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"Discipline Collapses: The Wreck of HMS Penelope 1815" Topic

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563 hits since 22 Sep 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2018 11:40 a.m. PST

"When reading of the losses of Royal Navy warships in the Age of Fighting Sail, whether in battle or by shipwreck, one is struck by the professionalism and discipline of both officers and men in the most appalling circumstances. An earlier blog, concerning the aftermath of the wreck on HMS Alceste in 1817 is about an outstanding example (Click here if you have not read it previously). It is therefore somewhat of a shock to read of the massive breakdown of discipline that surrounded the loss of the frigate-turned troopship, HMS Penelope, in 1815.

Built in 1798, HMS Penelope was a 36-gun frigate and her day of glory was to come on 30st March 1800when, under the command of Captain Henry Blackwood (1770-1832) she engaged the French 80-gun ship-of-the-line Guillaume Tell off Malta. Despite the disparity in size and firepower, Penelope's excellent gunnery and Blackwood's superb ship-handling resulted in taking down the Tell's main and mizzen topmasts and her main yard, slowing her down sufficiently for a squadron of heavier British ships to catch up and force surrender. Penelope saw extensive service thereafter but by 1815 she had been reduced to service as a troopship.


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vicmagpa123 Sep 2018 6:02 a.m. PST

wow. surprised any survived.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2018 3:08 p.m. PST



Cursd Captain25 Sep 2018 9:01 a.m. PST

The scariest thing about this kind of catastrophe is the hours or days that stretch between being doomed, and actually dying.

The scolding from the Victorian historian who thought the men should have taken their chances in the strait, instead of getting totally swicked in the face of disaster, led me to google arctic water survival times. And there I learned about the Mammalian Diving Reflex --


Also from wiki

This is all news to me as I only face such perils from my armchair where I can drink in comfort.


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