HMS Quebec vs. Surveillante - 1779 Perhaps the most ferocious frigate action ever? Single ship actions, usually between frigates, are remembered as some of the most dramatic actions of the Age of Fighting Sail. They captured the imagination of the public in their own time, making heroes of captains like Pellew and Cochrane, who gained [...]
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So far Antoine Vanner has created 62 blog entries.
The Worship of Naval Power - 1900 The two decades before the outbreak of the First World War saw naval power being perceived as an essential feature of any self-respecting nation’s power and prestige. Captain, and later Admiral, Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914) of the US Navy was to be the supreme apostle of this view [...]
Bombardment and U-Boat action off Gaza – November 1917 November 1917 saw the key battles that allowed British and Australian forces to break through from the Sinai Peninsula and into Palestine. Turkish and German defences extended from the Mediterranean at Gaza to Beersheba, some 35 miles inland in the desert. Earlier efforts, in March and [...]
The Wreck of HMS Venerable, 1804 The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars locked Britain and France into almost twenty-two years of continuous warfare from 1793 and conflict at sea was a critical part of this. What is surprising however is how few ships were actually destroyed in combat. Whether in large fleet actions or in “single [...]
The Loss of HMS Viknor 13th January 1915 In January 1915 the First World War at sea was ramping up as the German submarine and mine technology began to take an ever increasing toll on British naval and merchant shipping. The vast majority of the losses sustained are wholly forgotten today, except by the families [...]
The Loss of HMS Romney 1804 One thinks today of the services of marine pilots being confined to bringing vessels in and out of specific ports. From the moment a pilot steps on board the responsibility for navigation rests on his shoulders. In earlier centuries however the role of pilots often covered much larger areas, especially those [...]
The Mutiny on De Zeven Provinciën (1933) The Netherlands was at peace in Europe from 1830 until 1940, and faced little external threat for much of this time. Until the first decade of the 20th Century a coast-defence navy was considered adequate for homeland protection but high standards of efficiency were demanded, as befitted the [...]
China’s Zhongshan Gunboat – a splendid restoration I was in Singapore three years ago and on my way from the airport to the hotel I saw a large banner-like announcement for an exhibition entitled “The Zhongshan Warship” and its treasures. I had not previously heard of this vessel but I was very keen to learn [...]
Jean Bart – Sea Devil Incarnate The French Navy’s record through the centuries never achieved the string of memorable victories won by Britain’s Royal Navy – though one French victory, that of the Virginia Capes in 1781, was decisive in assuring American Independence. One French naval hero was however to achieve a status in his [...]
The Intercontinental Junk Keying, 1846 In a 1912 book entitled “The Sea Trader – His Friends and Enemies” I came across the engraving illustrated here. I found it wholly fascinating as it refers to the Keying, “The first junk that ever rounded the Cape of Good Hope, as she appeared off Gravesend, 28th March 1848, 477 [...]