Wading the Boyne.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by CutLunchCommando, Sep 30, 2009.

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  1. I have an idle moment so I'm going to float a query that occurred to me some time ago. Having watched the Snows take on the Battle of the Boyne on the BBC I was puzzled why Wee Dutch Billys Plan for crossing the river appeared to be simply for the troops to stick their powder on their heads and wade across. From the descriptions I have seen the delay in getting troops (particularly cavalry) across the Boyne at the battle site were almost Williams downfall.

    Bluntly why no Sapper input? Was there just no time to organise anything else?
  2. I think you have the wriong side. Its King Billy who wades across not James.

    My understandign is that the problem was the tide. They misjudged the tide and had to wait until it ebbed.
  3. D'Oh! Corrected.

    So, purely and simply, no fecking about with boats and bridges because they thought they didnt need to?
  4. I'm going to polish my reputation for being intersted in boring things now.....

    So if William hadn't misread his tide table did he have any options other than what he did (bar simply using Roughgrange as his primary crossing point)?
  5. That great picture of King William on his white (or was it black?) horse riding into the river with his sword upraised in his (left?) hand would probably not exist if the engineers had provided a bridge!

    Did he actually have Engineers/Pioneers who could provide a better crossing method in time or was it a matter of getting across quickly before the Jacobite forces deployed more effectively?
    William had expected to meet greater resistance earlier and on a more conventional (for the time) battlefield.
    King James's deployment on the Boyne was his - James' - last throw as a battlefield commander and probably not the best position he could have chosen although he had few options by this time.
    His subordinate commanders, left behind when he fled, put up a better show in later battles of this campaign. It was those he let down, rather than his enemies, who coined the title "Seamus A'Caca", (James the Shithead to those who do not have Gaelic).
    Not for the first - or last - time were the aspirations of the French (for that was a big part of the campaign - and the reason why the Pope in Rome was so supportive of the Williamite cause), to be thwarted by a hotch-potch of allied soldiers of countries with good cause to dislike potential French dominance. The Irish - of both sides - were simply pawns in a great European chess-game.
    The religion part of it it was probably the fear of the Pope in Rome of finding he had a French rival for his position, supported by a strong French nation.