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Title: Naval Warfare
Author: Thursfield, James R., 1840-1923
Language: English
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The Cambridge Manuals of Science and






 Edinburgh: 100 PRINCES STREET
 Berlin: A. ASHER AND CO.
 Leipzig: F.A. BROCKHAUS
 Bombay and Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.

_All rights reserved_




 Hon. Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford


 by Rear-Admiral
 K.C.M.G., C.B., M.V.O.

 Sometime Director of Naval Intelligence
 and Secretary to the Committee of
 Imperial Defence

 at the University Press

 New York:
 G.P. Putnam's Sons


_With the exception of the coat of arms at the foot, the design on the
title page is a reproduction of one used by the earliest known Cambridge
printer, John Siberch, 1521_


INTRODUCTION BY SIR CHARLES OTTLEY                                 vii

PREFACE                                                           xiii


I. INTRODUCTORY                                                      1

II. THE COMMAND OF THE SEA                                          11

III. DISPUTED COMMAND--BLOCKADE                                     20

IV. DISPUTED COMMAND--THE FLEET IN BEING                            30

V. DISPUTED COMMAND IN GENERAL                                      49

VI. INVASION                                                        68

VII. COMMERCE IN WAR                                                93

VIII. THE DIFFERENTIATION OF NAVAL FORCE                           111


INDEX                                                              147


The title chosen by its author for this little volume would assuredly
commend it to the Naval Service, even if that author's name were not--as
it is--a household word with more than one generation of naval officers.
But to such of the general public as are not yet familiar with Mr
Thursfield's writings a brief word of introduction may perhaps be
useful. For the matters herein dealt with are by no means of interest
only to the naval profession. They have their bearing also on every
calling and trade. In these days when national policy is at the mercy of
the ballot-box, it is not too much to say that a right understanding of
the principles of maritime warfare is almost as desirable amongst
civilians as amongst professional sailors.

Regrettable indeed would it be if the mere fact that this little book
bears a more or less technical title should tempt the careless to skip
its pages or pitch it to that dreary limbo which attends even the best
of text-books on subjects which we think do not concern us. The fruits
of naval victory, the calamities attendant on naval defeat are matters
which will come home--in Bacon's classic phrase--to the business and the
bosoms of all of us, landsmen and seamen alike. Most Englishmen are at
least dimly aware of this. They realise, more or less reluctantly
perhaps, that a decisive British defeat at sea under modern conditions
would involve unspeakable consequences, consequences not merely fatal to
the structure of the Empire but destructive also of the roots of our
national life and of the well-being of almost all individuals in these

Elementary prudence insists on adequate safeguards against evils so
supreme, and amongst those safeguards the education of the people to-day
occupies a foremost place. Our Empire's destinies for good and evil are
now in the hands of the masses of the people. Sincerely as all lovers of
ordered freedom may rejoice in this devolution of political power to the
people, thoughtful men will be apt to reflect that an uninstructed crowd
is seldom right in its collective action. If Ministerial responsibility
has dwindled, _pro tanto_ that of each one of His Majesty's lieges has
enormously increased; and it is more incumbent on the nation's rank and
file to-day than ever in the past to equip themselves with the knowledge
necessary to enable them to record their votes aright.

It is from this point of view that this Manual should be read. It
epitomises the principles upon which success in naval warfare depends.
It shows how the moral factor in all cases and at every epoch dominates
and controls the material; how the "_animus pugnandi_," as Mr Thursfield
calls it, the desire to get at the enemy in "anything that floats,"
transcends every other weapon in a nation's armoury; how if that spirit
is present, all other difficulties can be surmounted, and how without it
the thickest armour, the biggest all-shattering guns shrivel in battle
to the measure of mere useless scrap iron.

This is the message of the book for the seaman. But--and this is of the
essence of the whole matter--for the landsman it has also a lesson of a
very different kind. His responsibility is for the material factor in
naval war. Let him note the supreme value of the moral factor; let him
encourage it with all possible honour and homage, but let him not limit
his contribution to the nation's fighting capital to any mere empty
lip-service of this kind. The moral factor is primarily the sailor's
business. The landsman's duty is to see to it that when war comes our
sailors are sent to sea, not in "anything that floats" but in the most
modern and perfect types of warship that human ingenuity can design.

How can this fundamental duty be brought home to the individual
Englishman? Certainly not by asking him to master the niceties of
modern naval technique, matters on which every nation must trust to its
experts. But, the broad principles of naval warfare are to-day precisely
as they were at Salamis or Lepanto; and to a people such as ours, whose
history from its dawn has been moulded by maritime conditions, and which
to-day more than ever depends upon free oversea communications for its
continued existence, these broad principles governing naval warfare have
so real a significance that they may wisely be studied by all classes of
the community.

Tactics indeed have profoundly altered, and from age to age may be
expected to change indefinitely. But so long as the sea remains naval
warfare will turn upon the command of the sea; a "Fleet in Being" will
not cease to be as real a threat to its foe as it was in the days of
Torrington; invasion of oversea territory will always be limited by the
same inexorable factors which for centuries have told in favour of the
British race and have kept the fields of England inviolate from the
tread of a conqueror.

There are indications that still more heavy sacrifices will be demanded
from the British taxpayer for the upkeep of the Fleet in the future than
has been the case even in the recent past. Nothing but iron necessity
can justify this unfruitful expenditure, this alienation of the
national resources in men and money to the purposes of destruction.
Even as it is, naval administrators are finding it increasingly
difficult to carry all sections of politicians and the whole of the
masses of this country with them in these ever-increasing demands. The
best way of ensuring that future generations of Englishmen will rise to
the necessary height of a patriotic sense of duty and will record their
votes in support of such reasonable demands is to prepare their minds by
an elementary knowledge of what naval warfare really means.

No Englishman, so far as the writer is aware, is better fitted than Mr
Thursfield to undertake this task, and this little book is a very
excellent example of the way in which that task should be fulfilled. It
unites--very necessarily--a high degree of condensation with a
simplicity of language and a lucidity of exposition both alike
admirable. And Mr Thursfield's right to be heard on naval questions is
second to that of no civilian in these islands. His relations with the
British Navy have been for more than a quarter of a century of the
closest kind. His reputation in the particular field of literary
endeavour which he has made his own ranks high amongst writers as
celebrated as Admiral Mahan, Sir George Sydenham Clarke (Lord Sydenham),
the late Sir John Colomb, and his brother the late Admiral P.H. Colomb,
Sir J.K. Laughton, Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, Admiral Sir R.N.
Custance, Mr Julian Corbett, Mr David Hannay, Mr Archibald Hurd, and
others. In the domain of naval history, its philosophy and its
literature, he has done brilliant work. When it is added that Mr
Thursfield is known to have been, for many years, one of the chief naval
advisers of _The Times_, enough will probably have been said to ensure a
sympathetic attention for this the veteran author's latest publication.


_24th July 1913_


Intelligent readers of this little Manual will perceive at once that it
pretends to be nothing more than an introduction, quite elementary in
character, to the study of naval warfare, its history, and its
principles as displayed in its history. As such, I trust it may be found
useful by those of my countrymen who desire to approach the naval
problems which are constantly being brought to their notice and
consideration with sound judgment and an intelligent grasp of the
principles involved in their solution. It is the result of much study
and of a sustained intimacy with the sea service, both afloat and
ashore, such as few civilians have been privileged to enjoy in greater
measure. Even so, I should have thought it right, as a civilian, to
offer some apology for undertaking to deal with so highly technical and
professional a subject, were I not happily relieved of that obligation
by the kindness of my friend Rear-Admiral Sir Charles L. Ottley, who
has, at the instance of the Editors of this series, contributed to this
volume an Introduction in which my qualifications are set forth with an
appreciation which I cannot but regard as far too flattering. It would
ill become me to add a single word--unless it were of deprecation--to
credentials expounded on such high authority.

I should hope that readers who have found this volume useful to them
will not confine their studies to it. Abundant materials for a deeper
and more comprehensive study of the subject will be found in the several
works incidentally mentioned or quoted in my text, and in the writings
of those other contemporary authors with whom Sir Charles Ottley has
done me the high honour to associate myself. In these several works
further guidance to a still more sustained study of the subject will be
found, and in this regard I would specially mention the admirable _Short
History of the Royal Navy_, by Mr David Hannay--two volumes which, in
addition to their other and more conspicuous merits, contain a
well-selected list of authorities to be consulted prefixed to each
chapter. These references, which in truth cover the whole subject, will,
I trust, better serve the purpose of the advanced or advancing student
than any such Bibliography as I could compile on a scale commensurate
with the form and purpose of the present Manual.

Readers of my other writings on naval topics will, perhaps, observe that
in one or two cases, where the same topics had to be discussed, I have
not hesitated to reproduce, with or without modification, the language I
had previously employed. This has been done deliberately. The topics so
treated fell naturally and, indeed, necessarily within the scope of the
present volume. To exclude them because I had discussed them elsewhere
was impossible. Wherever I found I could improve the language previously
employed in the direction of greater lucidity and precision I have done
so to the best of my ability, so that the passages in question are close
paraphrases rather than mere transcripts of those which occur elsewhere.
But I have not attempted to disguise or weaken by paraphrase any
passages which still seemed to me to convey my meaning better than any
other words I could choose.

Changes in the methods, though not in the principles, of naval warfare
are in these days so rapid and often so sudden that one or two topics
have emerged into public prominence even since the present volume was in
type. I desire therefore to take this opportunity of adding a few
supplementary remarks on them. The first, and possibly in the long run
the most far-reaching of these topics, is that of aviation, which I have
only mentioned incidentally in the text. That aviation is still in its
infancy is a truism. But to forecast the scope and direction of its
evolution is as yet impossible. For the moment it may perhaps be said
that its offensive capacity--its capacity, that is, to determine or even
materially to affect the larger issues of naval warfare--is
inconsiderable. I say nothing of the future, whether immediate or
remote. Any day may witness developments which will give entirely new
aspects to the whole problem. In the meanwhile the chief functions of
aircraft in war will probably be, for some time to come, those of
scouting, observation, and the collection and transmission of
intelligence not obtainable by any other means. Offensive functions of a
more direct and formidable character will doubtless be developed in
time, and may be developed soon; but as I am no prophet I cannot attempt
to forecast the direction of the evolution, to determine its limits, or
to indicate its probable effects on the methods of naval warfare as
expounded in the following pages. I will, however, advance two
propositions which will not, I believe, be gainsaid by competent
authorities. They are true for the moment, though how long they may
remain true I do not know. One is that no aircraft yet constructed can
take or keep the air in all conditions of weather. The number of days in
the year in which it can do so in safety can only be represented by the
formula 365-_x_, in which _x_ is as yet an unknown quantity, though it
is no doubt a quantity which will diminish as the art of aviation is
developed. The other is that there is as yet no known method of
navigating an aircraft with accuracy and precision out of sight of land.
The air-currents by which it is affected are imperceptible to those
embarked, variable and indeterminate in their force and direction, and
quite incapable of being charted beforehand. In these conditions an
airman who sought to steer by compass alone, say, from Bermuda to New
York, might perchance find himself either at Halifax, on the one hand,
or at Charleston on the other.

In my chapter on "Invasion" no mention is made of those subsidiary forms
of military enterprise across the sea which are known as raids. I have
treated invasion as an enterprise having for its object the subjugation
of the country invaded, or at least the subjection of its people and
their rulers to the enemy's will. As such it requires a force
commensurate in numbers with the object to be attained, and it stands to
reason that this force must needs be so large that its chances of
evading the vigilance of an enemy who is in effective command of the sea
must always be infinitesimal. A raid, on the other hand, is an
enterprise of much lesser magnitude and much smaller moment. Its method
is to elude the enemy's naval guard at this or that point of his
territory; and, having done so, its purpose is to land troops at some
vulnerable point of the territory assailed, there to create alarm and
confusion and to do as much harm as they can--which may be considerable
before their sea communications are severed by the defending naval force
assumed to be still in effective command of the sea affected. If that
command is maintained, the troops engaged in the raid must inevitably be
reduced sooner or later to the condition of a forlorn hope which has
failed. If, on the other hand, that command is overthrown, then the
troops aforesaid may prove to be the advanced guard of an invasion to
follow. Thus, although a successful raid may sometimes be carried out in
the teeth of an adverse command of the sea, yet it cannot be converted
into an invasion until that adverse command has been assailed and
overthrown. It is thus essentially fugitive in character, possibly very
effective as a diversion, certain to be mortifying to the belligerent
assailed, and not at all unlikely to cause him much injury and even more
alarm, but quite incapable of deciding the larger issues of the conflict
so long as his command of the sea remains unchallenged. It is perhaps
expedient to say this much on the subject, because the programme of the
Naval Manoeuvres of this year is known to have included a series of
raids of this fugitive character. Whether, or to what extent, any of
these operations were adjudged to have been successful I do not know. I
am only concerned to point out that, whether successful or not, their
utmost success can throw little or no light on the problem of invasion
unless in the course of the same operations the defenders' command of
the sea was adjudged to have been overthrown.

