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HIS103Y Lecture 22 December 5th. Britannia Invicta: Trafalga and the Treasury

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University of Toronto St. George
Vasilis Dimitriadis

HIS103Y Lecture 22 December 5 . th Britannia Invicta: Trafalga and the Treasury • Late 1805 combat on land and sea were revolutionized o Decisive results became possible, by Napoleon at Austerlitz and by Nelson at Trafalgar th • 18 century balance of power had rested on military stalemate Napoleon at Austerlitz destroyed that stalemate • However Napoleon’s achievement was overshadowed by the naval revolution o Naval power would triumph over land power and restore the balance of power • This was not realized at first, because naval combat wasn’t seen as decisive • Clausewitz ‘Mobility in a resistance mean’ on war • The sea makes it hard to achieve a coherent naval strategy that could win a decisive victory due to wind, storms, and lack of a reliable communication. • ‘Triple C’ – Command, Control and Communication were difficult at achieve at sea • Royal Navy strategy flank to flank – didn’t really work • Home Popham created a flag book first distributed in 1803 reached Nelson in September 1805 o His system was alphabetical; you could spell out any command. Home Popham had improved Nelson’s Triple C capacity. A decisive victory may be won now. • Nelson sailed into battle not in the flank to flank formation, but in columns, so signals could be passed down the line of ships or laterally • Nelson in 1805, ‘but in case signals neither can be seen nor perfectly understood no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside of that of another.’ Known as the ‘Nelson Touch’ • Nelson, ‘no day is long enough to arrange a couple of fleets and fight a battle according to the old system. I would go at them at once as I came about on third of their line f
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