Posts Tagged ‘History’

Wellington

Posted on July 19th, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

Deal with it.

Guest post: On the trail of the Jacobite War in Ireland Part 3 – The Fort

Posted on July 16th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

Friend of the blog Peter A shares his some of his Irish campaign experiences from Kinsale 1690….
The Fort – Kinsale

Kinsale at 7.30am on a Sunday morning. Clear, bright, cold. Sun rising over the remains of the old James Fort. The harbour still and quiet – waiting for the day.

That peace – an enchanted moment – the sea and the shape of the hills is a view untouched for a thousand years – any modern intrusions fade away – what we see today is what they saw in 1690.

And the memories of that time flood back… the old Fort was taken by the Dane General Tettau at the head of 800 men. The garrison was far more numerous than had been reported by deserters – suggesting only 150 men. In fact, there were 450 but as the assault went in an explosion amongst the barrels of powder killed many of the defenders and the Fort was quickly carried – 220 Irish were killed and the rest made prisoners… some tried to escape across the water in boats to the New Fort. But the tide was against them and shot from the shore despatched most of them.

And so to Charles Fort. The new Fort. One of the best-preserved star Forts in Europe. It followed the principles of Vauban in terms of the ramparts, the bastions and the covered way. However, it was adapted to the uneven topography of the site and its principal role was seen as a coastal defence Fortification to prevent foreign naval forces entering Kinsale harbour. Since sieges rather than field battles were by far the most common form of conflict in our period, it is exciting to visit a place that witnessed a real siege in 1690. History seeps out from the massive walls…

The best way to appreciate the shape and scale of a Vauban-style Fort is from the sky. This photo hangs in the gatehouse – which now serves as the entrance to the museum. The white gravel walkway from the carpark across the bridge to the main gate is at the bottom of the image. The huge bastions and grassed walkways look strong and not to be easily conquered…

Once inside there are stunning views out to sea. What a vantage point! Head straight south and you would eventually hit Brest on the Brittany peninsula and then the Bay of Biscay and Spain. From beyond that horizon, James first arrived in Ireland here in Kinsale – full of hope and expectation of the recovery of his English throne.

The sheltered nature of the wonderful deep harbour is clear – an attractive anchorage for an enemy fleet. When the Fort was built, the threat was anticipated to come from this sea – essentially from France…! It was constructed in the early 1680s, and Charles Fort was the most expensive Fortification in Ireland. William Robinson, Superintendent of Fortifications was the designer. The Earl of Orrery laid the first stone and when the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Duke of Ormond visited the site in August 1681, for obvious diplomatic and sycophantic reasons, he named it after King Charles II.

The key weakness of the place – as is seen in these pictures beyond the scaffolding and the close-up view –  is the rising high ground where a besieger could look down on the Fort, bombard it with cannon and mortars and chose his point of attack. Despite its seemingly massive strength, the new Fort was in fact vulnerable to attack from land-based forces.

The sheer labour, the danger and difficulty of besieging a Fortification is brought to life in these models in a display in one of the garrison buildings.

This siege map of the order of battle of the Williamites forces – attributed to Thomas Philips who did many drawings of Irish harbours and Fortifications – though frustratingly faint – is a great illustration of where the troops were camped and where their trenches ran.  Philips felt the new Fort was badly-sited being overlooked by the high ground inland. The English and the Danes prepared to make two attacks. As we look we see the Danes under the Prince of Württemberg positioned on the right or East– and the English on the left or West.

After his first success with the taking of James Fort, my Lord Marlborough now sent a summons to the Governor of the substantial New Fort. Sir Edward Scott was no pushover. He answered coolly that ‘it would be time enough to capitulate a month hence…’. Marlborough lacked the necessary siege equipment and artillery which was on its ponderous way from Cork. Once the batteries were in place however, the Allies expected to effect a breach in a few short days…

Trenches were opened and the saps which can be seen in the jagged red lines – headed steadily towards the counterscarp – while the heavy cannons were hourly anticipated.

