Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History 24 October 1744 - HMS Colchester (50), Cptn. Frederick Cornwall, wrecked after striking the sands between Long Sand and Kentish Knock on 21 October - The ship was only 2 months in service
Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, inboard profile, and longitudinal half-breadth for Harwich (1743) and Colchester (1744), both 1741 Establishment 50-gun Fourth Rate, two-deckers. A copy of the draught sent to Harwich was not approved of, and later the two foremost upper deck gunports were moved aft. Note that the Harwich is referred to by her original building name of Tyger [Tiger].
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After being commissioned under Captain Frederick Cornewall, Colchester took aboard a pilot to guide the ship out of the Nore anchorage and on to the Downs. Sailing on Sunday 21 October 1744, the ship ran aground between Long Sand and the Kentish Knock, and became stuck in weather that was 'not at all tempestuous.' A boat was sent back to the shore the following morning for help, and whilst the crew waited for it to return, another ship from the Nore arrived to offer assistance, having heard Colchester's cannons being fired in a signal of distress. The would-be rescuer was however kept from the stricken ship by the wind.
In the afternoon of Monday 22 October, the fore and mizzen masts were cut away in an effort to prevent the ship working herself to pieces. This was deemed insufficient, for Captain Cornewall had the ship scuttled. That evening the main mast was also cut away as it was feared the ship might overset. With water now filling the ship, the crew were crammed onto the weather decks and bowsprit; on Tuesday morning lots were drawn to decide who could use the ship's longboat to get to safety. In spite of this, the ship's surgeon and 30 others took the longboat whilst the crew were drawing their lots; the boat subsequently sank, drowning 13. Four others who had jumped for the boat but missed were also drowned.
The boat Colchester had sent away in the morning of 22 October returned with six fishing vessels on 23 October, but they were unable to come to the ship's aid until the following morning when the sea, which had worked up a little overnight, had calmed again. The captain and 365 men were saved; approximately 40 men and one lieutenant were lost in total.
Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines with inboard detail, and longitudinal half-breadth for rebuilding Falkland (1744), a 1741 Establishment 50-gun Fourth Rate, two-decker. The plan was later used for Portland (1744), and Harwich (1743), Colchester (1744), Chester (1744), Winchester (1744),Gloucester (1745), Maidstone (1744), Advice (1746), Norwich (1745), Ruby (1745), Salisbury (1746). The body plan and longitudinal half-breadth was later altered for Litchfield (1746) and Colchester (1746).
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On the evening of 22 October 1777, the Augusta and several other warships had sailed up the Delaware River to a point a short distance below some man-made obstructions in order to fire at Fort Mercer the following day. As the tide fell, both Augusta and HMS Merlin (16) went aground. Despite attempts during the night by HMS Roebuck (44) to free Augusta from its predicament, the warship remained hard aground. About 9:00 AM on 23 October, a general action started with HMS Pearl (32) and HMS Liverpool (28) joining other vessels in the bombardment. The British ships were engaged by Fort Mifflin and the Pennsylvania Navy, which launched four fire ships. At about 2:00 PM, the Augusta caught fire near its stern, according to an American eyewitness. The fire spread rapidly and soon the entire vessel was wrapped in flames. After about an hour the fire reached the magazine and the ship exploded. The blast smashed windows in Philadelphia and was heard 30 miles (48 km) away in Trappe, Pennsylvania. The loss of the Augusta was attributed to various causes. The British claimed that the blaze was started when wadding from the guns set the rigging on fire or that the crew intentionally set the blaze. Some Americans asserted that Augusta was ignited by a fire ship while others stated that its loss was caused by red-hot shot from Fort Mifflin. John Montresor, the British officer in charge of the Siege of Fort Mifflin, wrote that one lieutenant, the ship's chaplain and 60 of Augusta's ratings were killed while struggling in the water. Soon after, the crew of Merlin abandoned ship and set their ship on fire. It blew up later in the day.
Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the inboard profile proposed (and approved with alterations) for 'Saint Albans' (1764) and 'Augusta' (1763), and later for 'Director' (1784), all 64-gun Third Rate, two-deckers.
In the 1870s, rumors of gold in the wreck, which was still partially visible in the river, led to a recovery efforts that removed tableware, a watch, coins, and three cannons. An unsuccessful attempt to move the ship for display in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia failed, leaving the ship grounded again at Gloucester City, New Jersey. There, it was made a tourist attraction with paid admission for a few years before it broke up in a heavy storm. The Daughters of the American Revolution took much of the wood to its Washington, DC headquarters and used it to recreate an English period dining room. Other pieces washed up on Gloucester City beaches and were collected by citizens. One Paulsboro resident collected 14 staircase pedestals, donating 12 to the Smithsonian and one to the Gill Memorial Library in Paulsboro.
Builder: Clevely, Gravesend
Ordered: 2 August 1780
Launched: 9 March 1784
Fate: Broken up, 1801
HMS Director was a 64-gun third rateship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 9 March 1784 at Gravesend. She was laid down speculatively in November 1779, and ordered by the Navy the following year.
In 1797 Director was under the command of Captain William Bligh. In early 1797 he surveyed the Humber, preparing a map of the stretch from Spurn to the west of Sunk Island. In May, the crew mutinied during the Nore mutiny. The mutiny was not triggered by any specific actions by Bligh. On 12 October she took part in the Battle of Camperdown, where she captured the Dutch commander, Vice-Admiral Jan de Winter, and his flagship, Vrijheid. Director was decommissioned in July 1800 and broken up at Chatham in January 1801.
Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History 24 October 1798 – Launch of French Tonnant, 80 gun Tonnant-class ship of the line
HMS Tonnant (French language: "Thundering") was an 80-gun ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She had previously been the Tonnant of the French Navyand the lead ship of the Tonnant class. Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson captured her at Aboukir Bay off the coast of Egypt at the Battle of the Nile on 1 August 1798. She was taken into British service as HMS Tonnant. She went on to fight at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars.
"HMS Tonnant" at the Battle of the Nile
Tonnant was the flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane during most of the campaign in the Chesapeake Bay during the simultaneous War of 1812 with the United States. On 13–14 September 1814 Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner were dining aboard the ship after negotiations to release some captured prisoners, during the Battle of Baltimore. Key went on to write what later became the words to the American national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner" after watching the British attack on Baltimore's Fort McHenry. Tonnant was broken up in 1821.
Tonnant fought in the battles of Genoa on 14 March 1795 and The Nile on 1 August 1798 under Aristide Aubert Du Petit Thouars. During the battle, she severely damaged HMS Majestic, causing nearly two hundred casualties, including 50 killed and 143 wounded. Among the dead was Majestic's captain, George Blagdon Westcott. Du Petit-Thouars, who had both legs and an arm shot off, commanded his ship until he died. Tonnant was the only French ship still engaged in the morning, with her colours flying, though aground. It was not until 3 August that she finally struck her colours.
The British took her into their service, registering and naming her as HMS Tonnant on 9 December 1798. She arrived at the naval base at Plymouth, England on 17 July 1799. Even before she formally entered British service, she was among the vessels that participated in the capture of the Greek vessel Ardito on 24 October 1798.
Tonnant was commissioned under Captain Loftus Bland in January 1799, with Captain Robert Fitzgerald taking over in February. He sailed her to Gibraltar and then back to Britain. Upon her arrival in Plymouth in 1800 she was laid up in ordinary
Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan with stern board outline, sheer lines with inboard detail and figurehead, and longitudinal half-breadth for Tonnant (captured 1798), a captured French 80-gun ship, as fitted as an 80-gun, Third Rate, two-decker. The plan illustrates her British configuration after a refit at Plymouth Dockyard between January and March 1806. The plan was sent to the Navy Office in October 1810. Signed by Joseph Tucker [Master Shipright, Plymouth Dockyard 1802-1813].
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British service Napoleonic Wars Tonnant underwent repairs between December 1801 and April 1803. She was commissioned in March 1803 under Captain Sir Edward Pellew. Under his command she participated in the Blockade of Ferrol.
On 24 May the cutter Resolution captured the Esperance and the Vigilant, with the Tonnant sharing in the capture. Next, Tonnant, Mars and Spartiatecaptured the Dutch ships Baum and Maasulys on 2 and 4 June. Tonnant then was one of the vessels that shared in the recapture on 27 August of the Lord Nelson.
