View Full Version : The March of Albion: A British Empire TL
December 2nd, 2011, 08:37 AM
I’ve been working on this timeline since late 2008 and I’ve finally finished Book One. I’ll be posting one update a week while I continue to write Book Two. Book One covers the world from 1743-1774. The Point of divergence is during the Battle of Dettingen, in which the French are victorious rather than the British.
As a little preface, I always have been fascinated by the world the eighteenth century. Constant conflict between the great European powers; the Age of Enlightenment and the Birth of Capitalism all were the most important things to come out of that age. It is really when the modern world as we know it was born. Therefore it’s the perfect place for a POD in which the world can both be drastically different; but also oddly similar to our own. Those are the kind of timelines I enjoy and that is why I’m writing this one.
Without further ado… I give you “The March of Albion”
December 2nd, 2011, 08:38 AM
Part #1: To Capture a King
From “The War of Austrian Succession: Volume I” By Thomas A. Greenling, 1979
The Battle of Dettingen had high expectations on both sides. George II and his son William IV were commanding an Anglo-Austrian force known as the Pragmatic Army. Austria was coming off a long string of defeats at the hands of the French, Bavarians and Prussians but had recently turned the tide, also hopeful for victories ahead, as Bavarian control over Prague began to break down. This loss of control by Franco-Bavarian forces had allowed the British to land in Hanover and seek to rout the French. The French Army was commanded by the Duc De Noialles and the Duc de Gramont. They had quite a strong force and Gramont was actually Noialles’ nephew. Many wanted to contain the British early on and not allow them a hand in central Europe. The French Generals did not know how much this idea would bear fruit for them.
The Duc De Noialles played a cat-and-mouse game with the Pragmatic Army, but finally he knew when and where to strike. He ordered his army to cut the route by the Rhine and Main Rivers by which the Pragmatic Army received supplies from its base in the Austrian Netherlands. There had been no proper supply of bread for a week, when finally in June King George ordered the retreat to begin; West along the road to Hanau and Frankfurt and then North to Flanders. Between that lay the tiny village of Dettingen, where the battle would take place. As the Pragmatic Army marched towards Dettingen, advanced parties reported that the French occupied the village, blocking its path. During the night the French, commanded by the Duc de Gramont, had crossed the river, using bridges of boats across the Main, and held the village and the marshy ground between Dettingen and the hills in strength.
After hearing this news, King George was shocked. He had no idea such a massive French force could have assembled so close to them and moved without them have forewarning. This of course was the brilliance of the Duc De Noialles, a Marshal in one the greatest armies Europe had ever seen, and clearly his genius had shown through in this encirclement. Preparing to give battle, the British, Austrian and Hanoverian troops formed line; the Main River on the left and the wooded Spessart Hills on the right. The regiments took from 9am to midday to form up. This extraordinary length of time must have been due to the inexperience of the regiments and the difficulty of moving from a column of march into battle line and would prove to foreshadow the relative incompetence of the British Army.
Soon after they formed up, the Duc de Noialles’ plan became obvious and struck fear into the Pragmatic Army. The Duc De Gramont held at the Village of Dettingen and nearby streams to prevent their March forward and Noialles would hold with the Artillery, where they could shell them with impunity.
Nevertheless, surrender was not an option. Their capture would not only reverse the course of Austrian victories in Germany, but would give the entire British Army and their King to the French, something that to the British Army couldn’t accept. So despite their terrible position they had to hold out and fight.
At one in the afternoon, Noialles began shelling their formations and causing havoc among the now trapped Pragmatic Army. George knew they in a bad situation but also knew that they had to wait for the French strike first if they had any chance of getting out of this snare. They never knew however, how close they did come to salvation. The Duc De Gramont, being impatient, as he was, nevertheless had to wait in the village until he received word from his brother to attack. After three hours, he desperately wanted to attack. He wrote later that he almost ordered them to strike, thereby allowing the Pragmatic Army a chance to escape. But his horse bucked, threw off his train of thought, and he decided to hold.
After five hours of shelling, with British soldiers dying all around them, George still wanted to wait until the French attacked first, but his own son was getting more impatient. William, the Duke of Cumberland and George II’s second son, was raised as someone who would be military minded and since this was the first major military conflict in Europe since he reached adulthood, this would be his first big battle. He wanted to prove himself, as did all of the other British officers who hadn’t fought in a large-scale war yet. These men, being impatient, decided to follow the young Duke of Cumberland forward against his father’s wishes and provided the break that the Duc de Nioalles had wished.
After seeing William charge forward, the French marshal moved quickly to stop the artillery shelling and ordered the French to charge. The Duc De Gramont received the order he had been waiting eight hours for and charged against the now split and confused Pragmatic Army. The French dragoons charged and scattered the men. The fighting quickly devolved into a blood fest.
After the battle had calmed down and the chaos had subsided, the result of the battle became clear. Gramont, in the fighting allowed the Duke of Cumberland to escape towards Flanders with roughly one third of the Pragmatic Army, with mostly Austrian troops. Noailles, however, captured most of the British troops along with the King of Great Britain himself, George II.
This would prove to be one of the most decisive victories in the virtually perennial Anglo-French conflicts of the time period, but few knew how influential this battle would be, save Noailles and the King …
An excerpt from “Voltaire’s Letters: the Genius of France”
… My God, you should have seen it! The sheer audacity of that dreadful march throughout the city couldn’t have surprised me more. Led in the front by the dreadful aristocrat and simply disgusting man, with enough pomp to choke any decent minded person, the Duc de Noialles and beside hundreds of French dragoons, pulled thousands of British soldiers-turned-prisoners through the streets of Paris. Thousands of Parisians, from lawyers and artists to peasants and beggars, all looked out to see the great French victory parade. This great ignorant multitude chanted and foamed themselves in rage in blind support of their people, their army and their king.
But lo, as the march continued past, I saw the key piece to the whole spectacle. The King of Great Britain, a strong and proud monarch, vilified and reprimanded by every peasant and shopkeeper in the streets! And worse yet, it seems as though these impoverished people are vilifying the wrong man, for if he, George II was the true King of France as he claims to be, their lot wouldn’t be nearly as downtrodden as they appear now.
I’ve heard the captured King is going to see the sovereign living in Versailles. I pity him, for George, as the enlightened king I have heard so much of, deserves far better than this. Louis XV doesn’t seem to be especially involved in this conflict. He seems to only care of his perfect hexagonal kingdom and none beyond. Furthermore, he seems to detest warfare in general. This seems to be a ploy by that Duc de Noialles. He seems to be more of a politician than a general and I’m fairly sure he seeks to be a marshal. Well I am quite sure this spectacle will no doubt help his chances. But I wonder it will help France’s chances…
From “British Politics: 1688-1800” By William Thomas Jennings
When word reached Parliament of the news from the continent, there was a predictable uproar in the house made by almost everyone. The stories by this time were being exaggerated wildly, much like the story of Jenkin’s Ear that led to the war against Spain only several years earlier, which had roused even Robert Walpole to war. But this was a crisis writ large, a king captured and held for ransom, debased and abused by the French people! It was enough to make any citizen’s blood boil and by this time many in the streets of London were baying for vengeance.
Of course, most of this criticism fell, as it always does, on the Prime Minister himself, Henry Pelham. He, along with his brother had taken the mantle to lead the country after Robert Walpole’s death. They had been against war as Walpole had been for his twenty year long tenure, but Henry had neither the skill nor the charisma to control parliament in the same way Walpole did to preserve the peace. During this crisis, his weak hold over the Parliament buckled and any solution he wanted to propose to bring the king back was met with great resistance. He had been indifferent about the war and strongly in favor of avoiding conflict, now a position vastly unpopular with the people.
Walpole’s traditional enemies took advantage of his inaction during this crisis and hit him hard with criticism. His biggest enemies were known as the Patriot Boys or Patriot Whigs, led by the Earl of Bute, William Pulteney and younger but soon to be famous politicians like William Pitt and George Grenville. They had used the new and now pervasive language of patriotism to attack Walpole and now Pelham, but now this was different. They had to deal with a captured king and a ransom to try to get him back.
Some more radical members in the Patriot Whigs believed that they should let George II rot for awhile and weren’t too keen on sacrificing their own government’s money on saving him. He had after all, supported Walpole and Pelham, while they were supported by his popular son, Frederick the Prince of Wales. The family drama between the King of Great Britain and his firstborn son was told all over the Empire, his expulsion from the court and the political intrigues were unforgettable, with George openly trying to undermine his son’s political alliances with offers of cabinet positions and other bribes. Now however, Frederick was overjoyed by his failure and embarrassment, yet expressed displeasure about the treatment of the British troops involved in the capture and march.
The Patriot Whigs, being split between those who wanted to bail out the king by any means necessary and those who wanted to make him wait until they could strike a better deal. William Pulteney knew that this deadlock was ridiculous and could mess up his chances at running the government. He had been in the opposition against Pelham and Walpole before him and had been staring down that seat of Prime Minister, then known as the Lord of the Treasury, with envy for twenty years. Nothing, not even his own allies could stop him now.
He began, during the chaotic first days of the crisis, to bleed away support from Pelham. With his superior position and his comparable depiction of Pelham as a blubbering fool had him gain support among Pelham’s former supporters within days. By week two of the crisis, Pelham no longer had any meaningful support in Parliament and he subsequently resigned.
Pulteney moved in quickly. By early November, He muscled through an agreement among moderates from both Walpole Whigs and Patriot Whigs to pay a ransom of two hundred thousand pounds to Louis XV in exchange for George II and his accompanying British escorts. He decided to follow it up with an official declaration of war, one that Pulteney unlike his predecessor decided to take seriously…
December 2nd, 2011, 09:03 AM
To note on this POD: In OTL, the Battle of Dettingen was won by the British and ultimately William was lulled into a false sense of security; leading to the British losing the European theater in the War of Austrian Succession. ITTL, this increased troop presence that William Pulteney commissions will make ITTL's War of Austrian Succession quite a better time for the British and her allies.
Ultimately what I am aiming for is no Diplomatic Revolution; making Britain allied with Austria and France allied with Prussia in the Seven Years War.
And here is a map of 1743; the year of the POD
December 2nd, 2011, 09:26 AM
Very interesting. A bit worried you might be going in a similar direction to a timeline I've been planning! I await the next update...
December 2nd, 2011, 09:32 AM
Now this looks interesting! I'll be following!
December 2nd, 2011, 09:53 AM
Interesting. Consider me a follower; also, while the title of the TL suggests Britain doing better than OTL some things may make it better for France et al.
December 2nd, 2011, 10:15 AM
Nice pick of POD, we need more 18th century stuff like this.
December 2nd, 2011, 12:39 PM
making Britain allied with Austria and France allied with Prussia in the Seven Years War.
Prussia allied with France. Now this, i want to see. Given their history/antipathy for each other in OTL, i want to see how this develops other wise.
Consider me subscribed.
December 2nd, 2011, 12:47 PM
Guess who just subscribed.
December 2nd, 2011, 12:48 PM
This looks great! I'll be subscribed. The european alliances should be very interesting.
December 2nd, 2011, 12:49 PM
Prussia allied with France. Now this, i want to see. Given their history/antipathy for each other in OTL, i want to see how this develops other wise.
Consider me subscribed.
OTL that only happened because of Prussia's humiliation in the Napoleonic Wars and its meteoric rise in German affairs. Which may be butterflied away here (and with the POD OTL Napoleon won't exist).
December 2nd, 2011, 12:49 PM
Guess who just subscribed.
Was it me? Do I get a Cookie? :D
December 4th, 2011, 03:59 AM
Part #2: The War That Left Everyone Wanting More
“The War of Austrian Succession” by Johan Strassbourg
After the great French victory at Dettingen and subsequent reversal of the British position in the war, the new Prime Minster, William Pulteney decided to modify the treaty of Worms that his predecessor had been working on. It sought to stabilize the Italian situation as well as box France in. The Prime Minister, now completely committed to war decided to increase the subsidies going to the Italian states as well as to Maria Teresa. He also worked the fleet around to increase the Mediterranean squadron by 15 ships-of-the-lines.
The first of feel the full weight of this new war was Thomas Mathews, the commodore of the Mediterranean squadron of the Royal Navy. He had been shadowing a fleet of French ships and waiting for a formal declaration of war to engage them. Not only did he receive that, but more than he had bargained for, a fleet increase of incredible proportions and orders to destroy the fleet as imminently as possible. He also received news of his people back in his home baying for blood and desperate for a victory.
Thomas Mathews was not the man to give it to them. In the ensuing battle of Toulon, Mathews lined up his fleet incorrectly, due in part to his own incompetence and inexperience, but also to the disorganized and roughshod nature of the Royal Navy at the time. The smaller but better led Franco-Spanish fleet scattered and destroyed many of the British vessels and was able to escape. This battle along with the abysmal performance at the battle of Cartanegra in 1741 paved the way for very serious Royal Navy reforms.
This French victory gave them free reign to land as many troops as they could in northern Italy. The British allied and subsidized Sardinian force led by their king Emmanuel III faced off against a French assault force landed off the victorious fleet in the battle of Villafranca, fought in April of 1744. This was a Pyrrhic French victory, with a causality ratio of two to one and with Sardinian forces retreating to the mountains but ensuring that any French advance into Italy would be futile.
The Pragmatic Army meanwhile had been retreated towards Flanders to lick their wounds and receive British reinforcements. The Duke of Cumberland particular felt personally responsible for his father’s embarrassment and his first defeat on the battlefield at Dettingen. He vowed that he would win a victory for himself and for the glory of his father and he knew where to take his stand.
By early 1745, the greatest French Marshal of his generation, Maurice Saxe was preparing to take Flanders from Austria. In many ways the French political establish saw it as their territory to take. There were many French speakers, it was a rapidly industrializing area and it was a security threat to have a large territory full of Hapsburg troops; perpetual enemies to the Bourbon dynasty. And in their mind, Saxe was the most gifted general take it.
He was soon scheming of how to set another trap for the Pragmatic Army and crush them once and for all. He sent out several smaller armies to besiege the border forts lined along the line separating France and Flanders. In particular, he sent a large force to besiege Mons near where the Pragmatic Army was camping.
Their trap had worked as well as could have hoped. The sieges had diverted thousands of men from the battle that he could now control the terms of himself. The Pragmatic Army was marching to meet him a Tournai and he decided to cut them off at the small village of Fontenoy. They formed up and prepared to fight. The resulting Battle of Fontenoy seemed to play into Marshal Saxe’s plan. The French troops had begun to surround and subsequently destroy the Pragmatic Army. But Marshal Saxe didn’t count on the ‘martial son’ of Britain, The Duke of Cumberland.
He had been humiliated at the battle of Dettingen and he was now the laughingstock of Britain. He had to redeem himself on the battlefield after such a dismal debut. He found himself facing off now with a great French army in the Austrian Netherlands and he knew what to do. The French had positioned themselves on a hill and prepared to again shell the British into submission, but this time was different.
The Duke led twelve regiments (what Saxe would later call ‘the infernal column’) up the hill and charged the weaker lined French infantry on the top of the hill. Although they sustained some causalities getting to the lines, the bloodbath once they reached them was horrific and stirred an intense amount of confusion on both sides. Both sides were tearing each other to pieces in close hand to hand combat, but now it was the Duke that had the trap to spring. While the Marshal was distracted by the infernal column’s charge and redirecting forces to combat them, he lost track of the four foot regiments and two cavalry led by Brigadier Ingoldby. At the Duke’s signal, Ingoldby attacked and took the Redoute D’Eu, a small hill on the right of the French position, ran straight through a token Irish foot regiment and ended up at Saxe’s rear. The route was nearly complete.
Louis XV had come to witness the battle along with Marshal Saxe, but quaked at the sight of the Duke of Cumberland and Ingoldby charging straight for their position. No doubt he was thinking about being captured himself and certainly knew of the vengeance and retribution from the people of ‘perfidious Albion’ that would come with it. He immediately ordered the frustrated army to retreat. Saxe, although devastated, embarrassed and angry, decided to follow orders and limped away from the battlefield.
The Duke of Cumberland and his daring assault with the Pragmatic Army were given accolades across Europe. The Duke was especially given praise, where he was said to redeem himself fully from his follies at Dettingen. They could celebrate; they saved the Austrian Netherlands and ultimately their own pathway back home. While there would be some border skirmishes along the border of Flanders and France, ultimately 1745 and the battle of Fontenoy marked the end of land combat on the western side of the continent.
