Soldiers of the Crimean War (1853-56)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Ottoman Empire, Britain, France, Sardinia, Austria, and Prussia, vs. Russia

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): The Crimea

DECLARATION: October 4, 1853, Ottoman Empire against Russia

MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Russia claimed an exclusive right to protect Orthodox Christians within the territory of the Ottoman Empire; the Ottomans rejected this, and the Russians responded by invading Moldavia and Wallachia, whereupon the Ottoman Empire declared war. Fearing Russian seizure of Constantinople and the Dardanelles, the Western powers, led by Britain and France, allied themselves with the Ottomans.

OUTCOME: Russia renounced its role as protector of the Orthodox; the autonomy of Moldavia, Wallachia, and Serbia was guaranteed; doctrines upholding the principle of freedom of the seas were affirmed.

APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS: Russia, 888,000; France, 309,268; Britain, 97,864; Ottoman Empire, 165,000; Sardinia, 21,000

CASUALTIES: Russia, 73,125 battle deaths; France, 20,240 battle deaths; Britain, 4,602 battle deaths; Ottoman Empire, 20,900 battle deaths; Sardinia, 28 battle deaths; many more soldiers died of illness, for a total of 615,378 dead on all sides.

TREATIES: Treaty of Paris, March 30, 1856

The Crimean War is noteworthy on at least two counts: first, as the only European war Britain fought after the conclusion of the NAPOLEONIC WARS in 1815 and before the opening of WORLD WAR I in 1914, and second, as a showcase of logistical incompetence and poor generalship on all sides.

The war began as a dispute between Russian Orthodox priests and French Catholics over who had precedence at the holy places in Jerusalem and Nazareth. After the dispute turned violent, Russia’s czar, Nicholas I (1796-1855), asserted his nation’s duty and right to protect Orthodox Christians as well as Christian shrines in the Holy Land and elsewhere within the Ottoman realm. To show that he meant business, Nicholas invaded Wallachia and Moldavia, which were then part of the Ottoman Empire. On November 5, 1853, a Russian naval squadron attacked and destroyed a Turkish flotilla off Sinope in the Black Sea. British newspapers reported-falsely-that the Russians had purposely fired on wounded Turkish sailors. Presumably, the news reports were planted by the British government, which wanted an excuse to declare war on the Russians in order to forestall their domination of Constantinople and the Dardanelles Strait. For his part, French emperor Napoleon III (1808-73) was eager for a war that would give him an opportunity to emulate the military prowess of his uncle, Napoleon I (1769-1821). Moreover, he felt an obligation to protect the French monks in Jerusalem. Thus, each for their own reasons, Britain and France allied themselves with the Ottoman Empire against Russia.

A combined British and French fleet sailed into the Black Sea and ordered the Russians to withdraw from Wallachia and Moldavia. When Russia refused, war was declared. Austria allied itself with Prussia and, securing Ottoman permission, invaded Moldavia and Wallachia, driving the Russians out by the summer of 1854. This should have brought an end to the war, but Britain and France decided that the major Russian naval base at Sevastopol was a threat to the region and to freedom of the seas. Accordingly, in September 1854 a combined expeditionary force of British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish soldiers landed on the Crimean Peninsula and moved against Sevastopol. The principal British commander was the superannuated Fitzroy James Henry Somerset, lord Raglan (1788-1855), who had not seen service since the Battle of Waterloo.

By the time the allies landed at Calamita Bay on September 13, 1854, many had fallen ill with cholera and dysentery; disease would prove the deadliest foe in this war. The landing was managed poorly, and the British were particularly disorganized. Fortunately for the allies, the landings were unopposed. Three rivers lay between Calamita Bay and Sevastopol. At the second of these, the Alma, a Russian army under Prince Aleksandr Mentschikoff (1787-1869) took its stand. Not only did the Russians enjoy superiority of numbers, they commanded a narrow pass and held ground that was well defended. It should have been an easy victory for them, but in the confusion of battle they misread the strength of the Highland Brigade. These superbly trained troops conducted a fighting advance, firing while advancing. It was a maneuver unknown to the Russians, who panicked and fell back. Thanks to the Highlanders, the Battle of the Alma became a Russian rout.

Defeated, the Russians retreated inland and, as the siege of Sevastopol began, they regrouped along the British flank. As the British and French laboriously prepared their siege works, the Russians struck against the British right flank. Once again, it was Colin Cambell’s (1792-1863) Highlanders who drove off the first wave of Russian cavalry, but an even larger body of Russian cavalry advanced against the British headquarters. The British cavalry was led by General Sir James Scarlett (1799- 1871), who ordered a charge into the much stronger Russians. Tactically, it approached being a suicide mission, yet its ferocity and execution overwhelmed the numerically superior Russians, who retreated.

The battlefield at Balaclava was extremely hilly, and Lord Raglan was anxious to gain the high ground. Accordingly, he ordered George Charles Bingham, lord Lucan (1800-88), the commander of the cavalry, to regain the heights at any cost. Because infantry support failed to materialize, Lucan refused to move. When the Russians began to remove the guns they had captured from British positions, Raglan demanded that Lucan prevent their removal-again at all costs. Lucan in turn ordered the Light Brigade, led by James Thomas Brudenell, lord Cardigan (1797-1868), to take the lead. The Light Brigade advanced into a trap of massed Russian infantry and cavalry on both sides of the valley and ahead of them. When Cardigan protested the folly of charging an unassailable position, Lucan reminded him that his orders came directly from Lord Raglan, the commander in chief. Without further protest, then, Cardigan ordered the bugler to sound the charge, and the Light Brigade advanced into what Alfred, lord Tennyson (1809-92), in his famous poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” would call the “valley of death.” Of the 673 men who advanced, fewer than 200 returned, and most of these were wounded.

The British claimed the Battle of Balaklava as a victory, but, in fact, they had failed to dislodge the Russians from the strategic position of the Causeway Heights. Nevertheless, the principal Russian forces had been flung back. The Russians counterattacked at the Battle of Inkerman, which was fought largely hand-to-hand in a thick fog. A slugfest, the battle resulted in yet another Russian retreat. From this point on the Allies advanced slowly upon Sevastopol, enduring, as they inched forward, a bitter winter. The great scandal of the war was the corruption, heartlessness, and general incompetence of the British commissary department, which failed properly to clothe, feed, and shelter the freezing troops. It was in this context that the British nurse Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) campaigned so vigorously for sanitary and decent treatment of the sick and wounded at the hospital in Scutari.