Tonnant was part of Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Calder's squadron off Cape Ortegal when she encountered the French ships Duguay-Trouin and Guerrière on 2 September 1803. The two French Navy warships had broken out of the blockade when they met Tonnant. They escaped her but British naval forces of varying strengths harried them during their journey back to port and they only just made it to the safety of A Coruña.
Tonnant shared in the capture of the Perseverance on 28 October, though the prize money was much less. Then on 29 November, Ardent destroyed the Bayonnoise; Tonnant was among the vessels sharing, by agreement, in the bounty money. In the new year, on 18 February 1804, Tonnant and the ships of the squadron recaptured the brig Eliza.
Later in 1804 Tonnant was in the Channel under Captain William Henry Jervis. Unfortunately he drowned off Brest when going in his gig from Tonnant to the San Josef on 26 January 1805. Jervis had just arrived from Rochefort and was anxious to impart his intelligence to the commander-in-chief. Captain Charles Tyler replaced Jervis in March.
During the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) she captured the 74-gun French ship Algésiras. Tonnant lost 26 officers and men killed and 50 officers and men wounded in the battle, with Tyler being among the wounded.
Tonnant underwent a refit at Portsmouth between January and June 1806. She was recommissioned in May under Captain Thomas Browne. She then served as flagship for Rear-Admiral Eliab Harvey. While under his command Minerve distinguished herself in a number of small cutting out expeditions.
In July 1807 she was under Captain Richard Hancock and served as flagship for Rear-Admiral Michael de Courcy. In April 1809 she was under the command of Captain James Bowen when she recaptured the Ann of Leith on the 8th. Tonnant then was among the vessels sharing in the captures of the Goede Hoop 9 July and the Carl Ludwig on 2 August.
Between November and December 1809 she was under repair at Plymouth. In 1810 she served under Captain Sir John Gore. Lloyd's List reported on 14 June 1811 that French privateer Adolphe had captured George and Mary, but that Tonnant had recaptured George and Mary, which had been sailing from the West Indies and which arrived in Plymouth on 11 June.
On 24 March 1812, still under the command of Gore, Tonnant was off Ushant when she captured the French privateer Emilie. Emilie was armed with twelve 10-pounder guns and had a crew of 84 men. She was nine days out of Saint-Malo and had captured one vessel, a Spanish merchant ship that the Royal Navy had recaptured on the 24th. At the time that she captured Emilie, Tonnant was in company with Hogue, Colossus, Bulwark, and Poictiers. Then on 18 April Tonnant captured the Martha. On 12 May, Abercrombie captured Betsy. Abercrombie was in company with Tonnant, Royal Sovereign, Queen, Pompee and Goldfinch. Tonnant then again underwent repair between August and December 1812, this time at Chatham.
Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the quarterdeck and forecastle, upper deck, lower deck, and orlop deck with fore and aft platforms for Tonnant (captured 1798), a captured French 80-gun ship, as fitted as an 80-gun, Third Rate, two-decker. The plan illustrates her British configuration after a refit at Plymouth Dockyard between January and June 1806. The plan is also dated 13 October 1810, which may reflect the date that the plan was sent to the Navy Office along with the Lines plan (ZAZ0640). Signed by Joseph Tucker [Master Shipright, Plymouth Dockyard 1802-1813]
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War of 1812 Tonnant joined the War of 1812 late. She was fitted for sea in the first quarter of 1814, being recommissioned in January under Captain Alexander Skene. In October Captain Charles Kerr assumed command as Tonnant served as the flagship for Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane during most of the campaign in Chesapeake Bay. From her he directed attacks on Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
"Star Spangled Banner"
It was aboard Tonnant that the Americans, Colonel John Stuart Skinner and Francis Scott Key, dined with Vice Admiral Cochrane, Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn and Major General Robert Ross, where they negotiated the release of a prisoner, Dr. William Beanes. After his release, Skinner, Key and Beanes were allowed to return to their own sloop, but were not allowed to return to Baltimore because they had become familiar with the strength and position of British units and knew of the British intention to attack Baltimore. As a result, Key witnessed the bombarding of Fort McHenry and was inspired to write a poem called Defence of Fort M'Henry, later named "The Star Spangled Banner". During the bombardment, Erebus provided the "rockets red glare" whilst Meteor provided at least some of the "bombs bursting in air" that feature in the lyrics.
The body of Major General Robert Ross
After Major General Robert Ross's death in the Battle of North Point, his body was stored in a barrel of 129 gallons (586 l) of Jamaican rum aboard Tonnant. When she was diverted to New Orleans for the forthcoming battle (see above), the body was later shipped on the British ship Royal Oak to Halifax, Nova Scotia where his body was interred on 29 September 1814 in the Old Burying Ground.
New Orleans Tonnant continued to serve Cochrane as a flagship when he directed the British naval forces at the Battle of New Orleans. Immediately before the battle, boats from Tonnant participated in the British victory at the Battle of Lake Borgne.
On 8 December 1814, two US gunboats fired on Sophie, Armide and the sixth-rate frigate Seahorse while they were passing the chain of small islands that runs parallel to the shore between Mobile and Lake Borgne.
Main article: Battle of Lake Borgne
Between 12 and 15 December 1814, Captain yer of Sophie led a flotilla of some 50 boats, barges, gigs and launches to attack the US gunboats. yer drew his flotilla from the fleet that was massing against New Orleans, including the 74-gun Third Rates Royal Oak and Tonnant, and a number of other vessels including Armide, Seahorse, Manly and Meteor.
yer deployed the boats in three divisions, of which he led one. Captain Montresor of the gun-brig Manly commanded the second, and Captain Roberts of Meteor commanded the third. After rowing for 36 hours, the British met the Americans at St. Joseph's Island. On 13 December 1814, the British attacked the one-gun schooner USS Sea Horse. On the morning of the 14th, the British engaged the Americans in a short, violent battle.
The British captured or destroyed almost the entire American force, including the tender, USS Alligator, and five gunboats. The British lost 17 men killed and 77 wounded; Tonnant had three men killed and 15 wounded, one of whom died later. Anaconda then evacuated the wounded. In 1821 the survivors of the flotilla shared in the distribution of head-money arising from the capture of the American gun-boats and sundry bales of cotton. In 1847 the Admiralty awarded the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "14 Dec Boat Service 1814" to 205 survivors (from all the participating boats).
Tonnant was off New Orleans in January 1815, and in the vicinity of the attack on Fort Bowyer in February 1814. She left the anchorage off Mobile Bay on 18 February and arrived in Havana on 24 February 1815, accompanied by the Asia and the Vengeur.
Post-war and fate Tonnant returned to England in May 1815. She then served as the flagship for Admiral Lord Keith when she took part in the exiling of Napoleon to St. Helena in 1815, though she was not part of the flotilla that took him there.
Captain John Tailour assumed command in November. From 1816 to 1817 she was the Flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Benjamin Hallowell on the Cork station.
Tonnant was paid off into ordinary in November 1818. She was broken up at Plymouth in March 1821.
The Tonnant class was a series of eight 80-gun ships of the line designed in 1787 by Jacques-Noël Sané. From 1802 a new group (the Bucentaure class) was begun of slightly modified design, of which more than 24 were begun.
Tonnant class (8 ships)
Begun: December 1787
Launched: 24 October 1789
Completed September 1790
Fate: Captured 2 August 1798, added to Royal Navy as HMS Tonnant, broken up 1821
Begun: September 1788
Launched: 20 December 1790
Completed: February 1791
Fate: Ran aground after the Battle of Trafalgar October 1805
Begun: October 1790
Launched: 8 June 1793
Completed: September 1793
Fate: Captured 1 June 1794 by the Royal Navy, broken up October 1842
Begun: August 1794
Launched: 17 March 1795
Completed: October 1795
Fate: Captured 3 November 1805 during Battle of Cape Ortegal, renamed HMS Brave, broken up April 1816
Begun: September 1794
Launched: 21 October 1795
Completed: July 1796
Fate: Captured 30 March 1800, renamed HMS Malta, broken up August 1840
Begun: November 1794
Launched: 25 June 1797
Completed: March 1798
Fate: Captured 2 August 1798 in the battle of the Nile, renamed HMS Canopus, broken up October 1887
Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History 24 October1793 - HMS Thames (1758 - 32) engaged Uranie, Cptn. Jean-François Tartu (Killed in Action).
