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Evolution of Warfare The American Revolution 1775-1783 MOI.

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Presentation on theme: "Evolution of Warfare The American Revolution 1775-1783 MOI."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evolution of Warfare The American Revolution MOI

2 Learning Objectives l Contrast/compare the expressions “strategy of attrition” and “partisan warfare,” and apply them to the American Revolution l Discuss British and American strategy and objectives, and note how they changed during the course of the American Revolution l Contrast the Continental Army with the professional armies of the 18th century and show how this difference dictated Washington’s strategy l Explain how French intervention tipped the balance in favor of America in the War for Independence


4 Causes l Two causes Taxation Quartering of troops to defend against Indian forays after expulsion of French British felt colonists should pay Acts of Trade & Navigation ignored(smuggling) Stamp Act, Revenue Act, Quartering Act “No Taxation, without Representation!”

5 Causes l Real causes Colonists had intellectual differences with British government (king vs. parliament) Colonists had spirit of self-independence brought about by frontier life Colonists believed in democratic form of government vice oligarchy

6 Other factors l Colonist goals distinct from mother country l British victory in French/Indian War freed colonists of need for protection from French l British move to tighten imperial control (station 10,000 soldiers along American colonist expense)

7 Definition of Terms l Attrition - gradual weakening l Partisan - “irregular” troops l Guerilla warfare - “irregular” troops fighting small-scale, limited actions against larger orthodox military forces

8 Application of Terms l Strategy of Attrition - adopted by Washington due to economy long lines of communication English enemies in Europe (need to protect homeland) popular support in England for colonies (prospect of long war might cause England to abandon cause) l Down side - division in colonies

9 Application of Terms l Partisan Warfare local militias supported nucleus of continental soldiers tactics well suited to means and background (Cowpens is classic example) Irregular troops- citizen soldiers

10 American Strategy and Objectives l Population - 1/3 rebel, 1/3 loyalist, 1/3 indifferent. l Loyalists provided more support to England than rebels provided to Continental Army l Two wars - foreign war against major European power & civil war l Strategic defensive for most of war

11 Lexington & Bunker Hill l Lexington gave impetus to siege of Boston & battle of Bunker Hill l Bunker Hill affected military policy: convinced that regular military was unnecessary Gen Howe henceforth failed to press victories The battle served to prove to the American people that the British Army was not invincible. It became a symbol of national pride and a rally point of resistance against British rule.

12 Concord and Lexington l Concord Col Barrett on the North Bridge 3 companies of minutemen and one alarm company under Prescott l British opened fire on the approaching rebels British won initial battle but a 16 mile gauntlet was formed by militia Broke the British discipline Ruthless on both sides l Losses: British: 273 Rebels: 93

13 Battles l Concord and Lexington Apr 1775 Paul Revere “ One if by land, two if by sea” Left at 2200 at night l Lexington Rebels tried to leave and were fired upon, did not lay down weapons Capt Jonas Parker and 7 others killed One British soldier wounded

14 Battles Entire population was under arms and fought the British (Lord Percy) back to Boston British lost 259 men l Militia Proved its value Result was that Gage was not surrounded on Boston Continental Congress formed the “Army of the United Colonies under Washington Benedict Arnold Emerged

15 Battles l Bunker Hill British – Gage wanted the rebels off the hill (Bunker and Breeds) Ordered Howe to take Bunker Hill Howe attacked Breed’s hill twice without success and finally a third time and was successful (rebels out of ammo) l Cost: British 1,054 Rebels 441 Very heavy % for both


17 General Washington l After Bunker Hill he was forced to change to more Fabian Tactics by avoiding battle whenever he could.

18 Battles l Saratoga Campaign Ticonderoga LtCol St. Clair 2500 plus 900 militia Burgoyne for the British with a force of British, Germans and Jagers British landed and occupied the high ground St Clair withdrew to Saratoga

19 Battles l Saratoga Campaign 1 st Battle 19 Sept 77 Gates holds strong but with German reinforcements Burgoyne defeats him 2 nd Battle 7 Oct 77 Arnold rallies the Americans to victory Burgoyne surrenders on 17 Oct 77



22 Saratoga l Turning point in revolution l British now held only N.Y. City, Part of R.I., & Philadelphia l France recognized U.S. & signed treaty of alliance (1778) l France & colonies now more aggressive

23 Southern Campaign l Gen Greene - war of maneuver against Cornwallis marched and counter-marched against main armies used partisan bands under Lee, Pickens, Sumter, & Marion to harass flanks, cut off supplies, attack posts & put down loyalist aid

24 Southern Campaign l Intentionally violated principle of mass: Divided forces could live off land More rallying points for local militia Tempted Cornwallis to split his force Sacrificed mass for maneuver l Combination of regular and Guerilla warfare speedily reduced British occupation

25 British Strategy and Objectives l British Ministry Plan: Occupy territory to break up union of patriots Blockade coast to prevent re-supply from sea Destroy organized armies Suppress Guerilla warfare

26 British Strategy and Objectives l Plan actually carried out: Make N.Y. City headquarters (occupy) Secure from NYC to Hudson Valley to Canada Cut off New England - hotbed of sedition and source of supplies, ideas, encouragement & reinforcements l Actually only held one port (Newport) in New England

27 British Strategy and Objectives l South of NY the line was Chesapeake Bay l Strong positions in Maryland and Virginia. l Attempt to isolate the middle from the south and prevent communication. l Controlling the south: Occupy Charleston and 2 or 3 points along the Santee River in SC.

