The Impact of Trafalgar: What Was the Real Significance of the Battle?

Sep 2016
1,324
Georgia
Not to mention, that Napoleon deserted his army in Egypt. He left them and ran away on his own initiative. Napoleon would be court-martialed in any country for such action.
 
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Feb 2019
941
Serbia
He did, though it didn't come off near as perfectly and so did Rodney 12 years prior to that.
Nelson had some special flair to him I would say, he was more determined to bring on a general, decisive battle than most. I agree with the idea that Trafalgar's impact was psychological due to the scale and the nature of the battle, boosting the morale of the British and heavily damaging to France and Spain. As for Nelson's tactic of breaking the line correct me if I'm wrong but it was thought about as a tactic by the British Admiralty before Trafalgar. The first ''great'' admiral to ever actually do something like it was Niels Juel in the 1670s.
 

Mangekyou

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
7,963
UK
Nelson had some special flair to him I would say, he was more determined to bring on a general, decisive battle than most. I agree with the idea that Trafalgar's impact was psychological due to the scale and the nature of the battle, boosting the morale of the British and heavily damaging to France and Spain. As for Nelson's tactic of breaking the line correct me if I'm wrong but it was thought about as a tactic by the British Admiralty before Trafalgar. The first ''great'' admiral to ever actually do something like it was Niels Juel in the 1670s.
We are probably going further back than that to Tromp and de Ruyter. Where the British excelled later in this tactic was managing the bring the enemy fleets into "pell mell" range so that their superior gunnery and seamanship would be the decisive factor in bringing about a decisive victory. A lot of the previous 18th century was indecisive battles.

The guy who probably came up with tightened up tactics was John Clerk of Eldin.
 
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BloodyPirate

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
2,038
Nassau
I would think Horatio Nelson getting killed must have been a huge upset for the British Navy after the battle.
 
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Apr 2014
406
Istanbul Turkey
I would think Horatio Nelson getting killed must have been a huge upset for the British Navy after the battle.
Actually it was quite opposite. The manner of his death , complating his duty and accomplishing his glory to his last breath became a legend , role model and a symbol for Royal Navy officers after him. For example in 1811 Naval Battle of Lissa British squadron captain Hoste signalled his command "Remember Nelson" , attacked much larger French squadron and won
 
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Feb 2019
941
Serbia
I would think Horatio Nelson getting killed must have been a huge upset for the British Navy after the battle.
Yes and no.

After the battle Nelson's death was seen as a national tragedy, the public believed that Britain had lost its greatest admiral and protector. His death was seen as a disaster and tens of thousands of people came to his funeral to see his tomb, it was viewed as a tragedy beside the triumph of Trafalgar.

However after some time passed Nelson's death became a symbol of ideal heroism, of a heroic death that completed the romantic image of a total victory that saved Britain. The legacy of his death echoed through the rest of the Napoleonic Wars and largely remains alive today, inspiring many sailors and soldiers that came after. His death is also an interesting event that has been wrapped up in legend and might make a good discussion in its own right.