The Austrians were very gracious for that victory in the face of other events in Silesia. The battle of Hohenfriedburg in 1745 had pitted the best Austrian troops against Frederick II’s highly trained Prussian Army. During the battle, he had utilized every possible cunning technique and fought to standstill. But after a few hours, the smoke cleared and the Beyreuth Dragoons, one of his premier brigades of 1500 men found and opening in the Austrian lines and charged. The Austrian army was broken and with it, any hopes that they could regain Silesia this time around. It was after this battle that many Prussians, as well as many across Europe began styling the King of Prussia, Frederick “The Great”.
While some other battles were being fought along the barrier between France and the Austrian Netherlands with British and Dutch troops to pand large battles in the colonial theaters, overall conflict died down throughout 1746 and the peace process was well on the way by mid 1747...
An excerpt from “King George’s War”
The conflict known as the War of Austrian Succession in Europe was known as King Geroge's War in North America by the British subjects there. In many ways, the conflict would prove to confirm the trends that had been developing among the peoples inhabiting the continent.
In 1744, after several inconclusive skirmishes between the French, Indians and British troops, the northern colonies, led by Massachusetts governor William Shirley, planned a fully colonial led assault on the French fort at Louisbourg in what is today Nova Scotia. The governor gathered nearly three thousand men from colonial militias, over twenty canon, as well as several ships donated from all of the northern colonies.
The expedition, as it set out in March of 1744, took on the air of a religious crusade; a violent and militaristic manifestation of the years of virulent anti-French and anti-Catholic feelings brewing throughout New England during this time period. They wanted a victory badly against the French, who were seen the quintessential enemy. They had prepared from all of the stories of the vicious French soldiers that allied themselves with the mysterious and horrifying Indians, waiting for them to come north so they could pounce.
Fortunately for the New Englanders, they were over prepared. The French forces inside Louisbourg were badly underfed and underpaid, making them almost mutinous. Worse, the government back in Paris had forewarning of the colonial led assault on the Fort and decided to do nothing to try and stop of them. All of this coupled together to make the siege decisively easier for the New Englanders.
The French soldiers did not meet them out on the battlefield and survived for a surprisingly long amount of time. After all, with the religious fervor of the invading force, they were certainly fighting for their lives. They held out until June, when the colonial troops overtook the fortress, ransacked and subsequently occupied it. Shirley and the others were quite happy with themselves, produced pamphlets declaring their victory and generally increasing their own popularity and cementing their leadership role. But in this celebration, they became complacent and entirely too arrogant. Throughout the winter, the small garrison the New Englanders had placed in the fortress whittled away to nothing, leaving them defenseless.
So in 1747, six French ships carrying roughly one thousand troops landed near Louisbourg as part of a rescue attempt to recapture the Fort from the British. They were the only survivors of the Battle of Cape Finnistere, where the famous General George Anson destroyed or captured nearly the entire French fleet save those six troop transports. The battle ended any sizeable French naval presence in Europe, as the escorting fleet of thirty five ships were ahnillated by Anson, but they managed to buy enough time to let those troop ships escape and manage to weather the Atlantic trip to Nova Scotia.
The landing took place during the spring, as the battered garrison was emerging from the cold and dreadful winter with nearly half their original numbers. They were quickly sliced to shreds by the superior French force and Louisbourg was retaken and its inhabitants restored in the town. The loss was a shock and near panic broke out in New England. While Boston and the rest of the coastal settlements seemed safe, militias were called up throughout 1747. Everyone was deathly afraid of a French invasion until word of peace arrived. Paranoia, however wasn’t even the most important impact of the retaking of Louisburg.
In northern New York, at the border of the Mohawk Valley, a wealthy landowner named Sir William Johnson decided that enough was enough and decided to organize as many men as he saw fit among the Mohawks he was neighbor to and went on raiding parties on the outskirts of Montréal. While their methods of scalping were considered controversial in their day and morally repugnant in ours, it was quite successful at preventing French counter raids until peace was declared in 1748…
An excerpt from “Jacobites: The Rebellions” by William O’Connoll
For years after his father had bestowed the role of the Stuart claimant on him, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, or Bonnie Prince Charlie as his decorators in London called him, had been calling for a French backed invasion of England so he could reclaim the Stuart monarchy for himself and reestablish absolutism. He certainly wasn’t taken seriously in his claims. While the French court hosted him, they patronized him and even allowed him to even claim the throne of France, dating back to Hundred Years War. Bonnie Prince Charlie didn’t really understand that he was being mocked in the process. This above all else showed how silly they considered the Jacobite claimant. They really only kept him on to be a thorn in the side of the British and really only as a scary specter of British unrest and invasion that they could never really raise.
So after the battle of Fontenoy in 1745, Charles thought that, with almost all of the British Army camped in Flanders, the times was ripe for a covert force to land in Scotland and begin another rebellion. Ultimately he wanted to gather enough forces to march on London and depose the Hanoverian ‘pretender’ in his eyes.
But the French and particularly Louis XV, still smarting from the defeat of their best armies at Fontenoy, were very apprehensive. They couldn’t take another defeat and were already in the process of negotiating a peace treaty. While Charles was unhappy that the French, who had previously wanted to help him were now unwilling to. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t let the pessimism of another monarch dictate his chances towards reclaiming his crown. He decided he was going to be raising the funds himself. He gathered extra money from several sympathetic aristocratic friends in Paris and even went as far as pawning off his mothers jewelry to raise enough for an expedition.
Ultimately, he was able to field one ship-of-line called the Elisabeth and fielded over 450 men from the Irish Brigade and set out to Scotland, where Charles would make his stand. He nearly failed however, when a Royal Navy task force spotted him, but luckily, fog that night prevented them from engaging and destroying the ship. So Charlie and the hopes of a Jacobite restoration moved on.
They landed in Scotland in May of 1745 and immediately met with several important Scottish highlander clans who pledged their fealty to Charles and he began to raise an army. Ultimately by Mid-June, he had gathered up enough support to field an army of roughly 5000 men and decided to march inland to take Scotland back for the Stuarts.
The small British garrison led by John Cope heard the uprising was happening and he, while more than a little panicked, decided to go out and meet the Jacobite rebels and defeat them as the rebellion of 1715 were defeated. But with the vast majority of the British Army in Flanders, his troops were relatively inexperienced and not prepared for the force that they would come up against. They marched north and eventually spotted the mostly Scottish Jacobite army and Cope had the advantage with 7000 men, so he decided to engage them at Corriarack Pass in late June.
The resulting battle was, in retrospect, unsurprising. The Scottish force was made up of mostly Highlanders who were renowned for their fierce and unorthodox fighting style, while Cope’s forces were inexperienced and Cope was not a capable commander. The fight ended up quite bloody, with many losses on both the Jacobite and the British government forces, but the ferocity of the Highlanders took their toll. Over half of the British forces died, with the rest scattering southward in retreat with Cope leading.
Charles was delighted and marched with his new army to Edinburgh, where he crowned himself King of Britain in August. Cope reached Liverpool then as well and sent word to London that Scotland was now in full blown rebellion. Parliament, led by Pulteney, was up in arms and quickly sent for troops from those holding down France in the Austrian Netherlands. The Duke of Cumberland mulled over the situation on the continent before choosing his course of action. After Fontenoy, he had fought several skirmishes with the French including the battle of Bruge and other French assault, all of which were too small to actually threaten their position in the Austrian Netherlands. He knew that forces threatening Britian itself should be dealt with severely, but he knew if he removed too many troops, his position could crumble. But in reality, he knew from intelligence reports that the Jacobites did not have a massive support base and inexperienced government troops held their own. So the Duke of Cumberland decided to have 5000 of his soldiers under Henry Huxley, one of his most competent lieutenant generals to deal with the rebellion while the rest of his forces remained to defend the Austrian Netherlands.
Huxley knew that he would have to move quickly to stamp out this rebellion and when they landed, they were very cautious. However, they needn’t be. The new ‘king’ of Great Britain was engaging in irresponsible frivolity since he had taken up court in Edinburgh and because of his adherence to the divine right of kings, made sure that every decision about the army and the lands he ruled was his to make, and his decision only.
Huxley, confident from his role in the victory at Fontenoy, marched his troops noisily northward towards the pretender’s throne at Edinburgh. Charles, now positively ecstatic in his role in the “true king of Great Britain”, decided it was the perfect time to march south and take his rightful English throne for himself as well. He readied his troops and decided to march south to meet them. The armies clashed at Falkirk and Charles was woefully unprepared for the battle ahead of him. Emboldened by his claim of power in Edinburgh and his victory at Corriarack pass, Charles decided to take part in battle himself and make all of the decisions related to the course of the battle. This proved to be disastrous against a very large and well trained force under the command of the not only competent but very skilled Henry Huxley.
Not only was the battle of Falkirk a rout, but Huxley captured Charles and the rest of his band of supporters and had them dragged back to London. There, they were put before a court and sentenced to treason and beheaded. This sparked King George II to enact several draconian laws against the Scottish culture, including banning the Highlander uniform in an effort to stamp out the unique cultural practices of the rebellious areas. He also commissioned a system of military roads to try to establish permanent garrisons so that Scotland could be pacified quickly again. The fear of uprising never again threatened Scotland but the roads would serve to jump start Edinburgh and Glascow's prominence in Britain's industrial revolution...
An excerpt from “The Carnatic Wars”
The War of Austrian Succession was known as the First Carnatic War among the myriad of Indian sultanates and kingdoms as well as to the multiple monolithic companies bent on control of the continent. It was a perfect power vacuum in the face of the collapsing Mughal Empire and was a heady time for those willing to grab power. The war was a way for the young and soon to be world famous directors and soldiers fought over the vast riches held in the rich oriental lands of India.
The most ambitious of these commercially minded men was Joseph Francois Dupleix. He was a headstrong, ambitious, but most of all resourceful new head of the French East India Company. He was an expert in building alliances among the princes and sultans growing in their power as the Mughal Empire receded. He constantly had to struggle with a permanently difficult and unhelpful French government. But his skills at hiring and training local regiments as well his audacious demeanor made him and the FEIC a force to be reckoned with during his time as the director.
The First Carnatic War was where Dupleix could really spread his legs and expand the FEIC’s diplomatic and trade dominance in southern India. It is important to note here that while Britain and France were bitter enemies in Europe, their respective trading companies were quite cordial, often trading and cooperating together on commercial ventures. Dupleix harbored no animosity towards the British, but remained ever the opportunist. So when Royal Navy and BEIC ships raided and captured a few French trading vessels, he knew it was time to strike. The struggle began with some skirmishes between the FEIC and BEIC sea fleets, with the British capturing a few French ships and obtaining small victories. Dupleix, however was to call for reinforcements from as far out as Mauritus and prepared to strike at the nerve center of the British in the Carnatic, Madras.
He, using hitherto unseen tactics of regiments of Indian soldiers under French officers, besieged Madras for several months. Ultimately, he starved the city and garrison out and captured the fort in 1746. Several hundred British soldiers were captured, but it was one extremely gifted company man led an escape from the clutches of the FEIC guards and brought word to Fort St. David to the south, in Cuddalore. His name, soon to be broadcast across the British Empire, was Robert Clive. Clive escaped with the knowledge that Dupleix would use his momentum to attack the very fort he was escaping to. Fort St. David was now the only British garrison of any mention in the Carnatic and if Dupleix captured it, he and the FEIC would have unprecedented control of the Carnatic. He went directly to his higher authority in Calcutta; Stringer Lawrence.
Lawrence appealed to the Nawab of the Carnatic, Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan, who was allied to the British at the time. He supplied them with auxiliary troops and defeated the FEIC sepoy forces as they were moving south towards the siege in 1747. Shortly thereafter, word spread that a peace treaty was to be signed between Britain and France, ending the war of Austrian Succession. Dupleix was unhappy of course, but knew what he had to do to ensure French hegemony in the Carnatic…
The Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle
It was signed in 1748, officially ending the War Austrian Succession between all of the major powers of the time (Austria, Prussia, Russia, France and Britain) and returned much to status quo ante bellum, despite many misgivings among the powers. France, arguing its victories in Italy, wanted Parma, presumably under Spanish (and therefore Bourbon) sovereignty. But the defeat at Fontenoy as well as several small victories by King Immanuel of Piedmont ensured that Parma was retained by Austria.
One large concession was the British Fort St. George in Madras. This was masterminded by the founder of the modern French East India Company and was fast becoming the most powerful man on the Indian subcontinent. He had outsmarted the British and was beginning to force them from the Carnatic and this well placed gain would only further cement his control.
Prussian control of Silesia was begrudgingly recognized by Austria and Great Britain but Maria Teresa certainly wasn’t happy. The North American front remained deadlocked as well, with Louisbourg being fought over endlessly and raids taking place on both sides. That was certainly seen as one flashpoint for the Seven Years War, but the scheming of Maria Teresa to have Silesia returned was certainly the cassus belli…
December 4th, 2011, 04:26 AM
Well, there's that. I suppose India will be more divided TTL, and the next round (which, as you imply, lasts as long as OTL) would feature a different alliance.
December 4th, 2011, 05:30 AM
A very dramatic ending to the Bonnie Prince.
December 4th, 2011, 04:02 PM
The landing took place during the spring, as the battered garrison was emerging from the cold and dreadful winter with nearly half their original numbers. They were quickly sliced to shreds by the superior French force and Louisbourg was retaken and its inhabitants restored in the town. The loss was a shock and near panic broke out in New England. While Boston and the rest of the coastal settlements seemed safe, militias were called up throughout 1747. Everyone was deathly afraid of a French invasion until word of peace arrived. Paranoia, however wasn’t even the most important impact of the retaking of Louisburg.So I guess No "Baron of Boston" ITTL.
?Wonder who will be the first American Born to be Knighted ITTL?
He had after all, supported Walpole and Pelham, while they were supported by his popular son, Frederick the Prince of Wales. The family drama between the King of Great Britain and his firstborn son was told all over the Empire, his expulsion from the court and the political intrigues were unforgettable, with George openly trying to undermine his son’s political alliances with offers of cabinet positions and other bribes. Now however, Frederick was overjoyed by his failure and embarrassment, yet expressed displeasure about the treatment of the British troops involved in the capture and march.Yea -- whe don't see enuff of Prince Fredrick on this board.
December 4th, 2011, 08:02 PM
So I guess No "Baron of Boston" ITTL.
?Wonder who will be the first American Born to be Knighted ITTL?
It'll be a few years but there will be royal recognition of Americans soon...
Yea -- whe don't see enuff of Prince Fredrick on this board.
This won't be the last of him. He wont be playing cricket in 1751 and will thus survive. But I won't give away too much.
December 4th, 2011, 08:16 PM
Interesting. It sounds like a couple of nasty shocks will prompt a stronger British reaction. Also avoiding the reversal of the diplomatic alliances that occurred OTL. That could make for a radically changed world as this suggests that Prussia will not hold Silesia. If fact if Russia under Czar Paul is as hostile to Prussia as OTL Prussia itself could be permanently reduced to a 3rd rank power. We could enter a revolutionary war period, if that still occurs, with Austria clearly dominant in Germany.
The fact that Britain does better in Europe after the check and the colonial forces in N America fail badly at Louisburg seems to hint that the rebels won't be as successful later on, but have to see how that develops.
Its also interesting to see the Duke of Cumberland as a national hero rather than the source of controversy.
December 4th, 2011, 09:14 PM
Prince Charlie wouldn't claim to be King of Britain. The Jacobites considered the Act of Union a Hannoverian invention, and were instead separately Kings of England and Scotland.
December 4th, 2011, 09:44 PM
Prince Charlie wouldn't claim to be King of Britain. The Jacobites considered the Act of Union a Hannoverian invention, and were instead separately Kings of England and Scotland.
Queen Anne, Stuart, was the monarch of Great Britain in 1707. They (The Jacobites) would support the Act of Union.
December 4th, 2011, 10:05 PM
Queen Anne, Stuart, was the monarch of Great Britain in 1707. They (The Jacobites) would support the Act of Union.
I believe the Jacobites considered everyone from William & Mary on to be usurpers, and their constitutional changes thus illegal.
December 5th, 2011, 12:33 AM
I believe the Jacobites considered everyone from William & Mary on to be usurpers, and their constitutional changes thus illegal.