The Action of 24 October 1793 was a minor naval engagement during the first year of the French Revolutionary Wars. While cruising in the Northern Bay of Biscay, the British Royal NavyfrigateHMS Thames, under Captain James Cotes, encountered the much larger French frigate Uranie, under Captain Jean-François Tartu. The ships engaged, with each suffering severe damage until they separated after nearly four hours of continual combat. Cotes ordered his crew to make hasty repairs, intending to resume the battle, but Uranie's crew, with their captain dead, slipped away while Thames was unable to manoeuvre. At 16:00, with repairs on Thames ongoing, a French squadron of three frigates and a brig, under Captain Zacharie Allemand, arrived, firing on Thames as they approached. Outnumbered, Cotes surrendered his ship to Allemand, who commended Cotes on his resistance to the far larger Uranie.
The French brought Thames into Brest, where sailors from Allemand's squadron looted the frigate. The British officers were imprisoned for the next two years. The frigate was commissioned into the French Navy as Tamise, and Uranie was renamed Tartu in honour of her deceased captain. Both vessels then served with the French Atlantic Fleet, Tamise until 8 June 1796, when the British recaptured her off the Scilly Isles, and Tartu until 30 December 1796 when the British captured her during the Expédition d'Irlande.
HMS Thames was a 32-gun Richmond-classfifth-ratefrigate of the Royal Navy built by Henry Adams and launched at Bucklers Hard in 1758. She served in several wars, including for some four years in French service (as Tamise) after her capture. She was recaptured in 1796 and was broken up in 1803.
British service Thames was commissioned in April 1758. On 18 May 1759, she assisted in the capture of the French frigate Aréthuse, which was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Arethusa. She was deployed in the Mediterranean from August 1763 and paid off in March 1766 after wartime service.
She was repaired and recommissioned in October 1770 for the Falkland Islands dispute. She participated in the Spithead Review of 22 June 1773, and in a mission to Morocco in 1774. Paid off in July 1775, she was recommissioned in August 1776, and then paid off again in September 1782 after wartime service.
After several repairs at various times, she was recommissioned under Captain Thomas Troubridge in June 1790. The China fleet left Macao on 21 March. HMS Leopard and Thames escorted them as far as Java Head.
She was later again paid off, repaired, and refitted.
French service and recapture Tamise was entrusted to Captain Jean-Marthe-Adrien l'Hermitte, who ordered some technical improvements. She went for two short cruises in the Channel where she succeeded in taking 22 British merchant vessels of various sizes. She also escaped a British squadron that ignored her because of her British construction lines. She was then the admiral's frigate, repeating orders, in Villaret de Joyeuse's fleet. She was charged with the reconnaissance of Lord Howe's fleet in the morning of the Glorious First of June 1794.
Under the command of Captain Fradin, Tamise took part in the disastrous campaign of "Grand Hiver" while still with Villaret Joyeuse's fleet. She also was sent on three individual chasing campaigns making several seizures and taking part in three inconclusive individual fights.
On 8 June 1796 Tamise was cruising with the Tribune in the approaches to the Channel when they encountered the British frigates, Santa Margarita and Unicorn, which chased the two French frigates. Unicorn captured Tribune, and Santa Margarita captured Tamise at the Action of 8 June 1796. The Royal Navy reinstated Tamise under her old name as HMS Thames.
British service again Thames was recommissioned in December 1796 under Captain William Lukin and in June sailed for Jamaica. In April – May 1797 she was caught up in the Spithead and Nore mutinies. However, Lukin managed her well during this period and she was one of the first vessels to sail after the suppression of the mutiny. In the second half of 1797, Thames captured a small barge of one gun, name unknown, on the Jamaica station.
On 12 May 1800, Thames, Clyde and the hired armed cutter Suwarrow captured a French chasse maree, name unknown. On 1 June, Thames was a part of a squadron detached from Channel fleet to Quiberon Bay and the Morbihan. On 4 June Thames, Cynthia and some smaller vessels attacked the south-west end of Quiberon where the silenced the forts, which a landing party of troops later destroyed.
On 26 October Thames encountered a French privateer at about 9:30 in the morning. Thames pursued her quarry for five hours. During the pursuit they came upon Immortalite, which joined in. The two British vessels finally captured the ship Diable à Quatre some 36 leagues from the Cordouan lighthouse. She was armed with sixteen 6 and 12-pounder guns and had a crew of 150 men. She was only one day out of Bordeaux. The Royal Navy took her into service as Imogen.
On 26 or 29 October, Thames and Immortalite chased a French letter of marque schooner all day. They finally captured her and found that she had been sailing from Guadaloupe to Bordeaux with a cargo of coffee. She was the schooner Unique.
A little over a month later, on 30 November she captured another French privateer in the Bay of Biscay after a six-hour pursuit. The prize, Actif, was armed with fourteen 6-pounder and two brass 12-pounder guns. She had a crew of 137 men and this was the first day of her first cruise. From her, Captain Lukin learned that in the previous three months only two British prizes had come into French or Spanish ports, one into Rochelle and one into Passage. The Royal Navy trook Actif into service as Morgiana.
On 18 January 1801, Thames captured the French navy corvette Aurore in the English Channel. Aurore was armed with 16 guns and was under the command of Lieutenant de vaisseau Charles Girault. She had as a passenger the governor of Mauritius's Aide de Camp, who was carrying dispatches to the French government there. The Royal Navy took Aurore into service as Charwell.
Captain Aiskew Paffard Hollis took command of Thames in June. On 5 July she became becalmed while trying to recall Superb to join the squadron under Rear Admiral Sir James Saumarez. On 8 July she observed a Franco-Spanish squadron of six sail of the line prepare to sail the next day for Algeciras, and sailed to Gibraltar to warn the admiral.
Three days later Thames was part of Saumarez's squadron, which left Gibraltar to chase a Franco-Spanish squadron observed sailing from Algeciras. Thames took a minor part in the subsequent Battle of Algeciras Bay. The engagement resulted in the destruction of two first rates, and the capture of a third rate.
In subsequent months, assisted by the sloop-of-warCalpe, which had also participated in the battle, she destroyed a number of the enemy's coasters in the bay of Estepona.
Fate Thames was paid off in January 1803 and broken up at Woolwich in September.
It was fought in waters near the Philippine islands of Leyte, Samar and Luzon, from 23–26 October 1944, between combined American and Australianforces and the Imperial Japanese Navy. On 20 October, United States troops invaded the island of Leyte as part of a strategy aimed at isolating Japan from the countries it had occupied in Southeast Asia, and in particular depriving Japanese forces and industry of vital oil supplies. The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) mobilized nearly all of its remaining major naval vessels in an attempt to defeat the Allied invasion but was repulsed by the U.S. Navy's Third and Seventh fleets. The IJN failed to achieve its objective, suffered heavy losses, and never sailed to battle in comparable force thereafter. The majority of its surviving heavy ships, deprived of fuel, remained in their bases for the rest of the Pacific War and suffered under heavy sustained aerial attack.
This was the first battle in which Japanese aircraft carried out organized kamikaze attacks. By the time of the battle, Japan had fewer naval ships than the Allied forces had aircraft carriers, underscoring the disparity in force strength at this point in the war.
Actions at the 24th Battle of the Sibuyan Sea (24 October 1944) Musashi departing Brunei in October 1944 for the Battle of Leyte Gulf
Despite its great strength, the U.S. 3rd Fleet was not well-placed to deal with the threat. On 22 October, Halsey had detached two of his carrier groups to the fleet base at Ulithi to provision and rearm. When Darter's contact report came in, Halsey recalled Davison's group, but allowed Vice Admiral John S. McCain, with the strongest of TF 38's carrier groups, to continue towards Ulithi. Halsey finally recalled McCain on 24 October—but the delay meant the most powerful American carrier group played little part in the coming battle, and the 3rd Fleet was therefore effectively deprived of nearly 40% of its air strength for most of the engagement. On the morning of 24 October, only three groups were available to strike Kurita's force, and the one best positioned to do so—Gerald F. Bogan's Task Group 38.2 (TG 38.2)—was by mischance the weakest of the groups, containing only one large carrier—USS Intrepid—and two light carriers (the failure to promptly recall McCain on 23 October had also effectively let some 4 heavy cruisers of the 3rd Fleet sink).
