French Submarine Curie 1914

One Submarine, Two Flags and Two Heroes: WW1 Two spectacular cases of submarines penetrating enemy anchorages are well known to naval-history enthusiasts. The first was when the Royal Navy’s E14, commanded by  Lieutenant Commander Edward Boyle, surfaced in the Golden Horn, in the heart of Istanbul, in May 1915. This followed penetration of the [...]

French Submarine Curie 19142022-06-09T19:38:04+00:00

HMS Natal & SS Persia Losses 1915

The HMS Natal and SS Persia tragedies Christmas to New Year at Sea – 1915 It was remarkable how little attention waspaid in the media, in popular memory or in large-scale centenary-commemorations in 2014-18 to the events of World War 1 at sea, other than the Battle of Jutland.  And yet, throughout the war, a brutal attrition of [...]

HMS Natal & SS Persia Losses 19152022-06-03T20:19:39+00:00

HMS Dart & Désirée 1800

One of the last fireship attacks: HMS Dart & Désirée, 1800 For many centuries fireships were to be some of the most dramatic and devastating of all naval weapons, albeit that they were 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 [...]

HMS Dart & Désirée 18002022-05-26T16:37:16+00:00

The HMS Royal George Disaster 1782

The loss of HMS Royal George 1782 The disaster that overcame the first-rate ship of the line HMS Royal George in 1782, while anchored in calm water in sight of shore, was to have as strong an impact on the contemporary public mind as the loss of the RMS Titanic was to have one hundred and thirty years later. The [...]

The HMS Royal George Disaster 17822022-05-19T17:24:39+00:00

HMS Thunderer 1879: end of RN muzzle-loaders 

HMS Thunderer 1879: the end of muzzle-loaders in the Royal Navy Three ships of the Royal Navy in the 1870s, HMS Devastation, her close sister HMS Thunderer and her slightly larger sister HMS Dreadnought, can be fairly regarded as the models for subsequent mainstream battleship layout and development. HMS Devastation, HMS Thunderer’s close sister, firing a salute These ships were the first mastless battleships, armed [...]

HMS Thunderer 1879: end of RN muzzle-loaders 2022-04-22T18:00:05+00:00

HMS Southampton off Toulon, 1796

“Bring me out the enemy’s ship if you can…” HMS Southampton off Toulon, 1796 Close blockade of the coasts of French-occupied countries in the Napoleonic era was the most important weapon in Britain’s armoury. It may indeed also have been the single most important factor in securing Napoleon’s ultimate defeat. He all but acknowledged this by [...]

HMS Southampton off Toulon, 17962022-04-14T14:37:45+00:00

Crimean War’s White Sea Theatre, 1854

The Crimean War’s White Sea Theatre, 1854 This article tells about British naval operations in the White Sea in 1854. The Crimean War (1854 – 56) is most remembered for images of the charge of Britain’s Light Brigade at Balaclava, the privations suffered by the ill-equipped besiegers of Sevastopol through a deadly winter and [...]

Crimean War’s White Sea Theatre, 18542022-04-07T17:02:03+00:00

Royal Edward & UB-14, 1915

Massacre at Sea: Royal Edward and  UB-14, 1915 In both World Wars the greatest danger many troops faced, especially if they were in support or non-frontline roles, may well have been that of sinking of their transports. It is a tribute to the efficacy of convoy and escort provisions that in practice only few of the millions [...]

Royal Edward & UB-14, 19152022-03-31T17:00:20+00:00

Heroic 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 [...]

Heroic Merchantman vs. a French Privateer, 18112022-03-28T07:32:59+00:00

The Panama Crisis of 1885

The Panama Crisis of 1885 The Esmeralda and Chile’s fleeting moment of naval superiority  The “Panama Crisis” of 1885 is forgotten today and indeed blew over quickly at the time. It did however serve to highlight the weakness of the United States’ “Old Navy” and supported the necessity of building modern ships and creating a “New [...]

The Panama Crisis of 18852022-03-17T19:59:07+00:00
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