ‘And the people laughed, but kindly, at the odd old garment, for bravery never goes out of fashion,’ wrote Thackeray a century later.

Whenever George dealt with army business he took off his habitual Court brown to put on more military red. He put on red as much as he possibly could, indeed, loving to interfere in the army’s business, although he scarcely considered it interference, for despite the measures enacted by Parliament after the ‘Glorious Revolution’ the limit of the royal prerogative was still unclear. Like his father, George laboured manfully to standardize drill – what Wolfe, the hero of Quebec (1759), complained of as ‘the variety of steps in our infantry and the feebleness and disorderly floating of our lines’ – though it would be many years before there was a truly common system. He championed the Royal Military Academy, which opened at Woolwich in 1741 to teach gunnery and engineering (a permanent corps of artillery had been formed at Marlborough’s urging in 1716, becoming the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1727). He regulated the price of commissions, abolished the trade in the regimental proprietor-colonelcies and sought to advance able officers, keeping a book in which he made notes on their capabilities and appointments. If he had had his way, he might also – like his cousin Frederick William – have introduced compulsory military service. It was not surprising that when in 1743 the army found itself once more in Marlborough’s old stamping ground, Bavaria, George insisted on taking to the field at its head.

Britain had in fact been at war with Spain since October 1739. By the Treaty of Seville ten years earlier, Britain had agreed not to trade with Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and South America, and to verify the working of the treaty the Spanish were permitted to search British vessels. While boarding the Rebecca in 1731, the Spanish coast guard severed the ear of her captain, Robert Jenkins, or so it was claimed. British merchants, determined to penetrate the Atlantic trade, used the incident as a casus belli against Spain in the Caribbean (though tardily to say the least, hostilities not beginning for a full seven years). Jenkins exhibited his pickled ear to the House of Commons, and the entirely predictable outrage forced a reluctant Walpole to declare war. Thus began an episode of Caribbean skirmishing – the ‘War of Jenkins’ Ear’ – that yielded very mixed results.

The gravest unintended consequence of the skirmishing was the slide into the much greater affair of the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1740 Emperor Charles VI died, leaving the crown to his daughter Maria Theresa. Frederick II – later ‘Frederick the Great’ – had succeeded to the throne of Prussia earlier the same year, and had lost no time in exploiting the questionable legitimacy of female succession by invading Silesia, defeating the Austrians at the battle of Mollwitz. He was joined by Charles Albert of Bavaria, rival claimant to the Habsburg lands, and almost as a matter of course by France. Britain – or rather George, for Walpole was against a continental entanglement – backed the old ally, Austria, fearful that Prussia would not stop at the borders of Hanover. Britain and France came to blows not by declaring war, therefore, but as auxiliaries of their respective German allies. With Spain taking France’s side, the war quickly began to look like a continuance of the War of the Spanish Succession – an affair as old as King George’s Oudenarde coat.

Militarily, however, two things had changed. Prussia astounded everyone by the quality of its army – not so much the cavalry, which bolted at Mollwitz (Frederick’s reforms had yet to touch them), but the infantry, which could fire at the rate of five rounds to the Austrians’ three. The lesson was at once driven home to every prince in Europe: a standing army, albeit one made up of conscripts, would beat an improvised army even twice its size. By contrast, the French, who had remained a considerable power even after the run of defeats at Marlborough’s hands, were uncertain, even ponderous, in the field.

In 1742 the Prussians, having got what they wanted – Silesia – withdrew from the war. But two French armies had managed to reach Prague and Vienna, and a third was keeping watch on Hanover from east of the Rhine. The situation looked bad on the map, until all three French armies were obliged to retreat in the face of a revitalized Austro-Hungarian counter-offensive. To hasten their return to France, a British army assembled in Flanders comprising four troops of Household Cavalry, eight regiments of horse and dragoons, three battalions of Foot Guards and twelve of the line – some 16,000 men under the septuagenarian Field Marshal John Dalrymple, earl of Stair.

Stair was a true Marlburian, his age a measure more of experience than of disability. At nineteen he had fought at Steenkirk, and he had been in each of Marlborough’s four great battles. His campaign plan for the autumn of 1742 could indeed have been designed by Marlborough himself: he proposed to combine with the Austrians in a bold thrust towards Paris along the valley of the Moselle. George now demurred, however, reverting to the pretence that Britain was not at war with France as such. Nothing happened for months as the army watched the seasons change about them and felt the winter’s bite in their Flanders billets. But, unusually for troops confined for so long, they fared well. One of the effects of Walpole’s perpetual retrenchment had been the emergence of a corps of experienced junior officers, for since there were few regiments to command and consequently little promotion, there were a great many captains with long service and substantial know-how. These proved invaluable in the hastily expanded army, which emerged from winter quarters in uncommonly good health and spirits – or, as Stair put it, ‘with great modesty and good discipline’. Marlborough would certainly have approved. Indeed, he had set the standard.

Opposing forces abhor a vacuum. Notwithstanding the delusory state of non-war, as the three French armies resumed their retrograde march towards the Rhine the combined English – Hanoverian – Austrian army in Flanders, now 44,000 men, was drawn east across the Lower Rhine towards Frankfurt. In mid-June King George arrived – with a vast baggage train, including 600 horses (which severely clogged the roads), and his younger son, the 22-year-old Major-General the duke of Cumberland – intending to take personal command.

Though George had the advantage of ten years on the earl of Stair, and had fought in the same battle in his Oudenarde coat thirty-five years earlier, he did not, alas, have the old field marshal’s instinct for campaigning. Against Stair’s advice, he now posted his army on the north bank of the Main at Aschaffenburg, 30 miles upstream from Frankfurt, hemmed in by the Spessart Hills to the north. The French, even without La Gloire, were not ones to miss an opportunity and quickly cut his lines of communication, isolating the allied army from its magazines and depots at Hanau just east of Frankfurt. After a week the army was showing signs of starving, and George decided to withdraw north-west back to Hanau.

The French marshal, the duc de Noailles, was exactly midway between George and Stair in age (the three may well, indeed, hold the record for combined age in command). Withdrawing south around Frankfurt, Noailles was quick to see his chance, and despite enjoying only a 50 per cent numerical superiority he at once split his force, sending some 28,000 men under his nephew, the relatively youthful (54-year-old) marshal the duc de Gramont, to block the allied withdrawal in the bottleneck between the village of Dettingen and the Spessart Hills. Meanwhile, five brigades would hook south to cross the Main at Aschaffenburg and attack the allied rear, enabling the bulk of the French artillery to enfilade the allied main body from south of the river. On 26 June, with some justification, Noailles boasted that he would have the allies ‘dans une souricière’ – in a mousetrap.

