INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION OF MODEL SHIPBUILDING - Rochefort, France - 18.th-21.st October 2018

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
During these days in Rochefort we had also the possibility to visit some naval highlights of the city.
We visited the Maritime museum, the replica of the frigate Hermione and also the Air Command museum.

Detailed photo reports you can find here:

Marine Museum Rochefort, France - MUSÉE DE LA MARINE Rochefort
https://www.shipsofscale.com/sosfor...ort-france-musÉe-de-la-marine-rochefort.2628/

Musée de l´Aéronautique Navale - Sea and Air Command Museum in Rochefort, France

https://www.shipsofscale.com/sosfor...-air-command-museum-in-rochefort-france.2621/

Hermione - a 32-gun Concorde-class frigate fitted for 12-pounder guns - dockyards of Rochefort, France
https://www.shipsofscale.com/sosfor...nder-guns-dockyards-of-rochefort-france.2595/
 

Jimsky

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2018
Messages
283
Points
93

Location
Brooklyn, New York USA
@ Uwe, I do not have enough words to express my delight and fillings. I've seen great models in my life, but those model make me speechless. I can imagine your feelings while you were there. Did you come across any models by Russians? They are generally great ship model makers. Specifically one of them Dmitry Shevelev, he has a lot of gold medals for international shows such as NAVIGA and others. His workmanship is superb. Unfortunately the forum he is an active member of, all in the Russsian language. Let me see if I can find anything in English about his work.

modellers of all countries unite :)
Jim
 

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
@ Uwe, I do not have enough words to express my delight and fillings. I've seen great models in my life, but those model make me speechless. I can imagine your feelings while you were there. Did you come across any models by Russians? They are generally great ship model makers. Specifically one of them Dmitry Shevelev, he has a lot of gold medals for international shows such as NAVIGA and others. His workmanship is superb. Unfortunately the forum he is an active member of, all in the Russsian language. Let me see if I can find anything in English about his work.

modellers of all countries unite :)
Jim
Hallo Jim,
thanks for your word - and I have to agree, that this convention was superb and I am very happy that I was a part of it.
Unfortunately there were no russians participating.
The participants came from mainly France, some from Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, USA, UK and one from Austria.
 

Pat71

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2017
Messages
694
Points
93

Is there coming more of these wunderfull pictures? I realized today that it helped me a lot to be more patience with building and looking for things to add to make it more beatiful. Looked at the different end results of all the building kits there are of the felipe in am building now and at some of there are some castings that are not in my kit so i am making them now myself. Lots more joy if you make it a bit your own like also maarten does. So thanks again for this log and all the effort you put in to it. Look at these pictures every Day for inspiration.
 

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
On the fourth day of the event the particpants of the shipmodeling convention made a very interesting cruising trip with a boat via the river Charente to the Fort Boyard and the island Île d'Aix - the location of the......

Raid on Rochefort (or Descent on Rochefort) was a British amphibious attempt to capture the French Atlantic port of Rochefort in September 1757 during the Seven Years' War. The raid pioneered a new tactic of "descents" on the French coast, championed by William Pitt who had taken office a few months earlier.

After a number of delays the expedition reached the French coast, capturing the offshore island of Île d'Aix. With the army commander Sir John Mordaunt refusing to attempt a landing, the force sailed for home. The raid ended in failure, but it was followed by several similar operations in the subsequent years.

800px-Chart_of_the_Road_of_Basque_1757.jpg
British chart of the Basque Roads, 1757.

Background
Main article: Great Britain in the Seven Years War
Britain had begun the Seven Years' War badly, losing several battles to the French in North America, as well as seeing their major Mediterranean naval base of Menorca captured by a French force while Britain's ally Hanover was faced with a French invasion. In the wake of these losses, a new government including William Pitt came to office in July 1757.

Pitt wanted a bold stroke that would force the French to detach large numbers of troops, planned to be used in their invasion of Germany, to protect the French coast against further raids. He also hoped to satisfy the public who clamoured for such a campaign. An urgent demand for such an expedition came from Britain's only major ally Frederick the Great who saw it as vital to relieve pressure from an anticipated French offensive against Prussia. Frederick had suggested attacks on the French coast in the hope that it would provide immediate relief to both his own armies and the Army of Observation under the Duke of Cumberland.

The target which was selected was the port of Rochefort which had been highlighted by a British engineer Captain Robert Clerk as being particularly ill-fortified and vulnerable to a surprise British attack. Pitt sought approval of the expedition from George II and the Duke of Newcastle both of whom gave their assent to the concept of a large raid on the town, although both had doubts about the practicality of the scheme. As the situation in Hanover deteriorated both later pleaded for the expedition to be diverted to the German port of Stade where they could support retreating Hanoverian forces, but Pitt refused to switch the destination of the force.

800px-Aix_island_Fleuriau_de_Bellevue_1823_detail.jpg
Contemporary Map of the small island Île d'Aix

Assembly and voyage
Command of the land forces was awarded to Sir John Mordaunt, with Edward Cornwallis and Henry Conway as his deputies. Edward Hawke was selected to command the naval contingent whose role was to escort Mordaunt's force, land it on the French shore, and then evacuate it when the mission was over. James Wolfe was appointed as the expedition's Quartermaster General and the Army's chief of staff.

The expedition was assembled on the Isle of Wight during July and August 1757. There were soon a number of delays, which pushed back the departure date. Most of the officers spent their time in Newport. 8,000 troops were eventually camped there, although all but the most senior officers were not told of the expedition's destination to prevent French spies from discovering this.

On 7 September, a month after they had been scheduled to depart, the force sailed from Britain heading for the Bay of Biscay. It arrived off Rochefort on 20 September, but due to heavy fog was unable to land for several days. Hawke and the naval officers were already extremely concerned about the worsening weather, fearing equinoctial gales that would make the sea more and more dangerous as the autumn wore on.

Landing

AixRamparts.JPG
The village of Aix behind its later Napoleonic ramparts.
Further information: Île-d'Aix

Guided by Joseph Thierry, a Huguenot river pilot, two British warships approached the fort that dominated Île d'Aix. The guns of the fort were bombarded into silence by the guns of HMS Magnanime of 74 guns, commanded by Captain Richard Howe, soon joined by HMS Barfleur of 80 guns, and within two hours the island, considered a crucial starting point in any further assault on Rochefort, had fallen to the British.

Wolfe observed the mainland from Ile d'Aix and he noted a battery of guns at Fort Fouras on the mainland, which guarded the mouth of the River Charente. The French were totally unprepared to resist an assault, and had been taken completely by surprise by the appearance of the British fleet. Wolfe advocated an immediate assault on Fort Fouras, and also a diversionary raid in the direction of nearby La Rochelle to confuse the French about the true intentions. Mordaunt agreed to an attack on Fort Fouras, but then had to cancel it when it was discovered that the water around it was too shallow for Hawke's ships to get close enough to bombard the fort.

