New PDF release: Anatomy of a Naval Disaster: The 1746 French Naval

By James Pritchard

This can be an account of 1 of the main formidable and catastrophic French naval expeditions within the 18th century, leading to the deaths of as much as 8000 males. It exposes the objectives and frailties of fellows, the arbitrariness of luck, and the boundaries of strength within the 18th century. meant as a riposte to the Anglo-American catch of Loisbourg in 1745, the so-called d'Enville excursion set out from France the next 12 months to safe Canada, recapture Acadia and Louisbourg, and ravage the recent England coast as a ways south as Boston. a number of the sixty four French vessels concerned didn't go back and estimates of the lifeless reached as excessive as 8000, but the enemy was once by no means met in conflict. James Pritchard's account of this naval fiasco sheds new gentle at the quantity of the tragedy and increases questions about the position and effectiveness of naval strength through the intercolonial wars of the mid-18th century. Pritchard describes the household and overseas political conditions in France that gave upward push to the excursion, outlining approach and politics within the context of colonial defence and continental ambition. He reconstructs the occasions that contributed to the failure of the day trip: human and institutional weak spot, climate, spoiled provisions, ailment and the demise of the commanding admiral.

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72 Not one sou could be spared for North American defence. Any further arrangements would rob Peter to pay Paul. 73 Lack of funds reduced the navy to leasing its ships and frigates to private interests for privateering. 76 It had called for fitting out two ships of the line and two frigates with a landing force of 600 men and a naval transport to carry siege works. 77 This was hardly likely in view of the controller-general's awarding of ten million after the ministry's original request of nineteen million.

13 Subsequent French foreign policy was predicated on a coincidence of French and British interests in the Spanish empire and the Mediterranean and a mutual interest in preventing restoration of Austro-Spanish hegemony on the continent. These goals appeared to have been achieved by 1731, and France and Britain resumed increasingly independent policies. 14 The War of the Polish Succession, 173335, revealed the growing strength of the anti-Hapsburg faction in the French court and, also, that French military strength was not as great as it seemed.

Because the French navy was never responsible for the defence of the kingdom, it was never central to the government's concern or to its policies. Thus to make sense of naval matters, one must turn elsewhere than to domestic politics of the Bourbon monarchy, for the French navy never enjoyed any real political influence. It suffered from two very long-standing, fundamental weaknesses - lack of material and human resources and want of an effective strategy. The absence of the latter is not difficult to account for.

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