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"The Two Battles of Copenhagen 1801 & 1807 - Gareth Glover" Topic

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carojon16 Sep 2021 12:16 a.m. PST

I've recently finished reading Gareth Glover's book covering the two battles of Copenhagen, which was a thoroughly good read and one that followed on from my previous reading of the 2001 Bicentenary history, written by Danish historian Ole Feldbaek, which I reviewed last year.


If you would like to know more and my thoughts on both books then just follow the link to JJ's



Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 1:33 a.m. PST

Good stuff- I see my maternal Danish heritage got around a bit (50 years after this lot tho)

von Winterfeldt16 Sep 2021 1:57 a.m. PST

great review, thanks.

BrianW16 Sep 2021 4:08 a.m. PST

Your review of Feldbaek's book is what got me to buy it. I suspect it will be the same with this one.

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 4:20 a.m. PST

Good stuff JJ…on my list.

Gazzola16 Sep 2021 4:54 a.m. PST

Two bits I found amusing:

'Therefore the British were determined to remove the Danish fleet to a place of safety.'

How would people have reacted had it been Napoleon who wanted to 'remove' the Danish fleet to 'a place of safety?'
I'm sure they would have believe it just as we should believe the er, British reason for doing so. LOL

But it was only a neutral country and the Brits don't do things against neutral countries, do they?

'And few Britons celebrated or enjoyed the victories gained at Copenhagen' Yeah, really? So why was Wellington's horse named Copenhagen? Was it because Welly and the Brits loved the place? LOL

GG's book certainly won't be on my list, I'm pleased to say.

carojon16 Sep 2021 9:03 a.m. PST

Hi all,
Thanks for your comments and for those that did, I'm glad you enjoyed the review and if you get a copy, hope you enjoy the read.

I'm certainly looking forward to going back to Copenhagen after a long gap following several visits to Denmark in the past and will definitely take this and Feldbaek's book with me.


Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 9:42 a.m. PST

I had a fantastic tour of the Danish military academy whilst I was on a job in Copenhagen. Naturally the discussion turned to the RN's visit to the city. One of the other NATO chums asked what our hosts felt about it, the answer was " it was war, if we'd been in the same situation we would have done the same". As an aside one of the stops on the tour was a room that had been used as an observation post by the British during one of the bombardments and you could still see Mark's made by the observers whilst they were there. Actually a lot of our NATO meetings were in places that the RN had visited at some point. Jarvik, Taranto and Helsinki were probably the best visits, but Copenhagen gave them a close run :)

stecal Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 6:55 p.m. PST

fascinating. I find myself buying both books on Copenhagen now.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 2:55 a.m. PST

The British performed the first terror-bombardment of the period-something Napoleon never did.

The British purposely targeted the civilian population of Copenhagen in 1807.

ConnaughtRanger18 Sep 2021 12:05 p.m. PST

My copy arrived yesterday. It's a beautifully produced book. Ideal background for a long weekend in Copenhagen next month. Must look out for the mass graves from the tens of thousands of civilian casualties.

Gazzola20 Sep 2021 2:46 p.m. PST


I imagine on your 'long weekend' you are going to talk to the locals and share with them your pride on a British atrocity! And I bet they'll love seeing the book which I'm sure you will be keen to show them! And just like you, I reckon they'll think it is a beautifully produced book. I mean, after all, that's the important thing, isn't it?

ConnaughtRanger25 Sep 2021 6:57 a.m. PST

Just completed the book today. It's an excellent read and, as expected from Mr Glover, extremely well researched. Mr Glover makes the compelling argument that the 1801 and 1807 campaigns are inextricably linked – the latter being the inevitable completion of the "unfinished business" of the former. The book sets the Anglo-Danish relationship in the wider context of Baltic and European politics and makes a very complex situation more easily understandable. Despite neither side wanting direct conflict – Mr Glover emphasizes the shared values and national characteristics of the two countries – the very one-sided 1807 campaign became a strategic necessity for the British. The catastrophic results for the Danish State affected their global status, it could be argued, right up to the present day. Thoroughly recommended – but it won't sit well with our resident Anglophobes.