On 25 September Mordaunt held a council of war, where the optimistic estimates of the weakness of French defences at Rochefort were rejected, this decision being largely based on the uncertainty regarding the state of the ditch around Rochefort, which if wet would have prevented assault by escalade. It was decided that an attempt to capture Rochefort was "neither advisable nor practicable". Wolfe continued to press for a fresh assault, even though the element of surprise had now been lost, but Mordaunt was hesitant. It was still hoped that the French could in some way be harassed by the British forces and General Conway pushed Mordaunt to consider a fresh assault on Fouras, which was finally agreed at a second council of war in the morning of 28 September. A landing site near Chatelaillon was selected despite the fears of Mordaunt that large French forces might be lurking behind the sand dunes. The troops embarked in the landing boats late that night, however, a strong wind arose and in conjunction with the tide this raised concerns about the length of time before reinforcements could be sent to support the first wave of troops. The landing was cancelled.

Withdrawal

Colonel James Wolfeparticipated as Quartermaster General, but was frustrated by the lack of action. His performance impressed Pitt, who had him promoted and sent with a force to capture Louisbourg.

Hawke had grown impatient with the General's indecision and he issued an ultimatum to Mordaunt. If the army wasn't prepared to stage a landing, then he was going to withdraw to Britain. Faced with this ultimatum, Mordaunt decided that a further immediate assault was impossible, and agreed that the force should withdraw. Before withdrawing the fortifications of Ile d'Aix were demolished.

On 1 October the force departed Rochefort, evacuating the Île d'Aix and arrived back in England on 6 October.[20] Mordaunt justified his decision by saying that the navy was needed to cover an incoming French fleet from the West Indies rather than sitting indefinitely off Rochefort. Mordaunt's conduct was swiftly criticised by many officers who had taken part in the operation and had believed a landing had still been possible even at that late stage with the advantage of surprise lost. Wolfe and Howe were widely acclaimed for their efforts, but the disaster at Rochefort was compared to the failure of Admiral Byng to prevent the loss of Menorca the previous year, for which he had been shot.

Aftermath

AixMainStreet.JPG
The main street in the village.

The failure of the expedition led to an inquiry which recommended the court-martial of Mordaunt, which commenced on 14 December. Despite intense public pressure for a guilty verdict, Mordaunt was acquitted by the court as it was ruled that the mission had been badly-conceived. The exoneration infuriated George II, who believed that Mordaunt should have been dismissed, while Pitt was left annoyed by the verdict that implied that he was largely responsible for the failure of the operation and which criticised the concept of Descents. The expedition had cost roughly a million pounds and it was likened by Henry Fox to "breaking windows with guineas".

Nonetheless Pitt remained committed to the idea of raids on the French coast. The following year Britain launched the second of its descents with an aborted assault on Saint-Malo and the brief occupation of Cherbourg. One result of the raid, although unintended by the British, was to make the route into Rochefort unsafe for French trade convoys from the West Indies forcing them instead to make for Brest,[25] where they were easier to capture for patrolling British warships.

The bay was later the site of the Battle of the Basque Roads in April 1809.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_on_Rochefort
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Île-d'Aix
http://www.histoirepassion.eu/?1757-La-Royal-Navy-attaque-l-Ile-d-Aix-Journal-d-un-marin-anglais
 
Last edited:

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
Part I
The Battle of the Basque Roads, also known as the Battle of Aix Roads (French: Bataille de l'île d'Aix, also Affaire des brûlots, rarely Bataille de la rade des Basques) was a major naval battle of the Napoleonic Wars, fought in the narrow Basque Roads at the mouth of the Charente River on the Biscay coast of France. The battle, which lasted from 11–25 April 1809, was unusual in that it pitted a hastily-assembled squadron of small and unorthodox British Royal Navy warships against the main strength of the French Atlantic Fleet, the circumstances dictated by the cramped, shallow coastal waters in which the battle was fought. The battle is also notorious for its controversial political aftermath in both Britain and France.

In February 1809 the French Atlantic Fleet, blockaded in Brest on the Breton coast by the British Channel Fleet, attempted to break out into the Atlantic and reinforce the garrison of Martinique. Sighted and chased by British blockade squadrons, the French were unable to escape the Bay of Biscay and eventually anchored in the Basque Roads, near the naval base of Rochefort. There they were kept under observation during March by the British fleet under the dour Admiral Lord Gambier. The Admiralty, desiring an attack on the French fleet, ordered Lord Cochrane, an outspoken and popular junior captain, to lead an attack, over the objections of a number of senior officers. Cochrane organised an inshore squadron of fireships and bomb vessels, including a converted frigate, and personally led this force into Basque Roads on the evening of 11 April.

Basques_Road-Thomas_Whitcombe-217057.JPG
Destruction of the French Fleet in Basque Roads - April 12th 1809.

The attack caused little direct damage, but in the narrow waters of the channel the fireships panicked the sailors of the French fleet and most of their ships grounded and were left immobile. Cochrane expected Gambier to follow his attack with the main fleet, which could then destroy the vulnerable French force, but Gambier refused. Cochrane continued the battle over the next several days, successfully destroying several French ships, but with little support from Gambier. This allowed most of the French fleet to refloat and retreat up the Charente to safety. Gambier recalled Cochrane on 14 April and sent him back to Britain, withdrawing most of the inshore squadron at the same time, although scattered fighting continued until 25 April. The increasingly marginalised French fleet was badly damaged and trapped in its home ports; several captains were court-martialed for cowardice and one was shot.

In Britain the battle was celebrated as a victory, but many in the Navy were dissatisfied with Gambier's behaviour and Cochrane used his position as a Member of Parliament to publicly protest Gambier's leadership. Incensed, Gambier requested a court-martial to disprove Cochrane's accusations and the admiral's political allies ensured that the jury was composed of his supporters. After bitter and argumentative proceedings Gambier was exonerated of any culpability for failings during the battle. Cochrane's naval career was ruined, although the irrepressible officer remained a prominent figure in Britain for decades to come. Historians have almost unanimously condemned Gambier for his failure to support Cochrane; even Napoleon opined that he was an "imbécile".

Background
By 1809 the Royal Navy was dominant in the Atlantic. During the Trafalgar Campaign of 1805 and the Atlantic Campaign of 1806 the French Atlantic Fleet had suffered severe losses and the survivors were trapped in the French Biscay ports under a close blockade from the British Channel Fleet. The largest French base was at Brest in Brittany, where the main body of the French fleet lay at anchor under the command of Contre-amiral Jean-Baptiste Willaumez, with smaller French detachments stationed at Lorient and Rochefort. These ports were under observation by the Channel Fleet, led off Brest by Admiral Lord Gambier. Gambier was an unpopular officer, whose reputation rested on being the first captain to break the French line at the Glorious First of June in 1794 in HMS Defence. Since then he had spent most of his career as an administrator at the Admiralty, earning the title Baron Gambier for his command of the fleet at the Bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807. A strict Methodist, Gambier was nicknamed "Dismal Jimmy" by his men.