In my chapter on "The Differentiation of Naval Force" I endeavoured to
define the functions of the so-called "battle-cruiser" and to forecast
its special uses in war. At the same time I pointed out that "it is held
by some high authorities that the battle-cruiser is in very truth a
hybrid and an anomaly, and that no adequate reason for its existence can
be given." It would appear that the views of these high authorities have
now been adopted, in some measure at least, by the Admiralty. Since the
chapter in question was in type it has been officially announced that
the battle-cruiser has been placed in temporary, and perhaps permanent,
abeyance. Its place is to be taken by a special type of fast battleship,
vessels in every way fit to lie in a line and yet, at the same time,
endowed with qualities which, without unduly increasing their size and
displacement, will enable them to discharge the special functions which
I assigned to the battle-cruiser in the line of battle. This is done by
employing oil instead of coal as the source of the ship's motive power.
The change thus adumbrated would seem to be in the natural order of
evolution, and at the same time to be in large measure one rather of
nomenclature than of substance. The battle-cruiser, as its name implies,
is itself essentially a fast battleship in one aspect and an exceedingly
powerful cruiser in another. In the fast battleship which is to replace
it, the battle function will be still further developed at the expense
of the cruiser function. But its speed will still qualify it to be
employed as a cruiser whenever occasion serves or necessity requires,
just as the battle-cruiser was qualified to lie in a line and do its
special work in a fleet action. The main difference is that the fast
battleship is much less likely to be employed as a cruiser than the
battle-cruiser was; but I pointed out in the text that the employment
even of the battle-cruiser in cruiser functions proper was likely to be
only occasional and subsidiary.

The decision to use oil as the exclusive source of the motive power of
fast battleships, and of certain types of small cruisers of exceptional
speed, is undoubtedly a very significant one. It may be taken to point
to a time when oil only will be employed in the propulsion of warships
and coal will be discarded altogether. But that consummation can only be
reached when the internal combustion engine has been much more highly
developed for purposes of marine propulsion than it is at present. At
present oil is only employed in large warships for the purpose of
producing steam by the external combustion of the oil. But it may be
anticipated that a process of evolution, now in its initial stages in
the Diesel and other internal combustion engines, will in course of time
result in the production of an internal combustion engine capable of
propelling the largest ships at any speed that is now attainable by
existing methods. When that stage is reached oil will, for economic
reasons alone, undoubtedly hold the field for all purposes of propulsion
in warships. It is held by some that this country will then be placed at
a great disadvantage, inasmuch as it possesses a monopoly of the best
steam coal, whereas it has no monopoly of oil at all, and probably no
sufficient domestic supply of it to meet the needs of the Fleet in time
of war. But oil can be stored as easily as coal and, unlike coal, it
does not deteriorate in storage. To bring it in sufficient supplies from
abroad in time of war should be no more difficult for a Power which
commands the sea than to bring in the supplies of food and raw material
on which this country depends at all times for its very existence.
Moreover, even if we continued to depend on coal alone, that coal,
together with other supplies in large quantities, must, as I have shown
in my last chapter, be carried across the seas in a continuous stream
to our fleets in distant waters, and one of the great advantages of oil
over coal is that it can be transferred with the greatest ease to the
warships requiring it at any rendezvous on the high seas, whether in
home waters or at the uttermost ends of the globe, which may be most
conveniently situated for the conduct of the operations in hand. For
these reasons I hold that no serious apprehension need be entertained
lest the supply of oil to our warships should fail so long as we hold
the command of the sea. If ever we lost the command of the sea we should
not be worrying about the supply of oil. Oil or no oil, we should be
starving, destitute and defenceless.

It only remains for me to express my gratitude to my friend Sir Charles
Ottley, not merely for an Introduction in which I cannot but fear that
he has allowed his friendship to get the better of his judgment, but
also for his kindness in devoting so much of his scanty leisure to the
reading of my proofs and the making of many valuable suggestions
thereon. I have also to thank my friend Captain Herbert W. Richmond,
R.N., for his unselfish kindness in allowing me to make use of his notes
on the Dunkirk campaign which he has closely studied in the original
papers preserved at the Admiralty and the Record Office. To my son,
Lieutenant H.G. Thursfield, R.N., I am also indebted for many valuable
suggestions. Finally, my acknowledgments are due to the Editors of this
series and the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press for their
uniform courtesy and consideration.


_4th September 1913._




War is the armed conflict of national wills, an appeal to force as
between nation and nation. Naval warfare is that part of the conflict
which takes place on the seas. The civilized world is divided into
separate, independent States or nations, each sovereign within its own
borders. Each State pursues its own ideas and aims and embodies them in
a national policy; and so far as this policy affects only its own
citizens, it is subject to no control except that of the national
conscience and the national sense of the public welfare. Within the
State itself civil war may arise when internal dissensions divide the
nation into two parties, of which either pursues a policy to which the
other refuses to submit. In this case, unless the two parties agree to
separate without conflict, as was done by Sweden and Norway a few years
ago, an armed conflict ensues and the nation is divided into two
belligerent States which may or may not become, according to the
fortune of war, separate, independent, and sovereign in the end. The
great example of this in our own time was the War of Secession in
America, which, happily for both parties, ended without disruption, in
the surrender of the weaker of the two, and after a time in a complete
reconciliation between them.

Thus war may arise between two parties in a single State, and when it
does the two parties become, to all intents and purposes, separate,
independent, and sovereign States for the time being, and are, for the
most part, so regarded and treated by other independent States not
taking part in the conflict. For this reason, though the origin of a
civil war may differ widely in all its circumstances and conditions from
that of a war between two separate States, sovereign and independent _ab
initio_, yet as soon as a state of war is established, as distinct from
that of a puny revolt or a petty rebellion, there is, for a student of
war, no practical difference between a civil war and any other kind of
war. Both fall under the definition of war as the armed conflict of
national wills.

Between two separate, sovereign, independent nations a state of war
arises in this wise. We have seen that the internal policy of an
independent State is subject to no direct external control. But States
do not exist in isolation. Their citizens trade with the citizens of
other States, seeking to exchange the products of their respective
industries to the advantage of both. As they grow in prosperity, wealth,
and population, their capital seeks employment in other lands, and their
surplus population seeks an outlet in such regions of the earth as are
open to their occupation. Thus arise external relations between one
State and another, and the interests affected by these relations are
often found--and perhaps still more often believed--by one State to be
at variance with those of another. In pursuit of these interests--which,
as they grow and expand, become embodied in great consolidated kingdoms,
great colonial empires, or great imperial dependencies, and tend to be
regarded in time as paramount to all other national interests--each
State formulates and pursues an external policy of its own which may or
may not be capable of amicable adjustment to the policy of other States
engaged in similar enterprises. It is the function of diplomacy to
effect adjustments such as these where it can. It succeeds much more
often than it fails. Conflicting policies are deflected by mutual
agreement and concession so as to avoid the risk of collision, and each
State, without abandoning its policy, modifies it and adjusts it to the
exigencies of the occasion. Sometimes, however, diplomacy fails, either
because the conflicting policies are really irreconcilable, or because
passion, prejudice, national ambition, or international misunderstanding
induces the citizens of both States and their rulers so to regard them.
In that case, if neither State is prepared so to deflect its policy as
to avert collision, war ensues. The policy remains unchanged, but the
means of further pursuing it, otherwise than by an appeal to force, are
exhausted. War is thus, according to the famous definition of
Clausewitz, the pursuit of national policy by other means than those
which mere diplomacy has at its command--in other words by the conflict
of armed force. Each State now seeks to bend its enemy's will to its own
and to impose its policy upon him.

The means of pursuing this policy vary almost indefinitely. But inasmuch
as war is essentially the conflict of armed force, the primary object of
each belligerent must in all cases be to subdue, and, in the last
resort, to destroy the armed forces of the adversary. When that is done
all is done that war can do. How to do this most speedily and most
effectively is the fundamental problem of war. There is no cut-and-dried
solution of the problem, because although war may be considered, as it
has been considered above, in the abstract, it is the most concrete of
all human arts and, subject to the fundamental principle above
enunciated, its particular forms may, and indeed must, vary with the
circumstances and conditions of each particular war. Many commentators
on war distinguishing, with Clausewitz, between "limited" and
"unlimited" war, would further insist that the forms of war must vary
with its objects. I cannot follow this distinction, which seems to me to
be inconsistent with the fundamental proposition of Clausewitz, to the
effect that war is the pursuit of policy by means of the conflict of
armed force. If you desire your policy to prevail you must take the best
means that are open to you to make it prevail. It is worse than useless
to dissipate your energies in the pursuit of any purpose, however
important in itself, which does not directly conduce, and conduce better
than any other purpose you could pursue, to that paramount end. The only
limitation of your efforts that you can tolerate is that they should
involve the least expenditure of energy that may be necessary to make
your policy prevail. But that is a question of the economics of war; it
is not a question of "limited war" or of "war for a limited object."
Your sole object is to bend the enemy to your will. That object is
essentially an unlimited one, or one that is limited only by the extent
of the efforts which the enemy makes to withstand you. The only sure way
of attaining this object is to destroy his armed forces. If he submits
before this is done it is he that limits the war, not you. Bacon's
unimpeachable maxim in this regard is often misinterpreted. "This much
is certain," he says, "he that commands the sea is at great liberty and
may take as much or as little of the war as he will." That is
indisputable, but its postulate is that the belligerent has secured the
command of the sea; that is, as I shall show hereafter, that he has
subdued, if not destroyed, the armed forces of the enemy afloat. Having
done that he may, in a certain sense, take as much or as little of the
war as he chooses; but he must always take as much as will compel the
enemy to come to terms.

Naval warfare is no essential part of the armed conflict between
contending States. In some cases it exercises a decisive influence on
the conduct and issue of the conflict, in others none at all or next to
none. But sea power, that is, the advantage which a nation at war
derives from its superiority at sea, may largely affect the issue of a
war, even though no naval engagements of any moment may take place. In
the Crimean War the unchallenged supremacy of England and France on the
seas alone made it possible for the Allies to invade the Crimea and
undertake the siege of Sebastopol; while the naval campaigns of the
Allies in the Baltic, although they resulted in no decisive naval
operation, yet largely contributed to the success of the Allied arms in
the Crimea by compelling Russia to keep in the north large bodies of
troops which might otherwise have turned the scale against the Allies in
the South. In the War of 1859, between France and Austria, with the
Sardinian kingdom allied to the former, the superiority of the Allies at
sea enabled considerable portions of the French army to be transported
from French to Piedmontese ports, and by threatening the flank of the
Austrian line of advance, it accelerated the concentration of the Allies
on the Ticino. It also enabled the Allies to maintain a close blockade
of the Austrian ports in the Adriatic, and might have led to an attack
from the sea on the Austrian rear in Venetia had not the military
reverses of Austria in Lombardy brought the war to an end. In the War of
Secession in America the issue was largely determined, or at least
accelerated, by the close but not impenetrable blockade established by
the North over the ports and coasts of the South, and by the
co-operation of Farragut on the Mississippi with the Federal land forces
in that region. On the other hand, in the War of 1866 there was no naval
conflict worth mentioning between Austria and Prussia, because Prussia
had no navy to speak of; but as Italy, a naval Power, was the ally of
Prussia, and as Austria had a small but very efficient naval force led
by a great naval commander, the conflict between these two Powers led
to the Battle of Lissa, in which the Italian fleet was decisively
defeated, though the triumph of Prussia over the armies of Austria saved
Italy from the worst consequences of defeat, and indeed obtained for
her, in spite of her military reverses on land, the coveted possession
of Venetia. In the War of 1870 again, although the supremacy of France
on the seas was never seriously challenged by Prussia, yet her collapse
on land was so sudden and complete that her superiority at sea availed
her little or nothing. The maritime trade of Prussia was annihilated for
the time, but it was then too insignificant a factor in the economic
fabric of Prussia for its destruction to count for much, and the fleets
of France rode triumphant in the North Sea and the Baltic; but finding
no ships to fight, having no troops to land, and giving a wide berth to
fortifications with which they were ill-equipped--as ships always are
and always must be--to contend without support from the military arm,
their presence was little more than an idle and futile demonstration. In
the Boer War the influence of England's unchallenged supremacy at sea,
albeit latent, was decisive. The Boers had no naval force of any kind;
but no nation not secure in its dominion of the seas could have
undertaken such a war as England then had to wage, and it was perhaps
only the paramount sea power of this country that prevented the
conflict taking a form and assuming dimensions that would have taxed
British endurance to the uttermost and must almost certainly have
entailed the loss of South Africa to the Empire. Certain naval features
of the Cuban War between Spain and the United States, and of the War in
the Far East between Russia and Japan, will be more conveniently
considered in subsequent chapters of this manual.

