The fourth Hornblower movie is 'The Wrong War,' otherwise known as 'Frogs and Lobsters'. In it, the Indefatigable has been recalled to England, and Capt. Pellew is at the Admiralty receiving a new assignment. He is informed that the government has been approached by General de Charette, an exiled French Royalist. He has formed a company of other Royalists and intends to return to France, raise an army, and restore the monarchy. The Indy and three other ships are to ferry the French force as well as a supporting company of British soldiers across the Channel. It sounds straightforward enough, but a lieutenant carrying a copy of the plan is murdered and the orders are missing. Pellew, who already considers the general's plan to be based on an alarming amount of wishful thinking, tells the Admiral that they must assume the orders are in the hands of the enemy. The Admiral, however, says they will assume no such thing, and orders Pellew to carry out the original plan.
Meanwhile, Horatio Hornblower is celebrating his new rank of lieutenant by being outfitted with a fancy new uniform. This subjects him to some good-natured teasing when he arrives back on the Indy, especially from acting Lieutenant Kennedy. Their levity is short-lived, however, as Pellew calls a meeting to impart their orders from the Admiralty. After this, Hornblower and Kennedy go ashore with some men to see to loading the soldiers and their supplies aboard the Indy and other three ships.
General de Charette arrives on the dock with his men, and the sight is not a reassuring one: the French force (the frogs) seems ill-trained and poorly outfitted. Accompanying them is Colonel Moncoutant, the Marquis de Muzillac who, having fled the Revolution, is eager to take part in this attempt to reestablish the monarchy. He seems affable enough at first, but Horatio is chilled when, as they load the French supplies, it is discovered that Moncoutant is bringing his own personal guillotine with him.
Also arriving is the British contingent (the lobsters) led by Major Edrington- or rather, Major Lord Edrington, as he is quick to point out to them. At first meeting, he comes off as a bit starchy and stiff, but obviously competent: his men are well trained and well disciplined, a jarring contrast with the French troops. What the French lack in training, however, they make up for in enthusiasm... Charette gives a stirring speech, which Horatio translates, hailing this as an historic moment, and extolling the glories of the French monarchy. That point seems debatable, but is popular with his audience, which cheers wildly, to the bemusement of the watching British soldiers and sailors.
On board the Indy, things are a bit crowded- and tense. The sailors, used to fighting the French, are less than enthused about ferrying them. The situation is also somewhat strained between the brass as well. Major Edrington is of the opinion that his men should lead the expedition, as they are trained and battle ready. Moncoutant bristles at the inference that his men are incompetent, but Horatio skillfully diffuses the situation, and as a result, Capt. Pellew appoints him liaison between the French and English contingents. Pellew himself is brooding; he has opened his sealed orders and found that they are to put the troops ashore at Quiberon Bay, the best place for disembarking, as anyone familiar with the French coast would know. It is so obvious a choice that Pellew worries the French cannot help but anticipate it, if they do indeed have the missing papers and know they're coming.
A small number of the French force led by Colonel Moncoutant, Major Edrington and his men, Hornblower, Kennedy, and some of the sailors are being put ashore near the town of Muzillac. Their orders are to secure the town and hold the bridge nearby, where it is assumed the Republican troops will attempt to pass to reach General de Charette's force. Extremely worried about the mission but trying not to show it, Pellew urges Horatio to be cautious and on his guard, then sails off to drop Charette and his men at Quiberon Bay. Charette, noticing Pellew's unease, tells him not to worry: one day Hornblower and the others will be telling the tale of how they helped liberate France. Pellew looks unconvinced. When they arrive at Quiberon, Pellew tells Charette that the Indefatigable has been ordered to remain there in order to give his troops an avenue of retreat should things, um, not go as well as the General hopes. He also sends along Mr Bowles to provide regular reports of their progression.
Back at Muzillac, the small force heads for the bridge, and we are treated to the amusing sight of Horatio attempting to ride a horse. Once there, Kennedy and the rest of the sailors- Matthews, Styles, Oldroyd,etc.- remain at the bridge to secure and hold it. To this end, they rig it with kegs of gunpowder in case they have to blow it up to keep the Republican troops from using it. Archie, his time as a P.O.W. still fresh in his mind, is growing uneasy about the entire enterprise and their role in it. As he confides to Horatio, he never thought to die in someone else's war. Hornblower, along with Major Edrington and his men, Moncoutant and the French soldiers, continues on to the town of Muzillac. To Be Continued...