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The Storming of the Taku Forts

Battle Name : The Storming of the Taku Forts

Date(s) : 25 June 1859 - 26 June 1859

Part of : British Victorian Colonial 'Small Wars' , The Second Anglo-China War ,

Outcome : A victory for Chinese Imperial Forces over Anglo-French Colonial force

Type of battle : Land, Sea


A force of British gunboats accompanying the British and French ambasadors to China attempted to push up the Pei Ho river with a mixed British/French party of soldiers and marines, to enter Peking and force the Chinese Emperor to submit to terms. They came up against the heavily defended Taku Forts at the mouth of the river and began a long canon duel, with the well-served forts guns and failed to penetrate the lines of iron spikes and chains protecting the river mouth. Four of the eleven gunboats were sunk with a further two being disabled. On the evening of the 26th, a party of British and French sailors, marines and sappers was put ashore to storm the south fort, but it was low tide and they found themselves wading through the thick river mud. The fort erupted in flame as they tried to attack, with musket-ball, grape-shot and rockets taking their toll. The survivors were taken off by boat back to the fleet.

This crushing defeat was revenged a year later (see other entry).


Taku forts, at the mouth of the Pei Ho river in the gulf of Pe Chi Li, China. (China)