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"The Great Siege of Gibraltar 1779 1783" Topic


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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0118 Jan 2018 1:58 p.m. PST

"What was later hailed as The Great Siege of Gibraltar 1779-1783 was one of the great epics of the American War of Independence , even though it took place far from American shores. Gibraltar had been captured by Britain in 1704 and in the intervening years "The Rock" was heavily fortified, batteries and tunnels being hewn out of the rock itself. Its availability as a naval base in the Anglo-French wars of the mid-18th Century was of major strategic value to Britain, lying, as it did, on the entrance to the Mediterranean. It was not surprising therefore that during the American War of Independence (1775-83) its capture was an objective of the greatest importance for Britain's enemies. France had joined the conflict in 1778 and Spain was to do likewise in the following year. Plans were immediately put afoot to seize Gibraltar. Spanish troops constructed siege-lines across the mile-wide isthmus connecting Gibraltar to the Spanish mainland and a close-blockade was initiated by Spanish vessels operating out of Algeciras, across the bay from The Rock. A more powerful Spanish naval force eleven line-of-battle ships and two frigates was based at Cadiz, some 60 miles to the west so as to intercept British reinforcements…."
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Amicalement
Armand

Durban Gamer19 Jan 2018 3:34 a.m. PST

The AWI just got more interesting for wargamers. Here is a lot of scope to use combined French and Spanish land forces against British with both sides mounting many major attacks over a period of years. I was organising my Spanish for Pensacola, but now need to do more research to see what land units were at Gibraltar!

Nice find, Armand!

Londonplod19 Jan 2018 4:09 a.m. PST

As a resident on the Rock l found the article very interesting and learned a few new things about the siege.

Durban, the Osprey book on the siege has a lot of useful info you may find useful.

Tango0119 Jan 2018 9:31 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friends!. (smile)

Amicalement
Armand

Supercilius Maximus19 Jan 2018 9:39 a.m. PST

Piers Mackesy's "War for America" lays out the nature and scale of the war from a British perspective – global and multinational, instead of just being a scrap in their own backyard for the Rebels.

42flanker22 Jan 2018 2:10 p.m. PST

'Gibraltar' -and, later, the badge of the 'Castle & Key'-insignia of Gibraltar- together with its motto- Montis Insignia Calpe,, were awarded as the British army's first battle honour (as understood today), to the four regiments, 12th, 39th, 56th, 58th, who served throughout the siege.

The distinction earned by the 39th has been subsumed in the process of amalgamation that produced 'The Rifles'- who carry no colours- but the honour of 'Gibraltar' earned by the 12th, 56th and 58th Regiments is commemorated still in the badge of The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Tango0122 Jan 2018 2:42 p.m. PST

Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History

"For over three and a half years, from 1779 to 1783, the tiny territory of Gibraltar was besieged and blockaded, on land and at sea, by the overwhelming forces of Spain and France. It became the longest siege in British history, and the obsession with saving Gibraltar was blamed for the loss of the American colonies in the War of Independence.

Located between the Mediterranean and Atlantic, on the very edge of Europe, Gibraltar was a place of varied nationalities, languages, religions and social classes. During the siege, thousands of soldiers, civilians and their families withstood terrifying bombardments, starvation and diseases. Very ordinary people lived through extraordinary events, from shipwrecks and naval battles to an attempted invasion of England and a daring sortie out of Gibraltar into Spain. Deadly innovations included red-hot shot, shrapnel shells and a barrage from immense floating batteries.

This is military and social history at its best, a story of soldiers, sailors and civilians, with royalty and rank-and-file, workmen and engineers, priests, prisoners-of-war, spies and surgeons, all caught up in a struggle for a fortress located on little more than two square miles of awe-inspiring rock. Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History is an epic page-turner, rich in dramatic human detail – a tale of courage, endurance, intrigue, desperation, greed and humanity. The everyday experiences of all those involved are brought vividly to life with eyewitness accounts and expert research"
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Amicalement
Armand

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