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Thread: Question regarding engagement sizes circa 1768 - 1820

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    Default Question regarding engagement sizes circa 1768 - 1820

    Hi all,

    I've done a bit of searching through Google and as such I'd like to offer my apologies if this has been covered elsewhere on here or if this is the inappropriate section for my query.

    I was wondering if anyone could answer a question which has arisen regarding average engagement sizes circa 1768 - 1820. I'm mostly interested in how frequent smaller engagements and the numbers involved. I did come across a list on Wikipedia which provided some accounts of single-ship actions including various dates which was quite insightful.

    I realise that there are a fair number of engagements within the allotted time period which involved significant numbers of ships and I'd imagine that smaller skirmishes were far more common than grand fleet actions but again, I maybe wrong.

    Thank you for any insight on this one, it is truly appreciated. My copy of "Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail - War at Sea 1756 - 1815" by Bernard Ireland arrived today so this may go someway to answering the above. Unfortunately I won't have an opportunity prior to the weekend to sink my jaws into it.

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    Morning Rob.
    No apology needed. As we always say the only foolish question is the one you don't ask.
    You are indeed correct in your assumption about battles. There were actually far fewer major Naval conflicts in the period than most people imagine, when Britain was becoming supreme at sea. I have most of these described in the history Forum, but if you want to find out far more than that about the minor engagements, a very good book is Medals of the British Navy and how they were won by WH Long. ISBN 1-935501-27-5. Although it covers all medals from Elizabeth the first to Gemaizah in 1888, the contents page gives a list of actions from Ushant in 1794 on page 33 through to Algiers in 1816 on page 205. Some 154 actions are listed, before he goes onto small boat actions on pages 215 to 266, of which there are about 50 listed.
    Hope this helps.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Morning Rob,

    Thank you for your response and for providing a source for further reading. I'll be sure to head on over to the history section of the forum initially and go from there.

    The main reason I ask is to try gauge in my head what a reasonable number of ships would be for smaller engagements from an investment stand point. Admittedly I was going to try snag the starter set advertised on the sales section but you beat me to the punch on that one

    T'other Rob.

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    Not exactly what your looking for, but I found some of the information in The Trafalgar Companion to help me put context to the actions in the era.

    This shows the deployment of the British Navy and the number of Line ships and frigates at each location

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    This notes the relative size of the British, French and Spanish Navies before Trafalgar

    Name:  Size of Nation Fleets.png
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    I thought this was a very interesting note about how during the era, only 3 frigates sank and the British captured 229 French frigates!! Oof.

    Name:  Frigate Hostilities.png
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  5. #5
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeFragUK View Post
    Morning Rob,

    Thank you for your response and for providing a source for further reading. I'll be sure to head on over to the history section of the forum initially and go from there.

    The main reason I ask is to try gauge in my head what a reasonable number of ships would be for smaller engagements from an investment stand point. Admittedly I was going to try snag the starter set advertised on the sales section but you beat me to the punch on that one

    T'other Rob.
    We may be able to do something about that Rob. Send me a PM with what you already have.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  6. #6
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    This is incredibly helpful, thank you. It actually helps answer a lot of questions.

    If possible can you provide the ISBN? I think I'll have to look at picking this one up.

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    Admiral of the Blue.
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    I think this is the number Rob ISBN 9781845130183 and they have it in stock at Amazon.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Rob is correct, it is ISBN 9781845130183.

    I have really enjoyed the book, I think there are some other references/reviews of it across the site. The production quality is excellent and it has a bunch of really good graphics. The chapters alternate between the history of Nelson's career and overviews of all the different aspects of design and operation in the age of sail. One of the coolest parts in my opinion is it has each deck of the Victory as a full page graphic and shows where all the crew members were stationed during the battle.

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