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"Why did the British defeat the Combined Fleet, ..." Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Dec 2017 2:09 p.m. PST

… despite the Combined Fleets superior numbers

"The Battle of Trafalgar was fought on the 21st of October 1805 and caused the destruction of the Combined fleet by the Royal Navy. It took place off Cape Trafalgar on the Spanish coast, south of Cape St Vincent, where a previous action took place in 1797 and south of Cadiz, where the Combined fleet was previously at anchor…."
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Old Peculiar06 Dec 2017 2:23 p.m. PST

Skill and experience! How did the Romans defeat Boudicca? Same answer.

Andrew Preziosi06 Dec 2017 2:36 p.m. PST

Well, considering "Sharpe's Trafalgar" is one of the two sources listed…

Lee49406 Dec 2017 4:15 p.m. PST

If you have to ask you shoukd go take a history course! Or get your GED. Cheers.

Dynaman878907 Dec 2017 6:04 a.m. PST

> Or get your GED. Cheers.

Maybe in the UK, here in the US, not so much.

Andrew Walters07 Dec 2017 10:23 a.m. PST

Putting "Sharpe's Trafalgar" in the sources was bad, putting "Own Knowledge" in the sources was worse.

Making the title of the essay a question is just click-bait. It would better have been titled "Here's how the British defeated superior numbers," since most essay addresses this. If it were commonly considered a mystery having a question for a title is appropriate, but the wikipedia page for the battle has a hefty list of reasons the British won. As with most things, hindsight is 20-20.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 12:45 p.m. PST

Dynaman, you'll have to explain! We don't have GED in Britain…

Andrew Walters07 Dec 2017 4:49 p.m. PST

Well, you can always google.

GED is a test you can take that is supposed to establish that you have the equivalent of a high school education. HS in the US is 12th grade, so you get your HS diploma when you are more or less 18. You can take the GED to test out of HS if you want to go to college early, or for those who drop out but later in life want the equivalent of a HS diploma either to qualify for jobs or pursue college.

I suspect that in preparing for or taking the GED you will not learn anything about Trafalgar. In fact, even if you go through all of HS you will likely not hear about Trafalgar at all. I might be wrong, but in general our public education is pretty light on history that doesn't relate to the US. We definitely teach kids "world history", but we cover everything outside the US in just a couple years in middle school, so it's pretty much "ancient Egypt, Middle Ages, Columbus, George Washington!" and it's all over before you're a teenager.

So, a few things get left out.

The *entire* history and social sciences curriculum is outlined in a 61 page document, and this is all you get on Napoleon:

"4. Explain how the ideology of the French Revolution led France to develop from constitutional monarchy to democratic despotism to the Napoleonic empire.
5. Discuss how nationalism spread across Europe with Napoleon but was repressed for a generation under the Congress of Vienna and Concert of Europe until the Revolu­ tions of 1848."

Andrew Walters07 Dec 2017 5:39 p.m. PST

Sorry for the thread drift.

The answer is Nelson. Plus, sailing ships turns out to be highly technical, and some people are lots better at it than others.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member08 Dec 2017 2:14 a.m. PST

Self-confidence. Nobody in the British fleet expected anything other than a win.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP08 Dec 2017 1:35 p.m. PST

Cheers Andrew! Did Google GED, just wondered about the meaning of Dynaman's "maybe in the UK…" comment!

For what it's worth, it is unlikely that kids in Britain learn anything about Trafalgar at school either…

Blutarski09 Dec 2017 10:13 a.m. PST

Trafalgar can be understood by imagining a race at Le Mans with a team of Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart pitted against a team of five student drivers.


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