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 Naval Pre-American Civil War    
AuthorMessage
Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2882

If a British Admiral broke this rule in the 1700's he could be executed!??
Posted on: 10/19/2017 3:08:26 PM
Admiral Graves of the British Fleet off of Yorktown, yielded to the French Fleet under Admiral De Grasse, in a enforced rule called, "Breaking the Line!", meaning the entire British Fleet must be aligned with the French Fleet before guns were brought to bear in the conflict! This rule, this system, were British fighting instructions at the time, & they were law as far as the Admiralty was concerned, with severe consequences! The 1700's were dotted with court martials for negligence, and disobedience, an example in 1757 RN Admiral John Byng was shot on the deck of the HMS Monarque by a marine firing squad for failing to "bear right down on the enemy using the prescribed form of attack!? Graves was already publicly reprimanded for breaking similar rules, he was lucky to escape a firing squad! So a strict RN rule of engagement was the main reason the French Fleet prevailed at the "Battle of the Capes" sealing Cornwallis's defeat at Yorktown! Here is a great article on the whole situation, & result off Yorktown! (recommend this great treatment of the battle!)

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What say you of the stupid regimented rules of engagement that cost British Admirals
their battles and in some cases their lives!?

Did the RN have other stupid archaic rigid rules??
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2882

Re: If a British Admiral broke this rule in the 1700's he could be executed
Posted on: 10/19/2017 6:17:52 PM
Here is the early history of the Royal Navy from Prince Andrew himself, the Duke of York, it's a 2 part series!

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Who's going to argue with him!! this is BTW an excellent short history of the early RN!
It's kinda like having a pint and discussing Lord Nelson, ect. with your buddy the prince!?

Be British, mate,
MD

What say you about the comments of Prince Andrew, & other RN historians on the Old RN?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

wazza
Sydney , Australia
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 351

Re: If a British Admiral broke this rule in the 1700's he could be executed
Posted on: 10/20/2017 8:29:26 PM
Stupid, archaic wow!! Strong words, fighting words yank!!!

I'd like to point everyone's attention to the very well written and available online document; 'The British Navy Rules: Monitoring and Incompatible Incentives in the Age of Fighting Sail' By Douglas W. Allen. Google is your friend.

To put it quite simply dear chap, fighting in line, often with the advantage of the 'Weather gauge' was a successful tactic of the time and, used successfully by the Royal Navy for over 100yrs!!

Yes it was inflexible to some extent, but it was more successful than not for the British. Add to that their advantage of experience, rigid discipline and capacity to fire more shots than any other Navy at sea at the time, more than made up for their poorer built ships (France and Spain had very well made ships) and allowed the Admiral to closely oversee his captains. Refer to the paper above for more detail.

Melee Naval battles as apposed to fighting in line were impossible to co ordinate, made it easier to surround and pick off ships, or allowed the enemy to escape.

Just my very very simplistic thoughts for the moment.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2882

Re: If a British Admiral broke this rule in the 1700's he could be executed
Posted on: 10/22/2017 12:53:40 PM
Hey Wazza,

It's not so much that the Admiralty Rules were stupid, as that the RN would "execute" a Admiral for not following them to a T!? A bit strict I'd say?

You could lose a lot of good Commanders that way!??

BTW This Naval Battle Rule, may have cost the Brits the Battle of Yorktown, & the Revolutionary War?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

 Naval Pre-American Civil War    
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