French ships superior or inferior to British?

Discussion in 'History' started by Indefatigable, May 1, 2011.

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  1. Is this an attempt by the yanks/germans to undermine the glory days of the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars by stating that the French ships were inferior to the British?

    British vs. French Shipbuilding

    Most of my books say the exact opposite:

    Britain produced no leading maritime architect during the 18thC, and most frigates were built on the lines of captured French vessels, which were always superior in size and speed to their British counterparts.

    In 1782 the Rainbow captured the Hebe, 1063 tons, 40 guns, and from her were built the earlier 36 and 38 gun frigates, 18 pounders. In April 1794 a frigate squadron under Sir John Borlase Warren captured the Pomone, 44 guns, 1239 tons, and she became the prototype for all the later heavy frigates...

    When the Pomone was examined, it was realised that she had only been taken by the excellent handling of the British squadron, and that there was no frigate in the Royal Navy that could match her single-handed.
    - The Frigates, Wordsworth Military Library

    Who is right?

  2. .

    The author has "history" - ignore his views.

  3. It don't matter does it for the simple reason most of the friggin ships we beat em with was theirs in the first place.
    We borrowed them.
    And as the Yanks are always telling us how everything is "bigger and better" stateside, how come on equal terms the Japs kicked their arses from breakfast to supper time.
  4. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Parliament, whose members had no idea what they were talking about, had dictated the size and armament of ships, resulting in the unstable 80s and the 50s which were neither fit for the line or useful as frigates. A captured french 74 put us on the right lines and this design or variants of it became the backbone of the fleet. All explained (and much else besides) in Brian Lavery's BBC book "Empire of the Seas" (ignore pics of Dan Snow poncing about pretending to hand and reef and haul and steer, apart from him there is good stuff in this work).
  5. Stuart Slade Bio

    Looks more like a turncoat.

  6. And lets not forget where the Japs got their ideas from about how to attack Pearl Harbour - the Fleet Air Arm attack on Taranto.
  7. From Breakfast till Teatime please, from Tea to Suppertime was a different story.......
    • Like Like x 1
  8. It was acknowledged that French ships were sometimes better built except that they built big,too big in cases.
    Fast ships with great gunnery are better in battle.
    British exceptional gunnery,exceptional Seamanship and pure bloody minded grit beat the French and anyone else who came in range.
    When captured French ships were a great bonus to the RN as good timber was available in great quantities to them.
    Doesn't make them great seamen though!
  9. Like most of the Naval victories in the 17, 1800's the battle was won before the main events took place. Britain had been blockading French Ports for years at sea in all weathers. Practicing gunnery, sailing skills, replenishment at sea, with fairly good communications for that age.
    The Franco/Spanish ships were bottled up in harbour, badly commanded and lacked the natural leaders, as the Revolution had executed many of their skilled captains. Gunnery skills deteriorated, as did their sailing knowledge. All that combined with the fact that there was great division between the Spanish and French. Somehow even now I fail to see how a UK Carrier flying French Aircraft will work.
    Have we learned nothing from history?

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