Visiting the battlefields in 2020 & now in 2021.

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by Owen, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    I crossed the Arnhem Bridge this morning on my bicycle :pipe:

    .. strong headwind!

    September has been a very quiet month this year ... almost dull
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    Hmm up to a point. We are in butterfly wings territory here.

    Towton was the battle that started Edward IV on the path to Shakespere's lines. "Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of York;"

    This son of York - aged 19 in 1461 won a lot more battles than Towton. Edward IV was one of Britain's greatest military commanders and finest fighting monarch. His victories: Mortimer's Cross, Towton, Barnet and Tewksbury. The reconquest of England against his cousin Warwick is a great adventure tale and was a fantastic military feat.

    Balance of forces Feb 1471
    Yorkists Edward 2,000 men
    Lancastrians Warwick and Queen Margaret, 20,000 and command of the sea

    Mission rescue wife and child from Westminster Abbey, capture king Henry VI from HM Tower, defeat forces of Cousin Warwick and Queen Margaret. He landed near Hull around 15th March gathers troops and fights Barnet on 14th April and Tewksbury on 4th May. Hard marching and fighting.

    Come on one of my Barnet Walks and I'll tell you more.
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I've got involved in a little project looking into the three-week-long Civil War siege of King's Lynn. Some of us had a wander around the defended perimeter a couple of weekends ago trying to relate what's there to some later maps that promise all sorts of earthworky goodness. They're not really delivering, though.
    von Poop likes this.
  4. slick

    slick Junior Member

    Bit of an update on visiting France.... France reopens for foreign tourists, but with conditions
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The vaccine requirement appears to be no problem but the add on test requirement costs may deter some from travelling.

    Hoping to travel to France and Belgium later in the autumn but it's question of the pre requisites that are in place at the time of travel.
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    I really would not risk the loss of money anytime soon booking abroad or the complete hassle doing it.

    how many times have we seen over the past few months people moaning on about their choice of country going from Green to Puce in a few hours.

    Stay at home and visit our glorious battle sites

    this one you can visit any day Battle of Britain skies

    Photo taken over RAF Northolt ,Irish Coast Guard helicopter dropping off medical case to London hospital from Southern Ireland

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
    gash hand, Grasmere, slick and 4 others like this.
  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    Get in touch with the Battlefields Trust. They are big on this sort of thing
  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    Regarding the English Civil War siege of King's Lynn, the person you need to know if not contact is David Flintham. His website is: Home Don't be put off by the site's name, there is a section on the ECW and in particular this: King's Lynn Under Siege Plus this: MHL Kings Lynn Under Siege
  9. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The 'little project' is David's one. All things being equal we're getting together towards the end of the month to look at a couple of areas to the north of the town. The trace of the post-siege defences has been preserved in part so that's the current focus.
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Keep us posted.
    Still think it's one of the more interesting bits of military history, and, tbh, pretty sadly neglected in terms of truly serious coverage.
    King or Parliament?
  11. slick

    slick Junior Member

    Yes the expense and hassle for a test puts me off as well.
    I`ve had the two jabs and thought I`d try and get the C19 "passport" from the NHS site, as the little appointment card which was filled in by the nurse when I was jabbed doesn`t count.
    Normal thing of registering with an email and password, it then wanted some photographic evidence (passport/driving licence etc.) so I uploaded a scanned picture of that.
    Then it said it needed access to my PC camera to carry out facial recognition to prove who I was, trouble is I don`t have a camera on my PC, and there is no way of telling them that, so I had to abandon the whole process.
    Its seems to assume everyone uses a phone to access the internet these days.
    Only other way is to phone a number and get a letter sent through to myself. :glare:
  12. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Are you sure that you are doing it right? The NHS App - not to be confused with the NHS Covid 19 App, only asked for your NHS Number.

    Put that in and your two vaccinations will be shown.


  13. slick

    slick Junior Member

    I had to register a NHS login first which asked for my NHS number to allow access to the NHS App.... NHS login
    I just tried it again and the same thing came up, here`s a screenshot....

  14. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Visiting the battlefields in 2021 again will be difficult. For the second year on row I will not travel abroad this holiday season.

    But do not be sad: I booked a nice cottage not far from this late 16th century fort (Vesting Bourtange) and probably will study some of the 'older' nearby battlefields. The fort was besieged by the Spaniards (80 Years War or the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs) and later in the 17th Century by the Germans (the malicious Bishop of Münster) but the fort stood its ground and never fell.


    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    You are a lucky man to stay near this gem. I listened - in part - to a talk a week ago on the Dutch Waterline forts, though the Bishop of Munster didn't feature. My last, distant inspection of Dutch fortifications was beset by rain on every day but the first and the last. We crossed the Arnhem Bridge and barely noticed where we were; too many on the coach prefer features like your photo.
    JimHerriot and stolpi like this.
  16. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The bishop of Münster, Christoph Bernard von Galen, invaded the NE part of our country in 1672 (in Dutch History: the Late Golden Age era) and laid siege to the town of Groningen. He claimed that Groningen still belonged to him and, in July 1672, marched toward the city with an army of 24,000 men.

