The War of the Grand Alliance is one of the less familiar of Europe’s major wars, despite lasting for a decade and involved most of western Europe’s main powers. In Britain the Glorious Revolution and the first of the Jacobite wars are better known,
We get an explanation of the causes of the War of the Grand Alliance, a decent account of the Glorious Revolution, and a fairly lengthy chronology of the War of the Grand Alliance,
We then move onto a chapter on Armies in Britain, a reminder that during this period the English, Scottish and Irish armies were separate organisations. This section also includes William III’s invasion force, his reformed British armies and James II’s Jacobite armies.
The section on the English Army helps explain some of the hostility to James II, who having inherited a fairly small army promptly expanded it rapidly. He achieved the same in Ireland by expelling any Protestant officers from the Irish Regiment of Foot.
We then move onto Louis XIV’s massive French army, a dramatic contrast to the rather chaotic and undermanned armies in Britain. James II had inherited a force of 8,800 men in England, at a time when Louis XIV had almost 300,000 men under arms! This was the largest of the armies involved, but many of the other forces were also much bigger than the various British armies.
The chapters on the individual armies include sections on the organisation of each force, in some cases how that changed during the period, and where possible a list of the units – this wouldn’t work for the French, with 126 infantry and 102 cavalry regiments in 1690-91, but is fine for smaller powers.
This is a useful guide to the armies of the War of the Grand Alliance, although given the size of the topic not a detailed reference – that would need much more space!
The ‘Glorious’ Revolution
Chronology of the ‘Glorious’ Revolution
Armies in Britain
The French Army
The Spanish Army
The Imperial Army
The Dutch army
The Savoyard Army
Author: Gabriele Esposito