The Islands Of Texel Are Witness To The Only Navy Defeat On Horseback

Grace Higgins | May 28th, 2020

Texel is an island located in North Holland in the Netherlands, it is the largest island of the West Frisians Islands found in the Wadden Sea. The island is due north of Den Helder which is also known as Razende Bol. It is an interesting island historically because it has seen so many military wars and battles happen on it. Usually due to invasions of the Netherlands, or when the Netherlands was freeing itself from conquerors.

Texel was created during the All Saints Flood of 1170 which formed the islands which are now seen as North-Holland. It was first involved in a major conflict in 1653 during the Battle of Scheveningen which was the first naval battle during the First Anglo-Dutch War. This was between the fleet of the Commonwealth of England and the United Provinces. It also witnessed one of the major naval battles of all time during the Battle of Texel in 1673 which happened during the Third Anglo-Dutch War.

However, the most famous military operation to happen in Texel is the only ever time a navy was defeated on horseback. The French were occupying Holland during the winter of 1795 and their continental army found out that the Dutch navy was stuck on the ice. The sea had frozen and their navy was stuck in a perilous position. Commandant Louis Joseph Lazure simply rode up with 128 men across the ice. He demanded that the navy surrender and defeated a whole navy without a single shot being fired.

Another famous story to happen around the Texel island was the sinking of HMS Lutine, which was a British frigate that reportedly was filled with gold. The boat sank during a massive storm in 1799 and despite many well-financed searches they never located much of the treasure. One silver bar was found and is displayed in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.

Throughout history Texel has been used for military operations, it was part of the American Revolution, the Battle of Camperdown, and saw several British and German destroyers fighting during World War I and II. But none of the stories are as infamous as the French cavalry that took down the Dutch navy.

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