In the meantime, Malakov and Redan, the two main Russian fortifications overlooking Sevastopol, fell on September 8 and 9, 1855. This led to the fall of Sevastopol itself, whereupon Czar Alexander II (1818-81), who had succeeded his father, Nicholas I, opened peace negotiations-even as the war continued to rage in the Caucasus. The Russian siege of Kars, an Ottoman fortress, proved successful, the Turks succumbing mostly to starvation and disease. However, British and French naval bombardment of Russia’s Baltic fortresses continued unremittingly, and Alexander at last agreed to the Treaty of Paris, signed on March 30, 1856.

Russia relinquished its self-proclaimed role as protector of the Orthodox in the Ottoman realms, and the Russians as well as the Turks agreed to recognize self-government in Moldavia, Wallachia, and Serbia. Issues relating to domination of the Dardanelles were also resolved, with all sides agreeing to recognize a general principle of freedom of the seas.

Further reading: Deborah Bachrach, Crimean War (Detroit: Gale Research, 1997); Winfried Baumgart, Crimean War, 1853-1856 (London: Hodder Arnold, 1999); Trevor Royle, Crimea: The Great Crimean War, 1854-1856 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000); Philip Warner, The Crimean War: A Reappraisal (London: Wordsworth Editions, 2000).

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Witnesses to the End…

Tiergarten Flak Tower – Generation 1 – (Flakturm Tiergarten) with twin 12,8 cm Zwillingsflak 44, Berlin, 1945.

The Flakturm (Flag Tower) is a concrete bunker that is placed in a city. The bunker was provided with a space where people (in the largest tower itself was room for 20,000 people) could shelter during bombings and there was space for storage of goods. The bunker was equipped with Flak anti-aircraft gun (Flak is the acronym for Flugabwehrkanone, also called Fliegerabwehrkanone).
These large towers were built during the Second World War in the cities Berlin (Germany), Hamburg (Germany) and Vienna (Austria).
Each Flak tower complex consisted of a G-Tower (Gefechts-Turm) and L-Tower (Leit-Turm).
The complexes consisting of 3 generations:
Generation 1:
G-Tower – 70.5 x 70.5 x 39 meters – with eight 128 mm guns and several 20, 30 and 37 mm guns.
L-Tower – 50 x 23 x 39 meters – usually equipped with sixteen 20 mm guns.
Generation 2:
G-Tower – 57 x 57 x 41.6 meters – equipped with eight 128 mm guns and sixteen 20 mm guns.
L-Tower – 50 x 23 x 44 meters – equipped with forty 20 mm guns
Generation 3:
G-Tower – 43 x 43 x 54 meters – with eight 128 mm guns and 32 pieces of the 20 mm gun.

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With Allied forces advancing from the west, east and south and a northerly route of escape cut off by the sea, the noose was finally closing around Hitler’s “1,000-year” Reich. Berlin, of course, was to be the scene of final destruction and in the last two weeks of the war in Europe the Germans prepared to defend their capital as best they could.

The east side of Berlin was strongly fortified, with three separate lines of anti-tank defences. In the city centre, every street was to be turned into a strong point. Hitler had hoped to make Berlin into a fortress and it was certainly given many of the relevant features. Ringed around the city were three structures which echoed the castles of medieval times. These were the flak towers, three huge concrete structures with walls so thick that not even the heaviest artillery shells could penetrate them. The first, known as the Humboldt Tower, after the famous German oceanographer, was located just off the Brunnenstrasse in the north of Berlin. The second was just to the east of the city centre, on Landsberger Allee, and the third was in the south-west of the city centre, at the Zoo.

The original purpose of these flak towers had been to serve as anti-aircraft gun platforms to protect Berlin against the frequent Allied bombing raids. Each of the enormous gun towers had a satellite tower a short distance away from where artillery observers controlled the anti-aircraft fire. After the Russians beat off a last desperate stand on the Seelow heights east of Berlin, pouring down such a weight of artillery fire that the defenders had to retreat, the last natural obstacle into the city was open to them. Now the onus was on the defence ring hastily thrown up around Berlin and on the flak towers, which were virtually impregnable.

In 1945, with the dreaded Russians almost at the gates, these defences were to protect not only Berlin, but also the heart of the Nazi regime, located in a bunker close to the Chancellery building on Wilhelmstrasse. They were also meant to preserve the nearby key city landmarks of the Brandenburg Gate, the famous Unter den Linden and the Reichstag on Königsplatz.

In his bunker, Hitler was obsessed with dreams of glory that would never come true. At the start of 1945 he had dismissed as ridiculous fantasy the idea that the Red Army was about to launch a major offensive into Germany and even at this late hour clung to the illusion that forces commanded by SS Lieutenant-General Felix Steiner were going to link up with the surviving German forces north of Berlin and strike a decisive blow against the Russians. Steiner had no more than a ragbag of forces, the grandly named Group Steiner, that was incapable of even scratching the Russian advance. The Russians simply brushed them aside as they completed their encirclement of the Nazi capital.

Finally, Hitler turned to Colonel-General Gotthard Heinrici, commander of the Army Group Vistula, including the Ninth Army, which, he fancied, was going to march into Berlin any day and save the Reich and its Führer from the communist devils. Heinrici was an experienced professional from a family with a military tradition going back eight centuries. He was supposed to be responsible for the defence of Berlin, but he knew a lost cause when he saw one. Like Schörner, he ordered his troops away from the capital, advising them to surrender to the British or the Americans. Hitler ineffectively dismissed Heinrici on April 28 and returned to his illusions. He spent his time moving flags on a large map, apparently believing that they represented real military forces. He remained unaware that his new mighty “armies” consisted of a few small groups and defenders holed up in Berlin’s flak towers.

Hannau Rittau was a gunner in the Zoo flak tower. He was prepared to do all he could to defend Berlin, his birthplace, but like Heinrici, he knew it was hopeless:

You could see what was happening, the Russians were drawing closer and closer to Berlin and when they started firing on Berlin with their artillery we said, “Well, this is the end!” But I was born and raised in Berlin and we had to defend our home, just as we had to defend our country. That’s what we tried to do.

I was lucky to get into the tower at the Zoo. There was an army and an air-force hospital on one floor, though in the end we had wounded solders and civilians on all the floors. I think there were 3,000 people in this tower. My job was to drive the ambulance and bring the wounded to the tower from outside, so it was easy for me to stay there.

