of the Franco-Spanish Armada
Group of English battleships in the battle of Trafalgar. This group was
led by the `Victory` under the command of Vice-admiral Nelson. List of
the ships from the beginning of the division to the end:
||100 guns flagship
||100 guns (Admiral
Group of English battleships in the battle of Trafalgar. This group was
led by the `Royal Sovereign` under the command of Vice-admiral Collingwood.
List of the ships from the beginning of the division to the end:
||100 guns (Vice-admiral
Armada of French and Spanish battleships in the battle of Trafalgar. This
gigantic fleet was commanded by Vice-admiral Villenneuve. List of the ships
from the beginning of the fleet to the end:
de Asis (Spanish)
de Asturias (Spanish)
96 guns (Admiral
Dummanior le Pelley) flagship of vanguard
144 guns (Admiral Cisneros)
80 guns (Vice-admiral Villenneuve) flagship of the Armada
112 guns (Admiral Alava)
74 guns (Admiral Magon)
112 guns (Admiral Gravina) flagship of the rear-guard
Rank of the Royal Navy. It is the lowest rank of the Navy. In the Royal
Navy every man who wanted to become a captain had to become a midshipman
first. Midshipmen were taught by the officers of a ship in topics like
weapon-use, sailing, navigation and how to command a crew of some hundred
men. Midshipmen led a gun battery of a ship as second commanders. Sometimes
they had the command of the boats. They also joined boarding-parties.
They lived in one room under the deck of their ships and the oldest midshipmen
had the control there. When a midshipman wanted to become a lieutenant
he had to be 20 years old and had to pass an exam. After a successful
exam the new lieutenant got his lieutenant's license and was now allowed
to serve as lieutenant on His Majesty Ships.
Rank of the Royal Navy. Every ship had some, but this depended on the
size of a ship. On board of a ship the lieutenants were ranked according
to their lieutenant's license. The lieutenant who had the oldest one was
the 1st Lieutenant on board. He didn't have to go on a watch, but he was
responsible for the complete service order. In a battle, his place was
next to the captain on the afterdeck.
All the other lieutenants had to go on watches and everyone had one task.
For example, one led the gunnery on the right broadside and another one
was responsible for the messaging. If the 1st lieutenant died, he was
to be replaced by the 2nd and all the others moved up one position.
Furthermore, lieutenants had the command of small vessels of the Royal
Navy, such as cutters, armed transports and schooners. In that case, they
were higher in rank than normal lieutenants and were called captain for
reasons of courtesy. All lieutenants had small rooms at the end of their
ships and they were members of the officers-mass.
Lieutenants were only promoted when they had achieved great success on
their missions. There weren't any promotions because of age and service-years,
but some lieutenants were promoted because of influential friends and
The 1st promotion-possibility was the rank of a commander. This step wasn't
needed to become a post-captain, because a lieutenant could also be promoted
to be a captain when he had done something very successful and special.
Commanders were used on ships which needed more than one officer, for
example brigs and sloops. A commander was also named captain for reason
of courtesy. During the war against the French Empire, more and more commanders
were prompted, but there weren't enough ships for them.
The 2nd promotion-possibility was the rank of a post-captain. Post-captains
got the command of a ship of the first six rates. A post-captain could
also lead a squadron of small ships during special missions. He was allowed
to be transported by a ship under the first six rates. Captains were also
used on land; for example, in big ports they were needed for the recruiting
of sailors. In the admiralty of the Royal Navy was a list of all post-captains.
At the bottom were the youngest captains, and in the higher ranks the
captains became older and were promoted to admirals. That's why nobody
could be promoted without the order of this license.
If the admiralty wanted to promote a captain, they had to promote all
the captains above him. But the admiralty didn't need to give all of them
a command. On board his ship, the captain was something like a monarch.
Nobody was allowed to doubt his decisions, and he was allowed to punish
his crew with all kinds of punishment, which he thought useful. Officially,
he was only allowed to order 12 hits with a whip, but very often brutal
captains ordered more and the sailors died later.
After 1806, he was allowed to order 48 hits with the whip. The captain
was an very isolated man, and when he wasn't successful during his missions,
he could easily be punished by the admiralty and lose his command. A captain
didn't go on a watch, but he had to be on deck if he was needed.
Usually a captain started his career on board a frigate and with more
experience became captain of battleships. He could also become flag captain
of squadron or commodore, but these weren't real ranks. When the command
was finished, the flag captain or commodore were again normal captains.
During their time as flag captain or commodore, they didn't wear a different
uniform or get paid differently.
