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RMD

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Mar 9 11 11:01 AM

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As some of you know, Martn Small and I have been working on a game based on the French landings at Fishguard, west Wales, in 1797. Indeed, a couple of scenarios will be appearing as 'extras' in the forthcoming British Grenadier Scenario Book #3. We've finally gotten around to photographing a few units:

Here are the French - La Seconde Legion Des Francs, otherwise known as 'La Legion Noire' ('The Black Legion'):

The Black Legion, commanded by the Irish-American Chef de Brigade William S Tate, comprised some 1,200-1,400 men, organised into two battalions, each of five Chasseur Companies and one Grenadier Company. The vast majority of these were impressed (unimpressed?) scum and jail-scrapings, along with Vendeean turncoats. However, around 600 were half-decent Revolutionary volunteers. The two grenadier companies seem to have been the most effective forces available to Tate and he formed them into a small elite 'battalion', which very nearly succeeded in ambushing Lord Cawdor's British column in the narrow lanes of the Pencaer.

The massed Grenadiers of the Black Legion wait for the British column:

[URL=http://img571.imageshack.us/i/fishguard21.jpg/]image[/URL]

Uniforms were British red coats captured from Vendeean rebels at Quiberon Bay, then re-dyed 'black', which actually came out as a rusty brown. The coats were then re-cut to French light infantry pattern. Facing colours are not recorded, but the 1er Legion kept the sky blue facings and trimmings of the original British-supplied coats, so it is presumed that the 2e Legion did likewise.

[URL=http://img638.imageshack.us/i/fishguard20.jpg/]image[/URL]

Sky blue breeches are recorded for the 1er Legion, along with red waistcoats - again, captured from the Vendeeans. Belts are recorded as white, though descriptions of prisoners at Fishguard suggest black. 'Leather caps with falling horsehair manes' and 'Redundant cavalry helmets' (possibly the same thing?) are described as being worn by the prisoners at Fishguard, which you will see being worn our Chasseurs - we freely admit to using artistic licence in giving our grenadiers bearskins! We invite critics to disprove this!

[URL=http://img836.imageshack.us/i/fishguard22.jpg/]image[/URL]

This is one of the Chasseur companies. Note the mix of caps and hats. Some men have green fringed epaulettes - recorded for the 1er Legion:

[URL=http://img641.imageshack.us/i/dscf5338j.jpg/]image[/URL]

All figures are Victrix plastic French Napoleonics. All conversions are by Martin.

Of course this is how they all ended up:

[URL=http://img21.imageshack.us/i/fishguard19.jpg/]image[/URL]

'Jemima Fawr' ('Great' or 'Big' Jemima) brings in a few prisoners:

[URL=http://img576.imageshack.us/i/fishguard1.jpg/]image[/URL]

Jemima Nicholas was the heroine of the hour - she was a massively-built cobbler from Fishguard, in excess of six feet tall and 20 stones in weight, who went out hunting for Frenchmen. Only the week before, she had broken up a bar-fight single-handed! She returned with 12 prisoners and then went out for more...

Jemima was converted by Martin from a Redoubt figure. The prisoners are Victrix conversions.
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RMD

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#1 [url]

Mar 9 11 12:04 PM

We move on to the British:

On the afternoon of 22 February 1797, Commodore Castagnier, commanding the French invasion flotilla, ordered the lugger 'Vautour' to recce the intended landing site on Goodwick Sands, within Fishguard Bay.

However, the French were unaware that the British had built a fort there since the successful American privateer raid of 1779 and the three invalid gunners stationed there were not fooled by the Vautour's false colours (they had possibly been tipped off, as the flotilla had already been spotted in the Bristol Channel and at St David's Head). Having only three rounds of ammunition, but sixteen bagged powder charges, the gunners decided to fire only a blank warning shot, which would have the effect of alerting the Fishguard & Newport Volunteer Infantry to the threat.

Alerted, the Vautour turned about and sailed back out of the bay. The Fishguard & Newport Volunteers meanwhile came running:

[URL=http://img88.imageshack.us/i/fishguard7.jpg/]image[/URL]

The Volunteers, commanded by the young Lt Col Thomas Knox, numbered some 270 men, who were grouped into two divisions, each of two companies - one division each for the towns of Fishguard and Newport. Note that most accounts wrongly describe these men as 'Fencibles'. They were Volunteers, not Fencibles. Fencibles were full-time, regular troops, raised for service within the British Isles. Volunteers were part-timers who served within their own locality. The Pembrokeshire Regiment of Fencible Light Dragoons was at this time engaged in Ireland. Despite what most accounts claim, no Fencible regiments were directly involved in the Fishguard invasion. However, the New Romney Fencible Light Dragoons did conduct an impressive forced-march from Worcester when they received the alert, and took control of the French officer prisoners at Carmarthen some days later.