The tower came under determined Russian attack for two days and two nights. Despite the safety Rittau and the others had found in the tower, it was a frightening experience:

The Russians were firing at the tower all the time. The noise of the exploding artillery against the walls was terrible, the walls shook all the time. They couldn’t get through because the concrete of the tower was so thick and strong.

Even so, at one o’clock in the morning of May 2, the tower was surrendered to the Russians. We were told to stay at our stations, which we did. The first thing I remember after that was the door opening. A Russian tank driver came in and said, “Everybody kaput, everybody kaput, ja? Everybody kaput, ja? Don’t be frightened, Russian soldiers are good. The bad things you’ve heard about us were all propaganda.” And out he went again. That was our first contact with the Russians.

A few hours later the Russians came round looked at everybody. The wounded soldiers were lying on the floor, we had no beds, the wounded were on blankets on the hard floor. The Russians started stealing their watches, as they did with everybody. They were very interested in watches. We looked after the wounded, as we had done before. We had enough food in the tower because there was enough food storage in there for the whole of Berlin.

Although the Russians did not appear to be particularly dangerous or violent, Rittau decided to escape from the tower:

I tried to get out, because we hadn’t seen any fresh air all the time, you never saw daylight in this tower. I was on the third floor. I went downstairs and there was just one Russian standing on guard there. I gave him a cigarette. That seemed to please him. I was in hospital dress, all in white, so that he could see that I was a member of the hospital team. I looked around, and then went back into the tower again.

During the next two days, all of a sudden they starting making lists. The Russians came around asking, “What’s your name? What’s your grade? What was your last regiment?” “Oh, oh!” I thought to myself.

This is getting dangerous. I’d better get home!”

It was May 6 by now. The Russians on guard were so used to seeing me that they didn’t notice when I slipped out of the tower. It was easy. I did the same thing again, I was wearing my uniform, but I had removed all the insignia. I pulled on my white hospital dress over it, went out the door and walked away, just like that! Of course, I tried to keep out of sight of any Russian soldier in the street who might ask me, “Where is your pass or your pay book?” or goodness knows what, and I walked home. Although my parents’ house was quite close to Berlin, I didn’t arrive until seven in the evening, after 10 hours.

Walking all the way, it took a long time because I tried to avoid any Russians wherever I could see them. I just ducked away out of sight and waited until they had passed by.

Ulf Ollech, formerly of the Luftwaffe, was in a rather more exposed position than Rittau. He helped to man an artillery battery in the environs of Berlin. Members of the Volkssturm, the citizens’ militia, were also there. This body, consisting of Hitler Youth and older men up to the age of 65 or more, had been specially trained with the Panzerfaust, also known as the Faustpatrone. This was a deadly anti-tank weapon which fired a hollow-charge projectile effective at 33 yards. In the battle for Berlin, groups armed with the Panzerfaust went hunting for Russian tanks and destroyed so many of them that the wreckage littering the streets actually obstructed the Russian advance.

Ollech was, however, disturbed at the idea that the Panzerfaust and their other weapons were going to kill people:

I was only 17, but suddenly I had to shoot at human beings in order to preserve my own life. We were trained with artillery, and were stationed on one of Berlin’s arterial roads, the Prenzlauer Allee, it was called. Work began at 0700 hours – practice with the artillery and training, training, training. Then we were transferred further to the north-east, to the eastern edge of Bernau. We set up positions on the road, but were then transferred at night to a place called Malchow, where we had a free field of fire on the road closer to Berlin, near the Weissensee – a free field of fire towards this road.

The Volkssturm troops were in the trenches in front of us. Behind us were residential areas with trees and houses and gardens, so that we were well camouflaged; and we expected, quite rightly, that the Red Army would come along this road straight past us. We had to be patient. During the course of one day, in terrible weather and soaking rain, walking through the trenches meant that you carried the mud and filth with you. We spent the night there, half awake, half asleep, and the next morning, when the sun rose, we heard they were advancing along this road. Because it was an asphalt road, the Russians could see exactly whether or not someone had been laying mines there. But it was free of mines and so they advanced.

Four T-34s, two Shermans and an assault tank came along. The road had a small bend and before the first tank had reached this bend, we started firing. We had an artillery gun, which had a velocity of 1,200 metres per second, the only gun in the world from which the shell left the barrel at such speed. That meant that the discharge and impact, especially at a distance of 200, perhaps 300 metres, was so short that you thought the discharge and the impact were the same sound. The tanks were all destroyed and the Red Army infantry at the rear of the tanks dispersed.

The wrecked tanks glowed red throughout the night and the ammunition inside exploded. We spent that night there, and the next morning the weather was dry, we discovered that the infantry units, in the shape of the Volkssturm, had gone, vanished. They were supposed to be in front of us and we had seen them the day before, but now they were nowhere to be seen.

That, of course, scared the wits out of us, because we knew that if the Red Army infantry had come at us overnight, we could never have fought them off. The next morning we ate a little and drank some tea, and then we got the order to retreat with our unit into the town proper, because the Red Army, primarily the infantry, but also the tanks, had already gone around us and broken through into the suburbs.

Ollech’s part in the battle of Berlin ended in one of Berlin’s flak towers, which was under siege by the Russians:

We retreated and retreated and we finally ended up in a flak tower – there were three of them in Berlin – and we got ourselves over to one of them. It was surprisingly comfortable. The food was good – I had the most glorious pea soup I had ever tasted in my life – and each of us had a plank bed, a cupboard, and everything was in first-class condition. We kept guard outside for four hours, then two hours inside.

The Russians started firing at the tower with their tanks. You could hear them. Their shells went “Clack-clack” as if someone was knocking on a door. That wasn’t good enough for the Russians, so they brought up some 15cm howitzers. They managed to make tiny holes in the concrete. There were windows which were closed from the outside with heavy steel doors, I imagine that they weighed tons, and the Russians succeeded in hitting the upper hinge of one of the doors, which burst. One of them broke off, twisted off the other one and hurtled downwards. Apart from that, the flak tower wasn’t badly damaged at all.

They then brought up a light artillery piece. A tank attack at night followed; they knew that we were lying in relays in the surrounding trenches. We had never experienced a tank attack at night before, and that was perhaps the most awful experience, because they attacked and we sought cover, and fought them off. Next morning we saw Russian corpses hanging over the edges of the trenches, with their machine guns dragged halfway. The Russian MGs were on wheels. You could hear when they were being pulled across a street because they rattled, “rat-a-tat-tat”.

