Battle of Trafalgar (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Naval battle in the Napoleonic Wars. Result: Complete victory by the British over the combined Franco-Spanish fleet.
On October 21, 1805, after a lengthy blockade, a British fleet of twenty-seven ships of the line and five frigates under Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson successfully lured the combined fleet of French and Spanish allied ships, led by Admiral Pierre- Charles de Villeneuve, out of the harbor of Cádiz and brought them to battle near Cape Trafalgar, on the coast of Spain. The British fleet formed a double column, one commanded by Nelson aboard his flagship Victory and the second commanded by Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood aboard the Royal Sovereign. They approached at right angles to the Franco-Spanish fleet, which was arranged in a ragged line roughly north to south. Nelson spoke quite openly of his plans to break the enemy fleet’s line in two places, something no previous commander had done. Although the enemy had superior numbers (thirty-three ships of the line and seven frigates), their poor station keeping showed a lack of seamanship that he believed would enable the smaller British fleet to prevail.
Shortly before the battle...
(The entire section is 667 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!