Naval History


War Hero
Book Reviewer
It was a famous victory (to borrow a phrase from Southey). Black Dick Howe in Queen Charlotte throughly thrashed the Frog warships (whose handling was not greatly helped by so many experienced Frog officers having been guillotined) .

HOWEVER the Aim of any convoy operation is 'the safe and timely arrival of the convoy' (see Naval Staff Handbook or some such title, haven't had a copy since 1958). In this context the French warships succeeded in drawing off Howe so that the grain convoy from Canada could get through (weather helped). Thus the Revolutionary government of France was saved from collapse (read all about it in Carlyle) which would, with luck, have plunged France into chaos (all talking at once) and knocked her out of the war. Therefore this was a strategic failure as we missed the chance to bring France to its knees.

More to it than this of course, much more (see Mahan and no end of other writers).

Now somebody tell me I'm wrong. Busy today celebrating sinking of Bismarck.

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