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Author Topic: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.  (Read 29080 times)

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Offline smiffy

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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2017, 14:33:37 »
Thanks bromptonboy - I suspected it may have been the early 1870's due to a tailing off in reports after this period. It would be interesting to know what tactics and equipment were used for the 1907 operations, as the machinery of war had moved on considerably by then.

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2017, 10:54:04 »
Not absolutely sure on the last Siege Operations to take place on the 'old' Lines but various reports point at the 1871 Siege Operations being the last of these. The last siege operations to take place on the Chatham Defences appears to have taken place in the summer of 1907 when the Victorian defence were assaulted and defended. The National Archives has a document entitled 'Preliminary siege staff ride and siege operations at Chatham' held under reference WO 279/15.


Offline smiffy

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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2017, 22:29:39 »
I was wondering when the last siege operation took place on the Lines?

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2017, 20:35:55 »
London Evening Standard - Wednesday 05 August 1868

FATAL ACCIDENT AT THE REHEARSAL OF THE SIEGE OPERATIONS AT CHATHAM.
Thomas Hills, Esq., coroner, held an inquest yesterday afternoon at the Queen's Head, Brompton, on the body of William Merchant, a private of the Chatham Division of Royal Marine Light Infantry, who was killed by the breaking of a flying bridge, at the rehearsal of the troops in siege operations, to take place on the 5th inat. Major General J. L. A. Simmons, C.B., the director to the Royal Engineer Establishment, was the first witness examined. He stated that the Royal Engineers had lately been preparing for siege operations to take place this day (Wednesday). On Monday the troops of the garrison, consisting of the Royal Engineers, Royal Marines, and line regiments were ordered out for a rehearsal. In the course of the proceedings a flying bridge was thrown across the ditch at a part of the lines known as the Redan. It had been reported to have been carefully constructed for any number of men to pass over. This bridge, which was of the same kind as that used last year, was constructed of round beams of timber lashed together, with props resting in the ditch. These beams supported the planks. His Royal Highness Prince Arthur was the lieutenant in charge of this bridge, and in this duty he was assisted by a thoroughly qualified Serjeant. It was the duty for the main body, consisting of a battalion of Royal Marines, with fixed bayonets, forming the assaulting column, to pass over the bridge. Two or three of the leading columns companies had passed over when a slight check was observed in the advance from some cause, which was presumed to have brought a greater weight on some part of the structure, and the men keeping step together, which was very difficult in well-trained men to prevent, the bridge gave way, and the troops who were on it fell into the ditch below, a distance of 25 feet. The structure was not capable of bearing a number of men in a body "marking time."
The Serjeant Instructor, John Foster, R.E., was next examined. He superintended the construction of the bridge. He made his own selection of blocks, ropes, and other materials from the store, and he was quite satisfied that it was strong enough for any number or men to march over. On two occasions he had proved its strength.
Colonel W. Adair, R.M., who was in command of the leading battalions of Royal Marines, said that two companies and a half had passed over the bridge before anything occurred. Prince Arthur had charge of the bridge, and Captain Thomas had charge of the rear company when the bridge broke down.
All the evidence went to prove that every attention had been given to the strength of the structure, and that it would bear any number of men passing over in the usual way.
Assistant Surgeon Rodgers, R.M., deposed to the nature of the bayonet wounds the deceased had received, which caused his death.
The Coroner having briefly summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

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Offline kyn

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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2013, 12:07:27 »
Wednesday, 18th July, 1849 – Daily News

Review and Siege Operations at Chatham – Yesterday the following garrison orders were promulgated by the Commandant Colonel, James Simpson, to the various officers commanding the several corps, respecting the proposed field day and siege operations to be carried on in the presence of Field Marshal the Marquis of Anglesea, K.H., G.C.B., and G.C.H., Master-General of the Ordnance, &c., on Saturday, the 21st instant, when the operations will commence about 10 o’clock that morning.  1.   The Engineer works and operations and the general arrangements for the attack and defence, are entrusted to Colonel Frederick Smith, K.H., director of the Royal Engineer establishment.  2.   The Artillery movements and arrangements will be conducted by Lieutenant-Colonel Lock, commanding the Royal Artillery in the Medway district. 3.   The defence of the works will be commanded by Lieutenant-Col. T.E. Kelly, commanding the Provisional Battalion, and will consist of a squadron of cavalry, a company of Royal Artillery, a company of royal sappers and Miners, and the Provisional Battalion, and the enrolled pensioners, under the command of Staff Captain Jenkins.  4.   The besiegers will consist of two companies of the Royal Artillery, three companies of the Royal sappers and Miners, one company of the East India Company’s Sappers and Miners, the 17th Regiment, under the command of Lieut.-Col. McPhearson, C.B., and the Royal Marines of this division will be under the command of Lieut.-Col. Samuel B. Ellis, C.B.  The number of the troops for duty on that day will estimate 3,700 men, which does not include the cavalry.  There will be about 400 men stationed at various points, in order that the public should not approach the works.  The first commencement will be on the front of the fortifications protecting Fort Amherst.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2013, 00:22:37 »
London Standard - Friday 20 July 1849
Morning Post - Saturday 21 July 1849


