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Sir Lancelot Holland

Frigate! Mistress of the seas, and, jack of all trades

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On ‎3‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 11:40 AM, Fluffy Fishy said:


The difficulties in the war of 1812 are quite overstated, mainly thanks to US propaganda drawing attention to a handful of minor victories where larger US ships preyed on smaller British ships but were captured and defeated when the odds were even. Typically the great duels of the conflict we remember today are a small number of actions where the 50+ gun 24 pounder ships of the US navy outfought 38 gun 18 pounder frigates of Britain. Its also something to take into account the sheer cost of these US ships, being much larger and over 3x more expensive than the ships they captured, with build and fitting costs more akin to the heaviest ships of the European navies with the cost of the famous USS Constitution being higher than the 100 gun British first rates HMS Royal George and Victory.

 

I beg to differ. You focus too much on the large US 24 pdr frigates, but let's stay with that for a moment. Ironically you have just used some British propaganda by using  the total gun count for the US ship and the long gun count for the British ship! HMS Java was rated as a 38 but carried 46 guns. Having said that we all can agree that the US 44s were bigger and heavier ships that the standard 18 pdr frigate and that was by design. I would hardly call it "preying" on smaller ships, which gave battle willingly and with full knowledge of the power of the US frigates. The propaganda war goes both ways. During the war a number of difficulties worried Whitehall and afterwards the embarrassment of defeats by this small upstart former colony was whitewashed by William James. The victories certainly had an incalculable effect on American morale, which may have been worth the cost. Now, answer me this question; Why is it that British 18 pdr frigates were most always able to defeat larger French 40s and 24 pdr armed frigates? 

The  equal frigate engagement that is always referred to ofc was Chesapeake v Shannon.  No excuses there the US ship was outfought, however by probably one of the best frigate captains in the RN who had a very well drilled crew. Still the rather green US crew put up a good fight. 

By stating that it was all down to the larger vs smaller trope you are missing out on where the real concern lay. There were after all a number of fleet engagements and actions or duels between smaller ships, of equal size. Let's see there is the small matter of the lake battles, which had great strategic import in the war. The Battle of Lake Erie and the Battle of Plattsburgh resulted in the capture of  entire British fleets. Nothing minor about that I would venture to say. Then there were a number of duels between sloops and brigs, but you are right, still minor and having no effect on the mighty RN. 

But what were all those small US ships, ship-sloops, brigs and schooners doing out at sea anyway? Commerce raiding. That indeed had a big effect on the British war effort and insurance rates. The USN being only a small part of it with the privateers ofc. One of these privateers the Chasseur  fought and beat an equally armed RN warship. We have one example in game the Prince which withstood a cutting out attack by another ship in game HMS Endymion whilst heavily outnumbered. 

So again I certainly disagree with your premise here and I think the British media at the time reflects a level of concern that you are trying to dismiss. Circling back to the big frigates they did cause a shift in RN strategy and ship building to counter them. Building a whole new class of 50 gun ships to fight them and diverting more fleet resources to catch them. 

BTW the answer to my question is one of the prime reasons why the USN and US privateers were indeed a thorn in the side of the RN in 1812. 

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10 hours ago, LeBoiteux said:

At the Revolution, the French Navy was disorganized by the aristocratic naval officers fleeing abroad : these exiles represented 80% of the naval officers. Very few among the naval officers had trouble with the terror (3%). Some others fought against the revolution (10%). What's left fought for the Revolution (M. Vergé-Franceschi).

The Revolution is about the end of the privileges of the Aristocrats and the Clergy.

What I should have said was that the similarity was there before the revolution, certainly; the fact that many of the aristocratic families left France before, during and after the Revolution would have had a devastating effect on both the Army and the Navy, at least, until new Officers could be trained and gained experience.

I note with interest your figures regarding the Aristocracy at the time of the revolution, here in England we are taught about this era from a British perspective, which, naturally differs from that of the French people, for example the involvement of the Clergy is not mentioned in British history lessons taught in schools, so if I appear to have misconceptions about what happened during a very turbulent time in French history I am happy to stand corrected.

I do wonder that if M. Robespierre and his fellow revolutionaries were alive today and could see that the privileged still hold power in every nation, would they ask themselves, if it was all worth while?  I do think that the Revolution benefited the French people in many ways, but, that the cost was tragically high among both the Aristocracy and the Citizenry, as is the case with all revolutions. 

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2 hours ago, Sir Lancelot Holland said:

I do wonder that if M. Robespierre and his fellow revolutionaries were alive today and could see that the privileged still hold power in every nation, would they ask themselves, if it was all worth while?  I do think that the Revolution benefited the French people in many ways, but, that the cost was tragically high among both the Aristocracy and the Citizenry, as is the case with all revolutions. 

without wanting to minimize current inequalities around the world nor the victims of the Revolution, if you really think that and are interested in truth and History, you really need to learn more about the French Revolution and the Ancien régime ! 🙂

Even facts about the very short episode of the terror, focus of many's attention and quite a delusion maker, would surprise you

Edited by LeBoiteux

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On 4/12/2019 at 6:59 AM, Sir Lancelot Holland said:

I do wonder that if M. Robespierre and his fellow revolutionaries were alive today and could see that the privileged still hold power in every nation, would they ask themselves, if it was all worth while?

The French Revolutionaries fought for basic freedom and human rights they got and we all still benefit : the end of the king's absolute power and the separation of powers of the executive, legislative and judiciary ; the abolition of slavery (4 feb. 1794) ; the right to vote, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the principles of equal rights ; the freedom of opinion, expression, association and press ; the respect for property, the introduction of divorce ; the same unique law applied to the whole territory of the entire country, the equality before taxes everybody pay tax according to his means (the nobility and the clergy are not exempted anymore from paying the heavier taxes and stop collecting taxes), the adoption of the presumption of innocence, the elimination of the Lettre de cachet...

= basic rights that the citizens of 'some' countries around the world still don't enjoy nowadays...

Edited by LeBoiteux

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Clearly the revolution was far more complex event than how it is portrayed, at least in British schools. By comparison Great Britain's  attempt at republicanism post civil war(s) was a failure,  which, led to our current Constitutional Monarchy. Charles I was an absolute Monarch who believed he reigned by divine right,  whether Louis XVI believed the same, or not, I do not know, but, as monarchs they held similar traits and took a similar path to their trials and executions. 

I took you're advice and read a little deeper into the 'old regime', and I think barely scratched the surface of how things were during the reign of the House of Bourbon,  it is strange how the histories of France and England are so similar at different times, maybe the French and the English people have more in common that we realise, or care to admit.

   

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23 minutes ago, Sir Lancelot Holland said:

Clearly the revolution was far more complex event than how it is portrayed, at least in British schools.    

While I could understand that the England of the 18-19th century would teach his children that French revolutionaries were evil ogres who ate their own children at breakfasts :-), I am quite surprised to learn that the British schools of the 21st century still reduce the French Revolution to the 2 years of the Terror while denying or ignoring its benefits, as you seem to imply. Maybe a matter of an old persistent cliché or because of the Terror being more 'thrilling'.

39 minutes ago, Sir Lancelot Holland said:

Charles I was an absolute Monarch who believed he reigned by divine right,  whether Louis XVI believed the same, or not, I do not know, but, as monarchs they held similar traits and took a similar path to their trials and executions. 

The House of Bourbon (Louis XVI...) was also a absolute monarchy by divine right.

44 minutes ago, Sir Lancelot Holland said:

maybe the French and the English people have more in common that we realise, or care to admit.

not knowing that after 40 years in the European Union... That's the EU's real main failure...

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