Okay I'll grant you that but it is semantics. He says king of Britain as shorthand for his claims on the separate realms of Scotland and England. It's an anachronism on the part of the "historian" writing the piece.
December 7th, 2011, 08:13 AM
Part #3: Stirrings in America
An excerpt from “Lord Benjamin Franklin, America's Father"
Benjamin Franklin’s life changed in 1749, when he finally ended his life as a working man and became rich enough to enter the aristocratic ranks of a gentleman. An entire lifetime of work had preceded him, and he had become one of the most famous men in America as well as one of the wealthiest.
He had begun his career as a printer where he created Philadelphia’s first newspaper. He published influential articles and made a name for himself as a decent writer, printing Poor Richard’s Almanac which is still read all across the Anglo world today. His writings are timeless and his sayings and life lessons are timeless. His printing also endeared him to the local assembly of Pennsylvania, where they made the official registrar of the Assembly in 1743. It was here that he was first taste of true politics.
Pennsylvania was in a precarious position at this point. William Penn had established Pennsylvania as a proprietary colony in the early 1600’s, with himself and his descendants as proprietors or the executive of the colony, while the legislative powers were left to the assembly. He also founded it as a specifically Quaker colony, giving the Society of Friends of Jesus a safe haven to practice their religion freely. One hundred years later, the situation could not be any more different. The descendants of Penn had converted to Anglicanism and moved back to Britain. They were no longer working with the assembly and Thomas Penn, the patriarch of the Penn family as of 1750, was treating the colony as his own personal profit machine and showed callous disregard to the now massive number of colonists living in his distant lands. The strife was rampant and the dream of a free Pennsylvania seemed to be a distant hope rather than something close to realization.
It was in this atmosphere that Franklin emerged. His dislike for the proprietors was quite intense and his involvement in the assembly was energetic. He worked hard for the assembly, making Philadelphia one of the most well run and egalitarian of all of the new cities of the American coast. He had served first as the main publisher for the assembly and knew many of the assemblymen quite well because of his time and profited greatly from it. Assembly politics suited Franklin well and proved that one possible future for himself was open as an elder statesman. In his new skin as a gentleman, assembly politics was not his only endeavor. In 1751, he along with his good friend Dr. Thomas Bond, received a grant to build the first Hospital in the American colonies. Franklin was also one of the original proprietors of the Academy and College of Philadelphia (now the University of Philadelphia), the first institution of higher learning in Pennsylvania. Franklin became one of the greatest benefactors of the city of Pennsylvania and the people adored him for it.
Franklin also didn’t just use his status as a gentleman to render public services to the Pennsylvania. He also began, as many learned gentleman of the time period did, to learn more in the sciences. He began to study electricity and it was here, as one of the America’s leading scientists that he began to publish his work dealing with electric currents. It was highly received not only in America but began to be circulated in scientific communities across Europe, transforming the most popular man in the colonies into a globally renowned scientist and writer.
But what was probably the most important thing he did during this time period was helping to set up a pan-colonial postal service. Before the advent of faster forms of communication, letters were the only way that people could communicate over long distances. The American colonies all had their own postal services but in 1751, the Privy Council in London decided to make letter deliverance simpler and created a North American postal service. In doing this, they needed a competent, powerful figure who could run an inter-colonial postal service. Franklin’s name immediately came to the forefront as not only a publisher but one of the most famous men in North America. The leaders in the British Government asked Franklin to head up the new inter-colonial organization and he, now craving organizational duties that spanned the British Empire, gladly accepted. Through his efforts, the people of British America soon began to draw closer together...
An excerpt from “The Wars of New England” By Thomas Hawthorne
The invasion of Louisbourg in 1746 was one of the first points at which the various colonies in New England began to work together voluntarily. The memory of the Dominion of New England and James II was fading, and in this new climate of cooperation William Shirley, the powerful governor of Massachusetts had used it to his advantage. *Due to his extensive system of contacts among the colonies, Connecticut provided 500 troops, New Hampshire 450, Rhode Island a ship, New York ten cannon, and Pennsylvania and New Jersey provided funds. They worked together seamlessly and this joint exercise ultimately was successful in capturing the fort. While the troops were less than successful in keeping it, nevertheless, Shirley showed the power of shared cooperation and the first stirring of unity among these American colonists. It was a powerful, underlying force that ultimately cemented the otherwise diverse colonists together, more now than ever before.
Still, once peacetime approached, the usual provincial bickering resumed. As with most inter-colonial disputes, it was over settler jurisdiction. The governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth made several settlement grants to families to land west of the Connecticut River, which was also claimed by New York. This obviously made them angry and there were several conflicts and skirmishes between them. The settlement problems bore many similarities to the Ohio River Valley dispute, where George II granted 200,000 acres of the territory to the Ohio Company of Virginia, with the stipulation that they would settle 500 families in those regions in the next ten years. This of course was encroaching on French and Indian claimed land, which only heightened the tension felt between the superpowers during the quasi-war between 1748 and 1756.
Regardless of all of the colonial squabbles, with their hot headedness and conflict, what bound the colonists in North America together was the mutual distrust and fear of the French and the Catholics among them. While many like to commentate today on the discriminatory practices against Roman Catholics in Great Britain after 1688, it pales in comparison to the actions taken by the various New England governments of the time. Anti-catholic legislation was passed to a great degree and active discrimination and violence against Catholics were prevalent. The government of Massachusetts even took the red original cross off of their flag because of the papist connotations associated with it. Needless to say, these people were quite scared and angered by the French to the north.
Furthermore, the British knew that if an invasion of New France was to be successful, a blockade of all reinforcements from continental France was necessary. To do this, they would have to capture Louisbourg and the last expedition had shown Shirley and rest of the New Englanders that without reinforcements, such an attack may fail once again. So, with Royal Navy assistance, a new naval base was founded in Nova Scotia, called Brunswick. It would prove to be an incredibly important naval base in the ensuing conflict…
An excerpt from “Le Mille Lacs: The story of New France”
The Governor General of New France, Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière was in a great position out of the War of Austrian Succession. While the New Englanders had taken Louisburg originally, the relief and recapture of the Fortress by the French fleet had been a relief and a joy for the victory starved French government, who had suffered too many defeats at the hands of the British at Fontenoy and often at sea. But La Galissoniere was not comfortable relying on the strength of the French Navy.
The most important actions taken by La Galissoniere during his tenure was preparing for the almost inevitable British invasion of New France. In 1753, he created extra fortifications to protect both Montreal and Quebec City in the expectation that seiges would come. He also focused on what would become the most important region in North America, the Ohio River Valley. In response to British claims and settlements, He sent an expedition in 1755 led by Francios Piquoet and several others to found a fort the confluence of the Ohio River. It was named Fort Galissioniere and it proved to be quite alarming to British interests in America. Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie was alarmed by this invasion of what he considered to be Virginia’s sole territory and sent out a small contingent led by George Washington, the young son of Augustine Washington, a rich landowner in Virginia, to try and establish a counter fortification to outflank them and rid the French from the Ohio River valley. But the New French garrison at Fort Galissioniere not only stopped his assault, but using their native allies managed to kill most of his militiamen. Washington slumped back to Virginia, leaving France the master of the Ohio country. But soon events in Europe would again alight New France into conflict.
La Galissionare, while a capable administrator, did not endear himself to the New French people. While the fortifications he created were invaluable, inside them the people suffered under high taxes like their brethren across the Atlantic. The governor tired of the people he ruled over and he longed for the civilization of Paris and relief from what he considered to be a supreme backwater. He relinquished his command in 1752. Luckily, there was general waiting in the wings who would redefine New France and the surrounding areas. His name was Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal.
Vaudriel-Cavagnal was the first Govenor-General born in New France and as such cared about the people far more than any other leader of the colony before him. He was first a minister of Trois-Rivières, and made himself a popular leader of the inhabitants of the second largest city in New France at the time. He became the first native leader of the land and provided a blossoming of civic pride of the New French. Vaudriel-Cavagnal loved his homeland and saw how it was quickly being outstripped and outshone by the British American colonies and large structural changes had to take place if New France was to stay competitive as a colony with the American ones.
As part of the tax reforms that Louis XV had been trying to pass through the nation, he decided to give rescind several taxes on the people of New France. While not as low as the American colonies at the time, it certainly did make the lands in New France much more attractive to settlers. Vaudriel-Cavagnal also petitioned to the Grand Council to enhance the roads traveling from Quebec City to Montreal and westward to provide for more avenues for western settlement. This passed and soon several thousand French peasants soon began to immigrate to the western areas, especially around Fort Sault Ste Marie. Vaudriel-Cavagnal also renewed several pacts with the local tribes all across the Huron Peninsula to ensure that they could retain control of most of the interior of America. He especially made overtures to the Seneca nations in the Haudenosaunee, to pull apart the confederacy and ensure that his allies could raid costal British settlements with impunity....
“The Confederacy: The Haudenosaunee and the peoples of America”
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy flourished during the early 18th*century because of its new neutrality policy that was far removed from its constant state of war it operated in during the 17th*century. Still the Haudenosaunee or the bastardized name that the early colonial settlers called them, the Iroquois, were in a precarious position and as such quite unhappy. While the Confederacy itself stressed neutrality, individual nations decided to ally themselves and fight with European powers. At first the Dutch and then the British allied themselves with the Mohawks, while the Onieda and the Seneca often allied themselves with the French.
This was threatening the very integrity of the Confederacy but also was symptomatic of a bigger problem; the ever encroaching settler movement from the British Atlantic coast. Many other tribes have tried to fight them but all had been defeated and displaced. The Haudenosaunee had benefited from that in the past, but now it seemed like it was their turn to be torn apart and displaced.
One chief however, saw it differently. Europeans had called him his Christianized name Hendrick but his true name has been passed down by the Haudenosaunee for generations since, Theyanoguin. He fought valiantly with the British during King George’s War along with Sir William Johnson and raided several French settlements. He was also among the chiefs to visit Britain where he caused a sensation. Now, events seemed to be pulling apart the confederacy as the Governor of New France seemed to make the Seneca want to even declare war on Britain, a war which would permanently annihilate the pact between the five nations. So Theyanoguin took a chance and decided along with several other Mohawk chiefs and other tribes in the confederacy to declare the Covenant Chain broken in 1753.
The Covenant Chain had originally been formed after the conclusion of King Philip’s War in 1678 by Sir Edmund Andros, the Governor of New York at the time. It was meant to be a long term alliance and in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s words, ‘You say that we are like father and son, but we are not. We will be like brothers…’ Now it had seemed like they were being treated like children who were coerced and subordinated.
The New York government responded seriously to the disruption of their diplomacy and the Governor of New York, George Clinton found the perfect man for repairing the tense diplomatic situation. And he happened to be one of Theyanoguin’s good friends, Sir William Johnson. Johnson happily obliged and met with the leaders, who listed their grievances. He listened and made every promise to not encroach on their land (after all he was the largest landowner in upper Albany, right next to Mohawk territory) and, with the New York governor’s permission, renewed the Chain. Always the romantic, he called their agreement the "Covenant Chain of love and friendship", saying that the chain has been attached to the immovable mountains and that every year British representatives would meet with the Haudenosaunee to "strengthen and brighten" the chain.
This made Theyanoguin and his Mohawk brothers very happy, but raised several interesting questions among colonial commentators on what the future of their relationships with the various Indian tribes would hold. Pennsylvania and New York had separate policies towards the Haudenosaunee and the differences in these agreements had actually been one of the causes of this Covenant Chain crisis. Colonial leaders knew that a new order would have to be established and arranged a meeting to do so. Little did they know how much it would affect the future of North America…
December 8th, 2011, 10:53 AM
I know this update was a tad boring because there was no war and somewhat obscure events between the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War. I'll give a little analysis.
Most of this is OTL, but the few differences include Vaudriel-Cavignal given the post of Governor General of New France a few years earlier than in OTL. He, being the first native born Governor, was very popular with the people and leads to much better policies earlier. Lower taxes, land reform, infrastructure is much better because competent leadership comes sooner. This could kick up the settlement rate to New France considerably in the decade between the wars.
This is Franklin's life basically as it was in OTL, but it's important to note this stuff in this TL as he is gonna be really important soon. Lord Franklin's ideas and politics will be influential beyond even OTL.
In the Iroquois Nation, called the Haudenosaunee in OTL; Theyangoiun had the covenant chain broken and it wasn't repaired for several years. ITTL, this is solved a few years earlier and more cooperation between the Americans and the Howdenosaunee result.
December 10th, 2011, 08:20 PM
Part #4: Dupleix’s Dream
“Dupleix and the Rise of French India”
Dupleix wasted no time after the treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle to consolidate his power base in the Carnatic. He recognized the reason why he was not as successful as he could’ve been during the first Carnatic war; the British allied Nawab. In order to circumvent this irritating alliance, he simply decided to depose this bothersome prince of Bengal.
An already close ally of his came to him and requested that he should be the true Nawab. His name was Chandra Sahib and he had made his name by conquering the Madurai Kingdom (originally an autonomous part of the Mughal Kingdom) in a very unorthodox way. In 1736, he entered the kingdom and managed to get the Queen of Madurai, Meenakshi to fall hopelessly in love with him. When he proposed, he was forced to swear an oath of loyalty and swear solemnly on the Koran that he would not try to take her kingdom. Being an honest follower of Islam, he couldn’t very well take the oath as he only entered in the relationship to take her kingdom. So, he accordingly took an oath on a brick wrapped in the covered normally only reserved for the holy book itself. Nevertheless, once married he took power and used it for his personal gain. The kingdom was his and the Queen was sidelined and devastated.
Now he was looking to expand his control and this seemed to be a perfect time to do so. The British allied Nawab was quite old and his sons were disputing who was going to succeed him. Chandra Sahib, already power hungry, allied himself with another man who had plans to take on the entire subcontinent and was drunk off of his success, Dupleix. They plotted and waited for the leader of the Canatic to die and soon after, there were so many disputes among his sons as to who would become Nawab that Chandra Sahib took a force led by French officers and took the crown for himself. There was much objection to this, especially from British and the directors sought to send an army to depose of Sahib. But Dupleix was prepared for this turn of events and Chandra Sahib mobilized the armies of the Carnatic, composed of Indian soldiers and almost entirely French officers.
They clashed near Arcot in 1751 and it proved to be a smashing victory of Chandra Sahib and Dupleix’s men. Ultimately it cemented Sahib’s hold as Nawab and in return for his help in retaining his new won throne; the Nawab gave Dupleix and FEIC thousands of acres of land in the Carnatic and the promise of a trade monopoly. Dupleix had completed his greatest coup yet and left the British smarting from their losses.
Dupleix however, had a larger plan in hand. He knew the French fleet was notoriously unreliable and ultimately assuming that you could be resupplied and transported by sea was simply a luxury only the BEIC could have, which left Dupleix and the FEIC at a significant disadvantage. Controlling the Nawab of the Carnatic allowed him to not only move his troops freely throughout most of the southern tip of India, but it also supplied him with an ample number of trained sepoy troops. This control would serve France well, and enable the FEIC to eventually establish dominance there.
Dupleix, always ambitious wanted to expand this power elsewhere. An opportunity presented itself in the form of a conflict. The new Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to attack the Maratha Confederacy, now the largest post-Mughal power in India, but to do so he needed a sizeable army and funds to do it. Dupleix met with the Nizam and agreed to fund it. In exchange, however he was to receive the deed to the coastal region of Hyderabad, known as the Circars. The Nizam agreed and built up his forces while giving control of the Circars over to the FEIC. He proceeded to attack the Marathas in 1753 and were soundly defeated. Hyderabad was reduced twice over and Dupleix could count another victory for the French in India.
Dupleix was smart enough to maintain contacts, however tenuous with the Nizam of Hyderabad, while entertaining a Maratha delegation to Madras in 1755. The then-secret agreement made by Dupleix at the time stipulated that he would sell advanced artillery and other weapons to the Maratha Army in exchange for an alliance and the ability to move FEIC troops throughout the Maratha lands. This was a chance to gain full mobility throughout India and not a moment too soon, for the fires of War in Europe were heating up again and this time Dupleix was prepared to raise the stakes...
From “Robert Clive: Empire’s Son”
They young Robert Clive had been commended for his role in the daring escape from Madras and the information he disseminated to provide for the relief of Fort St. David. The first commander-in-chief of India at the time was Major-General Stinger Lawrence and he liked Clive so much that he gave the young man an ensign’s commission and they soon became fast friends. But now with peacetime came civilian duties and Clive was no longer the golden boy of the British East India Company.