Then came April 30, when we learned that Hitler and his wife had committed suicide. Hitler had once said: “I am National Socialism, if I no longer exist, there will be no more National Socialism; in other words, everything was focused upon him. We young men were very upset. We’d believe him when he’d said that. We’d grown up with it. We felt he had let us down. It was like losing an all-powerful father. What was going to happen to us now? we wondered.

It seemed hopeless for us to carry on. On May 2 we surrendered the flak tower.

The 33rd Waffen-Grenadier-Division of the SS Charlemagne (French No.1)

Henri Kreis. Former head of the PAK section of the Sturmbrigade in Galicia and Kriegkommandant of Radomyśl village, where he was seriously injured when fighting a T34 tank. Once recovered, he became an instructor at the SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Schule at Kienschlag. In March 1945 he commanded a reinforcement battalion at Wildflecken, as the division itself had already left for Pomerania. Attached to the 38th Nibelungen Division, he fought against the Americans in Bavaria with the rank of an Obersturmführer, although in this photograph he is still only an Unterscharführer. (DR)

Prisoners of the Charlemagne Division who were executed on 8 May 1945 at Karlstein by their fellow Frenchmen from the 2nd Armoured Division, commanded by General Leclerc, in American uniform and under orders from Paris. In the foreground from left to right are Waffen-Unterscharführer Jean Robert, then Waffen-Obersturmführer Serge Krotoff (of 2nd Bataillon, 57th Regiment), Paul Briffaut in army uniform and Waffen-Untersturmführer Raymond Daffas. The divisional archives had previously been piled onto trucks and destroyed in late April by the Bavarian peasant with whom they had been hidden, as a result of the American advance.

In the spring of 1944 a command was issued from the OKW to transfer all foreigners serving in the German Army to the Waffen SS. The attack against Hitler on 20 July accelerated this movement, particularly concerning the French. German high command decided to regroup the volunteers into a new SS French brigade, under the command of Colonel Edgard Puaud. The SS-Hauptamt [the administrative office of the SS] decided to bring the 638 French infantry regiment back from Russia. It was disbanded on 10 August 1944 and its members transferred to the Waffen SS. The LVF headquarters at Greifenberg now became the new brigade’s headquarters as well as the Französische SS-Grenadier Ausbildungs und Ersatz-Bataillon (French SS Grenadier training and reserve Battalion), commanded by SS-Obersturmbannführer Heinrich Hersche who had arrived from Sennheim. The Sturmbrigade, whose 1st Battalion had proved itself so valiantly in Galicia, arrived on 5 September and joined 2nd Battalion for training at the ‘West-Prussian’ SS-Trüppenbüngsplatz. Alongside them, 2,000-2,100 political soldiers were finishing their basic training there, under the command of SS-Oberstumbannführer Paul Gamory-Dubourdeau. In addition there were also men from the SS-Französische Flakbaterrie, who had not joined the Sturmbrigade in the fighting in Poland, 1,000-1,200 sailors from the Kriegsmarine and Kriegsmarinewerftpolizei who had landed at Greifenberg in mid-September, and around 2,000 men who were involved in the Schutzcommando and Todt Organisation, the NSKK, the Speer Legion and the Technische Nothilfe, which was part of the German Police. There were also other general German paramilitary units, although some had remained at their original training grounds with the permission of their leaders.

Two regiments were formed, with two battalions each comprised of four companies. The 57th Regiment was predominantly composed of former members of the Sturmbrigade, on the orders of Paul Gamory-Dubourdeau. The 58th Regiment was headed by Commander Eugéne Bridoux and contained the ex-Legionnaires. Either for religious reasons (the perceived paganism of the SS), years of combat fatigue, or because they felt the war was definitively lost, a few dozen men categorically refused to be transferred. Taking advantage of this opportunity to start on a clean slate, a purge took place removing 180 of these ‘undesirables’. In order to learn the fighting methods of the SS, a number of LVF officers and soldiers were sent on training courses. During their absence, the brigade left its quarters and headed for the SS-Truppenübungsplatz at Wildflecken. On 5 November, part of the French state militia had to withdraw from Germany and found itself also being incorporated into the brigade. During the winter of 1944-45, the Waffen-Grenadier (no longer the SS-Grenadier as those of the Sturmbrigade had been called) had to endure particularly harsh training as a result of the snow, the freezing temperatures, lack of equipment and clothes and poor diet. Desertions among the prestigious SS units, such as the Walloon or the Wiking divisions were very common, because their members wanted to join the fighting as soon as possible.

Given the title of ‘Division’, despite its reduced capacity (more than 7,300 men), the orders to depart for the East by train arrived on 16 February. Integrated with the 11th Army, the first men arrived on 22 February at Hammerstein in Pomerania and gathered in a nearby camp. Sent to the frontlines without any armoured support, heavy weaponry or radio equipment, and with all their assault rifles having been hijacked by another unit, the division’s casualties began to pile up. Different companies broke off to fight in isolated groups, with no communication with the rear lines as they were pushed backwards. The survivors retreated to Szczecinek and after this initial engagement, the division had lost around one third of its troops, most of whom were either wounded or evacuated. Five hundred were dead. After regrouping at Białogard, the units were merged together to form a frontline regiment with the freshest and most experienced soldiers, and a reserve regiment with a reduced combat role, due to the fatigue amongst the men. They were sent to protect the retreat of the German troops at the port of Kolberg. Once more the French faced fierce fighting trying to defend the city, forcing them to consider pulling back towards Białogard, which was still held by the Germans. Trapped on a plain south-west of the city, the 3,000 men of the reserve regiment were massacred by Soviet tanks. A few survivors were captured, while others took refuge in the nearby woods. Surrounded for days, the exhausted soldiers now had to finish their war as prisoners, having failed to cross the River Oder. Arriving in Międzyrzecz, in western Poland after a long and painful march, the men of 1st Battalion, who were the only ones left unscathed, managed to succeed in breaking the encirclement of Pomerania. The French regrouped on the outskirts of Anklam and waited for other survivors of the Division.

