View Full Version : Fighting At Sea in the 18TH Century, The Art of Sailing Warfare

John Paul
03-31-2015, 21:18
Book Title:
Fighting At Sea in the 18TH Century, The Art of Sailing Warfare Author:
Sam Willis ISBN:
978-1-84383-367-3 Category:
Reference Format:
Hardback Summary:
This is more an historical reference book written by Mr. Willis who also authored the book "Fighting Sail, 1750 - 1850". Within it's 253 pages the author presents the reader with a fresh understanding of how war at sea was conducted in the eighteenth century using contemporary sources, and presents new ideas in a greater depth to explain why sea battles were won or lost.

The book is broken into eleven chapters covering, Contact, Chase and Escape (2), Station Keeping, Communications, Unwritten Rules, Command, The Weather Gauge, Fleet Tactics, Fighting Tactics, and Damage. The last part of the book includes extensive Notes, an Appendix of Major Fleet Actions, Glossary of Nautical Terms, a well documented Bibliography, and an Index.

You'll find the information offered in the chapter on "Unwritten Rules" very informative, such as how two opposing ships can identify one another in peace time, or wartime, and in time of peace how they should approach each other. Many of these unwritten rules are actually "Rules of the Road" for ships at sea even today. The chapter on "Command" offers how a commander communicated his desires and orders to his subordinates while at sea, and during combat actions. One of the means the author uses in this chapter is discussing some of the questions and answers offered during the court martial of a Captain before the Board of Inquiry following the loss of his ship.

This book will give you a fresh look at many of the ideas and misconceptions you may have, or developed from other more modern sources. You will find most of the basics on sailing a man of war unchanged from previous knowledge you've obtained. However much of the information the author presents will give you a new perspective, and a greater appreciation of what it was truly like to be at sea during the great Age of Sail! I'd recommend you get a copy, sit down with a bottle of Madera, and spend an evening with an excellent read!