AUTHORISED PROGRAMME OF THE REVIEW OF THE SIEGE OPERATIONS AT CHATHAM
DETAIL OF THE FIRST OPERATION.
THE UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO CARRY THE FIGHT OF CHATHAM LINES BY ESCALADE.
The defenders to consist of a company of the Royal Artillery on the extreme right; the provisional battalion and enrolled pensioners in the centre, and a company of Royal Sappers and Miners on the left.
The flanks and salients to be armed with ordnance, and manned by two companies of the Royal Artillery.
The troops to be drawn up so as to extend from the Gun Wharf to the Spur, lining the parapets; and a reserve to be placed on the flank which defends the approach from the town.
The assaulting columns to consist of the 17th Regiment on the left, the Royal Marine Artillery and Royal Marines in the centre, and the Royal Sappers and Miners on the right.
The reserve to be formed by the left wing of the 17th Regiment.
Each column will furnish its own skirmishers and ladder carriers.
The columns of attack are to be posted as follow, viz :-
The right column in the hollow ground to the east of Cage-lane; the whole lying down, so as to be as much as possible under cover.
The centre column to have its skirmishers in the plantation near the burial ground, and the ladders and column of attack in the Brook road.
The left column to have its skirmishers in the plantation near Globe-lane, and the ladders and column of attack in the Gun Wharf.
The right and left columns to move right in front, in divisions.
The centre column to advance in double files from the centre, and to form up in divisions extending to the right and left, alter passing the defile.
The skirmishers to lead, followed by the ladders, and these by the columns of attack.
On the signal being given, the three columns will move forward simultaneously, throwing out the skirmishers, so as to extend from the Gun Wharf to the right extremity of the lines, the men getting under cover where practicable. No sound of bugle whatever is to be used except in the garrison, the "commence firing" being sounded from thence as soon as the skirmishers of the assailants lie down. These latter will afterwards open their fire.
The Sappers will advance quickly along the side of the hill, keeping under cover from the fire of the fortress, and will descend into the ditch (marked blue in the plan).
They will find themselves obstructed by an impervious hedge, and, after unsuccessful efforts, will retire, on the general retreat being sounded.
The right wing of the Royal Marines will attack the lofty wall (marked green in the plan), and will be foiled by its great height.
The left wing will descend into the ditch in their front (marked yellow in the plan), and scale the opposite escarp. They will get a footing, but being opposed by a strong force posted in the works in their front, will also halt and retire, on the general retreat being sounded.
The 17th Regiment will descend into the ditch opposite to them (marked brown on the plan), and will, on finding their ladders too short on the right, and the opposition very determined on the left, by a superior force, retire when the bugle sounds for the general retreat.
The whole of the attacking parties will leave their ladders behind them, and retire under cover. The garrison will then withdraw to the left of the Chatham lines.
The besiegers will return for their ladders, and the three columns will move off to Gillingham, to the ground assigned to them, for the second operation.
FREDERIC SMITH, Colonel Royal Engineers, Director.

