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Book Recommend: Nelson’s Spy? The Life of Alexander Scott https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nelsons-Spy-Life-Alexandra-Scott/dp/0954349504 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_John_Scott https://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/alexander-john-scott-nelsons-secret-agent Background... I have a close friend in Hong Kong who is the direct descendant of Alexander Scott. A while back I spoke of Navel Action-OW and Waterloo and the politics of the day with our group when he reveled the ancestor and gave me this book above. His father continues to hold letters between Lord Nelson and Scott he’s also donated papers to the National Naval museum. The Book... Is based on Scotts Journals and was Published by his Daughter and Son in-law. For those interested in the more strategic elements a foot in the age of sail this gives some answers even though it’s from a one-sided point of view. My first thought on finishing this book was “Patrick O’Brian’s” Maturin character must have had inspiration here from Scott’s life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Maturin The SPY in the Age of Sail... Many of you may know already my fascination with the Intelligence community using [ELAN] & [EDARK]. The problem at the time and in fact right up until the first world war was it was frowned upon. To such an extent that Britain (The Admiralty) or France (Talleyrand) would aggressively deny its use. The James Bond character (or Syndey Riley) was not seen to be heroic at all. In fact, under hand and not really sporting but was a vital part of the war effort for both sides. Little is written on the subject and that’s why I recommend this book as its looking through the man’s eyes. A Man of God, a devoted friend to a Charismatic leader and seeing Britain’s danger must have conflicted Scott greatly... I believe it can be downloaded for FREE as well, let me know what you think Norfolk.
It has always bugged me to see these two names mentioned as some of the greatest admirals of all time, so I thought I would make a small thread explaining why I think that these two men are so overrated. Nelson Horatio Nelson has been credited with single handedly saving the United Kingdom from a French invasion, something which is simply not true. The battles mainly associated with Nelson are the Nile, Copenhagen and Trafalgar - His only victories above the rank of commodore. The Battle of the Nile was fought between two equal fleets, and the French Navy under d'Aigalliers was in no position to give battle, a clever move by Nelson but no display of tactical brilliance. At the Battle of Copenhagen, or "Slaget på Reden" as it is known here in Denmark, Nelson outnumbered his adversary, Fischer, by a significant margin. The Danish Navy, which was anchored for winter and manned by civilians, was ill-prepared to face Nelson's much superior force. Nevertheless, Fischer, his men and the young 17-year old Peter Willemoes defended Copenhagen with great courage against the British aggressors. Of the ships Fischer had at his disposal, only "Holsteen" was in good shape, and Fischer's squadron consisted entirely of 40-50 year old ships, whom were to be scrapped anyway. Among these ships was the "Prøvesteenen", the former "Christian VII" which had been rebuilt as a 50-gun defense ship. Furthermore, Nelson never came in range of the various coastal fortresses around Copenhagen, and Steen Bille's squadron didn't even see action. By afternoon the battle was turning in Fischer's favour, but ended as Nelson threatened to execute Danish POW's. Nelson's ships could not carry on fighting, and Nelson's flagship "HMS Elephant" ran aground shortly after the battle. The Battle of Copenhagen was certainly no masterpiece from Nelson's side. For Trafalgar, I think that this thread sums it up quite well - http://forum.game-labs.net/index.php?/topic/4230-trafalgar-a-different-view/?hl=trafalgar Overall, Nelson was certainly no great admiral. He simply copied his tactics, such as breaking the line, from people such as Niels Juel, who had invented this tactic at the Battle of Køge Bay in 1677. Nelson was an average admiral who just found himself on the right place at the right time. De Ruyter I think one of main the reasons why Michiel de Ruyter has been put on such a pedestal is because the achievements of the Dutch Navy are extremely exaggerated. The England that the Netherlands faced in the Anglo-Dutch Wars was a much weaker country than the England that we know from the Seven Years War, Napoleonic Wars etc. This England he been through not just one, but three bloody civil wars which it had yet to recover from, and did not yet possess as great a navy as they did in the Napoleonic Wars etc. I've also noticed that people tend to avoid the disastrous first Anglo-Dutch War or battles such as Lowestoft, where the Dutch were soundly beaten. De Ruyter lost countless battles, and he never won a major victory except for Medway, which wasn't even a naval battle. De Ruyter lost far too many vessels under his command, and while there is no denying that he was extremely courageous, I fail to see what makes him great or even above average.
If you get a chance take the tour, I did as a child and recently renewed acquaintance with this south coast landmark. There really isn't enough room to swing a 'cat in the quarters between cannon and only senior officers quarters of office size. The holds are massive and wheat and grain after drying was stored as ballast would you believe, also the reason they were overrun with rats on occasion! Feels great on board even in December 2009 when I took this. htttp://www.hms-victory.com/