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So far Antoine Vanner has created 369 blog entries.

Fireship attack: HMS Dart & Désirée, 1800

Fireship attack: HMS Dart & Désirée, 1800 For many centuries fireships were to be some of the most dramatic and devastating of all naval weapons, albeit difficult to deploy and dangerous to their crews. The most effective and history-changing use ever of such ships was when they were used to attack the Spanish Armada at anchor off Gravelines [...]

Fireship attack: HMS Dart & Désirée, 18002024-04-04T15:31:56+00:00

HMS Flora 1780: the Carronade arrives

HMS Flora 1780: the Carronade’s arrival In sea battles from the 1780s to the end of the Napoleonic Wars a decisive factor was often the use of the carronade. Few of these guns were carried on any one ship, and they were not counted in a ship’s rated number of guns so that, in practice, the [...]

HMS Flora 1780: the Carronade arrives2024-03-20T15:58:28+00:00

Merchantman vs. a French Privateer, 1811

Three Sisters Merchantman vs. a French Privateer, 1811  Throughout the Age of Fighting Sail merchant shipping – from small coastal craft to large vessels engaged in interoceanic trade – were at the mercy of privateers. These were privately owned vessels issued with “letters of marque” that authorised them to attack and capture enemy shipping. If captured they [...]

Merchantman vs. a French Privateer, 18112024-03-14T17:19:24+00:00

Sailing Craft against U-Boats in World War 1

Sailing Craft versus U-Boats in World War 1 Though the “Age of Fighting Sail” ended around 1840 as regards major warships, small sailing craft were to play a very important role in World War 1 in Britain’s battle against Germany’s U-Boats.  One such heroine craft was the Lowestoft fishing smack Telesia, which was conscripted into naval [...]

Sailing Craft against U-Boats in World War 12024-03-01T17:48:38+00:00

HMS Venerable, 1804: Cool Heads in Crisis

Cool Heads in Crisis: 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 ship” [...]

HMS Venerable, 1804: Cool Heads in Crisis2024-02-16T17:12:42+00:00

Life in the Imperial German Navy, 1902

The Imperial German Navy – sketches of life on board ship 1902 Some time ago I stumbled on German publication of 1902 entitled “Germany’s Honour on the World’s Oceans” (Deutschlands Ehr im Weltenmeer) by a Vice-Admiral von Werner. The sub-title is “The development of the German Navy and sketches of life on board.” The illustrations, not [...]

Life in the Imperial German Navy, 19022024-02-08T16:52:25+00:00

The Twilight of the Pre-Dreadnoughts, 1915

The Twilight of the Pre-Dreadnoughts and the Sinking of HMS Goliath, 1915 At the start of World War I all major navies had significant numbers of pre-dreadnought battleships which, though in many cases only eight or ten years old, had been rendered wholly obsolete by the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought in 1905. This, the first turbine-driven, all-big [...]

The Twilight of the Pre-Dreadnoughts, 19152024-02-03T15:02:22+00:00

Privateer action: the Ellen 1780

Privateer in action: the Ellen 1780 Privateers receive little attention in accounts of naval warfare right up to the time when the practice was banned by international Paris Declaration of 1856, which only the United States, among major nations, omitted to sign. Such privately-owned ships were authorised by a “letter of marque” to prey on enemy [...]

Privateer action: the Ellen 17802024-01-25T18:04:44+00:00

The unlucky French battleship Suffren

Built to be unlucky? The French battleship Suffren The splendidly-expressive Yiddish word “schlemiel” describes a person who is invariably unlucky and  whose endeavours are doomed to failure – “so inept even inanimate objects pick on them”. One does come across such unfortunate individuals – who are usually likeable – but in reading naval history one is often struck [...]

The unlucky French battleship Suffren2024-01-05T17:20:54+00:00
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