Uniform of the Fishguard & Newport Volunteers was described as a 'striped' (i.e. laced) cut-down coat, worn with a slouched hat, turned up on the left with a leek (!) worn as a plume and a white strip of cloth bearing the Prince of Wales' motto 'Ich Dien' (German for 'I Serve') worn in front of the black cockade. A surviving officers uniform shows white facings, no lapels, silver lace, red waistocat and light infantry details.

[URL=http://img713.imageshack.us/i/scoat1.jpg/]image[/URL]

[URL=http://img135.imageshack.us/i/scoat2.jpg/]image[/URL]

[URL=http://img12.imageshack.us/i/fishguard15.jpg/]image[/URL]

Figures are Perry AWI British Infantry in cut-down coats and slouch-hats. It was an easy job to paint their neckstocks to resemble standing collars and their gaiter-trousers to resemble breeches with knee-length gaiters. I also painted on the shoulder-wings (with zig-zag lace, like the surviving uniform). I think the fanciful description of leeks is unlikely, as breaking out a fresh leek for every parade seems somewhat wasteful! Consequently, I've elected to give them leek-like green-over-white plumes.

[URL=http://img812.imageshack.us/i/fishguard16.jpg/]image[/URL]

The colours are also entirely conjectural - there is absolutely no evidence for them having received flags, but that does not mean that they did not have any. Volunteer corps elsewhere are frequently recorded as having their own flags - either of regulation design or of their own pattern. The Pembroke Yeomanry had guidons for each troop, so it is entirely likely that the Fishguard & Newport Volunteers had their own flags - possibly even for each company or town division. The flags here are modified AWI flags by GMB Designs, with devices repainted by me.

[URL=http://img696.imageshack.us/i/fishguard17.jpg/]image[/URL]

The flag design is based on a surviving Regimental Colour of the Pembrokeshire Fuzileers Militia, c.1809, hanging in St Mary's Church, Haverfordwest.

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RMD

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#2 [url]

Mar 9 11 12:30 PM

The next military units to react were those of the Royal Navy and Customs Service. The Revenue Cutter 'Diligence' had been pursued by Castagnier's flotilla for a time, but had managed to evade pursuit in the dangerous reefs around St David's Head. Racing to Milford Haven, Lt Dobbins managed to raise the alarm, spurring Captain Stephen Longcroft (Regulating Captain of Milford Haven & Haverfordwest) into action. While messengers were sent out to raise the alarm, Longcroft ordered the crew of the cutter Speedwell to dismount their guns (eight long 9-pounders) and to load them into commandeered hay-carts and bring them to Haverfordwest. The crews of a number of small naval vessels, as well as the local press-gangs were then formed into an armed column of some 140 men and ordered to march immediately for Haverfordwest.

Upon arrival at Haverfordwest, five of the guns were ordered to be mounted on Haverfordwest Castle, while the remaining three guns joined the march north to Fishguard. Here we see Longcroft supervising the dismounting of the guns. Note that the sailors would also take timber and tackle ashore to establish good firing-platforms for their naval guns:

[URL=http://img684.imageshack.us/i/fishguard2.jpg/]image[/URL]

The guns are by Redoubt Miniatures. Martin converted the gun-crew from Perry plastic ACW infantry and Victrix plastic Napoleonic French infantry.

Captain Stephen Longcroft RN:

[URL=http://img808.imageshack.us/i/dscf5356v.jpg/]image[/URL]

Longcroft is a converted Perry plastic French Hussar, while his friends are converted Perry plastic ACW, with a single Foundry AWI figure.

The Royal Navy crews and press-gangs form up to fight as infantry:

[URL=http://img716.imageshack.us/i/dscf5357t.jpg/]image[/URL]

The figures here are all Perry plastic ACW converted and painted by Martin.

The Royal Navy round up a prisoner:

[URL=http://img848.imageshack.us/i/fishguard3.jpg/]image[/URL]

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#5 [url]

Mar 9 11 12:55 PM

The next group to start marching to Fishguard were the rest of the county's Army units:

After the Diligence arrived in Milford, the alarm was spread far and wide, but primarily to the Lord Lieutenant for Haverfordwest and Pembrokeshire; Lord Milford, at Picton Castle, near Narberth. The gouty Lord Milford was nominally Commanding Officer of the Pembroke Yeomanry Cavalry - a volunteer 'regiment' comprising two troops of light dragoons; one troop (the Dungleddy Troop) based at Picton Castle, under the direct command of Lord Milford and the other (the Castlemartin Troop) based in the south-west of the county, at Stackpole Court, under the command of Lord Cawdor. Milford at once sent word to Cawdor to march with all haste and to assume command of the Pembroke Volunteer Infantry and the detachment of the Cardiganshire Militia guarding Pembroke Prison, and to bring the combined force at once to Haverfordwest.

