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Norfolk nChance

1800s RN Squadrons Fleets and Station Question

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1800s RN Squadrons Fleets and Station Question...

Need some help and understanding the Royal Navy structure. Date 1808, and I want to know the difference between Stations, Squadrons and Fleets. The Station concepts look to be phasing out from this point on...

Cape of Good Hope Station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commander-in-Chief,_Africa_(Royal_Navy)

West Africa Squadron

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Africa_Squadron

North Sea Fleet

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commander-in-Chief,_North_Sea

 

My thinking... please correct me

A Squadron       is More than 3 ships of the same class Rating

A Flotilla           is More than 1 Squadron operating under 1 Commander

A Division        same as Flotilla except operating as part of a FLEET

A Fleet              Multiple Divisions

 

I’m assuming originally the “Station” Admiral was acting like a Flotilla or a Division like the Leeward Islands Station. Is it something to do with tech progression with Fleets becoming much more mobile, covering larger areas in shorter times? The Station becoming more an anchor than safe harbor?

Any pointers, much appreciated as always...o7

 

Norfolk.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leeward_Islands_Station

 

Edited by Norfolk nChance

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I know where to get all the answers you need, unfortunately I am at work and the book is at home:

"Nelson's Navy: The Ships, Men, and Organization, 1793-1815" by Brian Lavery

https://www.amazon.com/Nelsons-Navy-Ships-Organization-1793-1815/dp/1591146119/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549564134&sr=8-1&keywords=brian+lavery

It is a great resource and you may be able to get a used HB copy for less than on Amazon. I will check when I get home for answers though. 

 

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@Norfolk nChance Here are some tidbits I got from some brief reading:

The book I noted above goes into great detail on the administrative organization of the RN, including the various Boards (Admiralty, Victualling, etc. ) To your questions:

Fleet organization: 

A Fleet would be composed of squadrons and sometimes further subdivided into divisions depending on how many ships and flag officers were in the fleet. Obviously the fleet operated as a line of battle. A rear admiral or commodore might have command of a division of several ships and be responsible to ensure that those ships were keeping station and following the sailing/fighting instructions. IMO the number of ships in a division or squadron was dependent on the circumstances and the size of the fleet. Many times fleet commanders did not even use divisions. A squadron was a formation of ships that could be part of a fleet or act independently. For example the Channel fleet often sent a squadron of ships "inshore"  to watch the French fleet. Far flung stations may only have had a squadron assigned, such as the North American squadron at Halifax. I did not see any mention of a "flotilla"

As to Stations. You had the Home Stations which consisted of either Naval bases or Dockyards and then you had overseas or foreign stations. From what I read in 1808 they were still using that term. The station commander was often different from the assigned squadron commander as well. I'll see if I can dig up some more info.

 

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Not really.

The names of Stations, Squadrons and Fleets are mostly historical quirks, and strength and composition of them changed with the strategic and operational requirements (of that station and it's competition).

e.g. Western Squadron, has 52 vessels assigned to it in 1760 and 70 in 1800.

as 'thin examples' in 1813 the channel fleet has 33 ships, including 16 of the line... but the Baltic squadron has 45 including 9 of the line, and Texel has 30, including 12 of the line.

American stations have 57 and 11 ships, with a total of 12 of the line.

Mediterranean Fleet is huge with 89 ships including 29 of the line.


So, the difference is largely one of historical precedents and the immediate operational and strategic need as much as a firm and consistent regulation.


 

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Thanks for the feedback Guys. Here’s the thinking and plausibility of it post 1808...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_America_Station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_East_Coast_of_America_Station

This is what happened in real life and covers and area from Hong Kong to the Falklands around 1808 to 1836.