The normal correlation and interdependence of naval and military forces
in the armed conflict of national wills is sufficiently illustrated by
the foregoing examples. In certain abnormal and exceptional cases each
can act and produce the desired effect without the other. In a few
extreme cases it is hard to see how either could act at all. If, for
instance, Spain and Switzerland were to fall out, how could either
attack the other? They have no common frontier, and though Spain has a
navy, Switzerland has no seaboard. Cases where naval conflict alone has
decided the issue are those of the early wars between England and
Holland. Neither could reach the other except across the sea, there was
no territorial issue directly involved, and the object of both
combatants was to secure a monopoly of maritime commerce. But as
territorial issues, and territorial issues involving the sea and
affected by it directly or indirectly, are nearly always at stake in
great wars, history affords few examples of great international
conflicts in which sea power does not enter as a factor, often of
supreme importance.

It must of course enter as a factor of paramount importance in any war
between an insular State and a continental one--as in the war between
Russia and Japan--or between two continental States which--as in the war
between Spain and the United States--have no common frontier on land.
War being the armed conflict of national wills, it is manifest that the
opposing wills cannot in cases such as these be brought into armed
conflict unless one State or the other is in a position to operate on
the sea. The first move in such a conflict must of necessity be made, by
one belligerent or the other, on the sea. This involves the conception
of "the command of the sea," and as this is the fundamental conception
of naval warfare as such, our analysis of naval warfare must begin with
an exposition of what is meant by the command of the sea.



We have seen that when two States go to war the primary object of each
is to subdue and if possible to destroy the armed forces of the other.
Until that is done either completely, or to such an extent as to induce
the defeated belligerent to submit, the conflict of wills cannot be
determined, and the two States cannot return to those normal relations,
involving no violence or force, which constitute a state of peace. If
they have a common frontier this circumstance indicates what is, as a
general rule, the best and most efficient way of securing the object to
be attained. The armed forces of both belligerents lie at the outset
within their respective frontiers. If those of either can be constrained
by the superior strategy of the other to keep within their own
territory, the initial advantage lies with the belligerent who has so
constrained them, and the war has in common parlance been carried into
the enemy's country. In other words, the invasion of the enemy's
territory has begun, and pressure has been brought to bear on his will
which, if maintained without intermission and with an intensity duly
proportioned to its growing extent, must in the end subdue it. To this
there is no alternative. To invade the enemy's territory at all is to
inflict a reverse on his armed forces, which would assuredly have
prevented the invasion if they could. The territory in the rear of the
invading army is in greater or less degree brought under the control of
the invader and thereby temporarily lost to the invaded State. If this
process is continued the authority and the resources of the invaded
State are progressively diminished, until at last when the capital is
occupied and the remainder of the invaded country lies open to the
advance of the invader, the defeated State must sue for peace on such
terms as the invader may concede, because it has nothing left to fight
for, and no force wherewithal to fight. This is of course merely an
abstract and generalized description of the course of a war on land, but
I need not consider its concrete details nor analyse any of the
conditions which may, and in the concrete often do, impede or deflect
its course, because my sole purpose is to show how armed force operates
in the abstract to subdue the will of the belligerent who is worsted in
the conflict. It operates by the destruction of his armed forces, by the
occupation of his territory, and by the consequent extinction of his
authority and appropriation of his resources. He can only recover the
latter and liberate his territory by submitting to such terms as the
invader may dictate or concede.

Naval warfare aims at the same primary object, namely, the destruction
of the enemy's armed forces afloat; but it cannot by itself produce the
same decisive effect, because there is no territory which naval force,
as such, can occupy and appropriate. The sea is not territory. It is not
nor can it be made subject to the authority of an enemy in the same
sense that the land can, nor does it possess any resources in itself
such as on the land can be appropriated to the disadvantage and ultimate
discomfiture of a belligerent whose territory has been invaded. The sea
is the common highway of all nations, and the exclusive possession of
none. Apart from its fisheries, which, outside the territorial waters of
any particular State, are open to all nations, it is of no use, except
as a highway, to any State. But its use as a highway is the root of all
sea power, the foundation of all naval warfare. It is only by this
highway that an island State can be invaded, only by this highway that
an island State, or a State having no common frontier with its
adversary, can encounter and subdue the armed forces of the enemy,
whether on sea or on land.

Moreover, the sea as a highway differs in many important respects from
such highways or other lines of communication as serve for the transit
and transport of armed forces and their necessary supplies on land. In
one sense it is all highway, that is, it can be traversed in every
direction by ships, wherever there is water enough for them to float.
For military purposes land transit is confined to such highways as are
suitable to the march of an army accompanied by artillery and heavy
baggage and supply trains, or to such railways as can more expeditiously
serve the same purpose. Hence an army advancing in an enemy's country
cannot advance on a very broad front, nor can it outmarch its baggage
and other supplies except for a very limited time and for some
exceptional purpose. Sea transport is subject to no such limitations.
Ships carry their own supplies with them, and a fleet of ships, whether
of transports or of warships, can move on as broad a front as is
compatible with the exercise of due control over their combined
movements. Moreover, within certain limits and with certain exceptions,
where the waters to be traversed are narrow, ships and fleets can vary
their line of transit and advance to such an extent as to render the
discovery of their whereabouts a matter of some difficulty. The same
conditions affect the transit of such merchant vessels as, carrying the
flag of one belligerent, are liable to capture by the other. Hence the
primary aim of all naval warfare is and must be so to control the lines
of communication which traverse the seas affected, that the enemy
cannot move his warships from one point to another without encountering
a superior force of his adversary, and that his merchant ships cannot
prosecute their voyages without running extreme risk of capture by the
way. This is called, in time-honoured phraseology, securing the command
of the sea, and the true meaning of this phrase is nothing more nor less
than the effective control of all such maritime communications as are or
can be affected by the operations of either belligerent. This control
may extend, according to circumstances, to all the navigable seas of the
globe, or it may be confined, for all practical purposes, to the waters
adjacent to the respective territories of the two belligerents. In
theory, however, its effect is unlimited, and so it must be in practice,
where the territories of one belligerent or the other are widely
scattered over the globe. That is the sense in which "the sea is all

It is important to note that the phrase "command of the sea" has no
definite meaning except in war. In time of peace no State claims to
command the sea or to control it in any way. But in any war in which
naval force is engaged each belligerent seeks to secure the command of
the sea for himself and to deny it to his enemy, that is to close the
highway which the sea affords in time of peace to his warships and his
merchant vessels alike. As regards the enemy's warships, moreover, he
seeks to secure his own command by their destruction or capture. This is
not always possible, because if the naval forces of the two belligerents
are very unequally matched, it is always open to the weaker of the two
to decline the conflict by keeping his main fleets in ports unassailable
by naval force alone, and seeking to reduce the superiority of his
adversary by assailing him incessantly with torpedo craft. He may also
attempt the hazardous enterprise of sending out isolated cruisers to
prey upon his adversary's commerce afloat. But in the case supposed,
where the superiority of one side is so great as to compel the main
fleets of the other to seek the protection of their fortified ports,
such an enterprise is, as I shall show in a subsequent chapter, not only
extremely hazardous in itself, but quite incapable of inflicting such
loss on the superior adversary as would be likely to induce him to
abandon the conflict.

Nevertheless the command of the sea is not established, or at best it is
only partially, and it may be only temporarily, established by driving
the main fleets of the enemy into ports which are inaccessible to naval
force alone. They must not only be driven there but compelled to remain
there. This has generally been done in the past, and according to many,
but not all, naval authorities, it will generally have to be done in the
future by the operation known as blockade, whereby the enemy is
prevented from coming out, or is compelled if he does come out to fight
a superior force lying in wait outside. As a matter of fact, inasmuch as
a blockade to be really deterrent must be conducted by a blockading
force superior to that which is blockaded--for otherwise the latter need
not shun an engagement in the open with the former--it can rarely be the
interest of the blockader to prevent the exit of his adversary, since by
the hypothesis if he could get him out he could beat him. But the
blockade must nevertheless be maintained, because, although the
blockaded fleet cannot by that means be destroyed, it can, at any rate,
be immobilized and wiped off the board so long as it remains where it

The situation in which a blockade is set up by one belligerent and
submitted to by the other is not identical with an effective command of
the sea, though in certain circumstances it may approximate very closely
to it. The blockaded forces may not be so thoroughly intimidated by the
superior forces of the blockaders that they could not or would not, if
they could, seek a favourable opportunity for breaking or evading the
blockade imposed upon them. They may merely be waiting in a position
unassailable by naval force alone until the blockading forces are so
weakened through incessant torpedo attack, through the wear and tear
inflicted on them by the nature of the service on which they are
engaged, through stress of weather, through the periodical necessity
which compels even the best found ships to withdraw temporarily from the
blockade for the purposes of repair, refit, and replenishment of their
stores, and through the fatigue imposed on their officers and crews by
the incessant vigilance which a blockade requires as to afford them a
favourable opportunity of challenging a decision in the open. Or, again,
if the forces of the blockaded belligerent are distributed between two
or more of his fortified ports, he may attempt an evasion of the
blockade at two or more of them for the purpose of combining the forces
thus liberated and attacking one or more of the blockading fleets in
superior force before they can re-establish their own superiority by
concentration. Broadly speaking, this was the plan of operations
adopted, or rather attempted, by Napoleon in the memorable campaign
which ended at Trafalgar. It was frustrated by the persistent energy of
Nelson, by the masterly dispositions of Barham at the Admiralty, by the
tenacity with which Cornwallis maintained the blockade at Brest, and by
the instinctive sagacity with which other commanders of the several
blockading and cruising squadrons nearly always did the right thing at
the right moment, divined Barham's purpose, and carried it out almost
automatically. Practically, Napoleon was beaten and his projected
invasion of England was abandoned many weeks before Trafalgar was won.
But the command of the sea was not thereby secured to England. It needed
Trafalgar and the destruction of the French and Spanish Fleets there
accomplished to effect that consummation. England thenceforth remained
in effective and almost undisputed command of the sea, and the
Peninsular campaigns of Wellington were for the first time rendered
possible. The contrasted phases of the conflict before and after
Trafalgar are perhaps the best illustration in history of the vast and
vital difference between a command of the sea in dispute and a command
of the sea established. Trafalgar was the turning-point in the long
conflict between England and Napoleon.



I have so far treated blockade as the initial stage of a struggle for
the command of the sea. That appears to me to be the logical order of
treatment, because when two naval Powers go to war it is almost certain
that the stronger of the two will at the outset attempt to blockade the
naval forces of the other. The same thing is likely to happen even if
the two are approximately equal in naval force, but in that case the
blockade is not likely to be of long duration, because both sides will
be eager to obtain a decision in the open. The command of the sea is a
matter of such vital moment to both sides that each must needs seek to
obtain it as soon and as completely as possible, and the only certain
way to obtain it is by the destruction of the armed forces of the enemy.
The advantage of putting to sea first is in naval warfare the equivalent
or counterpart of the advantage in land warfare of first crossing the
enemy's frontier. If that advantage is pushed home and the enemy is
still unready it must lead to a blockade. It is, moreover, quite
possible that even if both belligerents are equally ready--I am here
assuming them to be approximately equal in force--one or other, if not
both, may think it better strategy to await developments before risking
everything in an attempt to secure an immediate decision. In point of
fact, the difference between this policy and the policy of a declared
blockade is, as I am about to show, almost imperceptible, especially in
modern conditions of naval warfare. It is therefore necessary to
consider the subject of blockade more in detail. Other subjects closely
associated with this will also have to be considered in some detail
before we can grasp the full purport and extent of what is meant by the
command of the sea.