DETAIL OF THE SECOND OPERATION.
THE SUCCESSFUL ASSAULT AND ESCALADE OF THE LEFT OF CHATHAM LINES, AND THE FURTHER OPERATIONS LEADING TO THE SUPPOSED REDUCTION OF THE PLACE
The garrison to consist of a squadron of cavalry, two companies of the Royal Artillery, one company of the Royal Sappers and Miners, four companies of the enrolled pensioners, and the provisional battalion.
The Royal Artillery to man St. Mary's battery, and the flanks and redans near the casemates.
The Royal Sappers and Miners to be posted in rear of St. Mary's Sallyport with a company of the Rifles.
The provisional battalion to be formed on the terreplein of the works extending from the casemates to the extreme left of St. Mary's.
Two companies of the enrolled pensioners to be placed in the terrace bastion front; and two companies on the right of the second parallel, as a reserve for the provisional battalion. The columns of attack to be the same as in the first operation (viz., the escalade of the right of the lines), with the addition of two companies of the Royal Artillery), to be employed as gunners in the attack, and a small force posted in the island on the north side of St. Mary's creek.
The attacking columns to be posted as follows:-
The 17th Regiment in the lanes near the windmills.
Six guns on the heights above Burnt Oak Cottage, manned by the Royal Marine Artillery.
The column of Royal Mariues in the lane leading to Burnt Oak Cottage, and
The column of Royal Sappers and Miners, and two companies of the Royal Artillery posted in Gillingham- lane.
The naval commander in chief at Sheerness having sanctioned the employment of a portion of the sailors and marines of the fleet, under the orders of Captain G. Elliott, of her Majesty's ship Ocean, they are to be employed as follows:-
1. In manning four gun boats.
2. In a force to capture Gillingham Tower and Battery.
 The gun-boats to be employed in covering the formation of a pontoon bridge across St. Mary's Creek, and afterwards in enfilading the left of Chatham lines during the assault.
On the concerted signal being given, the gun-boats and pontoons will move from the back of the island into St Mary's Creek, and the latter will proceed to the place where the bridge is to be formed, followed by the gun-boats Sailors and marines will be landed from the fleet for the attack of the works at Gillingham, and the pontoon bridge will then be formed.
The columns of attack are to move off simultaneously, and to take up positions in eschelon, on the ground in front of the works, and within the paling bounding Gillingham road.
The skirmishers to be smartly thrown out, and the whole again to move forward, the Sapper or right column being in advance.
The company of Sappers and Miners of the garrison, and the Rifles to make a sortie upon the right column of attack with the view of throwing it into confusion. They are to fire on the column, and then to retreat; but being pressed by the right wing of the skirmishers of the Sapper column of attack, who are to fire upon them, they are driven into the garrison, passing through the gateway of an interior stockade, thrown up to strengthen this point; but being unable from the rapidity of the pursuit to lift their draw- bridge, they take post in the fire barn.
The firing is now to be general from the attacking skirmishers, who are to move forward to the edge of the counterscarp and lie down ; also from the artillery and infantry of the garrison; and from the guns on the heights
The pursuing skirmishers of Sappers and Miners, on crossing the ditch, finding their entrance to the garrison obstructed by the stockade, are to breach it with gunpowder; and thus obtaining admission, turn the flank of the defenders, who in consequence, retire behind the parapets of the parallels as follows: viz., the right wing between 1 and 3 batteries and the left wing to the second parallel of the right attack, by Princes-street and Tom-all-Alone's.
Simultaneously with the sortie of St. Mary's, a squadron of cavalry is to sortie from the Brompton barrier, and to attack the left flank of the 17th Regiment.
That regiment is to form square to resist the cavalry; and two companies of the left wing, placed in reserve behind the paling which bounds Gillingham-road, are to deploy, and open a fire on the flank of the cavalry.
The cavalry to retire by the Brompton barrier, and to take post behind the gorge of the ravelin attacked, occasionally threatening the besiegers' troops in the trenches.
One half of the Sapper skirmishers, as already stated, and one division of the right column, with the whole of the Royal Artillery of the besiegers, are to penetrate through the breach in the stockade at St. Mary's, and the remainder of the Sapper column, as well as the Royal Marines, and the 17th Regiment, are to escalade the lines, each column forming under cover of the parapet, until it has three of its divisions across the ditch, when it is to move on to the banquette md terreplein of the works, and deploy; a fire being opened opon them by the provisional battalion, posted behind the parapet of the first parallel.
The skirmishers are to be the last to cross.
The reserve is to be formed of the left wing of the 17th Regiment, and is not to cross the ditch until both stockades have been breached - viz., that at St. Mary's, and that at the fire-barn.
The Royal Artillery, who are to come in with the right column, are immediately to take possession of the enemy's guns, and to place them in the batteries Nos. 1, 2, and 4.
The right wing of the provisional battalion now retires behind the parapet of the second parallel - the pensioners having vacated that parallel, and taken post in Prince Frederick's Bastion.
The company of Sappers and Miners, which had sortied from the garrison at St. Mary's, will occupy the fire-barn.
Batteries Nos. 3 and 4, having been mined, are to be destroyed by the besieged.
The troops are now to be drawn up as follow:-
The left wing of the Royal Marines, and a company of Sappers and Miners, will extend from the left of the first parallel to the centre set of approaches.
A company of Sappers and Miners, and the right wing of the Royal Marines, are to extend from the latter point to the extreme right of the first parallel.
Two companies of Sappers and Miners, and the right wing of the 17th Regiment, are to form in the reverse of the right portion of the first parallel, in rear of the Royal Sappers and Miners, and of the right wing of the Royal Marines.
A musketry fire is to be opened by the besiegers from the first parallel, and under its cover two companies of Sappers and Miners are to be thrown forward to attack the fire barn enclosure; one of them to breach the wall and the other to endeavour to cut down and afterwards to breach the stockade.
An officer of the engineers is to lodge two bags of gunpowder, each of 90lbs., against the stockade. Another officer of engineers is to lodge two bags of gunpowder, each of 30lbs., against the wall; and they are respectively to explode these charges.
The attacking Sappers are to be fired upon by the company of Sappers and Miners, and the Rifles, posted within the enclosure.
