Napoleon Series Archive 2005

Re: British miners?

Paul

I do not have to hand other sources to provide you with a definitive answer, but I am fairly sure that Wellington's army did develop some specific siegecraft skills in the various attempts to besiege the frontier fortresses - albeit of a makeshift nature. However, I think that Philip Haythornwaite provides you with the answer to your query. Sorry for the mixture fo paraphrase and quote ...speaking of the first (unsuccessful) siege of badajoz in 1811, Haythornwaite states ...

When the French had successfully besieged Badajoz earlier in the year they had employed in addition to infantry labourers, some 5 officers and 649 specialists ( sappeurs and mineurs) yet when the British army attempted the same task the engineer service comprised 21 officers of Royal engineers, 25 artificers from the staff corps, 11 volunteers from the line serving as assistant engineers and some 265 infantry men who possessed some few manual skills.

A further key issue is that in adition to the lack of trained engineers, and artificers, the British army also used captured French tools (in preference to their own) - the British army was inadequately supplied in relation to all resources for modern siegework including ordnance at this time.

Haythornwaite continues, after the carnage of the second successful siege of Badajoz Wellington’s demand for trained artificers were heeded and in April 1812 the Royal Military artificers (sappers and miners) were formed; Royal Sappers and Miners from 1813

Philip Haythornwaite, the armies of Wellington, 1996., ISBN 186019 849X
P 116

Best wishes

Anthony

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British miners?
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