|Battle of Callantsoog|
|Part of Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland|
Landing at Callantsoog by Dirk Langendijk
|Commanders and leaders|
|Herman Willem Daendels||Ralph Abercromby|
|Casualties and losses|
| 137 dead|
| 74 dead|
The Battle of Callantsoog (sometimes also called Battle of Groote Keeten) (27 August 1799) followed the amphibious landing by a British invasion force under Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Abercromby near Callantsoog in the course of the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland of 1799. Despite strong opposition by troops of the Batavian Republic under Lieutenant-General Herman Willem Daendels the British troops established a bridgehead and the Dutch were forced to retreat.
The British government had long deliberated about the best place for the landing of the Anglo-Russian expedition on the Dutch coast. Possible locations taken into consideration were the Scheldt estuary (where in 1809 the Walcheren Campaign was aimed at) and the area around Scheveningen (near The Hague) where the planners expected support from partisans of the former stadtholder, William V, Prince of Orange.Eventually, it was decided however, to select the extreme northern part of the North Holland peninsula, because its shore was more easily accessible than other parts of the Dutch coast, that were encumbered with dangerous shoals and sandbanks; because it was only lightly defended, with only a few shore batteries at Den Helder; and because it offered the hope of capturing the northern squadron of the Batavian fleet, a most important strategic objective. Also, the British planners thought that the great city of Amsterdam could easily be approached and captured from this direction.
The project of the expedition was of course known to the Batavian and French governments and military commanders, but they were of necessity uncertain of the exact location of the landing. This compelled them to spread their forces thinly over a large area, from the Scheldt in the South to Groningen. One of the two divisions of the new Batavian army, under Daendels, was indeed positioned in North Holland. He had about 7,000 men in the northern part of the peninsula, around Alkmaar, while a reserve force under General Van Zuylen van Nijevelt was located at the narrowest part of the province of Holland, near Beverwijk. The second Batavian division, under Lieutenant-General Jean-Baptiste Dumonceau (who was a Belgian, later naturalized to Dutch nationality), was guarding the northern provinces, Friesland and Groningen, and therefore separated from the North-Holland peninsula by the Zuiderzee, which abutted its eastern shore. This implied that Dumonceau was several day marches away and could in the event not reach Daendels in time to support him. The same applied to the French forces under the command of General Guillaume Marie Anne Brune, the supreme commander of the Franco-Batavian forces in this theater of war.
As the arrival of the Russian troops that would eventually take part in the expedition was delayed,it was decided to wait no longer, but to embark Abercromby's division of about 12,000 men on 13 August. The division consisted of
The division was accompanied by companies from the 3rd and 4th battalions Royal Artillery (Lt.Col. Whitwhorth) and Royal Engineers (Lt.Col. Hay). Second-in-command and Chief-of-Staff was Lieutenant-General Sir James Pulteney. The invasion fleet of about 200 vessels in total was commanded by Vice-Admiral Mitchell.
Shortly after the departure of this fleet the weather turned stormy and the gale forced the invasion fleet to stand off of the Dutch coast until it finally calmed down, allowing the fleet to approach Den Helder on 22 August. By then, Admiral Duncan had joined the fleet. This Admiral then sent two parlimentaires to the Batavian Squadron of Rear-Admiral Samuel Story, that was anchored in the roadstead of Den Helder, to demand its surrender, and that of the shore batteries at Den Helder. Story indignantly rejected this demand. The next few days the British invasion fleet was again buffeted by inclement weather, but by the evening of the 26th this had sufficiently died down to consider starting the landing the next day.