George got the army in motion by daybreak the following morning, leading with his own cavalry, followed by that of the Austrians, and then the British and the Austrian infantry, with his best troops – the Guards and Hanoverians – as rearguard, followed by the artillery and baggage. By seven o’clock the advance guard had reached Klein Ostheim, 4 miles west of Aschaffenburg and halfway to Dettingen. Beyond the village the cavalry halted to let the infantry catch up, but the French batteries south of the Main opened a raking fire from which there was little shelter. Sam Davies, a major’s servant in the 3rd Dragoons, recounts in a letter to a tapster friend at the White Hart in Colchester how he was sent to the rear with the other servants and led horses:

We stayed there till the balls came flying all round us. We see first a horse with baggage fall close to us. Then seven horses fell apace, then I began to stare about me, the balls came whistling about my ears. Then I saw the Oysterenns [Austrians] dip and look about them for they dodge the balls as a cock does a stick, they are so used to them. Then we servants began to get off into a wood for safety, which was about four hundred yards from where we stood. When we got into the wood we placed ourselves against the largest trees, just as I had placed myself, a 12-pounder came, puts a large bough of the tree upon my head, the ball came within two yards of me, indeed it was the size of one of your light puddings, but a great deal heavier.

By now the souricière was discovered, and the earl of Stair, stung by George’s assumption of command and dismayed by his tactical ineptitude, decided that, in his words, ‘it was time to meddle’. He began deploying the army in three lines: the front line with British and Austrian troops, the support line British and Hanoverian, and the Guards in the reserve line on higher ground to the rear. But it took all of three hours – as long as it had taken the Royalist infantry to form up at Edgehill. Marlborough’s regiments would probably have managed it in a quarter of the time.

At midday Marshal Gramont, thinking the allied main body must have eluded him and that he was facing instead the rearguard, advanced across the Beck stream and likewise drew up in two lines and a reserve. George, brave as ever, if lacking an eye for the tactical situation, began urging his men forward, waving his sword and shouting encouragement in his thick German accent, doubtless to mystifying effect all round. With the enfilading fire of the French artillery south of the river, and no proper order, the advance was uneven. And then when the infantry opened fire on the Maison du Roi (the French Household brigade) it was dangerously premature, ragged and wholly ineffectual – except, it seems, for the effect on some of the allies’ horses: George’s in particular, which suddenly took hold of its bit and bolted rearwards, its rider only managing to pull up in a grove of oak trees where a company of the 22nd Foot (later the Cheshire Regiment) was sheltering. Evidently the unexpected royal visit went well, for regimental legend has it that George rewarded them for their warm reception with a sprig of oak leaves, which in time became their cap badge.

The infantry of the Maison du Roi now advanced, Marshal Gramont believing he had the advantage. By this time, however, the allied regimental officers had got their battalions in hand, and the front line was soon volleying by platoons in the old Marlburian drill. The Garde Française staggered to a halt, and then hastily withdrew behind the cavalry of the Maison, who in turn charged the allied left. However, they had the misfortune of falling on the 23rd Foot (later the Royal Welch Fusiliers), one of the regiments kept in being after Utrecht, and better drilled than most. The cavalry of the Maison du Roi were seen off rudely by a volley and a hedge of bayonets.

‘Our men were eager to come into action,’ one of the 23rd’s officers wrote afterwards:

We attacked the Regiment of Navarre, one of their prime regiments. Our people imitated their predecessors in the last war gloriously, marching in close order, as firm as a wall, and did not fire until we came within sixty paces, and still kept advancing; for, when the smoak blew off a little, instead of being amongst their living we found the dead in heaps by us.

During the following charge of the 3rd (King’s Own) Dragoons against a great mass of French horse, the duke of Cumberland was severely wounded in the leg. Some said that his mount, like his father’s, bolted, though towards the French not away, but this seems unfair: few riders in a cavalry charge, then as later, would have been wholly in control. A typical charge would start calmly enough at the walk, the riders knee-to-knee. The trumpeter would sound ‘Trot’ once the line had cleared its own side’s guns and pickets, and then ‘Gallop’, when the line would buckle and bow as riders struggled to keep the ‘dressing’. Finally the commanding officer would point his sword and cry ‘Charge!’, from which point all semblance of control would be lost for the final 50 yards, the noise of pounding hooves so great as to drown all shouted commands, trumpet calls and even the sound of firing.

While the cavalry were battling on the flanks, a hard infantry fighting match had developed along the whole length of the line. Here and there the sudden shout ‘Cavalry!’ would throw up a tight square of bayonets until the danger was past and the volleying could resume. Riderless horses on both sides barged through the ranks to add to the picture of chaos. And all the while the French guns south of the Main kept up their raking fire, answered hardly at all by the allied artillery, who found it extraordinarily difficult to come into action in the growing confusion of ‘the mousetrap’, and even harder to get up close to the infantry.

It had been thirty years and more since the British had fought in formed lines against regular troops, and if the general officers were rusty the infantry, as at the desperate fight at Steenkirk, were relearning what the bayonet and resolution could do. But although it was the cavalry that kept the French horse busy, and the bayonet that almost literally steeled the infantry’s resolve, the day was won by dogged volleying, which grew steadier with the practice. According to Lieutenant-Colonel Russell, commanding the 1st Foot Guards,

excepting three or four of our generals, the rest of ’em were of little service … our men and their regimental officers gained the day; not in the manner of Hide Park discipline, but our Foot almost kneeled down by whole ranks, and fired upon ’em a constant running fire, making almost every ball take place; but for ten or twelve minutes ’twas doubtful which would succeed, as they overpowered [outnumbered] us so much, and the bravery of their maison du roy coming upon us eight or nine ranks deep.