The Danish high ground, the covered way and the Cockpit bastion

A guerite – a sentry box – one of my favourite Vaubanesque architectural features!

Here is the high ground where the Danes were encamped. They sapped from this ground towards the Cockpit or East bastion – aiming to make a breach in ‘the long wall’ that ran from here to the seaward Charles bastion on the cliff edge.

The Irish tricolour – it is April 2016 and memories and notices referring to the centenary of the Easter Rising are everywhere. Here is another brick sentry box on the outermost point of the Flagstaff bastion. Also note the musket firing platforms. The Flagstaff is the largest bastion and designed to be used as a citadel if needed as a last refuge.

A good view of the gun platform, with the grass ramp up to the firing position. The area alongside the ramp was used as a parade ground. The platform has commanding views and just like the casemated seaward facing Devil’s and Charles bastions, its job was to defend the harbour from enemy intrusion.

The dénouement came with the arrival of the cannon from Cork and the establishment of the batteries. A breach capable of being assaulted was soon made by the Danes in the long East wall in front of them. The saps there were now in pistol range of the covered way and the troops were ready to attack. The siege had lasted 13 days and the last 5 days had witnessed continual cannon fire. Sir Edward now felt that the honours of war had been satisfied and he opened negotiations with the Earl of Marlborough on surrender. The white flag was raised and the chamade was beaten.  Good terms were agreed and the Governor and his feisty wife Lady Scott led the garrison out through the breach – she in her coach – with drums beating and flags waving. Twelve hundred survivors marched out from Fort Charles and headed for Limerick.

                                             the Cockpit bastion. They exited here.

Final views of the Fort, the covered way

  

Kinsale in the background. Beyond the bridge and entrance point across the dry ditch. After the surrender, Brigadier General Churchill, Marlborough’s brother, became Governor of the Fort.

James Fort is visible on the brown promontory in the middle distance and the port of Kinsale and its landlocked, deep safe harbour is on the horizon.

These defeats closed the access to the south of Ireland for French shipping and support. It was the beginning of the end. James had landed here in Kinsale in 1689. And now also from here he scuttled away down these steps and into his lonely boat. ‘ Will ye no come back again…?’

James leaving Ireland

Guest post: On the trail of the Jacobite War in Ireland Part 3 – The Fort

Posted on July 16th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

Friend of the blog Peter A shares his some of his Irish campaign experiences from Kinsale 1690….
The Fort – Kinsale

Kinsale at 7.30am on a Sunday morning. Clear, bright, cold. Sun rising over the remains of the old James Fort. The harbour still and quiet – waiting for the day.

That peace – an enchanted moment – the sea and the shape of the hills is a view untouched for a thousand years – any modern intrusions fade away – what we see today is what they saw in 1690.

And the memories of that time flood back… the old Fort was taken by the Dane General Tettau at the head of 800 men. The garrison was far more numerous than had been reported by deserters – suggesting only 150 men. In fact, there were 450 but as the assault went in an explosion amongst the barrels of powder killed many of the defenders and the Fort was quickly carried – 220 Irish were killed and the rest made prisoners… some tried to escape across the water in boats to the New Fort. But the tide was against them and shot from the shore despatched most of them.

And so to Charles Fort. The new Fort. One of the best-preserved star Forts in Europe. It followed the principles of Vauban in terms of the ramparts, the bastions and the covered way. However, it was adapted to the uneven topography of the site and its principal role was seen as a coastal defence Fortification to prevent foreign naval forces entering Kinsale harbour. Since sieges rather than field battles were by far the most common form of conflict in our period, it is exciting to visit a place that witnessed a real siege in 1690. History seeps out from the massive walls…

The best way to appreciate the shape and scale of a Vauban-style Fort is from the sky. This photo hangs in the gatehouse – which now serves as the entrance to the museum. The white gravel walkway from the carpark across the bridge to the main gate is at the bottom of the image. The huge bastions and grassed walkways look strong and not to be easily conquered…

Once inside there are stunning views out to sea. What a vantage point! Head straight south and you would eventually hit Brest on the Brittany peninsula and then the Bay of Biscay and Spain. From beyond that horizon, James first arrived in Ireland here in Kinsale – full of hope and expectation of the recovery of his English throne.

