British Expeditionary Warfare and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1793-1815

September 2016
4 black and white, 14 line illustrations
294 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS027150, HIS037050, HIS015000

British Expeditionary Warfare and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1793-1815

Robert K. Sutcliffe

How did Britain manage the transportation of large numbers of troops to French controlled territory during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and successfully land them?
Shortlisted for the Society for Nautical Research Anderson Medal 2016

Britain's naval victories in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars succeeded in protecting Britain from French invasion, but they could not of themselves defeat France. This required the support of allied armies and necessitated the shipping of large numbers of troops to, and successfully landing them on, French controlled territory - a major logistical operation. Wellington's expedition to Portugal and Spain led to Napoleon's defeat in the Peninsular War, but there were many other British expeditions before this which were not successful, in part because they were too logistically ambitious and/or they lacked allied support. This book examines the nature of combined operations and considers the planning and preparation of expeditions. It highlights the navy's important role in amphibious warfare and describes in detail the logistical operations which supported British expeditionary warfare in the period. It outlines the role of the Transport Board, explores how it periodically chartered a large proportion of the British merchant fleet and what the effects of this were on merchant shipping. The book concludes that the Transport Board grew in competence; that the failure of expeditions was invariably due to circumstances well beyond its control; and that its pivotal role in the preparation of all the major military expeditions in which hundreds of thousands of British troops served overseas was very significant and very effective. Robert K. Sutcliffe completed his doctorate at the University of Greenwich.

Table of Contents

British Expeditionary Warfare, 1793-1815
Bringing Forward Merchant Shipping for Government Service, 1793-1815
Competing Demands for Merchant Shipping, 1793-1815
Economy versus Efficiency
Conjunct Operations and Amphibious Assaults: Naval and Military Co-operation
Troopships: King's Ships or Merchant Transports?
Castlereagh's European Expeditions, 1805-1808
1809: A Year of Military Disappointments
The Turning of the Tide


[S]crupulously detailed throughout; one cannot imagine another scholar ever needing to revisit this question of how transport ships were hired in this period, for example. This will be a useful reference for much future scholarship on the British side of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. JOURNAL OF MODERN HISTORY


Contains much which would be of interest to the general reader as well as the dedicated naval and maritime historian. MARINER'S MIRROR

Resplendent in detail, this work provides a seemingly definitive statement on the Transport Board's troop movement and support activity during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Robert Sutcliffe's book will appeal to naval and maritime historians interested in this period, but also those focused on the logistics behind seaborne military expeditions, and anyone exploring the organization and growth of British government bureaucracy during this era. NORTHERN MARINER/LE MARIN DU NORD

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