Run Them Ashore
This is the fifth story in the series and begins a month or so after All in Scarlet Uniform. Williams, Hanley, Pringle and the two sergeants find themselves sent by sea to the Andalusian coast to meet with bands of partisans. They see for themselves something of the guerrilla - 'the little war' - fought between French garrisons and flying columns and the irregulars. Very different to the battles between the big armies, these are small, but bitter struggles with no quarter given on either side. While the others are on shore, Williams serves with the Royal Navy in a hard-fought cutting out operation. Later he will join the partisans and find his notions of honour tested to the limit.
Together the redcoats encounter the flamboyant Major Sinclair, the partisan leader El Blanco, whose wife and sister-in-law ride and fight alongside his men. There are also old friends, old flames, and old enemies who have followed them south. Back in Cadiz, Hanley confers with the head of Naval intelligence as they try to support the guerrilleros and keep the flame of Spanish resistance burning. Able to carry troops by sea, the British and Spanish launch two raids on the coastline. The officers and men of the 106th Foot find themselves caught up in the landing at Fuengirola and then at the desperate Battle of Barrosa.
This time the title Run them ashore comes from the famous song 'Heart of Oak' and is a tribute to the often forgotten role of the Navy in making it possible for the British army to fight - and ultimately to win - the war in Spain and Portugal. Its setting is in one of the less well known theatres of operation in the south.
|© Adrian Goldsworthy 2009|