Victory, from fighting the Armada to Trafalgar and beyond

B1859

The authors have provided a great deal of information and a good glossary, covering the vessels between Hawkin’s Victory and Nelson’s Victory. Naturally the Trafalgar Victory has been covered in its fighting days and in its later service as a key piece of British naval heritage. There is genuinely new information and balanced coverage from first to last Victory. The standard of illustration is very good and adds greatly to the work. This is one of those essential books that no one following naval history can afford to be without.

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NAME: Victory, from fighting the Armada to Trafalgar and beyond
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1859
DATE: 140913
AUTHOR: Iain Ballantyne, Jonatham Eastland
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
PAGES: 240
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Royal Navy, line of battleship, wooden walls, sailing ships, Nelson, Sir John Hawkins, Elizabethan navy, Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.
ISBN: 1-78159-363-9
IMAGE: B1859.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/oy3s66k
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: HMS Victory is the oldest commissioned warship, now displayed in drydock at Portsmouth. Since she was placed on display, millions of people of all ages from around the world have come to see her. That a brilliant young fleet commander died in his moment of victory, on a ship named Victory, is an enduring legend. There is unlikely to be another Victory in Royal Navy service because Nelson’s Victory will be lovingly maintained and the Royal Navy is most unlikely to decommission her, denying the name to future British warships. So strong and international is the iconic HMS Victory as Nelson’s Flagship at Trafalgar, little thought is given to those earlier British warships that carried the name Victory.

In this carefully researched book, the authors have redressed the situation.

When Sir John Hawkins sailed in the first Victory at the Battle of the Armada, England had only a small Royal Navy, but a large fleet of privately owned vessels that often sailed with a Royal interest in their voyage, frequently sailing under Letters of Mark issued by the French Hugenots from their base in La Rochelle. Being denied trade with Spanish ports in the Americas, the English joined with Scottish and French corsairs in raiding Spanish fleets heading home via the Azores. As these corsairs operated boldly and took the fight across to the Americas, the Spanish desire to remove Elizabeth Tudor from her throne increased and eventually promoted the invasion fleet that was harried by the collection of State and privately owned warships, to be destroyed by storms. Hawkin’s Victory was a race built galleon, a type of warship that featured lowered fore and aft castles, a handy, fast and effective warship that relied primarily on its guns rather than on an embarked force of soldiers who were effective only if their ship was laid alongside the enemy. The race built galleons varied significantly in size and fire power. They continued to mount chasers in the bows and they continued to carry swivel guns that could be trained onto their own deck against mutineers or boarders, but the principle armament carried in one or two tiers was of large cannon mounted on four wheel trucks down both sides. They marked the point where warships no longer relied on two or three bow chasers to disable an enemy prior to boarding, or employed the same type of cannon in the stern to disable a vessel in pursuit of them, to a line of battle ship that placed its main armament along the sides to fire broadside, ideally into the bows or stern of the enemy.

Nelson’s Victory was a logical progression, mounting more than 100 guns in three tiers, firing through gun ports in the sides and placing matching guns in each tier, with the heaviest 32 pounder long barrel cannon in the lowest tier to avoid raising the metacentric height unnecessarily which would create a tender, or top heavy, vessel. Victory also carried Caronades or Smashers, which were short barrel slide mounted guns firing a 64 pound round, devastating at short range. Nelson’s Victory was significantly heavier than that sailed by Hawkins, but in general respects was a developed version of the same general design. The guns were also remarkably similar, although Elizabethan warships also carried sled mounted cannon and cannon mounted on two wheel land carriage, some of these being breech loading. As a result, some Elizabethan guns had a greater range than cannon in common use in Nelson’s day and some had a much higher rate of fire. The two wheel carriage had little to commend it for naval use and the four wheel truck mounting was much better suited. Some Elizabethan guns still had bar barrels, formed by beating together a number of iron bars, rather than casting and boring a solid barrel. These guns could offer a high rate of fire and long range, but had a short life as the barrel gradually, sometimes rapidly, degraded with use and could become more dangerous to the gun crew than the enemy.

The authors have provided a great deal of information and a good glossary, covering the vessels between Hawkin’s Victory and Nelson’s Victory. Naturally the Trafalgar Victory has been covered in its fighting days and in its later service as a key piece of British naval heritage. There is genuinely new information and balanced coverage from first to last Victory. The standard of illustration is very good and adds greatly to the work. This is one of those essential books that no one following naval history can afford to be without.

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