Towards the middle of the afternoon, seeing they could make no progress, the French began to quit the field, leaving behind 5,000 dead and wounded. Pressed by the allied cavalry, their retreat soon turned into flight, and many mousquetaires drowned in the press to get back across the bridge of boats west of Dettingen, especially among the Garde Française, who had attacked first and taken the most casualties, but who by all accounts tried to cross the bridge with indecent haste. It is ever the fate of Guards regiments to incur the scorn of those more workaday regiments of the line if they appear not to live up to their advance billing: so many of the Garde fell into the river that the line dubbed them ‘Les Canards du Main’.

But the allies, who had been under arms since the early hours and were exhausted by the best part of a day’s fighting, failed to follow up and turn defeat into rout. Besides, though Edgehill was a century behind them, the fear of loosing the cavalry and regretting it was still strong. And the French in their Gallic obstinacy might even now turn on them with renewed vigour, for their artillery was still in place and protected by the waters of the Main. Only the most seasoned battlefield commander could have judged it aright – a Marlborough, or later a Wellington. Indeed, at the culmination of Waterloo the ‘Iron Duke’ would throw all caution to the wind and urge the line forward: ‘Go on, go on! They won’t stand!’ But King George, for all his bravery, was no such judge. He flatly refused to pursue at all, even in the days that followed. And so, while the allied army restocked its canteens and cartridge cases at Hanau, Noailles limped back to France unmolested.

Dettingen, though a worthy feat of arms, was ultimately therefore of no strategic significance. It blooded a good many green men and subalterns, however, and reminded the field officers – if they had ever forgotten it – that in a bruising fight they could prevail by superior musketry. It showed George and his general officers that their military system was lacking; and it would be the last time a British monarch commanded in the field. But Dettingen, for all its insignificance in the strategy of the War of the Austrian Succession, was seen increasingly as a model of British fighting spirit, above all in the infantry. When at the end of the battle the King playfully chided the commanding officer of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw, for letting French cavalry break into his regiment’s square, Agnew replied drily: ‘An it please Your Majesty, but they didna’ gang oot again!’

‘Dettingen’ is a name habitually given to recruit platoons in the Army still; and for as long as anyone can remember there has been a Dettingen Company at Sandhurst, so prized is the occasion as an example to officers. And the battle was something of a watershed in the making of the army, for it had been a close-run thing – perhaps only a matter of ten or twelve minutes, as Colonel Russell of the Foot Guards had reckoned: it would not do in future to pit too many scratch troops against veteran Frenchmen, even Frenchmen without the élan of Marlborough’s day. In London the battle was celebrated as a famous victory, Handel promptly writing a Te Deum to mark it. But the red-coated regiments had been lucky: the French had not been on form. How long would it be before they regained it?

End of the Crimean War 1855

Floating Batteries at the Capture of Kinburn.

Having driven Gorchakov’s army out of the south side of Sevastopol the allied commanders were at a loss about what should be done next. The battle had been expensive in soldiers’ lives, ammunition and resources; so much so that it was difficult to avoid a general feeling that they had justified their presence in the Crimea by taking the city whose capture had eluded them for a year. This was particularly true in the French camp where there were smiles and congratulations all round. Pélissier was given a marshal’s baton and, much to the irritation of the British, was appointed a mushir, or commander-in-chief, by the Sultan; Bruat was promoted to full admiral (but did not live long to enjoy the pleasure as he died at sea two months later) and Simpson was awarded the Légion d’Honneur. Even the much-reviled telegraph came into its own on 12 September when Pélissier received the thanks of a grateful emperor: ‘Honneur à vous! Honneur à votre brave armée! Faites à tous mes sincères félicitations.’ (‘All honour to you. Honour to your brave army. I send to you all my sincere congratulations.’)

At home in Paris there were sonorous celebrations allied to a sense of relief; a Te Deum was celebrated in Notre Dame, which had been decorated with the flags of the allied powers. Sevastopol had fallen and in many people’s minds the victory and the part played by Pélissier’s men symbolised a rebirth of French military might. For a few happy hours 1812 became just another dusty date in a long-forgotten history and it seemed possible that Sevastopol was but a springboard for even greater successes against the Russians. Two weeks after Sevastopol fell Rose sent a thoughtful despatch to Clarendon which captured the mood in the French camp:

After 1815 the spirit of the French Army was lowered by a succession of reverses. The successes in Algiers against Barbarians, without artillery, were not sufficient to restore them the prestige they once enjoyed.

But the share of successes which the French Army have had in conquering a Military European Power of the first order, in battles on the field, and in the Siege of a peculiarly strong and invested Fortress, a Siege without many parallels in History, have not only improved, very much, the experiences and military qualifications of the Officers and men of the French Army, but have raised their military feeling and confidence.

To capitalise on that effect Napoleon insisted that the war must continue and that Russia must be humbled before there could be any peace settlement. Not only would that process isolate Russia from Europe but it would also restore France as a major power and destroy for ever the settlement of 1815. It might even be possible to realise Napoleon’s dream of rebuilding the kingdom of Poland and placing his cousin on its throne.

There was much to recommend this way of thinking. France had been left exhausted by the Napoleonic wars and the nation itself had been humbled, its frontiers reduced to those of 1789. Napoleon III certainly believed that he had a mission to restore his country’s fortunes by continuing the war, but he was already swimming against a tide of growing disapproval with the war. While his fellow countrymen had been happy and relieved to celebrate the fall of Sevastopol it could not be denied that the victory had been won at a cost. The casualties seemed to be disproportionate to any diplomatic or strategic gain and the need to keep the forces supplied for another winter was a strain on an already overloaded exchequer. France simply did not have the resources to continue the war and was unable to match the expenditure lavished on it by her British allies. London’s well-filled purse was one very good reason why Napoleon was so desperate to keep the cross-Channel alliance in being.

He had little difficulty in persuading his allies to be assertive. Palmerston remained as bellicose as ever and, together with Clarendon, warned colleagues that the war was far from being over and might last another two or three years. Their message was clear and unwavering: Britain’s war aims would not be altered and there could be no negotiated peace until Russia had been defeated. To achieve that goal Palmerston still thought that it would be possible to construct a grand European alliance similar to the coalition which had defeated Napoleon forty years earlier. As he told Clarendon on 9 October, ‘Russia has not yet been beat enough to make peace possible at the present moment.’ Military pride was also at stake. Palmerston had refused permission for the church bells to be rung in celebration of the recent victory as it was all too evident that British troops had not distinguished themselves in the fighting.

