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appointing such a proportion of ordnance to each ship as the vessel will bear.'
But it was not till near the close of the century that the new tactics were to be, as it were, formulated and reduced to precision. The art of naval construction had advanced with rapid strides, and the period of the Restoration saw our fleet in possession of a class of ships which bore, in shape and armament, no slight resemblance to the line-of-battle ships which not a dozen years ago composed our squadrons. Still, in our earlier wars with the Dutch, definite formations and simultaneous or regular manæuvres were almost, if not quite, unknown. Indeed, some admirals, with Quixotic gallantry, seemed to regard availing themselves of ordinary tactical opportunities as taking an unfair advantage of their enemy. As late as 1692, Admiral Russell, at the beginning of the series of combats known as the battle of La Hogue, positively forbore to fire on the French ships as they advanced, and ordered that the signal to engage should not be made till his opponent, Tourville, had taken his own distance. He also ordered, to place both fleets on a numerical equality, his van squadron to tack and stand to the northward. The apocryphal story related by Voltaire of the British officer who, at Fontenoy, in the subsequent century, bade the Gentlemen of the French Guard' fire first, is surpassed, rather than paralleled, by the above actual historical occurrence.
Occasionally, some leader on one side or the other did adopt some special formation, or did execute some particular manæuvre. Thus, off Portland, in 1653, the elder Van Tromp formed his order of retreat in the obtuse-angled shape which naval officers who are still young can remember as a prominent feature of one of our own signal-books not long become obsolete. But, on the whole, throughout the period included between the time of the Armada and James, Duke of York's, supreme command of the English navy, there was a general acquiescence in the theory that the sole desideratum of tactics was to gain the wind.' A keen observer, and inveterate critic of other men's deeds, Sir William Monson, writing about the close of the sixteenth century, says:
The most famous naval battles these late years have afforded were those of Lepanto against the Turks in 1571, of the Spaniards against the French at the Tercera Islands in 1580, and betwixt the Armada of Spain and the English in 1588. In these encounters, wherein the Spaniards had the chiefest part, they imitated the discipline of war by land, in drawing their ships into a form of fight, which in my opinion is not so convenient; though I confess, in a sea-battle that shall con
sist of galleys in a calm, it is better to observe that order than in ships; for men may as well follow directions by their hands in rowing, as an army by words of the tongue speaking, or their legs moving. But ships which must be carried by winds and sails, and the sea affording no firm or steadfast footing, cannot be commanded to take their ranks like soldiers in a battle by land. The weather at sea is never certain ; the winds variable; ships unequal in sailing; and, when they strictly seek to keep their order, commonly they fall foul of one another, and in such cases they are more careful to observe their directions than to offend the enemy, whereby they will be brought into disorder among themselves. . The strict ordering of battles by ships was before the invention of the bowline, for then there was no sailing but before the wind, nor no fighting but by boarding; whereas now a ship will sail within six points of thirty-two, and by the advantage of wind, may rout any fleet that is placed in that form of battle.'
During the Dutch wars, instructions were issued to captains of ships by the Admiralty; and in them we find the following passage—' in case of joining battle you are .... to match
yourself as equally as you can; to succour the rest of the • fleet as cause shall require, not wasting your powder, nor shooting afar off, nor till you come side by side.' This is the first authoritative inculcation of the method, which afterwards came so much into favour with British seamen, of engaging yard-arm to yard-arm.'
The great battle between the Dutch and English fleets, fought off the Texel in June 1665, marks the beginning of a new era in naval tactics. The new order of battle, in lineahead, was then, as Paul Hoste tells us, ‘for the first time • exactly preserved.' To James II., when Lord High Admiral, belongs the merit of being the originator of the precise tactics of modern times. It was natural that he and his principal companions-in-arms, many of whom had risen to eminence in the land service before going afloat, should endeavour to approximate the evolutions of a fleet of ships to those of an army. Many of the formations and manæuvres which he introduced remained in use till a very few years ago, and even now all traces of them have not disappeared from the evolutionary system of our navy. In the splendid library of professional works which the zeal and liberality of two generations of naval and military officers have collected at the Royal United Service Institution there is a beautiful privatelyprinted volume of James' • Fighting Instructions. The book is of that seductive form known to collectors as a 'tall copy,' and is one of the most interesting volumes in the comprehensive catalogue of the Institution.
An essential part of all naval evolutionary systems is a good
code of signals; and it is an additional merit of the misguided monarch who laid the foundation of modern tactics that he was also the inventor of the present method of signalling. We have seen that in Howard of Effingham's campaign against the Armada, important orders had to be sent by boats. Some mode of signalling undoubtedly existed from very remote times, since the beacon-fires leaping from point to point carried to Argos the news of the fall of Troy. But it was James II. who first devised anything approaching to a complete code. A great portion of the Fighting Instructions' takes the form of a signal-book, but, unlike more recent ones, it abounds with admirable tactical hints and directions.