Stationed at Carpin, the combat units were once more reorganised and resumed their training. On 24 April SS-Brigadeführer Krukenberg, who was now in charge of the French, received a telegram from Hitler’s bunker announcing that he was to take up a new position in Berlin and must get there with a French assault battalion as quickly as possible. Having lost three vehicles en route, a French detachment arrived in Berlin, which by now was virtually surrounded by the Red Army. They were attached to the SS Nordland Division, commanded by Waffen-Haupsturmführer Henri Fenet. This division had distinguished itself in urban combat, repulsing many large-scale armoured vehicle attacks using the Panzerfaüst [German anti-tank weapon]. The very experienced French soldiers managed to officially take out sixty-two tanks as they gradually retreated to the ever-decreasing German-held zones. On the morning of 2 May, Fenet and his men finally reached Hitler’s bunker. They were hoping to find the last kernel of resistance, but instead realised that the battle was all but over. More fighting now commenced in order to avoid being taken prisoner, but one by one the men were arrested by the victorious Soviets, before resistance finally ceased at 3pm.

The remaining men who were still at the barracks at Greifenberg left and joined those at Wildflecken. Here they were divided into various units and separately retreated westwards, where some were subordinated into the 38th SS-Grenadier-Division Nibelungen. In the end, four members of the division were awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.

The Evolution of the Early Roman Army

The early Romans fought as hoplites, inspired by Etruscans and Greeks.

The transition of the Roman army from ‘tribal’ warriors to citizen militia was achieved in part due to the Roman society and its intrinsic representation (with voting rights) in the Roman assembly. To that end, the early Romans were almost entirely depended on their citizen militia for the protection and extension of the burgeoning faction’s borders. These militiamen were simply raised as levy or ‘legio’ – which in turn gives way to the term ‘legion’. In essence, the so-called legions of early Rome were ‘poor’ predecessors to the uniformly-equipped and disciplined soldiers of the later centuries.

Weapons figure in grave-goods in west-central Italy from c. 1000 bc on, and from the eighth century graves of high-status warriors in Etruscan and Latin cemeteries are marked by combinations of iron weapons and bronze armor, much of it evidently intended for display rather than use. Grave-goods virtually disappear from Latin sites by the early sixth century. However, already by this time Greek hoplite equipment had begun to be adopted in the region, including the characteristic double-grip round shield and distinctive helmets and body armor. Hoplite equipment had appeared in the Greek world from the late eighth century, and its widespread use in Etruscan cities is attested from c. 650 on by grave finds and artistic representations. The evidence is thinner for Rome and the other Latin communities, but it seems likely that hoplite equipment came into use there about the same time or soon after its introduction in Etruria.

It has usually been thought that the introduction of hoplite equipment led rapidly to a new style of fighting, with the hoplites (heavy-armed troops) massed in close formation (the phalanx), using a thrusting spear as their main offensive weapon and also carrying a short sword. Greek city-states’ defense, it is held, now depended on middle-class hoplites, serving alongside aristocrats in the phalanx line, and this had important social and political consequences. Difficulties have sometimes been found in applying this model to Etruria: it has been doubted whether an army of citizen hoplites is compatible with Etruscan social structure, commonly supposed to have been dominated in this period by aristocratic gentes, and it is notable that Greek equipment is often found in combination with Etruscan weaponry, as on the gravestele of Aule Feluske of Vetulonia, shown armed with a hoplite shield and helmet but an Etruscan double-axe.

Established views of hoplite warfare have, however, recently been subjected to radical critiques, notably by Van Wees. He argues that close-formation fighting was not essential for the effectiveness of the new equipment, and that down to the early fifth century Greek hoplites continued to fight in a quite open formation, interspersed with light-armed troops. He also maintains that there was considerable disparity between working-class and leisured hoplites, with only the latter wearing much body armor. These conclusions fit well with the Etruscan indications, and, if they are correct, the difference between developments in Greece and Etruria may not be as great as supposed, and the adoption of Greek armor in Etruria may not have involved radical changes in fighting methods, let alone social structures. The same will also apply to Rome and Latium: here too fighting may have continued to be fluid and flexible, based on an open formation incorporating both light and more heavily armed troops, and especially at first, only the really well-to-do may have aspired to the new Greek-style shields and armor.

The Romans ascribed to King Servius Tullius the division of the citizen body into centuries based on wealth, and there is no good reason to doubt the attribution. The centuriate system in due course underwent radical modification and was to have enduring political importance as a basis for assembly voting, but, when introduced in the later sixth century, its purpose must have been primarily military. It is often supposed that in its original form the system divided the citizens simply into the “class” (classis), who served as hoplites, and the rest who served, if at all, as light-armed. However, although we know that in the second century bc the first of the(then five) classes could be referred to simply as “the class” and the rest as “below the class” (infra classem) (so Cato, cited by A. Gellius, Noctes Atticae 6.13), it does not follow that this was a relic of a much earlier one-class system. Although the details on equipment given by Livy (1.44) and Dionysius (4.16-21) are of questionable value, the tradition may be right that from its inception the centuriate system divided the infantry into multiple classes. King Servius will then have aimed to maximize the state’s military resources by imposing an obligation of military service on all but the poorest citizens and regulating how they should arm themselves according to their means, with those who could afford it equipping themselves with some or all of the hoplite panoply, while the richest served as cavalry (perhaps true cavalry, rather than mounted infantry as in most archaic Greek states). The result will have been a heterogeneously equipped army with both hoplite and diverse other elements, which fits well with Van Wees’ open-formation model of archaic warfare.

The Roman army must have changed greatly between the sixth and fourth centuries, but, although numerous attempts have been made to reconstruct its evolution, this can only be speculation. Even the best attested change remains problematic, namely the introduction of military pay. A well-established tradition (e. g. Livy 4.59-60) records its introduction, funded by direct taxation, in c. 406 at around the time of the start of the siege of Veii. It is not a difficulty that Roman coinage did not begin for another century: the payments could have been made in weighed bronze. But most warfare then still consisted of short, local campaigns, and the extended Samnite Wars of the later fourth century are a more likely context for the introduction of regular pay, although some payments may have been made to those manning the Veii siege.

By the end of the fourth century the Roman army must have reached much the form in which it was described for us by Polybius (6.19-26), a century and a half later. In this system the citizen troops were brigaded in legions of at least 4,500 men, of which the heavy infantry comprised at least 3,000. The equipment of these heavy infantry included an oval shield (scutum), heavy javelin (pilum), and short sword, and they fought in a flexible formation, deployed in three lines, each divided into ten maniples. The essential features of the system, the weaponry and the maniple as tactical unit, are often held to have been introduced only during the Samnite Wars, a doctrine supported by ancient claims that they were borrowings from the Samnites. However, this evidence is questionable and contradicted by other sources, and it seems unlikely that the Romans embarked on the struggle with the Samnites simply with a hoplite army. More probably, the manipular army was the product of a longer evolutionary process, in which a more diversely equipped force gradually became more standardized and tightly organized. Some features like the scutum may have been present much earlier, and Livy and Dionysius may perhaps be right in representing some elements in the Servian army as equipped with shields of this type. One important element of continuity from the Servian to the manipular system is likely to have been the maximizing of Roman military resources by imposing the obligation to serve on all but the poorest citizens.