The Turks were keen to see the allies continue the war in the Crimea as this would allow them to open operations in Asia Minor and to that end they insisted that Omar Pasha be allowed to withdraw his army from the Crimea. Russia, too, was adamant that the war was far from over. ‘Sevastopol is not Moscow, the Crimea is not Russia,’ said Alexander II in a proclamation to Gorchakov shortly after the fall of Sevastopol. ‘Two years after we set fire to Moscow, our troops marched in the streets of Paris. We are still the same Russians and God is still with us.’ In military terms the Russian commander had merely made a tactical retreat into a new position which would continue to pose problems to the allies. The tsar also guessed correctly that his enemies had no intention of marching into Russia and that unless Gorchakov were defeated stalemate had returned to the Crimean peninsula. Given that unassailable position, the allies’ only hope of inflicting a decisive defeat seemed to lie in the Baltic; Dundas’s destruction of Sveaborg having given rise to hopes that a similar campaign in the spring of 1856 could crush Kronstadt and leave St Petersburg open to attack by sea and land forces. It was an idea which would exercise the minds of allied planners throughout the winter.

None the less, the continuing public bellicosity could not disguise the fact that there was also a growing desire for peace, especially in France, where Count Walewski, Drouyn de Lhuys’s replacement as foreign secretary, was playing a somewhat different game. An illegitimate son of Napoleon Bonaparte, he was considered by Cowley to be an intellectual lightweight who was too close to the emperor’s pro-Russian half-brother, the Duc de Morny, and therefore not to be trusted. To Clarendon he was a parvenu, ‘a low-minded strolling player’ whose ‘view of moral obligation’ was always ‘subservient to his interests or his vanity’. Palmerston shared that opinion and added the thought that if anything were to happen to the emperor there would be no shortage of French politicians of Walewski’s ilk who would be prepared to sue for peace with the Russians.

There were grounds for these fears. Although Cowley and Clarendon, the British statesmen most directly involved, never lost their suspicions about those who served the emperor – based largely on social snobbery, it must be admitted – they were right to pay close attention to the new French foreign secretary, Walewski. At a time when the allies were attempting to maintain a common front and continue the war he was in secret negotiation with the Russians through the Duc de Morny and a shadowy figure called Baron Hukeren, the adopted son of the Dutch ambassador in Paris, whom Cowley described as ‘among the numerous speculating and political intriguers that abound in the capital’. Initially, Napoleon seems not to have known that covert peace feelers were being made but by October he had given them tacit approval. These were conducted on two fronts: through his friendship with Prince Gorchakov, the duke made it known that France was ready for peace while a similar message was passed by Walewski to Nesselrode’s daughter who was married to the Saxon ambassador in Paris, Baron von Seebach. At the same time the Russian ambassador in Berlin, Baron Budberg, alerted the Prussian government that the tsar was ready to reopen negotiations. While, in themselves, these clandestine talks did not lead to the reopening of peace talks, they at least helped to pave the way.

Meanwhile, as had happened earlier in the year when the Vienna conference seemed to hold out the hope of a cessation of hostilities, the British and French governments urged their commanders in the Crimea to continue the campaign. Having told Simpson that from the Queen’s palace to humblest cottage British hearts were beating with pride at ‘this long looked-for success’, Panmure turned to sterner matters:

The consequences of this event upon the morale of the Russian Army must be very great, and I trust that in concert with Marshal Pélissier you have devised means to take advantage of them and to give the enemy no rest till his overthrow is completed.

In order to keep this object properly in view you must not suffer your mind to rest upon any expectation of peace; your duty as a General is to keep your Army in the best condition for offence and to turn your attention to all the means in your power for so doing.

There was considerable mortification that the victory had not been followed up with a further attack on the Russian position and Panmure told Simpson that there were to be no celebrations in the army until Russia had been finally defeated. A succession of despatches from London attempted to goad the British commander into action but without success. Simpson simply reiterated his and the French belief that it would be folly to attack the Russian positions and he remained unmoved by an unhelpful suggestion that he should think of ‘applying a hot poker’ to make Pélissier do something positive. The impasse was broken on 26 September when Panmure sent a peremptory telegram to the British commander demanding action:

The public are getting impatient to know what the Russians are about. The Government desire immediately to be informed whether either you or Pélissier have taken any steps whatever to ascertain this, and further they observe that nearly 3 weeks have elapsed in absolute idleness. This cannot go on and in justice to yourself and your army you must prevent it. Answer this on receipt.

From the evidence of the correspondence between the two men it is difficult to know what Panmure wanted to achieve from this telegraphic despatch. That he was anxious to hear Simpson play a more martial tune was beyond doubt, yet the commander’s own letters betray a worrying timorousness that was not to be cured by Panmure’s mixture of threats and cajoling. In one letter he would chide Simpson for playing second fiddle to the French and insist on action, ending the despatch with an order that the British soldiers were not to be given spirits before going on sentry duty; in another he would reflect on the pleasure of discussing the campaign at some future date over a bottle of claret. However, his latest despatch had one obvious effect: the man who had gone out to the Crimea with no other thought than to report on Raglan, finally admitted that high command was too great a burden to bear. Two days later Simpson telegraphed his resignation, explaining that he could not remain in command while facing sustained criticism, and his offer to stand down was quickly accepted.

As Codrington was the designated successor, it should have been an easy matter to confirm his promotion, but during the final assault on Sevastopol Codrington seemed to have lost his nerve – Newcastle was particularly withering in his criticism – and renewed thought was given to the command of the army in the Crimea. Once again the candidates’ claims were examined and during the hiatus, which lasted three weeks, Panmure was forced to address his orders simply to the British Headquarters in the Crimea. Despite doubts about his abilities Codrington was confirmed in command on 15 October but did not take over the office until a few weeks later: more than any other attribute, his ability to speak fluent French and his easy social skills seem to have counted in his favour. To soften the blow to the other commanders, on 10 December the army was divided into two corps, command of each going to Campbell and Eyre.

By then the British Army was in a much better position than in the previous year and relatively well equipped to face another winter. Each soldier had been given a new hard weather uniform consisting of two woollen jerseys, two pairs of woollen drawers, two pairs of woollen socks, two pairs of long stockings, one cholera belt, one comforter, a pair of gloves, a fur cap, greatcoat and waterproof cape. At Panmure’s insistence – he was a great stickler for detail – each man was also given, and ordered to use, a tin of Onion’s Drubbing, a new patented waterproof treatment for boots; and on 7 December four hundred field stoves specially designed by Alexis Soyer arrived at Balaklava. As an aid for observing the enemy in forward positions the army was supplied with a thousand trench telescopes of the kind which would be used in the First World War ‘for looking at objects without exposing the viewer’.

