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|Print List Price:||£20.00|
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History of the Royal Navy, A: The Napoleonic Wars Kindle Edition
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|Length: 256 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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The book covers more than the usual sequence of glorious victories. It includes the preemptive strike on the Danish fleet, actions in the Baltic (including against the Russians), RN support of British forces in Portugal, raids on Walcheren, landings as far away as Chesapeake and Egypt. I think the accounts of actions often mentioned only in passing, is quite good, These include the Dutch Cape colony, actions in the Indian Ocean, and elsewhere. The book repeatedly makes the connection that the RN by protecting British trade kept the economy vigorous, enabling strategies like British subsidy of Continental allies. Nelson is seen as a tactician of genius, but less the lone hero as the flawed leader lucky in competent officers and crew, supported by a very effective naval administration.
In the 22 years of war, the British captured or destroyed 722 French warships, 196 Spanish, 172 Dutch, 85 Danish, 17 American, 15 Ottoman, and 4 Russian. Losses were significant but accidents and storms were as deadly as the enemy. in 1811, for example, three ships of the line were lost in a storm and 2,000 crew drowned, while at the great victory of Trafalgar, 430 were killed in action. All told, British naval losses were 70,000 to 80,000 died of disease, perhaps 6,000 to action, and perhaps 13,000 to accidents. Crews were not entirely British, though. Nelson's famed Victory had 821 on board, and of the known origins, the crew included 22 Americans, a Maltese, 2 Canadians, 2 from India, 4 West Indians, an African, 7 Dutch, 4 French, 9 Italians, 4 Swedes, 2 Germans, 2 Danes, ,a Brazilian and a Portuguese. The British portion included 89 Irish, 60 Scots and 30 Welsh as well as 514 English.
There's a bit on the War of 1812 that American readers will like. A sideshow compared to the huge scale of the Napoleonic wars, it still details the American victories and the sizable impact of American privateers. American victories on interior freshwater lakes were important.
It's the comprehensive range and the detail that make this book more interesting than the usual books dealing with aspects of the Navy in the Napoleonic era.