The sheltered nature of the wonderful deep harbour is clear – an attractive anchorage for an enemy fleet. When the Fort was built, the threat was anticipated to come from this sea – essentially from France…! It was constructed in the early 1680s, and Charles Fort was the most expensive Fortification in Ireland. William Robinson, Superintendent of Fortifications was the designer. The Earl of Orrery laid the first stone and when the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Duke of Ormond visited the site in August 1681, for obvious diplomatic and sycophantic reasons, he named it after King Charles II.

The key weakness of the place – as is seen in these pictures beyond the scaffolding and the close-up view –  is the rising high ground where a besieger could look down on the Fort, bombard it with cannon and mortars and chose his point of attack. Despite its seemingly massive strength, the new Fort was in fact vulnerable to attack from land-based forces.

The sheer labour, the danger and difficulty of besieging a Fortification is brought to life in these models in a display in one of the garrison buildings.

This siege map of the order of battle of the Williamites forces – attributed to Thomas Philips who did many drawings of Irish harbours and Fortifications – though frustratingly faint – is a great illustration of where the troops were camped and where their trenches ran.  Philips felt the new Fort was badly-sited being overlooked by the high ground inland. The English and the Danes prepared to make two attacks. As we look we see the Danes under the Prince of Württemberg positioned on the right or East– and the English on the left or West.

After his first success with the taking of James Fort, my Lord Marlborough now sent a summons to the Governor of the substantial New Fort. Sir Edward Scott was no pushover. He answered coolly that ‘it would be time enough to capitulate a month hence…’. Marlborough lacked the necessary siege equipment and artillery which was on its ponderous way from Cork. Once the batteries were in place however, the Allies expected to effect a breach in a few short days…

Trenches were opened and the saps which can be seen in the jagged red lines – headed steadily towards the counterscarp – while the heavy cannons were hourly anticipated.

The Danish high ground, the covered way and the Cockpit bastion

A guerite – a sentry box – one of my favourite Vaubanesque architectural features!

Here is the high ground where the Danes were encamped. They sapped from this ground towards the Cockpit or East bastion – aiming to make a breach in ‘the long wall’ that ran from here to the seaward Charles bastion on the cliff edge.

The Irish tricolour – it is April 2016 and memories and notices referring to the centenary of the Easter Rising are everywhere. Here is another brick sentry box on the outermost point of the Flagstaff bastion. Also note the musket firing platforms. The Flagstaff is the largest bastion and designed to be used as a citadel if needed as a last refuge.

A good view of the gun platform, with the grass ramp up to the firing position. The area alongside the ramp was used as a parade ground. The platform has commanding views and just like the casemated seaward facing Devil’s and Charles bastions, its job was to defend the harbour from enemy intrusion.

The dénouement came with the arrival of the cannon from Cork and the establishment of the batteries. A breach capable of being assaulted was soon made by the Danes in the long East wall in front of them. The saps there were now in pistol range of the covered way and the troops were ready to attack. The siege had lasted 13 days and the last 5 days had witnessed continual cannon fire. Sir Edward now felt that the honours of war had been satisfied and he opened negotiations with the Earl of Marlborough on surrender. The white flag was raised and the chamade was beaten.  Good terms were agreed and the Governor and his feisty wife Lady Scott led the garrison out through the breach – she in her coach – with drums beating and flags waving. Twelve hundred survivors marched out from Fort Charles and headed for Limerick.

                                             the Cockpit bastion. They exited here.

Final views of the Fort, the covered way

  

Kinsale in the background. Beyond the bridge and entrance point across the dry ditch. After the surrender, Brigadier General Churchill, Marlborough’s brother, became Governor of the Fort.

James Fort is visible on the brown promontory in the middle distance and the port of Kinsale and its landlocked, deep safe harbour is on the horizon.