With better conditions, the supply problems having been largely solved, the army’s morale improved. Before winter settled in there were race meetings and hurriedly improvised shoots for the officers and theatricals for the men. Despite Panmure’s exhortations about keeping drunkenness at bay the independently owned canteens at Kadikoi did brisk business and, with the Russians content to keep their distance, the miseries of the last winter’s discomforts in the trenches were soon forgotten. By contrast it was now the turn of the French to suffer. Cholera followed by typhus ran through their camp and, added to a general air of disaffection, there were calls from the veterans of the fighting to be sent home. As the casualties from illness began to mount these demands were met: on 13 November Rose reported that the French Imperial Guards regiments were to be withdrawn and that eight line infantry regiments were to return to Algeria. Despite promises to the contrary, these were not to be replaced.

Before the armies went into winter quarters at the beginning of November, the British in good spirits, the French in as sorry as state as their allies had been in the previous season, there were two noteworthy attacks on the Russians. Having despatched part of their cavalry to Eupatoria, French units led by General D’Alonville attacked a larger Russian force on 20 October and succeeded in compelling it to withdraw with the loss of many casualties. However, D’Alonville chose not to follow up the success, other than to continue the harassment of Russian stragglers, because, according to Rose, the French chief of staff, General de Martimprey, had ordered his subordinate commanders to rein in any propensity for offensive activities:

I again perceived that he was opposed to any hostile operation against the enemy on a large scale. But whether he entertains this opinion because he thinks that the Enemy will leave the Crimea, without being forced to do [sic], or because he is of the conviction, which he lately expressed, that negotiations in the winter will bring about a peace, I know not.

The other operation was far more aggressive and it was destined to be the last blow struck by the allies during the war. It was also the most successful, a combined forces’ attack on the Fort Kinburn, a heavily defended Russian position which covered the confluence of the Rivers Bug and Dnieper. The brainchild of Lyons, it made full use of three newly developed French armoured steam batteries which, together with the allied gunboats and battleships, battered the fortress into submission. The French played a full role by committing 6000 men to the infantry force of 10,000, command of which was awarded to General Bazaine, as well as three battleships and a number of gunboats, although it remained unclear if Pélissier’s enthusiasm for the assault was governed more by a succession of orders from Paris or by his newly developed infatuation with Bazaine’s wife, Soledad. During Bazaine’s absence, Pélissier’s coach, captured from the Russians, was to be seen each day outside Soledad’s quarters. It was not the only romance thrown up by the war: Canrobert had fallen for the daughter of Colonel Strangways, the British gunner commander killed at Inkerman, but as with Pélissier’s fondness for Bazaine’s wife nothing came of the wartime dalliance.

The attack on Kinburn, though, was a complete success. On 16 October the infantry and marine forces made an unopposed landing on the Kinburn peninsula to cut off the fortress from reinforcements and to attack the garrison should it decide to retire. The following day, having advanced under cover of darkness, the allied fleet commenced a heavy bombardment, using tactics similar to those employed at Sveaborg a month earlier. Having been infiltrated into the bay in front of the fortress the gunboats and steam batteries were able to produce a sustained bombardment which quickly silenced the Russian guns. Then the allied battleships steamed into line to fire an equally heavy succession of broadsides which left the garrison with no option but to surrender. The way was open to strike inland but Bazaine called a halt to the operation once the forts and Kinburn and Ochakov (on the other side of the estuary) had surrendered. Following the destruction of Sveaborg, the successful outcome of the Kinburn operation demonstrated that the allies now had the naval capacity to attack and defeat Russia’s hitherto impregnable sea-fortresses.

As winter set in other activities included a reconnaissance of the Baider valley to ascertain whether or not an attack on the Russian positions at Simpheropol would yield results. Napoleon thought so but the French-led scouting party reported back that the Russians were entrenched on the high ground and that any attack would only result in unacceptable casualties. That fear lay at the heart of the allied command’s thinking. With the fall of Sevastopol, France had recovered her honour and, just as importantly, her right to sit at the high table when European matters were being discussed. Pélissier did not want to pursue the war against the Russians and by the middle of October he had come to the opinion that the allied army in the Crimea should be reduced by almost half to 70,000 and that it should take up defensive positions on the Chersonese peninsula.

His thinking chimed in with the mood at home where the war was now decidedly unpopular. On 22 October Cowley reported a conversation with the emperor in which Napoleon argued that the war had become an expensive anachronism and that the presence of the allied armies would not encourage Russia to negotiate. That could only be achieved by diplomatic means. As evidence, he produced a report from Pélissier in which the marshal claimed that there was nothing for the allies to conquer in southern Russia – ‘sterile plains which the Russians will abandon after some battles in which they will lose a few thousand men, a loss which causes them no decisive damage, whilst at every step the Allies with a great sacrifice of men and money and with nothing to gain will risk each day the destinies of Europe’.

Roman Defence in Depth Against the Pictish Threat

Rome’s strategy in dealing with the Pictish threat after c.340 was essentially defensive and reactive. Retaliatory strikes deep into the Highlands were no longer part of the plan. Instead, the prime objective was maintenance of a static frontier supplemented by covert military operations between the two walls and in the wild lands further north. In an effort to maintain the integrity of Hadrian’s Wall the Romans were helped by Britons living in the lands beyond. The native population of this region between the Hadrianic line and the disused Antonine ramparts became a first line of defence. Such an arrangement suited the economic constraints and political uncertainties facing Rome at that time. It allowed a dwindling number of imperial troops to be redeployed elsewhere. At the hub of the new defensive network lay Hadrian’s Wall with its forts and crossing-points. Behind the great barrier stretched an infrastructure of roads, forts and watchtowers providing both an early warning system and a capability for rapid response. In theory at least, this strategy of ‘defence in depth’ shielded the people of Britannia from hostile attacks by Picts, Saxons, Irish and other predators. North of Hadrian’s Wall the four outpost forts garrisoned in the third century were still occupied at the dawn of the fourth. Although situated outside the Empire’s boundary, none of the quartet lay more than twenty miles from the Wall. Their garrisons supervised the natives of the intervallate zone, a population whose status vis-à-vis the imperial authorities after 300 remains a matter of debate. In this region four large amalgamations of Britons already existed in the second century: the previously mentioned Damnonii, Votadini, Selgovae and Novantae. Whether these groups owed their origin to Rome’s onslaught in the first century or were formed in spite of it we are unable to say. By c.300, they may have been in existence for two hundred years or more, but how much longer they endured is unknown. Ptolemy’s map shows their positions relative to one another and identifies their chief centres of power. Although the map shows a snapshot of political geography as perceived by Roman geographers in the second century, the distribution of peoples in the intervallate region may have remained largely unchanged two hundred years later.