After the explosions a portion of the provisional battalion will open its file, so as to occupy the whole of the second parallel of the left attack.
By this time, the pontoon bridge having been formed, the troops posted in the island will cross it, and will proceed under cover of the sea wall, to the right attack. The Pontooners will be employed in the left attack.
The two companies of Sappers and Miners, and one of the attacking companies of the Royal Artillery, are now to move off to the right attack, followed by the right wing of the 17th Regiment - passing round by the same path as that taken by the left wing of the provisional battalion, viz., Prince’s street and Tom-all-alone's.
The right wing of the Royal Marines, led by a company of Sappers and Miners, is to move steadily along the approaches of the right branch, and to occupy the second parallel, from the hedge to the approach by which they enter that parallel, having been flanked in each approach by the fire of the defenders.
The left wing of the Royal Marines, led by a company of Sappers and Miners, is to advance by the left branch of approaches, and to take up their position on the left of the second parallel, when the firing is to commence from both wings, and to be kept up steadily until further movements are ordered.
The pensioners previously placed in front of the second parallel, and who moved into the body of the place, are to occupy the parapet from the salient of Prince Frederick's bastion, to the centre of the curtain on its left, and to open a fire on the assailants.
The provisional battalion having retired by the approaches rapidly behind the second parallel, is to keep up a fire on the besiegers until the latter are half way up the intervening approaches, when the right wing of the provisional battalion is to take post under the cover of the third parallel.
In the meanwhile, the left wing of the provisional battalion retires from the second parallel of the right attack; the two right companies through the centre of the curtain, and the two left companies by the field work terrace; and I will draw up on the broken ground at right angles to the approaches, from whence they will be dislodged by the fire of the right wing of the 17th Regiment, in the two right approaches, after which they will move up, and take post as a column of reserve, between Amherst redoubt and the Duke of Cumberland's bastion.
From this time the pensioners on the Field-work-terrace front are to keep up the requisite fire on the besiegers until their ammunition is nearly expended, when they will be replaced by the provisional battalion.
The left wing of the 17th Regiment is to enter at St. Mary's, through the breach of the stockade, and to take post in the ground vacated by the right wing until the right wing of that regiment occupies the second parallel of the right attack, when the left wing is to move with ladders into the first parallel of the right attack.
The force that moved off to the right attack will be posted as follows:-
The Royal Artillery in the two batteries.
The right wing of the 17th Regiment in the first parallel.
The two companies of Sappers and Miners in the boyaux immediately in front of the first parallel.
The whole of the Royal Artillery in the besieger's batteries, as well as those of the garrison, are to keep up a steady fire.
The guns of No. 2 battery are to be moved up through the trenches to battery No. 7, which battery is to be served by the left company of Royal Artillery.
On the advance being sounded, the right wing of the  Royal Marines, led by a company of Sappers and Miners, is to move up the right set of approaches, and occupy the right of the third parallel, and the adjoining approaches from the rear.
Simultaneously with this movement the provisional battalion is to retire behind the lodgment on the glacis, and subsequently to occupy the right face of the ravelin.
A company of Sappers and Miners is then to occupy the three cap-heads on the glacis of the left face of the ravelin; and another company of Sappers and Miners the half double-sap opposite to the left face.
The left wing of the Royal Marines, marching up the left set of approaches, is to occupy the left portion of the third parallel, and the approaches in its immediate rear.
In the meanwhile a brisk fire is to be kept up from the first parallel of the right attack, and the approaches immediately in front of it; and before the third parallel has been occupied in the left attack the second parallel is to be occupied by the 17th Regiment in the right attack, the Royal Sappers and Miners occupying the trenches in the front thereof.
A steady fire is then to be kept up from the whole extent of the advanced trenches, as well as from the garrison.
It is to be understood that troops in moving are not to discontinue their fire until the bugle sounds to that effect.
One subdivision of the Sappers and Miners of the garrison being posted in the redoubt, is to keep up a steady fire on the assailants.
An officer of Engineers is next to make his preparations for breaching the redoubt by mines.
On the signal being given, these mines are to be fired.
After the explosion the Sappers are to crown the entonnoir, and form a lodgment in the redoubt, which the right wing of the 17th Regiment is to take possession of and occupy.
An officer of Engineers of the garrison is then to explode the mines under the right sap-head and those under the serpentine sap head.
After these explosions a company of Sappers and Miners is to crown the entonnoir of the right sap-head.
An officer of Engineers of the garrison is then to blow up the head of the left double sap; and an officer of Engineers of  the besiegers is to crown its entonnoir, as well as that of the mines at the head of the serpentine sap.
An officer of Engineers of the garrison is afterwards to destroy the lodgment of the left half double sap, and an officer of Engineers of the besiegers is to crown its entonnoir.
The fougasses will next be exploded under the trenches of the right attack by an officer of Engineers of the garrison; and small charges will be exploded under the lodgment on the glacis of the left face of the ravelin, between tho serpentine sap and the sap on the salient, also by an officer of Engineers of the garrison.
The countergard is then to be destroyed by officers of Engineers of the besiegers exploding five mines, and afterwards both faces of the ravelin.
These breaches are to have lodgments formed in them, and the lodgments are to be occupied by two companies from each wing of the Royal Marines.
The Terrace Bastion is next to be breached, and then two companies of the 17th Regiment are to storm this breach, whilst two other companies of that regiment are to escalade the left face of the Duke of Cumberland's Bastion; each column of attack being led by a company of the Royal Sappers and Miners.
The pensioners are to be withdrawn to a short distance in the rear of the works.
A special signal is to be given for each explosion.
FREDERIC SMITH, Colonel Royal Engineers, Director.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2012, 23:21:20 »
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 26 February 1861

