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The Broad Fourteens is an area of the southern North Sea that is fairly consistently fourteen fathoms (84 feet/26 metres) deep. Thus, on a nautical chart with depths given in fathoms, a broad area with many "14" notations can be seen.
Geologically it is comparable to the Long Forties, another submerged plateau that has related origins.
The area has been the scene of many naval engagements throughout history.
Roman Britain to 1800
- The Spanish Armada passed through this area on its way to Ireland.
World War I
World War II
- German U-boats passed through this area on their way to L'Orient, France and the U-boat base there.
The shallowness of this area means that the largest oil tankers cannot traverse the English Channel from the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean because their draft is deeper than the depth in the Broad Fourteens.
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