There are two kinds of blockade--military and commercial. The former
includes the latter, but the latter does not necessarily involve the
former, except in the sense that armed naval force is necessary to
maintain it. By a commercial blockade a belligerent seeks to intercept
the maritime commerce of the enemy, to prevent any vessels, whether
enemy or neutral, from reaching his ports, and at the same time to
prevent their egress to the same extent. This in certain circumstances
may be a very effective agency for bending or breaking the enemy's will
and compelling his submission, but I reserve its consideration for more
detailed treatment hereafter. It is with military blockade that I am
here more especially concerned.

We have seen that the paramount purpose of all naval warfare, and,
indeed, of all warfare, is the destruction of the armed forces of the
enemy. His armed forces are in the last resort the sole instrument of
his will, and their destruction to such an extent as is necessary to
subdue his will is the sole agency by which peace can be restored.
Whatever the extent of the war, whether it is limited or unlimited, in
the sense assigned to those words by Clausewitz and his followers, the
conflict of national wills out of which the quarrel arose must in some
way be composed, either by concessions on both sides or by the complete
subjection of one side to the other, before it can come to an end. It
follows that the main object of a military blockade can rarely be to
keep the enemy's forces sealed up, masked, and to that extent
immobilized in the blockaded ports. Its real object is to secure that if
they do come out they shall be observed, shadowed, and followed until
such time as they can be encountered by a superior force, and if
possible destroyed. The classical text on this topic is a letter written
on August 1, 1804, by Nelson to the Lord Mayor of London, acknowledging
a vote of thanks passed by the Corporation, and addressed to Nelson as
commanding the fleet blockading Toulon. Nelson said in his reply: "I beg
to inform your Lordship that the port of Toulon has never been blockaded
by me: quite the reverse--every opportunity has been offered to the
enemy to put to sea, for it is there that we hope to realize the hopes
and expectations of our country, and I trust that they will not be
disappointed." What Nelson here meant was that the so-called blockade of
the port--it was a common, but, as he held, an erroneous expression--was
merely incidental to the operation he was conducting. His main objective
was the armed forces of the enemy lying unassailable within the
blockaded port. He could not make them put to sea but he gave them every
opportunity of doing so. So far from wishing to keep them in, his one
desire was to get them out into the open, "for it is there that we hope
to realize the hopes and expectations of our country"--that is to get a
decision in favour of the British arms.

Now, this being the object of a military blockade, its methods will be
subordinated to that object. In the days of sailing ships the method
which commended itself to the best naval authorities of the time was to
have an inshore squadron, consisting mainly of frigates and smaller
craft, but strengthened if necessary by a few capital ships, generally
two-deckers, closely watching the entrance to the port, but keeping
outside the range of its land defences. This was supported at a greater
distance in the offing by the main blockading fleet of heavier ships of
the line, cruising within narrow limits and keeping close touch with the
inshore squadron. Such a method is no longer practicable owing to the
development of steam navigation, and to the introduction into naval
warfare of the locomotive torpedo, and of special vessels designed to
make the attack of this weapon extremely formidable and extremely
difficult to parry. The inshore squadron of the old days was liable to
no attack which it could not parry if in sufficient force, and if too
hardly pressed it could always fall back on the main blockading fleet,
which was unassailable except by a corresponding force of the enemy. The
advent of the torpedo and of its characteristic craft has changed all
this. No naval Power can now afford to place its battleships at a fixed
station, or even in close touch with a fixed rendezvous, which is within
reach of an enemy's torpedo craft. The torpedo vessel which operates
only on the surface is, it is true, formidable only at night; in the
daytime it is powerless in attack and extremely vulnerable. But the
submarine is equally formidable in the daytime, and its attack even in
the daytime is far more insidious and difficult to parry than that of
the surface torpedo vessel is at night. The effective range of the
surface torpedo vessel is thus, for practical purposes, half the
distance which it can traverse in any given direction from its base
between dusk and dawn--say from one hundred to two hundred miles,
according to its speed and the season of the year. The speed of the
submarine is much less, but it can keep the sea for many days together,
sinking beneath the surface whenever it is threatened with attack. It
can also approach a battleship or fleet of battleships in the same
submerged condition, and experience has already demonstrated that its
advance in that condition to within striking distance is extremely
difficult to detect. Moreover, even if its presence is detected in time,
the only certain defence against it is for the battleship to steam away
from it at a speed greater than any submarine has ever attained or is
likely to attain in the submerged condition. It should further be noted
that torpedo craft engaged in offensive operations of this character are
not confined to the blockaded port as a base. Any sheltered anchorage
will serve their purpose, provided it is sufficiently fortified to
resist such attacks from the sea as may be anticipated.

Thus, in the conditions established by the advent of the torpedo and its
characteristic craft, there would seem to be only two alternatives open
to a fleet of battleships engaged in blockade operations. Either it must
be stationed in some sheltered anchorage outside the radius of action of
the enemy's surface torpedo craft, and if within that radius adequately
defended against torpedo attack--as Togo established a flying base for
the use of his fleet, first at the Elliot Islands and afterwards at
Dalny, for the purpose of blockading Port Arthur; or it must cruise in
the open outside the same limits, keeping in touch with its advanced
cruisers and flotillas by means of wireless telegraphy, and thereby
dispensing with anything like a fixed rendezvous. It is not, perhaps,
imperative that it should always cruise entirely outside the prescribed
radius, because experience in modern naval manoeuvres has frequently
shown that it is a very difficult thing for torpedo craft, moving at
random, to discover a fleet which is constantly shifting its position at
high speed, especially when they are at any moment liable to attack from
cruisers and torpedo craft of the other side.

Thus a modern blockade will, so far as battle fleets are concerned, be
of necessity rather a watching blockade than a masking or sealing up
blockade. If the two belligerents are unequal in naval strength it will
probably take some such form as the following. The weaker belligerent
will at the outset keep his battle fleet in his fortified ports. The
stronger may do the same, but he will be under no such paramount
inducement to do so. Both sides will, however, send out their torpedo
craft and supporting cruisers with intent to do as much harm as they can
to the armed forces of the enemy. If one belligerent can get his
torpedo craft to sea before the enemy is ready, he will, if he is the
stronger of the two, forthwith attempt to establish as close and
sustained a watch of the ports sheltering the enemy's armed forces as
may be practicable; if he is the weaker, he will attempt sporadic
attacks on the ports of his adversary and on such of his warships as may
be found in the open. If the enemy is so incautious as to have placed
any of his capital ships or other important craft in a position open to
the assault of torpedo craft--as Russia did at Port Arthur at the
opening of the war with Japan--or if he has been so lacking in vigilance
and forethought as not to have taken timely and adequate measures for
meeting sporadic attacks of the kind indicated, such attacks may be very
effective and may even go so far to redress the balance of naval
strength as to encourage the originally weaker belligerent to seek a
decision in the open. But the forces of the stronger belligerent must be
very badly handled and disposed for anything of the kind to take place.
The advantage of superior force is a tremendous one. If it is associated
with energy, determination, initiative, and skill of disposition no more
than equal to those of the assailant, it is overwhelming. The
sea-keeping capacity, or what has been called the enduring mobility, of
torpedo craft, is comparatively small. Their coal-supply is limited,
especially when they are steaming at full speed, and they carry no very
large reserve of torpedoes. They must, therefore, very frequently return
to a base to replenish their supplies. The superior enemy is, it is
true, subject to the same disabilities, but being superior he has more
torpedo craft to spare and more cruisers to attack the torpedo craft of
the enemy and their own escort of cruisers. When the raiding torpedo
craft return to their base he will make it very difficult for them to
get in and just as difficult for them to get out again. He will suffer
losses, of course, for there is no superiority of force that will confer
immunity in that respect in war. But even between equal forces, equally
well led and handled, there is no reason to suppose that the losses of
one side will be more than equal to those of the other; whereas if one
side is appreciably superior to the other it is reasonable to suppose
that it will inflict greater losses on the enemy than it suffers itself,
while even if the losses are equal the residue of the stronger force
will still be greater than that of the weaker. It is true that the whole
art of war, whether on sea or on land, consists in so disposing your
armed forces, both strategically and tactically, that you may be
superior to the enemy at the critical point and moment, and that success
in this supreme art is no inherent prerogative of the belligerent whose
aggregate forces are superior to those of his adversary. But this is
only to say that success in war is not an affair of numbers alone. It is
an affair of numbers combined with hard fighting and skilful



We have seen that blockade is only a means to an end, that end being the
destruction or surrender of the armed forces of the enemy. We have seen
also that that end cannot be obtained by blockade alone. All that a
military blockade can do is by a judicious disposition of superior
force, either to prevent the enemy coming out at all, or to secure that
if he does come out he shall be brought to action. The former method is
only applicable where the blockader's superiority of force is so great
that his adversary cannot venture at the outset to encounter his main
fleets in the open, and in that case the establishment of a blockade of
this character is for many purposes practically tantamount to securing
the command of the sea to the blockader so long as the blockade can be
maintained. Such a situation, however, can very rarely arise. There are
very few instances of it in naval history, and there are likely to be
fewer in the future than there have been in the past. The closest
blockade ever established and maintained was that of Brest by Cornwallis
from 1803 to 1805, when Napoleon was projecting the invasion of
England. Yet it would be too much to say that during those strenuous
years Ganteaume never could have got out, had he been so minded, and it
is not to be forgotten that for some time during the crisis of the
campaign he was forbidden by Napoleon to make the attempt. Moreover,
such a situation, even when it does arise, amounts at best to a
stalemate, not to a checkmate. It leaves the enemy's fleet "a fleet in
being," immobilized and wiped off the board for the moment, but
nevertheless so operating as to immobilize the blockading fleet in so
far as the chief effort of the latter must be concentrated on
maintaining the blockade.

It is necessary to dwell at some length on this conception of "a fleet
in being." Admiral Mahan, the great historian of sea power--whose high
authority all students of naval warfare will readily acknowledge and
rarely attempt to dispute--speaks of it in his _Life of Nelson_ as a
doctrine or opinion which "has received extreme expression ... and
apparently undergone extreme misconception." On the other hand, Admiral
Sir Cyprian Bridge tells us in the _Encyclopædia Britannica_ (_s.v._
"Sea-Power") that "the principle of the 'fleet in being' lies at the
bottom of all sound strategy." Of a principle which, according to one
high authority, lies at the bottom of all sound strategy, and according
to another has received extreme expression and undergone misconception
equally extreme, it is plainly essential that a true conception should
be obtained before it can be applied to the elucidation of any of the
problems of naval warfare. Now what is this much-debated principle? It
is best to go to the fountain-head for its elucidation. The phrase "a
fleet in being" was first used by Arthur Herbert, Earl of Torrington, in
his defence before the Court Martial which tried and acquitted him for
his conduct of the naval campaign of 1690, and especially of the Battle
of Beachy Head, which was the leading event--none too glorious for
British arms--of that campaign. "Both as a strategist and as a
tactician," says Admiral Bridge, "Torrington was immeasurably ahead of
his contemporaries. The only English admirals who can be placed above
him are Hawke and Nelson." Yet he was regarded by many of his
contemporaries, and has been represented by many historians, merely as
the incapable seaman who failed to win the Battle of Beachy Head, and
thereby jeopardized the safety of the kingdom at a very critical time.

The situation was as follows. The country was divided between the
partisans of James II. and the supporters of William III. James was in
Ireland, where his strength was greatest, and William had gone thither
to encounter him, his transit having been covered by a small squadron of
six men-of-war, under the command of Sir Cloudesley Shovel. The army
was with William in Ireland, and Great Britain could only be defended on
land by a hastily levied militia. Its sole effective defence was the
fleet; and the fleet, although reinforced by a Dutch contingent, was,
for the moment, insufficient to defend it. The chief reliance of James
was upon the friendship and forces, naval and military, of Louis XIV.
Here was a case in which the security of England against insurrection at
home and invasion from abroad depended on the sufficiency and capacity
of her fleets to maintain the command of the sea--that is, either to
defeat the enemy's naval forces or to keep them at bay, and thereby to
deny freedom of transit to any military forces that Louis might attempt
to launch against British territory. The French king resolved to make a
determined attempt to wrest the command of the sea from his adversaries,
and by overpowering the allied fleets of England and Holland in the
Channel, to open the way for a successful invasion and a successful
insurrection to follow. A great fleet was collected at Brest, under the
supreme command of Tourville, and a squadron from Toulon under
Château-Renault was ordered to join him in the Channel, so as to enable
him to threaten London, to foment a Jacobite insurrection in the
capital, to land troops in Torbay, and to occupy the Irish Channel in
such force as to prevent the return of William and his army.

