In 1921 a Marine staff officer by the name of Major Earl “Pete” Ellis made an ominous forecast: the assignment of Germany’s former island colonies in the Central Pacific to Japan under the League of Nations mandate would one day make war in the Pacific inevitable. Over two decades later Ellis’s prediction came true.
Ellis, however, was not just a doomsayer. After studying islands and distances, he expanded on a plan by the Naval War College (War Plan Orange) and established a groundbreaking blueprint-Operation Plan 712, Advanced Base Operations in Micronesia-for defeating Japan. Twenty-three years later the Navy’s drive across the Central Pacific followed the essential details of his plan.
Despite Ellis’s prescription for success, the invasion of the Central Pacific never would have happened without the persistence and vision of Admiral Ernest King, Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations. The Central Pacific, the blue-water highway to Tokyo, was his baby.
The centerpiece of Admiral King’s plan was the Mariana Islands, a chain of fourteen volcanic islands, including Saipan, Guam, and Tinian, most of which were uninhabited, situated north of the island of New Guinea and south of Japan in the Philippine Sea. Ellis had excluded the Marianas from his proposal, but King believed that they were the key to ultimate victory in the Central Pacific. Other islands would come first, but upon seizing the Marianas, the United States could either starve Japan by isolating it from its resource base in the Southwest Pacific or threaten Japan directly with aircraft carriers, long-range submarines, and bombers. With a range of 3,500 miles, and a bomb capacity in excess of four tons, the heavily armed B-29 was America’s newest and mightiest weapon. By turning the Marianas into giant air bases, the U. S. could send bomber crews to the home islands of Japan, only 1300 miles away, and possibly put a quick end to the war.
Admiral Ernest King’s year-long campaign to get the Joint Chiefs of Staff to recognize the strategic validity of the Central Pacific campaign began in Morocco in early 1943. The first of many top-secret conferences, during what journalists called the “Year of the Conference,” this one took place in the French colonial city of Casablanca. For King and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and their British counterparts, Casablanca kicked off a year of horse-trading, arm-twisting, and compromise in which tempers frequently spilled out of the well-appointed meeting rooms.
In the conference room, King warned against allowing Japan to consolidate its conquests. Using rough graphs to show that the Allies had directed only 15 percent of all resources in money, manpower, and weapons to the Pacific war, he lobbied for greater resources. He proposed a 15-percent increase, which, though modest, would support a series of campaigns designed to illustrate Allied resolve in the Pacific.
King irked the Brits. They found him hot-tempered and singularly absorbed with war against Japan. British general Alan Brooke, chief of the Imperial General Staff and the top military man in England, insisted that for King “the European war was just a great nuisance that kept him from waging his Pacific war undisturbed.” Prime Minister Churchill called the Central Pacific “Ernie King’s beloved ocean.”
President Roosevelt, however, regarded King as the “shrewdest of strategists,” and a man of extreme competence. After the debacle at Pearl Harbor, he knew that the admiral was the only person who could rebuild the Navy. Secretary Frank Knox agreed. Giving him powers that no other chief of naval operations had ever enjoyed-King was the most powerful naval officer in the history of the country-the executive order that Roosevelt issued made King responsible only to the president.
Reluctantly the British delegates listened to King, though Churchill and his advisers had no intention of giving much ground. Ultimately, however, they made a small though ambiguous concession to the admiral. They prepared a brief compromise document, which the Brits hoped might temporarily placate King. “Operations in the Pacific and Far East,” the document said, “shall continue with the forces allocated, with the objective of maintaining pressure on Japan, retaining the initiative and attaining a position of readiness for a full-scale offensive against Japan by the United Nations as soon as Germany is defeated.”
In early February 1943, King flew west to San Francisco to meet with Admiral Nimitz, the commander of his Pacific Fleet. Satisfied with his minor victory at Casablanca, King and Nimitz sat down to fashion a plan for the Central Pacific. Nimitz, too, had good news to share. Intelligence reports indicated that the Japanese had abandoned the southern Solomons, and after a battle as savage as the one fought by the Marines at Guadalcanal, MacArthur’s troops had defeated Japanese Imperial forces on New Guinea’s Papuan Peninsula. Both leaders knew, though, that the Japanese would not rest. Nimitz suspected that already they were planning another attack-on Samoa, perhaps-in order to sever the Allied supply line to the South Pacific. It was not hard to convince King; he had been warning against this threat since the early days of 1941. Though King, as always, wanted to “keep pressure on the Japs,” Nimitz cautioned him. A Central Pacific push was ill-advised until war production was at full capacity and they had the ships-and forces-to pull if off.
Several weeks after returning from California, King penned a letter to Roosevelt. King’s memorandum to the president again emphasized the importance of securing the lines of communication between the West Coast of the United States and Australia by way of Samoa, Fiji, and New Caledonia. King added that it was essential to protect Australia and New Zealand because they were “white man’s countries.” Losing them would provide the “non-white races of the world” enormous encouragement. King concluded his “integrated, general plan of operations” with three directives: “Hold Hawaii; support Australasia; drive northwestward from New Hebrides.”
Not long after Roosevelt received the admiral’s memo, Churchill and more than one hundred advisers and staff members arrived in New York aboard the Queen Mary for a series of meetings to be held in Washington. Hard-nosed bargaining marked the conference.
On May 21, 1943, more than a week into the Washington conference, dubbed “Trident,” King announced his plan to split the Japanese line of communications, separating the home islands from Japan’s southern resource colonies. He proposed to starve the Japanese into submission. The key to doing this, he informed the Brits, were the Marianas. By capturing the islands, especially Saipan, the Allies could cut off Japan’s access to its raw materials in the Southwest Pacific and isolate the Carolines and the great base at Truk. They could then move forces westward into the Philippines and China or northwestward into Japan. The offensive, King speculated, might even compel the Japanese navy to challenge the Allies to the decisive naval battle that he wanted. His ideas, King explained, were not novel. The Naval War College had developed them decades earlier, and most naval officers regarded them as articles of faith.
Predictably, the Brits balked at committing to anything that authorized in writing an offensive campaign in the Central Pacific. King’s temper flared more than usual when American general Richard Sutherland, MacArthur’s chief of staff, seemed to have persuaded the Combined Chiefs that King’s plan would constitute a series of “hazardous amphibious frontal attacks against islands of limited value,” and that its reliance on carrier-based aircraft operating far from their sources of fuel and ammunition made it unworkable. Seizing the opportunity, Sutherland again argued that the best line of approach, which could make use of Australia as a war base and could be supported by a large reserve of land-based aircraft, was from New Guinea to Mindanao. However, when the Combined Chiefs took the time to study the Army plan in detail, realizing that it would require thirteen new combat divisions and nearly two thousand planes along with landing craft and naval support ships, a colossal undertaking, they cooled. Sutherland’s request far exceeded American capacity.
In the end, Trident gave formal agreement to a series of compromises whereby Roosevelt and his commanders agreed to eliminate Italy from the war in return for a firm date-spring 1944-on Marshall’s coveted cross-Channel invasion. The other British concession, “Strategic Plan for the Defeat of Japan,” formalized the Allied commitment to the Pacific, giving King the green light for his long-sought invasion of the Central Pacific. The caveat? The Combined Chiefs would have final say over the offensive, and King would have to agree to seize the Gilberts before the Marshalls. Nevertheless, King emerged victorious. He had come to the conference intent on establishing the necessity of a “master plan” for the Pacific, and the British had conceded.
In August 1943, five months after Trident, the Combined Chiefs assembled again for the year’s third major conference-Quadrant-held in Quebec. Much had transpired during the months leading up to Quadrant. The Allies had captured Sicily, the Italian government had overthrown Mussolini and was threatening to leave the Axis, the Red Army had crushed Germany’s last strategic offensive in the east at Kursk, American offensives in New Guinea and the Solomons had gained considerable momentum, and the 7th Infantry Division had recaptured Attu in the Aleutian islands of Alaska. Little, though, had changed between King and the British. King hammered at old themes-more resources for the Pacific theater and the need for a broad strategy-and the British, again, resisted. Undeterred, King reiterated his plan for the Central Pacific, underlining the importance of the Marianas. Its loss, King said, would constitute an enormous strategic and psychic blow for Japan. For the second time, King outlined a scenario in which the Japanese Combined Fleet would be compelled to challenge the U. S. Navy, which with its new Essex-class carriers and F6F Hellcats, would have the chance to administer what might be the final blow to the Japanese.
What also emerged at Quadrant was King’s growing support for MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific initiative. King explained that he now saw the wisdom of a dual offensive, stretching Japan’s defenses and its fuel-starved Imperial Navy to the breaking point. By virtue of their stunning early war victories and an empire that now stretched over one sixth of the earth’s surface, the Japanese were especially vulnerable to this two-pronged strategy. King called it the “whipsaw plan,” and was convinced that it would keep enemy intelligence wondering where the next American blow would come. MacArthur, however, opposed King throughout the second half of 1943 (and the early months of 1944), and continued to try to make the case for supreme command of the Pacific theater and a single offensive led by the Army.
Ultimately it was President Roosevelt, in consultation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who declared that the offensive would be two-pronged and simultaneous, with two separate commanders: MacArthur would fight his way across New Guinea and toward the Philippines while Admiral Chester Nimitz, King’s commander-in-chief for Allied air, land, and sea forces in the Pacific Ocean, slashed and pounded across the Central Pacific, capturing tactically important islands, en route to the innermost reaches of the Japanese empire. At the Cairo-Teheran conferences in late November and early December 1943, the Combined Chiefs gave formal approval to the two routes in a master plan titled “Specific Operations for the Defeat of Japan, 1944.”
MacArthur, who did not attend the conference, electing instead to send Sutherland, was furious at the outcome. The Central Pacific, Sutherland had argued, should be abandoned for three reasons: it could be carried out only by massive and costly amphibious operations; it relied too much on carrier-based aviation; and finally, because of the distances involved, the Central Pacific offensive would involve an agonizingly slow series of stops and starts. MacArthur’s proposal called instead for Nimitz, after taking the Marshalls, to assist the general’s forces in pushing on to Mindanao.
In another blow to MacArthur, the Combined Chiefs not only gave their approval to the Central Pacific offensive, but gave seizure of the Marshalls, Carolines, Palaus, and Marianas priority in scheduling and resources. “Due weight,” the Chiefs said, “should be accorded to the fact that operations in the Central Pacific promise a more rapid advance toward Japan and her vital lines of communication, the earlier acquisition of strategic air bases closer to the Japanese homeland and are more likely to precipitate a decisive engagement with the Japanese fleet.” Based on this decision Nimitz sketched out a tentative timetable for the drive across the Central Pacific: Kwajalein would be invaded on January 31, 1944, Eniwetok on May 1, Truk on August 15, and Saipan, Tinian, and Guam on November 15.
By committing U. S. forces to a two-pronged war in the Pacific, Admiral Nimitz knew that he would be placing enormous pressure on American industry. To outproduce Japan (and Germany, too), the country’s war effort would have to reach unprecedented new heights. Dockyards, working round the clock, would be called upon to assemble a steady stream of submarines; amphibious vehicles; large new destroyers; Independence-class light carriers; fast, well-armed Essex-class carriers, capable of hauling eighty to one hundred aircraft and over three thousand men; and cargo ships. Factories would be ordered to churn out planes and tanks. Arsenals would have to produce huge amounts of ordnance, which West Coast ammunition depots, like Port Chicago, would have to load onto Liberty, Victory, and Navy ships speeding for the Pacific.
In AD 270 Aurelian became emperor, the Gallic Empire collapsed and Britain was once more subsumed into the Roman Empire. Aurelian, however, lasted only five years before his assassination and a period of turmoil led to the murder of his successors Tacitus and Florianus. Probus assumed power in AD 276 and over the next six years succeeded in giving the empire some stability, though not in Britain, where there was rebellion. Probus sent Victorinus, a Moorish officer, to sort out this problem. Zosimus said that Victorinus put down the rebellion by a clever trick but unfortunately does not elaborate on this. Probus also used Britain as a place to send captives including Burgundian and Vandal prisoners, intending that they should settle in the province; whether the intention was to get rid of them or, as Zosimus said, to use them to assist in putting down the rebellion is not clear. Probus lost the empire to Carus, his Praetorian Prefect, in AD 282 and Carus’s son Carinus took charge of the western part of the empire, assuming the titles of Britannicus Maximus and Germanicus Maximus.