Admirals were the rank-oldest officers of the Royal Navy with the largest
experience. There were three kinds of an admiral: Rear-admiral, Vice-admiral
and Admiral of the fleet. The promotions of the admirals was arranged
according to the list, which included admiral and captains after their
Admirals had the command of fleets like the Channel fleet, the command
of squadron for special tasks like the conquest of the cape colony or
the command of stations overseas like East India. They ordered there the
movement of their ships but weren't allowed to order the sailors on a
ship without the permission of their captain. If the captain punished
his sailors very brutally, often the admiral wasn't able to do anything
against this. They only planned and ordered the missions and didn't take
part anymore as they had done it when they still had been captains. But
if something bad happened, they were also punished by the admiralty in
of all ranks of the Royal Navy:
(Since 1804 Sub lieutenant)
Rear-admiral of the blue fleet
Rear-admiral of the white fleet
Rear-admiral of the red fleet
Vice-admiral of the blue fleet
Vice-admiral of the white fleet
Vice-admiral of the red fleet
Admiral of the blue fleet
Admiral of the white fleet
Admiral of the red fleet
Admiral of the Fleet
Ships of the
They were built for the bombardment of fortresses which were at the coast.
Most bomb-vessels carried one 30 cm and one 28 cm (Mörser). The ammo
of the bomb-vessels were the only explosive ammo of the Royal Navy. Bomb-vessels
had great influence at the victories in the two battles of Copenhagen,
when the British needed to destroy the Danish capital to force the Danish
to surrender. Commanded by a Lieutenant or Commander.
Ship type designed by British criminals who transported illegally goods
from England to France. Later used by the Royal Navy and the British (Zoll?).
A cutter had normally 10 guns and was used for lookout and transporting
messages and orders to ships and ports over seas. Commanded by a Lieutenant.
Ship with two masts and mostly 18-12 guns. A brig was commanded by a Commander.
Small brigs like gun brigs with 12 guns were only used in the home waters
and for convoys to Baltic Sea. Brigs with 18 guns were used a caper ships
and lookout ships or to some special tasks, where speed was more important
than fire power.
Their main tasks were transporting orders to ships and ports. For lookout
mission they were armed to weak. By the way the Explorer James Cook used
a British schooner for exploration of the Canadian Coast. Commanded by
Also called corvette. A sloop was the greatest of the small warships.
They were commanded by Commanders. Sloop had 18 - 20 guns and was used
to control and prevent the coast and the sea traffic of the French. Sloop
replaced later the small frigates with 22 guns, because they were cheaper
and only needed a commander.
The ships of
the 6 rates
1-4 = Battleships
or ships of the line
1-6= were all commanded by a post captain
p= strength of the gun
There were 4 kinds of battleships in the Royal Navy. Battleships were
originally invented by the British to fight in a battle-line against the
enemy. That's why they carried the guns on their sides.
The biggest battleships were normally the admiral's ships and flagships
of famous squadrons. But Nelson chanced the way of use the battleships.
He and the other new admirals broke through the enemy battle line and
used their fire power in fight of the most close possible distance.
Were the "most glamorous" ships of the Royal Navy. Nelson called them
"The Eyes of the Fleet".
But frigates were not only used for lookout missions, furthermore they
had convoy-duty, to blockade enemy ports and to transport orders or admirals.
But sometimes they had special orders like:
-to steel papers of the enemy
-to re-conquer captured ships
-to conquer the Spanish treasure convoys
Frigates fought also in solo battles against other equal or supreme ships.
These fights brought the captain the title sir and the 1st Lieutenant
the promotion to Commander.
Frigates sailed as already mentioned solo or in small frigate-squadrons.
To the rates of the ships
Although a ship was mentioned in the list with 74 guns, it had actually
82 guns, because the Navy only counted the guns and not the small ones
Fleets or squadrons of the Royal Navy
This fleet was needed for the defense of the British waters. It was also
called Western Squadron or Atlantic fleet. Its commander was always a
successful and famous admiral. The fleet had its bases in Plymouth and
Another squadron which was also in the Channel was the Channel island
squadron, which should protect the Channel island. There were also a squadron
in the Irish Sea to protect the local trade.
The British had also a North Sea Fleet which should control and blockade
the Dutch Coat and fleet.
The Baltic fleet was used to escort the Baltic convoys and to fight against
the French allies in the Baltic. The Baltic fleet was important for the
British, because they got a lot of materials from the Baltic states, which
they needed for the Navy, for example, wood and (Teer?).
This fleet had to blockade Toulon and Cadiz. It sailed through the whole
Mediterranean Sea and sometimes even further in the Atlantic. For example,
Nelson didn't persecute of the French Armada to the West Indies and back.
The Mediterranean won the great battles of St. Vincent, Abukir and Trafalgar.