Willaumez's cruise
British superiority at sea allowed the Royal Navy to launch operations against the French Overseas Empire with impunity, in particular against the lucrative French colonies in the Caribbean. In late 1808, the French learned that a British invasion of Martinique was in preparation, and so orders were sent to Willaumez to take his fleet to sea, concentrate with the squadrons from Lorient and Rochefort and reinforce the island. With Gambier's fleet off Ushant Willaumez was powerless to act, and it was only when winter storms forced the blockade fleet to retreat into the Atlantic in February 1809 that the French admiral felt able to put to sea, passing southwards through the Raz de Sein at dawn on 22 February with eight ships of the line and two frigates. Gambier had left a single ship of the line, Captain Charles Paget's HMS Revenge to keep watch on Brest, and Paget observed the French movements at 09:00, correctly deducing Willaumez's next destination.

The blockade squadron off Lorient comprised the ships of the line HMS Theseus, HMS Triumph and HMS Valiant under Commodore John Poo Beresford, watching three ships in the harbour under Contre-amiral Amable Troude. At 15:15 Paget, who had lost sight of the French, reached the waters off Lorient and signaled a warning to Beresford. At 16:30, Beresford's squadron sighted Willaumez's fleet, tacking to the southeast. Willaumez ordered his second-in-command, Contre-amiral Antoine Louis de Gourdon to drive Beresford away and Gourdoun brought four ships around to chase the British squadron, with the remainder of the French fleet following more distantly. Beresford turned away to the northwest, thus clearing the route to Lorient. His objective achieved, Gourdan rejoined Willaumez and the fleet sailed inshore, anchoring near the island of Groix.

In the early morning of 23 February, Willaumez sent the dispatch schooner Magpye into Lorient with instructions for Troude to sail when possible and steer for the Pertuis d'Antioche near Rochefort, where the fleet was due to assemble. Willaumez then took his fleet southwards, followed from 09:00 by Beresford's squadron. The French fleet passed between Belle Île and Quiberon and then around Île d'Yeu, passing the Phares des Baleines on Île de Ré at 22:30. There the fleet was sighted by frigate HMS Amethyst under Captain Michael Seymour, the scout for the Rochefort blockade squadron of HMS Caesar, HMS Defiance and HMS Donegal under Rear-Admiral Robert Stopford, which was anchored off the Phare de Chassiron on Ile d'Oléron. Signal rockets from Amethyst alerted Stopford to Willaumez's presence and Stopford closed with Willaumez during the night but was not strong enough to oppose his entry into the Basque Roads at the mouth of the Charente River on the morning of 24 February.

Gambier's blockade
Assuming that the French fleet had sailed from Brest, Stopford sent the frigate HMS Naiad under Thomas Dundas to warn Gambier. The British commander had discovered the French fleet missing from its anchorage on 23 February and responded by sending eight ships under Rear-Admiral John Thomas Duckworth south to block any French attempt to enter the Mediterranean while Gambier turned his flagship, the 120-gun first rate HMS Caledonia, back to Plymouth for reinforcements. In the English Channel Naiad located Caledonia and passed on Stopford's message. Gambier continued to Plymouth, collected four ships of the line anchored there, and immediately sailed back into the Bay of Biscay, joining Stopford on 7 March to form a fleet of 13 ships, later reduced to 11 after Defiance and Triumph were detached.

Shortly after departing Stopford's squadron off the Basque Roads, Naiad had sighted three sail approaching from the north at 07:00 on 24 February. These were Italienne, Calypso and Cybèle; a French frigate squadron sent from Lorient by Troude, whose ships of the line had been delayed by unfavourable tides. The lighter frigates had put to sea without the battle squadron and sailed to join Willaumez the previous morning. Their passage had been observed by the British frigate HMS Amelia and the sloop HMS Doterel, which had shadowed the French during the night. To the south, Dundas had signaled Stopford and the admiral left Amethyst and HMS Emerald to observe the French fleet while he took his main squadron in pursuit of the French frigates. Trapped between the two British forces, French Commodore Pierre-Roch Jurien took his ships inshore under the batteries of Les Sables d'Olonne. Stopford followed the French into the anchorage and in the ensuing battle drove all three French ships ashore where they were damaged beyond repair.

Willaumez made no move to challenge Stopford or Gambier, although he had successfully united with the Rochefort squadron of three ships of the line, two frigates and an armed storeship, the captured British fourth rate ship Calcutta, commanded by Commodore Gilbert-Amable Faure. Together the French fleet, now numbering 11 ships of the line, withdrew from the relatively open Basque Roads anchorage into the narrow channel under the batteries of the Île-d'Aix known as the Aix Roads. These waters offered greater protection from the British fleet, but were also extremely hazardous; on 26 February, as the French manoeuvred into the shallower waters of their new anchorage the 74-gun Jean-Bart grounded on the Palles Shoal off Île Madame, and was wrecked. The channel in which Willaumez chose to position his fleet formed a strong defensive position: an assailant had to cross the open Basque Roads and advance past the long and dangerous Boyart Shoal hidden just below the surface. On entering the channel, an attacking force would then come under fire from fortified gun batteries on Île-d'Aix before finally encountering the French fleet. The anchorage had been successfully attacked before, such as during the Raid on Rochefort in 1757, but more recent efforts in 1803, and 1807 had ended in failure.

The developing stalemate saw activity on both sides of the bay. Among the French fleet there was dissatisfaction that Willaumez had not attacked Stopford when he enjoyed numerical superiority, taking the opportunity to break out of the anchorage and pursue his objectives in the Caribbean. Captain Jacques Bergeret was so incensed that he wrote a letter criticising Willaumez to the Minister of Marine Denis Decrès, and warning that the Aix Roads were highly vulnerable to British attack. Although Emperor Napoleon apparently shared Willaumez's opinion, Decrès removed and censured both Willaumez and Bergeret, replacing the admiral with Zacharie Allemand on 16 March. Word had arrived that a British expeditionary force had captured Martinique in late February, and so Allemand, lacking further instructions, prepared his defences.

The French position was strengthened with a heavy boom formed from chains and tree trunks laid between the Boyart shoal and Île-d'Aix. This boom measured 0.5 nautical miles (1,000 yd) long and 31.5 inches (80 cm) wide, weighted in place with 5 1/4 tons of anchors, and yet was installed so subtly that the British fleet did not observe it. More than 2,000 French conscripts were deployed on the Île-d'Aix, supporting batteries of 36-pounder long guns, although attempts to build a fort on the Boyart Shoal were identified, and on 1 April Amelia attacked the battery, drove off the construction crew and destroyed the half-finished fortification. Allemand also ordered his captains to take up a position known as a lignée endentée, in which his ships anchored to form a pair of alternating lines across the channel so that approaching warships could come under the combined fire of several ships at once, in effect crossing the T of any attempt to assault the position, with the frigates stationed between the fleet and the boom.

