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Old January 11th, 2017, 11:18 AM   #1

seneschal's Avatar
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Setting of the Sun on the British Empire: History of the Canadian Monarchy

The following update is a final follow up to my Napoleonic occupation scenario titled "Britannia Ruled the Waves?" As for a reader's suggestion I have decided to change the title of that one to "Rue Britannia."

I have decided to continue this final update because the last one has gotten too long and this update is the invasion of England itself following the RN's defeat. It also marks the origins of the Canadian Monarchy in this timeline. I plan to make a sequel timelin regarding the Canadian Monarchy's relation to the United States

I do not say they [the French] cannot come – I only say they cannot come by sea ... Admiral John Jervis

The Imperial flotilla was sighted off the cliffs of Dover and the landings took place in Kent just as expected. The initial French landings coincided with British low morale, brought on by the naval disaster at Brest, and George III’s forced abdication by parliament. The Prince Regent, now George IV now assumed personal command of all British land forces inspite of his inexperience.

At the time of the invasion, The British Regular army was REALLY limited (132,000 and among them only 50,000 in the UK and 18,000 in Ireland). In 1811 the UK government recalled most of the troops from Ireland to bolster the British regular army at home, leaving Ireland virtually defenseless.

The reserve army was expected to enlist 50,000 volunteers but it was a huge failure and less than 35,000 enlisted. The government stopped the experiment later 1803. Their training was poor and they didn't have artillery.

The militia (activated way back in December 1802) was limited to 45,000 men with no effective training. It had increased to 50,000 by 1810.

Yeoman volunteers planned to be a guerilla force, numbered no less than 350,000 late in 1810 but about 150.000 of them did not have firearms so the government planned to arm them with pikes.

The Martello towers of Kent were designed to delay any French advance further inland, and they made the Kent beaches the most heavily defended sector of the French landings. The French in fact struggled to establish a beachhead here.

Although the heavy bombardment by the navy helped to destroy some of these coastal defenses, the first wave of French troops to land north of Dover on May 1, encounted murderous fire from the defenses of the area.

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The French landings May 2-3

General David Dundas the commander of the Kent sector, and veteran of the Seven Years War, commanded around 90,000 British troops with an additional 20,000 in Dover. Dundas put up such a tenacious defense that it seemed the French attack would be repelled.

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

However, a sudden concentrated push drove away the British from their defensive positions and within three hours the French had overrun the area and were disembarking their batteries on the beach.

By evening Dundas attempted to rally what he could of the British militia which had been hastily raised, but the milita was disorganized and ineffective as line units, and it was clear that Dundas’s counterattack was a failure. The British militia was defeated piecemeal by the French which had freshly landed.

The next day May 2, French attempts to land south of Dover was repelled by James Duff, commander of the 50th West Kent Regiment. Three successive efforts by the French to land on this stretch of coastline were thwarted one after the other.

The bravery of Duff’s regiment however came to naught as the French were able to secure a beachhead enabling more French troops to land. It became clear that by the end of the day, the French would no longer be stopped at the beach, as Marshal Davout at the head of 65,000 men had advanced 10 miles further inland .

By May 3rd the Emperor himself arrived on the island, aboard a steam ship designed by Robert Fulton, which the American engineer had named Bonaparte in the emperor’s honor.

Click the image to open in full size.

Napoleon arrived on the island on May 3rd,when the French established a beachhead north of Dover. The arrival of the emperor gave French troops on the beaches a massive shot of confidence.

The propaganda victory alone from this event gave the French a massive shot of confidence and Napoleon now personally took over command of the operations from that point on.

The fall of Dover now enabled the French to land the remainder of their troops by May 15th.The next day 80,000 French troops marched towards Canterbury.

Canterbury was defended by militia which quickly proved itself unreliable and ineffective as before. The English militia were not at all short on courage but lacked experience, and organization.

The Battle of Canterbury on May 16 was a one-sided affair, despite the valliant effort of veteran British officers, the Canterbury militia was quickly crushed by veteran French troops resulting in 2,000 British dead.

The British retreated west of Canterbury while the French continued to advance toward London. French soldiers sang La Chanson de l'oignon (Onion Song) on their march towards London, which was a popular military song of the Revolutionary period. A small series of skirmishes and ambushes along the way by British militia did not really threaten to halt the Armée d'Angleterre, wielding the imperial eagle and the battle standards of Imperial France, but it was a foretaste of the brutal insurgency that would develop over the course of twenty years.