Stability was not restored to the empire until Diocletian secured the imperial throne in AD 284. The next year he appointed Maximian as Caesar, his deputy with control over the western part of the empire. A year later, because of his successful rule in Gaul, Maximian was elevated to the position of joint emperor. A signet ring found in Britain portrayed their relationship. Diocletian was represented as Jupiter making decisions while Maximian was Hercules roaming the world to protect the empire against the forces of destruction. As Maximian had married Diocletian’s daughter this also indicated the link with Hercules as a son of Jupiter.
Maximian’s main task was to prevent pirate raids, which were increasingly occurring along the coasts of Britain and Gaul. This brought him into conflict with M. Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius, a Menapian from a region within modern Belgium. With his command covering the coasts of Belgica and Armorica and probably Britain, he was in charge of a fleet to drive off the pirates, mainly Franks and Saxons.
From his base at Boulogne, Carausius was successful in putting down piracy, so much so that he made himself a wealthy man. He was accused of letting pirates raid the coast, then capturing them when they left, and seizing their booty. This did not fit in with Maximian’s scheme of government for the west. He put a price on Carausius’s head whereupon Carausius, in either AD 286 or 287, sailed for Britain and declared himself emperor. Britain was now a province worth governing, as it was one of the most secure, prosperous and relatively peaceful in the empire. Why, therefore, it supported Carausius is not clear. He may have secured enough wealth to pay subsidies to troops to bring them over to his side or the troops in Britain may have become alienated towards, or indifferent to, the present imperial government. Carausius might have been an officer in a Roman legion for part of his career and was therefore known to the troops. Civilians, such as wealthy villa owners or merchants, may have resented paying taxes to Rome and taken an opportunity to rid themselves of this burden.
Maximian could not move against Carausius immediately as he was concerned with suppressing rebellions on the Rhine frontier. By 289, however, he had gathered a fleet but Carausius’s sea tactics ensured that he drove off the Roman fleet and Maximian appears to have been unable to secure a decisive victory. Instead, he put the best face he could on the matter and gave Carausius the title of Augustus. How far Carausius’s empire extended is uncertain. He had control of Britain and possibly the coastal areas of Gaul – coinage found in northern Gaul has his name stamped on it. The coins had been struck at several mints, one being in London and another at Rouen. He needed this coinage to pay his troops but the coins also show his imperial expectations. Early ones depict him clasping hands with a figure of Britannia and the legend ‘Expectate veni’ (Come, we have expected you). Others legitimate his authority with the words ‘Pax AUGGG’ (Peace of the three emperors).
Carausius’s empire was not destined to last. He was assassinated by Allectus, his financial officer, whose plot against him succeeded in AD 293, probably because Carausius had been weakened when Constantius, elevated by Maximian to the post of Caesar, seized Boulogne. This had loosened Carausius’s grip on the coast of Gaul. Constantius was now determined to seize back control in Britain, but he did not organize an attack until AD 296, possibly finding it difficult to raise sufficient ships until then. He divided his fleet into two separate parts. One, led by Constantius himself, sailed from Boulogne towards the Thames estuary; the other, under the command of the Praetorian prefect, Asclepiodotus, sailed from the Seine estuary. He was extremely lucky for a thick sea mist enabled him to avoid been seen by Allectus’s fleet, which was stationed off the Isle of Wight. He landed somewhere in the region of the Solent and, once he had embarked, ordered his men to burn the boats. He may have wished to prevent the enemy getting hold of them or perhaps he did not have enough men to leave some to guard the ships. Burning the boats also ensured that his men knew there was no way back.
Constantius’s fleet had been delayed by bad weather and only a few ships got through to land troops near Richborough. The greater danger, however, came from the troops of Asclepiodotus, who was advancing towards London. Allectus may not have been with his fleet but was somewhere in the south-east, for he was able to raise an army to meet the oncoming forces. The two armies met either in Hampshire or West Sussex. The battle resulted in the total defeat of Allectus and his subsequent death. The remnants of his forces retreated towards London, only to be trapped by those soldiers who had managed to land from Constantius’s ships. Allectus’s forces included Frankish soldiers who sacked the city before probably intending to return to their homes across the North Sea. They were slaughtered without mercy.
Constantius quickly sailed for Britain and was able to enter London in triumph. A bronze medallion, struck at Trier, records his entry. On one side is the head of Constantius with his titles. The other shows him riding into a walled city identified by the letters ‘LON’ for Londinium underneath. Before the wall kneels a figure with arms raised in supplication at his entry. His fleet, represented by a boat, has obviously sailed up the Thames. The inscription Redditor Lucis Aeternae (Restorer of the light that burns for ever) indicates the gratitude of the citizens.
Constantius immediately focused his attention on ensuring control over the army as well as securing the defences of the province, for Irish pirates were now menacing the west coast, the Picts were restless in the north and there were also pirate attacks on the eastern seaboard. A number of forts had already been constructed on the south-east and south coasts of Britain and these were reconditioned. These have been called the Saxon Shore forts but they were not built at the same time to form one coordinated defensive structure. Brancaster (Norfolk) and Reculver were built about AD 230. To these were added Burgh Castle (Norfolk), Walton Castle (Suffolk), Bradwell (Essex) and Lympne (Kent) in the 270s. At that time the small fort of Richborough was given more defensive walls and Dover was refortified. Carausius may have added Portchester but the fort of Pevensey (East Sussex) was not built until AD 370.
These were not forts in the strict military sense of housing units of troops trained to attack. Their stout walls and formidable turrets seem to have been designed for defence. Ballistae and catapults could be placed on these turrets. Soldiers and their families, who normally lived outside the forts, could take shelter in them. Their defences were against raiders coming across the North Sea, drawn by the wealth of the province. Yet raiders could easily slip between the forts and land anywhere along the undefended parts of the coast so it would have been necessary to construct a unified system of command that would ensure the defence of the whole eastern coast and its hinterland. It is also possible that a line of watchtowers was constructed along the Thames estuary, as one has been excavated at Shadwell. London would have been a great prize for seaborne raiders and early warning of their coming was essential. The western coastline was not left unprotected. Forts were built to guard the estuaries from Cardiff to Lancaster from raiders coming from Ireland and Scotland.
All these forts would have had to be used by the fleet. The Classis Britannica (the British fleet) already had bases at Dover and Richborough and after Carausius’s rule the latter became its chief base. Gaius Aufidius Pantera, prefect of the fleet, dedicated an altar to Neptune at Lympne, which suggests it was another base. Other forts would have provided facilities to moor and repair ships. It would have been easy to link the forts by sea and arrange patrols along the coast. There is no evidence of a road system linking one with another. In the south roads lead from Richborough, Dover, Reculver and Lympne to Canterbury, which has been suggested as being an off-duty station for the troops.
The northern frontier required extensive restoration, not because of destruction, but from decay. There had been no programme of repairs since Severus’s reign. It was time for intensive refurbishment and this was continued beyond Constantius’s visit. Some forts had their garrisons reduced; at Wallsend and Chesters buildings were demolished in one area of the fort and not rebuilt. In other forts, buildings were abandoned. It has been suggested that these open spaces were to house the tents of mobile forces that could move out quickly to put down uprisings. Constantius appeared to have ordered forts to reduce in size their principal buildings, as happened at Great Chesters and Housesteads. At Birdoswald the principia (headquarters), the praetorium (commander’s residence) and the baths needed extensive repair.
There were also differences in how the troops were housed. At some forts, such as Housesteads, rather than restore the barrack blocks, ‘chalets’ were built, laid out in rows, as if indicating that soldiers and their families could live there. Alternatively these may have housed the exploratores (scouts) whose duties took them into the Scottish lowlands. Restoration was also made to the south of Hadrian’s Wall at Lanchester, Binchester, Malton and Ilkley. In addition the walls of the fortress of York were rebuilt and the riverfront enhanced with a series of multangular towers, both for protection and to demonstrate the power of military might. This restoration took place over a long period and extended into the fourth century.
Constantius returned to Gaul in AD 297 to concentrate on the problems there. He took skilled men from Britain to rebuild part of the city of Autun in France, which may indicate that the towns in Britain had not suffered during Carausius’s rule. A panegyric on Constantius Caesar, compiled in AD 297, recorded that the Britons had greeted him, ‘with great joy after so many years of most wretched captivity … At last they were free, at last Romans, at last restored afresh by the true life of the empire.’ Allowing for the hyperbole it would seem that a new era had begun in Britain but to ensure that it would continue to be a prosperous province its defences had to be secured. That all was not yet secure is indicated by the return of Constantius in AD 305 to sort out further problems in the north.
Constantius had to leave Britain in AD 297 to deal with events in Gaul. Soon after Diocletian and Maximian abdicated and Constantius was proclaimed as Augustus with control over the west while Galerius ruled as Augustus in the east. One of their purposes was to separate the civil and the military administrations. The provincial governor was no longer a legate at the head of his troops but a civilian officer with total control of administration and the empire was split into dioceses under the control of vicarii (governors).
Renewed fighting in the north of Britain forced Constantius to return in AD 305 to lead a campaign against the Picts who had moved towards Hadrian’s Wall from their area of eastern Scotland. His son Constantine joined him but the details of their campaign are unclear. A panegyric to Constantius suggested that he penetrated into the furthest parts of Scotland, probably moving up the east coast. Other literary sources suggested that he moved north against the Picts and the Caledonii, and pottery evidence from this period found at Cramond on the Forth and Carpow on the Tay suggests that if he did move north he was making use of the fleet to bring supplies.
Either Constantius did not intend to complete the conquest of the north or he realized that he could not do this. He returned to York where, in AD 306, he died. According to Eutropius, his son Constantine, the offspring of a somewhat undistinguished marriage, was made emperor. Zosimus added a little more. He implied that Constantine had joined his father in Britain with the intention of seeking the empire. When Constantius died the next choice to succeed him as the western Augustus was Flavius Valerius Severus, Constantius’s Caesar. In Rome, the Praetorian Guard had already moved to declare Maximian’s son, Maxentius, as Augustus and this was supported by the Senate. The army in Britain, deciding that the son of Constantius was capable of ruling, had declared him to be emperor but for a while he was forced to accept the lesser rank of Caesar. Severus eventually was accepted as Augustus and Constantine became his official Caesar, which gave him some legitimacy. In AD 307 Maxentius moved against Severus and deposed him. Constantine gathered troops from Germany, Gaul and Britain, marched from Gaul across the Alps into Italy and decisively defeated Maxentius and his troops at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in AD 312.
Constantine was, however, forced to share authority with Licinius as co-emperor. They divided the empire between them with Constantine basing himself in Milan not Rome. In AD 324 Constantine finally seized complete control and forced Licinius to commit suicide. Licinius had based himself at Byzantium on the Bosporus and in AD 330 Constantine moved his court there, proclaiming it to be the New Rome, and with great ceremony decreed that it should be called Constantinople.
Eusebius said that Constantine did return to Britain at least once in his reign but once ‘he had subjugated it’ he returned to Rome and concentrated his attention on other parts of the world. Coins produced at the London mint were struck with the legends Constantinus Aug (ustus) and Adventus Aug (the arrival of Augustus). The implication is that there were problems in the province but what they were is unclear. There may have been other visits. Coin evidence suggests that these were in AD 307, 312 and 314. He also declared himself Britannicus Maximus, suggesting that he had won a victory.
It may have been on one of these visits that he made changes to the government in Britain. About AD 312–14 Britain was split into four provinces, which are recorded in the Verona List. Two might have been named after the two Caesars – Maxima Caesariensis and Flavia Caesariensis; the other two were Britannia Prima and Britannia Secunda. Maxima was to the south-east with its capital as London. Prima was in south Wales and the south-western part of Britain. An inscription found at Cirencester, which formed the base of a Jupiter column, was dedicated by ‘Lucius Septimius … Governor of Britannia Prima’, which seems proof that Corinium was the capital. Flavia Caesariensis, possibly created from land in both the provinces of Britannia Inferior and Britannia Superior, covered the centre of Britain from north Wales to the Lincolnshire coast with its most important town of Lincoln as the capital. It may have included some of East Anglia in its territory but Maxima Caesariensis may have included the whole of that area. Britannia Secunda covered the northern area of Britain including the Wall with York, headquarters of Legio VI, as its capital.