Meanwhile, the Batavian forces had had time to make their preparations for the coming event. To understand these, it is useful to consider the terrain at the proposed landing site, as it was in 1799. (The situation has considerably changed since then.) Den Helder then was just a hamlet with two shore batteries (no more than sconces), called Unie and Revolutie, nearby. It was located at the extreme northern point of a spit of sand that jutted out from the North-Holland peninsula, north of Callantsoog. The spit consisted of three rows of dunes behind the North Sea beach, with a road (the Zanddijk), bordered by a canal, behind them. Behind the canal was a marsh, called the Koegras (that has since been embanked, but was then open to the sea and inundated at every high tide). The sand spit was bordered in the north by the Marsdiep and to the east by the Wadden Sea. It was no more than half a mile wide. Daendels figured that it would be impossible to sufficiently deploy his division in such a narrow space while fronting the shore. Instead he proposed to have only light forces of skirmishers (Dutch : Jagers) in the dunes along the likely disembarkation front, but to attack a landing from both the north and the south in a double flank attack, as soon as they had landed. He therefore positioned the 5th and 7th Demi-brigades of the Batavian army under Major-General Van Guericke in Den Helder, together with the 2nd Jagers and several squadrons of light cavalry and horse artillery (about 5,000 men in total). He himself took up position near Callantsoog with the remainder of the 1st Batavian Division, under Major-General Van Zuylen van Nijevelt. This command consisted of the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th Demi-brigades, the 1st Jagers and the 1st Grenadiers (total about 5,200 men). Of course, the implication was that he violated the taboo against dividing his forces, but it seemed the best solution in the circumstances.
At 3 AM on the morning of 23 August the British vanguard under Gen. Pulteney embarked in the boats of the British invasion fleet. There were not enough boats to accommodate all troops at once, so the landing had to be performed in stages. These 2500 men of the 3rd Brigade and Reserve landed without mishap; the first to put foot ashore was Lt. Macdonald of the Grenadier company of the 25th. The fleet had meanwhile swept the beach clear with a vigorous cannonade that displaced a lot of sand, but did no damage to the defenders as those were positioned behind the first row of dunes. The British had landed at the location that was locally known as Kleine Keeten (after a cluster of sheds, Dutch : Keten; further to the south existed a similar cluster, known as Groote Keeten). On top of the dune near this location stood a semaphore station (Dutch : Telegraaf), which, as the nearest "strategic object", was immediately attacked by the British.
The Batavian jagers tried to prevent its capture but were driven back on Kleine Keeten, as had been anticipated since they were just a skirmishing line. However, the inexperienced Line battalion that stood in reserve at this location, instead of letting the jagers into their line in an orderly fashion, panicked and were routed; their commander, Lt.Col. Luck, died in action during this melee. Another Batavian battalion, the 2nd of the 5th Demi-brigadecounter-attacked with the bayonet, but the British numerical superiority was too great and this battalion was also driven back, again with the loss of its commander, Lt.Col. Herbig. Gen. Guericke then decided to intervene on his own initiative and marched south from his command on the Batavian right wing with the 2nd battalion of the 7th Demi-brigade (2/VII) and two squadrons of cavalry and horse artillery, on the way rallying the 2/5th. Unfortunately, he deployed in the swamp area of the Koegras, behind the canal bordering the Zanddijk. This effectively cut him off from communications with not only his own command, but also the divisional command on the Batavian right wing. As a consequence, not only was his intervention ineffective (the canal was too much of an obstacle to attack the British around the semaphore), but also the remainder of the 7th Demi-brigade under Col. Gilquin (that was supposed to attack the British left flank) remained motionless during the entire battle for lack of orders to proceed.
All Batavian activity during the main phase of the battle was therefore on the British right flank, by the Batavian left wing. Here Daendels deployed his forces in three lines, as the front was too narrow to deploy more than two battalions in line at a time. He first had Col. Crass attack with the 1st and 3rd battalions of the 5th Demi-brigade, supported by cavalry and two pieces of horse artillery under Capt. d'Anguerand.He was opposed by the British 3rd Brigade (now under command of Gen. Coote, as Gen. Pulteney had received a wound in the arm and been forced to leave the field). The British had only enough room to deploy one battalion in line and there was a threat that they would be outflanked near Groote Keeten, where the main action was fought. However, the Batavians were severely hampered by the terrain. The horses sometimes sank to their bellies into the dune sand and the artillery was constantly immobilized by the loose sand. Besides, the British gunboats were able to get very close to the beach and supported the British infantry vigorously, whenever they got sight of the enemy though gaps in the dunes. This British naval gunfire wrought havoc on the Batavian troops.
