How do you make a monster gun disappear?

How do you make a monster gun disappear? In the second half of the 19th Century advances in metallurgy allowed an unprecedented increase in the size and weight of artillery pieces for applications in which mobility by land was not a concern. This applied to weapons mounted either in fixed fortifications, or on ships. The [...]

How do you make a monster gun disappear?2023-03-24T12:08:35+00:00

Surviving HMS Namur’s sinking, 1749

A survivor’s account – the loss of HMS Namur, 1749 Two conflicts – the War of Jenkin’s Ear and the War of Austrian Succession – merged into one and lasted from 1739 to 1749. The various international alliances involved were complex, but for Britain the main enemies were to be – as usual! – France and [...]

Surviving HMS Namur’s sinking, 17492023-03-17T21:07:27+00:00

Agony by ice: HMS Proserpine, 1799 Part 2

Agony by ice: HMS Proserpine, 1799 Part 2 (Click here to read Part 1 if you missed it previously) With a major portion of his crew and passengers having reached safety in Cuxhaven – albeit at the cost of a fearful trek across fissured ice – Captain Wallis remained on Neuwerk Island in the Elbe [...]

Agony by ice: HMS Proserpine, 1799 Part 22023-03-03T18:15:01+00:00

HMS Proserpine’s agony by ice, 1799

Agony by ice: HMS Proserpine, 1799 Part 1 HMS Proserpine was a 28-gun Enterprise-class frigate that entered Royal Navy service in 1777. Her career up to 1799 was worthy but unspectacular.  In January 1799 when commanded by Captain James Wallis, she was tasked with carrying the diplomat Thomas Grenville (1755 –1846) on the first leg of his journey [...]

HMS Proserpine’s agony by ice, 17992023-02-02T18:21:08+00:00

HMS Phaeton and Beaufort’s ruse, 1795

HMS Phaeton’s ruse to escape annihilation: 1795                    Cornwallis The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars saw very large numbers of battles at sea between small numbers of ships, but few in which entire squadrons engaged and yet fewer fleet actions on the scale of the [...]

HMS Phaeton and Beaufort’s ruse, 17952023-01-04T21:19:10+00:00

Imperial Chinese Navy’s doomed “Rendel Cruisers”

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 [...]

Imperial Chinese Navy’s doomed “Rendel Cruisers”2022-12-16T17:25:41+00:00

Ordeal by Fire – RMS Amazon, 1852

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 [...]

Ordeal by Fire – RMS Amazon, 18522022-10-14T14:56:57+00:00

The wrecking of HMS Sceptre, 1799

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 [...]

The wrecking of HMS Sceptre, 17992022-10-07T18:43:23+00:00

British Spying in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Eras

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. [...]

British Spying in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Eras2022-09-30T15:01:08+00:00
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