Confirmation of these provinces is given by the report on the bishops attending the Council of Arles in AD 314. Eborius was Bishop of York in provincia Britannia. Restitutus was Bishop de civitate Londiniensi (London) in provincia suprascripta. Adelphius was bishop of civitate colonia Londiniensium, probably a mistake for Lindinensium as Lincoln was a colonia while London was not. He was accompanied by a priest and a deacon, which might indicate his superior status.
Collectively these provinces formed one of the twelve dioceses of the empire so that Britain was ruled by a vicarius. The British diocese was under the overall command of the Praetorian Prefect of Gaul who also controlled Transalpine Gaul and Spain. This effectively eliminated the direct access that governors of Britain had once had to the emperor. Equally, it increased the possibility of more taxation being imposed on the diocese, money that was needed to support the military forces.
Constantine also seems to have instigated other reforms such as improving the road system, judging by the number of milestones attributed to his reign and the following one. These would have helped communications between the forts. The army was reformed following the work which Diocletian had begun in two areas. Firstly, the officer class became more professional so that now they served their entire career in the army without alternating it with civilian office. Secondly, greater mobility was ensured with increased mobile field units (limitanei) being placed on the frontiers and their hinterlands. Evidence for this comes from the Notitia Dignatatum, which listed chains of commands and detailed civil and military officials of the empire and the units controlled by them. This is assumed to have been completed by AD 395 with corrections and alterations over the next thirty years. How far it was kept up to date is uncertain.
The forces in Britain were listed under three commands. The south and east were under the command of the Count of the Saxon Shore (Comes Litoris Saxonici) who obviously controlled the Saxon Shore forts and the areas between them. The northern area, which included Hadrian’s Wall, was under the control of the Duke of Britain (Dux Britanniarum) with his headquarters at York. Both of these commands had extensive forces on which they could call against attacks from the sea or from the north. Much later, probably on the command of Stilicho in AD 395, a new command was instituted, the Count of the Provinces of Britain (Comes Britannarium). These commands came into being over several years. Constantine had given the first two commands roving commissions by creating more cavalry and infantry regiments. The army had moved from being a garrison army to mobile units trained to move swiftly to counter any attack. These commands were not linked to the civil administration but covered wide areas across frontiers.
Constantine died in AD 337 and the empire again fragmented when his three sons divided it between them. Britain, Spain and Gaul were under the control of Constantine II, who invaded Italy in AD 340 to attack his brother Constans, who ruled Italy, Africa and the Illyrian provinces. Constantine II was defeated and killed at Aquileia. In spite of this warfare Britain seems to have remained relatively peaceful until about AD 342 when Libanius reported that Constans crossed to Britain in mid winter ‘with everything, cloudy, cold, and swell roused to total fury by the weather’. Julius Firmicus Maternus confirmed his ‘crossing the swelling, raging waves of Oceanus, in winter time, a deed unprecedented in the past, and not to be matched in the future’. As the Romans disliked crossing the sea during the winter storms the implication is that the revolt in Britain was serious; in fact, Libanius said that Constans did not announce his coming or give any warning. Possibly Constantine II had withdrawn troops from Britain in his bid for complete command of the empire and the northern tribes had taken the opportunity to revolt.
During the final months of the War of 1812 against Britain, the United States made the first use of a steamship in a military campaign and also laid down the world’s first steam-powered warship. In January 1815 General Andrew Jackson used the Mississippi river steamer Enterprise to transport troops and supplies and to carry dispatches before the Battle of New Orleans. Meanwhile, the American steamship pioneer Robert Fulton, whose earlier river boat Clermont (1807) was the first commercially successful merchant steamer, in June 1814 laid down the steam warship Demologos at New York. The innovative 1,450-ton vessel was designed to defend New York harbor against British ships of the line and frigates. It had a centerline paddle wheel between twin hulls, engines placed below the waterline capable of 5.5 knots, wooden “armor” five feet thick, and thirteen 32-pounders in each broadside. Fulton died shortly before the Demologos made its first sea trial in June 1815; by then the War of 1812 was over, and it was never commissioned. The last of three trials took place that September, after which it was laid up in reserve. The Demologos made only one further voyage under its own power, in 1817, when it ferried President James Monroe from New York to Staten Island. Its engines were removed in 1821 and it served as a receiving ship until it blew up in an accident in 1829.
In the years after 1815, a slow and subtle revolution in naval ordnance coincided with the gradual acceptance of the steamship as a potential warship. Except for Fulton’s Demologos and Cochrane’s Rising Star, the first generation of armed steamers consisted entirely of vessels with side paddles.
With anti-Mexican sentiment running high in the wake of Texas’ successful war for independence (1836), the United States chose not to invoke the Monroe Doctrine in defense of Mexico. If it had, the American navy may have been hard-pressed to do battle on even terms with Baudin’s squadron. After the engines were removed from the Demologos in 1821, the US navy was without an armed steamship until the 1,010-ton Fulton of 1837. This unsuccessful ship was in commission just five years before being laid up for a decade and eventually re-engined. Its failure may have set back the introduction of steam in the US navy if not for the sensation created by the maiden voyage of Isambard Brunel’s Great Western, which arrived in New York in April 1838. The 2,370-ton Atlantic liner was an excellent advertisement for steam power, built to naval standards and equipped with powerful engines, capable of steaming continuously for three weeks. It influenced the construction of large paddle steamers in the British, French, and American navies, the latter leading the way with the Missouri and the Mississippi, 3,220-ton warships designed by a committee chaired by the captain of the Fulton, Matthew C. Perry. Reflecting Paixhans’ concept of the future capital ship, upon their completion in 1842 they were armed with two 10-inch and eight 8-inch guns. The engines, a British-style side lever plant in the Mississippi, an American design in the Missouri, were built by Merrick and Towne, and were capable of almost 9 knots. The vessels were monuments to the progress of American industry but their domestic construction and components made them the most expensive warships of their era. Tragically the Missouri had a very short service life, burning accidentally at Gibraltar in 1843. The loss left the Mississippi as the navy’s only active steamer. Later in 1843, amid rumors of an impending British annexation of Hawaii, the United States defended its interests there by sending the United States and the Constellation, sailing frigates completed in 1797.
The 1st Naval Infantry Division on the Eastern Front. Generalmajor Wilhelm Bleckwenn succeeded Konteradmiral Hans Hartmann as commander of the 1st Naval Infantry Division under Army Group Weichsel (Vistula) on the Eastern Front. Formed on 31 January 1945, the division was composed of excess naval personnel who no longer had ships or submarines to man. Committed to combat against the Russians on the Oder River south of Stettin, the 1st Naval Infantry Division suffered heavy losses in fierce defensive fighting in the bridgehead between Alt Damm and Greifenhagen. After being forced back to the west bank of the river, the division continued to see heavy defensive combat against the advancing Russians. Withdrawing across Mecklenburg to Neustrelitz, the remnants of the 1st Naval Division then crossed the demarcation line between the Soviet and Anglo-American forces and surrendered to the British along with the rest of General der Panzertruppe Hasso von Manteuffel’s 3rd Panzer Army. The coastal artillery personnel and Naval Division personnel received a uniform in cloth – feldgrau – of very similar pattern to the army.
Coastal Artillery NCO.
The naval divisions formed in 1945 were a new generation of this type of formation; though sometimes called “marines” by English-language writers they were in no way equivalent to the old Sea Battalions or the United States Marine Corps. These were instead hastily raised divisions, maintained under naval authority to help boost the Kriegsmarine’s political standing among the assorted Nazi hierarchies — just as police and even firemen went to the front in their own formations, led by their own officers.
Germany lost her colonies in the Versailles peace accords, and together with the colonies went the rationale for the Sea Battalions. The post-war Reichsmarine maintained base security detachments, and by the late 1930s the Kriegsmarine had added “Marine Assault Companies” — actual marines in the American sense of the word. These troops took part in the first action of World War II in Europe, attacking the Polish naval base at Westerplatte in Danzig’s harbor under covering fire from the ancient battleship Schleswig-Holstein. The Poles resisted stoutly, and the marines did not emerge from their first action with a very high military reputation.
Kriegsmarine ground units continued to see action over the next several years, but always as the result of emergencies where security detachments or base personnel were drawn into the fighting — for example, in the defense of Novorossisk in 1942, at Messina in 1943 or at Sevastopol in 1944. Otherwise, they were not seen as true ground combat elements. Coast defense artillery had been part of the Reichsmarine, and expanded greatly to protect the shores of occupied Europe from Allied invasion. But these gunners, who included a large contingent of anti-aircraft troops, were definitely not considered combat forces.
In April 1940, crews from destroyers sunk in the Narvik operation formed three small ad hoc battalions that took part in defense of the Norwegian port alongside German mountain troops. They were led by their own officers and armed with weapons taken from the Norwegian 6th Division’s arsenal, which had been overrun by the mountaineers. But as soon as the operation was concluded, these units were dissolved and the men became sailors again.
As German forces fell back from France, the Soviet Union and the Balkans, naval personnel became involved in ground fighting at numerous locations. By November 1944, the Navy had taken its cue from the Air Force and began to form an infantry brigade for coast defense on the North Sea. By February it was on its way to Stettin for front-line service as the 1st Naval Infantry Division. The unit received a cadre of officers from the Army, including a new commander, Maj. Gen. Wilhelm Bleckwenn, and was organized along the Army’s 1945 tables. It fought, usually poorly, for the remainder of the war on the northern flank of the German line on the Oder River.
The 2nd Naval Infantry Division formed in Schleswig-Holstein in March 1945 and went to the front in April (again, with the infusion of an Army cadre including a new commander) and fought the British and Canadians around Bremen. Three more “divisions” (the 3rd, 11th and 16th) were ordered form, but none seem to have seen much action, if any.
3rd Panzer Army (Gen Hasso von Manteuffel)
‘Swinemunde’ Corps (Lt Gen Ansat)
402nd & 2nd Naval Divisions
XXXII Corps (Lt Gen Schack)
‘Voigt’ & 281st Infantry Divisions
549th Volksgrenadier Division
‘Oder’ Corps (SS Lt Gen von dem Bach / Gen Hörnlein)
610th & ‘Klossek’ Infantry Divisions
XXXXVI Panzer Corps (Gen Martin Gareis)
547th Volksgrenadier Division
1st Naval Division
Additionally, large numbers of Kriegsmarine personnel were transferred directly to units at the front during April. The 20th Panzer Grenadier Division fighting in front of Berlin received several thousand Kriegsmarine replacements and sent them into action still wearing their naval uniforms.
Sailors also were sent to the 32nd SS Grenadier Division, also in their old uniforms (a blessing in this case, as the Soviets rarely took prisoners clad in SS camouflage). Small naval units also showed up as ad hoc reinforcements alongside the Volkssturm and police units rushed to the front, including several hundred trainees from the Kriegsmarine’s radar school — that the Navy was still training radar operators with the Soviets smashing their way into the capital goes far to illustrate the Nazi state’s “efficiency.”
The naval troops in Road to Berlin are of poor quality, with much lower firepower than regular Army units and lower morale. They appear to have been armed with captured weaponry for the most part, and suffered from serious ammunition shortages as a result. The ratio of Navy to Army officers in the front lines is hard to determine, and in the game they draw their leaders from the general Army pool.
A map showing the areas where Viking raiders and their descendants commonly settled. The true scope of their influence is of course impossible to record, as generations of Vikings became assimilated into the local cultures of England and Normandy.
A map showing the Danelaw, a region of England controlled by the Danish Vikings under an 886 agreement made with Alfred the Great. Like Viking Scandinavia, the Danelaw was politically fragmented and it was not destined to last. By the mid-tenth century the Anglo-Saxons had won the territory back.