By sheer luck, Cawdor's Castlemartin Troop was already formed and ready to march to Haverfordwest for a funeral that was to have been held there the following day and as a result, the Castlemartin Troop, along with the Pembroke Volunteers and Cardiganshire Militia, were in Haverfordwest by dawn of the 23rd. History does not record what happened to the Dungleddy Troop...

[URL=http://img13.imageshack.us/i/fishguard10.jpg/]image[/URL]

Uniform for the Pembroke Yeomanry was a standard Light Dragoon uniform of dark blue dolman, white breeches and tarleton helmet. The dolman had pale buff facings with white lace (silver lace for officers). The helmet had a black turban, wound with silver chains, and a white-over-red plume on the left side.

[URL=http://img695.imageshack.us/i/fishguard8.jpg/]image[/URL]

A surviving guidon from 1803 is sky blue, with silver fringed edging and painted design of Prince of Wales' Feathers and the title 'Loyal Pembroke Yeomanry', with a small red oval, bearing the troop name. Trumpeters details are not known, but in 1815 they were wearing a regular dark blue dolman and an all-red plume on the helmet, which is what I have painted. It is possible that they may have worn reversed colours or some other colour in the 1790s.

[URL=http://img688.imageshack.us/i/fishguard11.jpg/]image[/URL]

Figures are all Perry plastic French Hussars, converted by Martin and painted by me.

[URL=http://img716.imageshack.us/i/fishguard9.jpg/]image[/URL]

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RMD

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#6 [url]

Mar 9 11 12:58 PM

janbruinen wrote:
PS,
forgot to ask.
You are using company strength for units; do you use GdB for the refight


Actually, we're using British Grenadier! The reason for this is that it seems to be better suited than GdB, as it reflects the difficulties of fighting in the horrible terrain you find in Wales (as well as North America!).

Ratio is 1:5, which allows all the contingents to be represented. I'll stick the orbat up in a minute.

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#7 [url]

Mar 9 11 1:19 PM

Along with Lord Cawdor's column were 100 men of Captain James Ackland's Pembroke Volunteer Infantry and another 100 of Lt Edward Cole's detachment from the Cardiganshire Militia.

[URL=http://img560.imageshack.us/i/fishguard14.jpg/]image[/URL]

It's anyone's guess as to how the Pembroke Volunteers were uniformed, as no records have been uncovered regarding dress and equipment. A list of their officers exists, as does a comment in a document that they were originally formed as four volunteer companies of the Pembrokeshire Militia, including two of light infantry. Consequently, we have given them the distinctions of the Pembrokeshire Militia for this period - 'Bright Blue' facings, with lace buttonholes arranged in pairs and gold officers lace.

I used Redoubt's British Infantry in Round Hats from their 'Wellington in India' range. However, they are rather huge when placed next to Perry and Victrix figures and the recently-released Knuckleduster Miniatures 'Lower Canada Militia' would have been a somewhat better match, but annoyingly didn't exist when I painted these.

I should point out that the closed, Austrian' style jacket depicted here wasn't in service with the regular Army by February 1797 (it came into service later that year). However, several Volunteer Corps were already wearing very similar garments, so I feel justified. I also like the look of the round-hats - the crested round-hat was very fashionable at the time and was a very common feature of Volunteer dress in the late 1790s.

The flags are repainted GMB Designs AWI flags and the design is entirely from my own imagination, though loosely based on those of the 23rd Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers).

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RMD

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#8 [url]

Mar 9 11 1:35 PM

Ironically, the Pembrokeshire Militia, which was meant to defend the county against this sort of thing, was not present in the county at the time of the French landings. They were instead manning a fort near Harwich, on the east coast of England! The Carmarthenshire Militia was oop north in Cumberland, where it had relieved the Cardiganshire Militia in 1796. The Cardiganshire Militia meanwhile, had just arrived back in west Wales and was on 'down time', training the next batch of Militia conscripts. The only formed element of Militia anywhere in west Wales was therefore Lt Cole's detachment of Cardiganshire Militia, who were guarding French and Spanish PoWs in Pembroke.