My story, in 1808 I want to have my clan/squadron [ELITE] get relocated to the Pacific by Admiralty in London. The Galapagos islands are chosen, [-431k, -572k] for a station. The SEoA Station is the stepping stone using the Falklands.

https://na-map-test.netlify.com/

First the OUTPOST would be called the East Pacific Station. The Rear-Admiral Governor “Norfolk” would control the stationed fleet there. After a time, (with localization inbound) other Royal Navy stations may open more outposts like Hawaii (Cook’s resting place) or the Marshall Islands. This linking up the Pacific with the East Indies and China Station later at Hong Kong.

This Fleet, then could roam using the outposts. It would become The Pacific Fleet, with roaming squadrons North Pac Squadron, West-Pac Squadron and so on.

Obviously, this is pure fiction. The economic need from the East India Company, ran India Opium to SE China in exchange for silver. Silver bought tea in Shanghai that is then transported back the long way around to London. My idea, or campaign idea was to set up a new run back to London.

Is this progression realistic, from Station setup, to multiple stations, to a Fleet that then as roaming Squadrons? Using the Stations as stepping stones rather than permanent bases...?

Apologies for the convoluted explanations...

 

Norfolk.

 

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On 2/6/2019 at 11:30 PM, Norfolk nChance said:

My thinking... please correct me

A Squadron       is More than 3 ships of the same class Rating

A Flotilla           is More than 1 Squadron operating under 1 Commander

A Division        same as Flotilla except operating as part of a FLEET

A Fleet              Multiple Divisions

Pretty close... except you have division as the largest when it's the smallest... so:

Division: 3-5 ships.
Squadron: 6 to 10 ships.
Flotilla: 10 ships or more.
Fleet: Multiple Flotillas

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Well. That flies in the face of historical documents which clearly show a squadron of 70+ vessels in certain places and times...

This describes the more modern usage, sure. But in period, squadron, fleet, station had similar functional purpose at time of high activity, and while only the fleets and to a lesser extent stations were preserved in peacetime at their 'peak' sizes, a squadron in active strategic or operational areas would absorb or be sent as whatever strength was needed for it's mission.

A naval detachment is equivalent to a division (a smaller part of a larger body), the distinction being between being apart from and a part of this larger grouping.

So the Van, Main Body and Rear of the fleet might form three divisions, along with a fourth (maybe) as scouts and liaision (light 4th rates or small 3rd rates, with frigates and sloops).
Or alternatively you might form two columns, plus attachments (scouts, screen and liaisons).

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Also as I understand it : a fleet or augmented squadron tends to have several 'divisions' acting or inactive (including at anchorage) together and a number of detachments finding things for them to potentially move against, while an active station or a 'basic' squadron is more commonly predominantly many detachments or single patrolling vessels, with little 'core' strength gathered in one place, or all of it's 'smaller' size acting together.

Ultimately, over several centuries of practice and implementation across the globe you can probably find an example of just about anything.
What ships you have available and your mission determines what you are expected to accomplish. The name of your grouping is often little more than a historical accident from the time this new structure was first dispatched... and your mission and resources have likely changed.
 

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I did not find the use of the term Flotilla to describe a collection of ships in British use at least.  Maybe the usage was confined to small ships like gun boats?

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Thanks for the feedback guys, seriously helps me...

Even though I’m British, I maybe mixing up metaphors and terms with my American cousins. Using Wiki isn’t reliable enough, again if written by an American using their structural form to describe a situation.

I’ve struggled with a similar subject before regarding the evolution of Fleet tactics.

The storyline to suggest a campaign to @admin probably doesn’t need the exact detail. The story itself probably does. The large amount of antimony a far from home Rear-Admiral has is I think my next research dive.

This may reveal the basic strategy used in putting a footprint in an area that’ll last. The stages If you like.

 

Again, thanks and please keep the suggestions coming,

 

Norfolk

 

 

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On 2/13/2019 at 11:37 PM, Hemp Amore said:

Division: 3-5 ships.
Squadron: 6 to 10 ships.
Flotilla: 10 ships or more.
Fleet: Multiple Flotillas 

Small differences for the French navy.
1 detachment = 2 ships
1 division = from 3 to 8 ships
1 squadron = from 9 to 26 ships
3 squadrons = a naval army

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