In the British fleet there was much debate about how to proceed against the French. Gambier was concerned that an attack by French fireships on his fleet anchored in the Basque Roads might cause considerable destruction, and consequently ordered his captains to prepare to withdraw from the blockade at short notice should such an operation be observed. He also wrote to the Admiralty in London recommending British fireships be prepared but cautioning that "it is a horrible mode of warfare, and the attempt very hazardous, if not desperate". A number of officers in the fleet, in particular Rear-Admiral Eliab Harvey, volunteered to lead such an attack, but Gambier hesitated to act, failing to take soundings of the approaches or make any practical preparations for an assault.

Mulgrave's imperative

Lord_Cochrane_1807.jpg
Lord Cochrane Peter Edward Stroehling, 1807, GAC

With Gambier vacillating in Basque Roads, First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Mulgrave interceded. Prime Minister Lord Portland's administration was concerned by the risk posed by the French fleet to the profits of the British colonies in the West Indies, and had determined that an attack must be made. Thus on 7 March ten fireships were ordered to be prepared. In considering who would be best suited to lead such an attack Mulgrave then made a highly controversial decision. On 11 March the frigate HMS Imperieuse anchored at Plymouth and a message instructed Captain Lord Cochrane to come straight to the Admiralty. Cochrane, eldest son of the Earl of Dundonald, was an aggressive and outspoken officer who had gained notoriety in 1801 when he captured the 32-gun Spanish privateer frigate Gamo with the 14-gun brig HMS Speedy. In the frigates HMS Pallas and Imperieuse he had caused havoc on the French and Spanish coasts with relentless attacks on coastal shipping and defences including, most relevantly, operations in the Rochefort area. He was also a highly active politician, elected as a Member of Parliament for Westminster in 1807 as a Radical, he advocated parliamentary reform and was a fierce critic of Portland's administration.

At his meeting with Mulgrave, Cochrane was asked to explain a plan of attack on Basque Roads which he had drawn up some years previously. Cochrane enthusiastically described his intention to use fireships and massive floating bombs to destroy a fleet anchored in the roads. When he had finished, Mulgrave announced that the plan was going ahead and that Cochrane was to command it. Cochrane was in poor health, and under no illusions about Mulgrave's intentions: should the attack fail Cochrane would be blamed and his political career damaged. In addition, Cochrane was also well aware of the fury this decision would provoke in the naval hierarchy; the appointment of a relatively junior officer in command of such an important operation was calculated to cause offense. Cochrane refused, even though Mulgrave pleaded that he had been the only officer to present a practical plan for attacking Allemand's fleet. Again Cochrane refused the command, but the following day Mulgrave issued a direct order: "My Lord you must go. The board cannot listen to further refusal or delay. Rejoin your frigate at once."

Cochrane returned to Imperieuse immediately and the frigate then sailed from Plymouth to join Gambier. The admiral had received direct orders from Mulgrave on 26 March ordering him to prepare for an attack, to which he sent two letters, one agreeing with the order and another disputing it on the grounds that the water was too shallow and the batteries on Île-d'Aix too dangerous. Gambier did not however learn of the leadership of the operation until Cochrane joined the fleet on 3 April and presented Mulgrave's orders to the admiral. The effect was dramatic; Harvey, one of Nelson's Band of Brothers who had fought at Trafalgar, launched into a furious tirade directed at Gambier, accusing him of incompetence and malicious conduct, comparing him unfavourably to Nelson and calling Cochrane's appointment an "insult to the fleet". Gambier dismissed Harvey, sending him and his 80-gun HMS Tonnant back to Britain in disgrace to face a court-martial, and then ordered Cochrane to begin preparations for the attack. Gambier also issued Cochrane with Methodist tracts to distribute to his crew. Cochrane ignored the order, but sent some of the tracts to his friend William Cobbett with a letter describing conditions with the fleet. Cobbett, a Radical journalist, wrote articles in response which later inflamed religious opinion in Britain against Cochrane during the scandal which followed the battle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Basque_Roads
 

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
Part II
The Battle of the Basque Roads

The night attack

Battle_of_Basque_Roads_11_April.svg.png
Map illustrating the position of the anchored French fleet shortly before the British attack on the night of 11 April
See also: Order of battle at the Battle of the Basque Roads

Cochrane's plan
As the 18 fireships prepared in Britain by Mulgrave had not yet departed by the time of Cochrane's arrival with the fleet, the captain responding by converting his own over the following week. A number of chasse-marées carrying tar and resin perfect for this role had been captured by the blockade, and Cochrane requisitioned eight military transport ships from the fleet reserve for conversion using these materials. The frigate-storeship HMS Mediator was taken over to be the centrepiece of the attack force. These vessels were laden with explosives and combustible materials such as rum-soaked hay, and crewed by volunteers from the fleet. On three of the vessels Cochrane had loaded 1,500 barrels of gunpowder, topped by hundreds of artillery shells and thousands of grenades to create an explosion ship, a floating bomb of his own design intended to detonate right in the middle of the French line. During this process an attack by French boats on the fireships was driven off, with two British sailors killed and one wounded, and on 5 April Cochrane reconnoitered the approaches to Aix Roads, firing shots at the forts and fleet to gauge their responses. He subsequently wrote to Mulgrave suggesting that with an expeditionary force of 20,000 he could seize the defences overlooking the anchorage, sink blockships in the channel and thereby permanently deprive the French of one of their most important naval bases, although his letter was ignored.

On 6 April the bomb vessel HMS Aetna, equipped with a heavy mortar, arrived with William Congreve, inventor of a rocket artillery system which was to be used in the attack. It was followed by the first convoy of 12 fireships on 10 April, taking Cochrane's total to 24 fireships and explosion vessels to expend in his attack. With these ships was a transport carrying thousands of Congreve rockets, which were strapped to the masts and yards of the fireships to fire in all directions as the ships burned. Due to Gambier's failure to scout the channel, Cochrane was apparently unaware of the existence of the boom, although historian James Henderson suggests he knew of it but failed to inform Gambier lest the cautious admiral abandon the entire operation. Cochrane was intending that his force, led by the heavy Mediator and the explosion vessels, would enter the anchorage during the night and sow confusion among the French fleet. It was hoped that in the chaos some of the French ships might be destroyed by fire and others driven on shore where a concerted attack by the British fleet would destroy or capture the remainder. Allemand could see the fireships under preparation in Basque Roads, and increased his defences by stationing 73 small boats along the boom to tow fireships onto the mud flats and away from the French fleet. He also ordered all the ships of the line to remove their sails and topmasts. This rendered them largely immobile but considerably less flammable. The frigates retained their rigging as they would be required to move in the event of a major attack.

