An Unequal Duel: Trader vs. Privateer 1744 The story of war against maritime trade in the Age of Fighting Sail is usually told, whether in fact or in fiction, from the viewpoint of the naval commerce-raider intent on prize-money. One finds few accounts which view these contests from the side of the victims. I [...]
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HMS Implacable at war with Russia – 1808 & 1809 Two events dominate the general impression of Russia’s role in the Napoleonic Wars. The first is the crushing defeat of Russian and Austrian forces at Austerlitz in 1805 – arguably Napoleon’s most impressive battle. The second was the French retreat from Moscow in late 1812, harried [...]
“I’d prefer to be blown up!” - van Speijk at Antwerp, 1831 The revolt that led to the creation of modern Belgium as an independent state was the background to an act of insane heroism by a young Dutch naval officer, Jan van Speijk, whose (alleged) last words were to become an expression still [...]
The Discovery of Franz Josef Land 1873 Franz Josef in 1910 – an old manbecause of whom so many young men died Emperor Franz Josef (1830 – 1916) of the Austro-Hungarian Empire reigned for an amazing 68 years and is probably best remembered today for his complicity [...]
Nelson and Hardy – forging a partnership We have encountered HMS Blanche before, in her furious duel in January 1795, in the middle years of the Revolutionary War between Britain and France. In the process she captured the French frigate Pique, off Guadeloupe (Click here to read this earlier blog). Blanche, a 32-gun frigate, had still four years of [...]
The Royal Navy vs. the Riff Pirates 1848-51 The Barbary pirates of North Africa were a scourge to maritime trade for many centuries. It was only in the nineteenth century that major naval and military campaigns – most notably the US Navy’s and Marine Corps’ intervention on “the Shores of Tripoli”, the Anglo-Dutch action [...]
The Royal Navy Exhibition of 1891 The Royal Navy was to attain enormous popularity in Britain in the 19th Century, especially in its last decades. It was seen to be at the cutting edge of the technology of the time and to be the guarantor of imperial greatness against the machinations of the French, Russians [...]
5 Most Popular Dawlish Chronicles Blogs of 2021 2021 saw sustained activities on the Antoine Vanner Writing-Front, Covid-19 notwithstanding. The tenth book of the Dawlish Chronicles, Britannia’s Guile, was published in December (click here for details) and blog articles continued to appear regularly. These last relate to all aspects of naval and maritime history in the [...]
The Bayonnaise and HMS Ambuscade action, 1798 On my blog I have dealt several times with single-ship actions during the Age of Fighting Sail, the protagonists being mainly British and French, though the Americans do figure in 1812-15. In most cases British victory over the French seems to have been all but pre-ordained, for the Royal Navy had reached [...]
HMS Indefatigable vs. Droits de l’Homme Desperate action in storm and darkness 1797 Besides their few major fleet actions, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars saw many vicious encounters between small numbers of French and British ships which have since provided the inspiration for much naval fiction. One of the most ferocious of these battles was fought [...]