There were two things that made the Viking raids stand out among the rest: first, they were pagans; and second, their attacks came from the sea. It is this combination that prompted the bewildered and terrified accounts from monks who were otherwise seeking a life of spiritual solitude on remote, rocky coastlines. For Christians, the Viking attacks were incomprehensible sacrilege – but the warriors themselves did not have the slightest understanding of monasteries, or the curious, defenceless men inhabiting them.
The terror was carried by the Viking longship: the most lethally efficient weapon of the Medieval era. The image of the sleek ship, sailing swiftly into shore laden with bearded warriors howling for blood, retains a dreadful fascination. But the raids were never the product of a coherent Viking policy; instead they belonged to the warrior ideology that promoted adventure, warfare and the forging of lasting reputations. The Vikings were great opportunists who often had no idea where they were sailing to or what they would find when they arrived. Instead, they would form a plan when they landed, based on whatever circumstances the local situation presented. This could mean a smash-and-grab raid, taking local inhabitants for ransom or slavery, or setting up a trading emporium. Later, the Viking raids extended to invasion, migration and settlement.
Invading Wessex and Mercia
With Northumbria and East Anglia under Viking control, only the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex were left to be conquered. But standing in the way of the Great Heathen Army was King Æthelred and his younger brother Alfred. The legendary Alfred first made a name for himself by taking sole command of the Wessex army at the 871 Battle of Ashdown. This nearly ended in his death when he rashly ordered a premature charge of his warriors at the Viking front line. But Alfred was saved by the timely appearance of Æthelred (late for battle because his prayers overran, according to legend) and his mounted reserves. This was fortunate indeed for the fate of England: Æthelred died in the same year and Alfred was crowned king of Wessex.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that thousands of Vikings were killed at Ashdown and their army put to flight, but after resting in East Anglia the Vikings won two major victories against the armies of Wessex at the battles of Basing and Meretun. The Viking numbers had also been bolstered by Guthrum, the leader of a new “Great Summer Army”, and now he and Halfdan’s Great Heathen Army (Ivar had returned to Dublin to seek out opportunities there) combined against one of the two remaining English kingdoms still resisting them: Mercia.
The invasion of Mercia was swift and merciless, and in 874 the Vikings installed a puppet king at Repton, the Mercian seat of power. Now the Great Summer Army led by Guthrum prepared for a full assault on Alfred’s Wessex. At first the invasion was something of an anti-climax. The Vikings attacked Wessex’s border and then marched around its fortifications to set up a camp in Dorset. With his kingdom breached, Alfred hastily sought a peace treaty, but it was soon broken and more military manoeuvres and diplomatic initiatives followed. In the end Alfred paid the Vikings to go away, and Guthrum withdrew to overwinter in Mercia.
Guthrum, however, was not finished. He was still intent on conquering Wessex, and to dismember the state he would first have to cut off its head. Guthrum knew that Wessex’s powerbase lay with its leader, Alfred. Alfred was Wessex: while he was alive men would still rally to him. So, during Christmas 878 Guthrum went straight for the kingdom’s beating heart:
“878. In this year in midwinter after twelfth night the enemy army came stealthily to Chippenham, and occupied the land of the West Saxons and settled there, and drove a great part of the people across the sea, and conquered most of the others; and the people submitted, except King Alfred.”
– Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, translated by Rev. James Ingram
With Alfred having escaped, Guthrum had missed his chance for an easy conquest. While Alfred was alive he was a threat, as the young king proved. Hiding in the marshes of Somerset, Alfred had no option but to conduct a type of guerilla warfare against Guthrum, now the oppressor of Wessex.
Alfred would mount sudden, surprise attacks and then fall back into the shadows of the swamp. It was here that the legendary story of Alfred burning the cakes originates. The story describes a disguised Alfred taking refuge in a forest cottage. Here it was, brooding in his darkest hour over the fate of his kingdom, that Alfred burned the cakes that the mistress of the house had asked him to watch over. Alfred accepted his sharp rebuke, and the episode represented the king’s lowest moment and the turning point in his campaign against Guthrum.
In the spring of 878, Alfred was joined by men from Somerset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, who were fresh from sowing their crops and ready for battle. This new army, which was a force large enough to rival Guthrum’s own, marched towards the Viking base at Chippenham, the place of Alfred’s ousting during the midwinter. The two armies would face each other a few miles south of Chippenham, on a slope of land near Edington.
By cutting a deal with the defeated Guthrum, Alfred had forged the way for a two-nation state: one Anglo-Saxon and one Viking. In 886, the borders of these kingdoms were formalized. The Viking kingdom, or “Danelaw”, would occupy the north of England; the territory roughly south of the Rivers Thames and Lea was Anglo-Saxon. Alfred immediately set about building “burghs”, or fortified towns that his people could take refuge in during times of attack. Alfred’s agreement with Guthrum was shrewd. However, it did nothing to address the rest of the Viking population outside the Danelaw and many new bands of raiders soon tried their luck on Alfred’s shores.
The largest of these armies came aboard a fleet of 250 ships. It landed in Kent and confronted Alfred in a series of engagements before being chased into the Midlands and dispersing. Other Viking fleets were discouraged by Alfred’s new navy, which saw off another Viking force in 893. To many marauding Vikings, England at this time must have simply seemed like too much trouble. Instead, they turned their attention across the English Channel to the land of the Franks.
Svein Estridsson’s 1069 attacks on England were a classic example of Viking improvisation. Svein departed Scandinavia with invasion in mind and the possibility of whipping the newly oppressed Anglo-Saxon inhabitants into a countrywide rebellion. When this proved too difficult, Svein was happy to be paid off with the same silver and gold his predecessors sought nearly 300 years earlier at Lindisfarne. With Svein, however, the great Viking raiding tradition came to an end.
Raiding had brought a floodtide of wealth into the Viking homelands, which both encouraged and enabled their expansion overseas. Before the raids began, Scandinavia had been an insular, isolated society formed far away from wider view. At its peak a few centuries later, Viking influence stretched from America in the west to Constantinople in the east and the Mediterranean in the south. In this time, the Vikings had ruled over realms in Russia, Normandy and England; they had colonized Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the Shetlands, Orkney and the Isle of Man; they had built settlements from Newfoundland to Kiev; and Viking blood flowed through the veins of Europeans everywhere as the warriors and their families became assimilated into native populations.
In response to Specification F.18137, design of the Hawker Typhoon was initiated by Sydney Camm in 1937. The Specification required a Rolls-Royce Vulture or Napier Sabre engine, so two prototypes were built initially, that with the Vulture known as the Hawker Tornado. The Sabre-engined version, designated Hawker Typhoon, also encountered powerplant problems. However, these were overcome because the Napier Company could devote more time and effort to development of the Sabre, whereas Rolls-Royce was too concerned with the Merlin to devote adequate resources to improving the troublesome Vulture.
It is an accepted maxim for successful aircraft development that future requirements should always be the principal concern of the chief designer and his project design team. The company which allows itself to become wholly preoccupied with the development of an established design may produce, as a result, an outstanding aeroplane, but the policy is a shortsighted one if no new prototype is following to consolidate this success. Thus, the fact that Sydney Camm, Hawker Aircraft’s chief designer, was at work on a new fighter as a potential replacement for the Hurricane as early as 1937, when the first production aircraft of that type had still to fly, reflected no lack of confidence in the Hurricane’s potentialities but the natural desire to ensure that its service successor would be a product of the same stable.
This massive new fighter, the heaviest and most powerful single-seat single-engined warplane envisaged at the time of its design, was to suffer a long gestation period. It was to be pressed into operational service before it was fully developed and, in consequence, acquire a worse reputation among its pilots than that of any fighter preceding it. It was fated to be rarely employed in the interceptor role for which it was originally conceived. Yet, despite its vicissitudes, it was to blossom into one of the most formidable weapons evolved during the Second World War; a close-support fighter that was to turn the scales in many land battles and upset many conceptions of land warfare.
In January 1938, barely two months after the debut of the first production Hurricane Hawker Aircraft received details of specification F.18/37, calling for a large single-seat fighter offering a performance at least 20 per cent higher than that of the Hurricane and achieving this with the aid of one of two 24-cylinder engines in the 2,000 hp class then under development (the Napier Sabre “H” type and the Rolls-Royce Vulture “X” type). Sydney Camm had commenced investigating the possibilities of just such a fighter in March 1937, and had already roughed out a design built around the Napier Sabre engine and housing twelve 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Browning guns with 400 rounds per gun in its 40 foot wings. At the proposal of the Air Ministry, Camm also prepared studies for an alternative version of his fighter powered by the Rolls-Royce Vulture engine, and increased the ammunition capacity of both machines to 500 rounds per gun.
Further discussions over military loads and equipment followed, and revised tenders were submitted to Throughout 1938 the Air Ministry at the beginning of 1938 for both the Type “N” and the Type “R”, as the alternative Sabre and Vulture powered fighters had become known. These tenders were formally accepted on April 22, 1938, and four months later, on August 30, two prototypes of each fighter were ordered. Structurally both types were similar: the wings were all-metal, the front fuselage was of steel tubing, and the aft section consisted of a stressed-skin, flush-riveted monocoque; the first Hawker designs to employ this form of construction. Uniformity between the two fighters was, in fact, achieved to a remarkable degree, but the designs did differ in one important respect initially, the Vulture-powered fighter made use of a ventral radiator while the Sabre-driven machine had one of “chin” type.
Construction of the two massive fighters proceeded in parallel, and work progressed simultaneously on the preparation of production drawings. As a result of the slightly more advanced development status of the Vulture engine which had been designed along more conventional lines than the Sabre, the Type “R” was the first of the two fighters into the air, flying in October 1939. Named appropriately enough Tornado, the initial flight trials of the prototype were promising, and a production order for 1,000 Tornados was placed at the beginning of November, it being proposed that the new fighter should be built both by Hawker and by A. V. Roe at Woodford. However, the flight test program soon began to run into trouble. Compressibility effects, about which little was known at that time, began to manifest themselves, and it was decided that the ventral radiator bath was unsuitable for the speeds approaching 400 mph that were being achieved for the first time. The radiator was, therefore, moved forward to the nose, a position already selected for that of the Type “N”, by now dubbed Typhoon; but the first prototype Tornado (P5219) only flew long enough to indicate the beneficial results of the change before it was totally destroyed.
Meanwhile, on December 30, 1939, the first Napier Sabre engine had been delivered to Hawker Aircraft, and the first prototype Typhoon (P5212) emerged from the experimental shop to fly on February 24, 1940. It too became the subject of a quantity production order which, it was planned, should become the responsibility of Gloster Aircraft, whose assembly lines were emptying of Gladiator biplanes and whose design office was already immersed in the development of the Gloster Meteor, the first British turbojet-driven aircraft. Although, like those of the Tornado, the first flights of the Typhoon prototype indicated a promising fighter, the machine proving relatively easy to fly at high speeds, its low speed qualities left much to be desired, and it had a marked tendency to swing to starboard during take-off. The “X” form of the Tornado’s Vulture engine had not permitted installation above the front spar as was the Typhoon’s Sabre and, in consequence, the overall length of the former was 32 ft. 6 in. as compared with the 31 ft. 10 in. of the latter. Owing to the size and weight of the Sabre and the need to preserve center of gravity balance, the Typhoon’s engine was fitted so close to the leading edge of the wing that severe vibration was experienced as the slipstream buffeted the thick wing roots. On an early test flight the stressed-skin covering began to tear away from its rivets, and the Typhoon’s pilot, Philip G. Lucas, only just succeeded in bringing the prototype in to a landing.
Apart from structural teething troubles, the Sabre engine, although a compact and exquisite power plant, called for a considerable amount of development, and it was perhaps fortunate for the future of the Typhoon that, in May 1940, the grave war situation led to the cancellation of all priority for Typhoon and Tornado development in order to allow every effort to be put into the production of sorely needed Hurricanes. Design development was allowed to continue, however, and during 1940 three alternative engine installations were proposed for the Tornado (Fairey Monarch, the Wright Duplex Cyclone, and the Bristol Centaurus) and experimental drawings for the Centaurus installation were completed. Development on the Typhoon included the design of a modified wing containing two 20 mm Hispano cannon in place of the six 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Brownings, the construction of an experimental set of wings containing a total of six cannon, and the initiation of a design study of a Typhoon variant with thinner wings of reduced area and lower profile drag. This latter study was later to arouse interest at the Air Ministry and eventually result in the Tempest. However, by October 1940 enthusiasm had been revived and production of the Tornado and Typhoon reinstated, production deliveries of both being scheduled for the following year.
