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Defeat at Dunbar

Defeated at Dunbar by King Edward I in April 1296, Scotland effectively fell under English occupation.  The next few decades would see Scottish forces struggle to regain the nation's independence.  This was finally achieved under the leadership of Robert the Bruce (above).

Wars of Scottish Independence
Military History Spotlight10

War of 1812: Disaster at the River Raisin

Thursday April 24, 2014

Fought January 18-23, 1913, the Battle of Frenchtown saw American forces under Brig. Gen. James Winchester (right) crushed by a combined British and Native American army.  Having pushed north towards Detroit, Winchester's men succeeded in driving enemy forces from Frenchtown along the River Raisin on January 18.  Occupying the town, Winchester failed to make the necessary defensive arrangements.  On January 22, British and Native American troops under Brig. Gen. Henry Proctor attacked.  Though the American right quickly collapsed, Kentucky regiments fought tenaciously to hold Frenchtown.  Captured early in the fighting, Winchester was asked to have them surrender.  After some negotiation, the Kentuckians agreed in exchange for British assurances that they would be treated fairly as prisoners of war.  Later in day, Proctor withdrew north and took along the uninjured prisoners.  Lacking transport for the wounded Americans, he stated that sleds would be sent south the next day.  During the night, the British guards in Frenchtown slipped away and the next morning Native American forces returned.  Looting the town, they killed those too injured to move.  The rest were taken north to be ransomed.  Quickly dubbed the Red River Massacre, the incident spurred the recruiting cry "Remember the Raisin" and led to a surge in American enlistments.

War of 1812 - Detroit Front:

Photograph Source: Public Domain

Ireland: Battle of Clontarf

Tuesday April 22, 2014

April 23, 1014 - Munster Irish and Leinster forces clash outside of the Dublin at the Battle of Clontarf. In 1013, the King of Leinster, Máel Mórda mac Murchada, rose in rebellion against the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru. Receiving assistance from the Dublin Vikings of Sigtrygg Silkbeard, the Manx Vikings of Brodir, and the Viking Earl of Orkey, Sigurd Lodvesson, Murchada prepared for Brian's inevitable attack. After raiding around Dublin, Brian moved to confront his enemy's army. Meeting at Clontarf, just north of Dublin, the two forces engaged in a series of champion fights before opening the main battle. Commencing on the morning of Good Friday, April 23, the fighting at Clontarf lasted throughout the day. With the battle turning in his favor, Brian returned to his tent to pray. While there, Brodir, who earlier had nearly been killed by Brian's brother, Wolf the Quarrelsome, approached the tent with a small band of followers. Attacking, they killed Brian and his retainers. On the battlefield, Brian's forces succeeded in cutting off Murchada's route of escape and began massacring his forces. As the fighting finished, Brian's army, despite his death, proved victorious and was able to kill Murchada and destroy his army. The battle eliminated much of Ireland's central leadership and the country soon sank into regionalized, factional fighting.

US Navy: USS Idaho (BB-24)

Sunday April 20, 2014

Laid down in 1904, USS Idaho (BB-24) (right) entered service four years later. The second and final ship of the Mississippi-class, the battleship intially operated in the Caribbean and Atlantic until greeting the returing Great White Fleet in February 1909.  Largely engaged in routine, peacetime operations over the next four years, Idaho did conduct a cruise to Europe and protected American interests off the Mexican coast.  Sold to Greece in the summer of 1914, the battleship entered the Royal Hellenic Navy under the name Lemnos.  Remaining active in various roles, it was sunk in April 1941 by German Ju 87 Stukas during World War II.

US Navy - Connecticut-class Battleships:

Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Command

American Revolution: The War Begins at Lexington

Friday April 18, 2014

April 19, 1775 - The American Revolution begins with fighting at Lexington (left) and Concord. Early on the morning of April 19, 1775, 700 British troops departed Boston with orders from Gen. Thomas Gage to search for and seize colonial munitions in the town of Concord. Alerted that the British were approaching by Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott, colonial militia and "Minutemen" were able to muster. Forming his men on Lexington Green, Captain John Parker gave them strict instructions not to fire unless fired upon. After the lead elements of the British column, led by Major John Pitcairn, arrived there was an exchange of words and then a shot rang out. While it is not known who fired it, it led to a brief battle in which eight colonists were killed. Moving on the British reached Concord and began their search for munitions. Near the North Bridge, colonial militia was able to defeat a British detachment. Having completed their mission, the British began marching back to Boston. As they moved, colonial forces repeatedly sniped at and ambushed them, ultimately inflicting 273 casualties. Colonial casualties for the day numbered 94. The fighting at Lexington and Concord became the opening battles of the American Revolution.

American Revolution - Boston Campaign:

Photograph Source: Public Domain

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