Militia along with regular British troops were hurriedly racing towards London in a last ditch attempt to save the capital.

By the 17th of May, there was an estimated 200,000 French troops being steadily reinforced by boatloads of reserves pouring in from France via Dover.

The retreating British forces deliberately flooded the Romney marshes which somewhat slowed the French advance. But the 200,000 strong French army continued to march towards London, ravaging the land and nearby farms for food and fodder.

They were met by a hostile population that ambushed foraging parties of French soldiers at every turn. The French reacted by shooting or hanging suspected “franc-tireurs.” In one village, every male population, aged 14 and up were shot. This single event would foreshadow the brutal insurgency that the French would fight years after Britain itself had surrendered.

The many instances of murder of civilians and rape further reinforced English hatred of the French which would imbed itself in the English collective consciousness for years to come.

Meanwhile in London approximately about 188 ,000 British soldiers (regulars and militia) awaited the French. The British were under the personal command of the Prince Regent George Frederick, who marched his troops towards Rochester as British troops continued to pour into London.

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

Simultaneously, a large French force was itself marching towards the town. So far a large scale pitched battle has not yet occured and without defeating the British in a decisive battle, London could not be taken. Finally on May 23, 1813, the Prince Regent, on advice of Arthur Wellesly decided for an all or nothing bid to make a stand at Rochester.

the battle occured over a period of three days. British forces were deployed in between the French and the town of Rochester, while the British left flank was at the River Medway which was defended by a large number of militia.

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

Arthur Wellesley commanded the right wing of the British forces at Rochester.

The Prince Regent focused the British defenses at the right flank which was commanded by General Arthur Wellesley who had a distinguished military career in India against Tipu Sultan. Wellesley was a good logistician with a keen sense of using topographic conditions to his advantage. The British right flank was centered on gentle rolling hills covered with grasslands that would help minimize the effectiveness of French artillery, and providing ample cover for his infantry which he deployed in a line formation over high ground. French columns would have to march uphill towards the waiting British lines.

Unfortunately for the British however, Murat concentrated his attack on the left flank causing the militia defending the Medway to turn and run.

In response Wellesley launched an attack on the French right, but a concentrated French attack on the British center by artillery and cavalry broke through causing the Brtitish line to be divided. 5,000 British troops were trapped by Murat’s cavalry and taken prisoner. The First day of battle saw a French victory.

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

The next day, the battered British survivors of the left and center wings withdrew. They were joined by Arthur Wellesley’s forces which were still at relatively full strength.

At dawn on the 19th, Davout’s III Corp immediately attacked the British southern flank which Wellesley had deployed along Rochester Castle to fight a rear-guard action, while the rest of his army attempted to cross to the westbank of the river.

Unrelenting French bombardment of the historic Rochester Castle finally took its toll on the British who had taken up position within the ruins of the castle surrendered. The fall of Rochester Castle served as a symbolic propaganda victory for Napoleon. The Castle has traditionally guarded England’s southeast coast from invasion. It was a significant blow to the English.

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

Marshal Ney however took heavy casualties when his attempts to charge at Wellington’s retreat, was met with square formations. Ney withdrew back to the eastbank, having taken a beating.

Marshal Soult’s II Corps, which had hitherto been held in reserve along the Medway serve as the anvil for the next day’s attack, which began shortly after dawn. On the third day, the British became hopelessly surrounded, except for Wellesley who continued to retreat with what was left of his army after heroically holding out.

The remainder of the British army which now stood at less than 54,000 was caught in a pincer between Marshalls Davout and Soult and was utterly annihilated . Napoleon’s victory has come at a terrible cost as 17,000 French and about 25,000 British lay dead or dying on the battlefield of Rochester. An additional 21,000 British prisoners were taken. The Prince Regent’s army, now beaten and utterly demoralized retreated north toward the Thames, with the Prince reportedly in tears. He boarded a waiting ship which would take him to London to organize the city’s final defense.

Three days later on the 22nd , Marshal Lannes’ victory, this time on Senlac Hill, in Hastings, against a large force of English yeomans who took up positions on what was believed to be where another English king Harold of Wessex made his last stand against the Normans, became a political and symbolic victory for Napoleon. The historic propaganda victory for Napoleon alone was a crushing blow to the English.

