British naval hegemony rested on a sophisticated and well-financed administrative structure, a large fleet drawing on the manpower resources of a substantial mercantile marine, although there was never enough sailors, and an ability to win engagements that reflected widely diffused qualities of seamanship and gunnery, a skilled and determined corps of captains, and able leadership. This was true not only of command at sea, as with Nelson’s innovative tactics and ability to inspire his captains, his “band of brothers”, but also of effective leadership of the navy as an institution. Thus Jervis, created Earl St. Vincent after his great victory, was an energetic First Lord of the Admiralty in 1801-4, although his hostility to naval contractors and his campaign for economy in the naval dockyards limited the rate of construction and repair, placing the navy in a difficult position in 1804.
The Company’s Martial Exploits
By 1750 events in the Carnatic, including the loss and restitution of Madras and the extraordinary exploits of Clive, had long since upstaged the ‘Angrian’ wars; and with the Company now transformed into the most effective military and territorial power on the Indian peninsula, it was only a matter of time before arrangements could be made to deal with ‘pirates’.
By 21 May the spearhead of the German military offensive in north-western France had reached the English Channel near to the port of Abbéville, closing an armoured noose around the men of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) who found themselves trapped in a narrow salient between the French port of Boulogne and Ostende on the Belgian coast with no prospect of escape except by sea. Vice-Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, the hard-bitten flag officer on the Dover station, was handed the Herculean task of organising this evacuation by the Admiralty and a more inspired choice could hardly have been made. His inspirational performance in this role was matched by the heroism of those who took orders from him over the course of the next fortnight as an armada of boats ranging from the large to the ridiculously small was assembled and conveyed across the Channel to pick up the survivors of the Wehrmacht’s attack on the West.
After Agincourt I
The chivalry of the Black Prince was not for King Henry. That night his high-ranking prisoners had to wait on him at table. The troops took another hopeful look at the French casualties still lying all over the field; anyone who was rich and could walk was rounded up, but the poor and the badly wounded had their throats slit. Next day, laden with plunder from the corpses, the English recommenced their march to Calais, dragging 1,500 prisoners along with them. The rain began again. Wetter and hungrier than ever, the little army reached Calais on 29 October. Here, although the King was fêted rapturously, his men were hardly treated as conquering heroes. Some were even refused entry, while the Calais people charged them such exorbitant prices for food and drink that they were soon cheated out of their loot and rich captives. (Henry kept the great prisoners for himself—he wanted every penny of their ransoms.)
Counterattack at Arras 1940
By the evening of 20 May, Guderian’s panzer spearheads had reached Abbeville at the mouth of the Somme, and at this point their line was as thinned out as it ever would be. The Germans were vulnerable to a determined counterattack, but the only one that threatened the speeding panzers was by British tanks at Arras on 21 May. The Allies inflicted a stinging reverse on the SS Totenkopf division, but they quickly found themselves blocked by Rommel’s panzers. After a brisk battle, the British were driven back to their original positions and threatened with encirclement.
After Agincourt II
Horrified by the English advance, Duke John of Burgundy tried to negotiate with the Armagnacs who had the Dauphin under their thumb. Although the Burgundians had captured Paris in 1418 after an uprising in which their supporters had killed thousands of Armagnacs, a preliminary meeting at Corbeille in the summer of 1419 between Duke John and the Dauphin and his Armagnac advisers seemed to establish a measure of agreement.
Crisis of the Submarine War, 1917 Part II
All the hard work proved a worthwhile investment. By the end of September some eighty-three inward convoys had arrived, totalling 1,306 merchantmen. Only eighteen ships had been sunk, eight of which had been lost after dropping out of their convoys. Similarly just two ships were sunk in the fifty-five outward-bound convoys.
In 1948, the Canadian government decided to re-equip the RCAF with the F-86 Sabre and Canadair was contracted to produce them in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. An initial batch of 10 aircraft was ordered for tool verification. The Korean War changed this to a production batch of 100 aircraft. Canadair slowly built up its production facility to make all components with related equipment obtained from other Canadian suppliers. Canadair gave the Sabre the project number CL-13.
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe Replaced 1917
They may still have ruled the waves outside of the North Sea, but the British were deeply unhappy with the outcome of the Jutland fighting. They had dreamed of a glorious triumph but although they had gained a strategic victory it had been at high cost and there was a nagging feeling that a great opportunity had been missed. This air of depression was augmented by the sense of loss as Kitchener became a belated victim of the Scheer submarine and mine trap intended for the Grand Fleet, when the ship on which he was travelling, the Hampshire, was mined and sunk on the night of 5 June off the coast of Orkney. Kitchener may have lost some of his lustre after two years of war, but he was still a hero of the Empire and he had died while in the care of the Royal Navy.
Royal Navy – Cold War
The United Kingdom’s Royal Navy (RN) was gradually streamlined and downsized during the Cold War, shifting its strategic capability from that of a surface fleet to one that primarily employed submarines and antisubmarine warfare. In 1945 Britain still maintained naval bases around the world. Its domestic fleet bases were located at Portsmouth, Devonport, and Chatham. There was also a dockyard at Rosyth in Scotland. Overseas bases were situated in Malta; Ceylon; (Trincomalee); Singapore; and Simonstown, South Africa (near Capetown), with Gibraltar and Bermuda serving as dockyards. In 1954, the navy had more than 600 vessels and a regular force strength of 117,700. By 1991, its active-duty force had been downsized to 60,000. During 1950-1990 there were major reductions in the number of aircraft carriers (from 12 to 3), cruisers (from 29 to 0), destroyers/frigates (from 280 to 51), and conventional submarines (from 66 to 9).