While Col. Crass's troops were mauled by the British and slowly being driven back, Daendels piecemeal fed reinforcements into the battle. Elements of the 1st, 3rd and 6th Demi-brigades were so used up without much positive effect. Meanwhile, the British disembarkation progressed almost without mishap; only one boat overturned, though with the loss of its crew of 20 drowned.) The British numerical superiority on their right wing kept growing, while they were able to bring up field artillery through the loose sand, manhandled by British seamen. Around 6 PM Daendels saw the futility of further fighting and withdrew to his starting position; the British did not pursue. Daendels was joined there by Guericke with his detachment. This left only the troops of Col. Gilquin north of the British position near the batteries at Den Helder. Daendels decided to withdraw these troops also, as they were too few in number to withstand an assault by the far-superior British forces. Besides, the Helder batteries of course had their guns trained to seaward, and they therefore could not defend against an attack from the land side. (In the opinion of Admiral Story, they would have been unable to prevent an advance of the British fleet through the Marsdiep, anyway.) After spiking the 86 guns in the batteries, these Batavian troops left Den Helder by a roundabout route through the Koegras and arrived safely at the Batavian main force.
The consequence was that the roadstead of Nieuwe Diep fell into British hands without a fight, providing the British and Russian invasion forces in later phases of the invasion with a more convenient disembarkation location. Also, a number of inactive Batavian ships of the line were an easy prey for the British, as were the contents of the naval arsenal in Den Helder. The squadron of Admiral Story was forced to move away to the roadstead of De Vlieter further east.
The British losses during the battle were 74 killed (including the 20 men that drowned), 376 wounded, and 20 missing. Among the dead were only three officers, but two of them were field officers: Lt.Cols. Hay, RE, and Smollett, 1st Foot. The Dutch lost 137 dead and 950 wounded.
On the night of the battle Daendels fell back on the nearby Zijpe polder where he occupied a defensive line. In the next few days he withdrew even further south, as he feared another amphibious landing near Petten in his rear, that would have placed him between two British forces. Such a landing would have exposed Alkmaar and points South to an easy British advance, too. At first he seems to have considered retreating all the way to the line Purmerend-Monnikendam, but in the event he took up a defensive position in the Schermer polder near Alkmaar. Later historians have held this retreat against him (as they did the abandonment of the "fortress" of Den Helder). General Krayenhoff points out, however, that the abandonment of Den Helder, though deplorable in its effects, was probably unavoidable. The formidable fortress of Kijkduin, that Napoleon Bonaparte had built after 1810, and that was so tenaciously defended against the Dutch by Admiral Carel Hendrik Ver Huell in 1814, did not exist as yet. Daendels's abandonment of the Zijpe seems more questionable, but only because the British in the event did not perform the obvious landing at Petten, of which they should have been fully capable. An important consideration was also, that the Batavians had exhausted their ammunition during the battle. They were for the moment unable to engage in a new battle for that reason.
While Daendels arrived in his new position near Alkmaar on 30 August, dramatic developments took place on the Batavian fleet. The crews and some officers mutinied during the notorious Vlieter Incident of that day, and the squadron of Admiral Story ignominiously surrendered to Admiral Mitchell without firing a shot.
The Battle of Bergen, also called the Battle of Bergen-Binnen, was fought on 19 September 1799, and resulted in a French-Dutch victory under General Brune and General Daendels against the Russians and British under the Duke of York who had landed in North Holland. The battlefield is marked by the Russisch Monument (1902).
Operation Slapstick was the code name for a British landing from the sea at the Italian port of Taranto during the Second World War. The operation, one of three landings during the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943, was undertaken by airborne troops of the British 1st Airborne Division, commanded by Major-General George Hopkinson.
The invasion of Java in 1811 was a successful British amphibious operation against the Dutch East Indian island of Java that took place between August and September 1811 during the Napoleonic Wars. Originally established as a colony of the Dutch Republic, Java remained in Dutch hands throughout the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, during which time the French invaded the Republic and established the Batavian Republic in 1795, and the Kingdom of Holland in 1806. The Kingdom of Holland was annexed to the First French Empire in 1810, and Java became a titular French colony, though it continued to be administered and defended primarily by Dutch personnel.
The Second Battle of Guam was the American recapture of the Japanese-held island of Guam, a U.S. territory in the Mariana Islands captured by the Japanese from the U.S. in the 1941 First Battle of Guam during the Pacific campaign of World War II.