These defeats closed the access to the south of Ireland for French shipping and support. It was the beginning of the end. James had landed here in Kinsale in 1689. And now also from here he scuttled away down these steps and into his lonely boat. ‘ Will ye no come back again…?’

James leaving Ireland

The Wrong Side of History

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 under . Posted by

Because the PO closes at 5.30 we are used to sitting waiting for the news at 6pm, despite knowing it probably won’t last past the headlines, and to fill in the time we watch Pointless, despite ourselves shaking our heads at the subjects. I always like …

The Wrong Side of History

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 under . Posted by

Because the PO closes at 5.30 we are used to sitting waiting for the news at 6pm, despite knowing it probably won’t last past the headlines, and to fill in the time we watch Pointless, despite ourselves shaking our heads at the subjects. I always like …

Told You

Posted on June 5th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

Do you remember my overwhelming disappointment on my visit to the newly opened National Army Museum a few months ago, it would seem I was ahead of the crowd, the historian Andrew Roberts has just penned a piece far more competent than my miserable scri…

Told You

Posted on June 5th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

Do you remember my overwhelming disappointment on my visit to the newly opened National Army Museum a few months ago, it would seem I was ahead of the crowd, the historian Andrew Roberts has just penned a piece far more competent than my miserable scri…

Guest post: The Williamite Wars in Ireland – Part 2 – The River

Posted on May 29th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

Friend of the blog Peter A –  wanderings in ancient Ireland – part two

It is along road from Kinsale to Limerick. But much harder on foot or on horseback than by car. The first tough haul is the twisty, tortuous undulating road up to Cork – that caused Marlborough’s men so much trouble in bringing his heavy artillery down to take part in the siege of Charles Fort, Kinsale.

Once beyond Cork, we head North up the motorway towards Fermoy and Mitchelstown. On the right on the horizon are the Galty mountains. To the left is the Ballyhoura chain. Then across country you see miles of the marshy, boggy landscape that is so common in Ireland. Wild and hard to cultivate – how to scratch a living here? On we go, past signs for Tipperary, Hospital, Ballyneety and finally into Limerick.

Across Baals bridge over the Abbey river that divides Irish town and English town and on to King John’s island, the historical heart of the city.

King John’s Castle
     King John’s castle is massive. Those walls and round towers were built to intimidate and repel. A first
v view of the River Shannon at the end of the street – how wide, fast-flowing and majestic it is… what an
   obstacle to cross…!

River Shannon
   
Then the view of the modern Thomond Bridge – layer upon layer of history all around – tread softly…

Thomond Bridge

 The castle museum is superbly done. A multi-media experience – as is the fashion these days – with sounds and lights and characters from Limerick’s history who talk to you on the press of a button. ..
A journey through time from the Vikings, the original ‘English Lords’, the medieval clashes, the Plantations, the Civil War and then to our period, the sieges and great dispute between the Williamites and the Jacobites which was concluded (for a time) here.

In the museum is a wonderful huge model of Limerick as it would have been around 1690. This bird’s eye view shows the city walls, the Castle of King John, St Mary’s cathedral, the Thomond bridge and the river Shannon.

The Limerick model – Castle and St Mary’s and the English Town


There is also a striking diorama in approx. 1/72ndscale that features the disastrous fight on the Thomond bridge. The Allies having marched round through the night into County Clare launched an attack on the defensive ramparts that guarded the entrance to the bridge. From his position of safety back on the castle walls, the French commander panicked; ordered the drawbridge on the small gateway built onto the bridge to be raised. This act condemned 100’s of Jacobite soldiers to a deadly fate – despite desperate waving of white kerchiefs, the Jacobite colour, to signal their allegiance back to the castle. They were ignored – and died either at the hands of the similarly red-coated Williamites, or drowned in the surging waters of the Shannon.