The Tornado weighed 8,200 lbs empty and 10,580 lbs loaded. Its maximum speed was 425 mph at 23,000 feet. A. V. Roe had prepared a production line at Woodford, and the first production Tornado (R7936) was delivered early in 1941. But this was fated to be the only production Tornado, for difficulties with the Vulture resulted in the decision to remove this power plant from the aero-engine development program, this decision also canceling production of the Tornado. However, in February 1941, Hawker’s received a contract to convert a Tornado to take a Bristol Centaurus radial engine. Among the modifications required were a new center fuselage and engine mounting. The new prototype (HG641) was assembled from Tornado production components and flown for the first time on October 23, 1941. The first Centaurus installation had an exhaust collector ring forward of the engine from which a single external exhaust stack pipe led back under the root of the port wing. This arrangement soon proved unsatisfactory, so the oil-cooler duct was enlarged and led forward to the nose, while twin exhaust pipes led back from the front collector ring through this fairing to eject under the belly of the fuselage. A level speed of 421 mph was attained with the Centaurus-Tornado, and this was slightly higher than that attainable by the Sabre-powered Typhoon, but the Typhoon airframe could not be adapted to take the radial engine. The second prototype Tornado (P5224) had, in the meantime, been completed, and the sole production Tornado (R7936) later played a useful role as a test-bed for deHavilland and Rotol contraprops.
The first production Typhoon IA (R7082) with the 2,200 hp. Sabre IIA engine was completed by Gloster and flown on May 26, 1941. Production of this version, with its twelve Browning guns, was in limited quantity, and those built were used principally for the development of operational techniques. But the cannon-armed Typhoon IB was following closely on the heels of the Mark IA, and the Air Ministry was pressing for its rapid service introduction to counter the new Focke-Wulf Fw 190. Nos. 56 and 609 Squadrons based at Duxford began to receive their Typhoons in September 1941, before the fighter was fully developed, and these squadrons were forced to take on part of the onus of unearthing the new machine’s numerous faults.
The decision to use the Typhoon before it was adequately developed for operational use was ultimately justified by the results, but the price of its premature introduction was high. In the first nine months of its service life far more Typhoons were lost through structural or engine troubles than were lost in combat, and between July and September 1942 it was estimated that at least one Typhoon failed to return from each sortie owing to one or other of its defects. Trouble was experienced in power dives–a structural failure in the tail assembly sometimes resulted in this component parting company with the rest of the airframe. In fact, during the Dieppe operations in August 1942, when the first official mention of the Typhoon was made, fighters of this type bounced a formation of Fw 190s south of Le Treport, diving out of the sun and damaging three of the German fighters, but two of the Typhoons did not pull out of their dive owing to structural failures in their tail assemblies.
Despite this inauspicious start to its service career and the unenviable reputation that the Typhoon had gained, operations continued and the accident rate declined as the engine teething troubles were eradicated, although the tail failures took longer to solve, despite immediate strengthening and stiffening as soon as the trouble manifested itself. In November 1942 No. 609 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Roland Beamont, was moved to Manston in an attempt to combat the near daily hip-and-run raids which were being made by Fw 190s and could rarely be intercepted by Spitfires. The Typhoon enjoyed almost immediate success. The first two Messerschmitt Me 210 fighter bombers to be destroyed over the British Isles fell to the guns of Typhoons, and during the last comparatively ambitious daylight raid by the Luftwaffe on London, on January 20, 1943, five Fw 190s were destroyed by Typhoons.
On November 17, 1942, Wing-Commander Beaumont had flown a Typhoon on its first night intrusion over Occupied France and, subsequently, the fighter was employed increasingly for offensive duties, strafing enemy airfields, ships and railway transport. The success of the Typhoon in the ground-attack role led to trials with two 250 lbs or two 500 lbs bombs which were carried on underwing racks. This load was later increased to two 1,000 lbs bombs, but the Typhoon was not to find its true element until it was adapted to carry airborne rocket projectiles–four under each wing. By D-Day, in June 1944, the R.A.F. had twenty-six operational squadrons of Typhoon IBs. Without its underwing load the Typhoon IB weighed 11,300 lbs; and with two 500 lbs bombs and the necessary racks, 12,400 lbs. Maximum speed was 398 mph at 8,500 feet and 417 mph at 20,500 feet, and an altitude of 20,000 feet could be attained in 7.6 minutes. Between the prototype and production stages several design changes had been made. These included the re-design of the fin and rudder, the redisposition of the wheel fairings and the introduction of a clear-view fairing behind the cockpit. On the first few Typhoon IAs the solid rear fairing was retained; later a transparent fairing was fitted, but this was abandoned in favor of the first sliding ” bubble ” hood to be used by an operational fighter.
The Typhoon IB, by now affectionately known as the “Tiffy”, distinguished itself particularly in the Battle of Normandy, where it decimated a large concentration of armour ahead of Avranches, disposing of no fewer than 137 tanks, and opening the way for the liberation of France and Belgium. For use in the tactical reconnaissance role, the Typhoon F.R.IB was developed early in 1945. In this version the two inboard cannon were removed and three F.24 cameras were carried in their place. One Typhoon was also converted as a prototype night fighter, with A.I. equipment, special night-flying cockpit and other modifications. Production of the Typhoon, which was entirely the responsibility of Gloster Aircraft, totalled 3,330 machines.
The earlier Typhoon was plagued with both airframe and engine problems, it was towards the end of 1942 that these problems were rectified. The Typhoon still had a poor rate of climb, but it was found at lower altitudes to be very fast (426 mph) at 18,000 ft. By the end of 1942 it was discovered that the potential was in the aircraft’s ability to function as a very effective fighter bomber and proved effective against trains, tanks, shipping, German Communications especially when equipped with rocket projectiles. The claims by 124 wing 2nd Tactical Air Force are indicative of the potential of the Typhoon’s role as a fighter bomber between June 1944 and January 1945, while operating from bases inside Germany and Holland destroyed 115 tanks, 3 armoured cars, 494 motor vehicles and damaged 292 more vehicles. The Tempest Mk-V1’s which were a modified Mk-V speed trials took place 9 May 1944 this particular model attained a speed of 452 mph at 19,600 ft. but in September reached a speed of 462 mph. The complex design in the engine caused major headaches for the ground when it came to maintenance and repairs. Compared to the Hurricane and the Spitfire the cockpit was roomy, the noise from this large engine was almost unbearable and the engine fumes deadly. One was required to wear an oxygen mask at all times during starting, ground checks, taxiing and while in flight. It is suspect that several accidents, which killed some pilots, were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Wing Commander Roland P. Beamont C.B.E. D.S.O. & Bar, D.F.C.& Bar D.L., F.R. Ae.s. Personally destroying 32 V-1’s. Under the command of “BEE” Beamont, 150 Wing based in Mewchurch destroyed 632.V-1’s, this became a real art as they found the most effective range and the most dangerous was close to 200 yards before opening fire, the results usually resulted in having to fly through pieces of the exploding V-1 quite often causing the fabric to burn off of the control surfaces of the aircraft. Prior to flying the Tempest, Wing Cdr. Beamont flew the Hurricane in the daytime air defense of France, and also became an ace in the Battle of Britain. After the war he was the Chief Test Pilot for the British Aircraft Corporation. Of which he was to play a significant role in the introduction of the Canberra, Lighting, TSR2, Jaguar and the Tornado.
There were 53 V-1 aces during this conflict representing the nationalities of the following countries Britain, New Zealand, U.S.A., and Belgium.
The highest scoring were:
Sqn Ldr. J.Berry – British 61½
Sqn Ldr. R.van Lierde – Belian 40
Wng Cdr. R.P. Beamont – British 32
Sqn Ldr. A.E Umbers – New Zealand 28
Flt Lt. R.B.Cole – British 21 2/3
Flt Lt. A.R. Moore – British 21 ½
Fg Off. R.H Calpperton – British 21
Sqn Ldr. R. Dryland – British 21
Flt Lt. O.D. Eagleson – New Zealand 21
Fg Off. R.G Cammock – New Zealand 20 ½
Plt Off. K.G. Slade Betts – British 20
These are just a few of the Tempest aces responsible for destroying so many V-1’s during freezing rainy winter nights. Night after night these courageous and skilful pilots challenged themselves against the weather and in ill equipped single engine fighters, knowing that they officially were expendable.
Specifications (Hawker Typhoon Mk IB)
Type: Single Seat Fighter Bomber
Design: Sydney Camm
Manufacturer: Hawker Aircraft Limited, also built by the Gloster Aircraft Company.
Powerplant: (Mk IB) One 2,180 hp (1626 kW) Napier Sabre II 24-cylinder flat-H sleeve valve, liquid cooled engine. A 2,200 hp (1641 kW) Sabre IIB or 2260 hp (1685 kW) Sabre IIC 24-cylinder H-type engine was also used. (Mk IA prototype) One 2,100 hp (1566 kW) Napier Sabre I 24-cylinder H-type engine. (Mk IA production) One 2,200 hp (1641 kW) Napier Sabre IIA 24-cylinder H-type engine. Production was limited to 105 aircraft.
Performance: Maximum speed 412 mph (664 km/h); initial climb rate 3,000 ft (914 m) per minute; service ceiling 35,200 ft (10730 m).
Range: 510 miles (821 km) on internal fuel with full loadout (bombs). 980 miles (1577 km) with external drop tanks.
Weight: Empty 8,800 lbs (3992 kg) with a loaded take-off weight of 13,250 lbs (6010 kg).
Dimensions: Span 41 ft 7 in (12.67 m); length 31 ft 11 1/2 in (9.74 m); height 15 ft 4 in (4.67 m); wing area 279.0 sq ft (25.92 sq m).
Armament: (Mk IB) Four 20 mm Hispano cannon in outer wings and racks for eight rockets or two 500 lbs (227 kg) bombs. Later aircraft could carry up to 1,000 lbs (454 kg) of bombs. (Mk IA) Twelve 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Browning machine guns.
A particular type of shelter known as the musculus appears only rarely in ancient writings. Vegetius describes it as a small machine, reminiscent of the Hellenistic ditch–filling tortoise in its role of protecting men as they brought forward building materials (Veg., Epit. rei mil. 4.16). However, he is surely mistaken. From Caesar’s description of the musculus in action during the siege of Massilia in 49 BCE, it is clear that it was an enormously robust gallery, constructed when the standard vineae and plutei failed to stand up to the defenders’ formidable artillery; its name, meaning ‘little mouse’, is surely another example of soldiers’ humour. The extra protection was required by men moving up to the enemy wall for undermining work. In other words, it was the Roman equivalent of the Hellenistic ‘digging tortoise’. Caesar’s version was 60ft (18m) long, 4ft (1.2m) wide, and 5ft (1.5m) tall, with a pitched roof. It was built out of 2ft–thick (0. 6m) timbers, and entirely covered with a fireproof layer of tiles and clay, followed by a waterproof layer of rawhide, to foil any attempts at dissolving the clay (Caes., BCiv. 2.10). It was perhaps unusual to mobilize such a structure; at any rate, the defenders were taken by surprise when it was suddenly advanced to the wall on sets of rollers normally used to transport ships. With the musculus in place at the wall foot, the defenders were powerless to prevent the Romans from undermining one of the city’s towers.
VINEA: COVERED GALLERY
Like the musculus, but open along one side, was the vinea. This is especially used to shield soldiers when they were undermining the city’s walls by driving tunnels under them, or prizing out the stones at the base with sharp iron tools called terebrae.
