Fleet Actions

trafalgar by_WC_StanfieldDuring the age of sail when Britain was at war with France and her allies fleets of the Royal Navy were usually found blockading the French ports. This was a mundane task and therefore rarely features in historic naval fiction although ‘Hornblower and the Hotspur’ is a notable exception. Authors therefore tend to concentrate on the other tasks the Navy performed. However when the big fleets did engage one another these battles were often turning points and authors therefore like to use these them as backdrops for novels. They will often have a character onboard one of the ships or a fictional ship assigned to a peripheral role in the action.

These are the main fleet actions.

12 April 1782 Battle of the Saintes

The major fleet action of the American War of Independence, the battle took place over 4 days in the West Indies between Dominica Guadeloupe.

The UK British fleet under Sir George Rodney defeated the Francg French fleet under the Comte De Grasse
 

1 June 1794 Glorious First of June

The first fleet action of the Revolutionary War, the battle took place over 3 days 400 nautical miles (740 km) west of Ushant in the Atlantic Ocean

The UK British fleet under Lord Howe defeated the France French fleet under Louis Thomas Villaret de Joyeuse
 

14 February 1797 Battle of Cape St. Vincent

The Battle took place off the Spanish Coast.

The UK British fleet under John Jervis defeated the Spain Spanish fleet under Jose de Cordoba

11 October 1797 Battle of Camperdown

The Battle took place in the North Sea

The UK British fleet under Adam Duncan defeated the Netherlands Dutch fleet under Jan Willem de Winter.
 

1 August 1798 Battle of the Nile

The Battle took place in Aboukir Bay, Egypt.

The UK British fleet under Sir Horatio Nelson defeated the France French fleet under Francois-Paul Brueys D’Aigalliers
 

2 April 1801 Battle of Copenhagen

The Battle took place anchored off Copenhagen

The UK British fleet under Sir Horatio Nelson (overall command Sir Hyde Parker) defeated the Denmark Danish fleet under Olfert Fischer and Steen Bille
 

21 October 1805 Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle took place off the Spanish Coast.

The UK British fleet under Lord Nelson defeated a combined France French and Spain Spanish fleet under Pierre de Villeneuve and Federico Gravina

11 April 1809 Battle of Basque Roads

The Battle took place off the coast of France.

The UK British fleet  under Admiral Lord Gambier drove ashore the France French fleet under Vice-Admiral Zacharie Allemand.

Additional information