CHATHAM.
REVIEW OF THE TROOPS.—Yesterday (Monday) week, Major-General Eyre, commanding the Chatham district, held a review of the whole of the troops of the garrison on Chatham Lines. The entire force of the garrison, including the Royal Engineers, the three battalions of Infantry, and the battalion of Royal Marine Light Infantry, assembled on the Lines shortly after 10 o'clock, soon after which Major-General Eyre, attended by the garrison staff, arrived on the ground, and was received in the customary manner. The troops then marched past in slow and quick time, and executed a variety of manoeuvres which occupied some time, after which they returned to their quarters.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2012, 23:19:30 »
Illustrated London News, 22nd July, 1854



(This shows the lower Lines, I think the chimneys in the foreground may be on top of St. Mary's Casemated Barracks)

SIEGE OPERATIONS AT CHATHAM.
IN our last publication we gave a short notice of the military manoeuvres which took place at Chatham, on Thursday week, under the direction of General Burgoyne, Inspector General of Fortifications, and this week our Artist has given an Illustration of the interesting spectacle, from which a more precise notion of tbe proceeding may be obtained. As the day was fine a very large number of persons from London and the vicinity were present.
Special trains were run by the South-Eastern Company as far as Tilbury, whence passengers proceeded by steam-boat to Chatham. Prince Albert left town by special train, and on his arrival at Chatham was received with a salute from the artillery, and loud cheers from the people. The Prince and his party occupied a stand on the top of the casemate barracks, near the Dockyard - a point which commanded a perfect view of the whole proceedings. The 35th Regiment, which had previously taken up a position with scaling ladders, advanced, on the word of command, and carried the right face of Prince Henry's Bastion by escalade, and established themselves within the lines. A column of Royal Marines advanced upon the 35th from Fort Amherst, and they resisted the attack, but were ultimately driven out of the fortress, and, during the retreat, a smart fire was opened upon them from the King's Bastion by the large guns. The opponents continued firing for some time, the 35th lying on the ground after returning to their original position. Prince Albert and his staff then proceeded to inspect the parallels and double saps in operation, and subsequently visited an adverse battery of six 32 pounders and stockade and passed from St. Mary's Gate to the casemate prepared for his reception. A column of the 34th then advanced from Gillingham Tower under a heavy fire from the 32-pounders in the battery. The Artillery and Marines occupying the battery ultimately retired after destroying it by mines, which exploded most effectually, blowing some guns off their carriages, and covering others with the earth thrown up. A stockade and several mines were then blown up by a voltaic battery.
The defence of ditches of a fortified place against an assault by rockets, forgasses, hand-grenades, live shells, musketry, and pierriers, was the last operation, followed by the mode of throwing a body of troops with artillery across a river, upon rafts of cylindrical and india-rubber pontoons. The proximity of the river Medway rendered this experiment, peculiarly interesting. The use of the helmet and diving dress was also exhibited.
At, the close of the operations the Royal Engineers gave a splendid entertainment, in their mess-room, to a large and distinguished party. His Royal Highness Prince Albert hononred the festival with his presence.


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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2012, 18:31:48 »
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 12 March 1861

CHATHAM.
REVIEW OF THE TROOPS. — On Wednesday the Duke of Cambridge, Commander-in-Chief, paid a visit to the garrison at Chatham in order to hold a review of the troops now quartered at that station. His Royal Highness accompanied Major-General the Hon. Sir James Yorke Scarlett, K.C.B., Ajutant-General, Major-General Sir Richard Airey, K.C.B., Quartermaster-General, and attended by Col. C. Tyrwhitt, and his other aides-de-camp, travelled from London by the Chatham and Dover Railway, reaching the Chatham station at few minutes after 11 o'clock. On alighting his Royal Highness was received by Major- General Eyre, commanding the garrison; Col. Harness, C.B., commanding the Royal Engineers; Col. E. Rea, Royal Marines; Lieut.-Col. Gordon, Major Congreve, Dr. Hume, principal medical officer; and the other heads of the garrison staff. A guard of honour, which was in waiting at the station, received his Royal Highness with the accustomed honours. Immediately the Duke entered the garrison a Royal salute of 21 guns was fired from the Cornwallis Battery by a party of gunners belonging to the Royal Marines. Prior to holding a review of the troops his Royal Highness proceeded through the barracks Chatham, occupied by the troops of the Line, to Brompton Barrarks, in which the English and Indian Engineers are quartered. Here his Royal Highness spent some time in inspecting the memorial arch which has just been erected at the end of the barrack square to the officers and men of the Royal Engineers who fell in tbe Crimea. The foundation stone of this arch was laid by his Royal Highness on the 1st March, 1860, and the structure is now completed. His Royal Highness then inspected the buildings, after which he proceeded to the mess-room of the Royal Engineers, where be partook of luncheon. Before proceeding to the lines, on which the troops were assembled, waiting his arrival, his Royal Highness visited the field-works of the Royal Engineers, and at the same time paid a visit to the convict establishment at St. Mary's, where the Duke and the other distinguished officers were received by Captain Powell and the staff of that establishment. Scarcely any traces of the injuries inflicted in the interior of the prison by the convicts during the late mutiny are now to perceived, and the whole of the prisoners, upwards of 1,000 in number, now maintain the utmost decorum and order. A body of troops are always on duty within the prison, both day and night. On leaving the convict prison the Duke of Cambridge inspected that part of the shore of the river which will shortly be enclosed, in order to carry out the contemplated extension of Chatham Dockyard; after which he proceeded to the lines, where the entire force of the garrison was drawn to receive him. The troops on the ground included the companies of the amalgamated corps of Royal and Indian Engineers, now at head-quarters; three battalions of the troops of the Line, consisting of the depots the 1st battalion of the 4th King's Own, 1st battalion of the 7th Royal Fusiliers, 1st battalion of the 19th, 1st battalion of the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 1st battalion of the 24th, 31st, 35th, 43rd (Light Infantry), 51st (Light Infantry), 52d (Light Infautry,) 73d, 75th, 77th, 81st, 83d, 91st Regiments, and the division of Royal Marines Light Infantry, the whole numbering nearly 200 officers and about 5,000 bayonets. On the arrival of his Royal Highness he was received by the troops with a general salute, the band playing the National Anthem. The wind at this time was blowing a perfect hurricane, and continued to do so during the whole time the troops were under review, the extensive open plateau which forms Chatham lines experiencing the full force of the gale, which at times was terrific. The howling of the wind almost prevented the orders given to the troops reaching the men, and this sadly interfered with the military operations intended carried out. After his Royal Highness had inspected the front and rear of the battalions, the columns opened out and marched past in quick time, the high wind making marching in slow time out of the question. The troops then performed the same movement in quarter distance column, after which they were formed into general line on the centre battalion, and skirmishers thrown out to repel a supposed attacking party in the direction of New Brompton. The main body then advanced, on which the skirmishers retired, when the whole line poured in several volleys. The body then made an echelon movement, and executed a variety of other manoeuvres, all of which were performed with great steadiness and precision. At the close of the review, which was not extended in consequence of the high wind blowing, his Royal Highness assembled the principal officers, but as the hurricane would not allow a word he uttered to be heard, he contented himself by expressing to Major-General Eyre his entire satisfaction at the efficient state in which found the garrison and the troops under his command. His Royal Highness then ordered the troops to be marched off the ground, and afterwards proceeded to inspect the Mounted Royal Engineer Train, which was drawn up at the end of the lines, under the command of Captain Duff, R.E.. The waggons containing the Blanchard pontoons, chesses, and gear, each drawn by six horses, as well the ambulance waggons, were also on the ground, all of which his Royal Highness inspected. After visiting the officers' mess-room at Chatham Barracks, and transacting some business with Major- General Eyre, his Royal Highness quitted the garrison under a second salute from tbe Cornwallis Battery, and proceeded to London.
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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2012, 22:30:00 »
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 18 September 1860