However, Lt Col John Colby, Commanding Officer of the Pembrokeshire Militia, had just returned to the county. Pitt's 'Supplementary Militia Act' meant that there was a large number of new recruits for the Pembrokeshire Militia waiting for training and Lt Col Colby had therefore returned with a small training cadre to give those men basic training.

When the invasion came, the energetic Colby, along with his aide, the Honourable Captain Edwardes, galloped through the night to conduct a personal reconnaissance and to meet with Knox at Fishguard. He then galloped back to Haverfordwest and there joined the column that was assembling there. Despite being the senior Army officer present, Colby deferred to Lord Cawdor - this being a classic moment of social rank trumping military rank! Colby was placed in command of the Pembroke Volunteers and Cardiganshire Militia.

[URL=http://img826.imageshack.us/i/fishguard12.jpg/]image[/URL]

I've used a pair of officers from Redoubt's 'Wellington in India' range for Colby and Edwardes. Again, they're a bit bigger than their Perry comrades and Edwardes in particular is HUGE! As mentioned, the uniform of the Pembrokeshire Militia was a red coat with 'bright blue' facings and gold lace for officers, with buttons arranged in pairs.

Edwardes is not recorded on the Army List or the List of Officers of Militia, Yeomanry, etc, so I'm not absolutely certain as to which regiment he belonged to. The only records for him are descriptions of a boorish, teenage drunk in 1796 (when Lord Milford had to reprimand him and take him under his wing) and from later, when he succeeded his father as Baron Kensington and became an unpopular MP for Haverfodwest (later beaten by a certain Sir Thomas Picton). However, as he is recorded as Colby's aide, it does seem likely that he was at least given an acting commission in the Pembrokeshire Militia, so I've depicted him as such.

Pictured alongside them is Major John Adams of the Pembroke Yeomanry, a close friend and aide of Lord Cawdor.

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#9 [url]

Mar 9 11 1:40 PM

British Order of Battle
C-in-C: Lieutenant Colonel John Campbell, Lord Cawdor, Pembroke Yeomanry Cavalry [Average]

ADC: Captain William Davies of Coombe (ex 38th Foot)
ADC: Major John Adams (Pembroke Yeomanry)

Directly Under Lord Cawdors Command
Castlemartin Troop, Pembroke Yeomanry Cavalry - Major Dudley Ackland 9 Figures Militia

Fishguard and Newport Volunteer Infantry - Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Knox [Average]
Fishguard Division Captain Essex Bowen 20 Figures Militia
Newport Division Major William Bowen 12 Figures Militia
Skirmishers Captain Thomas Nisbett (ex 5th Foot) 8 Figures Militia

Militia & Volunteers Lieutenant Colonel John Colby, Pembrokeshire Militia [Average]
Cardiganshire Militia Lieutenant-Adjutant Edward L Cole 20 Figures 2nd Line
Pembroke Volunteer Infantry Captain James Ackland 20 Figures Militia
Local Volunteer Auxiliaries 18 Figures Levy

Royal Naval Party Captain Stephen Longcroft [Average]
Royal Navy Crews & Press-Gangs Lieutenant William Dobbins 20 Figures Line
Royal Navy Skirmishers Lieutenant Hopkins 6 Figures Line
Royal Navy Artillery (9 pdrs) Lieutenant Meakes 2 Guns Line

Solva & St Davids Volunteers (Optional) Mr Henry Whiteside [Poor]
Solva Volunteers (Skirmishers) 6 Figures Militia
St Davids Volunteers (Skirmishers) 6 Figures Militia

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#10 [url]

Mar 9 11 1:45 PM

French Order of Battle

La Seconde Lgion des Francs (La Lgion Noire)
C-in-C: Chef de Brigade William S Tate [Poor]

ADC: Lieutenant Franaise LHanhard
ADC: Lieutenant Nicolaus Faucon

1er Bataillon, 2e Lgion des Francs Chef de Bataillon Jacques-Phillippe Le Brun [Average]
1er Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Auguste Marie Didier 20 Figures Militia
2e Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Pierre Bertrand 20 Figures Militia
3e Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Louis Garde 20 Figures Levy
4e Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Nicolas Tyrell 20 Figures Levy
5e Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Pierre Paul Gilsero 20 Figures Levy
Compagnie des Grenadiers Capitaine Jacques Eustache 20 Figures 2nd Line

2e Bataillon, 2e Lgion des Francs Chef de Bataillon Jean-Joseph Larose [Average]
1er Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Robert Morrison 20 Figures Militia
2e Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Louis Verneueil 20 Figures Militia
3e Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Francois Gambart Larnelle 20 Figures Levy
4e Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Jean Baptiste Charmerlot 20 Figures Levy
5e Compagnie des Chasseurs Capitaine Charles August Tanerel 20 Figures Levy
Compagnie des Grenadiers Lieutenant Barry St Leger 20 Figures 2nd Line

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#11 [url]

Mar 9 11 7:17 PM

Very impressive. What you havn't mentioned (perhaps you havn't finished the article yet) the Pembroke Yeomanry was awarded the only Battle Honour for fighting on British soil, "Fishguard". They still exist as 224 (Pembroke Yeomanry) Transport Squadron RLC(V).