Yamato hit by a bomb near her forward gun turret in the Sibuyan Sea, 24 October 1944
Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Takijirō Ōnishi had directed three waves of aircraft from his First Air Fleet based on Luzon against the carriers of Rear Admiral Frederick Sherman's TG 38.3 (whose aircraft were also being used to strike airfields in Luzon to prevent Japanese land-based air attacks on Allied shipping in Leyte Gulf). Each of Ōnishi's strike waves consisted of some 50 to 60 aircraft.
Most of the attacking Japanese planes were intercepted and shot down or driven off by Hellcats of Sherman's combat air patrol, most notably by two fighter sections from Essex led by Commander David McCampbell (who is credited with shooting down nine of the attacking planes in this one action). However, one Japanese aircraft (a Yokosuka D4Y3 Judy) slipped through the defences, and at 09:38 hit the light carrier USS Princeton with a 551 lb (250 kg) armor-piercing bomb. The resulting explosion caused a severe fire in Princeton's hangar and her emergency sprinkler system failed to operate. As the fire spread rapidly, a series of secondary explosions followed. The fire was gradually brought under control, but at 15:23 there was an enormous explosion (probably in the carrier's bomb stowage aft), causing more casualties aboard Princeton, and even heavier casualties—233 dead and 426 wounded—aboard the light cruiser Birmingham which was coming back alongside to assist with the firefighting. Birmingham was so badly damaged, she was forced to retire. Another light cruiser and two destroyers were also damaged. All efforts to save Princetonfailed, and after the remaining crew were evacuated, she was finally scuttled—torpedoed by the light cruiser Reno—at 17:50. Of Princeton's crew, 108 men were killed, while 1,361 survivors were rescued by nearby ships. USS Princeton was the largest American ship lost during the Battles around Leyte Gulf, and the only Independence-class fast carrier sunk in combat during the war.
Planes from the carriers Intrepid and Cabot of Bogan's group attacked at about 10:30, making hits on the battleships Nagato, Yamato, and Musashi, and badly damaging the heavy cruiser Myōkō, which retired to Borneo via Coron Bay. A second wave from Intrepid, Essex and Lexington later attacked, with VB-15 Helldivers and VF-15 Hellcats from Essex, scoring another 10 hits on Musashi. As she withdrew, listing to port, a third wave from Enterprise and Franklin hit her with an additional 11 bombs and eight torpedoes.
Kurita turned his fleet around to get out of range of the aircraft, passing the crippled Musashi as his force retreated. He waited until 17:15 before turning around again to head for the San Bernardino Strait. After being struck by at least 17 bombs and 19 torpedoes, Musashi finally capsized and sank at about 19:30.
In all, U.S. 3rd Fleet flew 259 sorties—mostly by Hellcats—against Center Force on 24 October. This weight of attack was not nearly sufficient to neutralize the threat from Kurita. It contrasts with the 527 sorties flown by 3rd Fleet against Ozawa's much weaker Northern Force on the following day. Moreover, a large proportion of the Sibuyan Sea attack was directed against just one ship, Musashi. This great battleship was sunk, the cruiser Myōkō was also crippled by an aerial torpedo; but every other ship in Kurita's force remained battleworthy and able to advance.
As a result of a momentous decision about to be taken by Admiral Halsey, Kurita was able to proceed through the San Bernardino Strait during the night, to make an unexpected and dramatic appearance off the coast of Samar on the following morning.
Task Force 34 / San Bernardino Strait
After the Japanese Southern and Center forces had been detected, but before Ozawa's carriers had been located, Halsey and the staff of 3rd Fleet, aboard the battleship New Jersey, prepared a contingency plan to deal with the threat from Kurita's Center Force. Their intention was to cover the San Bernardino Strait with a powerful task force of fast battleships supported by two of the 3rd Fleet's equally swift carrier groups. The battleship force was to be designated Task Force 34 (TF 34) and to consist of four battleships, five cruisers and 14 destroyers under the command of Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee. Rear Admiral Ralph E. Davison of TG 38.4 was to be in overall command of the supporting carrier groups.
At 15:12 on 24 October, Halsey sent an ambiguously worded telegraphic radio message to his subordinate task group commanders, giving details of this contingency plan:
BATDIV 7 MIAMI, VINCENNES, BILOXI, DESRON 52 LESS STEVEN POTTER, FROM TG 38.2 AND WASHINGTON, ALABAMA, WICHITA, NEW ORLEANS, DESDIV 100, PATTERSON, BAGLEY FROM TG 38.4 WILL BE FORMED AS TASK FORCE 34 UNDER VICE ADMIRAL LEE, COMMANDER BATTLE LINE. TF 34 TO ENGAGE DECISIVELY AT LONG RANGES. CTG 38.4 CONDUCT CARRIERS OF TG 38.2 AND TG 38.4 CLEAR OF SURFACE FIGHTING. INSTRUCTIONS FOR TG 38.3 AND TG 38.1 LATER. HALSEY, OTC IN NEW JERSEY.
Halsey sent information copies of this message to Admiral Nimitz at Pacific Fleet headquarters and Admiral King in Washington, but he did not include Admiral Kinkaid (7th Fleet) as an information addressee. The message was picked up by 7th Fleet, anyway, as it was common for admirals to direct radiomen to copy all message traffic they detected, whether intended for them or not. As Halsey intended TF 34 as a contingency to be formed and detached when he ordered it, when he wrote "will be formed" he meant the future tense; but he neglected to say 'when' TF 34 would be formed, or under what circumstances. This omission led Admiral Kinkaid of 7th Fleet to believe Halsey was speaking in the imperative, not the future tense, so he concluded TF 34 had been formed and would take station off the San Bernardino Strait. His escort carrier group—with no battleships and armed to attack ground troops and submarines, not capital ships—positioned itself south of the strait to support the invasion force. Admiral Nimitz, in Pearl Harbor, reached exactly the same conclusion. Halsey did send out a second message at 17:10 clarifying his intentions in regard to TF 34:
IF THE ENEMY SORTIES (THROUGH SAN BERNADINO STRAIT) TF 34 WILL BE FORMED WHEN DIRECTED BY ME.
— T.J. Cutler (1994)
Unfortunately, Halsey sent this second message by voice radio, so 7th Fleet did not intercept it, and Halsey did not follow up with a telegraphic message to Nimitz or King. The serious misunderstanding caused by Halsey's ambiguous wording of his first message and his failure to notify Nimitz, King, or Kinkaid of his second clarifying message was to have a profound influence on the subsequent course of the battle.
Halsey's decision (24 October 1944)
The 3rd Fleet's aircraft failed to locate Ozawa's Northern (decoy) force until 16:40 on 24 October. This was largely because 3rd Fleet had been preoccupied with attacking Kurita's Centre force and defending itself against the Japanese air strikes from Luzon. Thus the one Japanese force that wanted to be discovered was the only force the Americans had not been able to find. On the evening of 24 October, Ozawa intercepted a (mistaken) American communication describing Kurita's withdrawal; he therefore began to withdraw, too. However, at 20:00, Soemu Toyoda ordered all his forces to attack "counting on divine assistance." Trying to draw 3rd Fleet's attention to his decoy force, Ozawa reversed course again and headed southward towards Leyte.
Halsey was convinced the Northern Force constituted the main Japanese threat, and he was determined to seize what he saw as a golden opportunity to destroy Japan's last remaining carrier strength. Believing the Center Force had been neutralized by 3rd Fleet's air strikes earlier in the day in the Sibuyan Sea, and its remnants were retiring, Halsey radioed (to Nimitz and Kinkaid):
CENTRAL FORCE HEAVILY DAMAGED ACCORDING TO STRIKE REPORTS.
AM PROCEEDING NORTH WITH THREE GROUPS TO ATTACK CARRIER FORCES AT DAWN
The words "with three groups" proved dangerously misleading. In the light of the intercepted 15:12 24 October "…will be formed as Task Force 34" message from Halsey, Admiral Kinkaid and his staff assumed, as did Admiral Nimitz at Pacific Fleet headquarters, that TF 34—commanded by Lee—had now been formed as a separate entity. They assumed that Halsey was leaving this powerful surface force guarding the San Bernardino Strait (and covering the Seventh Fleet's northern flank), while he took his three available carrier groups northwards in pursuit of the Japanese carriers. But Task Force 34 had not been detached from his other forces, and Lee's battleships were on their way northwards with the 3rd Fleet's carriers. Halsey had consciously and deliberately left the San Bernardino Strait absolutely unguarded. As Woodward wrote: "Everything was pulled out from San Bernardino Strait. Not so much as a picket destroyer was left".
