The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62576   Message #1015334
Posted By: GUEST
09-Sep-03 - 07:36 AM
Thread Name: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
EBarnacle, you might be thinking of the Basque Roads during the Napoleonic Wars.

Briefly, Cochrane came up with an idea to destroy the French fleet which was anchored in the Basque Roads. He sailed a ship filled with explosives, supported by nineteen fireships, towards the French. The explosion itself did not do a lot of damage, but it panicked many of the French into cutting their cables. By morning all but two were aground. Cochrane, by now back in his own ship, the frigate Imperieuse, signalled to Admiral Gambier to come and finish off the enemy.

Gambier, who had his nose out of joint because a junior captain had been sent to carry out this major mission, and who also thought that the use of explosion ships was diabolical, did not move. Cochrane with his frigate finished off one stranded battleship, and eventually Gambier sent in three line-of-battle ships which finished off three more. Gambier then ordered all ships to return.

After this disastrous waste of opportunity Gambier was cleared by a very political court-martial.

Cochrane was an amazing man - read any biography of him you can get. Some of his exploits turn up in the Hornblower books, as well as others.

Now - back to the thread - if the cabin boy held on to the rudder post with one hand to prevent counter-rotation while he drilled his little holes ........