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OT "I never reckoned myself the equal of Blake" So was Nelson right was he the

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  • OT "I never reckoned myself the equal of Blake" So was Nelson right was he the

    Greatest ?
    Nelson uttered those words about Blake a man who commanded larger fleets against tougher opposition and more skilled commanders (Prince Rupert/Tromps farther and Son and De-Reyuter).
    So was Nelson right and was Blake the greatest English (the act of Union had not happened then) of all time ?

  • #2
    Naval warfare in Blake's time was both less complex and the ships much less powerful (slower with fewer cannon which were also much smaller). Although the fleets were larger in his time they were far less powerful and comparing them with those of Nelson's time is like matching the pre Dreadnought battle of Tsushima with Jutland. It's comparing apples with grapefruit. I would also question your point about opposition In most of his battles Blakes's fleet was on a par in numbers with the enemy. It's really only at the Battle of Dungeness that he was heavily outnumbered (and beaten decisively).
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MarkV View Post
      Naval warfare in Blake's time was both less complex and the ships much less powerful (slower with fewer cannon which were also much smaller). Although the fleets were larger in his time they were far less powerful and comparing them with those of Nelson's time is like matching the pre Dreadnought battle of Tsushima with Jutland. It's comparing apples with grapefruit. I would also question your point about opposition In most of his battles Blakes's fleet was on a par in numbers with the enemy. It's really only at the Battle of Dungeness that he was heavily outnumbered (and beaten decisively).
      I think it's unfair to judge a Commander on the weapons of the time. It's like saying Nelson would have been ok at Jutland, when clearly things were different 111 years later.

      Though I thought that in terms of Canon the ships of Blake's time had more guns per ship anyway. Also Nelson was at sea since he was a child and whereas Blake before being appointed General at Sea had not so much as captained a Rowing boat.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by History fan View Post
        I think it's unfair to judge a Commander on the weapons of the time. It's like saying Nelson would have been ok at Jutland, when clearly things were different 111 years later.

        Though I thought that in terms of Canon the ships of Blake's time had more guns per ship anyway. Also Nelson was at sea since he was a child and whereas Blake before being appointed General at Sea had not so much as captained a Rowing boat.
        Weapons tend to define tactics as do the capabilities of the ships so the sort of war Blake would have fought would be very different from that which faced Nelson. Fairness has nothing to do with it, it is a I said like comparing very different things. It wasn't until the very end of Blake's career that rigging and steering (for example replacement of the whipstaff with the wheel) had improved enough to allow significant numbers of large ships to fight in line of battle and command and control and command techniques (signals etc ) had yet to catch up. The Dutch main battle fleet contained ships ranging from 40 guns to nearly a 100 (and the British were similar). In Nelson's time even a 50 gun ship would be considered generally too small for line of battle. The guns were smaller than in Nelsons time as casting and boring techniques did not yet allow for large iron cannon and bronze was very expensive and heavier (which constrained the size of gun on the 2nd and 3rd tier). Nelson's line of battle would therefore contain fewer ships but these would be much more uniform and more heavily armed and he would have had much better control of them given that signalling was better, sailing technology and techniques had improved vastly and there had been over a hundred years in which navies could learn how to fight broadside battles in line astern. Nelson therefore could and would fight a different sort of battle to Blake. Asking questions like ' how would Blake have done with Nelson's ships and vice versa?' is taking counter factualism to rather silly extremes
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

        Comment

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