His preparations complete, Cochrane ordered the attack for the evening of 11 April, although Gambier was reluctant to allow his sailors to support Cochrane in the operation, saying "if you choose to rush to self-destruction that is your own affair . . . but it is my duty to take care of the lives of others, and I will not place the crews of the fireships in palpable danger". Cochrane was furious and after a bitter argument Gambier relented and gave permission for the attack to go ahead. He stationed Imperieuse near the Boyart Shoal to the north of the boom, approximately 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km) from the French fleet, supported by frigates HMS Aigle, HMS Unicorn and HMS Pallas. This force would collect the crews of the fireships as they abandoned their blazing charges and rowed back towards the British line, and sloops HMS Redpole and HMS Lyra were equipped as light ships to guide the fireships into the channel. With these ships were the schooner HMS Whiting and cutters Nimrud and King George, all converted into floating rocket batteries. Aetna and two brigs anchored north of the forts on Île-d'Aix, while frigate Emerald and five smaller warships were to launch a diversionary attack to the east of the island. Gambier, with the main body of the fleet, moved closer to the entrance to Aix Roads, eventually anchoring 9 nautical miles (17 km) distant; it has been suggested by one historian that he may have done so in order that he could retreat out to sea easily should the French fleet attempt to attack him in the aftermath of a failed fireship assault.

The fireships advance

Regulus_under_attack_by_British_fireships_August_11_1809.jpg
Régulus under attack by British fireships, during the evening of 11 April 1809. Louis-Philippe Crépin

As night approached it became clear that the wind, although blowing in the correct direction, was too strong to allow the fireships to be chained together in squadrons as planned, and each was instructed to operate independently. At 20:30, with the wind and tide in their favour and the night darker than expected, the fireships cut their anchor cables and began to silently sail towards the French fleet. Most of the volunteer crews ignited and abandoned their vessels too early, the blazing ships grounding long before even reaching the boom; one even threatened Imperieuse, which had to veer its anchor cable to avoid being destroyed. Other crews, including those on one of the explosion ships, lost control of their vessels and took no part in the attack. A few however, including the lead explosion ship under Cochrane's personal command, continued forward at speed, as the wind increased gradually. He was followed by the second surviving explosion vessel, on board of which was Midshipman Frederick Marryat. Cochrane delayed igniting his own ship to the last minute, and when he finally lit the fuses his escape was reportedly delayed in a search for the ship's dog. As a result, his boat was still inside the debris field when the ship exploded, although he escaped unharmed. Elsewhere, five British sailors were killed and six wounded in premature detonations. The explosion ships detonated near the French frigate Indienne at 21:30 and 21:40, although trapped by the boom they did little damage. Following them however was Mediator, which smashed a hole in the boom through which the few fireships surviving followed.

Allemand's boat crews were unable to influence the passage of Cochrane's flotilla as the sea was now too rough for them to operate in the channel, and the fireship crews consequently endured great difficulty returning to the British frigate line.[55] The Aix Road was now a scene of "sublime horror": blazing fireships drifted randomly across the anchorage, some passing amid the great hulls of the French line. Shells from Aetna and thousands of rockets burst amid the confusion as the forts and all ships fired their guns at threats real and imagined; "a scene . . . peculiarly awful and sublime." The fireships reached the French frigate line at 21:45, as the frigates cut their anchor cables and retreated southeast down the channel. The blazing vessels then struck the French line; Régulus was hit, the crew desperately fending off the fireship for 15 minutes while the drifting ship of the line crashed into Tourville. Cassard was also badly hit, losing 20 men killed and wounded to a shot from a fireship, and several other French ships were badly damaged in the confusion.

At 22:00, while avoiding three drifting fireships, the overladen 120-gun flagship Océan ran aground and was badly scorched by a fireship which struck the stern. To prevent explosion the stopcocks were opened and the magazine flooded. As the crew wrestled with this threat, the drifting Tonnerre and Patriote loomed out of the darkness. Patriote turned away in time, but Tonnerre crashed into the starboard side of the flagship and caused considerable damage, although fortunately detached soon afterwards. Océan's crew then held the blazing ship alongside long enough that the drifters could escape before releasing the fireship to drift on shore. During this effort at least 50 men tumbled to their deaths in the fiery chasm between the ships as they tried to prevent the fire spreading on board.

Gambier hesitates
"This would have been the time to have destroyed them; but this favourable opportunity was neglected, which caused not a little murmuring among us, and was considered most unseamanlike by many experienced men in the fleet."James Choyce, fireship volunteer

As dawn rose on 12 April, only Cassard and Foudroyant remained afloat, having drifted into the mouth of the Charente with the tide. The remainder, nine ships of the line, Calcutta and four frigates, were all beached along the mud and rocky shoals of the channel. Océan lay isolated on the mud within Aix Roads itself, with Ville de Varsovie and Aquilon grounded on rocks at Charenton 500 yards (460 m) away and Régulus and Jemmappes on softer ground nearby. To the north, Tonnerre had grounded hard near Île Madame and despite desperate efforts from the crew had already flooded and become a total wreck. Calcutta lay on the Palles Shoal near the remains of Jean-Bart and Patriote and Tourville had grounded close to the mouth of the Charente not far from the frigate Pallas. Elsewhere Indienne lay at Pointe Aiguille and Elbe and Hortense on the Fontanelles.

Regulus_stranded_on_the_shoals_of_Les_Palles_August_12_1809.jpg
Régulus stranded on the shoals of Les Palles, 12 April 1809. Louis-Philippe Crépin

Cochrane, now back on Imperieuse, immediately recognised that although no French ship had been directly destroyed by the attack, there was an opportunity to annihilate the French Atlantic fleet in a single morning. Grounded and vulnerable, the isolated French ships could be simply destroyed by a concerted conventional attack on the Aix Roads, with only the batteries and the two remaining ships afloat to offer resistance. At 05:48 he frantically signaled Gambier "Half the fleet could destroy the enemy". Gambier acknowledged this communication, but made no reply and gave no orders. As the French ships started to drift with the tide, Cochrane sent more signals: at 06:40 "Eleven on shore", at 07:40 "Only two afloat". Still there was no response from the distant British fleet. At 09:30 Cochrane signaled that "Enemy preparing to heave off" as the French crews began the laborious task of refloating their ships. Cochrane ordered further, sardonic, signals "Two sail of the line are enough" and "the frigates alone can destroy the enemy", although the first was never made as the signal officer judged that it would be received by Gambier as an insult, and the second was made but never recorded in Caledonia's logbook. At 09:35 Gambier ordered his fleet to weigh anchor and then rescinded the order, instead holding a conference on the flagship for all his captains. Finally the fleet sailed at 10:45, but at 11:30 Gambier ordered a halt after only 3 nautical miles (5.6 km), and the ships anchored once more near Île-d'Aix while the admiral conducted a conference with his captains. In doing so, Gambier conspicuously avoided making any signal which might indicate he intended an attack, even spelling out some long signals to avoid using the flag which meant "prepare for battle". His behaviour at this point has been described by historian Robert Harvey as "one of the most contemptible acts of any commander-in-chief in British naval history".