This awful incident is well-captured in the model shown

The fight on the Thomond Bridge

Inspired by this scene, I attempted to replicate it back on my painting desk, using 15mm figures, buildings and river bases that were to hand

Images 11, 12 ,13 – views of Thomond, Limerick and the Shannon in 15mm




Here is that same bridge today – with the white water racing through the arches, illustrating the speed and relentless nature of the river – literally it took no prisoners…

Looking West towards County Clare directly across the river

        Two views looking north to the surrounding ring of hills with their patchwork woods in various shades of green and the church of St Munchin – grey slate and grey tombstones – a bricked up/ blocked up sad place – awaiting reclamation as an arts or cultural centre

2 modernized illustrations from Thomas Phillips drawings made in 1685. Very useful wargaming material. These show the city in prospect as it may have appeared to the Williamite army from their trenches – as the bombarding of the 24 pounders and mortars rained down fire upon the houses…

A view of St Marys cathedral interior – one of the oldest churches in Ireland – it suffered much damage during the Williamite siege


Inscription on the treaty stone 

Treaty stone itself

 it all ended here – and then the new ventures began…

Guest post: The Williamite Wars in Ireland – Part 2 – The River

Posted on May 29th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

Friend of the blog Peter A –  wanderings in ancient Ireland – part two

It is along road from Kinsale to Limerick. But much harder on foot or on horseback than by car. The first tough haul is the twisty, tortuous undulating road up to Cork – that caused Marlborough’s men so much trouble in bringing his heavy artillery down to take part in the siege of Charles Fort, Kinsale.

Once beyond Cork, we head North up the motorway towards Fermoy and Mitchelstown. On the right on the horizon are the Galty mountains. To the left is the Ballyhoura chain. Then across country you see miles of the marshy, boggy landscape that is so common in Ireland. Wild and hard to cultivate – how to scratch a living here? On we go, past signs for Tipperary, Hospital, Ballyneety and finally into Limerick.

Across Baals bridge over the Abbey river that divides Irish town and English town and on to King John’s island, the historical heart of the city.

King John’s Castle
     King John’s castle is massive. Those walls and round towers were built to intimidate and repel. A first
v view of the River Shannon at the end of the street – how wide, fast-flowing and majestic it is… what an
   obstacle to cross…!

River Shannon
   
Then the view of the modern Thomond Bridge – layer upon layer of history all around – tread softly…

Thomond Bridge

 The castle museum is superbly done. A multi-media experience – as is the fashion these days – with sounds and lights and characters from Limerick’s history who talk to you on the press of a button. ..
A journey through time from the Vikings, the original ‘English Lords’, the medieval clashes, the Plantations, the Civil War and then to our period, the sieges and great dispute between the Williamites and the Jacobites which was concluded (for a time) here.

In the museum is a wonderful huge model of Limerick as it would have been around 1690. This bird’s eye view shows the city walls, the Castle of King John, St Mary’s cathedral, the Thomond bridge and the river Shannon.

The Limerick model – Castle and St Mary’s and the English Town


There is also a striking diorama in approx. 1/72ndscale that features the disastrous fight on the Thomond bridge. The Allies having marched round through the night into County Clare launched an attack on the defensive ramparts that guarded the entrance to the bridge. From his position of safety back on the castle walls, the French commander panicked; ordered the drawbridge on the small gateway built onto the bridge to be raised. This act condemned 100’s of Jacobite soldiers to a deadly fate – despite desperate waving of white kerchiefs, the Jacobite colour, to signal their allegiance back to the castle. They were ignored – and died either at the hands of the similarly red-coated Williamites, or drowned in the surging waters of the Shannon.

This awful incident is well-captured in the model shown

The fight on the Thomond Bridge

Inspired by this scene, I attempted to replicate it back on my painting desk, using 15mm figures, buildings and river bases that were to hand

Images 11, 12 ,13 – views of Thomond, Limerick and the Shannon in 15mm




Here is that same bridge today – with the white water racing through the arches, illustrating the speed and relentless nature of the river – literally it took no prisoners…

Looking West towards County Clare directly across the river

        Two views looking north to the surrounding ring of hills with their patchwork woods in various shades of green and the church of St Munchin – grey slate and grey tombstones – a bricked up/ blocked up sad place – awaiting reclamation as an arts or cultural centre

