3 hrs. 50 mins.
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The dramatic rise and decline of English naval power.
Disc 1. The King’s Ships 1500-1599
The story begins with the creation of a Royal Navy under orders of King Henry VIII with ships such as Great Harry and Mary Rose and continues through the daring exploits of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hinde and the revolutionary innovations at John Hawkins’ race built Galleons. Finally the climatic showdown with Spain’s invincible Armada in 1588 laid the groundwork for Britannia’s Rule of the Seas in the years to come.
Disc 2. Wooden Walls 1600-1805
The 17th century saw Britain’s war efforts aided by Samuel Pepys’ codification of naval tactics in The Fighting Instructions which transformed naval battles from uncontrollable melees into linear chess games to water. A little known Scottish landlubber named John Clerk further stimulated naval tactics and when Admiral Horatio Nelson took the helm of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, Britain’s mastery of the waves was re-established.
Disc 3. The Sun Never Sets 1806-Present
Wooden Walls were soon replaced by iron and steel. When the super ship, Dreadnought was launched in 1906, it sparked a naval arms race with Germany that culminated with the gigantic showdown at Jutland during WWi. After the loss of HMS Hood, Churchill’s rallying cry, Sink The Bismarck and the successful pursuit of the Graf Spee, turned the tide of WWII. The Falklands War in 1982 once again demonstrated the continuing resolve and effectiveness of the Royal Navy.