When the war began in 1566, Imperial Spain was the world’s greatest superpower. By the time it ended, in 1609, ‘the Spanish century’ was over. The Dutch War of Independence was the defining conflict of its era. It secured the triumph of the Reformation in north-west Europe, and along the way reconfigured the geopolitics of the Continent. It also produced one […]
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?
James Wolfes’ victory at Quebec gave the British dominion over North American. It was the victory of an army forced to adapt fast to the demands of colonial warfare in the wilderness The Battle of Quebec on 13 September 1759, below, showing the deployment of the British (shown in red) and French forces (shown in […]
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 War of the Austrian Succession found the British Army run down and neglected, its proud military traditions grown sclerotic. Yet in May 1745, at Fontenoy in Belgium, 15000 British redcoats mounted a doomed assault every bit as courageous as Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg The ‘mousetrap’: the Battle of Dettingen, 27 June 1743. George II […]