Saturday, 19 December 2009

William of Orange's expeditionary force - last chapter

In the previous articles on the infantry and cavalry components of the invasion army of the Prince of Orange the most important part of this army is covered. Of a total size of the invasion army of 21,000 men, these Dutch regiments (including the English and Scots) amounted to a little over 15,000. This leaves approximately 6,000 men unaccounted for in one of the regiments detailed previously.

These men can be clarified as follows:
- The invasion force contained a train of artillery (twenty-one 24 pounders), a detachment of engineers with pontoon bridges, and a mobile forge. Furthermore, there would have been men assigned to commissariat tasks.
- Approximately one-fifth of the invasion force consisted of Huguenot refugees. Part of them were on the strength of regiments mentioned earlier, but the remainders served as supernumeraries or volunteers.
- In most literature the presence of foreign detachments is mentioned: contingents from Sweden, Brandenburg, Switzerland. Some literature makes mention of "Finnish soldiers clad in bearskins", which according to the author is an urban legend: one of the Danish regiments that entered English service in 1689 was recruited from the island of Funen, called the Fynske Regiment. This may easily be confused for being a Finnish unit. (This apart from the fact that Finland did not exist as an independent state in the 17th century ...)
- According to John Childs in his monograph on the British Army under James II there were also several embryonic English regiments part of the invasion force. These were regiments commanded by: Sir John Guise, Sir Rowland Gwynn, Sir Richard Buckley, Sir Robert Peyton, Lord Richard Coote (possibly the later 1st Earl of Bellamont), Lord Charles Mordaunt (3rd Earl of Peterborough), and (1st) Earl of Macclesfield. Only the regiments of Guise, Peyton (future Lancashire Fusiliers), and Mordaunt seem to have survived after the invasion, and information on the remainder is not found at present.

The total size of the expeditionary force was some 40,000 men. Of these 21,000 are found in the invasion army itself, as detailed previously. Some 9,100 men were serving on the war ships, and the remaining 10,000 were manning the approximately 500 transport ships.

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