CHATHAM.
SIEGE OPERATIONS BY THE ROYAL ENGINEERS.—Some highly interesting siege operations were carried out at this garrison during Tuesday and Wednesday, in order to make some further trials with the voltaic battery with which the charges of gunpowder used in blowing up the large cliff at Cuxton were fired, and which for long time failed to ignite the charges. The operations carried out consisted in blowing up a large two-gun battery, the powder being, as before, fired by one of Graves's voltaic batteries. The battery to be destroyed bad been thrown up on the field-works at the rear of Brompton Barracks. The necessary mines having been excavated, upwards of 60 lbs. of gunpowder, contained in 10 charges, each of 6 lbs., was deposited in the chambers, and this having been accomplished, they were ignited means of the voltaic battery. The effect of the explosions was exceedingly grand, the earth being thrown a great height into the air, and falling in a shapeless mass formed a mound where the two-gun battery formerly stood. The experiments were deemed highly successful.
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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2012, 17:01:01 »
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 28 May 1861

CHATHAM.
FIELD-DAY WITH THE MARINES. — The Royal Marine Light Infantry, forming eight divisions, proceeded to the Great Lines, on Tuesday afternoon, in heavy marching order, with their band, under command of Colonel Lowder, each man having been provided with ten rounds of blank cartridge. The manoeuvring and firing of the battalion was good, and the field movements occupied nearly three hours.
ENCAMPMENT OF TROOPS. — Major-General H. Eyre, of this district, has directed an encampment to take place from the depot battalion of the 2nd and 3rd. The tents are to be pitched at Fort Amhurst, and near the Brompton barrier gate at Henry's Prince Bastion. This encampment is for the summer months.
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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2012, 22:39:55 »
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 24 July 1849

CHATHAM.
THE SIEGE OPERATIONS AT CHATHAM.

