Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fighting Instructions

Oliver Cromwell, the man who caused, at least partially, the execution of Charles the first, is known for that deed and the protectorate. But what is not usually connected with him is the rebirth of the English Battleship, which he caused. It had started in the first dutch war. The English captains bungled many battles because they all used their own tactics, and with ships darting in between their fellows, friendly fire became a real hazard. What Cromwell eventually came up with was the new ranking system to go along with the tactics of a book called "Fighting Instructions". Now that I'm on the subject, let me introduce you to a little monster called fighting instructions. The book was meat to be taken literally, because it told you how to fight(and constrained your ability to fight). It had very strict rules, catching many officers in traps from which it was nearly impossible to escape, and indeed, many did not even try. But fortunately, some people, whether in the navy or outside it, were willing to try and, for a few of them, succeed.

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