Gazzola27 Sep 2021 3:52 a.m. PST


'Anglophobes' Really? How childish. Methinks some people are just so afraid of anything negative being exposed about Britain, they just have to find any feeble excuse they can against those daring to mention it. Sad, but not unexpected from some people, I suppose.

I've researched the the actions and Denmark were stuck in the middle and probably trying the impossible – staying neutral and not wanting to decide on who to side with. And they were daring to trade and make money for themselves. How dare they, eh?

But from what I could discover, before the 1807 invasion and robbery by Britain, they leaned towards the British and most of their regular troops were out of the area positioned to face an possible move by the French, hence the easy land victory by the Brits.

One of the real reasons for the attack may have also been the availability of the mass of naval supplies the British helped themselves to. The link in the first post mentions the worry about not being able to obtain wood, hemp and necessities to keep the navy going etc. I believe the supplies they stole were worth millions.

But it is both comical and sad that when the British commit an atrocity, it is generally fobbed off as an necessity, they did not want to do, but they had to. Yeah, right!

And you don't hear the 'anti-nappers' (you know who you are) condemning British atrocities. They never say a word against it. Funny that, isn't it? And imagine what they would have said had Napoleon threatened and attacked a neutral country and 'stolen' the Danish fleet? I can't see them agreeing that the French did not really want to do it but it was a necessity! LOL

dibble27 Sep 2021 7:20 p.m. PST


I see you have got the LOLing, going again?:D

A successful raid…Rule Britannia

YouTube link

ConnaughtRanger28 Sep 2021 1:07 a.m. PST

I find the "Stifle" function much improves the level of discussion on here.

Gazzola28 Sep 2021 9:02 a.m. PST


We all know that people who use the stifle function are scared of the truth. It also saves them not having to reply or disagree with the truth, especially when they know they can't.

People who use it make me laugh, to be honest. They obviously know they can't argue against what was posted, so pretend not to be able to read the posts. As if LOL

Also, anyone who uses the feeble excuse that someone must be an Anglophobe because they dared to mention something negative about the Brits is both sad and comical. Going by such cowardly logic, those highlighting something negative about the Brits must also support the Saxons and Vikings and not Alfred the Great, the Normans and not Harold and of course, they must certainly favour Hitler and the Germans over Britain and the Allies. That's how ludicrous the suggestion is! But again, some people just don't want their rosy vision of the Brits being challenged, do they? Why is that, I wonder?

Getting me going? Yes – get me laughing at such childish and pathetic excuses! Still, I suppose it is better for some people to remain ignorant of the truth. So yeah…er, rule Britannia and remain blind and deaf to reality and the truth. LOL

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2021 9:12 a.m. PST

Gazzola +1

ConnaughtRanger28 Sep 2021 9:29 a.m. PST

I rest my case.

dibble28 Sep 2021 11:47 a.m. PST


We all have truths but some have truths that eat into their very souls. Especially those who study and fawn after their hero and his pixies who get a good, regular spanking from their historical nemesis Great Britain. They cry, blather and bluster over a raid that lasted weeks while totally ignore the slaughter and self-destruction wrought everywhere that ogre and his armies set foot.

I shall use some of the fawners own rhetoric in my closing statement:

'Getting me going? No! – Get me laughing at such childish and pathetic excuses? Yup! Still, I suppose it is better for Nappy fawners to remain ignorant of the truth. So yeah…, Rule Britannia and see reality and the truth. LOL…:)'

Blutarski28 Sep 2021 5:06 p.m. PST

Brechtel198 and I agree. Who'd believe it?!?!?

Make that +2 Gazzola.


Gazzola29 Sep 2021 2:11 p.m. PST

Brechtel198 & Blutarski

You just have to laugh at the posts by dibble and ConnaughtRanger.

