On Tuesday 15th November Historian Mr Charles Mathiesen travelled down to Bexhill from South London to provide the Study Group with a talk which he titled ‘The Seven Years War - The Battle of Minden’.
Mr Mathiesen commenced his talk by explaining the cause of the war which was to last for seven years. He explained that it followed the ‘Austrian War of Succession’ which was caused by those for and those against Maria Theresa’s right to succeed to the Austrian throne.
The Seven Years War which followed was strange in that the sides and their allies involved in the previous conflict tended to interchange so that enemies became allies and allies became enemies.
Charles gave a general overview of this war up to the time when the Battle of Minden was fought and then proceeded to talk on the battle itself.
He said the date was 1st August 1759 when British and allied troops under the command of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick faced the French army and its allies commanded by the Marquis de Contades, a force who were stronger in numbers. The two leaders organized their troops in their desired formations and Ferdinand gave the order for the British and Hanoverian Cavalry under the command of Sir George Sackville to attack a French line. Sackville disobeyed the order repeatedly and so another order was then sent to all troops ‘Advance on the beat of a drum’.
Two British Brigades of Infantry mistook this command and interpreted it to be ‘Advance to the beat of a drum’ and so they advanced, and attacked the French lines, other units then followed but not Sackville’s Cavalry. Prince Ferdinand’s men overpowered the French who then retreated and so a glorious victory was achieved on the misinterpretation of an order.
The audience gave Mr Mathiesen a well deserved round of applause at the end of his very interesting talk
On the 15th December the Study Group members will again visit the Northern Hotel for the annual Christmas Lunch and on Tuesday 19th January 2016 at 7-15pm in the Manor Barn Old Town. The Study Group will hold their Annual General Meeting followed by a talk to be given by President Peter Boyden which he has titled ’The place of the American Civil War in British and American views of Military History’
Visitors welcome at an admission price of £3
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