But Major-General Lawrence had other important things on his mind. With the loss of Fort St. George in Madras, the BEIC would have to regroup and try to regain control of the Carnatic, so his commander put him to work among the many men in the BEIC trading and engaging in political intrigue. But this didn’t suit Clive, who had seen glory among the battles with Dupleix and now, it seemed that that high would fade. It was foolish to think that considering Dupleix’s antics between the wars, but nevertheless Clive soon fell into a deep depression. His personality often brought himself to the extremes of life and here it brought to the edge. Clive attempted to commit suicide in 1750 but the pistol failed to discharge properly, sparing his life. Lawrence saw this and being his friend, forced him to take leave and was set to be sent off to Britain to recoup and to ensure he doesn’t try to commit suicide again. But as the ship that was supposed to take him back rounded the Jaffna Penninsula off Ceylon, Clive emerged out of his depression and wanted to stay with the British East India Company. His supervision on the ship were hesitant to say the least, Lawrence had ensured they simply could not return him to Fort St. David. His constant emotional changes were also apparent and while those in the BEIC recognized his talents, they did not like the spotlight he had been given and many were jealous of his success.
So they sent him off to the eastern side of India and the BEIC’s largest company base there, Bombay. The base seemed like a perfect choice to dispose of Clive. It was a large base, but among those in company it was seen as a lost cause. During the 1690’s the Mughals under Yakut Khan invaded and destroyed most of the surrounding town and in 1748 another invasion took place, this time with the Marathas raiding and pillaging. Each time the town was destroyed, Bombay became a drain on the resources of the BEIC and by now, the director had to pay close attention to the native powers surrounding Bombay. Clive landed there in 1750 and set off to work in Bombay, on an island surrounded by hostile powers.
But Clive, now out of his depression, soon emerged as one of the most dynamic and intelligent of the men working in the BEIC contingent in Bombay Castle. He stood up to the native powers far more than his more timid company men and he ensured that Bombay would have far less foreign intervention than was allowed before he had arrived. He also secured a contract with the Parsi shipwright Lovji Nusserwanjee Wadia in December 1752 to vastly expand the dry docks in Bombay. Wadia was renowned throughout the Indian Ocean for his organizational skills as well as his watercraft architectural genius. This expansion made Bombay the center for shipping in the Indian Ocean, brought in a huge profit in the first months and attracted the attention of the leaders of the British East India Company. In 1754, Clive was appointed the Director of Bombay and responsible for a large part of the BEIC’s profits. While the largest base in the BEIC remained at Fort William in Bengal, power had noticeably shifted west to suit Clive’s new found role as their most dynamic young leader. Bombay was considered to be the head of all company possessions, though in practice at the time, each director could operate fairly independently from each-other. While Lawrence transferred him to Bombay out of his sense of friendship with him; Clive thought this to be a great insult and saw Lawrence as a rival rather than an ally. In his position in Bombay Castle, opposite Lawrence who was becoming the Governor-General of Madras; he would be able to usurp his former mentors power and emerge as the the leader of the BEIC
This was to be only a temporary state of affairs, for Dupleix's plans would cause great upheaval in the next war; and would propel Robert Clive to become the one of India's greatest Empire builders...
December 10th, 2011, 09:04 PM
And here's a map of India for 1756...
Brown is the Durrani Empire
Purple is the Maratha Confederacy
Blue is the French East India Company
Orange is Dutch East India Company
Pink is British East India Company
December 12th, 2011, 11:05 PM
Part #5: A Race to Arms
From “A History of France's Ancien Regime”
Louis XV, while his ministers and his army was unhappy with the way the war ended, couldn’t have been happier with the result and was quite delighted to attain peace in his kingdom. He wasn’t a bloodthirsty absolute monarch who cared nothing for his society as some future portrayals among those in France would show, but really a king following in his father’s footsteps. Louis XIV had been the genesis of the absolute monarch and an inspiration for enlightenment leaders everywhere, who wanted to emulate the ‘Sun King’. So his great-grandson, with all the same form, did not rule with a minister or a court, but he himself would make all of the final decisions relating to the welfare of his nation. Louis knew of the slow declining financial straits his ‘perfect hexagonal’ Kingdom. In striving to perfect his realm, he sought and worked to reform the tax code, which up until that point had very much favored towards the rich, wealthy aristocratic patrons of France. But nonetheless, when he tried to tax the wealthy further, he faced opposition from the Grand Parlement of Paris, led by the gentry, who painted themselves as the saviors of the traditions of France against the arbitrary whims of a monarch. How ironic that history sees this in an entirely different light.
Still the domestic troubles and the dreams of reform in France quieted as the real problems for the Kingdom were beginning. The enmity between their neighboring great superpower, the Kingdom of Great Britain was still warm from the treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle and soon to heating up again. Preparations were to be made and war was soon to come again to the nation of France and it's people. This war, far larger than the previous one, would prove to be decisive to the integrity of his reign…
“British Politics: 1688-1788” By William Thomas Jennings
The British government came out of the War of Austrian Succession as well as it could have given the lackluster performance in the war. William Pulteney, although sustaining several bad losses in the early stages of the war, redeemed themselves on the continent at Fontenoy and a few victories in Italy. The colonial misfortunes were not on the part of British incompetence; it was sheer cunning of Dupleix that led to his victory to take Madras and an insufficient New Englander garrison at Louisburg. But regardless, this war was regarded as a success but did nothing to resolve any of the longstanding struggles between France and Britain.
Pulteney became Prime Minister under extraordinary circumstances. He had to negotiate the return of King George II and then used the outrage of the British people to force all of the bickering factions to cooperate with each other. But now that the war was over, he had a serious problem. He was seen as being far too cordial with George’s son, Frederick the Prince of Wales, whom George detested. The King also held clout with many of the more conservative politicians of the time period and would’ve made his government entirely unworkable.
But Pulteney had a trick up his sleeve. He appointed Lord Cartertet the Secretary of State for the Southern Department. He had been present with the King at the Battle of Dettingen and was quite grateful to Pulteney for his handling of the crisis. He had been in opposition with Walpole for quite some time and had made acquaintances with him. He also detested Prince Frederick and was a close confidant to King George II (because both spoke in German together often). This unlikely ally helped him to distance himself from both the patriots and the Pelham’s former supporters. This also split the opposition into two parts, a first in parliamentary procedure. The New Patriots opposing on one side, led by the young Paymaster-General William Pitt and his ally Henry James Fox and the conservative Whigs on the other side, led by Thomas Pelham-Holmes and his young protégé, Frederick North.
Despite their divisions, Pulteney’s parliament managed to pass through the Act of Toleration in 1754, which began to return some rights to non-Anglican Protestants, while still recognizing the Anglican Church as supreme. He also managed to pass the Jew Naturalization Act of 1754, in recognition of their loyalty during the Jacobite rebellions. The former Act was an incredibly popular move to the many German Calvinists and Lutherans as well as many French Huguenots residing in Britain, all escaping persecution on the continent. The latter Act made many London Jews begin to worship openly and encourage their brethren to come to the newly tolerant London. While George II was very opposed to both, Lord Cartertet, knowing it was necessary for his ministry to continue managed to get him to begrudgingly allow it to pass above the objections of the Tories and the King. There were the inevitable street riots by some more cantankerous Protestants but they quickly died down. He also received the support of the New Patriots completely and used these Acts to show he was still in solidarity to these men.
On foreign policy, Pulteney did share the ideas of some of his New Patriot supporters that they should abandon the continent entirely and focus on the Indian and North American fronts. But he still needed to appease George II and Lord Cartertet, who both wanted to protect Hanover at any cost. It had been costly to subsidize all of those imperial troops to protect the lands and Austria was naturally unwilling to protect Hanover. While it seemed like searching for new allies would be difficult, the exceedingly complex diplomacy of the mid-1700’s made the decision for them…
From “Portugal in the Seventeenth Century”
The Aftermath of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was massive and shook the declining Kingdom of Portugal from its slumber. From the horrifying carnage of a devastated city, one of Portugal’s greatest leaders emerged, Sebastiao Jose Malo. Joseph I, the King of Portugal had always liked this young, energetic man who had a certain hunger that his other noble ministers lacked. This was because Melo was a commoner at birth and worked hard to achieve the position he had and eventually in 1738, he was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Many of Joseph's ministers did not make it out of the destruction wrought on the city but luckily Malo escaped with the King and was at his side throughout the incredibly traumatic ordeal. When the night passed and the next day rose to a desolated city, Joseph asked Malo what was to be done, and the Minister replied “Bury the Dead and heal the Living...”. With those simple words, Malo would lead a swift recovery and rebuilding operation to restore Lisbon to it's former glory. While Malo did try to make the city as safe as possible; building the first earthquake-proof buildings, Joseph would be permanently stationed outside the city, in a complex series of beautifully colored tents and huts. This new court soon became the center for Portuguese life.
Soon after the reconstruction efforts began, the King was so impressed by Malo's leadership that he bestowed a title on him, the Marquis of Pombal and officially gave him the post of Prime Minister. This cemented their friendship and marked an age of Portuguese restoration. Unfortunately it would also spell doom for Joseph's life. The nobility of Portugal already did not like Joseph because he did not produce a male heir and therefore designated his eldest daughter as the inheritor to the throne while several Portuguese noblemen were connected to the royal family and had more tenuous claims to the throne. But the deliberate antagonism of giving Pombal, a commoner the highest government position in the Nation was simply one violation too many.
A cadre of aristocratic families sought to kill both Joseph and the Princess, leaving Pombal with no allies and giving one charismatic leader, Francisco the Marquis of Tavora the throne. They hired two assassins to kill them simultaneously and then the plan would be put into place. It was decided that he would be killed while traveling, so they could place the blame on simple highway robbery while the young heiress could be blamed on a simple fever and sickness; rather than the poison that would actually kill her.
So in June of 1757, a group of assassins posing as highwaymen attacked the Royal Caravan of Joseph I; catching the Royal Guard by surprise and killed the King. The Assassins tried to flee but one was captured by the remnant of the Guard and was dragged back to Lisbon. The other assassins, poised to kill the Heiress, was too afraid to do anything and abandoned their plot. Pombal was furious beyond measure, for Joseph was his close personal friend and he had suspicions that it was deliberate murder. He mercilessly tortured the man until he gave away his true purpose (to murder the King and the Heiress) and who employed him, the Tavora family.
The new queen was shocked that she was to be murdered by a power hungry aristocratic family and gave Pombal all of the freedom that her father afforded him. Pombal was as heavy handed as he could be with the Tavora family, killing everyone including the women and children. Pombal became even more of a de-facto dictator with the young afraid queen and a complaint populace.
It was in this atmosphere, Pombal sought to make Portugal strong again. He decided to renew his alliance with the British Empire, built up his navy and upgraded colonial defenses throughout the Portuguese Empire. His domestic reforms were very important as well. He reformed the tax code and tried to create a secular schooling system by expelling the Jesuits. He also tried to expel the Jesuits in South America as well where they owned massive missions. Who would take over these missions would prove to propel Portugal to war and the Marquis de Pombal to greatness...
From “The Seventeen Provinces: A history of the Republic of the Netherlands”
The Dutch had been reasonably successful in the War of Austrian Succession, having stopped the French in Flanders with the British at Fontenoy. But the French raids on Bruges and even to Antwerp in 1746 and 1747 destroyed Dutch garrisons and though these defeats were not strategically important, they awoke several important leaders to reform the Dutch army along French and Prussian lines in order to increase their power and efficiency. Still, the successful defense of the Austrian Netherlands gave the Grand Pensionary of the Republic, Anthonie Van Der Heim a very strong position to govern. Though he was not a dynamic leader, he was held as a compromise candidate in 1736 between the Republican forces and those of the Orangists. Now with his successful defense of the Netherlands, he was untouchable.
But even with this reasonable success in the War of Austrian Succession, Van Der Heim looked at the declining economic standing of the Dutch Republic very seriously. The French and British financial systems had already overtaken the financial system of Amsterdam and now it's trading fleets were being overtaken by the large empires being built around the Netherlands. Slowly it was draining the once great trading empire of the Dutch because heavy borrowing had been siphoning the wealth of the Netherlands to the Bank of England. Van Der Heim saw this around him and knew something had to change. He tried to remove the corruption and excessive taxation on the wealthy burghers and aristocrats. This made him incredibly popular among the shopkeepers and merchantmen.
He was also able to complete the first government investigation into the Dutch East India Company after the 1740 Chinese massacre at Batavia. He was doing this to try and remove the stranglehold the company and business interests held over the Netherlands. Inadvertently however, the reorganization he forced upon the Dutch East India Company actually made them far more profitable than before. Trade now didn’t have to go to Batavia before going back to the Dutch Republic. Trade volumes and the shares of the company went up. While this made the wealthy wealthier; it also gave the government and the Dutch economy some desperately needed growth and stability.
Knowing that further wars would only weaken the merchant marine and further deplete the state's coffers, The Grand Pensionary instead decided to pursue a policy of neutrality going forward. Everyone in Europe knew that another conflict was brewing between the Great Powers and although it would take some time to build up, it would happen. Neutrality however would give the merchant fleet a chance to build the prosperity of the Dutch Empire. Ultimately Van Der Heim made an incredibly good decision in staying out of this latest and incredibly destructive conflict...
From “Europe in the Early Modern World”
The Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle did almost nothing to solve any of the long-term conflicts between the Great Powers of Europe; so, looking back into the mists of history, it seems as though conflict between them on a wider scale was almost inevitable.
The key pivot point was Maria Teresa, the Empress of Austria. She had spent her entire reign dealing with the ulcer in the stomach of her Holy Roman Empire, Prussia. During the War of Austrian Succession, Frederick II inflicted an incredible defeat at the battle of Hohenfriedburg, which had sealed Prussia’s control of the territory of Silesia that it so desperately coveted. Now, as we know, it was because of the Prussian army’s incredible prowess and advanced technique. But in Maria Teresa’s eyes, it was merely a matter of alliances.
The French were the biggest backers of Prussia and showed how decisive their support was in the Battle of Dettingen, where French forces were able to route the Pragmatic army and ultimately leave central Germany completely exposed. Maria Teresa knew that in order to truly end the upstart Prussia, she would have to ensure that they would no longer intervene on Prussia’s behalf. So in 1753, she decided to send secret diplomatic overtures to Paris to see under what conditions they would support Maria Teresa in the next conflict with Prussia.
She also understood that it would be downright impossible to try and fully ally with France and retain the British as one as well. The enmity and even downright hatred between those two nations and their global empires was intense and while Maria Teresa was a diplomatic genius, it would eventually take incredible events to end those two nation’s rivalry. This was increasingly evident when her diplomats returned with the news that Louis XV wanted Austrian neutrality or even an Austrian alliance only if they could receive assistance in invading Hanover. Nevertheless, when she thought hard about it, she needed Britain as well. They protected the Austrian Netherlands well at the Battle of Fontenoy and if she could ensure French neutrality, she could make sure the British don’t support Prussia with subsidies or even troops. The British, however, only wanted her procession of Hanover on the continent protected by imperial and even Austrian troops. Austria, wanting to focus on Silesia, certainly did not want to tie up its troops defending an almost useless possession to appease an ally. This situation seemed to perplex Maria Teresa, which seemingly hamstrung her attempts to isolate Prussia.
Enter Empress Elizabeth and Russia. While Maria Teresa was reluctant to protecting Hanover herself, she certainly would allow Russian troops to pass through her territory to do the same. Russia wanted to annex East Prussia and then trade the territory to Poland for the Duchy of Courland. She would be the first to admit that this ingenious compromise wasn’t exactly her idea; it had first come from her chief foreign minister Wenzel Anton Graf Kaunitz. He had originally been an opponent of the Anglo-Austrian alliance but his heart had changed in 1744, as he was the minister of the Austrian Netherlands at the time of the Battle of Fontenoy. The Duke of Cumberland’s defense showed him the Britain could be a valuable ally and he wanted to work towards keeping them that way. These negotiations, which were usually spied upon had to be kept incredibly secret as the details were hammered out in Parliament, led by William Pulteney between the years of 1752 to 1755. While they were initially unhappy with the idea of Russian troops protecting British lands, as they had a reputation for being barbarous, ultimately Kaunitz convinced them it was worth it. Frederick, if he ever found out, would certainly immediately declare war on any number of the powers conspiring against him. Still, during this time he seemed oblivious, believing France to remain as one of his main allies.
