The best Ship of the Line ever made
If you ever get a chance to go to the historic docks of Portsmouth there is certainly a site to see. Nestled within the oldest dry-dock in the world sits a legend. It is a legend that is partly responsible for the start of the British Empire, it is a patriot like Churchill, it’s some of the finest use Oak has ever been put to, it is the HMS Victory. In its glorious Yellow and black, its huge frame dominates the area including the Ironclad Warrior near it. She was launched in Seventeen Sixty five but it was not until forty years later that she took her role as Nelsons flagship and Trafalgar living up to her name and helping Britannia, finally, rule the waves. Whilst she is a great use of oak another is for you home in the shape of an Oak Porch such as you would find at http://www.bespoaktimberframes.co.uk/portfolio_page/oak-porch/. More then about this amazing ship.
She must have been an incredible site to see, the sails at full the wind behind her powering her way through the waves. She was intended to be a first calls ship of the line her construction order by Pitt the Elder. Her name was chosen to celebrate the many victory’s that Britain had had during the Seven year’s war. It was not an aspirational name; these battles were won on land. There was however an aspiration to win at sea. The song “Rule Britannia” used to include a comma after the rule. Napoleons fleet could blockade British ports and reduce trade. His comment that Britain was a nation of shopkeepers was a direct reference to how reliant on trade Britain was at home and abroad for its economy. As one of ten Ships of the line Victory would provide the fire power the smash any opposite ships and win.
The way that naval warfare was conducted in the Nineteen century was one of attrition and patience. Both sides’ ships would line up against each other and fire broadsides at each other attempting to hole a ship below the water line or try and unmast the ship so that it was becalmed. The trick of breaking the line was to read the wind, ideally it need to be in your favour behind you. As soon as there was a gap in the French line, Nelson sailed victory for the gap and forced its way through. It treated the two ships to the left and right of it to a full 52 gun broadside three times. This shows how incredible the cannoneers where at the drill of loading and firing. The rear and front of the ships are its weak spot and the Redoutable. The French attempted to board the Victory but a second ship Temeraire stuck with another broadside and the Redoutable was destroyed.
Nelson was killed and Victory badly damaged. She was repaired in Gibraltar and returned Nelsons body back to England.