Now, of course, none of these objects could be attained unless the
allied fleets in the Channel and adjacent waters could be either
decisively defeated in the open or else so intimidated by the superior
forces of the enemy as to decline a conflict and retire to some place of
safety. On the broad principle that the paramount object of all warfare
is the destruction of the armed forces of the enemy, Tourville, if he
felt himself strong enough, was bound to seek out the allied fleet and
challenge it to a decisive combat. On the same principle, Torrington, if
he felt himself strong enough, was bound to pursue the same aggressive
strategy, and by thoroughly beating the French to frustrate all their
objects at once. But Torrington was not strong enough and knew that he
was not strong enough. He had foreseen the crisis and warned his
superiors betimes, entreating them to take adequate measures for dealing
with it. They took no such measures. On the contrary, the dispositions
they made were calculated rather to aggravate the danger than to avert
it. Early in the year a fleet of sixteen sail of the line under
Killigrew had been sent in charge of a convoy to Cadiz with orders to
prevent, if possible, the exit of the Toulon fleet from the
Mediterranean and to follow it up should it make good its escape. This
strategy was unimpeachable if only Killigrew could make sure of
intercepting Château-Renault and defeating him, and if the naval forces
left in home waters when Killigrew was detached were sufficient to give
a good account of the fleet that Tourville was collecting at Brest. But
in its results it was disastrous, for Killigrew, delayed by weather and
by the many preoccupations, commercial and strategic, entailed by his
instructions was unable either to bar the passage of the Toulon fleet or
to overtake it during its progress towards the Channel. Hence
Château-Renault was able to effect his junction with Tourville
unmolested, while Killigrew did not reach Plymouth until after the
battle of Beachy Head had been fought, when, Tourville being victorious
in the Channel, he was obliged to carry his squadron into the Hamoaze so
as to be out of harm's way. Shovel, having escorted the king and his
troops to Ireland, was equally unable to carry out his orders to join
Torrington in the Channel, since Tourville stood in the way. Hence,
although fully alive to the strategic value, in certain contingencies,
of the forces under Killigrew and Shovel, Torrington was compelled to
rely mainly on the force under his immediate command, the insufficiency
of which he had many months before pointed out and vainly implored his
superiors to redress.

The result of all this was that no adequate steps were, or could be,
taken, to prevent the advance of Tourville in greatly superior force
into the Channel. Torrington hoisted his flag in the Downs at the end of
May, and even then the Dutch contingent had not joined in the numbers
promised. Hence it was impossible to keep scouts out to the westward as
the Dutch had undertaken to do, and the first definite intelligence that
Torrington received of the advance of the French was the information
that on June 23 they were anchored in great force to the westward of the
Isle of Wight. Three days later, having in the meanwhile received a
Dutch reinforcement bringing his force up to fifty-five sail of the line
and twenty fire-ships, he offered them battle in that position, but it
was declined. His own comment on this hazardous adventure may here be
quoted: "I do acknowledge my first intention of attacking them, a
rashness that will admit of no better excuse than that, though I did
believe them stronger than we are, I did not believe it to so great a
degree.... Their great strength and caution have put soberer thoughts
into my head, and have made me very heartily give God thanks they
declined the battle yesterday; and indeed I shall not think myself very
unhappy if I can get rid of them without fighting, unless it may be upon
equaller terms than I can at present see any prospect of.... A council
of war I called this morning unanimously agreed we are by all manner of
means to shun fighting with them, especially if they have the wind of
us; and retire, if we cannot avoid it otherwise, even to the Gunfleet,
the only place we can with any manner of probability make our account
good with them in the condition we are in. We have now had a pretty good
view of their fleet, which consists of near, if not quite, eighty
men-of-war fit to lie in a line and thirty fire-ships; a strength that
puts me beside hopes of success, if we should fight, and really may not
only endanger the losing of the fleet, but at least the quiet of our
country too; for if we are beaten they, being absolute masters of the
sea, will be at great liberty of doing many things they dare not attempt
while we observe them and are in a possibility of joining Vice-Admiral
Killigrew and our ships to the westward. If I find a possibility, I will
get by them to the westward to join those ships; if not, I mean to
follow the result of the council of war."

The strategy here indicated is plain, and, in my judgment, sound. It may
be profitably compared with that of Nelson as explained to his captains
during his return from the West Indies whither he had pursued
Villeneuve. Villeneuve was on his way back to European waters and Nelson
hoped to overtake him. He had eleven ships of the line in his fleet and
Villeneuve was known to have not less than eighteen. Yet, though Nelson
did not shrink from an engagement on his own terms, he was resolved not
to force one inopportunely. "Do not," he said to his captains, "imagine
I am one of those hot-brained people who fight at immense disadvantage
without an adequate object. My object is partly gained"--that is,
Villeneuve had been driven out of the West Indies. "If we meet them we
shall find them not less than eighteen, I rather think twenty, sail of
the line, and therefore do not be surprised if I do not fall on them
immediately; we won't part without a battle. I think they will be glad
to leave me alone, if I will let them alone; which I will do, either
till we approach the shores of Europe, or they give an advantage too
tempting to be resisted." Torrington's attitude was the same as
Nelson's, except perhaps that he lacked the ardent faith to say with
Nelson, "We won't part without a battle." He would not think himself
very unhappy if he could get rid of Tourville without a battle. But the
situations of the two men were different. Nelson knew, as he said
himself, that "by the time that the enemy has beat our fleet soundly,
they will do us no harm this year." If, that is, by the sacrifice of
eleven ships of his own he could wipe out eighteen or twenty of the
enemy, destroying some and disabling as many as he could of the rest, he
would leave the balance of naval force still strongly in favour of his
country, more strongly in fact than if he fought no action at all.
Torrington, on the other hand, knew that "if we are beaten they, being
absolute masters of the sea, will be at great liberty of doing many
things they dare not attempt while we observe them and are in a
possibility of joining Vice-Admiral Killigrew and our ships to the
westward." Killigrew and Shovel had twenty-two sail of the line between
them, and Torrington, in the dispatch above quoted, had requested that
they should be ordered to advance to Portsmouth, whence, if the French
pursued him to the eastward, they might be able to join him "over the
flats" of the Thames. As he had fifty-five sail of the line himself,
with a possibility of reinforcements from Chatham, the concentration off
the Thames of the whole of the forces available would have enabled him
to encounter Tourville on something like equal terms; and from that,
assuredly, he would not have shrunk. Meanwhile he would wait, watch,
observe, and pursue a defensive strategy. If Tourville should withdraw
to the westward he would follow him and get past him if he could, and in
that case, having picked up Killigrew and Shovel, he would be in a
position to take the offensive on no very unequal terms and not to part
from Tourville without a battle.

But the strategy of Torrington--admirable and unimpeachable as,
according to such high authorities as Admiral Bridge and the late
Admiral Colomb, it was--did not at all commend itself to Mary and her
Council, who, during William's absence in Ireland, were left in charge
of the kingdom. They wanted a battle, although Torrington had plainly
told them that it could not be a victory and might result in a
disastrous and even fatal defeat. "We apprehend," they said in a
dispatch purporting to come from Mary herself, "the consequences of your
retiring to the Gunfleet to be so fatal, that we choose rather you
should, upon any advantage of the wind, give battle to the enemy than
retreat further than is necessary to get an advantage upon the enemy."
Torrington, of course, never intended to retire to the Gunfleet--which
was an anchorage protected by sandbanks off the coast of Essex to the
north of the Thames--if he could avoid doing so. But unless he went
there, there was no advantage to be got upon the enemy by retreating to
the eastward, because there alone could he get reinforcements from
Chatham and possibly be joined by Killigrew and Shovel "over the flats";
which is what he meant by saying that the Gunfleet was "the only place
we can with any manner of probability make our account with them in the
position we are in." On the other hand, if the French gave him an
opportunity he would, if he could, get past them to the westward and
there join Killigrew and Shovel in a position of much greater
advantage. But in his actual situation, not being one of "those
hot-brained people who fight at immense disadvantage without an adequate
object," he knew that a battle was the last thing which he ought to risk
and the first that the French must desire. However, as a loyal seaman,
who knew how to obey orders, he did as he was told. The French had
pressed him as far as Beachy Head and there he gave battle, taking care
so to fight as to risk as little as possible. He was beaten, as he
expected to be, and the Dutch, who had been the most hotly engaged, were
very severely handled by the French. But though his losses were
considerable, for he had to destroy some of his ships to prevent their
falling into the hands of the enemy, he saved his fleet from the
destruction which must have befallen it had he fought otherwise than he
did. As the day advanced and the battle raged, the wind dropped and the
tide began to ebb. Torrington, taking advantage of this, anchored his
fleet, while the French drifted away to the westward. When the tide
again began to flow he again took advantage of it and retreated to the
eastward. The French made some show of pursuit, but Torrington made good
his retreat into the Thames, where, the buoys having been taken up, the
French could not follow him. Finally, the French withdrew from the
Channel, having accomplished nothing beyond an insignificant raid on
Teignmouth. Torrington was tried by Court Martial and acquitted, though
he was never again employed afloat. But the fact remains that, as
Admiral Bridge says, "most seamen were at the time, have been since, and
still are in agreement with Torrington." As to his conduct of the
battle, which has so unjustly involved him in lasting discredit with the
historians, though not with the seamen, he said in his defence before
the Court Martial: "I may be bold to say that I have had time and cause
enough to think of it, and that, upon my word, were the battle to be
fought over again, I do not know how to mend it, under the same
circumstances." Again, as to his general conduct of the campaign, he
said: "It is true that the French made no great advantage of their
victory though they put us to a great charge in keeping up the militia;
but had I fought otherwise, our fleet had been totally lost, and the
whole kingdom had lain open to an invasion. What, then, would have
become of us in the absence of his Majesty and most of the land forces?
As it was, most men were in fear that the French would invade; but I was
always of another opinion; for I always said that, _whilst we had a
fleet in being_, they would not dare to make an attempt."

This is the first appearance of the phrase "a fleet in being" in the
terminology of naval warfare. Its reappearance in our own day and its
frequent employment in naval discussion are due to the masterly analysis
of Torrington's strategy and tactics which the late Admiral Colomb gave
in his illuminating work on _Naval Warfare_. In order to avoid giving it
the extreme expression which, according to Admiral Mahan, it has
received from some writers, and involving it in that extreme
misconception which he thinks it has undergone at the hands of
others--or it may be of the same--I have thought it worth while to
examine at some length the campaign which gave rise to it so as to
ascertain exactly what was in the mind of Torrington when he first used
it. It is plain that Torrington held, as all great seamen have held,
that the primary object of every belligerent is to destroy the armed
forces of the enemy. He was so circumstanced that he could not do that
himself, because the forces which might have been at his disposal for
the purpose, had the circumstances been other than they were, were so
divided and dispersed that the enemy might overcome them in detail. That
the enemy would do this, if he could, he did not doubt, and it was
equally certain that it must be his immediate object to prevent his
doing it. His own force being by far the strongest of the three opposed
to Tourville, it must be upon him that the brunt of the conflict would
fall. Nothing would suit him better than that Tourville should turn
back and attempt to force a battle on either Killigrew or Shovel to the
westward, because in that case he could hang upon Tourville's rear and
flanks and take any opportunity that offered to get past him and
concentrate the British forces to the westward of him. But Tourville
gave him no such opportunity. He pressed him hard and might have pressed
him back even to the Gunfleet if Torrington had not been ordered by Mary
and her advisers to give battle "upon any advantage of the wind." But
even in fighting the battle, which his own judgment told him ought not
to be fought, he never lost sight of the paramount necessity of so
fighting it as to give Tourville no decisive advantage. The victory was
a barren one to Tourville. It gave him no command of the sea and for
that reason he was unable to prosecute any enterprise of invasion. The
command of the sea remained in dispute, and unless the dispute could be
decided in Tourville's favour he would have fought and won the battle of
Beachy Head in vain, as the event showed that he did. Torrington held
that his "fleet in being," even after the reverse at Beachy Head, was a
sufficient bar to the further enterprises of Tourville, nor can
Tourville's subsequent action be explained on any other hypothesis than
that he shared Torrington's opinion and acted on it.

The truth is, that the doctrine of the fleet in being, as understood
and illustrated by Torrington, is in reality the counterpart and
complement of the doctrine of the command of the sea as expounded above.
"I consider," said the late Sir Geoffrey Hornby, a strategist and
tactician of unrivalled authority in his time, "that I have command of
the sea when I am able to tell my Government that they can move an
expedition to any point without fear of interference from an enemy's
fleet." This condition cannot be satisfied so long as the enemy has a
fleet in being, that is a fleet strategically at large, not itself in
command of the sea, but strong enough to deny that command to its
adversary by strategic and tactical dispositions adapted to the
circumstances of the case. Thus command of the sea and a fleet in being
are mutually exclusive terms. So long as a hostile fleet is in being
there is no command of the sea; so soon as the command of the sea is
established there is no hostile fleet in being. Each of these
propositions is the complement of the other.