Maria Teresa had, in a short time, achieved her goal. She ensured that France would essentially leave Prussia’s side, or at least not support Prussia when the invasion of Silesia would come. She made sure that Prussia was entirely surrounded by enemies and filled with Russian troops. It was unorthodox and certainly quite different at time, using Russian troops to protect a British possession in the Holy Roman Empire. But Maria Teresa was willing to go great lengths to destroy Prussia and now that it seemed completely isolated, she had a right to be fairly confident that when the next war broke out, Silesia could be regained and the threat of the Hohenzollern dynasty could be permanently extinguished from the Holy Roman Empire.
But as Great Men know, the course of history is nearly impossible to completely divert the way you wish…
December 13th, 2011, 08:22 AM
A map of the sides of this ATL Seven Years War...
December 13th, 2011, 09:46 AM
Minor quibble: Louis XV was Louis XIV's great-grandson (the Sun King outlived his only son and grandson).
December 13th, 2011, 03:42 PM
Minor quibble: Louis XV was Louis XIV's great-grandson (the Sun King outlived his only son and grandson).
Oh sorry, I'll fix it.
December 16th, 2011, 06:55 AM
Part #6: The War That Changed Everything
“The Seven Years War: The Rise of Prussia”
While the Russian army sought to move as quietly as possible through Austrian and allied lands before taking their place in Hanover for a proper invasion, word could not be kept secret for too long. Once Frederick found out about their encirclement and knew that Maria Teresa was once again trying to destroy his kingdom, he preemptively moved to occupy Saxony and destroy what would be a pincer attack on all four sides from which he and his Kingdom of Prussia wouldn’t survive. Austria, as soon as the troops moved to meet this Russian army, declared war on Prussia citing them breaking the Imperial Peace and invoking the entire strength of the Holy Roman Empire against Prussia. This of course, as Voltaire saw it, quite silly and anachronistic but nevertheless held some bite to it, as most of the small German states, besides Bavaria did declare war on Prussia.
This, while he didn’t exactly know it would set the world itself aflame in conflict. Frederick was surprised however to find that his natural ally, France didn’t declare war on Austria like he thought that they would. They were interested in one thing and one thing only, Hanover and a chance to put Britain in her place. Nevertheless, Austria in exchange for French neutrality allowed them passage through German lands to get there. So while Frederick certainly didn’t need to worry about invasion from Hanover, he was surrounded on all sides by large enemies, intent on crushing his fledgling state. To the south was obviously Austria, the leader of which, Maria Teresa wanted to wrest control of Silesia from him. To the north, Sweden sought to regain Baltic dominance by way of pushing Prussia aside. To the east, Russia sought to control its puppet, the Poland-Lithuanian commonwealth by offering them pieces of Prussian territory.
But they all underestimated Prussia to a large degree. Frederick knew the position he was in, and informed his generals and indeed his entire army of the precariousness of the conflict. He knew that if anyone were to make brash decisions and allow any one of the three fronts to collapse, they would all fail and it would mean the end of Prussia. So Frederick, after quickly destroying the Russian Army at the Battle of Pirna in 1756 realized he had an unprecedented opportunity. The Austrian armies throughout the northern reaches of the Crown were unprepared for war and also without good command. Frederick decided that, if he could knock out the antagonist of this whole conflict, he could ensure that Prussia would survive.
So he gathered his largest force of approximately 70,000 troops and marched south from Saxony and Silesia into Bohemia. There they encountered little resistance until Frederick reached the city of Prague. There stood a fortified Austrian army under the leadership of the able general Maximilian Ulysses Browne, who had seen present during the Silesian campaigns during the War of Austrian Succession. They had dug in along the rivers to the north and east of Prague.
Frederick knew that a protracted battle would drain his forces, so he took a page out of his successful battle of Hohenfriedburg, split his forces in two and charged the Austrians with everything he had. The Austrian forces, less disciplined and already under prepared for the conflict, broke under the full might of the highly trained Prussian units. Browne could not hold together his forces and tried to formulate a tactical withdrawal of his forces inside the city walls to prepare for a longer siege of Prague.
But Browne’s plan never came to fruition. Ultimately he was killed as a tactical retreat devolved into a rout and the integrity of the Austrian armies broke completely as Frederick completed his encirclement. He then followed the retreating ragtag Austrian soldiers into Prague and proceeded to occupy the city in December 1757. It was quite a feat and has driven Austria away from Silesia entirely, to the point of setting up defensive positions in Austria herself.
Soon however, word had come to him from the other fronts. To the east, Russian armies had poured through the neutral Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania and threaten East Prussia as well as Bradenburg itself. They had the advantage of numbers, fielding 74,000 men under General Stepan Apraksin. They quickly swept aside the small garrison at Memel and took that city and then moved south to try and take Konigsburg. Apraskin faced off against a much smaller force led by Hans Von Lehwaldt, approximating 25,000 men as he and his Russian Army marched on Welhau. Lehwaldt split his forces to try and encircle them and divide the large Russian force into smaller destructible pieces. And so in June of 1757, the battle of Welhau began. While it seemed as though the Prussians were invincible and could cut through any force no matter how large, Apraksin had a trick up his sleeve. He decided to simply charge his men to the Prussian lines and simply defeat them in close combat. So he gave his men the unorthodox command and they charged, surprising the Prussians. Soon after prolonged bayonet fighting, the Prussian force was absolutely decimated and even scattered and Russian troops were poised to take Konigsburg.
But Apraskin didn’t do what the Prussians had feared; instead he merely pulled back into Polish-Lithuanian territory and waited with his troops. No one today knows why he did this; some say it was because he was bribed secretly by Prussian officials, a claim that any member of the Prussian government at the time would’ve denied. Others say it was because rumors were abound the the Czarita of Russia, Elizabeth was in ill health and may die, which would definitely explain his actions after the War was over. Still, the situation was so ambiguous that the Russian government sought to have him recalled and imprisoned. But the impact in wartime was already apparent. Prussia, for the moment was safe.
Seeing the weakness of the Russian front, Frederick decided that he could not hold Prague for long, so decided to redeploy his forces into Silesia as he tried to hold the center of his country while gathering up more troops near Berlin to defeat the Russians. But the Austrians, sensing his weakness, pursued him. At the forefront of this chase was Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine, who was fielding one of the largest armies in the world at nearly 90,000 men and he wanted a victory badly. Charles, as her unreliable nephew, was currently in bad graces with Maria Teresa and nothing would redeem him in her eyes than capturing Silesia and ending the Prussian menace once and for all. He had the means to do it as well. He decided to begin his invasion by taking one of the largest cities in Silesia, Breslau and wait there for the leader of Prussia and his army to engage them...
In Britain, the outbreak of the war marked a very important partisan split in Parliament on what the major strategy would be against their largest enemy, France. The most dominant voice that emerged were that of William Pitt and the rest of the New Patriots, who claimed that Britain should use the Royal Navy, it’s most powerful force to the fullest extent possible. He wanted to focus on the North American and Indian fronts while spreading out the more powerful French army through a series of powerful ‘descents’ or landings on the French coast. On the opposing end was the Conservative Whigs led by The Duke of Newcastle and his most important ally, King George II who wanted to defend Hanover at any cost. George of course supported this measure because he was born there and felt attached to the crown of Hanover. Conservatives agreed that Great Britain should stay attached to Europe and the best way to do that was to defend Hanover against all foreign incursions.
In the middle of this partisan bickering stood Prime Minister William Pulteney. He had gotten Great Britain to do very well on the continent in the last conflict, the War of Austrian Succession. He felt torn as this latest conflict flared up because of his attachment to the last war as well as Lord Cartertet’s influence. But his Patriot past and the energy of the party championing this cause was quite intoxicating.
In France however, the ideas were quite similar but with an even stronger impetus towards launching an invasion of Great Britain. Many general and commentators in France hated how since their island had that Protestant invasion in 1688, perfidious Albion had tried to box them in and maintain a balance of power, always ensuring that the French would be kept down. They felt as though it had to end the war as soon as possible. So Louis and his Marshals followed a plan that had served them well in the last war. They decided to ignore the colonial theaters and decide to try and completely remove the British presence from the continent through a two prolonged assault, an invasion of England and an invasion of Hanover. If they could capture enough British territory, they could ensure that any losses overall in the colonial theater could be made up for in the ensuing peace. Of course, Britain's possessions would be have to be picked off one by one.
But the opening shots of the most intense Anglo-Bourbon conflict yet began with Minorca. This Balearic Island Great Britain captured during the War of Spanish Succession helped the British Mediterranean Fleet to box in the French and their ambitions to control the Mediterranean from Toulon. But now, the French fleet under Hubert de Brienne, Comte de Conflans who was dispatched with a fleet of fifteen ships of the line to besiege the island. Britain knew that Minorca would be first on the list of places for France to conquer, but the aforementioned political bickering about strategy resulted in Admiral John Byng, the leader of the fleet at Minorca receiving a second rate fleet. He was a very capable commander but those in the Royal Navy simply wanted to focus on other fronts like the Atlantic and Indian oceans, leaving the Mediterranean fleet much weaker.
So as the French came to besiege the fort on Minorca, Admiral Byng decided it was best to try and meet them in open naval combat, despite his less than ideal fleet conditions. But he underestimated how badly these ships would fare against the French. He organized his biggest ships into a single line of battle and then gave the signal to circle and descend on the French fleet simultaneously. But the signaling and communication on the ships were so badly executed that the attack was disjointed and mistimed. Brienne’s fleet, soon realizing the British weakness, struck bad and badly damaged many ships in Byng’s squadron. What made things even easier for the French was that this mis- communication made some of the ships out of proper cannon range. Byng soon realized that if he stayed, his whole fleet would go down.
So he ordered a full retreat to Gibraltar, as Brienne and his fleet cheered and proceeded to overrun the garrison at Minorca. Byng limped back to Britain’s safe Rock of Gibraltar and waited. The Royal Navy, eager to cover up their obvious failure, decided to recall Byng to Britain and sentence him to death for not “doing his utmost to prevent the French invasion”. Voltaire would later satirize him in a novel involving the Royal Navy, in which his most famous quote is now enshrined "in this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others".
While the French were victorious in their opening battles at Sea, they were not so successful on land. Their first assault would be against Hanover, led by Louis de Bourbon-Condé, comte de Clermont. The French forced marched through Lorraine, careful to avoid Austrian and Palatinate territory which had guaranteed neutrality in the conflict and soon found themselves in the lands of British subsidized German princes; most notably that of Hessen-Kessel, who gave so many troops for the British that soon “Hessian Mercenaries” became renowned throughout the Empire. But Hesse wasn’t the only German state to receive subsidies from Great Britain; Nassau, Gotha, Ansbach, Oldenburg and Hildesheim all contributed many troops to this pan-German force designed to protect Hanover. This patchwork coalition was the brainchild of the Duke of Newcastle, who used his position of Secretary of State to hammer out all of these agreements and assemble a force of 26,000 men. They fought against Bourbon-Conde’s force at the Battle of Marburg of nearly 45,000 men, who certainly seemed to have the upper hand and would destroy the smaller force.
But the general in charge was a British general named John Manners; the Marquess of Granby. He worked incredibly well with the Hessian mercenaries and the Duke of Newcastle took a liking to him and gave him the authority to command this Anglo-German force. He was quite the audacious soldier and he decided to hide several thousand of his cavalry men behind a walled canal near the city of Krefeld. The battle began as Bourbon-Conde’s forces engaged the Hessian infantry with full force and the Hessians and other German held the French back, but after a few hours of fighting (and Bourbon-Conde distracted by mid-day lunch), Manners cunningly sneaked his cavalry around the canal behind the French forces and surprised them. Most of the French forces dispersed after that surprise assault and the French were held back and Hanover was safe.
This came as a great relief to William, the Duke of Cumberland, who was the overall commander of forces in Hanover, appointed by his father George II as he was the favorite son. He was not commanding the troops in the field at the time because he was trying to ensure that the Dutch enter the war on the side of the British and spent most of his time in Amsterdam trying to convince the Republic to come over to his side. The Grand Penionary, Anthonie van der Heim, a stubborn but very competent leader, would not budge and would pursue a course of neutrality throughout the course of the war. He had a very good memory for William's conduct during the War of Austrian Succession and his forced removal of several thousand Dutch troops to defeat the Jacobite rebellion made him not very cooperative. Still the victory in the Battle of Krefeld was great news for the Duke of Cumberland and he quickly returned to Hanover to begin to command his own regiments and further defend the Kingdom against French incursions.
This also proved to be a wake up call for the French. Hanover had to be taken, as they wanted, but they could not capture it alone. The only way they could easily take Hanover was if they ended their policy of gentleman’s neutrality with Austria and brought Prussian troops from the adjacent Prussian lands into the fray. But, remembering Fontenoy, many Marshals feared a war with Austria. Of course it could all have been made a moot point by an invasion of England, but on the continent the web of alliances were important to look at. It would take monumental events to change this policy and many dismissed any large changes in the diplomatic landscape. Still, the war would be decided by one of those events…
December 17th, 2011, 01:36 AM
Part #7: If We Don’t Hang Together, We Will Hang Separately
“The Great Game: The Story of the Ohio Country”
In 1755, with a looming declaration of war on France by Great Britain, General Edward Braddock was sent out to Virginia to command the war effort there. He landed in Virginia and immediately began to formulate the main strategy for war in North America while organizing his own forces and augmenting them with various colonial regulars. His first colonial regular unit that he contacted was the one led by George Washington, who had originally led a small assault on Fort Gassoliriare the summer before and failed; because of lesser numbers (he had only a party of about 50 militiamen) and unfortunate failures with the native allies.
Braddock, who decided he would lead the main assault to capture Fort Gassoliriare, learned from Washington many of the problems involved in trying to take this backwoods fort. The first problem he remedied, gathering a quite large colonial force of 2000 people. But Washington’s second problem wasn’t so easily remedied. The leader for the northern forces was Benjamin Franklin who had created his own more popular militia association of Pennsylvania, started back in 1745 and held the connections to the only native allies the British had at the time, the Haudenosaunee. Franklin voiced some of the biggest concerns he held with Braddock’s fighting style and his adherence to normal European military tactics, as well as his unwillingness to submit and work with Native American allies. Franklin, besides being the leader of the militia association had uncommonly good relations with the Haudenosaunee specifically, as the Pennsylvanian Assembly’s delegate to make western land purchases for them.
Braddock was at once condescending to Franklin, believing him to know nothing of war as he knew it, and also was quite fearful of his presence as he and his militia association was much more popular than he was. He ignored all of Franklin’s otherwise very good advice and was quite difficult to work with. Due to this, the Braddock Expedition ultimately didn’t include any northern troops or any native allies. It was solely a British-Virginian campaign, as they assembled to march through the wilderness in June of 1756.
Almost immediately, they suffered. Because they had no native scouts with their contingent, they fell victim to several native raids and smaller attacks, which killed a small but sizeable fraction of the Army. This was merely a set-up to wear down the British before the actual battle and it worked perfectly. Morale dropped dangerously low among the men and supplies began to run low. Now was the perfect time to strike.
The garrison at Fort Gassoliriare sent out a force made up mostly of Natives, interspersed with a few New French militia men and regular army squads led by the French commander, (insert name here). Braddock's forces were caught completely off-guard by the attack which occurred at night and did not follow the conventions of European warfare. The first battle of Fort Gassoliriare was more of a massacre than a battle, because there were so few French and Native losses and so many British and Virginian causalities. Many died before they even picked up their muskets to fight and those that did, were murdered by scalping. Many died, including the leader of the Virginian contingent, George Washington. Braddock just barely survived along with 50 other men and they decided to limp back to Virginia arriving there in February of 1757.
This horrific defeat caused a serious uproar in the colonies. Augustine Washington mourned the death of his son and vowed to avenge it. Still, he couldn't help but blame Braddock for young George's death. He resolved to protect Virginia and that was all. He convinced the equally outraged Governor Robert Dindwiddle to withhold militia troops. Braddock, too proud to ask any other colonials for help and unable to regain control of the situation, decided to remain in Williamsburg and wait for a Royal Navy ship to return him to Britain. This was disconcerting, seeing as the main Anglo-American fighting force was now dispersed and the threat of French-backed native attacks from the interior, the people of the American colonies began to look to their own men for the protection of their home...