You dare to mention something negative about the Brits and you must be a Nappy fawner and hate Britain! Their feeble, pathetic, if not cowardly excuses say more about the blinkered posters than anything else.

And some 'raid' wasn't it? You can imagine the Brits thinking we'll turn up with our massive fleet and massive land army and the Danes will tremble and go weak at the knees and quickly hand over everything they demand. Didn't turn out that way though, did it? The Brave Danes were not intimidated by the mighty Brits. Hell no, they even sent their militia against British regulars. If you want the fleet, come and get it!

It must have really stunned the Brits. This is not what they planned, this so called quick raid! The Danes did not surrender, which must have really annoyed them – how dare they not succumb to the mighty British forces! The Brits couldn't beat them fairly and force them to do what they demanded, so they decided to terrorize and target the civilians and none military targets with bombardments that included rockets, in order to terrify the civilians and force the Danish military to give up the fight. The Brits knew they had no chance otherwise!

And so, when the Danes surrendered in order to save more innocent civilian lives being lost and civilian property being destroyed, the Brits sailed merrily away with the stolen fleet. Er, no, not quite. The seaworthy Danish fleet wasn't quite seaworthy so the Brits had to stay for quite a long time, a hell of a lot longer than they expected or wanted, until the Danish ships were made seaworthy. No quick dash, grab and skip back home here, matey. LOL

dibble & co need to stop hiding behind their Union Jack blinkers and accept that the British did something bad. It doesn't mean that everything the British did was bad or other nations did not do bad things either. It is just being brave enough to accept reality and the truth instead of turning a blind eye to anything negative unless it happens to be done by Napoleon and the French. Such hypocrisy only leads to biased, distorted and one-sided history. Then again, I suppose some people can only survive with that sort of view on life. Sad really.

dibble30 Sep 2021 12:16 a.m. PST
Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2021 7:23 a.m. PST

The British decision to conduct a terror bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807. One of the critical reasons is that the British had no engineer troops with which to conduct a proper siege, and their engineer officers were not trained in siege operations. See Wellington's Engineers by Mark Thompson.

'…that our principal reliance must be upon the effect of a bombardment, and that we must either endeavor by that means to destroy the Danish fleet, or force the government to surrender it into our hands.'-Sir George Murray on the Copenhagen bombardment in 1807.

'If it is found by experience that the destruction of the fleet is actually not within the power of our mortar batteries, we must then of necessity resort to the harsh measure of forcing the town into our terms, by the suffering of the inhabitants themselves. But to give this mode of attack its fullest effect, it is necessary completely to invest the place, and oblige by that means, all persons of whatever description, to undergo the same hardships and dangers.'-Sir George Murray on bombarding the inhabitants of Copenhagen in 1807.

Murray's course of action to initiate and conduct a terror bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807, in order to force the city to surrender itself and the Danish fleet.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2021 7:44 a.m. PST

The Royal Sappers and Miners

The greatest weakness of the British Army in the Peninsula under Wellington, in addition to not having enough Royal Artillery units (which was made up by the upgrading and training of the excellent Portuguese artillery) was the absence of any suitable combat engineer troops until 1813. There was no such Portuguese engineering organization to make up for that weakness.

‘A serious clog on Wellington's operations in Spain was the British Army's lack of proper combat engineer troops and specialist miner units. British engineer officers were energetic but had little training and experience in siege craft. Consequently, Wellington's sieges had to be crude, main-strength-and-awkwardness affairs, with infantry assaults (often unsuccessful and dreadfully costly when they did succeed) taking the place of scientific trench work and bombardment.' (John Elting, Swords Around a Throne, 506).