Nevertheless, the mere statement of these abstract propositions solves
none of the concrete problems of naval warfare. War is not governed by
phrases. It is governed by stern and inexorable realities. The question
whether a particular fleet in any particular circumstances is or is not
a fleet in being is not a question of theory, it is a question of fact.
The answer to it depends on the spirit, purpose, tenacity, and
strategic insight of those who control its movements. No fleet is a
fleet in being unless inspired by what may be called the _animus
pugnandi_, that is, unless, if and when the opportunity offers, it is
prepared to strike a blow at all hazards. For this reason the Russian
fleet in Sebastopol at the time of the invasion of the Crimea was not a
fleet in being, although it had a splendid opportunity, which a Nelson
would assuredly have found too tempting to be resisted, of showing its
mettle when the French warships were employed as transports; and the
allies might have been made to pay heavily for their neglect to blockade
it had it been inspired by an effective _animus pugnandi_. On the other
hand, the four ill-fated Spanish cruisers which crossed the Atlantic to
take part in the Cuban war were a true fleet in being, however inferior
and forlorn, and were so regarded by the United States authorities so
long as they remained strategically at large. Even when two of them and
two destroyers were known to be in Santiago, the Secretary of the United
States Navy telegraphed to Admiral Sampson, "Essential to know if all
four Spanish cruisers in Santiago. Military expedition must wait this
information." The same thing happened in the war between Russia and
Japan. The first act of Japan in that war was by a torpedo attack on the
Russian fleet at Port Arthur, so to depress the _animus pugnandi_ of
the latter as practically to deprive it for a time of the character of
a fleet in being--a character which it only partially recovered
afterwards under the brief influence of the heroic but ill-fated
Makaroff. This being accomplished, the invasion of Manchuria ensued as a
matter of course. The ascendency thus established by the Japanese fleet
at the outset, though assailed more than once, was nevertheless
maintained throughout the subsequent operations until the Russian fleet
at Port Arthur, deprived of the little character it ever possessed as a
true fleet in being, was reduced to the condition of what Admiral Mahan
has aptly called a "fortress fleet," and was surrendered at the fall of
the fortress. Many other illustrations of the principle of the fleet in
being might be given. The history of naval warfare is full of them. But
they need not be multiplied as they all point the same moral. That moral
is, that a fleet in being to be of any use must be inspired by a
determined and persistent _animus pugnandi_. It must not be a mere
"fortress fleet." Torrington can never have imagined for a moment that
the fleet which, in spite of the disastrous orders of Mary and her
council, he had saved from destruction, would by its mere existence
prevent a French invasion. He had kept it in being in order that he
might use it offensively whenever occasion should arise, well knowing
that so long as it maintained that disposition Tourville would be
paralysed for offence. "Whilst we observe the French," he said, "they
cannot make any attempt on ships or shore without running a great
hazard." Such hazards may be run for an adequate object, and to
determine rightly when they may be run and when they may not is perhaps
the most searching test of a naval commander's capacity and insight. It
is a psychological question rather than a strategic one. Such a
commander must know whether his adversary's _animus pugnandi_ is so keen
and so unflinching as to invest his fleet, albeit inferior, with the
true character of a fleet in being, or whether, on the other hand, it is
so feeble as to turn it into a mere fortress fleet. But that is only to
say that in war the man always counts for far more than the machine,
that the best commander is a man "with whom," as Admiral Mahan says of
Nelson, "moral effect is never in excess of the facts of the case, whose
imagination produces to him no paralysing picture of remote
contingencies." _Bene ausus vana contemnere_, as Livy says of
Alexander's conquest of Darius, is the eternal secret of successful



The condition of disputed command of the sea is the normal condition at
the outbreak of any war in which operations at sea are involved between
two belligerents of approximately equal strength, or indeed between any
two belligerents, the weaker of whom is sufficiently inspired by the
_animus pugnandi_--or it may be by other motives rather political than
strategic in character--to try conclusions with his adversary in the
open. This follows immediately from the nature of command of the sea,
which is, it will be remembered, the effective control over the maritime
communications of the waters in dispute. I must here repeat, that the
phrase command of the sea has no definite meaning in time of peace. No
nation nowadays seeks in time of peace to control maritime
communications, that is, to exercise any authority or constraint over
any ships, whether warships or merchant vessels--other than those flying
its own flag--which traverse the seas on their lawful occasions. There
was, indeed, a time when England claimed what was called the
"sovereignty of the seas," that is, the right to exact at all times
certain marks of deference to her flag, in the form of certain salutes
of ceremony, from all ships traversing the seas surrounding the British
Islands, the narrow seas as they were called. But that is an entirely
different thing from the command of the sea in a strategic sense, and
has in fact no connection with it. It has long been abandoned and it
need only be mentioned here in order to be carefully distinguished from
the latter. Any nation seeking to exercise or secure the command of the
sea in this sense would in so doing engage in an act of war, and would
be regarded as so engaging by any other nation whose rights and
interests were in any way affected by the act. Hence the difference
between the two is plain. The claim to the sovereignty of the seas and
the exaction of the ceremonial observance--the lowering of a flag or a
sail--which symbolized it, was not in itself an act of war, though it
might lead to war if the claim were resisted. An attempt to assert or
secure the command of the sea is, on the other hand, in itself an act of
war and would never be made by any nation not prepared to take the
consequence in the instant outbreak of hostilities.

For what is it that a nation seeks to do when it attempts to exercise or
secure the command of the sea? It seeks to do nothing more and nothing
less than to deny freedom of access to the waters in dispute to the
ships, whether warships or merchant ships, of some other nation. It
denies the common right of highway, which is the essential attribute of
the sea, to that other nation, and seeks to secure the monopoly of that
right for itself. In other words, it seeks to drive its adversary's
warships from the sea, and either by the capture of his merchant vessels
to appropriate the wealth they contain or by destroying them to deprive
the adversary of its enjoyment. This is all that naval warfare as such
can do. If the enemy is not constrained by the destruction of his
warships and the extinction of his maritime commerce to submit to his
victorious adversary's will, other agencies, not exclusively naval in
character, must be employed to bring about that consummation. This means
that military force must be brought into operation, either for the
invasion of the defeated adversary's territory or for the occupation of
some of his possessions lying across the seas, if he has any. If he has
none, or if such as he has are not worth taking or holding--either as a
permanent possession or as what is called a material guarantee to be
used in the subsequent negotiations for peace--then the only alternative
is invasion. But that is a subject which demands a chapter to itself.

It rarely happens, however, that a great naval Power is devoid of
transmarine possessions altogether, or that such as it holds are
esteemed by it to be of so little value or importance that their
seizure by an enemy would leave matters _in statu quo_. Sea power is, as
a rule, the outcome of a flourishing maritime commerce. Maritime
commerce as it expands, tends, even apart from direct colonization, to
bring territorial occupation in its train. The origin and history of the
British rule in India is a signal illustration of this tendency. There
are other causes of territorial expansion across the seas, as Admiral
Mahan has pointed out in his latest work on _Naval Strategy_, but it is
a rule which admits of no exceptions that territorial possessions across
the seas, however they may have been acquired, compel the Power which
holds them to develop a navy which, in the last resort, must be capable
of defending them. It was not, indeed, the needs of maritime commerce
which induced the United States to acquire Puerto Rico and the
Philippines. Their acquisition was, as it were, a by-product of
victorious sea power. But the vast expansion of the United States Navy
which the last dozen years have witnessed is the direct result and the
logical consequence of their acquisition.

Applying these principles to the defence of the British Empire we see at
once that the command of the sea, in the sense already defined, is
essential to its successful prosecution. The case is not merely
exceptional, it is absolutely unique. The British Isles might recover
from the effects of a successful invasion, as other countries have done
in like case. But the destruction of their maritime commerce would ruin
them irretrievably, even if no invasion were undertaken. Half the
maritime commerce of the world is carried on under the British flag. The
whole of that commerce would be suppressed if an enemy once secured the
command of the sea. The British Isles would be starved out in a few
weeks. Whether an enemy so situated would decide to invade or
invest--that is, so to impede our commerce that only an insignificant
fraction of it could by evasion reach our ports--is a question not so
much of strategy as of the economics of warfare. But really it hardly
matters a pin which he decided to do. We should have to submit in either
case. What would happen to our Dominions, Dependencies, and Colonies is
plain. Those which are defenceless the enemy would seize if he thought
it worth his while. In the case supposed they could obtain no military
assistance from the mother-country. But those which could defend
themselves he would have to overcome, if he could, by fighting. The
great Dominions of the Empire would not fall into an enemy's lap merely
because he had compelled the United Kingdom to sue for peace. To subdue
them by force of arms would be a very formidable undertaking.

Such are the tremendous effects of an adverse command of the sea on an
insular kingdom and an oceanic empire, which carries on--not by virtue
of any artificial monopoly, but solely by virtue of its hardly won
ascendency in the economic struggle for existence--half the maritime
commerce of the world. On the other hand, its effects on any nation
which does not depend on the sea for its existence can never be so
overwhelming and may even be insignificant. Germany was very little
affected by the command of the sea enjoyed by France in the War of 1870.
But in view of the enormous growth of German maritime commerce in recent
years, a superiority of France at sea equal to that which she enjoyed in
1870 would now be a much more serious menace to Germany. In all such
cases the issue must be decided by military operations suitable to the
circumstances and the occasion--operations in which naval force may take
an indispensable part even though it may not directly decide the issue.
It was, for example, the United States army that captured Santiago and
secured the deliverance of Cuba; but it was the United States Navy alone
that enabled the troops to be in Cuba at all and to do what they did
there. Again, in the war between Russia and Japan it was the capture of
Port Arthur and the final overthrow at Tsu-Shima of all that remained of
Russia's effective naval forces that induced Russia to entertain
overtures for peace. But the reduction of Port Arthur was mainly the
work of the military arm and the continued successes of the Japanese
armies in Manchuria must have contributed largely to Russia's surrender.
These successes were, it is true, rendered possible by the Japanese Navy
alone. It cannot be said that the Japanese ever held the undisputed
command of the sea until after Tsu-Shima had been fought and won. But at
the very outset of the war they established such an ascendency over the
Russian naval forces in Far Eastern waters that the latter were in the
end reduced to something less than even a "fortress fleet." At Port
Arthur, writes Admiral Mahan, the fleet was "neither a fortress fleet,
for except the guns mounted from it, the fleet contributed nothing to
the defence of the place; nor yet a fleet in being, for it was never
used as such." Its _animus pugnandi_ was fatally depressed on the first
night of the war, and finally extinguished after the action of August

The truth is, that in all the larger achievements of sea power--those,
that is, to which a combination of naval and military force is
indispensable--it is impossible to disengage the influence of one of
these factors on the final issue from that of the other, and perhaps
idle to attempt do to so. They act, as it were, like a chemical
combination, not like the resultant of two separate but correlated
mechanical forces, and their joint effect may be just as different from
what might be the effect of either acting separately as water is
different from the oxygen and hydrogen of which it is composed. But
their operation in this wise can only begin after the command of the sea
has been secured, or at least has been so far established as to reduce
to a negligible quantity the risk of conducting military operations
across seas of which the command is still nominally in dispute. Now
there are several phases or stages in the enterprise of securing the
command of the sea; but they all depend on the power and the will to
fight for it. There is no absolute command of the sea, except in the
case of hostilities between two belligerents, separated by the sea, one
of whom has no naval force at all. The solitary case in history of this
situation is that of the War in South Africa. A similar situation would
arise if one of two belligerents had completely destroyed all the
effective naval force of the other. But that is a situation of which
history affords few, if any, examples. Between these two extremes lies
the whole history of naval warfare.

