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An epic last stand – HMS Acheron and HMS Arrow, 1805

An epic last stand – HMS Acheron and HMS Arrow, 1805 In a separate article we encountered the innovative sloop, HMS Dart, when she went into attack on the heavily defended French base at Dunkirk in 1800 (Click here for this article). HMS Dart and her sister HMS Arrow, were experimental vessels, never indeed to be repeated. They were the brain-child of Sir [...]

An epic last stand – HMS Acheron and HMS Arrow, 18052019-10-29T19:29:46+00:00

Privateer action off Madagascar 1806

Stranger than fiction: Privateer action off Madagascar 1806 Though mention warfare in the Age of Fighting Sail so often conjures up images of major fleet actions such as Camperdown, The Nile, and Trafalgar, single-ship actions between small vessels represented the vast majority of combats at sea. One of the most remarkable of these – stranger [...]

Privateer action off Madagascar 18062019-10-25T17:42:27+00:00

WW1, a German View – the Last Years of Cavalry

WW1, a German View – the Last Years of Cavalry Austro-Hungarian Cavalry 1914 I’ve always been fascinated by how much the “feel” of the world of 1914 differed so dramatically from that of 1918. As one sees newsreels of 1914 – and in particular the computer-colourised versions one has seen recently, which gives an immediacy [...]

WW1, a German View – the Last Years of Cavalry2019-10-15T19:05:18+00:00

The Loss 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 [...]

The Loss of HMS Sceptre, 17992019-10-11T18:46:03+00:00

The Ram Triumphant: Lissa 1866, Part 2

The Ram Triumphant: Lissa 1866 Part 2 Part 1 of this article (click here to read it if you missed it) saw the Austrian Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff (1827-1871) driving towards the Austrian-held island of Lissa and the Italian fleet that had been bombarding it.  Now read on … Tegettoff’s force advanced in three successive [...]

The Ram Triumphant: Lissa 1866, Part 22019-10-08T20:01:17+00:00

The Ram Triumphant: Lissa 1866, Part 1

The Ram Triumphant: Lissa 1866 Part 1 In 1864 the Austrian Empire joined with the Kingdom of Prussia to inflict a crushing defeat on the small nation of Denmark (a conflict which the Danes unwisely provoked).  This was to be the first of three wars, escalating in scale, which the Prussian Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, [...]

The Ram Triumphant: Lissa 1866, Part 12019-10-04T18:46:53+00:00

The Death of a ’74’ – HMS Minotaur, 1810

The Death of a '74' – HMS Minotaur, 1810 An earlier blog article on this site described the loss of four large Royal Navy ships in a single storm off the Danish and Dutch coasts in December 1811. These vessels had been escorting a convoy from Gothenberg, Sweden, to London. The commander of one of [...]

The Death of a ’74’ – HMS Minotaur, 18102019-10-01T17:49:27+00:00

Disobedience triumphs – Guadeloupe 1759

Honour insulted, Disobedience triumphs – Guadeloupe 1759 The incident at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 when Nelson put his telescope to his blind eye and stated “I really do not see the signal!” is the most famous case of a Royal Navy officer disobeying orders and thereby achieving victory. A less well-known case occurred [...]

Disobedience triumphs – Guadeloupe 17592019-09-24T17:55:14+00:00

Loss of HMS Dædalus, 1813

The Loss of HMS Dædalus, 1813 We have met Captain Murray Maxwell (1775 –1831) on this blog in an article dealing with his adventures in the frigate HMS Alceste in the Far East and her subsequent shipwreck in the East Indies in 1817. On this latter occasion Murray’s superb leadership was to ensure survival of his entire crew [...]

Loss of HMS Dædalus, 18132019-09-22T07:30:43+00:00