The art of war

On the 29 September 1758 Horatio Nelson was born. He is famous and celebrated British naval commander well known for the Battle of the Nile (1798), the Battle of Copenhagen (1801) and of course the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).

At this last engagement Nelson broke the traditional order of battle and attacked the Franco-Spanish line. This was a dangerous move as the British ships were prone to the enemy canonballs with no chance to return the fire. However, the British were heavily outnumbered as they had 33 ships, around 17 000 men and 2148 guns against the allied 41 ships, 33 000 men and 2568 guns. As the British reached the allied fleet the battle became a chaos of melee fights and ranged exchanges of fire. Many members of the higher command were killed including Horatio Nelson himself. Nevertheless, isolating the enemy ships provided a decisive victory for the British with 1666 men dead and wounded against the allied 13 781 dead, captured and wounded, 21 captured ships and 1 destroyed. Nearly 3000 prisoners have drawn at the storm after the battle.

The battle of Trafalgar discontinued Napoleon’s plan for invasion on British soil and secured naval dominance for Britain for decades ahead.

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