How could it be possible for the Royal Navy and/or Army to have defections durring the US revolution

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by VaultJumper, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. VaultJumper Well-Known Member

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    Could there ever be circumstance in which parts of the Royal Navy and/or Army are sypathic enough to the American cause to defect or did the British government have too much control through fear and loyalty.
     
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  2. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

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    Um, there were defections especially from the german "mercenaries" the brits employed
     
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  3. VaultJumper Well-Known Member

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    good have Washington try to recruit the hessians after he captured them?
     
  4. John Roscommon Well-Known Member

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    If I recall correctly the Germans defected individually and not as formed units. The colonies, especially the northern and mid-Atlantic states, had the one of the highest standards of living in the Western world and these men took one look and wanted in on it.
     
  5. Arcavius Arms and the Man I Sing

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    There's also the fact that the Continentals offered them Free* Land if they defected...

    *read: native
     
  6. ennobee Well-Known Member

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    I am skeptical about any navy ships defecting. May be some RN seamen might run off on shore leave, but in order for a whole ship to defect it would have to be manned by at least a majority of either native Colonials friendly to the revolution or other malcontents from outlying parts of the Empire. Which would limit the ships that COULD defect to the odd harbour defense sloop or revenue cutter stationed in a local port. All other ships were tightly controlled by their cadre of very British commanding officers.
     
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  7. VaultJumper Well-Known Member

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    so it accomplished 2 purposes.
     
  8. VaultJumper Well-Known Member

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    so how many ships or crewmen do you think could defect?
     
  9. VaultJumper Well-Known Member

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    so do you think units could defect given the right circumstances?
     
  10. John Roscommon Well-Known Member

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    I don't. There's a big difference between desertion and mutiny.
     
  11. Raferty Well-Known Member

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    Individual defections by way of desertions were common during the war.

    The German mercenaries (particularly the Brunswick troops) were prone to it. Also, the newly raised battalions of the British Army sent over for the Philadelphia campaign (when many of the troops sent over were found by scouring English prisons, to the point where entire companies of enlisted men had prison records, according to Lord Cornwallis's correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton) had severe discipline problems with desertion/defection occurring regularly.

    The Continentals for their side had major issues in the fall of 1776 when all appeared to be lost with defections from Harlem Heights, particularly by the non-volunteer New York Levy forces hastily raised over the summer.
     
  12. VaultJumper Well-Known Member

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    is their any way to make them more common?
     
  13. TyranicusMaximus Irrational Statist

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    Units are unlikely, but the Brunswickers mentioned above came from a place where many lived and worked on land owned by nobles. In the Americas the ability to settle on land that no noble owned was very tempting, doubly so given many men were recruited by less-than-savory means. The British didn't pay the men, they paid the Dukes who recruited the regiments.
     
  14. VaultJumper Well-Known Member

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    so more units from these sourses?
     
  15. Old Kentucky Well-Known Member

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    In his book, A Voice From The Main Deck, Samuel Leech related his experiences in the Royal Navy and then his subsequent service in the United States Navy both during the War of 1812 so I suppose that similar occurances were likely during the American Revolution.