The Escape of Admiral Bruix from Brest

By R.C. Saxby, published May 1960


This article examines the breakout of a French fleet from Brest in April 1799. Major issues considered include the French decision to relieve their forces in Egypt, their preparatory months supplying Brest, and the Admiralty’s underestimating the import of these preparations. Other factors were the British blockading squadron’s unaddressed shortage of frigates; errors of deployment by commanding Officer Admiral Lord Bridport; detailed analyses of the breakout itself; the import of actions and signaling errors of frigate HMS La Nymphe observing the French; criticism of Admiral Bridport’s tactical decisions plus orders after the breakout, and the successful tactical and strategic decoy plans of Admiral Bruix.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War | English Channel | French Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Harbours & Dockyards | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Strategy & Diplomacy

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