    The Bishop first tried to take the Bourtange fortress, which lay along an important access road to Groningen, by offering the commander a large bribe of no less than 200.000 guilders. The commander in Bourtange, Bernhard Johann Prott, declined and instead informed von Galen that there were 200,000 bullets waiting for him if he attempted to take the fortress. The bishop of Münster laid siege but after some desultory shelling gave up a few days later and marched on toward the town of Groningen by a detour.

    On July 6th, 1672, The Bishop laid siege to Groningen. Von Galen carried a large artillery train (among which some large mortars) and bombarded the town of Groningen incessantly, which gave him the nickname "Bommen Berent" ("Bomber Bernhard").

    Groningen 1672 belegering.jpg

    Today there are still some cannonballs visible inside the town:

    Groningen 1672.jpg

    The town of Groningen, under command of Carl von Rabenhaupt, yet another German, withstood all attacks for many weeks and conducted several successful sorties, sharply decreasing the strength of the Bishop's army. Diseases did the rest - the weather turned foul during the operation and the number of besiegers was reduced by illness. The siege was finally lifted on 27 August 1672, as reinforcements promised by the Bishop of Cologne did not turn up. The Bishop returned to Munster with barely half of his army left. Since then Groningen annually celebrates the 28th of August as "Grunnings Ontzet" (the Relief of Groningen). Everyone gets a day off and in the evening there is a large fireworks.

    Groningen 1652.jpg
    Groningen as in 1652 (see also: File:Blaeu 1652 - Groningen (2).jpg - Wikimedia Commons)

    Incidentally, the year 1672 entered Dutch history as the "Disaster Year". In the Spring of 1672, following the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War and its peripheral conflict the Third Anglo-Dutch War, France, supported by England, Münster and Cologne, invaded the Dutch Republic and nearly overran it. The conflict was initiated by the French, under Louis XIV (the 'Sun King'). The French leader was impatient to win further military gloire, revenge against the Dutch for their part in the Triple Alliance, and eager to annex the Spanish Netherlands. The French plan was to besiege a few outlying Dutch strongholds and force the much weaker Dutch into diplomatic concessions concerning the annexation of the Spanish Netherlands. Louis XIV hoped that Spain could be prodded into intervening in the Dutch War, thereby allowing France to immediately conquer and annex the Spanish Netherlands, instead of waiting for the death of Carlos II of Spain. After several years of preparation Louis XIV, in May 1672, led a giant French army of nearly 100.000 through the befriended Bishopric of Liége. The Prince-bishopric of Münster furnished another 24.000 men. One of the largest armies seen in the West since the fall of imperial Rome; the last hour for the Dutch Republic, which had severely neglected its land defenses since the end of the Eighty Years War in 1648, seemed to have arrived. But it did survive! While Münster and Cologne were beaten at Groningen, the western part of the Dutch Republic was saved by the Old Dutch Water Line, deployed for the first time.

    1672 The French/German Invasion:
    1672 map.jpg

    This is as far as the attackers came in overrunning the Dutch Republic (dark grey area occupied by the invading forces; dashed lines advance of the French Army, continuous lines army of the Bishop of Munster; diagonally hatched inundated areas; light grey areas that remained in the hands of the Dutch Republic):
    Rampjaar 1672 NL.jpg

    While a 20.000 strong detachment of Louis XIV's French Army laid siege to the fortified town of Maastricht in southern Holland as a distraction, the bulk of his troops moved north along the Rhine River, through the allied territory of the prince-bishopric of Cologne. The French army switched to the right bank of the Rhine at Wesel, and reached the eastern border of the Dutch Republic in June 1672, along the way easily subduing the Dutch garrisons in the six outpost fortifications in the Rhineland at Orsoy, Rheinberg, Büderich, Wesel, Rees and Emmerich. The French thus had outflanked the southern Dutch defenses and the barriers of the Meuse and Rhine. The fate of the Dutch Republic now depended on the lesser water barriers of the Lower Rhine and IJssel, a river line which was hurriedly manned by 22.000 men. Unfortunately, due to an exceptional dry season, the water level in the rivers was shockingly low. This enabled Louis's forces on June 12th to cross the Lower Rhine without much trouble at a ford near Lobith/Tolhuys, hard west of Emmerich. The crossing was a severe set-back for the Dutch. The French had broken the eastern defense of the Dutch Republic. The Dutch Army had no option but to retire.
    The freshly appointed Dutch Army commander, the 21-year young Prince William III, who was still under control of the "Staten-Generaal", the committee of representatives of the Dutch Provinces, was directed to abandon the river line and fall back westward to the heart of the Dutch Republic. The Dutch Republic seemed on the brink of collapse. Only by flooding large tracts of land, were the Dutch able to hold off the larger French Army. Luckily for the Dutch Louis' army was slow to exploit the success and methodically set about to subdue the Dutch towns it met on its way. This gave the Dutch the much needed time to set the inundations.
    After breaking the IJsselline the French army split in two, Count Turenne besieged Nijmegen (the town held on until 10 July) and Arnhem (which surrendered without a fight on 15 June) and Louis XIV marched north along the IJssel River rolling up the string of fortress towns along the river: Doesburg (21 June) and Zutphen (25 June). Thence moving on toward the heart of the Republic: Amersfoort (19 June), Utrecht (23 June), Naarden (27 June) and Woerden (28 June). Hard west of Utrecht, at Woerden and Naarden the French onslaught was finally stopped by the inundations.

