Originally Posted by Epix
Seems those from the UK. do not tend to mention the major defeat they suffered in 1741 after trying for 67 days to capture the City of Cartagena in present day Colombia. It was called the Battle of Cartagena de Indias. The Spanish were greatly outnumbered by the British. The British naval fleet was one of the largest ever seen. Soldiers included British American colonial force. A relative of General Washington was part of the British American colonial forces.
Should mention that they were so sure they would win that coims were ordered made in advance of the coming British victory. After this great defeat the British skillfuly swept the whole thing under the rug.
The commander of the Spanish forces was the famous basque Blas de Lezo. There is a statue of him in current day Cartagena.
Ah yes, the war of Jenkins ear. Not the most notable of British wars.
I think a great deal of the deaths on either side can be attributed to disease and malnutrition, including the later death of the Spanish leader, whom died of plague later that year.
I think it should be pointed out, that the leader of the British expedition, Lord Cathcart, died en route to the islands, so the expedition had no overall leader in the end, and also, the Naval leader, Vernon, was against an attack on the island because of the prospect of disease, which was ignored anyhow. The leader of the American colonists also died early through disease.
The Spanish were better organised in the end, at the sharper points of the engagements, and less confused.
Another major battle lost by the British was the Battle of San Juan in 1797 on the Spanish held island of Puerto Rico. The British expected it to be easy picking like Trinidad. The invasion involved a large British naval fleet against an outnumbered Spanish military force. Seems the Spanish expected a major attack in the neighboring island of Spanish Hispaniola and so had moved most of there regular Spanish troops from Puerto Rico to that island. |
When it came to attacking PR, the British were overwhelmed in the end by local town militias and ordinary civilians from all over the island which had come to defend the Capital city. Many were just armed with machetes and other farm tools. In the end, the British after two weeks hurriedly retreated. The cannons they left behind were melted down and a statue of Juan Ponce de Leon was made. That statue can still be seen today.
There were also places like Buenos Aires, where the British were defeated in urban combat, bu the Argentine natives, despite having experienced troops fighting over there. The conditions of the battle and the rabitity in defence were not expected by the British.
I think we also need to take into account, that battling for Carribean Islands was not ana easy business, and due to disease, carried extremely major risks to operate in. Lets not also forget the Nelsons failure in the battle of Tenerife, where he had very bold and aggressive plans to capture the island, but was undone by a bit of bad luck and expert fire by the Spanish (who were led by an exceptionally talented general, and were very chivalrous with the British, from what is known). Nelson lost his arm in this battle.
What must be stated though, is that although their was difficulties and defeats in some of these Carribean Islands, there was also alot of success , as Britain mastered amphibious warfare. During the back end of the war of seven years war, when Spain declared war on Britain, their poesessions in the Carribean and some closer to home were deimated by the British combined operations, and swept aside.
And lets not forget Napoleons troops that were defeated by the Haitian people when Napoleion launched the Leclerc expedition in 1801. In two years his troops were defeated. Before that in 1798, the British, Spanish and Haitian had been allied against the French on that island. But when the French gave freedom to the Haitian people they started fighting the British. At that point, the British had the French close to defeat on that island. In the end the British got out since they could not cope with the Haitian quagmire. They were losing many troops to attacks and tropical diseases and it was costing plenty.
Indeed. Yellow fever was the victor of those battles.