View Full Version : On This Day 27 July

07-26-2012, 23:46
The Battle of Grengam on 27 July 1720 was the last major naval battle in the Great Northern War that took place in the Åland Islands, in the Ledsund strait between the island communities of Föglö and Lemland. The battle marked the end of Russian and Swedish offensive naval operations in Baltic waters. The Russian fleet conducted one more raid on the Swedish coast in spring 1721, whereupon the Treaty of Nystad was signed, ending the war.

The Swedish and Russian accounts of the battle differ significantly. Both sides agree that a group of Swedish ships under Vice Admiral Carl Georg Siöblad attacked the Russian fleet and, in a pitched battle, had their four frigates captured by Russian sailors. Both sides claim the outcome of the battle as their own victory. They agree only in that four Swedish frigates, the 34-gun frigate Stor Phoenix, the 30-gun Vainqueur, the 22-gun Kiskin and the 18-gun Danska Örn were captured by the Russians. No significant naval battles took place between the Russian and Swedish navies after this one until Sweden's defeat in the war was sealed by the Treaty of Nystad.

According to Swedish accounts, a small Swedish naval unit sailed right into the mighty Russian fleet anchored at Granhamn. A fierce battle took place, the Swedes lossing four of their frigates after they had run aground but Russian losses became so heavy that the entire fleet quickly decided to withdraw from Åland, leaving 43 sunken galleys and 1000 dead Russians behind. The Russian losses prevented their navy from launching any further major operations until the war ended with the Treaty of Nystad the following year.

According to the Russians, the Swedish squadron consisting of a 52-gun ship of the line, four frigates and nine smaller craft with a total of 156 guns and over 1,000 marines, made an attempt to attack the moving Russian fleet. General Mikhail Golitsyn managed to take an advantageous position in the narrow and shallow strait of Flisesund and ordered his galleys and boats into a semicircle formation. The Swedish ship of the line and four frigates entered the strait in pursuit of the Russian ships. Two frigates ran aground, making maneuvering for the rest of the squadron difficult. In the fierce battle that followed, all four Swedish frigates were boarded. The only ship that managed to escape was Siöblad’s flagship. The Swedes lost 103 killed and 407 captured. The Russians had 82 killed and 236 wounded. Victory of the Russian galley fleet under command of M.M. Golitsyn was claimed over the Swedish squadron at the isle of Grengam.

07-27-2012, 00:09
The Battle of Ushant (also called the First Battle of Ushant) took place on 27 July 1778, during the American War of Independence, fought between French and British fleets 100 miles (160 km) west of Ushant, a French island at the mouth of the English Channel off the north-westernmost point of France. The battle ended indecisively and led to political disputes in both countries.

The British had 30 ships-of-the-line commanded by admiral Augustus Keppel, in HMS Victory, sailing from Spithead on 9 July 1778. The French fleet had 29 ships commanded by admiral the Comte d'Orvilliers, sailing from Brest on 8 July 1778. Keppel sighted the French fleet west of Ushant on 23 July. D'Orvilliers, who had orders to avoid battle, was cut off from Brest but retained the weather gage. Two of his ships, standing to windward, escaped into port, leaving him with 27.

The two fleets manoeuvred during shifting winds and a heavy rain squall until a battle became inevitable with the British more or less in column and the French in some confusion. However, the French managed to pass along the British line to windward with their most advanced ships. At around noon, HMS Victory opened fire on Bretagne, 110 guns, followed by Ville de Paris, 90 guns. The British van escaped with little loss but Sir Hugh Palliser's rear division suffered considerably. Keppel made the signal to wear and follow the French, but Palliser did not conform and the action was not resumed.

Louis Philippe Joseph duke of Orléans, who served in the French squadron, requested permission to carry news of the battle to Paris and Versailles. He arrived there early on the morning of 2 August, had Louis XVI woken up and announced a victory. Louis Philippe was widely celebrated and received a twenty minute standing ovation when he attended the opera. An effigy of Admiral Keppel was burnt in the gardens of the Palais Royal. Louis Philippe then returned to Brest to rejoin the fleet. Fresh reports of the battle and Louis Philippe role then began to arrive in the French capital. Far from a victory, it was now reported as being at best indecisive, and Louis Philippe was accused by d'Orvilliers of either having misunderstood or deliberately ignored an order to engage the enemy.

Louis Philippe was soon being mocked by street ballads in Paris, and the embarrassment led to Louis Philippe eventually resigning from the Navy. He subsequently tried to gain permission to take part in a planned invasion of Britain the following year but he was refused by the King.

A violent quarrel, exacerbated by political differences, broke out between the British commands. This led to two courts-martial, the resignation of Keppel, and great injury to the discipline of the navy. Keppel was court-martialled but cleared of dereliction of duty charges. Palliser was criticized by an inquiry, before the affair turned into a squabble of party politics.