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"A British View of the Naval War of 1812" Topic

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654 hits since 31 Jan 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2018 3:16 p.m. PST

"When considering the War of 1812, many Americans focus on the U.S. Navy's stirring victories over the Royal Navy in frigate duels. The British, however, emerged from the conflict with total command of the oceans and broad experience in blockade and amphibious operations.

The War of 1812 was a conflict between two very different naval powers, a pattern that is far more common in naval history than tends to be appreciated. Aside from a fundamental contrast in their strength—Britain had the world's leading navy while the United States lacked a battle fleet—the opposing sides used their navies for very different purposes. Because no large-scale naval clashes unfolded on the high seas, it is all too easy to underrate the crucial strategic dimensions of naval power and its importance for the character and development of the war.

The United States had maritime, rather than naval, strength. The American merchant marine had grown rapidly in size and importance after the Revolutionary War, and its range had greatly increased. However, there was no comparable expansion in American naval power because the new country did not seek command of the sea nor transoceanic commercial or political dominion. Indeed, the last American warship was sold in 1785…"
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Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2018 3:30 p.m. PST

You've posted this before.

Major Bloodnok01 Feb 2018 2:38 a.m. PST

I remember hearing how 1% of the Royal Navy was used in the American war, and losses were around 1%. How true this is I don't pretend to know.

Brechtel19801 Feb 2018 12:56 p.m. PST

What is significant is that the US Navy won the greater majority of the ship-to-ship contests and won the two fleet actions on the lakes.

goragrad02 Feb 2018 2:05 p.m. PST

Hadn't seen this before.

More detail and analysis than the chapter in The Frigates on the matter, but then that was a book focused on various frigate actions.

Shows that winning a few tactical victories doesn't equate to winning a war.

And not noted in this article is that impressment had ended in 1814 with the defeat of Napoleon removing one of the major points leading the the war.

Blutarski02 Feb 2018 5:22 p.m. PST

Before reaching any final conclusions, and without denying that the RN ultimately locked down US Atlantic trade to the point where the New England states were demanding a US surrender in order to save their merchant trading business interests, take a look at the enormous war risk insurance rates being paid by British merchants due to widespread and predatory American privateering activity.

The truth of the matter (IMO) is that, by 1814, BOTH Great Britain AND The United States were more than anxious to bring the unpleasantness to a close as soon as possible. The Americans were effectively bankrupt and the British public were totally war weary after twenty years of almost continuous conflict.


dantheman Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2018 10:05 a.m. PST

I always get a kick out of the American merchant fleet delivering grain to Weliington's army after war was declared. Wellington needed the foodstuffs and New England wanted the money. New England never wanted the war, though they were most affected by the RN press.

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