Roman law specifically prohibited generals from bringing their legions into Italy proper without the express approval of the Senate. On the Adriatic coast, the border was marked by the Rubicon River south of Ravenna. Yet on January 10 or 11 (sources differ), 49 BCE, announcing that “the die is cast,” Caesar defied the Senate and crossed the small Rubicon with his army into Italy proper. Although Caesar had only one legion immediately with him, he retained eight other battle-tested legions in Gaul. His total force thus numbered some 40,000 men, plus 20,000 auxiliaries. Ranged against Caesar, Pompey and his allies in the Senate could call on two legions in Italy(with eight more being raised there), seven in Spain, and substantial military resources in Greece, the East, and North Africa.
Caesar hoped to counter this formidable imbalance by the decisive approach that had brought him victory in Gaul. Moving swiftly south along the Adriatic, he collected additional forces and recruits. Pompey declared that Rome could not be defended, and he and most of the senators abandoned the city to Caesar in order to buy time to gather additional resources in southern Italy. The only setback for Caesar to this point was the news that Labienus, a former lieutenant of Pompey, had defected to him. All of Caesar’s other key subordinates and legions remained loyal.
Because Pompey was slow both to react to the threat posed by Caesar and to mobilize his own legions, he and 25,000 men and most of the senators who had fled to the south withdrew to Brundisium (Brindisi). Pompey also rejected calls from Caesar that they end the fighting and restore their former alliance, Pompey claiming that he was Caesar’s superior.
Pompey was confident of ultimate victory. He expected to raise substantial forces in the eastern Greek provinces and, with control of most of the Roman Navy, institute a blockade of the Italian coast. In March 49 BCE Pompey and a number of his senatorial allies sailed from Brundisium for Epirus.
Before Caesar could contemplate proceeding against Pompey in Greece, he had to eliminate the threat to his rear posed by Pompey’s sizable army in Spain. Leaving Marcus Aemilius Lepidus as prefect in Rome and Mark Antony in charge of the rest of Italy, Caesar marched for Spain. Gaius Antonius held Illyria for Caesar, while Cisalpine Gaul was under Licinius Crassus. Caesar sent Gaius Curio with other troops to secure Sicily and North Africa.
Pompey supporter Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus landed by sea at Massilia (present-day Marseille) with a small number of men and persuaded its leaders to declare for Pompey. Caesar, having sent most of his army ahead to secure the passes over the Pyrenees that would give him access to Spain, invested Massilia in April with three legions. Caesar then hurried on to take charge of operations in Spain, leaving Gaius Trebonius to continue the siege operations by land and Decimus Brutus to raise a naval force and blockade Massilia from the sea. The siege continued during the entire time of Caesar’s operations in Spain, although Brutus won a naval victory off Massilia against a joint Massilian-Pompeian force.
Taking advantage of Pompey’s absence from the Italian mainland, Caesar moved quickly. In June 49, his legions secured the vital Pyrenees passes just in advance of a large force of 65,000 men loyal to Pompey and commanded by Lucius Afranius and Marcus Petreius. Frustrated by their inability to reach and secure the passes first, the two Pompeian generals awaited Caesar’s arrival in Spain. Two additional Pompeian legions and about 45,000 auxiliaries under Vebellius Rufus and Marcus Terentius Varro held the remainder of Spain.
Both sides engaged in extended maneuvering in what is known as the Ilerda Campaign. Caesar was anxious to avoid pitched battle because of his considerable inferiority in numbers. His opponents were equally reluctant to engage because of Caesar’s military reputation. Finally, through adroit maneuvering and rapid movement, Caesar cut off the withdrawal of the two legions and surrounded them, securing their surrender at Ilerda on August 2, 49. Following his victory, Caesar disbanded the two legions, gaining recruits in the process. He then marched to Gades (Cadiz) to overawe all Spain. Then, leaving a small force to complete the pacification of Iberia, Caesar returned to Massilia, which surrendered on September 6. Domitius escaped by sea.
An example of aggressive siegecraft is provided by the attack on coastal Massilia by Caesar’s deputy, Caius Trebonius, in 49 BCE. He began to construct two embankments at different points on the landward side, but was severely hindered by the town’s ballistae, which had allegedly been engineered to discharge 12ft (3.5m) iron–pointed spears instead of the usual rounded stone balls. The legionaries’ standard wickerwork shelters (vineae) could not stand up to such punishment, so Trebonius arranged for the workers to be protected by galleries made out of timber 1ft thick (30cm). In addition, he had a 30ft—square (9m) brick refuge built close to the town, so that the workers could shelter within its 5ft–thick (1.5m) walls; but he quickly realized how useful a tower would be in this location, and again exploited the legionaries’ engineering skills to raise the structure, under constant threat of enemy missiles, until it had six storeys. This opened up new possibilities, and Trebonius ordered a massive gallery to be built, 60ft (18m) long, stretching from the brick tower to the town wall. Realizing the danger posed by the gallery, the Massiliotes tipped blocks of masonry and blazing barrels of pitch onto it from the battlements above. But they were driven back by the artillery in the brick tower, and their improvised missiles were easily deflected by the gallery’s 2ft–thick (60cm) gabled roof, with its coating of padded rawhide over clay. Then, concealed within the gallery, Trebonius’ legionaries undermined the town wall, whereupon the townsfolk lost hope and surrendered.
TREBONIUS (died 43 BCE)
C. Trebonius illustrates perhaps better than any other figure of the Late Republic the independence of the “everyday senator” from any “party affiliation” in ancient Roman politics, as compared, for instance, with the modern American political scene. Characterized by scholars as vacillating between political factions (particularly, the factions of Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great), Trebonius, in reality, did as many Roman senators, searching out the best advantages for himself and sticking with one powerful leader or another only as long as he considered their goals appropriate and personally beneficial.
Trebonius emerges from the ancient sources for the first time in 60 BCE, when he held the office of quaestor (financial magistrate) in Rome. During his term, he was one of those politicians who opposed the intentions of P. Claudius Pulcher (commonly known as Clodius). Clodius had developed an intense hatred for one of Trebonius’s good friends, the famous orator Cicero; he intended to utilize the office of plebeian tribune (the powers of which he considered ideal for the purpose) to destroy Cicero’s life. To become tribune, however, Clodius had to relinquish his status as a patrician (a member of Rome’s most blue-blooded families) and apply for adoption into a plebeian family. He had this all arranged, but Trebonius, along with the consuls of 60 (Afranius and Metellus Celer) and other magistrates, opposed and prevented the adoption, since they understood its true purpose.
In the following year, though, Clodius got his way in all things, with the strong backing of Julius Caesar and his associates, Crassus and Pompey, the so-called First Triumvirate. Trebonius apparently continued to resist Clodius, however, endangering his own life against such a loose cannon in the efforts launched to recall Cicero, who had been exiled, thanks to Clodius.
After all this dust had settled, Trebonius teamed up with the Triumvirs. As plebeian tribune in 55 BCE, he proposed a law to grant provincial commands to Crassus (who received the province of Syria and oversight in the neighboring territories) and to Pompey (who received the provinces of Spain), each for a period of five years. In addition, the motion authorized each man to levy as many troops from both Roman citizens and allies, as well as to make war or arrange peace in their provinces, as each saw fit. Two of his colleagues in the tribunate, C. Ateius Capito and P. Aquilius Gallus, attempted to derail Trebonius’s measure; the young Optimate orator M. Favonius also spoke out in opposition, as did M. Porcius Cato, leader of the Optimates. Cato, at least, recognized that there was no way to prevent the measure with the coalition of Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey behind it, but he still made the best stand he could against it; by talking out his allotted time and forcing Trebonius to make a show of dragging him off the Speakers’ Platform and into detention, Cato gave the assembled voters a clear proof of the unjust power being exercised by the Triumvirs.
At this informal meeting (contio) of the People of Rome, so many private citizens took the opportunity to express their opinions on this heated matter that the two opposing tribunes did not even have a chance to speak their views. Gallus decided, therefore, to sleep overnight in the Senate House so that he could be the first one to ascend the Speakers’ Platform (located right outside) at dawn on the following day; Trebonius, however, locked him inside the building and did not let him out for hours. In the meantime, the latter’s supporters crowded into the assembly area (Comitium) outside; they tried to stop Capito, Favonius, Cato, and other opponents from entering, but these found clever ways to do so anyway. For instance, Cato and Capito climbed on the shoulders of those standing around the edge of the Comitium and, from his perch, Capito proclaimed a warning about bad omens, which normally would have necessitated dissolving the meeting.
In the event, however, the supporters of Trebonius, many of whom were soldiers Caesar had furloughed from his army, turned to roughing up opponents of the proposal, including Capito and Cato; many people were driven from the Forum in this way, many badly wounded in the confrontation, including Gallus, and a few even killed. Capito, however, incensed by the sight of his colleague all covered in blood, and building on popular disgust at this, soon stirred up renewed resistance to Trebonius. Pompey and Crassus, as consuls, then entered the scene with their bodyguards, restored order to the assembly, and compelled a vote on Trebonius’s motion. Not surprisingly, it passed into law. They followed this up with a law of their own to extend also the provincial command of Caesar for an additional five years and under the same terms as theirs.
For his efforts as tribune, Trebonius received a reward, a posting as legatus, a lieutenant commander, in the army of Caesar from the end of his term of office through 50 BCE. He accompanied Caesar on his second expedition into Britain, commanded forces against the Belgae (especially in the punitive operations after the rebellion of Ambiorix), and expertly countered the assaults of Vercingetorix’s troops during the famous Siege of Alesia (alongside Marc Antony).
Trebonius continued to serve Caesar when the Civil War broke out between the latter and Pompey. After the city of Massilia in southern Gaul (Marseilles, France) declared itself for Pompey’s side in the first year of the conflict, Caesar placed Trebonius in charge of ground forces to conduct the siege of the town, an ever-challenging business that ended in success for Trebonius after six months. In the following year, 48 BCE, Caesar welcomed Trebonius back to Rome with another reward, the office of urban praetor, which placed him just one rank below Caesar himself as consul and made him the chief judicial official over Roman citizens. This placed Trebonius at odds with another of Caesar’s supporters, M. Caelius Rufus, who had hoped for that appointment himself; even though Caesar gave him the next best thing, the peregrine praetorship (the judicial official over resident aliens and foreign visitors to Rome), Caelius resented it and lashed out at Trebonius by vetoing everything he did in office. Indeed, Caelius went further by opposing Caesar’s laws on loans and rent payments, attempting to foment a sort of social revolution in Rome of debtors and renters against their creditors and landlords; in this uprising, Trebonius almost lost his life (which is what Caelius really wanted) and barely escaped the city in disguise. The Senate and Caesar’s consular colleague, Servilius Isauricus, put a stop to all this within Rome itself; Caelius fled southward to try to stir up support for his cause but failed and was eventually killed by Caesar’s cavalry.
The rest of Trebonius’s praetorship appears to have gone smoothly and he proceeded in the next year to the governorship of Further Spain. Since the summer of 49 BCE, both Spanish provinces had come under Caesar’s authority, but his legions there and some of the local communities had grown restless and, in fact, mutinous. Part of Trebonius’s mission was to restore order; he had previous experience of the region, having fought against the lieutenants of Pompey there in the first year of the Civil War. However, the agents of Metellus Scipio, father-in-law of the now-deceased Pompey and acknowledged leader of the survivors of his faction, had come to Spain to reclaim it by inciting more trouble for Caesar’s side; chief among those agents was Pompey’s eldest son, Cnaeus Pompeius. Inspired by his arrival, the mutinous legionaries and rebellious locals eventually forced Trebonius out of the peninsula. Caesar then personally took up the campaign against the Pompeians in Spain. He apparently sent Trebonius back to Rome and, on his own victorious return in the fall of 45 BCE, appointed his loyal legate as suffect (“fill-in”) consul for the remainder of the year. Again, Trebonius had received his ample reward.