2 modernized illustrations from Thomas Phillips drawings made in 1685. Very useful wargaming material. These show the city in prospect as it may have appeared to the Williamite army from their trenches – as the bombarding of the 24 pounders and mortars rained down fire upon the houses…

A view of St Marys cathedral interior – one of the oldest churches in Ireland – it suffered much damage during the Williamite siege


Inscription on the treaty stone 

Treaty stone itself

 it all ended here – and then the new ventures began…

A Trip Back in Time; Normandy 2017 By Glenn Goddard

Posted on May 26th, 2017 under , , , , . Posted by

Ed Note: Glenn Goddard is a huge friend of WWPD has provided this excellent article and pictures for you to enjoy!

As a player of FOW since 2003, and posting when I have time, on the forums (Baghdaddy), I thought you might enjoy hearing about my latest adventure.  Some people are lucky and then there is me, the luckiest guy in the world.  No, I am not talking about my die rolls at last year’s Nationals, I am talking about the fact that I was invited to be part of the U.S. Army contingent who jump into Normandy every year to re-create the D-Day jump by the American Airborne troops.  I expect most military veterans and gamers dream of going to the annual celebration of one of the most epic battles in history, the Allied invasion of Normandy to liberate France and defeat the Nazi regime.

Ed Note: I did the jump at Nijmegen and the subsequent walk to Arnhem many years ago and it was a blast!

Our first day involved a commemoration ceremony at Carentan.  We started at the site of the “Cabbage Patch”.  This was an epic battle between the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division and the 2nd Fallschimjager (German airborne).  This battle of Carentan was finally settled by a hand grenade and bayonet charge by the American paratroopers at great cost.  Read about the battle here.

At the ceremony, the French Government awarded several of the American veterans and one French Resistance veteran the Legion of Merit.  It was amazing to see the veterans, most of whom are in their 90s.  You really get perspective when you realize that there won’t be many of these veterans left soon.  I should note that we had representatives from all the Allied nations plus German Soldiers.  Some might think it strange to have Germans at a ceremony like this, but what better way to demonstrate that we will never fight each other again than to be unified in commemoration.  After laying wreaths and a flyover by four C-130s, we then marched through the center of town with bands playing.  It was pretty cool and almost every structure in the town remains just as they were in World War Two.

Read more »

Wandering Around Ireland, Part III

Posted on May 3rd, 2017 under , . Posted by

Clarence Harrison – The next day of our trip took us to lots of different sites!Before leaving Enniskillen, we stopped at Enniskillen Castle and just had a walk around the outside. On March 11th 1689, Gustavus Hamilton formally declared Enniskillen for…

Wandering Around Ireland, Part III

Posted on May 3rd, 2017 under , . Posted by

Clarence Harrison – The next day of our trip took us to lots of different sites!Before leaving Enniskillen, we stopped at Enniskillen Castle and just had a walk around the outside. On March 11th 1689, Gustavus Hamilton formally declared Enniskillen for…

Book Review – Behind the Walls – Nicola Pierce

Posted on April 30th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

Behind the Walls – a novel about the Siege of Derry 1689I don’t normally do book reviews on the blog although I have occasionally written some for the trade press in the past.I thought I’d make an exception for this book which I picked up in the Visito…

Book Review – Behind the Walls – Nicola Pierce

Posted on April 30th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

Behind the Walls – a novel about the Siege of Derry 1689I don’t normally do book reviews on the blog although I have occasionally written some for the trade press in the past.I thought I’d make an exception for this book which I picked up in the Visito…

Guest post: Williamite Wars in Ireland Part 1 – The Walls

Posted on April 27th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

Friend of the Blog Peter A takes us with him on part one of his three part odyssey following the Williamite Wars in Ireland – The Walls, the River and the Fort – wanderings in ancient Ireland