There is, moreover, one characteristic of naval warfare which has no
exact counterpart in the conduct of military enterprises on land. This
is the power which a naval belligerent has of withdrawing his sea-going
force out of the reach of the sea-going force of the enemy by placing it
in sheltered harbours too strongly fortified for the enemy to reduce by
naval power alone. The only effective answer to this which the superior
belligerent can make is, as has already been shown, to establish a
blockade of the ports in question. This procedure is analogous to, but
not identical with, the investment by military forces of a fortress in
which an army has found shelter in the interior of the enemy's country.
But the essential difference is that the land fortress can be completely
invested so that no food or other supplies can reach it, whereas a sea
fortress cannot, unless it is situated on a small island, be completely
invested by naval force alone. In the one case, even if no assault is
attempted, starvation must sooner or later bring about the surrender of
the fortress together with any military force it contains, whereas in
the other the blockaded port being, as a rule, in open communication
with its own national territory, cannot be reduced by starvation.
Moreover, for reasons already explained, a maritime fortress cannot
nowadays be so closely blockaded as to prevent the exit of small craft
almost at all times or even to prevent the exit of squadrons of
battleships in circumstances favourable to the enterprise. Now the exit
of small craft equipped for torpedo attack is a much more serious threat
to the blockader than the exit of small craft, not so equipped, was in
the old days of close blockade. In those days small craft could do no
harm to ships of the line or even to frigates, whereas a torpedo craft
is nowadays in certain circumstances the equal and more than the equal
of a battleship. For these reasons the escape from a blockaded port of a
squadron of battleships might easily be regarded by the blockading enemy
as a less serious and even much more welcome incident of the campaign
than the frequent issue of swarms of torpedo craft skilfully handled,
daringly navigated, and sternly resolved to do or die in the attempt to
reduce the battle superiority of the enemy.

It follows from these premisses that a naval blockade--or a connected
series of blockades--can never be regarded as equivalent to an
established command of the sea. At its best it can only achieve a
temporary command of the sea in a state of unstable and easily disturbed
equilibrium. At its worst, that is when it is least close and least
effective, and when the _animus pugnandi_ of the enemy is unimpaired and
not to be intimidated, and is therefore ready at all times to take
advantage of "an opportunity too tempting to be resisted," it amounts to
a state of things in which the "fleet in being" becomes the dominant
factor of the situation. It is mainly a psychological problem and
scarcely a strategic problem at all to determine when the actual
situation approximates to either of these extremes, and the principle
embodied in the words _bene ausus vana contemnere_ is the key to the
solution of this problem. If the blockaded fleet is merely a fortress
fleet, or not even that, as was the Russian fleet at Port Arthur for
some time after the first night of the war, and even more after the
critical but indecisive conflict of August 10, then it is legitimate, as
Togo triumphantly showed, to regard the situation so established as so
far equivalent to a temporary command of the sea that military
operations, involving the security of oversea transit and the continuity
of oversea supply, might be undertaken with no greater risk than is
always inseparable from a vigorous initiative in war. But had the
Russian naval commanders been inspired--as, perhaps, the ill-fated
Makaroff alone was--with a genuine _animus pugnandi_, they might have
perceived that their one chance of bringing all the Japanese
enterprises, naval and military, to nought, was by fighting Togo's fleet
"to a frazzle," even if their own fleet perished in the conflict. Then
the Baltic Fleet, if it had any fight in it at all, must have made short
work of what remained of Togo's fleet, and the Japanese communications
with Manchuria being thereby severed, Russia might have dictated her own
terms of peace. The real lesson of that war is not that a true fleet in
being can ever be safely neglected, but that a fleet which can be
neglected with impunity is no true fleet in being. It should never be
forgotten that the problems of naval warfare are essentially
psychological and not mechanical in their nature. Their ultimate
determining factors are not material and ponderable forces operating
with measurable certainty, but those immaterial and imponderable forces
of the human mind and will which can be measured by no standard other
than the result. By the material standard so popular in these days, and
withal so full of fallacy, Nelson should have been defeated at Trafalgar
and Rozhdestvensky should have been victorious at Tsu-Shima.

It is, of course, idle to press the doctrine of the command of the sea
and the principle of the fleet in being so far as to affirm that no
military enterprise of any kind can be prosecuted across the sea unless
an unassailable command of the sea has first been established. Such a
proposition is disallowed by the whole course of naval history, which
is, in truth, for the most part, the history of the command of the sea
remaining in dispute, often for long periods, between two belligerents,
the balance inclining sometimes to one side and sometimes to the other,
according to the fortune of war. The whole question is in the main one
of degree and of circumstances. Broadly speaking, it may be said that
the larger the military enterprise contemplated the more complete must
be the command of the sea before it can be prosecuted with success and
the more certain the assurance of its continuance in unimpaired
efficiency until the objects of the enterprise are accomplished.
Conversely, the strength, even if inferior, of the fleet in being, its
strategic disposition, its tactical efficiency, and, above all, its
_animus pugnandi_ must all be accurately gauged by a naval commander
before he can safely decide that a military expedition of any magnitude
can be undertaken without fear of interference from an enemy's fleet. It
was the neglect of these principles that ruined the Athenian expedition
to Syracuse. It was equally the neglect of the same principles that
entailed the failure of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt and the ultimate
surrender of the army he had deserted there. It was the politic
recognition of them that, as Admiral Mahan has shown in a brilliant
passage, compelled Hannibal to undertake the arduous passage of the Alps
for the purpose of invading Italy instead of transporting his troops by

The limits of legitimate enterprise across seas of which the command
although firmly gripped is not unassailably established, are perhaps
best illustrated by the story of Craig's expedition to Malta and Sicily
towards the close of the Trafalgar campaign. This remarkable episode,
which has received less attention than it deserves from most historians,
has been represented by Mr Julian Corbett in his instructive work on
_The Campaign of Trafalgar_ as the masterly offensive stroke by which
Pitt hoped to abate, and, if it might be, to overthrow the military
ascendency which Napoleon had established in Europe. That view has not
been universally accepted by Mr Corbett's critics, but the episode is
entitled to close attention for the light it throws on the central
problem of naval warfare. Pitt had concluded a treaty with Russia, which
involved not merely naval but military co-operation with that Power in
the Mediterranean. Craig's expedition was the shape which the military
co-operation was to take. It consisted of some five thousand troops, and
when it embarked in April 1805 it was convoyed by only two ships of the
line in its transit over seas which, for all the Government which
dispatched it knew, might be infested at the time by more than one fleet
of the enemy.

Here, then, is a case in which the doctrine of the command of the sea
and the principle of the fleet in being might seem to be violated in a
crucial fashion. But the men who directed the arms of England in those
days knew what they were about. Long before they allowed the expedition
to start they had established a close and, as they thought, an effective
blockade of all the Atlantic and Mediterranean ports in which either
French or Spanish warships ready for sea were to be found. Nevertheless
we have here a signal illustration of the essential difference between a
command of the sea which has been made absolute by the destruction of
the enemy's available naval forces--as was practically the case after
Trafalgar--and one which is only virtual and potential, because,
although the enemy's fleets have for the time been masked or sealed up
in their ports, they may, should the fortune of war so determine, resume
at any time the position and functions of a true fleet in being. On the
strength of a command of the sea of this merely contingent and potential
character Pitt and his naval advisers had persuaded themselves that the
way to the Mediterranean was open for the transit of troops. Craig's
transports, accordingly, put to sea on April 19. But a week before
Villeneuve with his fleet had left Toulon for the last time, had evaded
Nelson's watch, and passing rapidly through the Straits, had called off
Cadiz, and picking up such Spanish ships as were there had disappeared
into space, no man knowing whither he had gone. He might have gone to
the East Indies, he might have gone to the West Indies, as in fact he
did, or he might be cruising unmolested in waters where he could hardly
fail to come across Craig's transports with their weak escort of two
ships of the line. It was a situation which no one had foreseen or
regarded as more than a contingency too remote to be guarded against
when Craig's expedition was allowed to start. How Nelson viewed the
situation may be seen from his reply to the Admiralty, written on his
receipt of the first intimation that the expedition was about to start.

"As the 'Fisgard' sailed from Gibraltar on the 9th instant, two hours
after the enemy's fleet from Toulon had passed the Straits, I have to
hope she would arrive time enough in the Channel to give their Lordships
information of this circumstance _and to prevent the Rear-Admiral and
Troops before mentioned_"--that is Craig's expedition--"_from leaving
Spithead_." In other words, Nelson held quite plainly that had the
Admiralty known that Villeneuve was at sea outside the Straits they
would not have allowed Craig to start. That Nelson was right in this
assumption is proved by the fact that acting on the inspiration of
Barham--perhaps the greatest strategist that ever presided at
Whitehall--the Admiralty, as soon as they had grasped the situation,
sent orders to Calder off Ferrol, that if he came in contact with the
expedition he was to send it back to Plymouth or Cork under cruiser
escort and retain the two ships of the line which had so far escorted it
under his own command. The fact was that if Craig's expedition once
passed Finisterre it would find itself totally without the naval
protection on which the Admiralty relied when it was dispatched.
Villeneuve was outside the Straits no one knew where, and had been
reinforced by the Spanish ships from Cadiz. Nelson, whose exact
whereabouts was equally unknown to the Admiralty, was detained in the
Mediterranean by baffling winds and also by the necessity of making
sure before quitting his station that Villeneuve had not gone to the
Levant. Orde, who had been blockading Cadiz with a weak squadron which
had to retire on Villeneuve's approach, had convinced himself, on
grounds not without cogency, that Villeneuve was making for the
northward, and had, quite correctly on this hypothesis, fallen back on
the fleet blockading Brest, being ignorant of the peril to which Craig
was exposed. Thus Craig's expedition seemed to be going straight to its
doom unless Calder could intercept it and give it orders to return.
However, Craig and Knight, whose flag flew in one of the ships of the
line escorting the expedition, passed Finisterre without communicating
with Calder, and having by this time got wind of their peril, they
hurried into Lisbon, there to await developments in comparative safety,
though their presence caused great embarrassment to the Portuguese
Government and raised a diplomatic storm. It was not until Craig and
Knight had ascertained that Villeneuve was out of the way and that
Nelson had passed the Straits that they put to sea again and met Nelson
off Cape St Vincent. Nelson had by this time satisfied himself, after an
exhaustive survey of the situation, that Villeneuve had gone to the West
Indies, and resolved to follow him there as soon as he had sped the
expedition on its appointed way. But so apprehensive was he of the
Spanish ships remaining at Carthagena, that, inferior to Villeneuve as
he was, he detached the "Royal Sovereign" from his own squadron, and
placed her under Knight's command. It only remains to add that the
expedition reached its destination in safety and that its result was the
Battle of Maida, fought in the following year--the first battle in which
Napoleon's troops crossed bayonets with British infantry and were beaten
by an inferior force. The expedition was also the indirect cause of the
Battle of Trafalgar itself, for it was in order to frustrate the
coalition with Russia of which it was the instrument that Napoleon had
ordered Villeneuve to make for the Mediterranean when he finally left
Cadiz to encounter Nelson on his path. Thus was it, as Mr Corbett says,
"to prove the insidious drop of poison--the little sting--that was to
infect Napoleon's empire with decay and to force his hand with so
tremendous a result."

Yet it very nearly miscarried at the outset. Nelson and Barham--between
them a combination of warlike energy and strategic insight, without a
parallel in the history of naval warfare--both realized the tremendous
risks it ran. It may be argued that had Villeneuve gone to the north he
would have found himself in the thick of British squadrons closing in on
Brest and vastly superior in force. Yet Allemand, who had escaped a few
weeks later from Rochefort, was able to cruise in these very waters for
over five months without being brought to book. It is true that the
destruction or capture of five thousand British troops would not
seriously have affected the larger issues of the naval campaign, but it
would have broken up the coalition with Russia by which Pitt set so much
store, and which Mr Corbett at any rate represents as having exercised a
decisive influence on the ultimate fortunes of Napoleon. The moral of
the whole story seems to be that competent strategists--for the world
has known none more competent and none more intrepid than Nelson and
Barham--will not risk even a minor expedition at sea unless its line of
advance is sufficiently controlled by superior naval force to ensure its
unmolested transit. The principle thus exhibited in the case of a minor
expedition manifestly applies with immensely increased force to those
larger expeditions which assume the dimensions of an invasion. It was
not until long after Trafalgar had been fought, and the command of the
sea had been secured beyond the possibility of challenge, that the
campaigns in the Peninsula were undertaken--campaigns which ended and
were always intended to end, should the fortune of war so decree, in the
invasion of France and the overthrow of Napoleon. This opens up the
whole question of invasion, which will be discussed in the next



England has not been invaded since A.D. 1066, when, the country having
no fleet in being, William the Conqueror effected a landing and
subjugated the kingdom. During the eight centuries and more that have
since elapsed, every country in Europe has been invaded and its capital
occupied, in many cases more than once. It is by no means for lack of
attempts to invade her that England has been spared the calamity of
invasion for more than eight hundred years. It is not because she has
had at all times--it may indeed be doubted if she has had at any
time--organized military force sufficient to repel an invader, if he
could not be stopped at sea. It is because she can only be invaded
across the sea, and because whenever the attempt has been made she has
always had naval force sufficient to bring the enterprise to nought. It
is merely a truism to say that the invasion of hostile territory across
the sea is a much more difficult and hazardous enterprise than the
crossing of a land frontier by organized military force. But it is no
truism to say that the reason why it is so much more difficult and more
hazardous is that there is no real parallel between the two cases. I
assume a vigorous defensive on the part of the adversary assailed in
both cases--a defensive which, though commonly so called, is really
offensive in its nature. The essential difference lies in this, that two
countries which are separated by the sea have no common frontier. Each
has its own frontier at the limit of its territorial waters, but between
these two there lies a region common to both and from which neither can
be excluded except by the superior naval force of the other.