    Tolhuis 1672 situation.jpg
    The course of the river beds have considerably changed since the 17th century. At the time the Lower Rhine branched off from the main stream of the Rhine/Waal river at the Schenkenschanz. This weakly held fort was quickly subdued by the French. Now-a-days we have the Pannerdens Canal connecting the main stream of the Waal (or Rhine) with the Lower Rhine. The canal runs straight across the letter 'U' in BETUWE on the map.

    During the winter a French surprise attack across the frozen inundations near Bodegraven failed due to a timely turn in the weather. A sudden thaw and a period of rain made a French force that had managed to get across the inundations, beat a hasty retreat. In 1673 the situation was restored for the Dutch: at sea by winning naval battles at Schooneveld and Texel/Kijkduin against the combined English-French navies, at land by Dutch counter-attacks against Woerden and Naarden, and some cunningly forged alliances with Spain and the German Emperor and Brandenburg-Prussia (the 'The Hague Treaty' of August 1673). The latter in combination with the naval defeats made the English, who had initially sided with the French, decide to switch sides because of the economic damage caused by the conflict, especially the trading interests with Spain, which had further diminished the popularity of the reign of Charles II. It also made Louis XIV and his German Allies (Münster & Cologne) look anxiously over their shoulder for threats from relief armies from the east. The Franco-Dutch war dragged on until 1678. In August of that year a Peace Treaty was signed between France and the Dutch Republic, followed by separate treaties with each of the other contenders ('The Peace Treaties of Nijmegen': Treaties of Nijmegen - Wikipedia). A large part of the French northern border was definitively established by the Treaty of Nijmegen, but not as far north as Louis XIV had wanted. Though the aspirations of Louis XIV had been thwarted, the Franco-Dutch War nevertheless turned out disastrous for the Republic. The unusually heavy financially burdens of the war and the destruction caused by the 'scorched earth' tactics of the French, signaled the end of the Dutch Golden Age.

    For more details see: Hollandse Oorlog - Wikipedia or:

    Louis XIV’s Dutch War (1672-1678/79)

    Tolhuys 1672.jpg
    The battle of Tolhuys or 'Le passage du Rhin': painting of Louis XIV Directing the Crossing of the Lower Rhine, June 12, 1672. Under the leadership of the able army commander Louis II of Bourbon-Condé, the French invaded the Dutch Republic in May 1672.

    Versailles 1672.jpg
    The French victory was regarded by his courtiers at home as one of Louis XIV's greatest victories, and was grandly depicted as "Le Passage du Rhin". At Versailles, still under construction, Louis XIV was depicted in the War Room (Salon de la Guerre) as a Roman horseman trampling a group of Germans.

    For a then and now comparisson of the Rhine Crossing, 12 June 1672, see: Visiting the battlefields in 2020 & now in 2021.

    The conflict with France did not end with the Peace Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678. It continued until 1714; see below, don't mind the accent ;):

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
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  17. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.


    I've not lost any coin. If I have then its not worth worrying about. The flights just get moved on till Italy finally goes green. Up to the likes of Italy, France, Spain, Germany & the rest of the World to catch up with the vaccines. We all know that this Government keeps moving the goalposts. Bunch of Shysters if you are asking me?

    I think its just has important to support the Italian tourist industry when we get the chance. ;) It's a fab Country.

  18. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Stu the trouble is when you see it up close you can see why we are being so careful.Its not what the people who havent really been affected by this want to hear but slowly slowly.

    BrianHall1963 and stolpi like this.
  19. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    I agree: there still is 'a war going on'!
  20. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Clive, I will agree with you that ( it will be a serious pain in the rear when it comes to the airports!) That is not likely to change for a while. It cant go on for ever. Apologies for stating the obvious. All Governments are treading carefully because they made a mess of it at the start. You may well agree that they was lead by the experts? They still are! I don't like that word. Are we saying that all (Experts know everything in any field & are never wrong?)

    I just drive a wagon & would not class myself has a expert. Clive, you are a wise chap & know that some Countries made a mess .

    Ministers will never say it was my fault. Best I not go on. Sorry is the hardest word to say.

    I kind of get your point re your last sentence. Life must jog on.

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