The Rhodesian Counterinsurgency Campaign 1962–80 III

Having received training in tactical tracking operations, survival techniques, and living in a mock terrorist training camp during the “Dark Phase” portion of their selection course, Scouts would then be paired up with captured terrorists. These “tamed” terrorists would be given an AK-47 to help build trust between them and the Scouts. Sometimes the firing pin would be secretly removed until they had established a strong working relationship, just in case they were feeling froggy.

Phase 4: 1977–79

In late 1977, in the midst of Operation Dingo and fulfilling his promise to Vorster and Kissinger, Smith announced that he would negotiate with he African nationalists and accept majority rule. The upshot of those discussions was the political settlement of March 1978 and the formation of the interim government of Smith, Muzorewa, Sithole (who had been ousted from ZANU by Mugabe), and Chief Jeremiah Chirau to devise the new fully democratic constitution and prepare for the general election.

ZANU and ZAPU responded by unifying as the Patriotic Front, but their forces fought each other whenever they met. ZANLA intensified the war at great cost, with Fire Force taking a fearful toll. ZANLA also had severe logistical problems and lacked the morale, the discipline, and the training for positional warfare. ZPRA had conventional forces, but lacked a bridgehead across the Zambezi River and air support.

The increased fighting, combined with the prospect of being ruled by an African prime minister, shook the Rhodesian whites. Casualties remained light, but whites began to emigrate at the rate of 2,000 a month. Despite an infinite supply of eager African recruits, budgetary constraints and the shortage of training staff meant that the security forces could not expand fast enough to match the growth of ZANLA and ZPRA, and were soon outnumbered except at times of total mobilization.

Even so, the Rhodesian war effort improved and, with the prospect of success in the political field finally in sight, in 1978 ComOps produced a strategy with coherent goals which broke the reactive mold. This involved:

1. Protecting “Vital Asset Ground” (mines, factories, key farming areas, bridges, railways, fuel dumps, and the like).

2. Denying the insurgents the “Ground of Tactical Importance” (the African rural areas) as a base from which to mount attacks on crucial assets by:

i. Inserting large numbers of armed auxiliaries (loyal to Muzorewa and Sithole) into these areas to assist in the reestablishment of the civil administration and to destroy the links between the insurgents and their supporters;

ii. Using Fire Force and high-density troop operations against insurgent infested areas.

3. Preventing incursions through border control.

4. Raiding neighboring countries to disrupt ZANLA’s and ZPRA’s command and control; to destroy base facilities, ammunition, and food supplies; to harass reinforcements; and to hamper movement by aerial bombardment, mining, and ambushing of routes.

An addendum to this plan was CIO’s decision to sponsor the anti-FRELIMO resistance movement, Resistencia National Moçambique (RNM), which began to weaken FRELIMO and allow the Rhodesians greater freedom of action against ZANLA in Mozambique.

Although many in the Rhodesian security establishment did not grasp the potential of the auxiliary forces, the 10,000 auxiliaries, deployed among the rural Africans, began to deny the insurgents the countryside. For the first time, there were forces to occupy the ground which Fire Force won. Information began to flow again from the people, and Fire Force became more deadly. The operational demands, however, were excessive. Fire Forces deployed two and three times a day. Many external air and ground attacks were mounted, even on the outskirts of Lusaka in Zambia, but economic targets remained inviolate.

MID became more effective in the analysis of intelligence, and the army was strengthened by the formation of the Rhodesia Defence Regiment to supplement the Guard Force in guarding vital points.

Phase 5: April 1979–March 1980

The election of Muzorewa in April 1979 offered the only chance for the counterinsurgency war to be won because, voting in a 62 percent poll of the newly enfranchised African population, the moderate Africans dealt ZANLA and ZPRA a stunning defeat by defying their orders to abstain. The Rhodesian security forces mobilized 60,000 men to neutralize the threat to the election. During the three days of the election, 230 insurgents were killed, and 650 overall during the month of April. The others went to ground or surrendered. The ZANLA commanders left the country for orders and for six weeks the war stood still. If Margaret Thatcher had adhered to her election promise to recognize this internationally monitored result, the insurgency could have been defeated. Instead, Thatcher reneged and the murders of Africans increased as the insurgents strove to reestablish themselves. The morale of the security forces and the public sank. At the same time, planning to rob ZANLA of victory at a decisive moment, ZPRA deployed a 3,000-strong vanguard into Rhodesia to prepare the way for its Soviettrained, motorized, conventional army. ZANLA responded with an offensive into Matabeleland, ZPRA’s heartland. Although ZANLA deployed 10,000 men into Rhodesia, including some FRELIMO volunteers, it was in dire straits due to constant Fire Force action, the external raids, the unease of the host country, and the denial of ground by the auxiliaries. The peace achieved at the Lancaster House Conference in London came none too soon for ZANLA.13 Its real accomplishment was political. Its long campaign of intimidation ensured that Mugabe won the 1980 election.

Muzorewa could have achieved a stronger bargaining position if he had adopted a total strategy. Instead, while his security forces strove to contain the situation in expectation of a political solution, his political and military aims were not tied in closely enough. He could have exerted economic pressure and threat of a conventional war on Zambia and Mozambique to cease aiding his enemies. He could have stalled to allow time for his auxiliaries and Fire Force to weaken the hold of the insurgents within the country, while his forces crippled the supply lines of ZANLA and ZPRA and the RNM kept FRELIMO at bay. The humiliation of this could have caused the fall of the FRELIMO leader, Samora Machel. The Russians might have offered some help, but Machel had seen what had happened to Angola and would have hesitated to take it. The Cubans could have intervened, but this was unlikely as they were already overextended in Angola, and South Africa would have immediately reacted. There were political dangers, but Rhodesia had demonstrated that she could withstand international pressure.