On Saturday the siege operations, which had been postponed in consequence of the illness of Colonel Weare, took place at Chatham on a scale which fully justified the great interest previously evinced by the public and the military profession on the subject. A brilliant staff of general and field officers were present, including the names of the marquis of Anglesea, Viscount Hardinge, Sir John Burgoyne, Major-General Fox, and Sir Frederick Smith. They visited every point of the lines where the operations were in progress, and appeared highly satisfied with everything they saw. So far, therefore, whatever was done was exhibited before competent judges - men accustomed not only to see fire, but to stand under it, and many of whom had been present at sieges where the cartridges used were not "blank." The desire to see what a siege really was like acted as one of the most powerful means in drawing together the immense number of persons who, on Saturday, witnessed the operations at Chatham. Amongst them were many military men who appeared to take a lively interest in the details of the day's proceedings. The whole were scattered over the lines, occupying, as far as they might be permitted to do so, all the prominent positions whence a commanding view might be obtained, and presenting a singular appearance of confidence amidst a scene the sights and sounds of which were anything but reassuring on the point of personal safety. Thus diffused over a wide space the effect of numbers congregated on one particular spot was not produced; but they could not have amounted to less than from 60,000 to 70,000. Rochester and Chatham are considerable towns, and their population of course turned out to witness the spectacle. The inhabitants of the surrounding country were also present, and the resources of the railway and the river steamers proved quite unequal to the transit of the extraordinary numbers coming down from London. As might have been expected under such circumstances, the price of beds and flyhire rose to an unparalleled height. Those who know the position of the fortifications there will readily understand the facilities which they present, not only for carrying on siege operations, but, what is far more important to the sight-seeing public, for viewing them well. The programme informed you that certain positions were to be cannonaded, and on turning your eyes there you found it not occupied with soldiers and bristling with bayonets, but covered with a dense crowd of people in the homely garb of peaceful citizens. As they seemed to be perfectly at their ease, any uneasiness at their danger speedily gave way, and for the rest, though the expenditure of gunpowder was frightful, though the mines sprung were awlul, and though there could be no mistake about the "Mourir pour la patrie" spirit of the men engaged, it was very comforting to find that the bloodshed was not greater than at the great battles of some of the South American Republics, and that as the same staff of General officers passed freely to the one side or the other, there could not be a very hostile feeling between the besiegers and the besieged. The elite of the company present were accommodated with cards of admission to the Belvedere Battery and the Casemate No. 1, whence, upon the whole, the best view could be obtained of the operations. Amongst them were - Prince George of Cambridge, Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, the Duke of Leeds, the Earl of Cardigan, Viscount Canning, Viscount Newport, Viscount Cantilupe. Lord J. Murray, Admiral Elliott, Admiral Dundas and Lady Emily Dundas, Lord G. Fitzgerald, Mr. Hubert de Burgh, Colonel Lockyer Freestun. M.P., the Hon. W. Scarlett, the Earl of Darnley, the Hon. M. and Mr. D. Astley, Major- General Paslev, Mr. Grenfell, M.P., Mr. Moffatt, M.P., Mr. Ross, M.P., Sir W. Fraser, the Hon. F. Charteris, M.P., and the Hon. C. Hardinge. Lord F. Fitzelaience, the Hon. Captain Berkeley, M.P., the Hon. W. Fitzroy, M.P., and others accompanied the staff in the inspection of the operations.
Above any other place in the kingdom Chatham is admirably adapted for the purposes of such an exhibition as took place on Saturday. It contains a large garrison, being the great depot of our military establishment, and the head-quarters of troops on their way to or their return from the different parts of our colonial empire. The engineer and artillery departments of the service also have here their strongholds. The dock-yards employ 2,000 artisans. The naval force stationed at Sheerness is rendered easily available for such an occasion, and altogether, for the purposes of a sham siege the situation of Chatham has pre-eminent advantages.
To understand the operations of Saturday it must be supposed that an army, having originally captured the outer line of works, and carried on an attack upon the citadel (which is represented by the works extending from Prince Frederick's to the Terrace bastion), has been suddenly obliged to raise the siege for the purpose of giving battle to a force which had approached to the relief ot the place; and that the besiegers, having been victorious in this engagement, desired to renew the siege of the citadel. It is assumed, also, that during the absence of the besiegers the garrison have mined some of the batteries of the attack, have prepared countermines under the trenches, and are determined to resist any attempt to escalade the outer line. The first part consisted of an unsuccessful attempt to carry the right of Chatham Lines by escalade. The Lines in that direction were defended by a company of the Royal Artillery on the extreme right, the Provisional Battalion and Enrolled Pensioners in the centre, and a company of the Royal Sappers and Miners on the left, the whole lining the parapets from the Gun-wharf to the Spur. The flanks and salients were armed with ordnance, and manned by two companies of the Royal Artillery. So much for the force of the besieged. The assaulting columns, on the other hand, consisted of the 17th Regiment on the left, the Royal Marine Artillery and Royal Marines in the centre, and the Royal Sappers and Miners on the right. On the signal being given the three columns rushed forward simultaneously and with admirable precision. Skirmishers were thrown out, and the cover which the ground afforded used as far as practicable. The Sappers, advancing along the side of the hill, and sheltering themselves from the fire of the fortress, descended into the ditch, but were there pulled up by a hedge which they were unable to get through, and so, in hunting fashion, were obliged to put about. The Marines were equally unfortunate, the left wing being beaten by a high wall, and the right, after descending into the ditch, and scaling the opposite escarp so as to get a footing, being obliged by the vigorous resistance of the besieged to retire. The 17th Regiment also descended into the ditch, but there found that their scaling ladders were too short, and the opposition too strong for any chance of success, and so the 17th also withdrew. Within and without the lines nothing could be more praiseworthy than the manner in which the men went through their evolutions. They all went about their work as seriously as if the harmlessness of the contents of their cartouch-boxes was still a secret unknown to them, and they ran the greatest possible danger of being knocked over the next moment. It was quite comforting to see how carefully they sheltered their bodies within the ramparts, never showing till the instant they were about to fire, and then withdrawing again. Without the attacking columns exhibited the utmost daring; and it remains an even question between the divisions which distinguished themselves most on the occasion. An impervious hedge, a high wall, and short scaling ladders were the real causes of the retreat, and not the slightest taint rests upon the honour of the corps engaged. In fact, they seemed to court destruction, and how they escaped the deadly aims taken at them by the besieged was what no one present could perfectly understand. The details of this first operation were in all respects admirably performed, and excited general approbation.
The second portion of the day's proceedings was a far more elaborate one than the first, and consisted of a successful assault and escalade of the left of Chatham Lines, and in further operations leading to the reduction of the place. The garrison was formed of a squadron of cavalry, two companies of the Royal Artillery, one company of the Royal Sappers and Miners, four companies of the enrolled Pensioners, and tbe Provisional Battalion. The columns of the attack were the same as in the escalade of the right of the lines, with the addition of two companies of the Royal Artillery, and a small force posted in the island and the north side of St. Mary's Creek. A portion of the sailors and marines of the fleet also were employed in manning four gun-boats and in capturing Gillingham Tower and battery. The operations commenced with the formation of a pontoon bridge over Saint Mary's Creek, for the passage of troops from the island to the main, combined with a successful assault and escalade of the left of Chatham lines, and the occupation of the first parallel and its batteries, these operations being supported by the fire of artillery from the high ground near Burnt Oak Cottage, and by the fire from gun-boats in the Medway and Saint Mary's Creek. Of the entire proceedings this was, perhaps, the most striking. The great variety of military and naval operations combined in it, the immense numbers of spectators by this time assembled on the ground, and the admirable precision which characterised every movement of the troops, all contributed to the effect produced. Within the lines the besieged had been drawn up in expectation for some time before the attack commenced. Nothing was to be seen of the enemy unless the eye searched closely the distant landscape, when heads of each column might be distinguished cautiously peeping out, while the main body was covered by the nature of the land. At length, however, the signal was given. Gillingham Tower took up the firing; the different divisions debouched upon the open ground in front of the works, and having taken up positions in echellon therein, the skirmishers were quickly thrown out, aud the whole again moved forward, The garrison make a sortie, but ure beaten back, and, passing through the gateway of an interior stockade, are unable, from the rapidity ot the pursuit, to lift the draw, bridge. In the meantime, the firing becomes general from the attacking skirmishers, and a sortie is made by a squadron of cavalry from the Brompton barrier. The 17th forms a square and repulses the charge. The stockade at St. Mary's is breached with gunpowder, and the flank of the besieged being thus turned, they retire behind the parapets of the parallels. At the same moment the lines are escaladed, and the attacking columns, pouring in great numbers across the ditch, take up position on the banquette and terreplein of the works. Thence they gradually make their way to the first parallel, while the besieged retire behind the parapet of the second and occupy the fire barn. For the possession of this last point a struggle takes place. The troops on the island now cross the pontoon-bridge, and under cover of the sea-wall proceed to the right attack. Along zigzag approaches the attacking columns find their way to the second parallel, while the unfortunate besieged not only find the enemy gaining ground, but see their own cannon turned against them. The besiegers re-occupy the more advanced breaches, both of the left attack against the ravelin, and of the right attack against the redoubt and the Duke of Cumberland's front. The redoubt is breached by mines, and a lodgment formed on the breach. The right double sap, the serpentine sap, and the left double sap are blown up. The left of the lodgment at the foot of the counterguard of the left attack is also blown up, and a part of the advanced trenches of the besiegers on the right attack; the whole of the entonnoirs formed by these mines being successfully crowned by the sappers of the besiegers. The sieging operations concluded with the blowing up of the counterguard, and the breaching of the right face of the ravelin, as well as of the counterscarp and escarp of its left face by mines; the crowning of the entonnoirs, and the occupation of the lodgments, the breaching of the terrace bastion by mines, and the storming of that work, as well as the escalade of the Duke of Cumberland's bastion. During the whole period of the second and successful attack an almost continuous nnd rapid discharge of firearms was kept up by the troops, while the guns in the different batteries kept booming away in grand style. Now and then there was an awful pause, not that the work of destruction might cease, but that it might gather strength. In those pauses some immense mine was sure to explode with a dull heavy sound, tossing a huge volume of mingled smoke and earth into the air, and shaking the solid ground to a considerable distance. These formed the really dangerous feature of the operations, for where vast bodies of spectators are assembled together it is difficult to keep them in order, or to set bounds to their curiosity. One of the mines exploded contained 600lb. of powder, and so great was the desire to be near when this vast mass was ignited that there was the greatest difficulty in keeping the crowd within the proper limits. The only accident of a serious kind which occurred throughout the day arose from a body of marines having in the hurry of the attack placed themselves within a few feet of a mine just as it was about to be sprung. They were covered with mud and clods thrown up, and one poor fellow had his leg broken in the confusion which followed. The Marquis of Anglesea and several officers of the stuff were also very close to the mine at the moment, but experienced no personal harm.
At the close of the operations the troops returned to their barracks, their bands playing "God save the Queen." The spectators returned to their homes, profoundly impressed with the idea that they now know what siege operations really are, and that no pyrotechnic exaggeration can represent them half so formidable as they really are.
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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2012, 01:24:54 »
Possibly the first time the Lines were used for siege exercises:


