Battle of Trafalgar

Topics: Royal Navy, Battle of Trafalgar, Napoleonic Wars Pages: 4 (1343 words) Published: April 16, 2012
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar was the most significant battle won by the British against the combined forces of the French and Spanish fleets during the Napoleonic Wars. This battle also had significant impact on the concept of navigation when it comes to the Naval Doctrine of War. This battle proved that tactical unorthodoxy could win battles; even though you might be outmanned and outgunned by your opponent you can still win battles by deviating from the old Naval Doctrine.

This battle was part of a much larger campaign called the Trafalgar campaign which included several different battles that led up to the final battle at Trafalgar. This campaign was a long and complicated series of fleet maneuvers carried out by the combined French and Spanish fleets and the opposing moves of the British Royal Navy during much of 1805. These were the culmination of French plans to force a passage through the English Channel, and so achieve a successful invasion of the United Kingdom. The plans were extremely complicated and proved to be impractical. Much of the detail was due to the personal intervention of Napoleon, who was a soldier rather than a sailor. This was largely because Napoleon failed to consider the effects of weather, difficulties in communication, and the intervention of the Royal Navy. Despite limited successes in achieving some elements of the plan the French commanders were unable to follow the main objective through to execution. The campaign, which took place over thousands of miles of ocean, was marked by several naval engagements, most significantly at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. The naval doctrine at the time dictated that both sides should line up parallel to eachother in a straight line so that they could engage in battle and bring all their guns to bear against the enemy. One of the reasons for the development of the line of battle was to help the admiral control the fleet. If all the ships were in line, signaling...
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