Thursday, July 29, 2010

Trafalgar

On Oct.21,1805 HMS Victory was given a signal indicating that the Franco-Spanish Combined Fleet was coming out of port. The Victory's reply: "England Expects that every man will do his duty" followed by "engage the enemy". Admiral Collingwood in the Royal Sovereign was the first ship to go into action, exchanging shots with the Fougueux. Soon both squadrons had cut through the French line, with the northerly ships all giving their deadly greetings to the French flagship Bucentaur. The Victory became locked in combat with the Redoubtable, one of the latter's sharpshooters mortally wounding Nelson. The Belleisle was surrounded with combined fleet ships, and she fought courageously until other British ships came to the rescue.The Santisima Trinidad soldiered on for hours. A British ship saw her colors obscured by rigging and asked for the Trinidad's surrender. they were politely sent back to their ships, the Trinidad holding out for another few hours before finally surrendering. She sank after the battle but there is a reconstruction of her in Malaga, Spain. It is full size. The Redoubtable was very badly damaged and had to surrender after many hours sandwiched between Victory and Temereire. One of her sharpshooters killed Lord Nelson. Soon the battle had ended, but not before a French ship exploded and sank. Unfortunately for the crews, a storm destroyed most of the prizes, the Spanish later taking back one of theirs. Back in England one person described the scene as this: "the only signs of a great victory are posters saying alas, poor Nelson". After this, the Combined fleet was crushed, and any French hopes of invading England were dashed on the rocks off Spain.

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