Compared to the Royal Engineers, the French Army prior to the Revolution had the same problem, as no enlisted men or engineer units were assigned to the engineer arm either. The French Royal Engineers was composed solely of officers, including the Topographical Engineers, which had been founded in 1771 and were the army's mapmakers. There were regular miner companies in existence, but they were part of the artillery and were at times commanded by artillery officers. Jean-Baptiste de Gribeauval had commanded one when a captain of artillery. (John Elting, Swords, 269; Frederick Artz, Education, ).

The situation changed in October 1793 when Lazare Carnot, then a member of the Committee of Public Safety and still a captain of engineers, influenced the decision to transfer the miners from the artillery to the engineers and to organize twelve companies of sapeurs du genie, combat engineers, and that changed the French engineers from a staff organization to a combat arm. (John Elting, Swords, 268).

The French engineer school at Mezieres was established in 1749, and like other French military technical schools, it was excellent. (John Elting, Swords, 269; Frederick Artz, Education).

The British engineer officers had been trained at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, which had been founded in 1741 and modeled on the military technical schools in France. The Royal Engineer officers who served in the Peninsula between 1807 and 1814 had been commissioned between 1790 and 1804. (Mark Thompson, Engineers, 237).

While professionally educated, the British engineer officers were not well-trained in siege operations, and that lack showed up early at the siege of Copenhagen in 1807 where the British finally relied on a plan to conduct a terror bombardment aimed at the civilian population of the city, instead of conducting ‘normal' siege operations. While successful, resulting in the surrender of Copenhagen and the Danish fleet (the object of the expedition) it was also an atrocity which has largely been historically under-played.

The lack of suitably trained and organized British combat engineer troops were the cause of the catch-as-catch-can and awkward sieges conducted by Wellington. Wellington was not only painfully aware of the inherent weaknesses in the engineer arm, but he corresponded frequently with his superiors in London recommending and asking for competent enlisted engineer troops. While his contribution to the final authorization of the Royal Sappers and Miners was important, and probably would not have been done without his influence, the contribution of junior engineer officers who had served or were serving in Spain and Portugal was equally, if not more, important in the final decision to activate the Royal Sappers and Miners and send them to the Peninsula in 1813.

The Royal Military Artificers (RMA) were companies of skilled workmen and were never intended to serve in the field with the army. They were not combat engineers. They were permanently stationed at various places in Great Britain and because of the needs of the army for skilled engineer units, they were parceled out to the deployed commands. The RMA were neither trained nor skilled enough to perform as regular engineer troops and that lack was definitely demonstrated at the British sieges in the Peninsula and elsewhere, such as Copenhagen in 1807, and showed the glaring requirement for regular engineer units. As of 1811 none of the RMA companies had been deployed on active service as a unit, but merely as detachments.-(Mark Thompson, Engineers, 238.)

One of the most ardent and persistent proponents of engineer troops for the British Army was Captain Charles William Pasley who commanded a Royal Military Artificer company at Plymouth after serving in the unsuccessful Walcheren campaign and being seriously injured during the siege of Flushing. His belief that the RMA as it was currently configured and trained was ‘not capable' of serving efficiently as engineer troops. He proposed establishing a formal school for the training of engineer troops to support the army in siege and other engineer operations.

Pasley, recovering from a serious injury, took command of one of the RMA companies, that stationed at Plymouth, in 1811. His observations are damning as to the discipline and function of the company he initially commanded.

‘The command of the company here gives me a greater insight into the nature of our establishment…There is no guard except of a Sunday at the Barrack gates, which breaks up at eleven o'clock…The…backward spirit amongst the Non-Commissioned Officers is very great, and their ideas of subordination are exceedingly lax…I think these companies will not be worth much till they are changed every two or three years, and go on actual service bodily, not by detachments.

‘Every event in this country proves more and more the necessity of our having an establishment of Sappers and Miners…Lately at Ciudad Rodrigo we succeeded in taking the place more from its own weakness, than from any means we possessed of approaching nearer with success. I really should dread to attack a regular fortress:-we have no men fit for the operation, and if we attack Badajoz again, which is something like a regular place, depend upon it, that our loss in officers will be severe:-it must be so, until we have men drilled to this particular service. Your efforts at Plymouth do you the greatest credit…However, persevere in the noble work you have begun, and it is probably that their eyes may be opened, and they may be convinced.' John Squire RE to Charles Pasley RE, March 1812.