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RMD

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#13 [url]

Mar 9 11 10:40 PM

lcplcombat wrote:
Very impressive. What you havn't mentioned (perhaps you havn't finished the article yet) the Pembroke Yeomanry was awarded the only Battle Honour for fighting on British soil, "Fishguard". They still exist as 224 (Pembroke Yeomanry) Transport Squadron RLC(V).


Don't worry, it is mentioned in the opening paragraph of the full-fat scenario. A wargaming mate of ours is a Major in 224 (PY) Sqn.

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#14 [url]

Mar 9 11 10:46 PM

Paul Marsh wrote:
Excellent stuff chaps.

This almost is the AWI really coming to deepest, darkest Wales.

Regards
Paul


There are quite a few AWI links in the story - Lt Col Knox was the son of the former Secretary of State for the American Colonies. Knox Senior had bought up some estates for a quiet life in Pembrokeshire when he became redundant in 1782, but in turn created animosity among the established west Wales gentry - not least when he appointed his own son as Colonel of the Volunteers.

A few AWI veterans - Captains on half-pay - also played significant part in the events: One Captain Thomas Nisbett, ex of the 5th Foot, volunteered his services to lead Knox's scouts and successfully sniffed out the French grenadiers' ambush on the evening of the 23rd. He unquestionably prevented an absolute disaster. Captain William Davies, ex of the 38th Foot, who had fought at Bunker Hill and other significant engagements, also offered his services as an aide to Lord Cawdor. Captain Davies was credited by Cawdor with deploying the column so as to best give a false impression of numbers - this was a significant factor in persuading the French to surrender.

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#15 [url]

Mar 9 11 11:02 PM

We will also have a Model of Fishguard Fort at the time of the Battle ready for August which is built at 5mm to the foot and is about 2ft Square i have made the Magazine building now working on building up the ground level.also some welsh cottages and a church and if time permits a pub!!!

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#17 [url]

Mar 10 11 12:19 AM

Re: Fishguard 1797

RMD wrote:
and 'Redundant cavalry helmets' (possibly the same thing?) s.


Could they be the French version of the Tarleton Helmet as used by Light Infantry types? This is how someone unaccustomed to French uniforms but familiar with British ones might describe it.

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#18 [url]

Mar 10 11 12:23 AM

Re: Fishguard 1797

lcplcombat wrote:
RMD wrote:
and 'Redundant cavalry helmets' (possibly the same thing?) s.


Could they be the French version of the Tarleton Helmet as used by Light Infantry types? This is how someone unaccustomed to French uniforms but familiar with British ones might describe them.

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RMD

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#19 [url]

Mar 10 11 1:14 AM

Re: Fishguard 1797

lcplcombat wrote:
RMD wrote:
and 'Redundant cavalry helmets' (possibly the same thing?) s.


Could they be the French version of the Tarleton Helmet as used by Light Infantry types? This is how someone unaccustomed to French uniforms but familiar with British ones might describe it.


Yes, that's equally true. The description of "leather caps with a horsehair mane hanging on the right side" is a very detailed description, so is undoubtedly accurate. However, other forms of headdress were certainly being worn; hats are also described and the 'redundant cavalry helmets' could be another description of the leather caps, but could as you say, could equally be tarletons, which were a very common form of French military headgear. Even brass dragoon helmets were sometimes worn by French revolutionary infantry. The 1er Legion des Francs is known to have favoured the 'Chapeau Henri IV', which was a wide-brimmed hat, turned up on the left side, with a falling horsehair plume. Martin is busily converting allsorts.

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#20 [url]

Mar 10 11 9:41 PM

Some nice closeups:

[URL=http://img705.imageshack.us/i/closeup1x.jpg/]image[/URL]

[URL=http://img101.imageshack.us/i/closeup2ck.jpg/]image[/URL]

[URL=http://img824.imageshack.us/i/closeup3n.jpg/]image[/URL]

[URL=http://img268.imageshack.us/i/closeup4i.jpg/]image[/URL]

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