After all this, however, Trebonius turned against Caesar. In fact, he seems to have done so already before Caesar’s return from Spain; he even mentioned something to Marc Antony, who kept it secret instead of reporting it to Caesar. The reason, evidently, for Trebonius’s change of heart was animosity toward Caesar’s kind of dictatorship, which made everyone, including his old comrades, feel like pawns in a game played only by Caesar. In wartime, this might have been satisfactory, but it was not once peace resumed. Thus, many Caesarians participated in the Conspiracy of the Liberators to assassinate Caesar in 44 BCE. While other members of the plot attacked him during a meeting of the Senate on the Ides of March, Trebonius fulfilled his assigned task by keeping Marc Antony outside, engaged in conversation. Trebonius later expressed in a letter to Cicero his pride in the part he had played, the sense of achievement he felt in ridding Rome of a “tyrant.” Cicero had applauded the assassination, but he blamed Trebonius (and Brutus) for not eliminating Antony, too.
Before his death, Caesar had officially assigned Trebonius to govern the Roman province of Asia (western Turkey today), and under the turbulent conditions in Rome following the fallen dictator’s funeral, Trebonius literally had to sneak off to his province so as not to set off any further popular uproar against himself. Soon, the leaders of the Conspiracy, Brutus and Cassius, secretly contacted him, asking him to collect money and troops for the looming head-on confrontation with Antony. He did so, and went further in fortifying key towns in the province against possible attack.
The attack came, but not from Antony. Another adversary appeared, a much more cunning one, in the person of P. Cornelius Dolabella. He had served under Caesar for a number of years and the latter planned to reward him with a suffect consulship in 44 BCE; that is, if Caesar had left for his projected war against the Parthian Empire, he would have handed over the remainder of his own term as consul to Dolabella. Instead, Caesar was assassinated, but Dolabella still wanted that office; the other consul of that year, Antony, stood in opposition, however. Dolabella turned on Antony, posed as a friend of Caesar’s assassins and assumed the consulship anyway, receiving from the Senate a special appointment as governor of the province of Syria to boot.
This proved to be the undoing of Trebonius, who did suspect treachery from Dolabella, but not quite as much as he should have. Early in 43 BCE, when the latter passed through Asia on the way to his own province (engaging in wholesale plunder all along), Trebonius did not permit his entry into the important towns of Pergamum or Smyrna, but, out of respect for his office, he did allow him and his men to gather provisions from Ephesus. All the while, a detachment of Trebonius’s army followed Dolabella. Having done so until nightfall, and seeing no cause for concern in Dolabella’s actions, most of the troops returned to Smyrna, leaving only a few to keep watch on him.
Yet, Dolabella set an ambush for them, captured and killed them, and then turned around unexpectedly and arrived at Smyrna under cover of darkness. His men carefully scaled the walls of the city, secured it for themselves, and even captured Trebonius, sleeping in his bed. One of Dolabella’s centurions, on explicit orders, cut off the head of Trebonius rather than taking him alive and brought it to his commander, who put it on display the following morning on the chair from which Trebonius had delivered his official pronouncements. Dolabella’s soldiers took the rest of the body and furiously attacked it; they also played with his head as though it were a game ball in the streets of the city. A fitting punishment, as they saw it, for the man who had helped to kill Caesar by preventing Marc Antony from coming to his rescue.
The death of Trebonius and the mutilation of his corpse sent a clear signal to the other Conspirators; he was the first of their number to be punished for the killing of Caesar and each of them had to fear such an end now.
The “bronze-bearded” (ahenobarbi) Domitii traced their distinguished lineage at least as far back in Rome’s history as the fifth century BCE. Not all of them possessed the greatest of virtues, but they did share a tendency toward obstinacy and temper and, like many others of the Roman elite, an exalted sense of dignitas. Certainly, these qualities characterized L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who stood with the Optimates in the Senate against Julius Caesar, challenged the latter through much of his career, confronted him on his invasion of Italy, and fought against him across the empire from southern France to Greece.
According to the famous orator and statesman Cicero, Domitius, even as a young man early on in his political career, held to the moral standards of those senators who styled themselves Optimates. Little is known about that early career, aside from his testimony, in 70 BCE, against Verres, the corrupt Roman governor of Sicily. For this, Cicero praised Domitius as a distinguished young man, first among his peers.
By the summer of 61 BCE, Domitius joined up with the most prominent spokesman of the Optimates, Cato the Younger, to bring two proposals before the Senate regarding bribery. One motion declared as treasonable the sheltering or housing of those who distributed bribes (known as divisores in Latin) among the voters; the other authorized the searching of magistrate’s homes for such individuals. Undoubtedly, these motions targeted the chief adversaries of the Optimates at that time, who were also the men possessing the greatest wealth to spread around through bribery, that is, Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar. Ironically, Domitius’s own comrade, Cato, engaged the very next year in large-scale bribery of the voters to guarantee that his own son-in-law, Bibulus, would gain election to the consulship as a counterweight to Caesar. By the fall of 59 BCE, Domitius found himself implicated in an alleged plot to assassinate Caesar and Pompey, accused by the informer, P. Vettius, of conspiring with the consul Bibulus to do so; Vettius even claimed that the house of Domitius had served as the base of operations for the scheme. Fortunately for Domitius, few believed the accusations, which were probably trumped up by Pompey and Caesar themselves to discredit their opponents.
In the following year, Domitius attained some legal cover through his position as praetor and, together with his colleague Memmius, insisted on holding an inquiry into Caesar’s official misconduct while consul, his blatant disregard of customs and taboos. The Senate as a body refused to take up the matter, so Caesar ignored the praetors’ charges and left Rome for his provincial command. Other proceedings were instituted against him and one of his subordinates, likely all instigated by Domitius, but still these came to nothing.
In the summer of 58 BCE, Domitius attempted to get at Caesar again by standing up for M. Tullius Cicero; the latter had been forced into exile to keep him quiet through the efforts of Caesar and his associates. The plebeian tribune, Clodius, who had orchestrated Cicero’s downfall, found a constitutional means to order Domitius to be silent on the question of Cicero’s recall and the matter of the reconstruction of his house, which had been destroyed at Clodius’s orders.
Undeterred, though obstructed at every turn by the so-called First Triumvirate and its minions, Domitius campaigned relentlessly in 56 BCE for the consulship of the following year, hoping to utilize that office against the opponents of the Optimates. According to the Imperial historian Cassius Dio, Domitius was actively canvassing for votes right up to the very last day before the elections. Another Imperial historian, Appian of Alexandria, asserted that the intention of Domitius in all this was to challenge Pompey; this probably means that, even if Pompey obtained one of the consulships for the upcoming year, Domitius sought to obtain the other and use it as a check on Pompey’s actions and power within the state. Domitius also made clear his intention of removing Julius Caesar from his provincial command. In all this, he had the support of the Optimates in the Senate and especially of their leader, his brother-in-law, Cato.
Caesar had other plans. Pompey and their associate, Crassus, came to meet Caesar at his winter quarters in the town of Luca (modern Lucca) in northern Italy (what Romans referred to as the province of Cisalpine Gaul). Behind the scenes, the three men agreed to cooperate in squeezing Domitius out of the race and obtaining the consulships of 55 for Crassus as well as Pompey.
Even before dawn on the morning of the elections, Domitius arrived in the Campus Martius (Field of Mars) where Roman voters cast their ballots for consuls in the Popular Assembly known as the Comitia Centuriata (Assembly of Centuries). Pompey showed up at about the same time; both men, as was customary, came with a crowd of supporters around them. It did not take long for these hangers-on to begin quarreling, eventually brawling, with one another over their candidates; in the escalating confrontation, one of Domitius’s torch-bearers (recall that it was still dark out when all this took place) was attacked by a follower of Pompey with a sword. Legally, no one was supposed to enter the voting area with weapons, and the fact that one of Pompey’s men was armed suggested that more of them must have had concealed weapons; in fact, Cassius Dio recorded that Publius, the son of Crassus, had brought soldiers from Caesar’s army on furlough to vote in this election, likely secretly armed. Domitius’s entourage melted away and he himself barely escaped to his own home; Cato also escaped, but badly wounded in the right arm as he had tried to delay retreating while also protecting Domitius. Clearly, fair and free elections were not going to happen this time. When the voters assembled, Pompey and Crassus secured both consulships; indeed, they managed to secure many other elective offices for their cronies by the end of the year.
In the elections for the consulships of 54 BCE, however, despite the fact that Crassus and Pompey presided, they were unable to prevent Domitius from securing one of the two positions. His hostility toward Pompey never abated and he unleashed it especially against the latter’s key followers, such as A. Gabinius, who was brought to trial on various charges and forced into exile. Yet, he lost another election important to him thanks to the efforts of Caesar; the latter, despite being far away in his provincial command, worked together with others to deny Domitius the open spot in the priestly college of augurs. Winner of the election was one of Caesar’s chief lieutenants, Marc Antony, making Domitius’s loss an even greater insult. He raged against those who had orchestrated what he considered a travesty and an injustice.
The Optimate members of the Senate pushed for the recall of Caesar from his provincial command and clamored for Domitius to replace him. By this time, Crassus had died fighting the Parthians and Pompey had begun to distance himself from Caesar. When a letter arrived from Caesar insisting on retention of his provincial command until which time as Pompey also laid down his own (so that they would both retire into private life and not pose an imminent threat to one another), the Optimates got their wish; Domitius received the Senate’s mandate to take over Caesar’s provinces and he proceeded to gather forces for that purpose.
Before anyone expected it, however, Caesar had moved with a relatively small force into Italy proper and was on the march toward Rome. By then, Pompey had been selected by the Senate as supreme commander against Caesar’s invasion, but he had retreated from Rome to gather supplies and recruit troops in southern Italy. Domitius had the task of confronting Caesar first. He did not maneuver against him but instead took up position in the town of Corfinium, strategically located on the Via Valeria, a major Roman highway in southern Italy, and at the best crossing for the River Aterno (Aternus). Here, Domitius hoped to halt Caesar and provide Pompey the time he needed to rise up against Caesar.
Caesar could have bypassed Corfinium altogether on his march against Pompey, but he chose not to; he could not allow Domitius to hold such a defiant position against him, one which could have been utilized as a base for enemy operations behind his own line of advance. Domitius’s forces slightly outnumbered those of Caesar, but the latter’s were battle-hardened veterans, while the former’s were fresh recruits from the citizenry of the region. These facts did not deter Domitius, however. He sent some of his troops to destroy the bridge over the Aterno so that Caesar could not use it to cross; the latter’s advanced forces prevented this and chased Domitius’s men back to town. While Caesar’s army camped outside Corfinium, Domitius detailed his troops along the walls, complete with artillery emplacements, and tried to rouse his men to imagine the rewards of victory, to take heart, and to stand firm.
Domitius hoped desperately for military assistance from Pompey, who was only about sixty miles away, and the orator Cicero, in his letters from those days, reveals how he and many other senators hoped for the same. They expected Pompey to concentrate his forces together with those of Domitius and others at Corfinium for the showdown with Caesar. Pompey sent word, however, that he disagreed with Domitius’s strategy of holding Corfinium against Caesar (no matter how brave or patriotic that might have seemed to be), that he had never ordered him to do so, and that he would not now trap himself in that town, too; he criticized Domitius roundly not only for allowing himself and his own force to get stuck but also for not sending on two legions of reinforcements he (Pompey) had requested from Domitius. Pompey urged Domitius to withdraw from Corfinium before it was too late (even if that meant laying open to Caesar the estates of their wealthy comrades in the process) and work toward joining forces in Apulia (modern Puglia). This terribly disheartened Domitius because by waiting for the “hero” Pompey, in whom he had reposed great confidence, he had allowed Caesar the time to flank Corfinium with two military camps, surround it with a rampart and forts, and double the size of his force with new reinforcements. In writing to his friend Atticus on the matter, as news came to him of it, Cicero described Domitius as a fool for having trusted Pompey and criticized the latter for basically deserting the former.
Domitius dared not let on to his own men that they were being abandoned by Pompey to their own devices; the only possible escape, as he saw it, was for himself and those few senators close to him, and he kept this idea secret. The plan was discovered by his troops, however, and after a heated discussion and argument, they decided to hand their untrustworthy commander over to the enemy. A day later, the town of Corfinium received Caesar peacefully and he pardoned all of Domitius’s troops, allowing them to join his own army if they wished; he also permitted Domitius and the other senators with him to go free.