In August 1811 John Rowley, the Secretary to the Inspector-General of Fortifications replied to Pasley's recommendations for the formation of engineer troops:

‘On the subject of training the RM Artificers to their duties in the field…General Morse forwarded the letter you sent him, to the Master-General, with his recommendation…I…hope that his Lordship will think proper to call upon you to superintend and carry out the system of instruction you have so well pointed out.'-Thompson, 242.

Because of Pasley's ‘continued correspondence with the Master-General' and his proposal to establish a school of military engineering, the proposal was finally accepted and a Royal Warrant was ‘issued by the Prince Regent' on 23 April 1812 formally establishing the School of Military Engineering at Chatham.-Thompson, 244.

The first trained engineering troops were sent to the Peninsula by the end of 1812 and though their engineering skills were ‘incomplete' these new troops ‘were a major improvement on the performance of the RMA. One of the major improvements was that these troops were assigned their own engineer officers, which put them head and shoulders above the RMA. Not only were enlisted engineer troops trained at the new school, but ‘all newly-commissioned Royal Engineer officers were sent to the school to instruct and be instructed on practical field works.'

Pasley, upon the formation of the newly created Corps of Military Artificers Sappers and Miners (shortly to be renamed the Royal Corps of Sappers and Miners) wrote a memoir which stated that the ‘key role' of engineer officers was not only ‘the instruction of the soldiers' but, that engineer officers should ‘have a course of study laid down for them' which would improve their overall knowledge and efficiency and understand how to properly conduct siege operations and to understand ‘the art of fortification.' The officers were then ‘required to present memoirs relative to the various operations of a siege, stating the number of men, materials and tools, and the distribution of them.'-Thompson, 245.

Further, Pasley wanted the issue of poor discipline addressed by permanently attaching engineer officers to the companies of Royal Sappers and Miners. Engineer officers would command the new engineer companies.

One of the problems that Pasley and other insightful engineer officers faced was that according to John Jones, ‘In the English language there exists not a single original treatise on sieges; all our knowledge of them is obtained from foreign writers.' This echoes the reason why Thiebault's staff manual was translated soon after its publication in France-there wasn't one in English. Fortunately for the Royal Artillery, they had Adye's Bombardier and Pocket Gunner, although Adye himself commented on the admiration he had for the French Gribeauval System as the Royal Artillery did not at the time possess a unified artillery system.

Thanks to the foresight, based on combat experience, of Pasley and his fellow engineer officers, by 1812-1813 the British Army had a competent combat engineer arm, and not merely a staff organization made up only of officers. The Royal Sappers and Miners were in the field and operating by 1813 and made their presence felt at the two sieges of San Sebastien, being successful in the second. They had learned the lesson presented by the French engineer arm from 1793. And, interestingly, the most successful ‘team' of senior French artillery and engineer officers operated in Suchet's Army of Aragon on the Spanish east coast. Artillery General Valee (who would later develop a new artillery system for the French incorporating ideas based on experience in the Peninsula) and Engineer General Rogniat were the impetus behind the successful string of sieges conducted by Suchet's army.

Wellington had asked for and recommended competently led and well-trained engineer units and undoubtedly that greatly assisted in the army finally getting them. But it was through the combat performance of the Royal Engineer officers, and the heavy losses they suffered, and the insistence and persistence, as well as unflinching dedication to duty, of relatively junior engineer officers that finally convinced the powers that be to confirm the establishment of the Royal Sappers and Miners. Unfortunately, that hard-earned knowledge came too late to serve in the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and Burgos.

