Trafalgar 1805: Strategy, Tactics and Results

By Rémi Monaque, published May 2005


This article examines the campaign and battle of Trafalgar from the French perspective. Poorly conceived by Napoleon, who was ignorant of sea power and without competent professional advice, the campaign could only have been saved by a commander of exceptional talent. Admiral Villeneuve was not such a man. Pessimistic from the outset, he was unable to impose his influence on events. Apart from a corps of competent petty officers, Villeneuve knew the French squadron was weaker than the Royal Navy in all its structures, systems and tactical capabilities. The scale of the defeat, confirmed the turn in French policy from the wider maritime world and towards Europe, which had serious implications for French naval power ever since.

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Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

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