Arms of Cork – a safe harbour for ships

1.      This report is in 3 parts. First, the siege and taking of Cork – the breach and destruction of its medieval walls – which were unfit to resist determined late 17th century artillery. Second, the siege and capture of Limerick – a city girdled by the wide, fast-flowing and fabulous river Shannon that flows round the city and then on to the sea.
Finally the siege and capitulation of Fort Charles in Kinsale – the strongest and best defended starfort in Ireland. State of the art in 1690 but no match for Milord Duke and his allies…

      The city of Cork in southern Ireland. Scene of the Earl of Marlborough’s first independent command.  The city is made of red sandstone and white limestone. And from these two materials come the colours of Cork. Marlborough attacked from the South and East – whilst his colleague the Prince of Württemberg camped on the hills to the north facing the North Gate. Cork, the walled medieval town was virtually an island. It was surrounded by marshy and swampy ground. Almost impossible to manoeuvre on.

2.       The‘map’ taken from Marlborough’s papers showing the dispositions of the troops and the artillery for the siege




Marlborough’s forces first took possession of a small redoubt called ‘The Catt’. This was in an elevated position overlooking Elizabeth fort – a key feature and strong point that lay outside the city

The south gate bridge today

Elizabeth Fort

   

 From the Catt, allied forces rained down artillery fire on Elizabeth fort and the city walls. Further East by The Red Abbey (built of red sandstone), an old Augustinian monastery, Marlborough set up another battery to pour cannon-fire on the walls of East Cork. As was his wont, John Churchill also used the tower of the Abbey as a vantage point to view the prospects and progress of the siege.

The accoutrements of siege artillery – the hook to clear the barrel; the swab to wash out; the powder server and the ball rammer

       


Elizabeth Fort is still today an intimidating presence overlooking the city to the south. It stands next to St Finbarre’s cathedral.

5.       
St Finbarre’s Cathedral

Marlborough determined to capture that fort whilst his batteries established on the ring of low hills that surround the city, hammered away at the walls to create a breach. Marlborough attacked and took Elizabeth Fort promptly. Once in possession of it he had commanding views over the city.

Looking down across Cork to the South Gate bridge from Elizabeth fort

6.      
He could look down on the South Gate bridge and further round to where the Grenadiers and Forlorn Hope were now making progress towards the breach – which had been swiftly made in the weak south-east wall.

Grenadier making a grenade

7.       
The final assault on the city of Cork was an episode of famous bravery and derring-do that would repay representation on the wargames table. From the North a group of Württemberg’s Danish grenadiers mounted an attack. They were joined by 4 companies of Grenadiers under the command of Marlborough’s brother Brigadier Churchill and the Lord Colchester who started off from the Red Abbey. Both groups made progress through the East marsh but the final assault required them to cross the river Lee up to their necks in water. This they did until they hit a deeper channel close to the City walls which had been dug to allow ships to access – and was too much for even these brave men. They broke off.

Two allied ships moored off the city shelled the town as the Grenadiers retreated. As the barrage was kept up the breach in the wall just south of the Ormond gate was already substantial. Lord Tyrone the Irish commander and the city Governor by then knew the game was up. They beat parley to surrender.

8.       The fate of Irish rebels is seen here in this image. A similar fate no doubt awaits the LoA member who goes rogue…






9.       From the North this image shows the view looking down on the city. This was the Danish position. Shandon church with its tower, white one side, red the other is on the right. The river Lee is in the middle ground. The two Tricorned gentlemen of the 1690’s survey the scene






1  The derivation of the phrase ‘as cold as brass monkeys’ is shown here on this plaque. (Other explanations are also available. This being Ireland never let the truth get in the way of a good tale…)






1  A stack of cannon balls formed into the brass monkey stack is shown here in Elizabeth Fort.



t

1This image shows the base of the Eastern wall – now in the Bishop’s gardens. This was the wall that was breached and is all that remains of those medieval walls…




1  This image shows the Shandon tower in close up – you can see the red sandstone and white limestone

Guest post: Williamite Wars in Ireland Part 1 – The Walls

Posted on April 27th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

Friend of the Blog Peter A takes us with him on part one of his three part odyssey following the Williamite Wars in Ireland – The Walls, the River and the Fort – wanderings in ancient Ireland