“The Albany Conference”
The defeat and annihilation of General Braddock’s expedition reached the delegates of the Albany Congress only days after the battle took place and this sobering news only made the statesmen present there more acutely aware of the importance of this meeting. For too long, the colonial policies of dealing with the Native tribes had been disjointed and ultimately caused a series of costly wars and cold relations with the tribes living there, posing a constant security risk for those settled on the coast. This problem was exacerbated by the French, but overall a system needed to be set in place.
The conference held delegates from all of the colonies except for Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The host governor was James DeLancey, who had just ousted the previous governor, George Clinton who had been hoarding his salary and was reviled by the people of New York. DeLancey, on the other hand, was well liked and used his popularity to fund one of the largest pan colonial meetings yet conceived. The delegations included men such as Philip Livingston, Meshech Weare, Thomas Hutchinson, and of course Benjamin Franklin and his son William.
These brilliant minds soon began, as any conference of this time period did, to stray from their original task and address a larger issue; the relationship between the colonies and the mother country of great Britain. This war with France was starting to foster a distinct identity among the colonists and while only the savvier of the leaders realized it; this feeling would prove to shape monumental events only a few decades later. But for now, these men believed themselves to be the hope for America and treated the conference with the utmost importance.
The delegates began to draw up plans for greater cooperation on Indian matters, but those soon developed into discussions on greater colonial cooperation. Benjamin Franklin was especially adamant, having met with Haudenosaunee leaders and observed their ‘constitution’ proclaimed, “How, if these savages could create a union of five nations that could persist for over 400 years, can not a dozen or so British colonies, enlightened and the offspring of the greatest country on Earth? It seems trivial for our land, destined for such greatness, to be bogged down in these petty disputes.” With these words and after several months of deliberations with his supporters, he presented his plan of union for all of the colonies of North America.
The Franklin Plan was to form a unitary government of all British American colonies with an assembly giving each colony an equal number of votes. The crown would then appoint a Lord Deputy of America and it would serve as the executive function for the colony. The assembly would deal with inter colonial commerce and taxation, as well as provide a united voice for Indian and Foreign affairs. After publishing the first reports of his plan, Franklin also used his considerable media exposure to publish a series of cartoons depicting a snake, cut up into several pieces and with the initials of each North American colony on it, with the caption “Unite or Die!” beneath the poignant picture. At the time, it was believed if all of the pieces of a cut up snake were placed together, the snake would return to life. Franklin used this metaphor perfectly and drummed up great support for his plan. The snake wold proliferate among the provinces of America a common identity and eventually the rattle snake would come to be seen as the Royal symbol of the provinces; equal to the lion of England, the harp of Ireland, and the unicorn of Scotland. But the official recognition of such symbols would come after the Seven Years War ended.
This Albany plan was soon held above all others but ultimately fell by the wayside as it was seen in Britain as other war-related matters far outstripped the need to unify the colonies and the provincial legislatures were far too autonomous to give up any amount of power that they held. While the congress ended prematurely and no deciding union came of it; the American people became far more comfortable with the idea of uniting the colonies, which would have a great impact on events after the war...
An excerpt from “The Wars of New England” By Thomas Hawthorne
William Shirley was intent on fixing the mistakes of the last war and the embarrassment of the loss of Louisbourg was so destructive on his career that he almost lost everything. But he emerged out of it unscathed and began to prepare for the inevitable next conflict with France, as every leader during the early 1750’s did. Shirley knew that as the commander of New England’s forces and he had to be able to blame his own incompetence on a common enemy. Seeing the records of the troops that his men had captured from Louisbourg, he found his answer. Acadians.
Acadians were a very trouble group of people among the British North American colonies. They were originally Frenchmen, who settled in the late 17th century in what is now Nova Scotia. After the Treaty of Utrecht was signed in 1715, ending the war of Spanish Succession, the French claimed colony of Acadia was transferred over to British control and renamed Nova Scotia. Yet many French colonists remained and the new military governor at the time demanded that the French swear an oath of loyalty to the British King. The Acadians, ever defiant, declined and instead offered to give an oath of neutrality. So in 1730, the Acadians became “neutral” in the conflict between British and French North America. This was never really accepted by either party though. In 1749, Governor Cornwallis asked the Acadians to take the oath of loyalty but they again declined. Cornwallis, seeking not to spark conflict in his colony, did nothing. But it was discovered that among the troops that had retaken Louisbourg, there were Acadians militiamen. This infuriated the Privy Council back in London, who believed they were reneging on their promise of neutrality and soon Governor Cornwallis was recalled in 1754 and his replacement was Charles Lawrence, who became governor of Nova Scotia in 1755.
Lawrence was a man who had grandiose dreams but an obscure background. His father had fought with the 1st Duke of Marlborough in Flanders and had been part of his exploits which became legendary among the British. After fighting in Flanders himself as apart of the 41st Foot Regiment, he transferred to the 54th Foot, which traveled to Nova Scotia in 1749 to help man the newly constructed fort at Brunswick there. Throughout his time there, he scouted and proved his uncanny leadership and administration skills as well as being renowned for his heavy handed dealing with the Acadian colonists. Soon he attracted the attention of the colonial government and began to work for them, gaining several important offices there by 1753. This led to his friendship with William Shirley, the Governor of Massachusetts and his eventual appointment as lieutenant governor in 1754, just before the Seven Years War broke out.
Shirley saw he was the perfect replacement and appointed him before embarking on his second invasion of Louisbourg and this time, he took no precautions. He took not only many troops from New York and New Jersey to New Hampshire and the new settlers from Brunswick. This time, the fort fell even more quickly than before and the occupation was carried out coherently and competently. More importantly, Shirley found that many Acadians had broken their oath of neutrality and fought alongside the French during the siege. Though he expressed shock and outrage, it was exactly the discovery he had been hoping for.
Under Shirley’s orders as commander-in-chief of North American forces, Charles Lawrence declared that all Acadians were to be evicted from their homes and relocated. Almost all moved to New France, but some moved back France itself and invoked new levels of anger among many in Catholic New France, which would have serious repercussions later in the conflict...
“Le Mille Lacs: The Story of New France”
General Levis, the leader of all of the forces in New France, was immensely pleased by the progress of the war so far. He knew that the British and the colonists had a massive advantage of manpower on him, so he knew he needed to strike quickly. Levis dispatched a small force to go south and conduct raids to distract and strike fear into the colonists all while reinforcing Montreal and Quebec City.
Levis was a heaven born general; a genius tactician and leader in many respects. The situation he was placed in was one of the toughest any French general had ever faced. The St. Lawrence valley isn't easily accessible with the Royal Navy not only controlling the seas, but also most of the lands around the mouth of the St. Lawrence, enabling an easy blockade every time conflict flared up between Britain and France. There was very little hope of resupply and so Levis had to make his entire strategy around that very large disadvantage. But Levis was no ordinary French Marshal; he cultivated good relations with the Govenor of New France and made sure the militia were as well trained and integrated into command as his regular French troops. He would also ally himself with as many native tribes as he could and have them attack and raid all the force the British to waste resources and thin their numerically superior ranks. Then he would work to fortify the cities along the St. Lawrence, Vauban style, so that once the British do bring their larger forces to bear on New France; they would survive the onslaught.
Overall, it was an incredible plan and one that may have saved French speaking peoples in North America. But one decision he would make would ultimately cause him very serious headaches in the ensuing conflict but ensure the ascendance of another nation, the Haudenosaunee. Levis decided to organize several important raids into the Hauden territory and this unified them in a way that hadn't been seen since the mid-1600s. The raids were notoriously unruly and vicious, killing women and children in the various villages around Fort Niagara. Most of the worst atrocities were committed by various Huron Indians traveling with the French, but the psychological effects were immediate. The Mohawk chief who had reunified, however tenuously, the covenant of Friendship and the union between the Six Nations now had more support than ever.
Sir William Johnston, the Haudenosaunee representative to the British Army knew this was a perfect time to strike against the French, but had heard of the great defeat of Braddock at Fort Gallisionare and knew that the commander in chief of forces in North America was far from being ready to launch a counteroffensive with their leader sulked without a British Army. So he decided to raise an extra-governmental Hauden force and fight them in the name of the Six Nations rather than the British Empire.
This marked the genesis of the modern Mohawk forces and indeed the nation itself. For the first time in nearly a century all of the nations of the Haudenosaunee were united together for one common purpose. They also had learned much from their European neighbors, like advanced weapons and medicines making their nations more cohesive and stronger. The tools to make a viable Native army and state was there, but one young man in that force, indistinct at its inception in 1758, would distinguish himself in battle and in diplomacy and eventually rise to the title, founding father of the modern Haudenosaunee Confederacy....
December 17th, 2011, 02:50 AM
George Washington, dead?:eek: Oh, no! :eek:This does not bode well.
December 20th, 2011, 05:58 AM
Part #8: Red vs. Blue
From “Dupleix’s Dream”
Dupleix had been preparing for the outbreak of the Seven Years War for nearly a decade. Since the end of the last conflict in 1748, he had relocated the French East Company’s headquarters to Madras, greatly expanding their capacity to trade, hold troops and gain land. He also set out to secure as many alliances as possible with the emerging states asserting their independence after the recent Mughal collapse.
Dupleix was a master of diplomacy in way no high ranking member of the BEIC was and he took advantage of this during the War of Carnatic Succession where he was able to get his puppet, Chandra Sahib on the throne in 1751. Seeking to encircle and drive the British from the continent completely, he then sent a diplomatic mission to Mysore, where their de facto leader, Hyder Ali was incredibly impressed by Dupleix’s tactics and weaponry, and signed an alliance in 1753. In 1752, he met with the Nizam of Hyderabad Muhyi ad-Din Muzaffar Jang Hidayat who granted him titles and a promise of neutrality and friendship. The British viewed all of this with incredible disdain but knew that they could not influence them from just Fort St. David in Cuddalore so they just accepted Dupleix’s empire building in southern India.
Dupleix, beginning in 1755, knew this wasn’t enough. It was always never enough. He began his most audacious gambles yet. He courted the largest of the rising Indian empires; the Marathas. This new Hindu power, led by Peshwas, desperately needed European trained troops and Dupleix was happy to supply it to them in exchange for the removal of the British and a share of their lands and profits. They were all too happy to oblige. Dupleix went too far when he decided to intervene in the affairs of Bengal.
Bengal was the BEIC’s golden jewel. Their headquarters were in Calcutta and therefore they coveted the friendship of the Nawab there for over one hundred years. The Nawab there had always been in a close relationship with the BEIC and the trade agreements they made were mutually beneficial and helped to ensure the Company's profits remained incredibly high. The old Nawab, who had ruled since 1740, had just passed away and he was replaced by his young son Siraj Ud-Daulah who was considerably more independent minded than his father and quite a bit more rash by virtue of being younger.
He was contacted by Dupleix himself, who decided to relocate his closest lieutenant to Chandernagore temporarily so as to be closer to Bengal. Dupliex managed to convince the new Nawab that the BEIC was trying to undermine his rule and hoard all of the treasure and trade that was being produced in Bengal. Ultimately he began to imagine that the BEIC was actually out to take his throne. In reality this was preposterous; the Company was too worried about maintaining their own hold on Indian trade to contemplate outright annexation of a large and seeming implacable territory at least in the 1750s. Nevertheless, Dupleix was able to deceive the Nawab and his distrust of the British quickly turned to irrational paranoia and hatred.
The Nawab, now under Dupleix's control, decided to attack Fort William in Calcutta and capture the supposed riches for himself. Roger Drake, the Governor-General of Bengal, was caught completely by surprise and his small contingent of 5000 men was destroyed by the Bengali force of 80,000 men. The 500 British men Siraj Ud-Daulah captured were originally going to put in the central guard palace and starved to death, but Dupleix; realizing the public relations disaster it would cause, took the troops from Siraj and had them imprisoned more humanely in Chadernagore. This ensured that the British would not focus too much on the Indian front and would allow for Dupleix to continue his plot to dominate India.
The British were naturally stunned and the director of Fort. St. David, Stringer Lawrence, who had faced off against Dupleix before during the War of Austrian Succession, hastily assembled a large sepoy force and summoned the majority of the Merchant marine fleet of the BEIC to take this new 20,000 man army to Bengal with the intention of destroying the Nawab and returning Fort William to British control. He was outmatched and outnumbered; having seen Dupleix slowly turn almost every Indian princedom against the BEIC over the past twenty years.
But he did have one strategic advantage; the British Navy. Lawrence was only allowed to transfer his troops from the Carnatic to Bengal because of the British merchant marine escorts protecting them; a luxury Dupleix didn't have. The French had a small fleet stationed in Reunion and Sao Tome, but that was their only naval presence in the Indian Ocean.
Dupleix knew this weakness all too well and played his own strengths to combat them. He advised the Nawab to reassemble his forces at Fort William and wait to ambush the fleet when it arrives. But he did not provide a lot of FEIC help besides funding and weapons because in reality, the whole Bengali affair was merely a ruse. He was only using Siraj al-Daulah for his own ends. Lawrence, with a smaller but much better trained force managed to survive several assaults but was unable to break the Nawab's superior numbers.
Dupleix was using Siraj not just to fight the British and drain their resources, but also to provide a key distraction to the British command. While Lawrence and many of his troops traveled north to Bengal, Dupeix remained in Madras and decided to try for the prize he had waited for since the War of Austrian Sucession, Fort St. David. This was the last large British base in the Carnatic and if it could be captured, the entirety of Southern India would be under permanent French control.
While Lawrence, the Director of Fort St. David was gone, he left behind his lieutenant Roger Carnac, who was woefully unprepared for the assault. He was not incompetent as some papers back in London portrayed him as; that was merely those back in London looking for a scapegoat to hide the shame of Dupleix and France's victory. Dupleix used his contacts in the Nawab of the Canatic to assemble an army of nearly seven thousand Indian troops while the British garrison was only nine hundred men.
The Frenchman and his massed troops quickly overran the Fort St. David and occupied it, declaring all of the Carnatic under French control. This was Dupleix's goal and dream realized. A massive portion of southern India was now permanently French and would bring in massive amounts of gold and raw materials to France’s economy. In the marcantilist viewpoint of the France court at the time, Dupleix would be considered a hero. He would return to Paris to accolade after accolade and his legacy would be complete and cemented into history.
He decided to retire to Madras, keeping his occupying forces close to Fort. St David while letting Siraj Al-Daulah fend for himself. Dupleix had his goal complete, total control of the Carnatic and the Circars. With it, he could influence and control all of India. He instituted several important reforms centralizing the French East India Company rule, bolstering occupation forces and the bureaucracy on the Royal French model, in effect making himself the absolute monarch of southwest India.
His lack of attention outside the boundaries of directly controlled FEIC lands would prove to be a serious setback in his plan and many historians have speculated as to why he suddenly stopped focusing on his allied states, which was what give him his power in the first place. But some credit it to victory disease; he had outmaneuvered the British so many times that he decided to get comfortable and it was in this climate that the French control of India reached it's apex and those in the BEIC began to exploit it's weaknesses...
December 22nd, 2011, 04:42 AM
Part #9: The Prussian Miracle or The Turning of the Tide
In all of Prussia’s long history, nothing looked grimmer than in 1758. Hostile powers were advancing on all sides and allies were nowhere to be found; save a weak financial lifeline coming from the embattled Kingdom of France. Frederick, while one of Europe’s greatest generals was beginning to lose because he was physically not able to be present at every front. His tactics of focusing on destroying one enemy at a time was effective to a point and he tried to switch fronts; from focusing all of his energy on Austria to destroying Russia. But first he had to hold Silesia. That land was the reason he was fighting and he had worked for twenty years to wrest it from Hapsburg hands.
Now however, the Austrian armies were reasserting their control and threatening to eject the Prussians once and for all. They, a 90,000 man army under the leadership of Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine, had occupied Breslau and the only thing separating them from Berlin was Frederick’s forces. Frederick, ever the eminent strategist, knew that this was his last stand. He knew if he failed here, Prussia was doomed and his life was no longer worth living. He informed his officers that if his final battle was to be here; he would die here no matter what. He assessed his situation grimly but optimistically. He was going to meet this massive Austrian army with a force nearly half of their size at the fields of Leuthen, where he had spent countless years with the Prussian army doing drills. He and his army knew the terrain intimately and that was his only hope.