Derby Mercury 28 Sept 1759

Yesterday the three regiments encamped at Brompton viz General Bockland's, Lord Robert Manner's, and Lord Loudon's were reviewed by Lord Ligonier accompanied by Generals Campell, Conway and Lord Effingham and many other officers After the review a mock fight was acted  when the works were assaulted and the besiegers made advances as far as the glacis but were at length  (by terrible fire from the ramparts) obliged to retreat and the garrison sallying out took their cannon and drove them into the woods and hedges but like generous English soldiers gave every man quarter for their was no loss on either side.
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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2012, 01:18:41 »
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 19 June 1849

CHATHAM.
Grand Review and Siege Operations. - On Thursday evening 100 men of all ranks of the Royal Sappers and Miners from Woolwich, landed at the Sun-pier, and were received by the brass band of the corps, which played them to the barracks at Brompton. This additional strength is for the purpose of assisting in the preparations making for a siege, which is to come off on Saturday, the 30th of this month. The works already in progress are upon a grand scale; the approaches for the cover of troops and batteries extend over some acres of ground, and the number of troops to be engaged will be about 3,000. Besides the troops of the garrison, the enrolled pensioners will take part in the field operations. The mining and countermining are progressing rapidly, as the whole strength of the Royal Suppers and Miners, consisting of 600 men, are working by reliefs daily. The troops which will take part in the attack and defence of the citadel will be the Royal Artillery, the 17th Regiment of Foot, the battalion of Royal Marines, the provisional battalion, the Royal Sappers and Miners, and those of the Hon East India Company, together with the cavalry from Maidstone, and it is rumoured that a battalion of Guards will take part in the movement of the day. To witness this grand military display, his Royal Highness Prince Albert will be present, also the Marquis of Anglesey, Master-General of the Ordnance; Major-General Sir John Burgoyne, Sir Robert Peel, Lord John Russell, and other members of the Government, as well as the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and a number of general officers, and the Directors of the East India Company. His Royal Highness will breakfast with Colonel Sir Frederick Smith, K.H., and the officers of the Royal Engineers, and every preparation is being made to receive the distinguished visitors. The siege operations will extend from the River Medway along the whole line of the fortifications to the termination of the battery facing the town of Chatham.
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Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2012, 17:29:05 »
Very interesting plans david. One thing that particularly caught my eye is the pentagonal defensive work on the two plans. If I am reading the plan correctly that would look to be about where the dragons teeth are in Medway road that have the planning application on them at the moment. Does anyone know what that structure was?  I notice the plan classes it as defensive rather than a work of attack, suggesting it might be an outwork (even just a temporary one) associated with the Lines.
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