Reviewer:Auntieruth55 (talk) 21:32, 24 November 2009 (UTC) I've suggested a minor revision of the lead to better summarize the article.??? Part of the issue is that it assumed a lot of preliminary info about why, who, and how. See if this reads better, okay?
You've used a lot of passive voice and indirect voice. For example "....it was decided that an attack by a squadron of smaller vessels on the frigates stood a chance of success and a number of ships were instructed to gather off the coast." Who? The Admiralty decided?
Either the Admiralty or the local admiral - the sources do not name the authority that order the attack.--Jackyd101 (talk) 01:08, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Other examples: By the late French Revolutionary Wars (1793–1802), a string of victories at sea had ensured that the Royal Navy was dominant. // By the late..., a string, insured the Royal Navy's dominance.
The French Navy in particular had suffered heavy losses, and in Northern European waters had been forced back into its own harbours by British blockade squadrons. // In particular, the Navy had inflicted heavy losses on the French and the English Channel and the North Sea, had forced the French into blockaded harbours.
Although large ports were watched by fleets of ships of the line, small ports had their own blockade squadrons too, including the shallow French ports on the English Channel. // Squadrons of ships of the line watched the large ports and squadrons of frigates, sloops, and brigs watched the shallow ports. These smaller ports could not accommodate the deep-drafted ships of the line, but were well situated for shallower drafted ships, which continued to break through blockade and attack shipping in British waters.
One such port was Dunkirk in French Flanders, which contained a squadron of four French frigates: the 44-gun Poursuivante under Commodore Jean-Joseph Castagnier, the 40-gun Carmagnole and the 36-gun Désirée and Incorruptible. //Dunkirk, one such port in French Flanders, contained a squadron of four French frigates: ....
This one is just complicated, and unless the shoals were man-made, a bit misleading. Dunkirk was well defended, with gun batteries, gunboats and complicated coastal shoals into which the frigates could retreat if attacked. Dunkirk was well-defended, with gun batteries and gunboats, and natural defenses that included complicated coastal shoals into which the French could retreat.
c comment: see above/I made a few additional tweaks for clarity and easier reading, after you went through the background. If this is to go further, the sentence about deciding to do the mission needs some work -- who decided (right now, "it" was decided.
7com: Nice article. I like the inclusion of details, and also the fact that this isn't in the standard text books/source books about the war.
Thanks for the review and questions, I have addressed some of them, while others I left as they were as I think they best reflect the sources (I did similar changes to some of your edits to the article). Much appreciated, regards--Jackyd101 (talk) 01:08, 29 November 2009 (UTC)