53 mins./128 pages
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Head of Historic Ships, Andrew Baines, takes us on a unique tour of the ship, outlining how Victory functioned at sea and in battle and revealing why she became a deadly fighting machine and played such an enormous part in so many historic battles including Trafalgar. Includes 128-page, illustrated hardback book.
On 7 May 1765 HMS Victory was floated out of Chatham’s Royal Dockyard. Over the years to come she would become the most famous flagship in the Royal Navy, and of course achieved everlasting fame as the flagship of Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson in Britain’s greatest ever naval victory, the defeat of the French and Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar. Life at sea in the Napoleonic War was incredibly hard and
the physical brutality of fighting at sea in sailing warships is difficult to imagine.
The key function of Victory was to be efficient in battle. All other considerations gave way to that. Head of Historic Ships, Andrew Baines, takes us on a unique tour of the ship, outlining how Victory functioned at sea and in battle. How they fed themselves, where they lived, how they were disciplined, and how and why Victory became the deadly fighting machine that played such an enormous part in so many historic battles. Our story culminates in the Battle of Trafalgar and the moving death of Vice-Admiral Nelson.
It is an extraordinary story, superbly told.
The Royal Navy’s defining moment came at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Thirty-three British ships under Admiral Horatio Nelson faced off against 41 ships of the combined French and Spanish navies off the southwest coast of Spain. Nelson shunned conventional naval tactics, which dictated lining your fleet up opposite the enemy and then trying to pound them into submission. Instead, he divided his ships into two lines and drove them through the opposition at right angles in a manoeuvre known as crossing the T. It gave the French and Spanish an early advantage in that their ships could train all their portside guns at the Royal Navy but, as soon as their battle line
had been crossed, Nelson opened up from both flanks and tore into the enemy fleet.
The French and Spanish lost 22 ships and 14,000 men, while Nelson lost no ships and little more than 1,000 men. It was such a decisive engagement that it secured British naval supremacy until the middle of the 20th century. Nelson’s flagship at the battle was HMS Victory.
This is her story.