- 1747 .

- 1747 .

Tourville: : ALL THE SEAS OF THE WORLD: THE FIRST GLOBAL NAVAL WAR, 17391748 - 1741-43 . - 1747 .: Although Dubois de la Motte was unfortunate in encountering Fox, who was unaware of and not looking for him (despite assertions in all British naval histories before 1920 and in Harding [2010], who follows Beatson [1803] rather than Richmond [1920]), he was lucky not to have encountered an even stronger squadron that was actually looking for him, under a more aggressive and enterprising commander than Thomas Fox. By the spring of 1747 the British government should have been aware that a French battle division was in the West Indies again, and should have recognized the pattern of French operations: the French did not maintain ships of the line in the Antilles but rotated squadrons in and out, each one taking a food convoy out and bringing the sugar (and other tropical goods) trade back. However, given all the uncertainties about when the return voyage would be made, this alone was not actionable intelligence. The convoy had left Saint-Domingue on March 24/April 4, 1747, but the British government in London did not receive information about its departure until May 19/30. The Admiralty immediately ordered Rear-Admiral Peter Warren, in acting command of the Western Squadron while Rear-Admiral George Anson was wearing his other hat as a member of the Admiralty board, to sail immediately to intercept the convoy. Since the First Battle of Cape Finisterre had been fought only on May 3/14 and the fleet that fought it had only reached St. Helens (off the Isle of Wight near Portsmouth) on May 16/27, not many ships were ready for sea, and it took a full day at least for orders written in London to get to Portsmouth. Therefore, Warren did not put to sea until June 3/14. He sailed direct for Cape Finisterre and was off that point by June 21/July 2, the day after Fox encountered the convoy to the NNW. He must have crossed the convoys track, ahead of it, only a few days before Fox found it. Warren left with St. George, 90, his flagship; Devonshire, 66; Monmouth and Nottingham, 60s; Hampshire, 50; Ambuscade, 40; and three or four smaller warships (including one listed by Richmond, Dagger, that is not in Colledge, Lyon, or Winfield). This was a somewhat stronger force than Foxs 2 64, 2 5860, 1 50, 1 40, 2 sloop/fireship. Moreover, Warren had wanted to go directly for La Jonquires convoy on May 3/14, without forming line as Anson preferred. He was obviously a more aggressive commander. Although he had no more ships of the line than Fox, he would probably have made better use of his force to launch a two-pronged attack on the convoy that Dubois de la Motte could not parry even temporarily. Moreover, if he had been waiting on the latitude of Nantes, the convoys destination, he would probably have been to windward rather than dead to leeward, as Fox found himself. Waiting for the convoy around 4718N, although perhaps closer to the French coast than where Fox found it, would have been a sensible move, since that was the latitude of its destination and the navigation capabilities of the time more or less required ships to run down the parallels of their destinations from far at sea. Since Warren could not be sure how close the convoy was to the French coast, he should have gone to the latitude of the mouth of the Loire and then headed east, hoping to overtake the convoy if it was ahead of him. If he had approached the coast without finding it, and could get no news of its passage, he could then have worked his way westward. If he had done this, he might have been reinforced, because by June 21 he also had with him Yarmouth and Edinburgh, 64s; Defiance and Pembroke, 60s; and Bristol, 50. Waiting for the convoy at the latitude of its destination, but far from land, was the tactic used to ambush Vice-Admiral Pierre Villeneuves Combined (French and Spanish) fleet in the summer of 1805. In that case, the destination was supposed to be the Spanish naval base of Ferrol, only a few miles north of Cape Finisterre, where it was known that more French and Spanish ships of the line were ready for sea. The tactic was successful and the squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Calder that had been maintaining a close blockade of Ferrol, reinforced, made the interception on July 22, 1805. That waiting for the 1747 French inbound West Indies convoy off Cape Finisterre was not an unreasonable tactic was demonstrated on June 21/July 2, the very day that Fox was finally making his first captures off to the northward. Off Cape Finisterre, Warren sighted HMXMS toile, 46, convoying four merchantmen. toile had been with Dubois de la Motte at Saint-Domingue. He had left her behind to bring in any merchantmen late to his rendezvous at Cap Franois. The little convoy went to ground at the small village of Laxe or Lage (modern maps differ in spelling; presumably, one is Galician, the other standard Spanish), about halfway between Cape Finisterre and Ferrol (NE of Cape Finisterre, therefore). Warren sent in 6 SOL and Ambuscade. toiles crew set her afire and abandoned her, and the four merchantmen were carried out of the harbor. Despite the losses (48 ships, or 43%) from de la Mottes convoy, the merchant associations congratulated him and asked Louis XV to make a monetary reward to him. I have supposed that the congratulations were for facing off against Fox at the initial encounter, and then splitting the convoy so that Fox chased, and took ships from, only part of it (although Capt. George Rodney of HBMS Eagle ignored Foxs signal, chased the other section, and took 6 ships from it). Perhaps, however, the merchants were relieved that de la Motte had taken the logical but apparently unexpected northerly route and avoided Warrens stronger squadron

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Benbow: two-pronged attack - ?

Tourville: Benbow : ? .