Botched invasions

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

China"s 1979 invasion of Vietnam, although China did get a small.piece of Vietnam.

Japan"s invasion of Korea in the Imjin war.
 
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Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,030
Navan, Ireland
In 1798 French troops invaded Ireland hoping under Humbert landed in Killala bay, Co Mayo in support of the United Irishmen hoping to cause rebellion but that wasn’t the first attempt by revolutionary France to invade Britain.


No on the 22 February 1797 an Irish-American Colonel William Tate landed with 1400 troops near Fishguard to raise Wales in rebellion part of a plan to encourage the United Irishmen to begin rebellion.

However all did not go to plan, the ships were put off entering Fishguard itself when the fort defending the port opened up with a heavy cannonade --- after the garrison had fired all three of their cannon balls they had to resort to blanks but the French didn’t notice.

The alarm of the approach of the French was given by two local children who ran to the church and rang the bells as a warning ,well that’s the traditional story, actually a local sea Captain Thomas Williams noted that ,despite flying British colours, they were French and raised the alarm --- perhaps by telling the children to ring the bells? let’s not get rid of all the good bits.

The French landed at a nearby bay, 600 of Tate’s troops were good quality Grenadiers plus a few dismounted dragoons but the rest were from the ‘Black Legion’ --- that sounds impressive but in actual fact they were mainly convicts, deserters and Royalist prisoners, reputably some arrived in chains and were only armed after landing.

After they had landed the French started to secure their position and gather supplies as well as wait for their numbers to be swelled by the rebellious Welsh.

That didn’t work either a few weeks before a Portuguese merchantman had been wrecked nearby but the locals managed to rescue most of its cargo , port wine, most houses in the area were well stocked with fine and strong wine, which was eagerly 'liberated' by the French.

Worse the locals didn’t seem at all keen to be liberated by the French in fact the exact opposite and there several clashes and some deaths on both sides especially when locals objected to the ‘liberation’ of their property.

The main local Militia regiment was away but other volunteer units, such as the Pembrokeshire yeomanry, volunteer infantry from Fishguard, Newport and Pembroke as well as some sailors with a few small cannon from the base in Milford Haven all mustered under a local landowner Lord Cawdor.

As the amateur redcoats mustered the French Grenadiers slowly inched in land, by the 23rd they had gone 2 miles.The Grenadiers waited in ambush but by fluke the Cawdor decided to stop is advance and to wait developments.

The Black legion continued to appreciate Portugal’s finest, one French soldier shot a redcoat who attacked him in a farm house that night, when I say redcoat it was actually a grandfather clock which can still be seen in town museum, - frightened in the dark? pissed? Both!



As the ‘Dads army’ amateur redcoats stirred and approached the French and this time the rebellious Welsh stirred, took up farm implements, clubs and shotguns and marched on Fishguard. They could clearly be seen massing on the Hillsides, in ones and twos at first but eventually in large numbers.

The plan seemed to be working Tate’s heart must have stirred at the thought of if not raising Ireland in rebellion at least Wales and support and encouragement for his United Irishman 'brothers'.

Unfortunately for Tate the Welsh marched straight past him and to the side of the redcoats.

By the 24th the ‘Black Legion’ were still pissed, scattered or captured by locals.

Tate reputably saw more redcoats arriving and had enough and surrendered in the Royal Oak Pub (worth a visit).

The last invasion of the British mainland was over; the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry were granted the battle honour ‘Fishguard’ the only one granted for a battle in Britain.

In local legend the reinforcements Tate saw were the local women in their traditional red shawls and tall black hats coming to watch/join the fight and mistook them for redcoats or perhaps members of the Black Legion did after liberating some more of Portugal’s best.

The Hero of the hour was not however Lord Cawdor but Jemima Nicholas otherwise known as Jemima Fawr --- translates as Jemima the Great or Big Jemima, which one I should imagine depend how close you are to her ample fists at the time---- who took up her pitchfork and marched out to battle the invading French, this formidable woman captured 12 in one incident alone. She was feted by the press, given a pension and died age 77 still a local celeb.
 
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Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,966
MD, USA
I realized I worded it a bit funny. I believe many Roman invasions of Britain failed, not all Roman invasions (as Britain was eventually a Roman territory for a long time).
Which ones "failed"? Remember that many Roman "invasions" were simply campaigns to tromp around and collect a nice victory, with no intention of staying permanently. They were not conquests, so returning to their territory at the conclusion was in no way a "defeat". It's like a fist fight outside a bar--the guy who goes inside afterwards to be toasted and cheered by his buddies is the winner, the guy left outside bleeding on the pavement is the loser!

Matthew
 
Sep 2017
757
United States
Which ones "failed"? Remember that many Roman "invasions" were simply campaigns to tromp around and collect a nice victory, with no intention of staying permanently. They were not conquests, so returning to their territory at the conclusion was in no way a "defeat". It's like a fist fight outside a bar--the guy who goes inside afterwards to be toasted and cheered by his buddies is the winner, the guy left outside bleeding on the pavement is the loser!

Matthew
For some reason I'd always thought that Caesar's first invasion of Britain was a failure- though it did not conquer any territory, reading about it, it doesn't seem really like a failure necessarily.

There was also the failed invasion of Caledonia by Severus.

I guess there was a lot fewer than I originally thought. I thought the conquest of Britain was slow and full of mishaps, but it looks like there wasn't nearly as many botched attempts as I thought.
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,966
MD, USA
For some reason I'd always thought that Caesar's first invasion of Britain was a failure- though it did not conquer any territory, reading about it, it doesn't seem really like a failure necessarily.

There was also the failed invasion of Caledonia by Severus.

I guess there was a lot fewer than I originally thought. I thought the conquest of Britain was slow and full of mishaps, but it looks like there wasn't nearly as many botched attempts as I thought.
Right, Caesar's trip to Britain was a smashing success, just like his jaunt across his bridge into Germany. I don't know anything about Severus, though. There certainly *were* setbacks and defeats in Britain, just as most anywhere, that's just how things go, eh? But actual failed invasions, not all that many for the Romans.

Matthew
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,339
Did Caesar even make it to Britain? Don't some people think it is just a story he made up?
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,966
MD, USA
Did Caesar even make it to Britain? Don't some people think it is just a story he made up?
Good grief, what??? Why not just write off ALL historical accounts as fiction? Caesar is one of our best and most accurate sources! Nothing in them is outlandish or implausible. It *is* likely that the section with the geographical description of Britain is a later addition by someone else, but otherwise, how many of us were there to contradict his word? Weird...

Matthew
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,759
Australia
Caesar faced an extremely hostile senate. His opponents were looking for the smallest reason to bring him down. If any of his claims were fabricated, his opponents would have screamed it far and wide. It would have been risky for him to even exaggerate his successes.