A huge, mountainous, landlocked Central Asian state, Afghanistan has defied invaders for 2,500 years. Jules Stewart takes a look at the country’s military longue durée. Taken in historical context, the 13-year presence of NATO combat troops in Afghanistan amounted to scarcely a footnote to centuries of foreign military intervention in the country. From the […]
Patrick Boniface recalls one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of Britain’s Royal Navy. To the people of Chatham the approaching ships on the River Medway must have looked impressive. Under full sail a Dutch flotilla was racing towards the Royal Navy stronghold intent on causing maximum damage. The June 1667 raid on […]
You would think that combining two deadly weapons to create a super-weapon would be a smart move for any warmonger. Some combination weapons, however, were simply over-ambitious monsters: clumsy, cumbersome, useless. The popularity of the combination weapon rose during the 16th and 17th centuries, when weapons-smiths were innovators and owning a trident dagger elevated one’s […]
Neil Faulkner rails against the neglect of historic battlefields and a warped view of British history. Visit the battlefield of Evesham and you will find most of it private property with minimal public access. What happened here? As Steve Roberts explains this issue (see War Zone), it was where Simon de Montfort perished with many […]
How did the Royal Navy deal with pirates in their 17th century heyday?
British trade routes were plagued by pirates during the 19th century, but where were the most dangerous and densely-populated pirate havens?
Grenadier companies were first formed in the British Army in 1678, and were not finally abolished until 1855. By the time of the Quebec campaign, the 13 companies of a British foot battalion included one of grenadiers and one of light infantry. The grenadiers, as the battalion elite, were traditionally posted on the right (with […]
The struggle for supremacy between Britain and France dominated the History of the British Army from 1688 to 1815. the struggle began with a ferocious infantry-battle in wooded ravines on the edge of the Ardennes in 1692. King William had his men on the move long before dawn on 3 August 1692. Pioneers went ahead […]
Two years of amateur warfare had changed nothing.The English Civil War remained in the balance. Then, in February 1645, Parliament created the New Model Army. Cromwell had raised a regiment of cavalry in Cambridgeshire. He deliberately recruited ‘men of a spirit’ and allowed complete ‘liberty of conscience’. His men – the original ‘Ironsides’– became the the deepest […]