‘Great Expectations’: the Approach of British Ships at the Battle of Trafalgar

By Tony Beales, published November 2010



This re-examines the battle of Trafalgar through concentrating on the tactics and ship formations conceived by captains present at the battle, namely Horatio Nelson and Cuthbert Collingwood. Information such as diagrams of naval plans are assessed and evaluated to clarify the approach of British ships in the vicinity of the French and Spanish fleets on the morning of the 21st October 1805. There is an analysis of a range of factors which significantly affected the outcome of the confrontation. Miscalculations by the captains of the large British naval fleet, amalgamated with the wretched weather conditions culminated in the fracture and fragmentation of Horatio Nelson’s plan to defeat the Spanish and French armada on the date of 21st October 1805.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

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