Greatest British Battle?
In preparation for an upcoming exhibition, Britain’s National Army Museum is sponsoring a competition to declare “Britain’s Greatest Battle” (actually, the top five). As the website describes:
“The shortlisted battles were selected not simply for being great British victories. Their inclusion took into consideration the political, historical and cultural impact, the difficulties and challenges the Army overcame, and the innovative deployment of strategy and tactics. The choice of battles also reflects the global reach of the British Army and recognises the vital contributions of Commonwealth troops.
Britain’s Greatest Battles aims to highlight the most notable clashes the British Army has seen, as well as draw attention to some of the lesser-known ones. It takes into account all kinds of ‘battles’, including sieges, campaigns, last stands and charges.”
Several notable early modern battles are included (Naseby, Blenheim, Culloden), as well as colonial clashes (Plassey, Quebec, Lexington and Concord). No early modern sieges mentioned, but the British weren’t particularly proud of their siege service at the time (see Christopher Atkinson, “Marlborough’s Sieges,” The Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, 13 (1935): 195-205).
I’m not going to tell you how to vote, but we really should get some of those early modern examples in the top five.
Thoughts on the NAM’s definition of “great”? Maybe you have your own early modern write-in candidates?