Between 1793 and 1805 a series of naval battles fought against the new French Republic gained for Great Britain what later historians were to call 'The Empire of the Seas'. This period of almost unrelieved blockade and battle culminating in Trafalgar can now be viewed as one of the great turning points in history. It saw the emergence of revolutionary fleet tactics by the British that exploited the disorganization of their demoralized opponents' fleets. This new strategy - the tactics of contempt - was created by a series of outstanding admirals : Howe, Jervis, Duncan and Nelson.
Slight in physique, audacious and commanding in character, Horatio Nelson dominated the period. Truly a legend in his own lifetime, he matched an intuitive genius for anticipating and pre-empting enemy action with an ability to inspire great performance from those under his command. But, as Peter Padfield shows in his exciting picture of Nelson's War, the qualities that Nelson embodied relied for their efficacy on the heroism and stamina of the British seamen. Appallingly paid, and beset with hardships on the gundecks, they were to mutiny at a crucial point in the war before resolving their grievances and combining in the last four assaults at Camperdown, the Nile, Copenhagen and Trafalgar.
Mr Padfield throws new and controversial light on the battle tactics of these famous actions to show just how unconventional they became. Fully illustrated, including paintings of the battle of Copenhagen that have never previously been published in this country, Nelson's War brings to life in enthralling detail the battles of the Golden Age of the Royal Navy.