On Ptolemy’s map we see the Novantae inhabiting the northern shorelands of the Solway Firth, in territory corresponding to present-day Dumfriesshire and Galloway. Although their lands were vulnerable to raids from Ireland and the Hebridean seaways, their main centres of power were sited on the western coast, in the vicinity of Loch Ryan and modern Stranraer. Here, the long peninsula of the Rhinns of Galloway, marked on the map as Novantarum Chersonesus, protrudes into the Irish Sea. The key settlements were Rerigonium (possibly Innermessan) and Loucopibia (possibly Gatehouse of Fleet). Directly north, in what is now the county of Ayrshire, lay territory associated with either the Novantae or with a people called Damnonii (or Dumnonii). Damnonian lands included the lower valley and estuary of the River Clyde, together with parts of what later became the medieval earldom of Lennox. An important centre of power in this area was the imposing mass of Dumbarton Rock, a volcanic ‘plug’ jutting into the Firth of Clyde and dominating the surrounding area. Traces of elite occupation on the summit indicate that it was used by high-status Britons as far back as pre-Roman times. Later, when local native leaders were apparently co-operating with Rome, the great Rock may have guarded imperial interests in the north-western seaways. Through the Damnonian heartlands ran the western extremity of the Antonine Wall, its turf ramparts and abandoned forts already falling into dereliction by c.300. Further east, in Stirlingshire and Lothian, the redundant barrier meandered through the northern borderlands of the Votadini, another of the four intervallate groupings. Votadinian territory extended south of the Firth of Forth to the River Tweed and perhaps even as far as Hadrian’s Wall. Its hub was evidently the Castle Rock at Edinburgh, but other hilltop strongholds, such as a probable oppidum on Traprain Law, were also used in Roman times. The northern borderlands of the Votadini faced the Maeatae of Stirlingshire and the Picts of Fife. On the south-western flank lay the Selgovae (‘Hunters’), another large amalgamation of peoples. Selgovan territory included the central and upper vales of Tweed together with vast tracts of uncharted forest. Unlike their neighbours, the Selgovan elites of the third and fourth centuries were closely supervised by Rome. Within their territory lay the last of the outpost forts: Bewcastle and Netherby in the valleys north of Carlisle, and Risingham on the strategic Dere Street highway.

The nature of the relationship between the Empire and the intervallate Britons in Late Roman times is difficult to ascertain. It may have been sustained by regular payments from the imperial coffers to purchase the continuing goodwill of the four groups described above. One theory imagines their kings and chiefs as foederati, ‘federates’, of Rome, their domains constituting a buffer-zone between Hadrian’s Wall and the northern barbarians. If these Britons did indeed serve as allies of Rome, they would have been expected to bear the brunt of raids on the imperial frontier. Thus, while nominally independent, they may have pledged to protect Roman interests against the Pictish menace. Nevertheless, to all but the most trusting Roman officials, the intervallate Britons would have represented a potential threat. Keeping an eye on them was arguably the main function of the exploratores, ‘scouts’, a class of troops whom we can envisage patrolling beyond the outpost forts. These men were perhaps similar to the colonial rangers of eighteenth-century North America, using local knowledge to gather intelligence and launching punitive raids on troublemakers. The outpost fort at Netherby became so closely associated with these ‘special forces’ that it was known along the frontier as Castra Exploratorum (‘Fort of the Scouts’). Operating alongside the exploratores were the shadowy areani or arcani, members of a secret service responsible for covert operations, whose agents spied on the Picts and other barbarians. Historians sometimes regard them as a kind of ‘Roman CIA’ and the analogy may be broadly accurate.

Little is known of the kings and chieftains who ruled the intervallate Britons during the fourth century. Some appear to be named in genealogical texts preserved in medieval Wales but possibly drawing data from much older northern sources. The Welsh genealogies or ‘pedigrees’ show the lineages of a number of North British kings who lived in the sixth and seventh centuries. Each pedigree uses a sequence of patronyms (‘X son of Y son of Z’) to extend a royal ancestry back to the Late Roman period and, in some cases, to an even more remote time. Any hope of gleaning genuine fourth-century history is hindered by the stark fact that the texts containing the pedigrees were written no earlier than the ninth century. Most survive only in manuscripts of the twelfth century or later and none can be shown to be original creations by North Britons rather than by Welshmen. The pedigrees cannot therefore be regarded as storehouses of reliable information, especially for any period before the time of the historical North British kings. As repositories of genealogical data relating to the fourth century their value is even more limited. They require very careful handling if they are to be used at all.

Several pedigrees include figures whose chronological contexts seem to coincide with the final phase of Roman rule in Britain. Cinhil and Cluim, for instance, are two individuals listed as ancestors of a ninth-century king who ruled on the Clyde. We cannot be certain that these two are anything more than fictitious ‘ghosts’ inserted into the pedigree to give it a longer and more impressive lineage. If they existed, they probably belong to the second half of the fourth century and may have been members of the Damnonian elite. Another example is Padarn, apparently a Votadinian, to whom the genealogists gave the epithet or nickname Pesrut (‘Red Tunic’). Alongside Cinhil and Cluim, Padarn Pesrut is often regarded as a Briton of the intervallate zone in Late Roman times. It has been suggested that all three sprang from Romanised or pro-Roman families, their names being seen as medieval Welsh renderings of Quintilius, Clemens and Paternus. Upon this a more or less plausible scenario of loyal native foederati defending the Empire’s northern frontier has been constructed, with Padarn’s red tunic being interpreted as a Roman military garment, a gift from an imperial official to a trusted ally. Such theories are imaginative but need not be taken seriously. Regardless of whether or not the later Welsh names derive from Latin-sounding originals, we have no reason to believe that such naming was exclusive to the imperial authorities or to foederati in their service. Many non-Romans, friends and foes of the Empire alike, arguably bestowed Roman-sounding names on their children if it pleased them to do so. A young North Briton bearing a name such as Quintilius or Clemens was just as likely to develop anti-Roman sentiments as a compatriot who bore a non-Latin name. Nor is there anything uniquely Roman about the colour of Padarn’s tunic, which could have been obtained from any competent tailor whose skills included the extraction of red dye from plants such as madder. There were no doubt many red tunics among Rome’s friends in the lands north of Hadrian’s Wall, but probably just as many blue or green ones. Indeed, it is easy to imagine the nickname Pesrut being bestowed on any Pictish warrior in the hostile country beyond the Firth of Forth who chose to wear a bright red garment on military expeditions.