While Gambier hesitated, one by one the French ships which had grounded began to refloat, although several grounded again. As they had removed their topmasts before the attack, they had survived the groundings with less damage than might otherwise have been the case, and were easier to kedge off. Foudroyant and Cassard, fearing an attack by the British fleet, retreated up the Charente at 12:45 and both then grounded at Fouras. At 13:00, Cochrane, his impatience and fury rising, deliberately allowed Imperieuse to drift stern-first alone down the channel towards the French fleet, flying the signal "The enemy's ships are getting under sail", followed by "the enemy is superior to the chasing ship", and then at 13:45 "the ship is in distress, and requires to be assisted immediately". He later wrote "It was better to risk the frigate, or even my commission, than suffer a disgraceful termination to the expectations of the Admiralty". At 14:00 the frigate was within range of Calcutta and began a steady fire into the beached storeship, supported by Aetna and several of the sloops, which he ordered into position by the unexpected process of firing cannon in their direction until they had moved to the position he intended. Cochrane had forced Gambier's hand: despite his desire to avoid combat, the admiral could not allow one of his frigates to fight the entire French fleet single-handed, and reluctantly he instructed the large frigate HMS Indefatigable, the smaller Emerald, Unicorn, Aigle and Pallas and the ships of the line Valiant and Revenge, the latter now commanded by Captain Alexander Robert Kerr, to join with the inshore squadron, enter the Aix Roads and support Cochrane.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Basque_Roads
 

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
Part III
The Battle of the Basque Roads

Cochrane's fight

Map_Battle_of_Basques_Roads_1809.jpg
Full battle disposition and evolution of the battle

Gambier's reinforcements
British reinforcement entered Basque Roads at 15:20, just as the crew of Calcutta abandoned the ship, withdrawing across the shoal. Forming a line of battle, the British opened a heavy fire on the nearby, and still grounded, Ville de Varsouvie while Beagle, armed with heavy carronades, nosed close inshore and took up station across the bow of Aquilon and raked the French ship repeatedly. For two hours these immobile French ships were battered by the British line with little reply, until at 17:30 both raised Union flagsas an indication that they had surrendered. Shortly afterwards the crew of the wrecked Tonnere abandoned their ship and set it on fire. The French ship was destroyed by a magazine explosion at 19:30, followed at 20:30 by Calcutta, which had been mistakenly set on fire by an over-enthusiastic British boarding party. The storeship was carrying a large quantity of munitions, reportedly worth over half a million pounds in value, and produced an enormous explosion. Most of the British ships had suffered only minor damage and casualties from fire from the gun batteries on Île-d'Aix, where Revenge had temporarily grounded during the night and suffered 18 casualties. The French losses were minor except on Ville de Varsouvie, which had taken about 100 casualties in the exchange.

Although Gambier had no intention of risking his fleet in the narrow waters of Basque Roads, he had permitted three more transports to be fitted out as fireships, and at 17:30 these were led into the anchorage by Stopford in Caesar, accompanied by Theseus and several launches equipped to fire Congreve rockets. At 19:40 however Caesar grounded on a shoal and remained stuck there until 22:30, close to Valiant, which had also grounded at low tide. At this point six surviving French ships; Océan, four of the line and the frigate Indienne, remained aground close to the mouth of the Charente, while the remainder of the fleet had escaped upriver to secure anchorages. During the night the wind blew from the land, rendering a fireship attack impractical, and so the British contented themselves with setting Ville de Varsouvie and Aquilon on fire, both ships determined by John Bligh on Valiant, over Cochrane's objections, to have been damaged beyond repair. During this operation, one of the new fireships was wrecked on a shoal. The weather was so bad that night that the planned attack with the remaining fireships was abandoned as unfeasible.

The sight of the burning wrecks in the night once again spread panic throughout the French fleet, the grounded ships opening a heavy fire on the scuttled ships in the assumption that they were fireships. Captain Lacaille of Tourville was so unnerved that he immediately ordered his crew to abandon ship and set it on fire. The evacuation was so hasty however that the fires did not spread effectively, and the following morning the ship was found to still be intact, the crew returning to their prematurely abandoned vessel. There they found that the ship's quartermaster Eugéne-Joseph-Romain Bourgeois had remained aboard, unconvinced by Lacaille's order, and had single-handedly driven off an attempt by a British boat to board and capture the ship. During the night about 30 sailors had joined him, keeping Touville in French hands until dawn came and the rest of the crew returned.

The battle continues
At 05:00 on 13 April Stopford gave the order for the inshore squadron to withdraw back to Gambier's fleet. Cochrane was again furious, and even suggested taking Imperieuse and Indefatigable on a desperate attack on the still-grounded Océan. Captain John Tremayne Rodd on the latter refused. Frustrated, Cochrane remained in the anchorage, joined by Pallas and the smaller vessels as the larger ships returned to more open waters. At 08:00 he ordered a renewed attack on the remaining grounded ships at the mouth of the Charente, and by 11:00 the small vessels were in position and opened fire on the French flagship.[86] Although Aetna's gun split, forcing her withdrawal, the barrage otherwise continued throughout the day, although to little effect. It was not until 16:00 when the battered Océan and Régulus, most of their stores thrown overboard, were able to safely retreat towards the mouth of the Charente.

During this engagement three small rocket ships reached Cochrane, whose frigate was becalmed too far from the action, from the main fleet. On board, Gambier had sent a two-part letter. The first part praised Cochrane's achievements thus far and urged Cochrane to renew the attack on Océan but indicated that Gambier felt success was unlikely. The second part, a private letter to the captain, permitting one further attack but then ordering him to withdraw that evening as Gambier wished to "send you to England as soon as possible". Cochrane replied to the first part of the letter, stating that he would renew the assault on the following day, and pointedly ignored the second. Cochrane later claimed that Gambier had ordered him directly to withdraw by signal from Caledonia, but there is no evidence that such a signal was made.

