The Battle of Trafalgar (Spanish: Cabo Trafalgar), saw the British decisively defeat a combined French and Spanish fleet on 21 October 1805 in the most significant naval battle of the Napoleonic Wars. A Royal Navy fleet of 27 ships of the line destroyed an allied French and Spanish fleet of 33 ships of the line west of Cape Trafalgar in south-west Spain. The French and Spanish lost 22 ships, while the British lost none. The British commander Admiral Lord Nelson died late in the battle, by which time he had ensured his place as Britain's greatest naval hero.
It was part of the War of the Third Coalition, and a pivotal naval battle of the 19th century. The British victory spectacularly confirmed the naval supremacy that Britain had established during the 18th century. However, by the time it was fought, Napoleon had abandoned his plans to invade southern England and instead was defeating Britain's allies in Germany.
The 200th anniversary of the battle was marked by Trafalgar 200 celebrations in Britain.
The Battle of Jutland (German: Skagerrakschlacht (Battle of the Skagerrak); Danish: Søslaget ved Jylland / Søslaget om Skagerrak) was the largest naval battle of World War I, and the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war. It was fought on May 31–June 1, 1916, in the North Sea near Jutland, the mainland of Denmark. The combatants were the Kaiserliche Marine’s High Seas Fleet commanded by Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer and the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The intention of the German fleet was to lure out, trap and destroy a section of the Grand fleet, part of their larger strategy of breaking the British naval blockade of the North Sea and allowing German mercantile shipping to operate again. The Royal Navy, on the other hand, was seeking to engage and cripple the High Seas Fleet with a single engagement.
On the afternoon of 31 May, Beatty and Hipper encountered each other, and in a running battle to the south Hipper drew the British into the path of the High Seas Fleet. Beatty turned and fled towards the Grand Fleet and from 18:30 until nightfall at about 20:30 the two huge fleets — totaling 250 ships between them — were heavily engaged. Fourteen British and eleven German ships were sunk with great loss of life. Jellicoe tried to cut the Germans off from their base in the hope of continuing the battle in the morning, but under cover of darkness Scheer crossed the wake of the British fleet and returned to port.
Both sides claimed victory. The British had lost more ships and many more sailors, and the British press criticized the Royal Fleet's actions, but Scheer’s plan of destroying Beatty’s squadrons had failed. The Germans continued to pose a threat that required the British to keep their battleships concentrated in the North Sea, but they never again contested control of the seas. Instead, the German Navy turned its efforts and resources to unrestricted submarine warfare.
The Battle of the North Cape, was a naval battle of World War II that occurred on December 26, 1943. Ships of the Royal Navy engaged and sank the German battleship Scharnhorst (pictured) off Norway's North Cape. The outcome of the battle demonstrated the vital importance of radar in modern naval warfare. While Scharnhorst outgunned her opponents—with the exception of HMS Duke of York—the early loss of radar-assisted fire control combined with the problem of inclement weather left her at a significant disadvantage. The battle was the last significant engagement of the Atlantic Campaign, and essentially ended the threat posed by German surface ships.
The battle may also be the northernmost in the history of naval warfare.
The Battle of Navarino was a naval engagement fought on 20 October 1827, during the Greek War of Independence (1821–29) in Navarino Bay, western Greece, on the Ionian Sea. A combined Ottoman and Egyptian armada was destroyed by a combined British, French and Russian naval force, at the port of Navarino. It is notable for being the final large-scale fleet action in history between sailing ships.
As a result of the battle, the Ottomans and Egyptians were effectively unable to continue the war at sea. Ultimately, this caused the main Egyptian army returned to Egypt in the latter part of 1828, leaving only a drastically weakened Ottoman force to hold positions in the Morea.
The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes referred to as the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on September 10, 1813 in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio during the War of 1812. Nine ships of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of Great Britain’s Royal Navy. This ensured American control of the lake for the remainder of the war, which in turn allowed the Americans to recover Detroit and win the Battle of the Thames to break the Indian confederation of Tecumseh.
The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as Battle of the Virginia Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American Revolutionary War which took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on September 5, 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and a French fleet led by Rear-Admiral Comte de Grasse. It was a major defeat for the Royal Navy.
The victory by the French fleet prevented the Royal Navy from resupplying the forces of General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia. It also prevented interference with the supply of troops and provisions from New York to the armies of George Washington through Chesapeake Bay. As a result, Cornwallis surrendered after the siege of Yorktown, and Great Britain later recognized the independence of the United States of America.
The Battle of the Nile, known in France as the Battle of Aboukir Bay, was an important naval battle of the French Revolutionary Wars between a British fleet commanded by Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson and a French fleet under Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys D'Aigalliers. It took place on the evening and early morning of August 1 and August 2, 1798. French losses have been estimated to have been as high as 1,700 dead (including Brueys) and 3,000 captured. British losses were 218 dead. Although decisive, the victory did not prevent the French from conquering most of Egypt and parts of Syria.
The Battle of Cape Matapan was a World War II naval battle fought off the Peloponnesian coast of Greece from March 27 to March 29, 1941. A combined force of British Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships under the command of the British Admiral Andrew Cunningham intercepted and sank or severely damaged those of the Italian Regia Marina, under Admiral Angelo Iachino. As a result, Italian naval activity in the eastern Mediterranean was halted, and activity elsewhere was severely limited.
The battle, or at least its opening actions, is also known as the Battle of Gaudo in Italy.
The Battle of Dogger Bank was a naval battle fought near the Dogger Bank in the North Sea that took place on 24 January 1915, during the First World War, between the battlecruiser squadrons of the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet. The engagement, which saw the sinking of the German cruiser SMS Blücher (pictured), was a British victory, and German naval activity was reduced out of a desire to avoid the loss of further ships. Additionally, the use of wireless intercepts to determine German battle plans demonstrated the usefulness of a new form of intelligence gathering. However, the battle exposed weaknesses in British communications and also revealed a fatal flaw in the design of battlecruiser magazines, which would result in the loss of three ships at the Battle of Jutland.
The naval Battle of Quiberon Bay took place on 20 November 1759 during the Seven Years' War in Quiberon Bay, off the coast of France near St. Nazaire. The British Admiral Sir Edward Hawke with 23 ships of the line caught up with a French fleet with 21 ships of the line under Marshal de Conflans, and after hard fighting, sank six and captured one, the rest of the fleet being forced to return to port. As a result, French naval activity was severely limited, and Britain retained naval supremacy for the remainder of the war. At the time, the battle was one of the most important and well-known British naval victories; it would remain so until the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.