The Malayan campaign was a military campaign fought by Allied and Axis forces in Malaya, from 8 December 1941 – 31 January 1942 during the Second World War. It was dominated by land battles between British Commonwealth army units, and the Imperial Japanese Army with minor skirmishes at the beginning of the campaign between British Commonwealth and Royal Thai Armed Forces. The Japanese had air and naval supremacy from the opening days of the campaign. For the British, Indian, Australian and Malayan forces defending the colony, the campaign was a total disaster.
The Borneo campaign of 1945 was the last major Allied campaign in the South West Pacific Area during World War II to liberate Japanese-held British Borneo and Dutch Borneo. Designated collectively as Operation Oboe, a series of amphibious assaults between 1 May and 21 July were conducted by the Australian I Corps, under Lieutenant-General Leslie Morshead, against Imperial Japanese forces who had been occupying the island since late 1941 – early 1942. The main Japanese formation on the island was the Thirty-Seventh Army under Lieutenant-General Masao Baba, while the naval garrison was commanded by Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada. The Australian ground forces were supported by US and other Allied air and naval forces, with the US providing the bulk of the shipping and logistic support necessary to conduct the operation. The campaign was initially planned to involve six stages, but eventually landings were undertaken at four locations: Tarakan, Labuan, North Borneo and Balikpapan. Guerilla operations were also carried out by Dayak tribesmen and small numbers of Allied personnel in the interior of the island. While major combat operations were concluded by mid-July, mopping-up operations continued throughout Borneo until the end of the war in August. Initially intended to secure vital airfields and port facilities to support future operations, preparatory bombardment resulted in heavy damage to the island's infrastructure, including its oil production facilities. As a result, the strategic benefits the Allies gained from the campaign were negligible.
The Battle of Castricum saw a Franco-Dutch force defeat an Anglo-Russian force near Castricum, Netherlands. The battle was fought during the War of the Second Coalition against Revolutionary France between French and Dutch forces under the command of General Guillaume Brune and Herman Willem Daendels and British and Russian forces under the command of the Duke of York, Sir Ralph Abercromby and the Prince of Orange.
The Battle of Java was a battle of the Pacific theatre of World War II. It occurred on the island of Java from 28 February – 12 March 1942. It involved forces from the Empire of Japan, which invaded on 28 February 1942, and Allied personnel. Allied commanders signed a formal surrender at Japanese headquarters at Bandung on 12 March.
The Japanese Invasion of Malaya began just after midnight on 8 December 1941 before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was the first major battle of the Pacific War, and was fought between ground forces of the British Indian Army and the Empire of Japan.
In the Vlieter incident on 30 August 1799, a squadron of the Batavian Navy, commanded by Rear-Admiral Samuel Story, surrendered to the British navy. The incident occurred during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. It took place in the tidal trench between Texel and the mainland that was known as De Vlieter, near Wieringen.
The Convention of Alkmaar was a 18 October 1799 agreement concluded between the commanders of the expeditionary forces of Great Britain and Russia on the one hand, and of those of the First French Republic and the Batavian Republic on the other, in the Dutch city of Alkmaar, by which the British and Russians agreed to withdraw their forces from the Batavian Republic following the failed Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. The Russian and British forces under the Duke of York were transported back to Britain in the weeks after the Convention was signed.
The Batavian Revolution in Amsterdam refers to the transfer of power in the city of Amsterdam on 18 January 1795 to a Revolutionary Committee of the new Batavian Republic. The same day the stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, William V, Prince of Orange fled the country. Amsterdam was the first city that declared itself in the Batavian Revolution that brought about the Batavian Republic.
The Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland was a military campaign from 27 August to 19 November 1799 during the War of the Second Coalition, in which an expeditionary force of British and Russian troops invaded the North Holland peninsula in the Batavian Republic. The campaign had two strategic objectives: to neutralize the Batavian fleet and to promote an uprising by followers of the former stadtholder William V against the Batavian government. The invasion was opposed by a slightly smaller joint Franco-Batavian army. Tactically, the Anglo-Russian forces were successful initially, defeating the defenders in the battles of Callantsoog and the Krabbendam, but subsequent battles went against the Anglo-Russian forces. Following a defeat at Castricum, the Duke of York, the British supreme commander, decided upon a strategic retreat to the original bridgehead in the extreme north of the peninsula. Subsequently, an agreement was negotiated with the supreme commander of the Franco-Batavian forces, General Guillaume Marie Anne Brune, that allowed the Anglo-Russian forces to evacuate this bridgehead unmolested. However, the expedition partly succeeded in its first objective, capturing a significant proportion of the Batavian fleet.
The Battle of Krabbendam of 10 September 1799 was fought during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland between forces of the French Republic and her ally, the Batavian Republic, under the command of French general Guillaume Marie Anne Brune on one side, and a British division under general Sir Ralph Abercromby on the other. The British division had established a bridgehead in the extreme north of the North-Holland peninsula after the Battle of Callantsoog (1799). Brune tried to dislodge them before they could be reinforced by further Anglo-Russian forces, but the British prevailed. This enabled the British and their Russian allies to land their expeditionary force and to break out of the bridgehead during the Battle of Bergen (1799).
The Battle of Alkmaar was fought on 2 October 1799 between forces of the French Republic and her ally, the Batavian Republic under the command of general Guillaume Marie Anne Brune, and an expeditionary force from Great Britain and her ally Russia, commanded by Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany in the vicinity of Alkmaar during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. Though the battle ended in a tactical draw, the Anglo-Russians were in a position at the end of the battle that favored them slightly in a strategic sense. This prompted Brune to order a strategic withdrawal the next day to a line between Monnickendam in the East and Castricum in the West. There the final battle of the campaign would take place on 6 October.
The Batavian navy was the navy of the Batavian Republic. A continuation of the Staatse vloot of the Dutch Republic, though thoroughly reorganized after the Batavian Revolution of 1795, the navy embarked on several naval construction programs which, at least on paper, made her a serious rival of the Royal Navy during War of the Second Coalition. However, the Capitulation of Saldanha Bay, the Battle of Camperdown and the Vlieter Incident showed that she did not measure up to that expectation. Nevertheless, the organisational reorganizations proved durable, when the Batavian Republic was succeeded by the Kingdom of Holland, and later, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so that the present-day Royal Netherlands Navy should trace its ancestry through her.
The Invasion of Ceylon was a military campaign fought as a series of amphibious operations between the summer of 1795 and spring of 1796 between the garrison of the Batavian colonies on the Indian Ocean island of Ceylon and a British invasion force sent from British India. The Dutch Republic had been a British ally during the French Revolutionary Wars, but was overrun by the French Republic in the winter of 1794 and reformed into the client state of the Batavian Republic. The British government, working with the exiled Stadtholder William of Orange, ordered the seizure of Batavian assets including colonies of the former Dutch Empire. Among the first territories to be attacked were those on the coast of the island of Ceylon, with operations initially focused on the trading port at Trincomalee.
The King's Dutch Brigade was a brigade of the British army, organised by the Hereditary Prince of Orange out of former officers and lower ranks of the former Dutch States Army, deserters from the Batavian army, and mutineers from the Batavian fleet that had surrendered to the Royal Navy in the Vlieter Incident during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland in 1799, but fully in British service and paid for by the British government. It was commissioned on 21 October 1799 and was initially in garrison on the Isle of Wight and in Lymington. It saw service in Ireland in 1801, and afterwards back to the Isle of Wight and Lymington as well as to the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey. The orders for the brigade to be disbanded were issued on 12 July 1802, as agreed in the Treaty of Amiens of 25 March 1802.
The Capture of the Dutch fleet at Den Helder on the night of 23 January 1795 presents a rare occurrence of a "naval" battle between warships and cavalry, in which a French Revolutionary Hussar regiment captured a Dutch Republican fleet frozen at anchor between the 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) stretch of sea that separates the mainland port of Den Helder and the island of Texel. After a charge across the frozen Zuiderzee, the French cavalry captured 14 Dutch ships and 850 guns. A capture of ships by horsemen is an extremely rare feat in military history.
The Invasion of the Cape Colony was a British military expedition launched in 1795 against the Dutch Cape Colony at the Cape of Good Hope, the southern tip of Southern Africa. The Dutch colony at the Cape, established in the seventeenth century, was at the time the only viable South African port for ships making the journey from Europe to the European colonies in the East Indies. It therefore held vital strategic importance, although it was otherwise economically insignificant. In the winter of 1794, during the French Revolutionary Wars, French troops entered the Dutch Republic, which was reformed into the Batavian Republic. In response, Great Britain launched operations against the Dutch Empire to use its facilities against the French Navy.