Halsey and his staff officers ignored information from a night reconnaissance aircraft operating from the light carrier Independence that Kurita's powerful surface force had turned back towards the San Bernardino Strait, and that after a long blackout, the navigation lights in the strait had been turned on. When Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan—commanding TG 38.2—radioed this information to Halsey's flagship, he was rebuffed by a staff officer, who tersely replied "Yes, yes, we have that information." Vice Admiral Lee, who had correctly deduced that Ozawa's force was on a decoy mission and indicated this in a blinker message to Halsey's flagship, was similarly rebuffed. CommodoreArleigh Burke and Commander James H. Flatley of Vice AdmiralMarc Mitscher's staff had come to the same conclusion. They were sufficiently worried about the situation to wake Mitscher, who asked, "Does Admiral Halsey have that report?" On being told that Halsey did, Mitscher—knowing Halsey's temperament—commented, "If he wants my advice he'll ask for it" and went back to sleep.
The entire available strength of 3rd Fleet continued to steam northwards, leaving the San Bernardino Strait completely unguarded. Nothing lay between Kurita’s battleships and the shipping vessels in Leyte gulf, the transports carrying the American invasion force, and Kinkaid’s vulnerable carrier group.
Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History 24 October 1944 - The Japanese battleship Musashi is sunk by American aircraft in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Musashi (武蔵), named after the former Japanese province, was one of two Yamato-class battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), beginning in the late 1930s. The Yamato-class ships were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed, displacing almost 72,000 long tons (73,000 t) fully loaded and armed with nine 46-centimetre (18.1 in) main guns. Their secondary armament consisted of four 15.5-centimetre (6.1 in) triple-gun turrets formerly used by the Mogami-class cruisers. They were equipped with six or seven floatplanes to conduct reconnaissance.
Commissioned in mid-1942, Musashi was modified to serve as the flagship of the Combined Fleet, and spent the rest of the year working up. The ship was transferred to Truk in early 1943 and sortied several times that year with the fleet in unsuccessful searches for American forces. She was used to transfer forces and equipment between Japan and various occupied islands several times in 1944. Torpedoed in early 1944 by an American submarine, Musashiwas forced to return to Japan for repairs, during which the navy greatly augmented her anti-aircraft armament. She was present during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June, but did not come in contact with American surface forces. Musashi was sunk by an estimated 19 torpedo and 17 bomb hits from American carrier-based aircraft on 24 October 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Over half of her crew was rescued. Her wreck was located in March 2015 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his team of researchers.
Design and description
Main article: Yamato-class battleship
Since the navy anticipated they would be unable to produce as many ships as the United States, the Yamato-class ships with their great size and heavy armament were designed to be individually superior to American battleships. Musashi had a length of 244 metres (800 ft 6 in) between perpendiculars and 263 metres (862 ft 10 in) overall. She had a beam of 36.9 metres (121 ft 1 in) and a draught of 10.86 metres (35 ft 8 in) at deep load. she displaced 64,000 long tons (65,000 t) at standard load and 71,659 long tons (72,809 t) at deep load. Her crew consisted of 2,500 officers and enlisted men in 1942, and about 2,800 in 1944.
The battleship had four sets of Kampon geared steam turbines, each of which drove one propeller shaft. The turbines were designed to produce a total of 150,000 shaft horsepower (110,000 kW), using steam provided by 12 Kampon water-tube boilers, to give her a maximum speed of 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph). She had a stowage capacity of 6,300 long tons (6,400 t) of fuel oil, giving a range of 7,200 nautical miles (13,300 km; 8,300 mi) at a speed of 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph).
Musashi as she appeared in mid-1944
To cope with Musashi's great size and weight, the construction slipway was reinforced, nearby workshops were expanded, and two floating cranes were built. The ship's keel was laid down on 29 March 1938 at Mitsubishi's Nagasaki shipyard, and was designated "Battleship No. 2". Throughout construction, a large curtain made of hemp rope weighing 408 t (450 short tons) prevented outsiders from viewing construction.
Launching the Musashi also presented problems. The ship's 4-metre (13 ft 1 in) thick launch platform, made of nine 44 cm (17 in) Douglas fir planks bolted together, took two years to assemble (from keel-laying in March 1938) because of the difficulty in drilling perfectly straight bolt holes through 4m of fresh timber. The problem of slowing and stopping the massive hull once inside the narrow Nagasaki Harbour was met by attaching 570 tonnes (560 long tons) of heavy chains on both sides of the hull to create dragging resistance in the water. The launch was concealed by means including a citywide air-raid drill staged on the launch day to keep people inside their homes. Musashi was launched on 1 November 1940, coming to a stop only 1 metre (3.3 ft) in excess of the hull's expected 220 metres (720 ft) travel distance across the harbour. The entry of such a large mass into the water caused a 120 cm (3 ft 11 in) tsunami, which swept the harbour and local rivers, flooding homes and capsizing small fishing boats. Musashi was fitted out at nearby Sasebo, with Captain Kaoru Arima assigned as her commanding officer.
Towards the end of fitting out, the ship's flagship facilities, including those on the bridge and in the admiral's cabins, were modified to satisfy Combined Fleet's desire to have the ship equipped as the primary flagship of the commander-in-chief, as her sister Yamato was too far along for such changes. These alterations, along with improvements in the secondary battery armour, pushed back completion and pre-handover testing of Musashi by two months, to August 1942.
Service Musashi was commissioned at Nagasaki on 5 August 1942, and assigned to the 1st Battleship Division together with Yamato, Nagato, and Mutsu. Beginning five days later, the ship conducted machinery and aircraft-handling trials near Hashirajima. Her secondary armament of twelve 127 mm guns, 12 triple 25 mm gun mounts, and four 13.2 mm (0.52 in) anti-aircraft machine guns was fitted from 3–28 September 1942 at Kure, as well as a Type 21 radar. The ship was working up for the rest of the year. Captain Arima was promoted to rear admiral on 1 November.
Musashi was assigned to the Combined Fleet, commanded by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, on 15 January 1943 and sailed for Truk three days later, arriving on 22 January. On 11 February, she replaced her sister ship Yamato as the fleet's flagship. On 3 April, Yamamoto left Musashi and flew to Rabaul, New Britain to personally direct "Operation I-Go", a Japanese aerial offensive in the Solomon Islands. His orders were intercepted and deciphered by Magic, and American heed P-38 Lightning fighters shot down his aircraft and killed him in Operation Vengeance while he was en route from New Britain to Ballale, Bougainville. On 23 April, his cremated remains were flown back to Truk and placed in his cabin on board Musashi.
On 17 May, in response to American attacks on Attu Island, Musashi—together with the carrier Hiyō, two heavy cruisers, and nine destroyers—sortied to the northern Pacific. When no contact was made with American forces, the ships sailed to Kure on 23 May, where Yamamoto's ashes were taken from the vessel in preparation for a formal state funeral. Immediately afterwards, Musashi's task force was significantly reinforced to counterattack American naval forces off Attu, but the island was captured before the force could intervene. On 9 June Arima was relieved by captain Keizō Komura. On 24 June, while being overhauled at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Musashi was visited by Emperor Hirohito and high-ranking naval officers. From 1 to 8 July, the ship was fitted with a pair of Type 22 radars at Kure. She sailed for Truk on 30 July and arrived there six days later, where she resumed her position as fleet flagship for Admiral Mineichi Koga.
In mid-October, in response to suspicions of planned American raids on Wake Island, Musashi led a large fleet—three carriers, six battleships, and 11 cruisers—to intercept American forces, but failed to make contact and returned to Truk on 26 October. She spent the remainder of 1943 in Truk Lagoon. Captain Komura was promoted to rear admiral on 1 November and transferred to the 3rd Fleet on 7 December as Chief of Staff, Captain Bunji Asakura assuming command of Musashi.