Cochrane withdraws

Regulus_stranded_in_the_mud_in_front_of_Fouras_under_attack_by_British_ships_August_1809.jpg
Régulus stranded in the mud in front of Fouras under attack by British ships, April 1809. Louis-Philippe Crépin

During the night the British did not renew the attack, and the following morning found that most of the French ships had successfully retreated up the Charente. Océan and Tourville remained accessible, both grounded anew near Foures, while a few other French ships could still be reached by long-range fire. At 09:00 Gambier made the definitive signal ordering Cochrane to withdraw directly and replacing him in command with George Wolfe on Aigle. Cochrane reluctantly returned to the fleet and had a furious meeting with Gambier, accusing the admiral of "extraordinary hesitation" and urging a new assault. Gambier refused to renew the attack and threatened that if Cochrane tried to blame Gambier for the incomplete victory he would be seen as "arrogantly claiming all the merit to yourself". Cochrane was immediately ordered to return to Britain, sailing on 15 April with Gambier's dispatches carried by Sir Harry Neale. Wolfe briefly renewed the attack during 14 April with a repaired Aetna, emptying the bomb vessel's ammunition reserves to little effect.

At 02:00 on 15 April Océan finally began to move again, reaching safety upriver by 03:30. Several other ships were exposed, but without a bomb vessel they lay beyond the range of the British fleet. The French sailors made significant efforts to retrieve these ships over the following days; on 16 April Indienne was deemed too damaged to be saved, abandoned, and set on fire. The frigate exploded at midday. The following day Foudroyant and Tourville reached safety, and only Régulus now remained vulnerable. For several days in severe gales and heavy rain the ship remained stranded in the mud while Wolfe worked to bring up newly arrived replacement bomb vessel HMS Thunder. An attack on 20 April failed after the gun spilt almost immediately, and a larger scale attack with both bomb vessels and smaller ships failed on 24 April. No further attempts were made to destroy Régulus, and on 29 April the ship was finally refloated and brought to safety in the Charente. On the same day Gambier finally abandoned his blockade of the river and sailed his fleet for England.

Aftermath

Sternhold_and_Hopkins_at_Sea_or_a_Slave_out_of_Time.jpg
Sternhold and Hopkins at Sea; or a slave out of time. Charles Williams, 1809. NMM. A satirical print; Gambier is shown reading the Bible, ignoring Cochrane's request to pursue the French fleet.

See also: Court-martial of James, Lord Gambier
The battle was undoubtedly a victory for the British; three French ships of the line, a fourth-rate and a frigate were destroyed and much of the remainder of the Brest fleet badly damaged and requiring extensive repairs; Océan and Foudroyant were in a particularly poor state. French casualties in the engagement are not known with certainty, but are estimated at 150–200, while British losses were only 13 killed and 30 wounded. Allemand later wrote that most significant damage resulting from the battle was to the morale of the French fleet; he wrote that "the greater part are disheartened; every day I hear them lamenting their situation, and speaking in praise of their enemy." another French commentator told a British officer that the French sailors "had now no security from the English in their harbours, and they expected we should next go into Brest and take out their fleet". No British ships suffered more than minor damage in the two weeks of combat, and the fleet could return to its blockade with the knowledge that the Brest fleet was neutralised for some time to come and confined to Rochefort, although a powerful squadron was still under construction at Rochefort, where the defences had been swiftly repaired. This was the last time during the Napoleonic Wars that a significant French fleet was able to put to sea from the Atlantic ports; historian Richard Woodman describes it as the "biggest scare from a break-out French fleet in the post-Trafalgar period." Without naval support, the French colonies in the Caribbean were isolated, blockaded, invaded and captured shortly afterwards.

Courts-martial
Almost as serious however were the legal ramifications of the battle. In both countries there was a storm of controversy; in France four captains faced courts-martial from 21 June on charges of having abandoned their ships too easily and failing to follow orders. The captain of Tonnerre was acquitted, the captain of Indienne was acquitted on the first charge but sentenced to three months house arrest for the second and the captain of Tourville was sentenced to two years in prison and to be dismissed the Navy for abandoning his ship prematurely. The captain of Calcutta, Jean-Baptiste Lafon, was convicted of abandoning his ship in the face of the enemy and sentenced to death on 8 September. The execution was carried out by firing squad on the deck of Océan the following day. Woodman considers that "these wretched officers paid the penalty for Willaumez's initial timidity." Allemand's defeat is often blamed on Napoleon's instructions before the battle, which mistakenly assumed that the Aix Roads were a safe anchorage.

In Britain, Cochrane arrived at Spithead on 21 April and news of the victory spread rapidly. The Times ran a dramatic account of the battle which presaged national celebrations, and the junior officers of the fleet engaged in the fireship attack were promoted, and presented with financial rewards, while James Wooldridge, captain of Mediator who had been terribly burned, was granted a gold medal and a presentation sword. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the award of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Basque Roads 1809" to the 529 surviving claimants from the action.

Cochrane was initially celebrated for his achievement and made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath on 26 April. Shortly afterwards however he informed Lord Mulgrave that he intended to use his position as a Member of Parliament to oppose any effort to thank or reward Gambier for his part in the battle. Mulgrave immediately warned Gambier, who demanded a court-martial to investigate his behaviour. The court was convened on 26 July; the inquiry panel president was Admiral Sir Roger Curtis and his deputy was William Young, both friends of Gambier and political opponents of Cochrane. Over eight days witnesses were called and evidence presented, much of it misleading. Most seriously, the charts of Basque Roads supplied to the court had been drawn by officers from Gambier's ship and favoured Gambier's account of the action. Cochrane was questioned aggressively during his evidence and lost his temper, being repeatedly reprimanded. Ultimately Gambier was acquitted and awarded the thanks of Parliament, despite continuing determined opposition from Cochrane.

Gambier continued in command until 1811, and remained in service until his death in 1833. Cochrane was disgraced and refused further service, choosing semi-retirement to pursue his political ambitions. He was later implicated in the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814, convicted and publicly disgraced. He resigned his commission and joined first the Chilean Navy and then the Brazilian Navy, before becoming commander of the Greek Navy during the Greek War of Independence. He was restored to the Royal Navy with a royal pardon in 1832 and died in 1860, shortly after publishing an autobiography which furiously castigated the participants in the events 51 years earlier.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Basque_Roads
 

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
Part IV
The Battle of the Basque Roads - Order of Battle

The Battle of the Basque Roads was a major naval battle of the Napoleonic Wars, fought in the narrow Basque Roads at the mouth of the Charente River on the Biscay coast of France. The battle, which lasted from 11-25 April 1809, was unusual in that it pitted a hastily-assembled squadron of small and unorthodox British Royal Navy warships, distantly supported by a larger fleet, against the main strength of the French Atlantic Fleet, the circumstances dictated by the cramped, shallow coastal waters in which the battle was fought. The battle is also notorious for its political aftermath in both Britain and France.

