Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Battle of Dettingen (part I)

Battle of Dettingen (part I)

George II inspects the Pragmatic Army.

By the summer of 1742, 18 months after Frederick launched his invasion of Silesia, the British  landed an army at Ostend.  Lord Stair, the C in C, wanted to march on Paris  but at this stage of the war neither France or Britain were officially at war.  Their involvement, in the international legal terminology of the day, is as "auxiliaries" to the main belligerents, Prussia and Bavaria on one side and Austria on the other.

The Dutch, who were also auxiliaries, were helping to fund the Pragmatic Army but were not contributing troops.  They wanted the army to stay in the Austrian Netherlands and protect their borders from possible French aggression.  The Austrians were urging that the army moves against Bavaria and relieve the enormous pressure they were under defending Bohemia.

However, the overall leader of the army, George II, was most concerned about his electorate Hanover.  His nephew, Frederick of Prussia, bordered the electorate and both of them hated each other.  Therefore, George was secretly negotiating with France and Prussia to guarantee Hanover's neutrality and was keeping the Pragmatic Army ready to aid his beloved electorate but in public, he was calling for more help for Maria Theresa.

Whilst George dithered with his diplomacy, the army was left to moulder for 6 months.

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