A Flawed Concept – The Imperial Chinese Navy's doomed "Rendel Cruisers" In my novel Britannia’s Spartan (click for details), set in 1882, an important role is played by a cruiser of the Imperial Chinese Navy, the Fu Ching. She is the fictional sister of two warships the Yang Wei and the Chao Yung, that [...]
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So far Antoine Vanner has created 358 blog entries.
The Loss by Fire of the RMS Amazon, 1852 Ships are still lost at sea in our own time, frequently as a result of regulations and standards being ignored rather than standards being established in the first place to ensure safe operation. When reading of seafaring in the 19th Century, and the vast numbers of maritime [...]
The Loss of HMS Sceptre, 1799 When thinking about war at sea in the Age of Fighting Sail one’s attention is immediately drawn to the ferocity of battle when ships engaged at close quarters. In actuality however combat was relatively rare but wreckage in stormy weather remained a constant – and exhausting – hazard at all [...]
Guest Blog: British Spying in the Napoleonic Era Introduction by Antoine Vanner: One of the pleasures for me when I joined the historical novelist community a decade ago, was meeting writers who specialise in periods other than the Late Victorian Era in which my own work is set. One of these is Tom Williams. [...]
Hell and High Water: HMS Nautilus, 1807 Part 2 At the end of Part 1 of this article (Click here to read it if you missed it) we left Captain Palmer and the remaining survivors of the brig-of-war HMS Nautilus, starving and exposed on a low and storm-lashed rocky islet close to the Greek island of Antikythera. Meanwhile, [...]
War in the North Sea, 1864 – The Battle of Heligoland Tegetthoff In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries the “K.u.K” – “Imperial and Royal” – Navy was probably the most efficient and well-equipped part of the Austro-Hungarian armed services. Operating out of bases on the Adriatic coast [...]
The Chesapeake – HMS Leopard Incident, 1807 The three-year “War of 1812“between Britain and the United States, brought no great benefit to either nation. Though the issues involved were complex, one in particular, the British claim of the right to search neutral vessels for deserters from the Royal Navy, had the power to trigger American outrage [...]
The indecisive Battle of Ushant 1778 – and its farcical aftermath, the guillotine and a “Citizen King” France’s entry into the American War of Independence was to prove a critical factor is assuring the survival of the United States. It did so by winning the only strategically-significant victory in all French naval history – [...]
The salvage of HMS Royal George, 1782 – 1844 HMS Royal George in her glory The loss, while at anchor at Spithead, off Portsmouth, of the ship-of-the-line HMS Royal George on August 29th 1782 was a disaster that had an impact on British society comparable to the loss of RMS Titanic one hundred and thirty years later. The [...]
Training Tragedies: the losses of HMS Eurydice and HMS Atalanta At first glance, the picture of a frigate such as HMS Eurydice, as above, immediately evokes visions of single-ship actions of the Napoleonic period. It is therefore all the more surprising that this ship was still in service in 1878 and that her destruction was witnessed by [...]