For example, Wellington wrote to Lord Liverpool in February 1811 after the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo regarding the need to establish a corps of sappers and miners: ‘…I would beg to suggest to your Lordship the expediency of adding to the Engineers' establishment a corps of sappers and miners. It is inconceivable with what disadvantage we undertake anything like a siege for want of assistance of this description. There is no French corps d'armee which has not a battalion of sappers [sapeurs du genie] and a company of miners. But we are obliged to depend for assistance of this description upon the regiments of the line; and although the men are brave and willing, they want the knowledge and training which are necessary. Many casualties among them consequently occur, and much valuable time is lost at the most critical period of the siege.' (Journal of Sieges, Volume III, by Major General Sir John Jones, 224).

General Jones himself remarked on the lack of proper engineer troops in Spain and that Wellington ‘was well aware' of that lack, noting that the lack of well-trained engineer units was ‘the very inefficient organization of the Engineer branch of the service: at that period [February 1811] there was not such a body of men belonging to the army of Great Britain as Sappers and Miners…' as the aforementioned letter to Lord Liverpool clearly demonstrates. (Journal of Sieges, Volume I, by Major General Sir John Jones, 224).

‘…I assure your Lordship that it is quite impossible to expect to carry fortified places by vive force without incurring great loss and being exposed to the chance of failure, unless the army should be provided with a regular trained corps of sappers and miners. I never knew a head of a military establishment or of an army undertaking a siege without the aid of such a corps, excepting the British Army…I earnestly recommend to your Lordship to have a corps of Sappers and Miners formed without loss of time.'-Wellington to Lord Liverpool, April 1812 after the third siege of Badajoz.-Thompson, 241.

In comparison, the strength of the French engineer arm when the French besieged and took Badajoz in 1811 there were ‘100 miners, 483 sappers [sapeurs du genie], 60 artificers, 37 drivers, with 58 horses.' The difference with the British engineer arm is telling. (Journal of Sieges, Volume I, by Major General John Jones, 225).

The experienced engineer officers who had engaged in siege work both in the Peninsula and elsewhere during the period, as well as Wellington, were responsible for the final approval of actual engineer troops to be organized, trained, and led by qualified engineer officers. This went a long way to the overall efficiency of the Royal Engineers as they were now not merely an organization of officers, but a combat arm. Unfortunately for them, this great improvement came twenty years after the French had made that improvement and the delay had cost the British infantry heavily in the bloody assaults against Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and San Sebastien.

A useful research project might be to compare the French and British sieges in the Spanish peninsula from 1808-1814, especially French and British sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz.

A short summary of Peninsular sieges by both the British and French might be useful:

French sieges:

Gerona I-July-August 1808-Failure.

Gerona II-May-December 1809-Success.

Saragossa I-June-August 1808-Failure.

Saragossa II-December1808-February 1809-Success.

Roses-November-December 1808-Success.

Cadiz-February 1810-August 1812-Failure.

Astorga-March-April 1810-Success.

Lerida-April-May 1810-Success.

Hostalrich-January-May 1810-Success.

Mequinenza-May-June 1810-Success.

Almeida-July-August 1810-Success.

Ciudad Rodrigo-June-July 1810-Success.

Tortosa-December 1810-January 1811-Success.

Olivenza-January 1811-Success.

Badajoz-January-March 1811-Success.

Figueras-April-August 1811-Success.

Tarragona-May-June 1811-Success.

Saguntum-September-October 1811-Success.

Valencia-December 1811-January 1812-Success.

Tarifa-December 1811-January 1812-Failure.

British sieges:

Ciudad Rodrigo-January 1812-Success.

Badajoz I-May 1811-Failure.

Badajoz II-May-June 1811-Failure.

Badajoz III-March-April 1812-Success.

Burgos-September-October 1812-Failure.

Tarragona-June 1813-Failure.

San Sebastien I-July 1813-Failure

San Sebastien II-August-September 1813-Success.