Arms of Cork – a safe harbour for ships

1.      This report is in 3 parts. First, the siege and taking of Cork – the breach and destruction of its medieval walls – which were unfit to resist determined late 17th century artillery. Second, the siege and capture of Limerick – a city girdled by the wide, fast-flowing and fabulous river Shannon that flows round the city and then on to the sea.
Finally the siege and capitulation of Fort Charles in Kinsale – the strongest and best defended starfort in Ireland. State of the art in 1690 but no match for Milord Duke and his allies…

      The city of Cork in southern Ireland. Scene of the Earl of Marlborough’s first independent command.  The city is made of red sandstone and white limestone. And from these two materials come the colours of Cork. Marlborough attacked from the South and East – whilst his colleague the Prince of Württemberg camped on the hills to the north facing the North Gate. Cork, the walled medieval town was virtually an island. It was surrounded by marshy and swampy ground. Almost impossible to manoeuvre on.

2.       The‘map’ taken from Marlborough’s papers showing the dispositions of the troops and the artillery for the siege




Marlborough’s forces first took possession of a small redoubt called ‘The Catt’. This was in an elevated position overlooking Elizabeth fort – a key feature and strong point that lay outside the city

The south gate bridge today

Elizabeth Fort

   

 From the Catt, allied forces rained down artillery fire on Elizabeth fort and the city walls. Further East by The Red Abbey (built of red sandstone), an old Augustinian monastery, Marlborough set up another battery to pour cannon-fire on the walls of East Cork. As was his wont, John Churchill also used the tower of the Abbey as a vantage point to view the prospects and progress of the siege.

The accoutrements of siege artillery – the hook to clear the barrel; the swab to wash out; the powder server and the ball rammer

       


Elizabeth Fort is still today an intimidating presence overlooking the city to the south. It stands next to St Finbarre’s cathedral.

5.       
St Finbarre’s Cathedral

Marlborough determined to capture that fort whilst his batteries established on the ring of low hills that surround the city, hammered away at the walls to create a breach. Marlborough attacked and took Elizabeth Fort promptly. Once in possession of it he had commanding views over the city.

Looking down across Cork to the South Gate bridge from Elizabeth fort

6.      
He could look down on the South Gate bridge and further round to where the Grenadiers and Forlorn Hope were now making progress towards the breach – which had been swiftly made in the weak south-east wall.

Grenadier making a grenade

7.       
The final assault on the city of Cork was an episode of famous bravery and derring-do that would repay representation on the wargames table. From the North a group of Württemberg’s Danish grenadiers mounted an attack. They were joined by 4 companies of Grenadiers under the command of Marlborough’s brother Brigadier Churchill and the Lord Colchester who started off from the Red Abbey. Both groups made progress through the East marsh but the final assault required them to cross the river Lee up to their necks in water. This they did until they hit a deeper channel close to the City walls which had been dug to allow ships to access – and was too much for even these brave men. They broke off.

Two allied ships moored off the city shelled the town as the Grenadiers retreated. As the barrage was kept up the breach in the wall just south of the Ormond gate was already substantial. Lord Tyrone the Irish commander and the city Governor by then knew the game was up. They beat parley to surrender.

8.       The fate of Irish rebels is seen here in this image. A similar fate no doubt awaits the LoA member who goes rogue…






9.       From the North this image shows the view looking down on the city. This was the Danish position. Shandon church with its tower, white one side, red the other is on the right. The river Lee is in the middle ground. The two Tricorned gentlemen of the 1690’s survey the scene






1  The derivation of the phrase ‘as cold as brass monkeys’ is shown here on this plaque. (Other explanations are also available. This being Ireland never let the truth get in the way of a good tale…)






1  A stack of cannon balls formed into the brass monkey stack is shown here in Elizabeth Fort.



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1This image shows the base of the Eastern wall – now in the Bishop’s gardens. This was the wall that was breached and is all that remains of those medieval walls…




1  This image shows the Shandon tower in close up – you can see the red sandstone and white limestone