Privateer action: the Ellen 1780

Privateer in action: the Ellen 1780 Privateers receive little attention in accounts of naval warfare right up to the time when the practice was banned by international Paris Declaration of 1856, which only the United States, among major nations, omitted to sign. Such privately-owned ships were authorised by a “letter of marque” to prey on enemy [...]

Privateer action: the Ellen 17802024-01-25T18:04:44+00:00

The unlucky French battleship Suffren

Built to be unlucky? The French battleship Suffren The splendidly-expressive Yiddish word “schlemiel” describes a person who is invariably unlucky and  whose endeavours are doomed to failure – “so inept even inanimate objects pick on them”. One does come across such unfortunate individuals – who are usually likeable – but in reading naval history one is often struck [...]

The unlucky French battleship Suffren2024-01-05T17:20:54+00:00

HMS Dolphin’s capture of the slaver Firme, 1841

HMS Dolphin and the capture of the slaver Firme, 1841  Early 19th Century Slaver In 1807 Britain was the first nation to outlaw the slave trade, one which had existed for millennia (and that, to a certain extent, still does). Active measures to suppress the evil had to wait until the end of the Napoleonic Wars, when other [...]

HMS Dolphin’s capture of the slaver Firme, 18412023-12-15T16:34:14+00:00

Frigate Duel, 1782: HMS Santa Margarita vs. L’Amazone

Frigate Duel, 1782: HMS Santa Margarita vs. L’Amazone In reading about warfare in the Age of Fighting Sail one is invariably impressed by the aggression and sheer bloody-minded will to win that characterised the officers and crews of the Royal Navy. These were the factors that regularly brought victory even when the odds seemed stacked against British [...]

Frigate Duel, 1782: HMS Santa Margarita vs. L’Amazone2024-02-15T21:33:29+00:00

HMS Queen Charlotte loss 1800

The loss of HMS Queen Charlotte, 1800 During the twentieth century, damage-control was to become a naval discipline in itself, and was to result in many epics of courage. In earlier centuries such response was on a much more ad-hoc basis but the bravery and self-reliance of the crews involved were no less than those [...]

HMS Queen Charlotte loss 18002023-11-29T17:27:07+00:00

Battle of Coronel, November 1st 1914: Part 2

The Battle of Coronel, November 1st 1914: Part 2 If you missed the first part of this article, please click here to read it. HMS Glasgow entered the Chilean port of Coronel to collect messages and news from the British consul. She found there a German supply ship which promptly radioed news of Glasgow’s arrival to von Spee. [...]

Battle of Coronel, November 1st 1914: Part 22023-11-10T18:27:04+00:00

Battle of Coronel, November 1st 1914 – Part 1

The Battle of Coronel, November 1st 1914 – Part 1 The Battle of Coronel, the first defeat to be suffered at sea by Britain’s Royal Navy in a century, was fought in stormy seas and fading light off the coast of Chile and was to result in the loss of over 1600 men. The [...]

Battle of Coronel, November 1st 1914 – Part 12023-11-02T19:07:37+00:00

 HMS Leopard – USS Chesapeake Incident, 1807

The USS 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 [...]

 HMS Leopard – USS Chesapeake Incident, 18072023-09-28T18:43:04+00:00

A Franco-Prussian Battle off Havana, 1870

The Franco-Prussian Battle of Havana, 1870 The Prussian navy, a weak force composed mainly of gunboats, played an insignificant, if sometimes heroic, role in the three wars that led to proclamation of the German Empire in 1871. These were against Denmark (1864), Austria, Bavaria and other German States (1866) and France (1870-71).  Small as [...]

A Franco-Prussian Battle off Havana, 18702023-09-07T11:43:14+00:00
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