Author Results for David Syrett

Keppel At Algiers: Diplomacy and the Limitations of Naval Power

By David Syrett

The seizure, in March 1749, of a British Post Office packet, the Prince Fredrick, sparked a confrontation which twenty six year old Hon. Augustus Keppel, Commodore of the Royal Navyís Mediterranean was charged to resolve through diplomacy. In the event neither the ship nor its cargo of bullion and diamonds were restored to the British […] Read More

Filed under: Austrian Succession | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

A Study of Peacetime Operations: the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, 1752-5

By David Syrett

This paper studies aspects of the Royal Navy operational activities beyond the fighting of major wars in the Age of Fighting Sail. The author takes the specific case of Commodore Edgcumbe’s squadron in the Mediterranean, on the eve of the Seven Years’ War. The activities of the squadron included tasks which only the Royal Navy […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies

The Battle for Convoy OG69, 20-29 July 1941

By David Syrett

In the summer of 1941 the German U-Boats were beginning to have increased difficulty in intercepting transatlantic convoys, so in July 1941 they were redeployed to an area west of the Bay of Biscay to attack southbound shipping. OG69 was a convoy of 26 merchantmen bound for Lisbon, escorted only by a handful of slow […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines | Weapons

Nelson’s Uncle: Captain Maurice Suckling R.N.

By David Syrett

Captain Maurice Sucking entered the Royal Navy at the age of 13 as an able seaman. During his career he climbed the ranks to command 60 and 70-gun ships. His career took him through an eventful time in European history, including the War of Jenkins Ear and the Seven Year War, but despite this he […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Austrian Succession | English Channel | Seven Years’ War | North Sea | American Revolution | Other (Eighteenth C) | Mediterranean | Caribbean
Subjects include: Biography

Count Down to the Saintes: a Strategy of Detachments and the Quest for Naval Superiority in the West Indies, 1780-2

By David Syrett

The article sets out Britain’s earlier reliance on containment in European waters, and then goes on to outline the strategy of detachments, particularly in the West Indies. The case of the unfortunate Bonetta and the French determination to take the battle to the areas of acknowleged superiority are revealed.   Poor communications are examined, as well […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Admiral Rodney, Patronage, and the Leeward Island Squadron, 1780-2

By David Syrett

Ability and luck were not alone sufficient to make for a successful career in the eighteenth-century Royal Navy; from midshipmen to post captain, young officers depended on patronage and interest to obtain regular and steady promotion. As commander of the Leeward Island Squadron from 1779 to 1782, Admiral George Rodney demonstrated how patronage worked. Exemplary […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Caribbean
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Navies

Communications Intelligence and the Sinking of the U-860, April-June 1944

By David Syrett

In the latter part of the Battle of the Atlantic (1944-5), when wolf-pack tactics had been defeated and U-boat numbers were dwindling, U-boats increasingly traveled individually and struck less frequently, thus becoming harder to find.   In response the Allies developed different search tactics, emphasizing the use of communications intelligence, the science of locating an object […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Submarines | Weapons

The Procurement of Shipping by the Board of Ordnance during the American War, 1775-82

By David Syrett

During the American War British forces were fighting in North America, the West Indies and the Mediterranean. Responsibility rested with the Board of Ordnance to transport engineers and the Royal Regiment of Artillery along with their equipment and munitions to overseas destinations and to naval and military sites round Britain. To undertake these tasks the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | American Revolution | North Sea | Irish Sea | Mediterranean | Caribbean
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Merchant Marines | Weapons

The Operations of the Drossel Group of U-boats 28 April – 8 May 1943

By David Syrett

The 13 U-boats group code-named Drossel task failure of intercepting Allied United Kingdom-Gibraltar convoys in the dangerous eastern North Atlantic area in mid 1943 is described. The strength and effectiveness of the allied defences, wrong intelligence and hazardous co-ordination with Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft, vital to obtain valid targets, are mentioned as main reasons of the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

Home Waters or America? The Dilemma of British Naval Strategy in 1778

By David Syrett

At the beginning of 1778, France was about to ally itself with the rebelling American colonists and declare war on Britain. Should Britain send a squadron to protect British possessions in North America and the Caribbean, or concentrate all available vessels in the Channel Fleet to prevent a French invasion of England? The author traces […] Read More

Filed under: American Revolution
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Fitting Out of H.M. Storeship Elephant, July 1776