The ship remained in Truk Lagoon until 10 February 1944, when she returned to Yokosuka. On 24 February, Musashi sailed for Palau, carrying one Imperial Japanese Army battalion and another of Special Naval Landing Forces and their equipment. After losing most of her deck cargo during a typhoon, she arrived at Palau on 29 February and remained there for the next month. On 29 March, Musashi departed Palau under cover of darkness to avoid an expected air raid, and encountered the submarine USS Tunny, which fired six torpedoes at the battleship; five of them missed, but the sixth blew a hole 5.8 metres (19 ft) in diameter near the bow, flooding her with 3000 tonnes of water. The torpedo hit killed seven crewmen and wounded another eleven. After temporary repairs, Musashi sailed for Japan later that night and arrived at Kure Naval Arsenal on 3 April. From 10 to 22 April, she was repaired and her anti-aircraft armament was substantially increased. When she undocked on 22 April, the ship's secondary battery comprised six 15.5 cm guns, twenty-four 12.7 cm guns, one hundred and thirty 25 mm guns, and four 13.2 mm machine guns. She also received new radars (which were still primitive compared to American equipment), and depth-charge rails were installed on her fantail.
In May 1944, captain Asakura was promoted to rear admiral and Musashi departed Kure for Okinawa on 10 May, then for Tawi-Tawi on 12 May. She was assigned to the 1st Mobile Fleet, under the command of Vice Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa, with her sister. On 10 June, the battleships departed Tawi-Tawi for Batjan under the command of Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki, in preparation for Operation Kon, a planned counterattack against the American invasion of Biak. Two days later, when word reached Ugaki of American attacks on Saipan, his force was diverted to the Mariana Islands. After they rendezvoused with Ozawa's main force on 16 June, the battleships were assigned to Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's 2nd Fleet. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Musashi was not attacked. Following Japan's disastrous defeat in the battle (also known as the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot"), the Second Fleet returned to Japan. On 8 July, Musashiand her sister embarked 3,522 men and equipment of the Army's 106th Infantry Regiment of the 49th Infantry Division and sailed for Lingga Island, where they arrived on 17 July.
Captain Toshihira Inoguchi relieved Asakura in command of Musashi on 12 August 1944 and was promoted to rear admiral on 15 October. Three days later, she sailed for Brunei Bay, Borneo, to join the main Japanese fleet in preparation for "Operation Sho-1", the counterattack planned against the American landings at Leyte. The Japanese plan called for Ozawa's carrier forces to lure the American carrier fleets north of Leyte so that Kurita's 1st Diversion Force (also known as the Central Force) could enter Leyte Gulf and destroy American forces landing on the island. Musashi, together with the rest of Kurita's force, departed Brunei for the Philippines on 22 October.
The following day, the submarine USS Dace torpedoed and sank the heavy cruiser Maya near Palawan. The destroyer Akishimo rescued 769 survivors and transferred them to Musashi later in the day. On 24 October, while transiting the Sibuyan Sea, Kurita's ships were spotted by a reconnaissance aircraft from the fleet carrier USS Intrepid. Just over two hours later, the battleship was attacked by eight Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bombers from Intrepid at 10:27. One 500-pound (230 kg) bomb struck the roof of Turret No. 1, failing to penetrate. Two minutes later, Musashi was struck starboard amidships by a torpedo from a Grumman TBF Avenger, also from Intrepid. The ship took on 3,000 long tons (3,000 t) of water and a 5.5 degree list to starboard that was later reduced to 1 degree by counterflooding compartments on the opposite side. During this attack two Avengers were shot down.
An hour and a half later, another eight Helldivers from Intrepid attacked Musashi again. One bomb hit the upper deck and failed to detonate; another hit the port side of the deck and penetrated two decks before exploding above one of the engine rooms. Fragments broke a steam pipe in the engine room and forced its abandonment as well as that of the adjacent boiler room. Power was lost to the port inboard propeller shaft and the ship's speed dropped to 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph). Anti-aircraft fire shot down two Helldivers during this attack. Three minutes later, nine Avengers attacked from both sides of the ship, scoring three torpedo hits on the port side. One hit abreast Turret No. 1, the second flooded a hydraulic machinery room forcing the main turrets to switch over to auxiliary hydraulic pumps, and the third flooded another engine room. More counterflooding reduced the list to one degree to port, but the degree of flooding reduced the ship's forward freeboard by 6 feet (1.8 m). During this attack, Musashi fired sanshikidan anti-aircraft shells from her main armament; one shell detonated in the middle gun of Turret No. 1, possibly because of a bomb fragment in the barrel, and wrecked the turret's elevating machinery.
Musashi down by the bow after the air attacks, shortly before her sinking.
At 13:31, the ship was attacked by 29 aircraft from the fleet carriers Essex and Lexington. Two Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters strafed the ship's deck and Helldivers scored four more bomb hits near her forward turrets. Musashi was hit by four more torpedoes, three of which were forward of Turret No. 1, causing extensive flooding. The ship was now listing one degree to starboard, and had taken on so much water that her bow was now down 13 feet (4.0 m) and her speed had been reduced to 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph). Two hours later nine Helldivers from Enterprise attacked with 1,000-pound (450 kg) armour-piercing bombs, scoring four hits. The ship was hit by three more torpedoes, opening up her starboard bow and reducing her speed to 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph). At 15:25, Musashi was attacked by 37 aircraft from Intrepid, the fleet carrier Franklin and the light carrierCabot. The ship was hit by 13 bombs and 11 more torpedoes during this attack for the loss of three Avengers and three Helldivers. Her speed was reduced to 6 knots (11 km/h; 6.9 mph), her main steering engine was temporarily knocked out and her rudder was briefly jammed 15 degrees to port. Counterflooding reduced her list to six degrees to port from its previous maximum of ten degrees. Musashi had been struck by an estimated total of 19 torpedoes and 17 bombs.
Kurita left Musashi to fend for herself at 15:30, and encountered her again at 16:21 after reversing course. The ship was headed north, with a list of 10 degrees to port, down 26 feet (7.9 m) at the bow with her forecastle awash. He detailed a heavy cruiser and two destroyers to escort her while frantic efforts were made to correct her list, including flooding another engine room and some boiler rooms. Her engines stopped before she could be beached. At 19:15 her list reached 12 degrees and her crew was ordered to prepare to abandon ship, which they did fifteen minutes later when the list reached 30 degrees. Musashi capsized at 19:36 and sank in 4,430 feet (1,350 m). Inoguchi chose to go down with his ship; 1,376 of her 2,399-man crew were rescued. About half of her survivors were evacuated to Japan, and the rest took part in the defence of the Philippines. The destroyer Shimakaze rescued 635 of Maya's survivors from Musashi.
Slade's design was approved in September 1757, on which date four ships were approved to be built to these plans - three by contract and a fourth in a royal dockyard. Seven more ships were ordered to the same design between 1759 and 1762 - three more to be built by contract and four in royal dockyards. Stag and Quebec were both reduced to 28-gun sixth rates in 1778, but were then restored to 32-gun fifth rates in 1779.
1796 - HMS Santa Margaritta (1779 - 36), Cptn. Thomas Byam Martin, captured French privateer Buonaparte (16)
HMS Santa Margarita was a 36-gun fifth-ratefrigate of the Royal Navy. She had been built for service with the Spanish Navy, but was captured after five years in service, eventually spending nearly 60 years with the British.
She went on to capture the 16-gun privateer Buonoparte on 24 October 1796, and the 18-gun privateer Vengeur the following day. Vengeur (or Vengeance) was the former packet King George. Santa Margarita sent both into Cork.Vengeur was armed with 18 guns and had a crew of 110 men. She was nine days out of Brest when Santa Margarita captured her. Vengeur had captured the ship Potomah, which had been sailing from Poole to Newfoundland with a cargo of merchandise; the British recaptured the Potomah.
Sirius was commissioned in May 1797 under the command of Captain Richard King. In her first action on 24 October 1798 Sirius took two Dutch ships, the Waakzaamheid and the Furie in the Texel. Waakzaamheid was under the command of Senior Captain Neirrop. She was armed with twenty-four 9-pounder guns on her main deck and two 6-pounders on her forecastle. She had 100 Dutch seamen aboard her, as well as 122 French troops, and was carrying 2000 stands of arms as well as other ordnance stores. Waakzaamheid put up no struggle. The sloop Kite shared in the capture
Furie was armed with twenty-six 12-pounders on her main deck and ten 6-pounders on her quarter-deck and forecastle. She had a crew of 153 Dutch seamen, augmented with 165 French soldiers. She was carrying 4,000 stands of arms as well as other ordnance stores. Furie did exchange fire with Sirius for about half an hour. Siriushad only one man wounded. Furie had eight men killed and 14 wounded. The sloop Martin and the hired armedcutterDiligent shared in the proceeds of the capture.
1804 - HMS Conflict Gun-boat (12) Lt. Charles Cutts Ormsby, went aground while engaging an enemy at night, near Newport, Isle of Wight. The crew could not get her off and abandoned her but by the time HMS Griffin came up she had been captured by the French.
1805 - Launch of HMS Ocean, 98-gun Ship of the Line
Downwind of the British and effectively out of range, Indomptable turned towards the bay of Cadiz. At about two in the morning of 22 October, her crew heard distress calls from the French ship Bucentaurewhich had struck a reef off Santa Catalina fort. The ship's boat was run out and brought alongside Bucentaure, whose crew requested an anchor and hawsers to secure their vessel. This became impractical as Bucentaure settled deeper onto the rocks and began to sink: instead, Indomptable's boats began ferrying sailors off the vessel and back to their own. Rescue efforts continued until mid-afternoon on 23 October, by which time Bucentaure was completely submerged.
On the following night, a storm broke Indomptable's anchor chains and she was carried onto rocks offshore from Cadiz. Contemporary accounts estimate between 1,000 and 1,400 people were on board, including around 500 rescued from Bucentaure the previous night, and two men from HMS Conqueror who had been aboard Bucentaure as prize crew. Around 150 men survived the wreck, including just two of the twenty-four officers on board.
1806 - Start of 3 day engagement of HMS Pitt (1805 - 12), Lt. Michael Fitton, which captured French privateer Superbe (14), Cptn. Dominique Diron, off Baracoa.
HMS Pitt was the mercantile schooner William and Mary, which the Admiralty bought in 1805. She served briefly on the Jamaica station during the Napoleonic Wars. She participated in one notable single-ship action in which she prevailed, and captured several other vessels. The Admiralty renamed her Sandwich before having her broken up in 1809.
On 23 October Pitt was anchored in Môle-Saint-Nicolas at the north-west end of the island of Haiti. Towards evening a lookout sighted two sails, with it looking like one was pursuing the other. Because the weather was calm, they were moving slowly. Fitton weighed anchor and with his crew at the sweeps set out in pursuit. In the morning he spotted three schooners, the largest of which appeared to be a privateer. As Pitt approached the privateer fired her 6-pounders but without effect because of the distance. The three schooners continued to make their way towards the port of Baracoa, Cuba, some 70 miles west. Pitt's crew manned their sweeps throughout the night though at dawn a breeze gave them a respite. They caught up with the privateer outside Baracoa. She had sent her two prizes into the port and was awaiting the British.
Fitton was able to maneuver Pitt so that she was between the privateer and the port, thereby cutting the privateer off from her refuge. At four in the afternoon Pitt was close enough to the privateer to commence an action that lasted a little over half an hour before the privateer sailed away towards Ochoa. The night was still and Pitt's crew effected repairs and returned to the sweeps. In all, they spent some 50 hours at the sweeps.
Late next morning, on 26 October, Pitt caught up with the privateer. Unable to escape, the privateer’s captain ran her ashore. Some four to five hours earlier, Drake, under the command of Robert Nicholas, had come in sight and maneuvered to block the privateer's escape, but did not herself enter into the combat. The privateer lowered her boats and her captain and all but the mortally wounded among her crew were able to get to shore. Drake then assisted Pitt in hauling off the privateer.
The privateer turned out to be Superbe. Superbe was armed with 14 guns, two 9 (or 8)-pounders and twelve 6-pounders, and had a crew of 94 men under the command of M. Dominique Houx. Houx (or Diron), was a highly successful privateer captain. A list on Superbe showed that she had captured vessels whose value amounted to £147,000.
Pitt suffered two men seriously and six men lightly wounded. On Superbe the boarding party from Pitt found four men dead and three mortally wounded. Reports suggest that the French suffered 14 dead in all and many wounded, who had escaped. Nicholas suggested that Fitton write his official letter describing the action. Fitton had been on deck for 67 hours and declined, saying he was too exhausted and asking Nicholas to write it in his stead. Fitton received a sword valued at £50 from the Lloyd's Patriotic Fund, and his share of the prize-money. Earlier that same month Superbe had encountered and tried to board Peterel off Charleston in an inconclusive skirmish with casualties on both sides.
1808 - The Danish fortress at Christiansoe, under Cdr. Kohl, beats off an attack by a British squadron of 2 ships-of-the-line and 6 frigates.
1816 - HMS Comus (1806 - 22), Cptn. James John Bremer, struck a reef off St. Shotts.Newfoundland.
HMS Comus was a 22-gun Laurel-classsixth-ratepost ship of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1806. In 1807 she took part in one notable single-ship action and was at the capture of Copenhagen. In 1815 she spent six months with the West Africa Squadron suppressing the slave trade during which time she captured ten slavers and freed 500-1000 slaves. She was wrecked in 1816, though with no loss of life.
Comus was wrecked at St Mary's Bay, off Cape Pine, Newfoundland on 24 October 1816. At around midnight she grounded and developed leaks. The crew abandoned her around 3am when she threatened to roll over on her side as the tide receded. Subsequent efforts to refloat her were unsuccessful. The wreck was abandoned on 4 November 1816. The subsequent court martial blamed the wrecking on a strong current that had driven her closer to shore than Bremer had realized. However, the court also warned Bremer and the master, Bateman Ainsworth, to be more careful in the future, finding that they had been overconfident in their navigation and had failed to take frequent depth soundings. The court added that Bremer, his officers and his crew were due the greatest praise "for their arduous exertions in their endeavours to save her, and also for their good and steady conduct throughout the business, both in the boats and on shore."
The battle took place in the eastern Atlantic, roughly halfway between Ireland and Cape Finisterre in northwest Spain. It was a decisive British victory that has been described as "the most brilliant naval action of the war". It put an end to French naval operations for the remainder of the war, thus eliminating any threat of an invasion of Britain and threatening the very existence of France's empire overseas.
North America was a secondary theatre of the War of the Austrian Succession, principally fought between France and Britain, and was a source of raw materials for both sides. Britain's Royal Navy had disrupted France's transatlantic trade in the past, notably at the First Battle of Cape Finisterre on 14 May 1747. France made a second attempt to reopen the supply routes in October of that year, assembling 252 merchantmen in the Basque Roads off La Rochelle. They would be protected by eight men-of-war from Brest.
The British got wind of this huge convoy, and dispatched a squadron of 14 smaller ships from Plymouth on 20 August (9 August Julian). Hawke was given the command at the last minute after Sir Peter Warren had fallen ill with scurvy. The French set off on 17th (6th) October, and were sighted by Hawke's fleet eight days later at 7am.
Initially Hawke thought he was up against a much larger fleet of warships, and formed a line of battle; when the French responded in kind Hawke realised that he was faced by inferior numbers that could be progressively enveloped by a "swarm" of ships. This allowed the British to make up for their inferior individual firepower by concentrating their fire on one ship at a time as Anson had done back in May, rather than rigidly sticking to a line of battle. At first the French mistook the British ships for members of the convoy; on realising their mistake the French hoped to use their warships to just divert the British for long enough that the merchants had a chance to escape into the vastness of the Atlantic.
Hawke approached from leeward while the French sailed close-hauled in a line ahead, hoping he would engage in a long-range artillery duel. Instead, Hawke made the signal for a general chase, freeing his captains from the constraints of a formal battle. The British overhauled the French line and enveloped it from rear to van, capturing six ships. The Comte de Vaudreuil in Intrépide, first in the French line, turned back to help his admiral, allowing both ships to escape. The French also lost 4000 men, which would prove as devastating as the loss of the ships themselves.
The merchants escaped under the protection of the Content 64 and Castor 26, and continued across the Atlantic. However most of them were intercepted and captured in the West Indies by Commodore George Pocock in the winter of 1747-48.
The Marquis of Etenduère with a representation of the battle.