The following references were used in the preparation of this short paper:

Wellington's Engineers: Military Engineering in the Peninsular War 1808-1814 by Mark Thompson is an excellent study of the British engineer arm of the period and the information in this article came from that source.

The Development of Technical Education in France by Frederick Artz an excellent volume clearly demonstrating not only how technical education, both civil and military, developed in France, but how that example was copied by everyone else, including Great Britain and the United States.

Swords Around a Throne by John Elting is an excellent organizational study of the Grande Armee and is the best treatment of the subject in English.

The Peninsula War Atlas by Nick Lipscombe. An outstanding work, comparable to A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars by Vincent J Esposito and John R Elting, covering the Peninsular Campaigns which the Atlas did not. Full of excellent material with excellent maps.

Journal of Sieges, 3 Volumes, by Major General John Jones is yet another excellent reference regarding both the British artillery and engineer arms during the war in Spain and Portugal.

Gazzola02 Oct 2021 5:13 a.m. PST

Dibble's latest post seems quite worrying? First he states in the previous post before it that what he posted was his 'closing statement on the subject'

I can only imagine the shock of such overwhelming evidence of a British Napoleonic atrocity was too much for his blinkered mind to cope with, even though it won't change historical results. I guess that's what he does when he doesn't want his own viewpoints to be challenged. I can imagine his mantra now 'The British never do anything wrong! The British never do anything wrong! The British never do anything wrong!' LOL

dibble03 Oct 2021 12:34 a.m. PST
Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP03 Oct 2021 3:00 a.m. PST

I can imagine his mantra now 'The British never do anything wrong! The British never do anything wrong! The British never do anything wrong!'

Agree. That's why they lost to the Americans and French in the War of the American Revolution and lost their valuable thirteen English colonies in North America.

Gazzola03 Oct 2021 9:44 a.m. PST


Yeah, but they never do anything bad, do they? No, they're the good guys. Anything negative they do is an er, a necessity! LOL

dibble is still making weird posts! Do you think it has all been too much for him? LOL

Blutarski03 Oct 2021 12:22 p.m. PST

Indeed, the British played their hand historically poorly – just an endless string of tragic defeats.

By the turn of the twentieth century the British Empire encompassed one-quarter of the land mass and population of planet Earth – a fairly good consolation prize if you ask me.


dibble03 Oct 2021 12:54 p.m. PST

Indeed, the British played their hand historically poorly – just an endless string of tragic defeats.

So! Are they still in combat? Re:

endless string of tragic defeats

This subject has been covered in other threads which included the utter rubbish that 2,000 civilians were 'slaughtered'. Look to those said other threads for what I and others posted and think about the "Dane raid"…

Anyway! Heres to Brech and ilk. YouTube link

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP04 Oct 2021 3:25 a.m. PST

Without Wellington, the British incurred more defeats, some of them serious, than successes.

While Wellington finally won in Portugal and Spain, some of his veterans came to grief in North America as did the British overall in the 1814-1815 campaigns and battles.

Further, in Eastern Spain they were not successful and the British suffered setbacks and disasters in Flanders (1793-1795); Holland in 1799; Spain and Italy in 1800; Naples and Hanover in 1805; Buenos Aires, the Dardenelles, and Egypt in 1806-1807; Spain and Sweden in 1808; Holland in 1809.

The British are very good at winning battles and failing in campaigns-Talavera, Burgos, Corunna, Maida, and in Eastern Spain.

In 1814 in North America they were outfought and defeated in two out of three major actions (the third was a hard-fought draw) in the Niagara and they failed at Plattsburg and Baltimore and they were disastrously defeated at New Orleans in 1814-1815 (and that was actually before the war was over).

And as has been definitely demonstrated the Copenhagen operation was a siege, not a raid, and the British had to resort to a terror bombardment, the only one of the period, in order to successfully complete their mission.