By David Syrett

The Navy Board during the American War operated scores of storeships, transports, and victuallers. Most, but not all, of these vessels were either chartered or purchased by the government. Using archival records and plans, the author discusses the modifications and outfitting of the Elephant for service.  The Navy Board had the ship which would become […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

German Meteorological Intelligence from the Arctic and North Atlantic,1940-1945

By David Syrett

Progressing from the rather ineffective use of converted trawlers in Arctic waters, through illicit, temporary meteorological stations in (United States protected) East Greenland, to a highly efficient system of weather reporting provided both by dedicated and routine U-boat patrols, German meteorological intelligence from the Arctic and North Atlantic played a significant role in supporting their […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2 | Arctic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Submarines

A Check List of Admiral Lord Howe Manuscripts in United States Archives and Libraries

By David Syrett

The secretive nature of Lord Howe has made it almost impossible to deduce the reasons for his actions during the fateful years 1776-8. Syrett has used his knowledge of the American archives to locate at least twenty different locations where Howe papers can be found.   The lists contained in this bibliography are comprehensively detailed, with […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

H.M. Armed Ship Vigilant, 1777-1780

By David Syrett

During the American Revolutionary War H.M. Armed Ship Vigilant made her way up the Delaware River to slip into the inside channel at Mud Island, from where her unexpected broadsides played a crucial role in the bombardment that expelled the Americans from Fort Mifflin. David Syrett traces Vigilant’s progress, from when as a collier she […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Navies | Weapons

The Organisation of British Trade Convoys During the American War, 1775-83

By David Syrett

The war with America saw a sustained attack on British overseas trade by the Americans, French and Spanish. Convoys were the main British response, and this article considers the problems involved in convoying commercial shipping, and whether it was a success. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy

D’Estaing’s Decision to Steer for Antigua 28 November 1778

By David Syrett

No satisfactory explanation has ever been adduced for the erroneous decision by the French Admiral D’Estaing to steer for Antigua in order to intercept a British troop convoy which he should have known was heading for Barbados. The author reviews the treatment of the incident by previous historians and shows that the possibility of the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Lord George Germain and the Protection of Military Storeships 1775-1778

By David Syrett

In 1775, there were three independent agencies sending supplies to the army in America; the Treasury were responsible for provisions, the Board of Ordnance for munitions and the Navy Board for clothing and tents. Their lightly armed ships were captured by American commerce raiders. The solution was to arm store-ships with guns and soldiers under […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Methodology of British Amphibious Operations During the Seven Years’ and American Wars

By David Syrett

Transporting, deploying, and supporting armed forces by sea required sophisticated organization and logistics. After a failure at Rochefort in 1757, the British learned to specify the joint and separate responsibilities of commanders of the navy and army and their subordinate officers. Troops and their prepared weapons were landed under the command of naval officers, after […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Seven Years’ War | American Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Logistics | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

The Disruption of H.M.S. Flora’s Convoy, 1776

By David Syrett

The 1776 attempt to convey the 42nd and 71st Regiments from Scotland to America illustrates the problems inherent in transporting troops across the Atlantic during the American Revolution. Comprising 33 transports escorted by HMS Flora, the convoy scattered in a storm off the Scilly Isles on 5 May.   While 9 transports reformed with Flora […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Condemnation of the Privateer Rising States, 1777

By David Syrett

The British transport Annabella was captured by the Americans in 1776, converted to the privateer Rising States, then recaptured by the British in 1777. Legal complexities ensued when it was realized that the original owners of the Annabella had already been compensated for their loss by the Navy Board. The case illustrates the legal and […] Read More

Filed under: American Revolution
Subjects include: Administration | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The British Landing at Havana: An Example of an Eighteenth-century Combined Operation

By David Syrett

The success of this amphibious operation was the result of careful planning, the provision of hundreds of support vessels, and rigorous division of labour between the navy which landed the troops and the army which then carried out the plans. On 7 June 1762 1,800 rank-and-file men, with units of artillery and engineers, were landed […] Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Caribbean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Logistics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Living Conditions on the Navy Board’s Transports During the American War 1775 – 1783

By David Syrett

Having to carry their troops for over 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean armed and fully equipped, the British had a serious geographical disadvantage on the American theatre. Many British soldiers were lost during the voyage, mostly because of disease and poor living conditions on board the transports. The men had to survive on half […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Health at Sea | Caribbean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea