The Ships of Trafalgar: The British, French and Spanish Fleets, October 1805
The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805, remains one of the defining moments in naval history. The decisive nature of the engagement, the death of Nelson and the outpouring of national grief in the aftermath have inspired a wealth of literature on the battle and many narratives have retold this famous action. However, until now no work has attempted to provide an in-depth history of each of the British, French and Spanish vessels that were at the engagement. Dividing the fleets into the relevant classes by their rating, this keystone work then proceeds to provide a service history of each individual vessel, including specifications tables, list of commanders, casualty lists and refit histories. Each class of vessel is illustrated by original plans drawn specially by the author alongside contemporary and modern images of the ships. Vital contextual information is included, on design and construction, styles, relative merits between the British and Combined fleets, trends and developments in armament and fighting techniques, and a comparison of the pound-for-pound effectiveness of the rival fleets. This book is a complete, standard-setting guide to the essence of the greatest naval battle, the ships at Trafalgar.