In 1795, it consisted of 31 ships, but in 1812 of 90 ships. Sometimes
the Mediterranean fleet retreated from there because of the strong fleet
of Spain and French.
The British had other squadrons to escort their convoys, defend their
colonies and to explore:
Person of the time:
He was an uncle of Horatio Nelson. During his command of a warships, he
took Nelson on his ship and taught them. He helped Nelson to get sea experience.
He sent him on a frigate and other ships which were commanded by his friends.
Later around 1778, Captain Suckling was a Controller of the Navy Board
and was even more powerful and influent than a captain. Admiral Parker
promoted Nelson to Commander because of his uncle. In 1780 Captain Suckling
1st wife of Nelson. She was born in the West Indies and died later in
isolation, because Nelson loved Emma Hamilton and ignored Francis. Her
step-son was Lt. Josiah Nisbet.
Sir Peter Parker
In 1778 Sir Peter became Commander in Chief in the West-Indies and started
to support Nelson`s career because of Captain Suckling. He made 1st Lieutenant
of his own ship and gave him the command of a brig and later a frigate.
Sir Peter was a member of the Parker family which had the family tradition
to provide England admirals.
A man who had been with Nelson since he had taking action in the Royal
Navy. First he was lieutenant on Nelson`s ship and later he became second
commander in chief under his command. He a fought with Nelson on the San
Juan River, commanded the 2nd division at Cape Trafalgar and followed
Nelson at Cape St. Vincent, when Nelson`s ship was leaving the British
line to break through the Spanish against the orders of the leading admiral.
Later he was commander in chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.
He was a friend of Nelson`s uncle and supported Nelson`s career after
the uncle's death. He gave him the mission to escort the future King William
4th to Havana. In 1793, he was Nelson's commander in chief in Mediterranean
Sea. In those days he led the conquest of Toulon and sent Nelson to Naples
to ask the local king for military help. There he met Lord and Lady Hamilton
the 1st time.
Sir John Jervis later Earl St. Vincent
He was Nelson`s second Commander in Chief in the Mediterranean Sea and
was very kindly to him. In the battle of St. Vincent he was only able
to win. Because Nelson broke out the English line and stopped the Spanish
line by his ship through it. See Battle of St. Vincent.
Jervis's flag captain wanted to punish Nelson, but Jervis negated, because
he knew what Nelson had done for him. Jervis was grown to Earl St. Vincent
and was also rewarded with 3,000 pounds for every year. St. Vincent became
commander in chief of the Channel fleet and later 1st lord of the admiralty.
He always tried to stop the corrupt industry of shipyards and the Navy
In 1799 Commander in Chief in Mediterranean Sea. He replaced Nelson as
Commander in Chief, because of his time with Lady Hamilton. Nelson and
he met once in front of Malta to discuss the besiege. Nelson ignored two
times Keith's orders to sent his ships to Menorca to fight against the
French. But he still respected Nelson for what he had done in the Battle
Sir Robert Calder
In 1797 he was flag captain of one admiral's ship in the battle of St.
Vincent. Later he was a vice-admiral and had the command about a squadron
to destroy the French-Spanish Armada. Calder met the Armada and recognized
that he had less ships than the enemy and avoided open battle. He was
able to conquer to Spanish ships and to damage several others. Although
he hadn't destroy the Armada, he forced them to return to Ferrol to repair
the ships. In England, the population didn't see Calder`s success and
wanted to punish him. Calder was ordered home.
Sir Hyde Parker
He became an admiral only because his relatives had also been admirals
before him. He got all promotions through his family and not through his
success. This led finally to his disaster in the battle of Copenhagen.
After the battle, he didn't receive any further command of ships in the
Friend of Nelson and member of the `Band of Brothers`. He fought in the
Battle of St. Vincent, Abukir and Trafalgar with Nelson. After Nelson`s
death, he became admiral and continued his successful naval career.
Nelson's enemy in the battle of Abukir. He was killed by a cannonball
while he was shooting on the British ships with his pistol. He was an
admiral from the older Royal French Fleet and served also under Napoleon.
In the battle of Abukir he was a rear-admiral and commanded the ships,
which were the only one able to escape. In 1800 he was the French naval
officer who represented the French by the armistice of Malta. In 1805
he became Commander in Chief Armada, but was captured in the battle and
later sent back to France against a captured British sea officer.
and Lady Hamilton
They represented the British crown at the Royal court of Naples. Later,
they lived together with Nelson. After Lord Hamilton`s death, Nelson lived
Emma at Merton Place. They had one child, Horatia. After Nelson`s death,
Emma couldn't afford her loved life style anymore and died in isolation.