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

In all actuality the battle took place just a little over three miles from Hastings, but French news papers were quick to sieze the propaganda opportunity. French news papers drew propaganda cartoons of Marshal Jean Lannes as “William the Conqueror.” In any event, the English were well aware of the symbolic nature of this defeat and English morale continued to plummet.

Small-scale skirmishes continued well into June, until the British launched one last offensive on July 4 with the objective of delaying the French advance towards London. The offensive had no real chance of success and the British offensive soon fizzled. Wellesley finally fled.

The French seized most shipyards, burning all British ships still under construction in their drydocks.

Two weeks later the French entered London. An additional 210,000 reserves from France also landed the same day.

Almost immediately the French vanguard came under fire and a bloody battle ensued at the outskirts of the city. The Prince Regentwas detirmined to defend the city at all costs, but realized the British position was untenable. Thousands of British were dying for a hopeless cause against an army with a seemingly limitless reserves. Prime Minister Jenkinson, adviced the regent to end his people’s suffering.

George Frederick Augustus escaped, with a few of his officers, leaving an aide to surrender what was left of his army to Napoleon a week later.
For only a second time since the French captured Berlin, the revolutionary song Le Marsellaise (once banned by Napoleon because it promoted class hatred) was played by a band as the French marched thrrough London. It was a cold reception with few Londoners in the streets to watch Napoleon’s victory parade.
Londonders who stayed to watch visibly wept. Napoleon, being the brilliant master propagandist, ordered that the French flag be raised over the Tower of London, The Tower of London was originally built by William the Conqueror as a means to tighten his grip on London.

The first “French” soldiers to land on Irish soil were the Irish Legion, which took place at Cork on June 6th. The remaining few British forces fought a tencious defense of Ireland, but as more French troops began landing in Ireland, Ireland would also fall by the end of the year.

Flanked by his marshals and accompanied by members of his Old Guard, Napoleon entered St. James’ Palace, the chief royal residence. St. James was largely abandoned, except by the British prime minister Jenkinson and a small parliamentary delegation who remained behind to officially surrender the city.

The regent himself had fled north to Scotland, where he boarded a ship in Aberdeen which took him to Quebec City. From that point on, Quebec City will become the new capital of the British monarchy in exile where the Hannoverian line will eventually continue and which would gradually become known as the Canadian monarchy.

The Royal Family’s retreat was done in such haste that mad King George III was left behind. George III would spend the rest of his days locked away in seclussion at Windsor Castle, a figurehead monarch used as a puppet by the French.

Last edited by seneschal; January 11th, 2017 at 11:45 AM.
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Old January 14th, 2017, 04:09 AM   #2
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Very interesting post. Yes if Napoleon would have landed... I can see his victory.
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Old January 14th, 2017, 01:25 PM   #3
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what about the american invasion of Canada? would not this a problem with your theory?
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Old January 14th, 2017, 01:47 PM   #4

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There would have been a rising in Ireland in support of the French, if any French troops had landed.
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Old January 14th, 2017, 04:43 PM   #5

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Originally Posted by kazeuma View Post
what about the american invasion of Canada? would not this a problem with your theory?
You mean the War of 1812? In this timeline it pretty much ends the same way. I have not included the US portion of this timeline because its rather long. But to summarize it, the US does enter the Napoleonic Wars after it renews its alliance with France in 1812. The impressment of American sailors into the RN increases in this timeline a year before the invasion of England In the War of 1812. Americans invade Canada but still beaten back. The British however don't have enough troops to spare being busy defending the homeland. By 1813 England has been invaded and defeated, which means no British invasion force to invade the US and burn the White House just as in our timeline. Over the years as the US expands westward, they are going to sieze large portions of what we would call BC, Alberta, Manitoba. However the British will be strongrly entrenched in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. So in this timeline the US eventually comes out territorially larger than in otl.

Originally Posted by martin76 View Post
Very interesting post. Yes if Napoleon would have landed... I can see his victory.
Thanks Martin, although I suspect, northern England would be harder to pacify. In this timeline, it will take years to pacify all of England, but for the first five years of the occupation, the French will be entrenched in southern England, with the insurgency strongest in northern England. that is until the London Uprising of 1834:

Britannia Ruled the Waves? A Napoleonic occupation of England 20 years on:

Originally Posted by Macconermaoile View Post
There would have been a rising in Ireland in support of the French, if any French troops had landed.
Irish troops have also taken up occupation duties in England... and the piper aims to collect.

Last edited by seneschal; January 14th, 2017 at 04:55 PM.
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