The Crisis of 367

The effectiveness of security arrangements on the northern frontier was put to the test in the second half of the fourth century when barbarian attacks increased. As well as the ever-hostile Picts the imperial garrison also endured raids by Gaelic-speaking groups in the western seaways – the Irish and the ‘Scots’. At this time the name Scotti seems to have been borne by, or bestowed upon, any marauding band from Ireland or Argyll. Indeed, it is likely that Roman observers regarded all the Gaels as one people. Like the Picts, these raiders from the West had taunted Rome since the time of Agricola. Three more groups now joined them: the Franks, whose descendants in the following century would leave their mark on Roman Gaul by turning it into France; the Saxons, who were soon to play a similarly important role in Britain; and a mysterious people called Attacotti who were perhaps of Irish or Hebridean origin. Eventually, the leaders of these hostile nations devised a barbarica conspiratio, a ‘barbarian conspiracy’, to co-ordinate their attacks on Roman Britain. Their plans came to fruition after crucial information was provided by traitors on the Roman side: corrupt officials, army deserters and rogue agents among the arcani. In 367, a huge barbarian assault was unleashed, its impact sweeping away the imperial defences. Seaborne raids from east and west drove far inland into the rich countryside of southern Britain, bringing death and destruction to the bewildered citizens. Towns were ransacked and villas were looted. Down from the north came the Picts, some to overwhelm the garrisons of Hadrian’s Wall while others swarmed along the eastern coast in flotillas of boats. The outpost forts north of the Wall were either bypassed or overwhelmed. In a battle between the frontier army and Pictish marauders, Fullofaudes, the senior Roman general in Britain, was taken prisoner. Leaderless and demoralised, the entire imperial garrison was thrown into chaos. Some soldiers cast off their uniforms and deserted their posts, while others roamed the land in lawless gangs. Fearing the total loss of Britain, the emperor Valentinian despatched a strike force of elite regiments led by the renowned Count Theodosius. Two years of hard fighting eventually led to the expulsion of the barbarians and, after Theodosius issued an amnesty for deserters, stability was gradually restored. The soldiers returned to their forts and Hadrian’s Wall was reinstated as the boundary of the Empire. In the wake of the crisis, however, the outposts beyond the Wall were finally abandoned. Theodosius redeployed what remained of their garrisons, disbanded the treacherous arcani and withdrew all Roman forces behind the Tyne–Solway line.

After the disaster of 367, the Britons beyond Hadrian’s Wall were effectively cut off from their countrymen south of it. Both groups had suffered grievously during the barbarian onslaught, but there is no record of Theodosius driving Pictish raiders from the lands of the Damnonii or Votadini. The natives of the intervallate zone were presumably left to fend for themselves. One medieval Welsh legend tells of a Votadinian prince or chieftain called Cunedda who led a warband to North Wales to expel a colony of Irish pirates from Gwynedd. Cunedda’s position in the genealogies makes him a figure of the late fourth to mid-fifth century and this chronology has led some historians to see him as a Roman federate transferred from Lothian during the Theodosian reorganisation. Much detailed speculation about Rome’s relationship with the Votadini has been woven around this scenario, but the data is too fragile to support it. A more sceptical, more objective view sees the story of Cunedda as a later Welsh attempt to create a fictional link between the kings of Gwynedd and their fellow-Britons of the North.

Among the repercussions of the barbarian conspiracy the most ominous development, at least for the native population of Roman Britain, was the recruitment of Germanic foederati to guard the southern towns. These were mostly Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians from the North Sea coastlands of what are now Denmark and Germany. In northern Britain there were fewer towns and villas than in the south, but one area where Romanisation had taken root was the fertile Vale of York. There are archaeological hints that German warriors were settled in this district in the late fourth century, either by Theodosius after 367 or by the imperial usurper Magnus Maximus in 383. Serving Rome as mercenaries, the Germans initially performed a useful gatekeeping role against seaborne attacks by Pictish and Saxon pirates. Like all hirelings their services were not given freely, but were bought with regular gifts of cash from the imperial treasury. Any disruption to these payments was likely to turn friendship and service to ill-feeling and hostility.

In the 370s, the lands south of Hadrian’s Wall returned to a position of watchfulness. The northern frontier remained on a high state of alert, as did the lines of forts and signal-towers along the western and eastern coasts. North of the Wall the independent Britons, almost certainly without Roman help, repelled marauding bands of Picts and regained control of their own borders. But the barbarians were not so easily cowed and their raids continued to gnaw Britannia from all sides. With the situation deteriorating once more, the conspirators of 367 may have watched in gleeful disbelief as parts of the imperial garrison began to leave the island in the period after 380. The first big troop-withdrawal came in 383 when Magnus Maximus, a high-ranking officer in Britain, resolved to make himself emperor. Ironically, he had previously inflicted heavy defeats on the Picts and Scots, but now he poured his energies into his personal ambitions. Supported and encouraged by other officers, he led a substantial army across the sea to Gaul, thereby depleting Britain of forces essential for her protection. The barbarians are likely to have taken full advantage of his departure, but this time there was no Theodosius to confront them. Troubles elsewhere in the Empire made it impossible to send reinforcements to Britain. Another famous general, the half-Vandal Flavius Stilicho, is depicted in a contemporary Latin poem leading an expedition against the Picts at the end of the fourth century. It seems, however, that this campaign existed only in the imagination of the poet Claudian who used it as a literary device to illustrate the far-reaching extent of Stilicho’s fame. In reality, the Empire lacked the will to rescue Britain from the brink of catastrophe. To compound the situation, the Roman authorities now faced a peril much closer to home.

