THURSDAY, 16 JANUARY 2020: -The Terror Weapons of the 18th Century and Napoleonic War – Ian van Oordt
Britain and her Allies having lost Holland in 1795 were faced with the daunting task of containing France in Europe. Lord Auckland declared “At any rate, I thought and continue to think it expedient, and even essential, to pursue the war by unusual and extraordinary means” and later“that it is most essential to us to gain time and to try the effect of time”.
Adversity brings forth innovation. A number of new weapons were considered. Some already existed, were further developed, refined and used operationally. Others were so deadly that they were considered as “uncivilised warfare”;their inventors sworn to secrecy and the idea filed away to remain a state secret for more than 100 years. The weapons that were consideredare the forerunners of today’s modern terror weapons. Some like thetrip mines, gas and chemical warfare were developed and used in the trenches of the First World War,and others like Germany’s “wonder weapons” were used in Second World War. Lastly, one is used in today’s modern bacterial warfare.
Fellow member Ian van Oordt has presented a number of talks to the Society over the last few years on his favourite period in history, French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.The talk is based on his research into actual archival documents of the period.
Carl Burger (Chairman)
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