28 British Strategy and Objectives l Advantage: Royal Navy - freedom of maneuver along coastal strip l Disadvantage: no critical point to maneuver against along coast, unable to physically control all the territory

29 British Strategy and Objectives l Economic warfare Blockade Counterfeiting ruining value of continental money making own purchases with Gold

30 British Force l Classic 18th century European Army Linear tactics Well-trained soldiers l Loyalty & dedication suspect in England Sympathy for colonists Hessians (mercenaries) employed

31 American Force l Most home for local defense - few forces for continental army l Prior to von Steuben - little discipline Steuben served under Frederick Made I.G. of Washington’s Army Streamlined musket loading & uniformity Standardized training - speed and tactics Discipline instilled

32 American Force l Used rifle more than British Most useful in Guerilla actions Of great value in wooded areas slow rate of fire lack of bayonet inferior to musket for open-field fighting

33 Battles l Cowpens 1/17/81 Great American Victory Turning Point? Changed the psychology of the war Morgan against Tarleton l Americans Camped at Cowpens between two small hill tops Motivated by Morgan at night by the campfires

34 American Force l Cowpens (Jan, 1781) Numerically equal forces, but Americans were 3/4 militia Continental infantry on hill, leaving flanks open Militia riflemen in front 1st line fires two volleys, falls back combined line fires until British presses Then fall back to rear & become reserve

35 Battles l British Attacked head on with Dragoons (British Calvary) on the flanks and artillery in the center Thought it would be an easy victory and that the Americans would flee quickly.


37 Battles l Americans Anticipated Tarleton’s tactics Formed in three lines Sharpshooters out front behind trees Andrew Pickens Militia 150 yds back Two volleys and fall back Howard’s Continentals 150 yds back


39 Battles l Cowpens: Actions in the field Sharpshooters picked off many British Officers and Dragoons Dragoons retreated and the sharpshooter fell back to the 2 nd line 2 nd line got off two volleys and fell back to the 3 rd line but were caught by a second charge of the Dragoons William Washington’s Patriot Cavalry came out of nowhere to join the battle and routed the British Dragoons

40 Battles l Cowpens: Actions in the field Infantry on both sides continued to fire volley after volley British advanced at a trot Morgan rallied the Americans British 71 st Highlanders came from the reserve and charged the American line Howard on the right flank ordered his units to face slightly right and face the charge. Order was confused as to retreat. Americans started falling back

41 Battles l Cowpens: Actions in the field Morgan confronted Howard and turned the retreating forces around. The British thought the Americans were in retreat and had broken ranks to pursue. The Americans turned and delivered devastating volleys into the British forces. American conducted a fierce bayonet charge and broke the British lines. American forces then conducted a double envelopment of the British British Infantry surrendered

42 Battles l Cowpens: Actions in the field Tarleton fled and dueled William Washington. Made it to Cornwalis’ camp to tell him of the news l 1 hour battle l 110 KIA, 200 WIA 500 POW for the British l 12 KIA, 60 WIA for the Americans

43 Impact of French l French anxious to regain international position l Helped in three other significant ways: Loans Use of French ports for American privateers Protected American vessels near French Waters

44 Judging English Failure l Initial plan could have worked Didn’t act with resolution hoping for conciliatory measures Adequate forces never provided l British didn’t use strategic initiative to advantage l No Unity of Command l No defined objective l Lord Germain directed to much from England: Lacked timeliness, knowledge and may have been incompetent

45 Impact “well regulated” militia Trained and organized under a uniform system in all states and could be called into national service balanced rights with obligated military service impact of “peoples army” fighting for cause vice professional army new concept of total war for total victory (conscription/draft)

46 Impact l Changed tactics Rifle increased range improved accuracy made linear tactics difficult British adopted American tactics skirmishes cover concealment

47 Weapons of the War. Flintlock musket and pistol

48 Weapons of the War l Rifles were used more in the south and during guerilla type operations for accuracy. l Took too long to reload for the battle field. l Could not use bayonet American long Rifle

49 Weapons of the War l Musket balls were undersized for quick reloading l Bayonets were mounted on them l Paper cartridges l NO sights l Used volleys to compensate for the inaccurate muskets l French provided most of them

50 Weapons of the War Artillery

51 Weapons of the War l Cannons were smoothbore muzzle loaded l 3, 4, 6 pounders mounted on wooded carriages l Up to 800 yds. range

52 Weapons of the War Saber

53 DISCUSSION l Political, social, economic aspects of American Revolution l Weapons development during this period l Difference between attrition and partisan warfare.

54 MOOSEMUSS Mass Objective Offensive Surprise Economy of Force Maneuver Unity of Command Security Simplicity

55 Any Questions ?

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