Muzorewa could have enjoyed a number of options. A separate deal with Nkomo’s ZAPU would have been possible. The Lancaster House peace talks could have been stalled until the pressure on Zambia and Mozambique began to tell. Limited Western recognition might have been forthcoming to prevent a regional war. Muzorewa could have dictated the peace terms and his apparent strength would have appealed to the electorate because, like Mugabe, he could threaten the resumption of the war.

Muzorewa’s external operations did contain the ZPRA threat from Zambia, by blowing bridges and leaving Zambia totally dependent on a single railway line through Rhodesia to South Africa. The raids steadily raised the odds in Mozambique to force FRELIMO to cease supporting ZANU and ZANLA. The Rhodesian forces attacked bridges in the Gaza Province to cut ZANLA’s supply lines. They planned to do likewise in the Manica, Sofala, and Tete Provinces had they not been stopped. Perhaps they were stopped because the British were bent on achieving a settlement embracing all players, including Mugabe, and the South Africans wanted to woo Machel to deny their ANC safe havens. Muzorewa also weakly allowed the British to divide his delegation, while Mugabe and Nkomo delayed signing anything to gain time to build their political support within Rhodesia and recoup their losses.

Enforcing the ceasefire, the Commonwealth Monitoring Force restrained the Rhodesian forces and ostensibly confined the ZANLA and ZPRA forces to a number of assembly point camps. The British, however, ignored the presence of mostly recruits in the camps and the absence of the hard core, who remained outside among the population and ensured that Mugabe won the election. The British, with too few troops to intervene, accepted the result despite the overwhelming evidence of intimidation.

The Rhodesian forces flirted with, but rejected, the idea of a coup because only Britain could confer sovereignty. Instead they concentrated on forcing the British to reschedule the election. Lord Carrington, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, aided and abetted by Ken Flower, the Head of CIO, and P. K. Allum, the Police Commissioner, ignored the evidence of widespread intimidation supplied not only by the Rhodesian forces but also by the British monitors.

In the end, the leaders of the intelligence establishment betrayed their own, perhaps for the sake of their pensions. Flower went on to serve Mugabe and his Marxist aspirations, and the CIO became a feared secret police organization rather than an intelligence agency. The war cost ZANLA and ZRPA 40,000 dead at a cost of 1,735 Rhodesian dead – a ratio of 23:1. A flawed election placed Mugabe in power and, bent on the retention of power, he has ruined a once thriving state. Where once food was exported and policemen went unarmed, famine and terror stalk the land. All the Rhodesian military gained out of the failure of the counterinsurgency campaign was an enviable reputation.

Special Brigades of the Russian Expeditionary Force

Russian troops parading in front of général Henri Gouraud and général Nikolaï Lokhvitski at camp de Mailly in October 1916.

General N. Lokhvitskiy inspecting positions accompanied by Russian and French Officers in the summer of 1916 in Champagne.

Travel of the Russian Expeditionary Force to the Western Front

Surprisingly, at this time of preparation for the great offensive of 1916 – and even more surprisingly in view of the millions of casualties already suffered and men taken prisoner – Russia was sending troops abroad. When Vasily Lodshina was being deafened by the guns in the forest, 1st Special Brigade of the Russian Expeditionary Force landed at Marseille to fight on the Western Front. Visiting Russia in December 1915 future French president Paul Doumer had asked for 300,000 men, which ridiculously high figure was based on the assumption that Russia had unlimited reserves of trained manpower. At Stavka, General Alekseyev was understandably against sending any men to France, in addition to those already destined for the Salonika front. The Tsar, however, overrode his objections in return for Doumer’s promise of armaments and eventually compromised on sending a brigade, providing it was to serve under Russian officers, be equipped by the French, and be transported by the French navy.

Comprising one regiment from each of Moscow and Samara, the brigade numbered 8,942 men, with factory workers predominating in 1st Regiment and peasants in 2nd Regiment. Contemporary photographs show French officers on the quayside at Marseille in April 1916, saluting the new arrivals after their ten-week journey from Moscow, via the Trans-Siberian railway and by sea from Dal’ny around China, across the Indian Ocean, through the Red Sea and Suez Canal. On board one of the four French ships, some Russian officers return the salutes, while most of their men see Europe for the first time with no apparent emotion. They parade through the Old Town in front of curious, but not very large, crowds before being transported by rail to Mailly le-Camp in Champagne, preparative to being sent into the line. Killing time for a few days there, they eat, smoke and watch two burly NCOs doing energetic Cossack knees-bend dancing to music played on an accordion. In a safe trench on the French-held sector of the Champagne sector of the line, their commander, General Nikolai Lokhvitsky, poses for a photographer. For him and the other officers, with fluent French as their second language, liaison was not a problem. For their conscripts in the brigade, it was a different story. At that point, the photographic record ends, but the documentary record continues, to end in tragedy.

A few days after setting foot on French soil, 1st Special Brigade was transported to Châlons-sur-Marne and attached to General Henri Gouraud’s 4th Army, ‘going up’ to the line around Auberive at the end of June. Like their brothers-in-arms on the Russian fronts, the men of 1st Special Brigade fought and suffered in the trenches, being joined later by 3rd Special Brigade, shipped from Archangel to Brest in September, while 2nd and 4th Russian Special Brigades were in Macedonia, fighting the Bulgarians. In all, some 45,000 officers and men were sent to fight in France. There is a military cemetery at Mourmelon-le-Grand containing the graves of 1,000 Russian officers and men. Somewhat belatedly, the French nation erected a memorial equestrian statue on the bank of the Seine in Paris in 2011.

News of the Tsar’s abdication in March 1917 and of the mutinies on the Russian fronts divided the men’s loyalties, with many of the more politically active townsmen in 1st Brigade refusing to fight and demanding to be repatriated while the peasants of 3rd Brigade remained under the discipline of their officers, prepared to continue the war. The generals might have been able to fool themselves that the loss of millions of lives was justified in some unprovable way, but the men in the front lines had long ceased believing in anything, except the likelihood that they would soon be corpses. Because the French army was suffering mutinies with many men being summarily shot in front of their comrades pour encourager les autres, the mutinous Russians were moved to where they were less likely to spread dissent at the front. At the huge military camp of La Courtine in Central France, attempts were made by Russian and French officers to restore order in 1st Brigade. After 3rd Brigade was ordered to surround the mutineers’ camp, there ensued five days of scuffles and argument before a Russian-manned battery of French field guns shelled the mutineers, causing fifty casualties.

