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"British Frigate vs French Frigate: 1793-1814" Topic

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18th Century
19th Century

765 hits since 3 Feb 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2018 12:00 p.m. PST

"In the Age of Fighting Sail (1650-1820), ambitious officers of the navies of many nations sought command of a frigate. Speedy, nimble and formidably armed, frigates often operated independently, unlike the larger ships of the line. Legendary sailors such as Edward Pellew and Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand, Comte de Linoise, found that commanding such a ship offered numerous opportunities for wealth – in the form of prize money paid out for captured enemy vessels – and, even more importantly, prestige and promotion for captains who prevailed in the numerous single-ship duels that characterized frigate warfare. During in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars both Great Britain and France employed frigates to achieve their maritime objectives: to perpetuate its supremacy the Royal Navy needed to be strong everywhere, while the French Navy concentrated its efforts on deploying single frigates or small frigate squadrons to probe for weak points in the British mastery of the seas. Between 1793, when HMS Nymphe fought and captured the French frigate La Cléopâtre, and the 1814 clash between HMS Hebrus and L'Étoile British and French frigates met and fought in over 100 battles. Of these no fewer than 32 were pure frigate duels, with a pair of frigates fighting without the interference of another major warship before the battle ended. Attention and romance attached to these clashes, both at the time and right up to the present day; literary characters such as Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey have perpetuated the legend of these spirited battles on the high seas for successive generations. In this book, four representative frigate duels are examined: first, a battle fought between two closely matched ships (HMS Nymphe (36) vs La Cléopâtre (32), 18 June 1793); second, a victory won by an inferior British frigate over a superior French frigate (HMS Pallas (32) vs Minerve (40), 14 May 1806); third, a victory – the only one – by an inferior French frigate over a superior British frigate (HMS Ambuscade (32) vs Baïonnaise (24), 14 December 1798), and fourth, victory of a superior British frigate over an inferior French frigate (HMS Indefatigable (44) of Hornblower fame vs La Virginie (40), 21 April 1796). Featuring specially commissioned artwork and offering expert analysis, this study provides a vivid account of the bloody combats fought by the most romantic warship of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era – the frigate.
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Have anyone read this book?
If the answer is yes… comments please?

Thanks in advance for your guidance.


BrianW04 Feb 2018 10:14 a.m. PST

I just ordered it, primarily as a filler to make up a larger order. Mark Lardis is a friend of one of my gaming buddies, and my friend generally speaks well of his work.

As an Osprey book, I suspect that it's a good basic introduction to the topic.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2018 2:00 p.m. PST



Blutarski04 Feb 2018 2:28 p.m. PST

If you are interested in the topic, you might also consider going here (total freebie and searchable) -


"Naval History of Great Britain, 1793-1827" by William James.

It is generally a reliable, readable tactical level source … except regarding the War of 1812.


Bozkashi Jones04 Feb 2018 4:24 p.m. PST

Got it, excellent introduction. Recommended.

For me it's a very good grounding before reading Woodman's "Sea Warriors" as it explains the background of what one needs to know.


Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian04 Feb 2018 5:15 p.m. PST

I have a copy for sale on eBay at the moment…


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2018 10:00 a.m. PST

Many thanks my friend!.


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