Clerk of Eldin says that the order of battle attributed to James was not only suggested by the multitudinous fleets which he commanded and the waters in which they fought, but that it was the best adapted to the circumstances of the time. The ships of the fleets of James' days were, according to our notions, extravagantly numerous, and the confined surface of the narrow seas compelled the adoption of some such formation as the line-ahead. In this battle of the Texel of which we have been speaking there were, exclusive of fire-ships, upwards of a hundred vessels on each side; and when the Duke of York formed his line to windward of the Dutch it extended the prodigious length of fifteen miles. Any maneuvring with such a number of ships, in so narrow a space, would have been hazardous, if not impossible; and in this and in many subsequent battles the best form of tactics was so to arrange a fleet as that every gun on a broadside might be made to bear on the enemy. Still it is not to be understood that no mareuvres except forming line were ever at any time attempted. Paul Hoste, a contemporary as well as a highly-qualified authority, declares that in the battles of the Dutch and English, the hostile lines were often cut; but the chiefs on either side do not appear to have appreciated the significance of the manauvre. In 1673, in one of the numerous battles fought in the English Channel during these wars, the Count d'Estrées, who commanded a division of French ships attached to Prince Rupert's fleet, executed, perhaps with deliberate intention, the bold manæuvre of cutting the enemy's line from to leeward, thus apparently anticipating the great lesson taught by Clerk more than a century later. Stili by the naval officers of every nation, ranging a fleet in a line-ahead parallel to that of the enemy continued to be regarded as the proper end and object of all manquvring. In the battle of Beachy Head in 1690, the English fell with superior force upon the French rear and
nearly overwhelmed it; the English Vice-admiral of the Red, with, to use Paul Hoste's expression,'une bravoure téméraire,' running athwart-hawse of the French flag-ship to stop the advance of the division. However, the action thus favourably
. began ended, perhaps from the lukewarmness of the English chief, indecisively if not ingloriously.
The Channel was not the only scene of naval engagements during the seventeenth century. The success which cost Blake his life at Santa Cruz had been compensated by the disaster of Lagos Bay. The wider sphere of action opened to the admirals and captains of the time led at length to an attentive study of naval tactics. The close of the century may be regarded as the epoch from which the modern art, the foundations of which had been laid by James, dates its rise. In 1697 was published the work of Father Paul Hoste, of the Order of Jesus, which stands first on the list of books prefixed to this article. As he says himself, the subject of his treatise was a matter never before treated of.
The Father was professor of mathematics in the Royal Seminary of Toulon. He tells us, when enumerating his qualifications for composing a treatise on tactics, that he had seen much active service at sea. He had been in attendance on the Count d'Estrées, the Duke of Mortemart, and Tourville in all their campaigns when they commanded fleets; and the great
Tourville himself, at whose suggestion he began his work, had given him much assistance and advice in the composition of it. Prefixed to the book is a long epistle dedicatory to the king, filled with those phrases of adulation which formed so great a part of the dedications of a past age, and which seems to have been the language of all others with which the Grand Monarque loved to be approached. Louis XIV., however, did certainly deserve well of the French navy. It was in his reign that it was directed by such a minister as Colbert, and its fleets commanded by such admirals as Tourville and D'Estrées. Nor did the king himself refuse to take the keenest interest in all its concerns, and advance to posts of honour the men who had won distinction whilst serving in its ranks. He originated perhaps that policy of the royal family of France in regard to the service which has caused a feeling of affectionate regret for the days of the ancien régime to sink so deeply into the minds of French naval officers.
The first edition of Hoste's book is a handsome folio, containing a second part devoted to considering the principles of the construction of ships. The latter part is in reality a separate work, and has nothing to do with the first, or evolutionary
VOL. CXXXVI. NO. CCLXXVIII.
part, though both are included in the same dedication to the king. It is to be remarked that the author does not claim for his production any greater merit than that it should be considered a treatise on the Art of Evolutions.' He explains the art of tactics and enunciates several of its principles, but he is careful not to fall into the error-less guarded against in our own day-of confounding mere drill-movements with the more important art for which they are intended to be the preparation. He claims to have reduced to rules equally easy and exact all the movements which can, or ought to be performed by fleets of ships. Not only does he explain how collections of ships at sea should be ordered and arranged, but he points out the proper methods of seeking the enemy, forcing him to fight, beating him and pursuing him.'
Some of his remarks, in spite of the lapse of time since they were written, have not lost their force, and it will be useful to reproduce them here:
* Those who have some acquaintance with the navy will doubtless believe that the art of naval evolutions is absolutely necessary to it, since this art is nothing else than the manner of regulating all the movements of a fleet. Without this art, a force resembles those of savages, who have no knowledge of war, and who perform, without order or regularity, all that caprice may suggest or chance may offer. Without the art of evolutions, a flag-officer can but imperfectly dispose his fleet so as to contend most advantageously with the enemy, whether it be to pierce or cut his line, double on him, avoid him, oblige hiin to fight or pursue him; for all these things require that the flag-officer should be the moving spirit of every part of his force, as the mind is of the members of the body.'
Fearing, perhaps, that the well-known aversion of seamen to book-learning might deter many from studying the subject, and in order that they might not be scared by the numerous admirably executed figures and diagrams with which his work abounds, he goes on to say :
· Naval evolutions are very simple, and suppose no previous acquaintance with geometry. A little application with the practice gained in two or three cruises will be sufficient to render easy to the least able the whole system of evolutions. I believe, too, that officers who know the other parts of their duty as seamen will not find more difficulty in learning naval evolutions than the officers of the landservice find in military exercises, in forming, drawing up, and moving their squadrons and battalions, and in executing all the evolutions which are practised on shore.'
But it is not only to naval officers that he hoped and believed his work would be of use.
Naval affairs being generally a mystery to landsmen, whose imperfect understanding