The surviving mutineers were despatched to concentration camps, some as far away as the Sahara desert, then policed by the French Foreign Legion, where conditions were horrific. Most officers and some men, however, volunteered to form the Légion Russe, which continued the fight until the Armistice in November 1918. By then, few of these legionnaires thought it was safe to return to Russia under the Bolsheviks. Since France had been a pays d’accueil for refugees from European monarchies ever since the Revolution, they opted to stay there on demobilisation. This produced the strange phenomenon between the wars, when it seemed that the majority of taxi-drivers in Paris were former Russian officers, as were many of the commissionaires outside posh hotels.

Coldstream Guards 1700-1763

David Morier (1705?-70) Grenadiers, 1st and 3rd Regiments of Foot Guards and Coldstream Guards, 1751 c. 1751-60

Coldstream Guards

“Lieutenant Thomas George Southwell, Coldstream Guards”, Charles Jervas, 1739; National Army Museum NAM. 1964-02-5

The Coldstream Guards on Parade at Horse Guards, by John Chapman, c. 1755.

The War of the Spanish Succession, 1702–13

The War of the Spanish Succession began in 1702 and saw the British Army under John Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough, win a series of brilliant successes. The Regiment was not involved for the first six years of the main campaign in Europe, but nevertheless won a third Battle Honour – at Gibraltar.

In September 1704 a Composite Battalion, composed of 200 First Guards and 600 Coldstreamers, was sent first to Lisbon and then to Gibraltar. The Rock had been captured from the Spanish in July by a detachment of Marines under Admiral Sir George Rooke, but it was then closely besieged and reinforcements were called for. The Composite Battalion landed on 20 January 1705 and was involved in repelling several attacks; it then remained as part of the garrison until the siege was lifted in April 1705.

Meanwhile, on the mainland Marlborough won his ‘famous victory’ at Blenheim on 13 August 1704; the Regiment did not take part, but was well represented by its Colonel, General ‘Salamander’ Cutts, who led the crucial attack with his usual bravery.

The Regiment only became involved in 1708 when six companies were sent to Flanders as part of a Composite Battalion with the First Guards and took part in the Battle of Oudenarde on 11 July 1708, which became the fourth Battle Honour.

In April 1709 a further Coldstream detachment was sent to join the war, whereupon a Guards Brigade was formed, consisting of a First Guards battalion and a Coldstream battalion. On 11 September 1709 both these battalions took part in the Battle of Malplaquet; it was an exceptionally bloody contest and the Regiment’s losses were among the heaviest of the twenty battalions involved. They undoubtedly distinguished themselves and it became a well-deserved Battle Honour.

Thereafter the war petered out and when the Treaty of Utrecht was signed in 1713 the Regiment returned home in March for a welcome period of twenty-seven years of peace and home service.

The War of the Austrian Succession, 1740–1748

The peace was broken by the outbreak in 1740 of the War of the Austrian Succession. The origins are complex and the campaign only concerns us because the expeditionary force sent to the Continent in 1742 included a Guards Brigade consisting of the 1st Battalions of all three regiments of Foot Guards.

In 1743 King George II not only joined the army in Flanders but also assumed command. On 27 June 1743 he fought the Battle of Dettingen, well known as the last occasion on which a King of England personally led his troops into action. He led them, in fact, into a dangerous trap, carefully prepared by the French, and the situation was only saved by several gallant charges made by the cavalry, including, for the first time, a Household Cavalry Brigade.

The Guards Brigade formed the rearguard and so was not involved in the battle until the later stages. The French finally suffered a severe defeat, losing 5,000 men, and Dettingen became the Regiment’s sixth Battle Honour.

In 1745 the King handed over command to his 25-year-old son, The Duke of Cumberland, whose first action as a commander was the Battle of Fontenoy on 11 May 1745. Things did not go well and the Allied army was forced to make a frontal assault against the enemy centre, which involved an advance of half a mile across flat, open country under intense fire from their front and also from French strongpoints on both flanks.

The Guards Brigade was on the right of the leading line, with the regiments in their customary positions, that is the First Guards on the right, the Coldstream on the left and the Third Guards in the centre. The brigade was commanded by Colonel George Churchill, Coldstream Guards. With shouldered arms the three battalions marched steadily forward, despite the fierce fire from three sides. Finally, as they topped a slight ridge, now seriously reduced in numbers, they found, thirty yards in front of them, four complete battalions of French Guards, as yet unscathed.

It was the first time that the British and French Guards had met in battle and it was a dramatic confrontation. The French fired first, but to little effect. Then the Guards replied and their first volley laid low nineteen French officers and 600 men. Steadily they reloaded, firing in disciplined sequence six platoons at a time, so that the volleys never ceased. Finally the French gave way and the Guards advanced. But they did not receive any support and found themselves isolated; for three hours they had to hold their positions against both infantry and cavalry attacks, but finally were forced to withdraw, having lost around half their strength. It had been a bloody and bitter defeat, and was not allowed to count as a Battle Honour, though it was perhaps deserved.

The ‘Forty-Five’, 1745

July 1745 saw a new threat, this time at home, as the Scots rebelled in support of Charles Stuart, grandson of King James II, who was claiming the English Crown. The Guards Brigade in Flanders was hurriedly recalled, while in London the grenadier companies of the Guards battalions stationed there were formed into a scratch force for the defence of the capital.

The threat faded, however, and The Duke of Cumberland pursued the Jacobite Army back into Scotland, where they were crushed at the Battle Culloden on 16 April 1746. With Scotland subdued, he then returned in 1747 to the campaign in Flanders, taking with him a new Guards Brigade, composed this time of the 2nd Battalions of each Regiment. They did not, however, see any major action and returned home in 1748 when the war was ended by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

The Seven Years War, 1756–1763

The peace that followed lasted only eight years and in 1756 another campaign began, again against the French. The Foot Guards were not involved initially, but in 1758 the 1st Battalions of each Regiment were formed into a Guards Brigade and took part in several rather abortive raids on the French coast.

In 1760 another Guards Brigade, composed of the 2nd Battalion of each Regiment, was sent to Germany under the command of a Coldstreamer with the unusual name of Major General Julius Caesar. A year later the grenadier companies of each Regiment were formed into a composite Grenadier Battalion, which became the fourth battalion of the brigade, a practice that would continue over the next fifty years.

In 1763 the 2nd Battalion returned home, landing at Yarmouth, which meant that the Regiment had spent twenty-four out of the last sixty years fighting somewhere on the Continent. Its next campaign would be on the other side of the Atlantic.