Prince Charles thought he knew all of Frederick’s tricks and his most powerful secret weapon, the flank. To prevent this, he spread out his forces to an incredible degree, over four miles long. But they underestimated Frederick’s daring. He marched his smaller army straight into their weakest point, launching a cavalry feint and then struck blows at the Austrian Army’s weakest points. Ultimately, Prince Charles’ forces were routed in what is considered Frederick the Great’s most stunning victory of his career.
Silesia, even while being surrounded by armies in a seemingly hopeless situation, astonishingly stayed precariously in Prussian hands, much to the relief of Frederick. But now he had a bigger problem to worry about; namely the Russian Empire. But as he began to move to relieve East Prussia from Russian occupation, he received news which was far more optimistic than he could have possibly imagined. The Czarita of Russia, Elizabeth fell down a flight of stairs and passed away soon after. Her heir, Peter III was just about to be crowned. Peter was born and raised in Kiel and was the archetypal German prince of his day. He nearly idolized Frederick the Great and experiencing Hapsburgs trying to regain power in the Holy Roman Empire, was deeply distrustful of Austria. This meant that as soon as became Czar in 1759, he immediately ordered his men to switch sides.
Prussia’s situation had shifted completely in one simple stroke. Russia had withdrawn from all Prussian lands and officially took themselves out of the war on Peter III’s orders. This made Peter quite unpopular in his own nation and Russia, with its own problems to attend to, removed itself from the international arena. Soon, Austria’s position in the war to recapture Silesia, which only months previously seemed to be so successful, deteriorated as the rest of Europe began to take notice.
Frederick wasted no time in quickly moving his now freed up forces north to destroy a Swedish army trying to invade Prussian Pomerania. He moved north and quickly swept away the smaller force, ending the Swedish threat and prompting the Althing to withdraw their forces from Prussian territory.
Austria was stunned at this sudden reversal. Maria Teresa immediately recalled her defeated half brother, Prince Charles whom she blamed for their misfortunes in the war so far. Now though she could not sue for peace and she still believed that she could knock out Prussia. She ordered all troops to march to Silesia in order to wear the smaller Prussian armies out. But nevertheless, with Russia officially removed from the war the wars descended into bloodthirsty battles all across Silesia with Austria and Prussia throwing everything they had at each other. Austria, however soon began to lose steam...
In reaction to Russia’s exit from the war, France saw an opportunity to execute a diplomatic coup. Louis XV was bombarded on all sides for what to do. The Devouts, an alliance of more Catholic ministers, posited a plan to fully ally themselves to the Austrians in the hopes that he can use Austrian troops to take Hanover. This seemed a less and less viable option with Prussia continuing to be victorious on all fronts and the prospect of an Anglo-Prussian alliance was more than a little unsettling to the French commanders. With Austria’s position in Germany beginning to crumble, Louis XV decided to break the gentleman’s agreement it held with Austria and invaded the Austrian Netherlands quickly.
This time, unlike the War of Austrian Succession and the War of Spanish Succession before that, the British did not have any troops stationed to protect against French invasion due to their gentleman’s agreement and Austria was far too busy defending their remaining holdings in Silesia and protecting Bohemia to care about that relatively far flung possession. Several French divisions invaded and quickly occupied Flanders and Luxembourg. Now having captured those lands it had sought for so long, France looked towards the piece of land whose capture would bring the British to their knees and pushed more troops into the allied Imperial territories owned by Prussia and Bavaria.
William Pitt increasingly took a larger role in trying to defeat France and politically maneuvered by undermining his opponents who were advocating for protecting Hanover. Pitt devised a series of attacks to engage the French Army not by using the British Army, which he knew was inferior without massive aid from Germany, but by using the Royal Navy which most of the British population agreed was the pride and joy of the country. Pitt planned a series of 'descents' on the French coasts; where contingents of Royal Marines would disembark and occupy the French coastline for short periods of time while bleeding away French garrisons.
In order for the descents to be successful, full control of the channel was absolutely necessary. That required the destruction of the French fleet and with intelligence reports saying there were plans of a French invasion of England; the timing was perfect to strike. The British fleet was shadowing several French escorts and discovered the full fleet assembled at Brest. The Royal Navy under the command of Admiral Sir Edward Hawke, engaged the French fleet and annihilated the entire flotilla preparing for invasion at the Battle of Quiberion Bay. It was a great victory for the Royal Navy and their supremacy as the most powerful navy in Europe was maintained, but soon it's supremacy would be tested globally. Now however, the French needed to be distracted on land, where they had the upper hand.
The descents themselves did not go as well as Pitt had hoped. The first was an assault on Cherbourg in which a fleet succeeded in capturing the Vauban Fortress and some of the city, but the Admiral in charge called off reinforcements because the water near the landing area was too shallow. The British forces retreated, taking heavy losses and failing in their goal. It was a massive waste of personnel and money; the blame landed squarely on the shoulders of the plan's architect, William Pitt.
The King and his ally Lord Cartertet immediately requested the withdrawal of all troops from all projects aiming at invading northern France and decided to reroute them to Hanover, which their faction of the wartime coalition had always claimed to be the most important part of the war. Unfortunately, it would take a considerable amount of time to reroute forces with massive Royal Navy commitments in the Caribbean as well as the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Biscay. The French on the other hand was free to move their armies throughout Europe and with their coup-de-etat; the Prussians, now having broken the back of Austria with the astonishing Russian exit from the conflict, was fully willing to back French troops to travel throughout the Holy Roman Empire's territory.
The French began encirclement around Hanover, using the Prussian cities of Minden and Magdeburg to station their now augmented force of 50,000 men under the command of the Marquis of Contades. The Marquis knew that all of France's strategy in the war lay in his hands. But with the small but energizing Prussian support, he was confident in a way very few other French commanders had been previously.
William, the Duke of Cumberland, with 40,000 British and German troops weren’t nearly as prepared as the Franco-Prussian forces. William had just returned from unsuccessfully trying to bring the Dutch to the side of the British. Even with this sobering reality, William was still irrationally over-confident. The victory at Krefeld was won with an even smaller contingent of soldiers and he was not even leading the battle. He thought that surely with him in command, he would be victorious and become the greatest British Army general since the Duke of Marlborough.
Contades was by far William's superior and was aware of the victory disease that the British Army and especially their commanders held. He cleverly decided to lull them into a false sense of security as they reached Hildeshiem to battle. They at first engaged the British but soon Contades called a retreat. William, believing to be victorious yet again, grew sloppy and allowed his troops to overextend themselves. Contades quickly reversed course and surrounded and scattered the British and German troops. William was overwhelmed by this sudden turn of force and was forced to surrender. The French then moved in and occupied Hanover.
The situation had now reversed itself and became eerily reminiscent of the battle of Dettingen. William was now held in house arrest in Hanover by French troops and his father, George II was left in Britain to try and return the only son he cared about and get back his homeland. The rest of the people in London thought that William was a buffoon and George II cared far too much of his small principality rather than Britain itself. They looked forward to the day when his son, Frederick could become king and they could rid themselves of a petty German as their king. The French were victorious against Britain on the continent and collected a hefty sum for the return of the Duke of Cumberland, who returned to London and retired in disgrace by late 1761. By this time, the British were more receptive to a peace process...
News of the loss of the Battle of Hildesheim was a great humiliation for the British public and sparked great outrage towards the British government in power. Chiefly, the person most caught in the fallout for the defeat was William Pulteney, the Earl of Bath. This defeat was not his fault exactly, for he had delegated the specific defense of Hanover to John Carteret and the Duke of Cumberland in the first place. A younger politician could have deflected the blame and adeptly brushed off criticism but unfortunately his political enemies including the Duke of Newcastle and Carteret himself had been planning their return from power for some time and was eager to exploit any and all of the Prime Minister's weaknesses.
And with almost perfect timing, parliamentary elections were set to happen in April of 1761 and the Earl of Bath had been ruling the country since 1743, making his tenure over
18 years long. Pulteney's wartime coalition was wearing thin and the Duke of Newcastle and his younger protege Lord Frederick North decided to print many articles critical of his wartime actions. With news of not only the disastrous battle of Hildesheim but also the failed Quebec expedition of James Wolfe meant that the opinion of Pulteney plummeted in the last six weeks before the election. Pulteney tried not to defend himself but stay out of the fray, remaining distinguished and statesmanlike while focusing all of his attention on the war effort.
It was in those waning months of his tenure that the most successful of his preparations and plans were carried out in conjunction with William Pitt, who also saw that success here was his saving grace. He had been humiliated by the defeat of the French descents and sought to redeem himself; he reorganized the men, ships and money set aside for future descents and restructured a great fleet bound for North America where they would split and invade Spanish and French lands there. He made sure they left mere weeks before the elections and would not return even of his enemies became the new leaders of Great Britain.
Meanwhile, Pulteney mangled with the return of William, the Duke of Cumberland from the French much to the dismay of the King, whose favorite son was being held for ransom. The sense of irony was lost on no one, for the situation was reversed and the King had been held for ransom nearly 18 years ago in the beginning of the War of Austrian Succession. What made this situation even more ironic is that Pulteney had been in opposition against Henry Pelham, the brother of the current opposition Thomas Pelham-Holmes, the Duke of Newcastle. Not only did Newcastle have an ideological opposition to Pulteney, but he also held a personal grudge against the man, holding him personally responsible for his brother's humiliation and fall from grace.
Newcastle gathered the opposition and ousted Pulteney by the 1761 general election. He proceeded to marginalize the Patriot Whigs led by William Pitt, blaming his focus on the rest of the Empire for the debacle that the French capture of Hanover became. Pulteney, now quite old, decided to retire after 18 years of premiership and over three decades of service in the House of Lords, to retire. Newcastle was now in sole control of the country. He proceeded to try and establish a large war-time coalition and extended an olive branch to Pitt to serve on his Privy Council to ensure that the Patriots would not provide him with a distraction or a potential political rival to jump on any of his mistakes in the war effort. The victories and defeats would be shared…
December 22nd, 2011, 09:30 AM
So let me get this straight: India is still a lost cause for France, but with their capture of Hanover they have an important bargaining chip that may allow then to retain New France.
December 22nd, 2011, 03:29 PM
So let me get this straight: India is still a lost cause for France, but with their capture of Hanover they have an important bargaining chip that may allow then to retain New France.
For the Hanover thing, that is correct.
In India, not exactly. Robert Clive is shipped to Bombay because a suicide attempt is discovered by his superiors early. This gives Dupleix greater control over India and his sepoy armies are larger and better supplied than OTL and he is able to retain control over the Carnatic.
December 22nd, 2011, 06:46 PM
This is amzaing:D
December 27th, 2011, 07:29 AM
Part #10: The Wars of the Americas
The major shift in the continental balance of power during the Seven Year’s War caused by the ascendancy of Peter III and Russia’s exit in 1759 caused every nation to reassess their position and alliances during the conflict. On the Iberian Peninsula, however it caused two nations to bring themselves into the fray, enlarging the conflict even further.
Spain and Portugal had been on the brink of war ever since the signature of the Treaty of Madrid in 1750, which paradoxically had been devised to prevent such a war. The treaty specifically was one to revise the borders between Brazil and Spanish America set by the Treaty of Torsedillas in 1494 in which they simply split South America in half. Under this treaty however, the Spanish would occupy Sao Paulo and Brazil would be relegated to a tiny corner of South America. The Treaty of Madrid fixed that, giving most of the Amazon and Mato Grasso to Portugal. It also solved the problem the Sacramento Colony, a Portuguese settlement in the Banda Oriental. It was given to the Spanish and in exchange, Portugal would receive several Jesuit missions under Spanish suzerainty and the border was to be set at the Uruguay River. This was a strategic concession for Spain, who by decree was to force the Jesuits to disband and shut down these missions.
They missed one critical piece of information; the Jesuits were using the missions to evangelize thousands of Guarani Indians and create massive communal living environments for these newly Christianized natives and that these natives loved their relative freedom afforded to them. When many of the Jesuits were ordered by Spanish and Portuguese to disband, they did so and some left of their accord. Some however, stayed on at the Guarani’s behest and continued to run the missions. This prompted outrage by both the Portuguese and Spanish governments and they prepared the combine their forces, invade and destroy the missions.
The Guaranis would not go quietly however. Under the charismatic leader Sepe Tiaraju, they defeated many small attempts by Spanish armies to stop them and occupy their lands from 1752 to 1755, but finally a much larger combined Hispano-Portuguese force of 5,000 went to attack Tiaraju directly. They fought and killed most of his forces without losing much of their own. Sepe Tiaraju was captured and violently quartered, but he became the most famous Guarani martyr and would prove to be an inspiration for future rebellions. They proceeded to occupy all of the missions and ejected the nearly 100,000 Guarani living there. But this was only where the problems would begin.
The Spanish occupied several of the missions that the Treaty of Madrid had expressly granted to Portuguese Brazil. Colonial Spanish authorities maintained that since they had to take a part in capturing the missions, they earned the right to take some of that land. Portugal, now infuriated with the Spanish ignoring their part of the treaty, stated that if they were to take back the missions, they would have to relinquish control of the Banda Oriental. The Spanish naturally refused and by 1758, tensions were incredibly high between the powers.
What pushed them over the brink and into all out war was France’s new position in the global conflict that had been raging in 1756. Louis XV had abandoned neutrality with Austria and now, allied with Prussia; he was seeking other continental allies. Spain was a perfect choice of course, after all, his close relative recently took the throne and the Bourbon Family Compact could always be renewed and strengthened. It could be a chance to combine the Spanish and French fleets in order to better oppose the otherwise superior British Royal Navy. Also, Portugal, Spain’s foremost enemy, had been close allies with the British since the Middle Ages. So when Louis XV spoke to the Spanish ministers, they gladly declared war on Portugal and Great Britain. By mid-1759, Spain and Portugal were fully embroiled in what was becoming the largest global conflict the world had yet seen...
With the Spanish declaration of war on Britain, Spanish Florida became the first to mobilize against the British American colonies. The authorities in St. Augustine proceeded to pay off Creek tribes and some Cherokee outcasts to attack the British settlement at Augusta in the Province of Georgia. The colonists in the province of Georgia had not heard that Spain had now entered into war against Britain and had for the most part stayed away from the conflict and remained peaceful, without arming their fort more than normal nor organizing a large militia. They marched for the southernmost American colony in November of 1759.
This lack of preparations made the Sack of Savannah incredibly bloody and destructive. The Creek-Cherokee force attacked and destroyed many settlements, taking whomever they could find and scalping them. Many of the Georgians who could not fight fled to Savannah closer to the sea while those who could engaged the Natives with any weapons they could find. Eventually, the natives, having their fill of looting, departed to their tribal lands. The Creek regarded this victory highly and this would serve as a focal point to further battle between the Creek and Cherokee.
Levis and his lieutenants in New France breathed a sigh of relief, as this successful attack would prompt the British to focus on their southern flank with longer supply lines and less hospitable natives and climes. This also prompted Levis to further arm any ally with other native tribes in west and in northern New York. The Hurons, always enemies of Haudenosaunee, were natural allies and arming them would harm two enemies at once. All of these native conflicts would hold up the British and colonial regiments. It would give his men time to regroup and further fortify the cities to prevent the British from taking them.
The inhumane attack on Augusta, with its large loss of innocent life caused uproar among the newspapers back in London and soon the public were once again baying for Spanish blood. Pitt, ever one to wage a colonial war and still smarting from the defeat in the Cherbourg and Rouen descents, set up a three pronged assault on the southern enemy colonies; one to bombard Havana and occupy Cuba; another to attack New Orleans and destroy the French presence in the South, and finally one to attack and occupy St. Augustine and end the threat of Spanish Florida.
The first fleet that arrived in America was bound for New Orleans and commanded by Admiral George Pocock, but the most famous member of the fleet present was his genius aide-de-camp James Cook. They also held a British force with quite a few seasoned men originally designated for invading France itself in future descents that had been scrapped including George Elliot. Due to the near genius levels of navigation made by Cook, they were able to traverse to Bayous without too much damage to the several ships there and several highly calculated broadsides brought down much of the city's coastal defenses. The mouth of the Mississippi was captured by the British in a relatively bloodless siege of the city and soon Louisiana was under the control of British forces permanently by the summer of 1761. Admiral Pocock and his aide-de-camp Cook's successes spread throughout the British Navy and Cook, the young, expert navigator who allowed a masterful execution of the landing; his future seemed especially bright.