Three of the six French vessels captured at the Battle of Cape Finisterre; Terrible, Neptune and Severn
The Terrible and the Monarch. Rear view of two vessels captured in 1747 at the Battle of Cape Finisterre (October 1747). The two ships of 74 guns were integrated into the Royal Navy.
This disaster convinced the French government of its helplessness at sea, and it made no further efforts to fight convoys through the British blockade. This soon brought most of France's colonies close to starvation particularly in the West Indies. For example Martinique was successfully blockaded by the Royal Navy from their new base at English Harbour in Antigua thus bringing France to the negotiating table despite her victories in the Low Countries and elsewhere. King Louis decided to give back the Netherlands in return for normality in the colonies. The psychological impact of the battles of Cape Finisterre continued into the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), as King Louis would prove reluctant to send men and supplies to New France and her other colonies.
Scale model of Vengeur. Musée national de la Marine, Paris
Length: 48 m (157 ft)
Beam: 12.34 m (40.5 ft)
Draught: 5.2 m (17 ft)
Complement: 396 men
Displacement: 1300 tonnes
Lower battery: 24 x 24-pounder long guns
Upper battery: 28 x 12-pounder long guns
Quarterdeck: 6 x 6-pounder long guns
Forecaste: 2 x 6-pounder long guns
Career Vengeur was originally built as an East Indiaman for the French East India Company. Her plans, however, followed military specification, as she was suppoesd to be able to integrate a naval squadron if necessary. She cruised as a merchantman from 1757 to 1765, when she was sold to the Navy. After a refit in Brest, she was brought into service under Captain Jean Christy de La Pallière.
Incorporated into Suffren's squadron, she was present at the Battle of Porto Praya, although she did not take part in the action. She was similarly present at the Battle of Negapatam without fighting, while led Suffren to report her captain, Comte de Forbin.
Vengeur was sold to commerce in April 1784, and wrecked off La Réunion in March 1785.
Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History 25 October1764 – Launch of HMS Robust, a 74-gun Ramilles-class
HMS Robust was a 74-gun third rateship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 25 October 1764 at Harwich. She was the first vessel of the Royal Navy to bear the name. According to J.J. College's Ships of the Royal Navy, Vol 1, 1987, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland there was also a screw 2nd rate laid down on 10 Oct 1859, but work was suspended 10 Oct 1861 and the ship cancelled 1872. In volume 2 of this book is described another vessel named HMS Robust: A fleet tug of Oct 1971.
Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines, and longitudinal half-breadth for 'Ramillies' (1763); 'Terrible' (1762); 'Russell' (1764); 'Invincible' (1765); 'Magnificent' (1766); 'Prince of Wales' (1765); 'Marlborough' (1767); 'Robust' (1764), all 74-gun Third Rate, two-deckers. Note the pencil annotations of chain channels and gunports. An annotation on the reverse states that the class was similar to the 'Superb' (1760), specifically mentioning 'Monarch', 'Magnificent', and Marlborough'.
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On 21 July 1801, the boats of Robust, Beaulieu, Uranie and Doris succeeded in boarding and cutting out the French naval corvetteChevrette, which was armed with 20 guns and had 350 men on board (crew and troops placed on board in expectation of the attack). Also, Chevrette was under the batteries of Bay of Cameret. The hired armedcutterTelemachus placed herself in the Goulet and thereby prevented the French from bringing reinforcements by boat to Chevrette.
The action was a sanguinary one. The British lost 11 men killed, 57 wounded, and one missing; Chevrette lost 92 officers, seamen and troops killed, including her first captain, and 62 seamen and troops wounded. In 1847 the Admiralty awarded the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "21 JULY BOAT SERVICE 1801" to surviving claimants from the action.
Loss of HMS Ramillies, September 1782: before the storm breaks
The draught for the Ramillies class was very similar to that of the Bellona class and subsequent Arrogant class, with the only real differences to be found in the shape of the underwater hull. There were two distinct sub-groups; four ships were built in the Royal Dockyards to the original design, approved on 25 April 1760 – although the name-ship Ramillies had originally been ordered as a Bellona-class unit. Slade subsequently amended his design for the ships which were to be built by commercial contractors – this modified design, with slightly amended dimensions, being approved on 13 January 1761.
Builder: John Barnard, Harwich
Ordered: 1 January 1761
Laid down: February 1761
Launched: 4 September 1762
Completed: 18 December 1762
Fate: Burned following the Battle of Chesapeake, 11 September 1781
Builder: Thomas West, Deptford
Ordered: 1 January 1761
Laid down: June 1761
Launched: 10 November 1764
Completed: 6 January 1765 at Woolwich Dockyard
Fate: Sold out of the service in the East Indies, 1811
Builder: John and William Wells, Deptford
Ordered: 12 October 1761
Laid down: December 1761
Launched: 9 March 1765
Completed: February 1777 at Chatham Dockyard.
Fate: Wrecked off Yarmouth, 16 March 1801
Builder: Henry Bird and Roger Fisher, Milford Haven
Ordered: 16 December 1762
Laid down: March 1762
Launched: 4 June 1765
Completed: 22 December 1770 at Plymouth Dockyard
Fate: Broken up at Plymouth, August 1783
Scale: 1:48. A block model of the ‘Mars’ (1794), a 74-gun, two-decker ship of the line. The model differs somewhat in style from the usual block design models, in that it is both decked and equiped, pierced for gunports and has detail upperworks and rigging. HMS ‘Mars’ was built at Chatham Dockyard between 1788 and 1794, to the design of Sir John Henslow. It was a 74-gun ship, combining the best effective gunpowder with a reasonably small and cheap hull. The ‘Mars’ had 24-pound instead of 18-pound guns on her upper deck and so was rated as a ‘large class’ ‘74’. In 1795 the ‘Mars’ took part in Cornwallis’s retreat against a superior French force in the English Channel. The crew were involved in the 1797 mutiny at Spithead. In 1798 it captured the French 64-gun ship ‘Hercule’ in a celebrated action at the Passage du Raz. In 1805 it fought at Trafalgar under Captain George Duff, who was killed in the action. The ship was finally broken up for scrap in 1823.
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In the early part of the French Revolutionary Wars she was assigned to the Channel Fleet. In 1797 under Captain Alexander Hood she was prominent in the Spithead mutiny. In 1798 at the Battle of the Raz de Sein she fought a famous single-ship duel with the French seventy-fourHercule, in the dusk near the Pointe du Raz on the coast of Brittany. Hercule attempted to escape through the Passage du Raz but the tide was running in the wrong direction and she was forced to anchor, giving Captain Hood the chance to attack at close quarters. The two ships were of equal strength, but Hercule was newly commissioned; after more than an hour and a half of bloody fighting at close quarters she struck her flag, having lost over three hundred men. On Mars 31 men were killed and 60 wounded. Among the dead was Captain Hood.
In 1806, on service in the Channel fleet she took part in an action off Chasseron which led to the capture of four French ships. She afterwards served off Portugal and in the Baltic Sea.
Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines, and longitudinal half-breadth proposed (and approved) for 'Mars' (1794) and 'Centaur' (1797), both 74-gun Third Rate, two-deckers. While this draught is for one (unnamed) ship, both were ordered on 17 January 1788 to the same design. Signed by John Henslow [Surveyor of the Navy, 1784-1806].
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The two ships of the Mars class were the first large 74s since the Valiant class of 1759, carrying the heavier armament of 24 pdrs on their upper decks, as opposed to the 18 pdrs of the middling and common classes.
Builder: Woolwich Dockyard
Ordered: 17 January 1788
Launched: 14 March 1797
Fate: Broken up, 1819
Scale: 1:48. A contemporary full hull block model of the 74-gun third-rate ship ‘Mars (1794), built in the solid form of ‘bread and butter’ construction. These rather robust and basic ‘block’ models were probably made after an order was issued by the Navy Board to all of the shipwrights in the royal dockyards. It stated that a ‘block or solid’ should be sent to accompany the draught (plan) for discussion upon new designs of warship. These models were fairly quick to make and would withstand the rough ride to and from London, unlike their more fragile plank on frame counterparts. The ‘Mars’ was launched at Deptford dockyard and measured 176 feet along the gun deck by 49 feet in the beam. It captured the French 74-gun ‘Hercule’ in 1798 and took part in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. On each occasion it lost its captain, the two officers being Alexander Hood and George Duff. It was finally broken up in 1823.
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