Gazzola04 Oct 2021 2:40 p.m. PST

Sad how some people want to cling on to the attack and atrocity being seen as a little old raid. Yeah, just ignore the fact the British in their little old 'raid' sent one of their largest naval forces and a large land force for their quick, sorry, long er, raid.

And again, some people appear to have a numbers limit when it comes to what should be considered as an atrocity, well, for the British anyway. Why can't they just have the guts to admit it was a British atrocity. They still managed to steal the seaworthy, sorry, unseaworthy Danish fleet and all the naval supplies they could carry.

Such hypocrisy is unbelievable. If it had been Napoleon that had attacked the Danes and deliberately targeted and killed only a few hundred civilians, we wouldn't hear the last of it! But it seems, as usual, hypocrisy and Union Jack blinkers go hand in hand.

von Winterfeldt08 Oct 2021 10:29 p.m. PST

this topic appears – in numerous threads in numerous fora – again and again all over, sad to see, instead of commenting about the book.

I bought the book and yes it is an excellent read.

Gazzola12 Oct 2021 5:49 a.m. PST

VW needs to read the posts again. The original post is a review of the book and the posts are related to those comments. So they are discussing the book. Perhaps VW doesn't like what he is hearing. That wouldn't be surprising! LOL

jacdaw01 Nov 2021 1:35 a.m. PST

I have bought both books and they are interesting, but I think they gloss over the fact that Britain stabbed an old friend and ally in the back, do not forget that a large part of the population of eastern england have Danish descent, I have Norwegian. Until Nelson opend fire the Danes did not think they would attack them and for a fleet of basiclly hulks. In 1807 the British knew they could not stay for long so they used other "tactics". The looting was carried out mainly by the british women folk as the men risked the noose, but the women were subject to the same laws. As far as atrocities go the British were not innocent of crime, a long way from it but amateurs compared to Napoleon and company, the list is long from Vendee to Jaffa to Spain and Portual, not forgetting re introduced slavery and put down the following revolts with great violence. When one starts to look closely at military history it is not all glory and honour unfortunately and many were resposible for some incredible advances and bad things at the same time. sorry for going on so but the subject of both the books are a personal interest as is the Danish army of the period, dressed in red as the British were, in fact they wore similar uniforms from before the time of Marlborough, his allies!.

Gazzola04 Nov 2021 4:44 a.m. PST


No one is saying that other nations didn't do bad things but the problem seems to arise only when someone 'dares' to accuse the British of doing them. Some people just can't take it! Or they make up some feeble excuse as to why they 'had' to do it. LOL!

In terms of of Vendee, both sides committed atrocities, civil wars are usually full of them, although people prefer to throw everything at the Revolutionaries basically because they were revolutionaries and chopped some royal heads off. Hell, Britain did the same thing before the French in the English Civil War, with royals in both countries deserving everything they got.

And, as you say, Britain turned an ally into a enemy. Still, that obviously didn't matter compared too all the loot they stole.

jacdaw05 Nov 2021 1:06 a.m. PST

Thank you for your comments Gazzola with which I agree, some prefer to forget that James II sold little schoolgirls from Taunton as salves to american colonials, Culloden is even more horrifing not to forget the Irish sold as slaves to the King of Prussia for his salt mines. They became the Irish Legion when Napoleon liberated them, ancestor of todays Foreign Legion. Concerning the French Revolution, you noted the Royals got what they deserved, but they were few, but the vast majority of the victims were simply their birth or the neighbour not liking you, when one is capable of putting a 12 month old baby on the guillotine anything is possible, and the list unhappily goes on.

Gazzola08 Nov 2021 7:32 a.m. PST


Of course we have not lived through the French Revolution or English Civil War and we rely on whatever is written and not destroyed to inform us what happened and why. But there was clearly a lot of suffering before these events that caused the atrocities and sadly, as you suggest, innocents suffered equally.

Blutarski09 Nov 2021 5:28 a.m. PST

Kudos to Gazzola and jacdaw for their wise and introspective observations.


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