The second fleet that arrived was led by Commodore George Keppel and turned towards Havana, the largest Spanish garrison of Cuba. They arrived to face off against a small Spanish garrison under the command of Juan Parado, who decided not to hold fast in the harbor but to attack the fleet directly. Keppel quickly surrounded the inferior Spanish force and decisively defeated them, occupying Havana by early 1762.
A smaller, third fleet attacked St. Augustine and took the city easily gaining control of East Florida by late 1762. The Floridians surrendered peacefully and the Union Jack went up over the Spanish built fort there, bringing another land under British control with relatively little bloodshed and bringing large pieces of territory under British rule. This defeat was especially humiliating to the Spanish and proved to be a wake up call to those in Madrid to reform the Spanish Navy and to increase the Spanish military presence across its American territories.
Ultimately this overall victory over the Spanish was total and ensured British dominance in the Caribbean for the remainder of the war. Immediately, the occupying governors off all conquered provinces opened up trade with the closest and biggest colonial ports; which immediately proved to be economic boon to the American colonies and support for further territorial incursions as a way to increase their trading volume and allow commerce to thrive in an expanded British Empire.
This victory came as a great relief to the British Admiralty, who had been surprisingly defeated in the Anglo-Spanish War of the 1730's. It, as well as several surprise and decisive defeats of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines during the War of Austrian Succession, prompted the First Lord of the Admiralty George Anson to completely reorganize and strengthen the entire Naval structure. The success of these far flung invasions vindicated a decade of hard work by Anson and marked the beginning of the British Empire's supremacy of the seas...
“Le Mille Lacs: The Story of New France”
After the successful capture of Louisbourg, New France could not be resupplied by the mother country by sea and the vulnerable nature of French possessions in America became very clear. An invasion of the St. Lawrence Valley was not a new idea and had been tried many times and looking back, the failure of General Wolfe's expedition was to be expected. During the 1600's, many expeditions to capture cities along the St. Lawrence had been defeated by a combination of weather difficulties and vicious Indian attacks. In the eighteenth Century, the Royal Navy's supremacy began to ensure that France was cut off from its lands in Canada beginning with the capture of Newfoundland from France in 1715. Gradually, the British government became more comfortable with the idea of an invasion down the St. Lawrence Seaway. During the late 1750's, William Pitt began to scrape together a force led by General James Wolfe to take Canada by means of an amphibious assault on Levis's fortress in Quebec. With all of the other attack forces being put out not only to America but across the world, only 8500 troops could be spared for this important venture.
The expedition was said to be doomed from the beginning. After all the expeditions to try and capture New France had been unsuccessful and General Wolfe while a good leader and a gifted tactician was facing the enemy of terrain rather of the Frenchman. On top of this crippling lack of inspiration among his own men, the French were prepared extremely well by Levis and had the morale of men defending their homeland.
Ultimately, Wolfe’s ships ran aground in the rough waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway after losing many men to those tumultuous waves. Wolfe decided to camp out for the night but their proximity to the French was so close that by dawn, several scouts had alerted Levis of their presence. The general had already ensured that most of the escape routes were blocked off, so his forces outflanked and outnumbered Wolfe’s army, which now numbered around 5000 men. Ultimately at the Battle of Beauport, a town near the eastern line of defenses, Wolfe was routed. His entire army was defeated and captured by Levis and Wolfe himself was gravely injured. He died soon after that, in French custody, defeated and broken.
In Britain, the defeat was regarded with great anger and prompted William Pitt to detach more troops to the Americas, but focusing on the southern flank, as wasting more men and resources in attacking New France again was considered futile. The Americans were terrified of the Papists and their Indian allies retaining control of their northern flank and granting them the ability to raid the provincial hinterland with vigor. The uproar prompted several provincial assemblies to dispatch colonial militias north to attack Montreal and try to occupy New France themselves…
“The Wars of the Ohio Country”
With the British presence in the Ohio country dwindling to nothing and the French on the rise, fear in the Middle American colonies ran incredibly high. Luckily though, one of the richest and most active men in America had already formed an incredibly well trained Militia Association of Pennsylvania; Benjamin Franklin was not focused on a career in the military at all and far from the norm of gentleman at the time, he did not take an officer's commission. Of course, Franklin was no ordinary gentleman but a man who would soon change both Britain and America permanently. Of course, he originally did not want to act independently of the British line, but after a long period of indecision, fear and French backed Native raiding; Franklin finally decided to get through the Pennsylvania Assembly mobilize and dispatch the Militia Association north to attack fort Ticonderoga and destroy the citadels of New France.
The militia of roughly two thousand men marched north to the cheers of all Americans who feared that more inaction would cause the French to control nearly all of the Ohio river region. The Militia elected their own leaders, a very odd occurrence but given the Enlightenment era it was created in and the small size of the army, competent people were elevated to leadership positions like Abraham Taylor who became the commanding colonel of the Militia during the conflict. While Taylor was the field general, Franklin was the man that ultimately sent the men out to take Fort Gallisionare in 1761. Franklin possessed dubious authority to do so as he was not the governor of the province of Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, his request was treated with great respect because of his stature as a leader of the all the colonies. This was the beginning of the larger leadership role that Franklin would soon take on.
The colonial militia was much more successful in transit; being watchful of Native attacks and French ambushes. The attack on Gallisionare was a rout; the French simply couldn’t stand up to the onslaught from the America regiments. John Alexander, in occupying the fort, claimed all of the Ohio Country for the British Empire and named the fort after Ben Franklin himself. But the militia leaders and the governor of Pennsylvania weren’t finished with their invasion plans. They decided that ultimately, they wanted to move north and remove the papist French threat to the north. Taylor knew the land much better than the failed British attacks on the area and with the alliance of the Haudenosaunee they would not need to worry about Indian attacks like the British regiments did.
They marched towards the beginning of the St. Lawrence River and moved into position outside the city of Montreal by 1762. It had been heavily fortified by Levis and while he was in the north trying to protect against a British naval attack on the Quebec City, his lieutenants were standing by prepared to defend the largest city of New France at any cost. The siege was a draw; each side was equally matched and both refused to give up. The siege ended with news of a ceasefire between the powers in 1763. The Militia returned back to Philadelphia and other cities to great rancor by all the people of the American Provinces; they knew that holding up the French in Montreal prevented further incursions and raids on their homes. This collective military experience would begin to form a collective consciousness among those in the provinces that would serve to be very important in the coming years…
March 16th, 2012, 02:31 AM
Part 11: The Jewel of Albion
By 1760, the BEIC had found themselves in a precarious position and the failures of it's leaders shocked many back in Britain. The sneak attack on Fort St. David was a shocking defeat and was one more trap that Stringer Lawrence could do very little about. He had managed to hold off the forces of Siraj Ud-Daulah, despite having an incredible numerical inferiority. But if he were to spread his forces any thinner, he would risk both failing to take back Fort St. St. David and losing Fort William again. Thus Lawrence decided to abandon the Carnatic (temporarily in his view) and focus on overthrowing the Nawab, who by capturing those prisoners and blatantly trying to destroy their presence; earned the BEIC's permanent enmity.
Lawrence had learned much from Dupleix and attempted to do what he had done to make the FEIC so successful; look for a usurper that would tow their line and allow their influence to expand. Dupleix had done this perfectly using his very successful diplomatic contacts with practically every power in India. Now though, Lawrence would try to beat him at his own game.
He first used his remaining contacts at Dhaka to find him a suitable replacement candidate for the Nawab of Bengal and it took the BEIC commander little time before a very promising candidate came to him with a proposal. His name was Mir Jafar; he was an ambitious military man who was head of old nawab's military and had his mind on the highest rungs of power and worked hard to win the hand of one of the Nawab's nieces, giving him a stake in the throne. With the ascension of Siraj Ud-Daulah to the throne, he thought he would ascend to even higher levels and one day be running Bengal, but Siraj instead appointed a Hindu who was far less experienced to be his Grand Vizer. To Jafar, who had been expecting to become one of the highest officials in the new regime, this was an incredible insult and one that could not go unpunished. He, along with several other prominent Muslim officials plotted to overthrow the young, headstrong nawab and they decided to back Mir Jafar to replace him.
Lawrence tried an old trick Dupleix had been employing on the British with incredible success and equipped his men with British arms and leading them with British officers. This helped the organization of the army and with a revitalized army led by Mir Jafar, Lawrence marched south to face off against Siraj Ud-Daulah. The Nawab held his army near the captured Fort William and waited for French reinforcements that ultimately never came. Nevertheless, he became overconfident in his own forces because of their previous victories and sought to fight the British again alone; but he wanted to do so nearer to his own base of operations. He marched to meet Lawrence at Plassey in 1762, where he was soundly defeated by the British and Mir Jafar. He was forced out and Mir Jafar was accepted as the new Nawab of Bengal. Jafar accepted British troops and sepoys in Fort William in the City of Calcutta. The French fort at Chandernagor was to remain occupied for the remainder of the war; but Jafar wanted the fort to remain open for conducting trade with the French but allow them no troops in the fort itself. Lawrence didn’t have enough troops or a good enough auxiliary position within the BEIC to claim otherwise.
Lawrence wanted to travel down to Fort St. David and retake it from Dupleix and his infernal French East India Company as soon as possible; but he needed significant time to build up a fleet to take the men south and by the time they were prepared, the armistice had already been announced and fighting died down. He was trapped at Fort William and would have to wait to return to the Carnatic. For now he would have bide his time, lick his wounds and look south to his hated enemy and the profits that the French were reaping at his rightful capital…
While the French and British were fighting more directly in the Carnatic and Bengal; Dupleix’s advisers in the Maratha court sought to expand the scope of the conflict in India to full bore. The Peshwa at that point thought the time was right for the Marathas to truly usurp the Mughals as the masters of India. But there were serious contenders to their power across the continent. There were many quasi-independent nizams and other statelets left by the fractured former Empire and they all had aspirations of expansion in this power vacuum. But the Marathas decided to face off against the most formidable at the time, the Durrani Afghans.
Ahmad Shah Durrani had spent the last decade securing his hold on Afghan regions and was now openly raiding and conquering the crumbling remains of the Mughal Empire. He defeated the Mughal Emperor's forces several times and captured Delhi in 1757 and soon the Durrani Empire was the preeminent power in northern India. This put him into serious conflict with the Maratha, who sought to control the same area. The Peshwa had been trying to get direct control of Mughal territory since the mid-1600's and with the relatively recent Mughal collapse were seen to be the most powerful force in northern India.
The Maratha successfully recaptured Delhi from the small afghan garrison that remained there. They occupied the already dilapidated city with a force of nearly 100,000 men because they feared future Afghan intrusions into the area and sought to control the trade routes around Delhi, a historical capital of India to defend against future wars against the Afghans. The fighting was joined near a small town of Panipat and it would prove to be one of the largest single battles in the eighteenth century. Hundreds of thousands of people followed the already massive campaigning Maratha army, and the Afghan Horde was also gargantuan. All in all, nearly a half million people were on the battlefield that day and witnessed the Durrani Shah's greatest victory.
Hearing of this massive defeat at Panipat, which was inflicted by one of his co-belligerents, the Durranis buoyed him quite a bit. The director of Bombay Castle, Robert Clive had a plan that could ensure that the constantly war-ravaged Bombay would never be threatened again. He decided to launch a preemptive strike against the Peshwa and capture Pune. He did have considerable intelligence pointing to the Maratha's intent to attack Bombay and extract more tribute, giving Clive at least a good enough reason for fighting the Marathas.
He, and his aide-de-camp Sir Eyre Coote, amassed a relatively small force of twenty thousand sepoys taken from dissatisfied military men from the Maratha ranks, led by two thousand well trained BEIC men who took commissions as officers in this force. Clive sought to draw regiments of the Maratha away from their garrisons and defeat them one by one, slowly wresting control of the coast and other lands before the Western Ghats.
Shortly after leaving the company land in Bombay, Clive's plan began to work better than he had ever expected. The Marathas were in a far more perilous state than he had anticipated. Most of their best officers perished at Panipat and the fact that nearly none of 100000 troops and support caravans survived from that massive battle exacerbated an already pressing manpower shortage.
The leader of Maratha forces in the Peshwa region was an inexperienced officer named Anshuman Gaekwan. He was a young and recently promoted; so when he heard of the advance by Clive, Coote and their men, he overreacted and quickly drew up his forces of roughly 30,000 men, mostly those unfit for combat. He assembled them near Pune and sought to stop them before they could raid the entire Peshwa region. Clive's intent was different from that of the other Indian armies that had invaded territory previously. He wanted to ensure the defense of Bombay and get the freedom of trade rather than to pillage and steal. So fighting the Marathas was what Clive was planning rather than avoiding them. With that incorrect information in mind Gaekwan marched his men boldly into open and indefensible territory. Clive and Coote couldn't believe their luck and quickly took advantage of the situation. They defeated the Maratha regiments handily and forced Gaekwan into a rout.
He retreated and allowed Clive and Coote to march directly to the Maratha capital at Pune. The Marathas were in a substantially weakened position with the utter destruction of the Maratha Army at the Battle of Panipat against the Durrani. The Peshwa, the equivalent to the Prime minister in the United Kingdom, was in dispute. The current claimant was Mahdravrao, who was the second son of the last Peshwa, who along with the first son of the Peshwa, died in the Battle of Panipat and as a sixteen year old of a vastly weakened kingdom, could not afford to fight off the British forces. He agreed to Clive’s taking of the coastline of Bombay and a promise to allow British East India Company vessels free passage to all Maratha ports.
With the capture and occupation of Fort St. David by the FEIC and with Lawrence holding power in Calcutta and forced to work with Mir Jafar who was reluctant to give the BEIC too much power in Bengal, Bombay went from an embattled outpost to the center of the Company with one spectacular victory at Pune, perpetrated by Robert Clive….
From “France and Britain in India”
The capture of Fort St. David and its integration into the FEIC’s trading and paramilitary apparatus sealed the control Dupleix had over southern India. While his military forces were completely forced out of Bengal, he was relegated mostly to the southern tip of the continent. Nevertheless he was able to exert more formal control over the Indian princes than any leader of an East India Company had ever been before.
In addition to the territory that had been ceded to the FEIC by the Nawab of the Carnatic and the directly controlled Coastal Cirars given by Hyderabad, Dupleix was also granted the title Dawani, or tax collector of all of the Province of the Carnatic. The Entire southeastern coast of India was under the direct economic and political control. He helped to reorganize the French East India Company to centralize its rule in order to unify it’s decision-making process to prevent infighting and allow for smoother administrative functions. These two advancements led to a better foreign policy and greater trade. Massive dividends began to come in for the French aristocracy and King which buoyed up the national finances and made Dupleix a hero. Dupleix knew that this was only temporary as long as the BEIC was still competing and aggressively courting allies, his hold on India was to remain precarious. He bolstered his alliances with the Marathas and sent secret overtures to Mir Jafar in Bengal in order to build his sepoy ranks and divide British allies and bases.
The BEIC was fractured and while trading continued and prospered during the interlude between the Seven Years War and the War of the Diplomatic Revolution, there was little unity as to the BEIC’s next move in trying to edge out the FEIC. Clive and Lawrence were competing for the leadership of the BEIC and each had their own ideas for the future of British India. Clive wanted to gain more control and focus resources on his newly concerned claims on the western coast, while Lawrence wanted to consolidate in Bengal and try to re conquer the Carnatic and the Circars.
In 1769, Dupleix passed away in Madras. His death was mourned by everyone in France, for he was the hero of the Orient and a bright star who brought riches and glory to Frenchman. His replacement was hotly contested, as French India now wielded a lot of influence and power. Ultimately, the most favored Lieutenant of Dupleix was appointed to the post of Govenor-General. Charles Joseph Patissier, Marquis de Bussy-Castelnau had served with Dupleix in the capture of Madras in both 1747 and 1756 and was a master of controlling the massive Sepoy armies that now held the entire French Rule in India together. His victories in the Circars against British sepoy forces made him a hero and he quickly gained the trust of the Director-General.
De Bussy reaffirmed Dupleix’s existing alliances with the perennial allies the Maratha, but De Bussy opened up what was once an insular and neutral Kingdom and transformed it into an important ally. He had met with Hyder Ali, the King of Mysore before and was intrigued in a way Dupleix wasn’t. He decided to bring Mysore into the fold of French India’s satellite states….
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