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The Battle of Trafalgar

by Geoffrey Bennett
First published 1977 by B. T. Batsford Ltd., London
This book is not in the British BattlesSeries!
Batsford British Battles books

A blue cloth bound book with gilt lettering to the spine- top edge of pageblock stained blue - NEAR FINE condition in a whole dust wrapper VERY GOOD PLUS

256 pages 160 mm. x 240 mm. x 28 mm.

ISBN 0 7134 3171 7

£10.00 plus P & P


The battle of Trafalgar has now passed into national mythology. The expertise, courage, determination and confidence which gave Britain a victory of spectacular finality in October 1805, also provided her with one of her great legendary figures—a naval hero in life but much more like a national, if very secular, saint in death. However, like the noise and smoke of battle, legends have a habit of obscuring facts and, having embodied themselves in the popular imagination, are transcribed to the history books. All serious students of military affairs will, therefore, be grateful to Geoffrey Bennett for this intensively researched and comprehensive account of the battle.

Captain Bennett first sets Trafalgar in the context of the world-wide naval struggle against Napoleon and, more particularly, in the campaign of which it was the culmination. He goes on to describe in great detail the organisation of the respective Navies, the structure of their ships, the type and condition of men who fought them and the tactics which had evolved to date. Further, he analyses the principal commanders, giving their past careers, virtues and failings.

The preparatory manoeuvres and the battle itself are described with a blend of meticulous scholarship, a real understanding of the mechanics of warfare in the days of sail, an ability to make clear the complexities of battle tactics and yet maintain an eye for detail and a descriptive flair which brings action alive. Nor is the aftermath of the battle neglected — the fate of each ship and its crew from each Navy has been carefully researched. Throughout the study Geoffrey Bennett illustrates his text with many diagrams, plans and tables as well as extensiye quotations from contemporary sources. Captain Geoffrey Bennett has long been regarded as one of the foremost naval historians, an expert on the Napoleonic period and the author, among many books, of the highly successful Nelson the Commander.

23 diagrams
20 photographs



List of illustrations
Maps and Diagrams
Author's Note


1. Royal Navy
2. Fighting Sail
3. Nelson and the French Revolutionary War


4. First moves towards Trafalgar
5. Personalities
6. 'All the way to Trinidad . .
M MAppendix A. Nelson's memorandum of May 1805
7. 'The enemy ships are coming out'
8. 'England expects ..
MMAppendix B. Principal signals made by British Fleet on 21 October 1805 to 12.30
MMAppendix C. Significant signals made by the French on 21 October 1805
MMAppendix D. The opposing fleets at the battle of Trafalgar

9. 'Engage the enemy more closely'
10. 'Thank God I have done my duty'
MMAppendix E. Casualties at Trafalgar
11. 'At the close of day'
MMAppendix F. Collingwood's Trafalgar despatch
MMAppendix G. Collingwood's post-Trafalgar despatch

12. 'The glory of our nation'

Select bibliography
Notes on the plates


  1. `Away boarders'
  2. HMS Victory at sea
  3. One of the Victory's gun decks
  4. Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson
  5. Lord Barham
  6. Admiral Decres
  7. Admiral Ganteaume
  8. Admiral Villeneuve
  9. Admiral Gravina
  10. Admiral Cornwallis
  11. Admiral Calder
  12. Admiral Collingwood
  13. Captain Hardy
  14. Trafalgar: hoisting the signal `England expects'
  15. Trafalgar: the Spanish flagship Santisima Trinidad
  16. Trafalgar : a bird's eye view
  17. The Victory at Trafalgar
  18. Trafalgar: Nelson on the Victory's quarterdeck
  19. The crippled Victory being towed into Gibraltar
Jacket spine
Jacket front.
Jacket spine
Jacket front.
Book's spine
The jacket illustration, showing HMS' Victory' breaking the line at Trafalgar, is from a painting by George Chambers, after Clarkson Stansjield.

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'The Victory towed towards Gibraltar': The illustration in the book is monochrome.


Batsford British Battles books