In February 1809 the French Atlantic Fleet, based at Brest was ordered to sail to the Caribbean to disrupt a British attack on Martinique. The fleet sailed on 22 February but was unable to escape British pursuit and four days latter anchored in the sheltered position of Basque Roads (or Aix Roads), under the batteries of the fortified Île-d'Aix. A detachment from the British Channel Fleet, commanded by Admiral Lord Gambier, had followed the French to the harbour and there enacted a close blockade. While Gambier debated what action to take, command of the French fleet was awarded to Contre-amiral Zacharie Allemand, who strengthened the fleet's defences and awaited a British attack.[2] In Britain, First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Mulgrave, called on one of the nation's most popular, maverick young naval officers, Captain Lord Cochrane, to prepare an inshore squadron to attack the French.

Cochrane fitted out 24 fireships and explosion vessels and on the night of 11 April led them into the Roads, accompanied by a squadron of small vessels. The fireships caused panic among the French crews, who cut their anchor cables and drifted onto the rocks and shoals of the anchorage. When morning came, Cochrane found that almost the entire French fleet was at his mercy, and signaled to Gambier suggesting that if he would lead the British fleet into the Roads they could destroy the entire French force. Gambier did not respond, and eventually in frustration Cochrane led his own ship directly into combat. Unable to leave his subordinate unsupported, Gambier sent a small squadron of ships of the line to reinforce Cochrane, and on 12 April three French ships of the line, a frigate, and a large storeship were battered into surrender and then set on fire as damaged beyond repair.

Gambier then ordered the reinforcements to withdraw, leaving Cochrane again unsupported against the rest of the main French fleet which was gradually dragging itself off the shoals and into the relative safety of the Charente River. Cochrane renewed his attack on 13 April but was unable to cause any significant damage to the French ships as they threw stores and guns overboard to facilitate their escape. On the morning of 14 April Gambier directly ordered Cochrane to retire, turning command of the operation over to Captain George Wolfe. Cochrane reluctantly complied, and on 15 April sailed back to Britain with dispatches.

Wolfe renewed attacks on the remaining stranded ships of the French fleet over the next week, but with little effect. The battle concluded, Gambier sailed his fleet back to Britain. The engagement was a victory for the British, with five French ships destroyed and several others badly damaged, but there was much discontent in Britain, both among the Navy and the public, that a larger victory had been lost through over-caution. In the aftermath several French captains were subject to courts-martial, and one was shot for cowardice, while in Britain the acrimony between Cochrane and Gambier resulted in a dramatic court-martial of Gambier, in which he was sensationally acquitted.

0.JPG

1.JPG

2.JPG

3.JPG

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_battle_at_the_Battle_of_the_Basque_Roads
 

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
On the fourth day of the event the particpants of the shipmodeling convention made a very interesting cruising trip with a boat via the river Charente to the Fort Boyard and the island Île d'Aix - the location of the...... THE PHOTOS of the Day Trip

Starting Point was the Corderie - The Rope Factory in Rochefort
IMG_08801.jpg IMG_08811.jpg


IMG_08821.jpg IMG_08831.jpg

On the river Charente - Low tide at the staring time
IMG_08851.jpg IMG_08861.jpg



https://www.pont-transbordeur.fr/rochefort-transporter-bridge
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwebefähre_Rochefort
IMG_08891.jpg IMG_08971.jpg IMG_08981.jpg


along the river - during the time of sailing it took appr. one week for the Ships of Line to travel between Rochefort harbour to the open sea
IMG_09011.jpg IMG_09031.jpg


IMG_09021.jpg IMG_09051.jpg IMG_09041.jpg

IMG_09061.jpg IMG_09071.jpg IMG_09111.jpg

IMG_090711.jpg
IMG_09121.jpg

A first small Fort at the entrance to the river - now a private property
IMG_09131.jpg IMG_09141.jpg
 

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
Fort Boyard (French pronunciation: [fɔʁ bwajaʁ] (
listen)) is a fort located between the Île-d'Aix and the Île d'Oléron in the Pertuis d'Antioche straits, on the west coast of France and is the filming location for the TV gameshow of the same name. Though a fort on Boyard bank was suggested as early as the 17th century, it was not until the 1800s under Napoleon Bonaparte that work began. Building started in 1801 and was completed in 1857. In 1967, the final scene of the French film Les aventuriers was filmed at the remains of the fort.

History
The construction of the fort was first considered during a build-up of the French armed forces undertaken by Louis XIV between 1661 and 1667.[citation needed] Fort Boyard was to form a line of fortification with Fort Enet and Fort de la Rade on Île-d'Aix to protect the arsenal of Rochefort from Royal Navy incursions.[2] Due to the limited range of artillery in the 17th century, the fields of fire between the fortifications on the islands of Aix and Oléron did not overlap. A fort on Boyard bank, roughly midway between the two, would have filled that gap. In 1692 the French engineer Descombs began planning the programme of building the fort; however, once it became clear how expensive it would be the scheme was abandoned. Vauban, Louis XIV's leading military engineer, famously advised against it, saying "Your Majesty, it would be easier to seize the moon with your teeth than to attempt such an undertaking in such a place".

Fort_boyard_vue_aérienne.jpg

After a British raid on Île-d'Aix in 1757, plans for a fort on Boyard bank were once again considered. Though plans were drawn up, the logistical problems again ensured it was abandoned. Efforts were renewed under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1800, and the following year engineers Ferregeau and Armand Samuel de Marescot, and Vice-Admiral François Étienne de Rosily-Mesros designed a fort to be built on the bank. To facilitate the work, a port was established on île d'Oléron. The village of Boyardville was built for the workers. The first stage of construction was to establish a plateau, some 100 by 50 m (330 by 160 ft), to act as foundations. To this end, stones were piled up on the bank.

The project was suspended in 1809. Construction resumed in 1837, under Louis-Philippe, following renewed tensions with the United Kingdom. The fortifications were completed in 1857, with sufficient room for a garrison of 250 men. However, by the time of its completion, the range of cannons had significantly increased, making the fort unnecessary for national defence.

After 1871, Fort Boyard was briefly used as a military prison, before being abandoned in 1913. As time went by, the fort slowly crumbled and deteriorated into the sea as it was left unmaintained. In 1950 it was made a listed building, and in 1961 was sold to Charente Maritime Regional Council.

It has been the filming location of both the French and international versions of the TV gameshow of the same name since 1990, and was also the location for filming The Last Adventure, starring Alain Delon, Lino Ventura and Joanna Shimkus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Boyard_(fortification)

IMG_09151.jpg IMG_09171.jpg

IMG_09201.jpg IMG_09211.jpg

IMG_09221.jpg

At the horicont the Fort Boayrd - view from the island Île-d'Aix
Exactly in this area was the battle

IMG_09231.jpg

Impressions from the island
IMG_09241.jpg IMG_09251.JPG IMG_09271.JPG

IMG_09261.JPG IMG_09281.JPG IMG_09301.JPG

The usual way to visit the island, by foot, bicycle or horse - the old guys from the shipmodelling convention took the horse(car)
IMG_09291.JPG
 

Uwek

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Blandford Group Build
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
4,223
Points
113

Location
Vienna, Austria
Top