On the last night of the year 405, the imperial frontier in Germany was overwhelmed by a host of Vandals, Alans and other barbarians who crossed the Rhine to begin the dismemberment of Roman Gaul. In Britain the garrison reacted by rallying around Constantine, an ambitious officer with an auspicious name, and proclaimed him emperor. Leading a large force, Constantine sailed over to Gaul to assert his claim against forces loyal to the legitimate emperor Honorius. The loyalists were victorious and the usurper was executed. By 410, his henchmen in Britain were rooted out, but they bequeathed a desperate situation. With the depleted imperial troops struggling to stand firm against barbarian raids, the native elites of the southern towns seized control of the imperial administration. Taking the initiative, these Romanised Britons restored a semblance of order before appealing to the emperor for aid. But Honorius was grappling with the problems of a disintegrating Empire and had no help to offer to beleaguered subjects in a faraway land. Instead, he sent a letter urging the anxious Britons to organise their own defence. This had profound consequences for the remaining Roman troops, all of whom relied on wages issued by the imperial treasury. Their pay had probably been arriving erratically for some time, but now it ceased altogether. Without it the soldiers had no incentive or obligation to defend the Empire. On the northern frontier, groups of disillusioned men gradually abandoned their forts, taking their families with them and vanishing into the countryside. In the lands to the south, the last vestiges of imperial bureaucracy were swept away as power was seized by native leaders. By c.420, the Roman occupation of Britain was over.

WWI Armoured Cars: 2 of 3 Parts

BRITISH WHEELED ARMORED VEHICLES

The first British armored vehicles were not used by the Army, but rather the Royal Navy. In 1914 the Royal Naval Air Service had already sent a mixed squadron of aircraft and land vehicles to France and Belgium. Once there, some of the naval officers observed the use of the Belgian Minerva armored cars and decided to imitate them.

Within days, some of the passenger cars like the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost used by the RNAS, were armored in Dunkerque with plates on their sides and out-fitted with a machine gun behind the driver. The Admiralty, knowing the success of this conversion, endorsed the development of an armored car based on the Silver Ghost. By the end of 1914 there were already the first examples of armored vehicles in France which were armed with an Admiralty Model 1914 tower and up-armored with added plates with a maximum thickness of 9 mm becoming an improved version of the Silver Ghost. Crossbows were also strengthened so that they could support the extra weight added by the tower and shield. The shield was spread throughout the chassis and the tower which had a Vickers 7.7 mm machine gun. The radiator had a blast door and the roof of the tower could be removed at will.

In March 1915, the first squadrons with armored vehicles, mostly Rolls-Royce’s, had already been organized in France. These vehicles made recon- naissance patrols in the French and Belgian coastal areas until the advance to the sea of the German Army’s arrival at the Channel. Trench warfare was impossible with these vehicles. After the activity in the front was paralyzed, there was little need for the Rolls-Royce, which were used to make anti-invasion patrols in the east coast of Britain.

Shortly after, the RNAS squadrons were disbanded and transferred to the Army, which did not seem interested in them. However, Rolls-Royce armored cars were used on other fronts like the northwest frontier of India in the Gallipoli campaign, in German South West Africa, and in Uganda. However, in the desert of the Arabian Peninsula, the Rolls-Royce performed great deeds. There they proved to be safe, effective, and fast vehicles with a re- markable ability in difficult terrain.

LANCHESTER ARMORED VEHICLES

After Rolls Royce, the Lanchester was the largest of such vehicles in the RNAS squadrons. Three squadrons of twelve units were organized and sent to France. Initially these vehicles were intended for the protection of air bases and the recovery of downed pilots but gradually they began to be used in offensive missions.

In appearance, the Lanchester was very similar to Rolls Royce, especially for carrying a similar tower on its sides. When the RNAS vehicles were assigned to the Army in August 1915, it was found that the variety was too much to maintain certain operational effectiveness and an overall lack of spare parts. Ultimately it was decided to standardize the Rolls-Royce and the Lanchester was dropped. One of these squadrons was delivered to the Belgian Army and the rest returned to Britain.

In October 1915, the first squadron of the Armored Car Division of the Royal Navy was organized with these vehicles and sent to Russia. Once there, it had 22 vehicles in service and they took part in countless battles in Caucasus, Romania and Galitzia all in support of the Russian forces. Some units replaced the 7.7 mm Vickers machine gun for 37 mm Hotchkiss cannon. The Lanchester remained in service with the Russian units up to the ultimate failure of the Brusilov offensive. The Russian Empire was embroiled in civil strife culminating in the triumph of the revolution. The Lanchester no longer had any objectives to fulfill and they were shipped to Britain.

AUSTIN ARMORED CAR MODEL 1918

Since the beginning of the hostilities in 1914, the Russian Army had been using the British armored cars Austin and Austin-Putilov which were built under license.

Some 1918 model Austin armored vehicles were used by the British Tank Corps. Sixteen of them were sent to France by May 1918 and assigned to the 17th (Armoured Car) Battalion of the Tank Corps. They were armed with 8mm Hotchkiss Mle 14 machine guns. Their first introduction into combat was on June 11, 1918 where they were in support of the French troops. One of the most important battles in which they participated was the Battle of Amiens on August 8th. The vehicles were used to tow over the trenches which allowed them to operate behind German lines. They attacked the village of Farmerville which was occupied by the Germans. At least three Austin’s were lost in the campaign. In 1919, the Austin’s were used by the British in the civil war in Ireland up until 1921.

At least twenty others were sent to the Caspian Sea in February 1918, within a British unit known as the Dunsterforce, whose job was to protect Baku oil tanks from the Turks. They were operating there until November 1918 in cooperation with the White Russians. Finally, only eight remained in service while most of them were retired due to mechanical problems.

In 1919, at least 16 other vehicles were sent to India. In 1921, they were drawn into the 8th Armored Car Company of the Tank Corps. They remained there until at least 1923.

Some were used in Iraq and some of them were converted to rail vehicles after changing out their wheels. In this role they often served in pairs joined together in the rear. One of the vehicles was used to guide the entire set in one direction while the other was used to direct the vehicles the other way so as to avoid slow reverse circulation.