Domitius could have gone into peaceful retirement at that point, but he chose instead to continue the fight against Caesar, his next theater of operations being the defense of Massilia (modern Marseilles) in Gallia Transalpina (modern Provence). In other words, he now proceeded to the provincial command he was supposed to have assumed from Caesar in the first place. An excuse for doing so presented itself in the appeals from the nobility of Massilia, who declared their allegiance to Pompey’s side; the great wealth and powerful fleet of that maritime city could prove tremendous assets in the Civil War and could not be allowed to fall into Caesar’s hands.
The Massiliotes kept Caesar at bay with false negotiations for neutrality until the arrival of Domitius; the oligarchy of the city then handed over its defense to him. Under his orders, they gathered a large store of food and other necessary supplies and commandeered all the vessels in the area for military service. Massilia prepared for a long siege by land and blockade by sea, with which Caesar soon obliged them.
Domitius made his first target the enemy fleet, under the charge of Brutus Albinus, one of Caesar’s most trusted lieutenants. They engaged in difficult and bitter combat in two naval encounters, both sides attempting to maximize their advantages either in maritime skill or fighting prowess. Pompey, finally, came through for Domitius, sending him reinforcement warships all the way from Greece. Domitius also had the full support of the Massiliotes; he called upon every able-bodied man to serve, whether aristocrat or commoner. The remainder of the population did their part as well, by praying to the gods for the success of their fleet. The latter did cause great damage among the enemy vessels, even sinking the flagship of Brutus Albinus (who managed to escape) but were deserted by Pompey’s reinforcements and suffered too many losses of their own to break the blockade.
In the meantime, Caesar’s ground troops, under the command of another of his trusted lieutenants, Trebonius, conducted the siege of Massilia by land. As they erected various devices for that purpose, the Massiliotes, directed by Domitius, attempted to drive the enemy away with artillery fi re and assaults by Gallic warriors armed with firebrands. After some time of this sort of fighting, Trebonius’s sappers undermined and brought down a portion of the defensive wall of Massilia; out of the opening streamed civilians who begged Trebonius for a chance to negotiate peace with Caesar. An uneasy truce ensued, punctuated by skirmishes of differing sorts, until the Massiliotes decided it was, indeed, time to surrender.
Domitius had learned of this decision a few days earlier and prepared ships for his escape. He hoped that inclement weather would deter Brutus Albinus from trying to stop him but that was not the case. Of his three vessels, only his own escaped. Having arrived in Greece, he joined up with Pompey’s main force.
Almost a full year later, Pompey and Caesar fought their major battle at Pharsalus in northern Greece. Up to that moment, Pompey’s three leading lieutenant commanders, Domitius, Metellus Scipio, and Lentulus Spinther, fully expected to destroy Caesar and his army; they had even wasted their time bitterly quarrelling over which of them would succeed Caesar in the post of Pontifex Maximus, the most prestigious priesthood of Rome. Domitius went further in his imaginings about the future; he suggested that, after their victory, the senators who fought on their side should pass judgment on those who stayed out of the conflict or proved useless in it, either exonerating them of wrongdoing, ordering them to pay a fine, or condemning them to death.
Pompey assigned Domitius to command the left wing of his army as it stood to face Caesar’s. The Battle of Pharsalus did not go as Pompey’s side expected. In the turmoil following the victory of Caesar’s troops, Domitius fled the battlefield and headed into the nearby hills for safety. Some of Caesar’s cavalry took off in pursuit and, eventually, captured and killed him.
Having been the first official defender of the Republic against Caesar, Domitius Ahenobarbus carried that duty through to the end of his life. His entire career, in fact, epitomized the determined resistance of the Optimates to the rise of any one senator too far above the others.
Further Reading Carter, J. 1996. Appian: The Civil Wars. New York: Penguin Publishing. Carter, J. 1997. Caesar: The Civil War. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Foster, H. B. 2010. Dio’s Roman History in Six Volumes. Alvin, TX: Halcyon Press Ltd. Graves, R. 2007. Suetonius: The Twelve Caesars. New York: Penguin Publishing. Greenwood, L. H. G. 1988. Cicero: The Verrine Orations. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Gruen, E. 1974. The Last Generation of the Roman Republic. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Syme, R. 1939. The Roman Revolution. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. Wiseman, T. P. 1985. Roman Political Life 90 B. C.-A. D. 69. Exeter, UK: Exeter University Press. Seager, R., and R. Warner. 2006. Plutarch, Fall of the Roman Republic. London and New York: Penguin. Shackleton Bailey, D. R. 1978. Cicero’s Letters to Atticus. New York: Penguin Publishing. Shackleton Bailey, D. R. 1978. Cicero’s Letters to His Friends. New York: Penguin Publishing. Syme, R. 1939. The Roman Revolution. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. Wiseman, T. P. 1985. Roman Political Life 90 B. C.-A. D. 69. Exeter, UK: Exeter University Press.
The inconclusive, unpredictable, and expensive nature of large campaigns, low-level border conflicts and raids (kleinkrieg) gained importance and became the essential part of the battle environment and lifestyle of the Ottoman-Habsburg frontier after the long reign of Süleyman. This situation was exaggerated by frontier populations, which consisted of thousands of mercenaries who sought employment through war. Within certain limits both sides tolerated these raids and conflicts within. Occasionally, events spiraled out of control, however, provoking large campaigns. The Long War (Langekrieg) of 1593 to 1606 was a good example of this type of escalation. In 1592, the governor of Bosnia, Telli Hasan Pasha, increased the level of raids and began to conduct medium-sized attacks against specific targets by using his provincial units only, although he probably had the tacit support of some high-ranking government officials. Initially, he achieved a series of successes but suffered a decisive defeat near Sisak in which nearly all his army was wiped out and he himself was killed. The new Grand Vizier, Koca Sinan Pasha, used this incident as well as a popular mood inclined toward war to break the long peace.
The ambitious Sinan Pasha began the war eagerly but did not show the same enthusiasm during the actual start of the military campaign. The army mobilization was very slow and haphazard after long decades of inaction on the western frontier and from the repercussions of the draining and tiring Iranian campaign. Consequently, the campaign season of 1593 was wasted, and real combat activity only began in 1594 when the Ottomans easily captured Raab (Yanik) and Papa. However, a joint revolt and defection of the Danubean principalities of Wallachia, Moldovia, and Transylvania negated these gains and put the army in the very difficult position of facing two fronts at the same time. Moreover, the revolt threatened the security of the Danube River communications, which was essential for the supply of the army. The Wallachian campaign of 1595 to suppress the revolt ended with a humiliating defeat and huge loss of life. In the meantime, Habsburg forces captured the strategic fortress of Gran (Estergon).
The ever-resourceful Ottoman government immediately reacted to the consequences of these disasters, which had damaged especially the morale and motivation of the standing army corps. A new campaign was organized, and the reluctant sultan, Mehmed III, was persuaded to lead the expeditionary force in person. The presence of the sultan gave a big boost to army morale, and it advanced to the main objective, the modern fortress of Eger (Eğri), in good order. The Ottomans demonstrated their pragmatism and receptivity once again by applying the same effective siege artillery tactics that their Habsburg enemies had used against Estergon, and Egğri capitulated on October 12, 1596.
After the successful resolution of the siege, the Ottoman army had to face the relief force. Initially the Ottoman high command underestimated the danger and sent only the vanguard to deal with them. After the defeat and retreat of the vanguard, however, it decided to advance and attack the enemy with the entire army. The Habsburg army was deployed mainly in well-fortified defensive wagenburgen formations and it controlled all the passes in the swampy region of Mezökeresztes (Haçova). Even though captured prisoners had revealed the enemy strength and intentions two days before, the Ottoman high command insisted on an offensive strategy after spending only a single day passing through the swamps and thereafter deploying immediately into combat formation. The entire Ottoman first line joined the assault on October 26. The daring Ottoman plan failed, the assaulting units were stopped by massive firepower, and were then routed by Habsburg counterattacks. Fortunately, the Habsburg units gave up pursuit to loot the Ottoman camp. The day was saved at the very last moment with the daring counterattack of auxiliary units and cavalry against the Habsburg flanks and rear. As the disorganized and looting Habsburg soldiers panicked, the retreating Ottoman units immediately turned around and joined the auxiliary units. The Habsburg army suffered huge casualties in the following mayhem, and the Tatars decimated the remainder during the pursuit.
The Ottoman high command ended the campaign and returned to winter quarters instead of exploiting the advantage gained by these two victories. The reason was understandable considering the command elements of the army in this campaign. Except for a few operational level commanders, none of the military or civilian members of the high command (including the sultan) had the knowledge, experience, or courage to lead the army forward. This failure is contrasted by the strong performance of the standing army corps and provincial units, which executed their combat tasks properly and in some cases better than in previous campaigns. The Habsburg side also had the same leadership problems as well as other structural problems, such as mercenaries and the conflicting interests of regional magnates. The outcome of this mutually inarticulate strategic vision was to drag the war out into a series of seasonal campaigns launched against each others’ fortresses.
The Long War continued on for 10 more years, during which both armies, the Habsburgs especially, avoided large-scale battles. Because of the unpredictability of the outcome of pitched battles, both sides focused more on smaller battles revolving around key fortresses. After the disastrous year of 1598 in which Yanik was lost and the Ottoman army suffered numerous difficulties caused by harsh weather, the balance began to tip to the advantage of the Ottomans. Repeated attempts by the Habsburgs to capture Buda (Budin), the capital of Ottoman Hungary, failed whereas the Ottomans captured the mighty fortress of Kanisza (Kanije) and managed to keep it against all odds. The rebellious Danubean principalities, likewise, could not withstand the sheer weight of the war and one by one gave up. An unexpected revolt of the Transylvanians against the Habsburgs effectively wiped out the remaining chances of Habsburg success, while the Ottomans reconquered strategic Estergon. Once again, however, the Ottomans were unable to exploit their success effectively. This time it had nothing to do with the government or the strategic direction of the war but, rather, because of the collapse of the eastern frontier defensive system against a new Safavid offensive and the immediate security threat of renewed popular revolts (Celali). The Long War concluded with the Zsitvatorok peace agreement of 1606, which itself was the outcome of mutual exhaustion and other urgent issues.
Even though the Ottoman government failed to achieve a complete victory in the Long War it still gained considerable advantage by retaining such critical territorial conquests as Kanije and Eğri. This forced the Habsburgs to spend large amounts of money and time to build up a new defensive line against the Ottomans. Another advantage occurred with the influx of large numbers of western mercenaries, who introduced new weapon systems, tactics, and techniques into the Ottoman military. The Ottoman military benefited greatly from these new innovations, thanks to its receptivity and pragmatism. For the first time in Ottoman history, the government enlisted groups of mercenaries who had deserted from the Habsburg camp. The most well-known example involved the desertion of a French mercenary unit in the Papa fortress to the Ottoman side on August 1600. Afterwards, they served on various campaigns during the Long War, and some of them continued to serve well after the end of war. Even though this was extraordinary and not representative of a generalized trend, it demonstrates that the Ottoman government of the seventeenth century was far from being the reactionary and conservative organ that is still a commonly held conviction about its identity today.
Moreover, the length and difficulty of the war forced the Ottoman military to the limits of its capabilities and drastically transformed it. In order to meet the requirements of war, the Ottoman government had to reorganize the empire’s financial system and to recruit or mobilize all available manpower. The obvious outcome of the financial reorganization and enlargement of eligible population groups to the privileged Askeri class not only changed the face of the military but also had a huge impact on Ottoman society as a whole. Moreover, the increased need for musketeers further weakened the traditional military classes, especially the Sipahis and other cavalry corps.
From every aspect, the Ottoman military ended the war with a completely different army. Instead of mounted archers in loose formations, the army employed infantry with firearms in deep formations of several rows of men. Instead of a regionally based provincial army, a salary-based standing army supported by provincial mercenaries became the dominant military organization. Moreover, that army was becoming highly evolved as an institution that had formalized ranks, corps of specialists, training, and battlefield flexibility. Therefore, it can be safely said that the classical period of the Ottoman military effectively ended with the signing of the Zsitvatorok agreement on November 11, 1606.