The Influence of the Theories of John Clerk of Eldin on British Fleet Tactics, 1782–1805

By Jim Tildesley , published August 2020


This article is a fundamental re-examination of the published work of John Clerk of Eldin and the influence it had on fleet commanders of the Royal Navy from 1782. While previous assessments have alluded to the potential for some influence, the general conclusion has been that any influence was limited; although some have dismissed it out of hand. For the first time there has been an opportunity to study Clerk’s surviving notes and correspondence in depth which has provided clear proof that fleet commanders from Rodney to Nelson had been influenced by Clerk’s writing and, in many cases, acknowledged his work.

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Filed under: Nelson | Seven Years’ War | American Revolution | French Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

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