For the moment an expeditionary force emerges from its own territorial
waters--which may be any distance from a few miles up to many thousands
of miles from the territorial waters of the adversary to be assailed--it
must be prepared to defend itself, and naval force alone can afford it
an adequate measure of defence. Military forces embarked in transports
are defenceless and practically unarmed. They cannot defend themselves
with their own arms, nor can the transports which carry them be so armed
as to afford adequate defence against the smallest warship afloat, least
of all against torpedo craft. Hence, unless the sea to be traversed has
been cleared of the naval forces of the enemy beforehand, the invading
military force must be covered by a naval force sufficient to overcome
any naval force which the enemy is able to bring against it. If the
latter can bring a fleet--as he must be able to do if the invasion is
to be prevented--the covering fleet must be able to beat any fleet that
he can bring. That condition being satisfied, however, it is clear that
the covering fleet must be terribly hampered and handicapped in the
ensuing conflict by the presence of a huge and unwieldy assemblage of
unarmed transports filled with disarmed men, and by the consequent
necessity of defending it against the attack of those portions of the
enemy's naval force to which, albeit not suitable for engaging in the
principal conflict, the transports would offer an otherwise defenceless
prey. Hence the escorting fleet must be stronger than its adversary in a
far larger proportion than it need be if naval issues pure and simple
were alone at stake--so strong indeed that, if the transports were out
of the way, its victory might be taken as certain. But if that is so it
is manifest that the prospects of successful invasion would be
immeasurably improved by seeking to decide the naval issue first--as
Tourville very properly did in the Beachy Head campaign--and keeping the
transports in hand and in port until it had been decided in favour of
the intending invader. This is the eternal dilemma of invasion across a
sea of which the command has not previously been secured. If you are not
strong enough to dispose of the enemy's naval force you are certainly
not strong enough to escort an invading force--itself helpless
afloat--across the sea in his teeth. If you are strong enough to do this
you will certainly be wise to beat him first, because then there will be
nothing left to prevent the transit of your troops. In other words,
command of the sea, if not absolutely and in all cases indispensable to
a successful invasion, is at any rate the only certain way of ensuring
its success.

Naval history from first to last is full of illustrations of the
principles here expounded. I will examine one or two of them, and I must
take my illustrations mainly from the naval history of Britain, first,
because Britain, being an island, is the only country in Europe which
cannot be invaded except across the sea, and secondly, because Britain
for that very reason has often been subjected to attempts at invasion
and has always frustrated them by denying to her adversary that
sufficiency of sea control which, if history is any guide, is essential
to successful invasion. But first I will examine two cases which might
at first sight seem to militate against the principles I have
enunciated. The brilliant campaign of Cæsar which ended in the overthrow
of Pompey and his cause at Pharsalus, was opened by Cæsar's desperate
venture of carrying his army across the Adriatic to the coast of Epirus,
although Pompey's fleet was in full command of the waters traversed.
This is one of those exceptions which may be said to prove the rule.
Cæsar had no alternative. Pompey was in Illyria, and if Cæsar could not
overthrow Pompey on that side of the Adriatic it was certain that Pompey
would overthrow Cæsar on the other side. For this reason, and perhaps
for this reason alone, Cæsar was compelled to undertake a venture which
he must have known to be desperate. How desperate it was is shown by the
fact that, not having transports enough to carry more than half his army
at once, he had to send his transports back as soon as he had landed,
and they were all destroyed on their way back to Brundusium. Antony his
lieutenant did, indeed, succeed after a time in getting the remainder of
his army across, but not before Cæsar had been reduced to the utmost
straits. The whole enterprise moreover was not, strictly speaking, an
invasion of hostile territory. The inhabitants of the territory occupied
by both combatants were neutral as between them, and were willing to
furnish Cæsar with such scanty supplies as they had. Again, an army in
those days needed no ammunition except the sword which each soldier
carried on his person, and that kind of ammunition was not expended in
fighting. Hence Cæsar had no occasion to concern himself with the
security of his communications across the sea--a consideration which
weighs with overwhelming force on the commander of a modern oversea
expedition. "A modern army," as the late Lord Wolseley said, "is such a
complicated organism that any interruption in the line of communications
tends to break up and destroy its very life." An army marches on its
belly. If it cannot be fed it cannot fight. After the Battle of Talavera
Wellington was so paralysed by the failure of the Spanish authorities to
supply his troops with food that he had to abandon the offensive for a
time and to retreat towards his own line of communication with the sea.
Cæsar on the other hand abandoned the sea, which could not feed him, and
trusted to the resources of the country. The difference is vital. The
one risk that Cæsar ran was the destruction of his army afloat, and that
he ran not because he chose but because he must. The risk of destruction
on land he was prepared to run, and this, at any rate, was, as the event
proved, a case of _bene ausus vana contemnere_.

Again, Napoleon's descent on Egypt is another exception which proves the
rule, and proves it still more conclusively. Napoleon evaded Nelson's
fleet and landed his army in Egypt. The army so landed left Egypt in
British transports, having laid down its arms and surrendered just
before the conclusion of the Peace of Amiens; and but for the timely
conclusion of that short-lived armistice, every French soldier who
survived the Egyptian campaign might have seen the inside of a British
prison. This was because Napoleon, who never fathomed the secrets of the
sea, chose to think that to evade a hostile fleet was the same thing as
to defeat it. He managed for a time to escape Nelson's attentions by the
skin of his teeth, and fondly fancied that because he had done so the
dominion of the East was won. He was quickly undeceived by the Battle of
the Nile. That victory destroyed the fleet which had escorted his army
to Egypt and thereby made it impossible for the army ever to return
except by consent of the Power which he never could vanquish on the sea.
The Battle of the Nile, wrote a Frenchman in Egypt, "is a calamity which
leaves us here as children totally lost to the mother country. Nothing
but peace can restore us to her." Nothing but the so-called Peace of
Amiens did restore them. If it be argued, as it often has been, that
Napoleon's successful descent on Egypt proves that military enterprises
of large moment may sometimes be undertaken without first securing the
command of the sea to be traversed, surely the Battle of the Nile and
its sequel are a triumphant refutation of such an argument. Such
enterprises are merely a roundabout way of presenting the belligerent
who retains the command of the sea with as many prisoners of war as
survive from the original expedition.

I need not labour the point which the unbroken testimony of history
from the time of the Norman Conquest has established, that all attempts
to invade England have been made in the past and must be made in the
future across a sea not commanded by the intending invader. If he has
secured the command of the sea beforehand, there is nothing to prevent
the invasion except the consideration that he can attain his end--that
is, the subjugation of the nation's will--at less cost to himself. That
being premised, let us consider how the intending invader will set about
his task. There are three ways, and three ways only. First, he may seek
to overpower the British naval defence on the seas, that is to obtain
the command of the sea. If he can do that, the whole thing is done. Or
secondly, he may collect the military forces destined for the invasion
in ports suitable for the purpose, and when all is ready he may cover
their embarkation and transit by a naval force sufficient to overcome
any naval force which this country can direct against it. I have already
shown, however, that a force sufficient to do this with any certainty,
or even with any reasonable prospect of success, must needs be more than
sufficient to overpower the British naval defence and thereby to secure
the command of the sea, if the enemy were freed from the entangling and
wellnigh disabling necessity of providing for the safe conduct of an
unwieldy host of otherwise defenceless transports. In other words he is
putting the cart before the horse, a procedure which has never yet
succeeded in getting the cart to its destination. This second
alternative is then merely a clumsy and extremely inefficient way of
attaining the same end as the first, and need only be mentioned in order
to exclude it from further consideration.

There remains only a third alternative. This is to assemble the invading
military force at suitable ports as before, and to attempt to engage the
attention of the defending naval force by operations at a distance for a
time sufficient to secure the unmolested transit of the military
expedition. This is the method which has nearly always been employed by
an enemy projecting an invasion of this country. It has never yet
succeeded, because it always leads in the end to a situation which is
practically indistinguishable from that involved in the second
alternative, which I have already discussed and excluded. The naval and
the military elements in the enterprise of invasion being now, by the
hypothesis, separated in space and for that reason incapable of being
very exactly combined in time, a whole series of highly indeterminate
factors is thereby introduced into the problem to be solved by the
invader. There are elements of naval force, to wit, all manner of small
craft, which are not required for the main conflict of fleets--and it
is this conflict which alone can secure the command of the sea--but
which are eminently adapted for the impeachment and destruction of
unarmed transports. These will be employed in the blockade of the ports
in which the military forces are collecting. If the assailant employs
similar craft to drive the blockaders away, the defender will bring up
larger craft to stiffen his blockading flotillas. The invading force
will therefore still be impeded and impeached. The process thus goes on
until, if it is not otherwise decided by the conflict of the main fleets
at a distance, the contending naval forces of both sides are attracted
to the scene of the proposed embarkation, there to fight it out in the
conditions involved in the second alternative considered above,
conditions which I have already shown to be the least favourable to the
would-be invader. In a masterly analysis Mr Julian Corbett has shown
that the British defence against a threatened invasion has always been
conducted on these lines, that the primary objective of the defence has
been the troops and their transports, and that the vigorous pursuit of
this objective has always resulted in a decision being obtained as
between the main fleets of the two belligerents. That the decision has
always been in favour of the British arms is at once a lesson and a
warning--a lesson that immunity from invasion can only be ensured by
superiority at sea, a warning that such superiority can only be secured
by the adequate preparation, the judicious disposition, and the skilful
handling of the naval forces to be employed, as well as by an
unflinching _animus pugnandi_. But no nation which goes to war can hope
for more or be content with less than the opportunity of obtaining a
decision in these conditions. The issue lies on the knees of the gods.

A few illustrations may here be cited. We have seen how in the Beachy
Head campaign Tourville, having failed to force a decision on
Torrington's fleet in being, could not turn aside with Torrington at his
heels and Killigrew and Shovel on his flank to bring over an invading
force from France. He was paralysed by that abiding characteristic of
French naval strategy which impelled the French naval commanders to fix
their eye on ulterior objects and blinded them to the fact that the best
way to attain those objects was to destroy the naval forces of the enemy
whenever the opportunity offered of so obtaining a decision. Hence their
preference for the leeward position in action, their constant reluctance
to fight a decisive action, their habitual direction of their fire at
the masts and sails of the enemy rather than at his hulls, and in
Tourville's case his failure to annihilate Torrington's fleet in being,
resulting in the total miscarriage of the schemes for invasion, to be
followed by internal insurrection, which, as Admiral Colomb has shown,
were the kernel of the French plan of campaign. In the case of the
Armada in the previous century, the task of invasion was entrusted to
Parma, who had collected troops for the purpose, and vessels for their
transport, in the ports of the Spanish Netherlands. But Justin of Nassau
kept a close watch outside, and Parma could not move. He summoned Medina
Sidonia with the Armada to his assistance, but he summoned him in vain,
for the Armada, harassed throughout the Channel, and, as it were, smoked
out of Calais, was finally shattered at Gravelines. Precisely the same
thing happened in the eighteenth century during the Seven Years' War.
Troops and transports were being collected in the Morbihan, but their
exit was blocked by a British naval force stationed off the ports.
Conflans with the French main fleet was at Brest, and there he was
blockaded by Hawke. Evading the blockade, Conflans put to sea and
straightway went to release the troops and transports, hopelessly
blockaded in the Morbihan. But Hawke swooped down on him and destroyed
him in Quiberon Bay, Boscawen having previously destroyed at Lagos the
fleet which De La Clue was bringing from Toulon to effect a junction
with Conflans.

One more illustration may be cited, and I will treat it at some length,
because it presents certain features which give it peculiar
significance in relation to current controversies. This is the projected
invasion of England by France in 1744. It is, so far as I know, the
solitary instance in our naval history which shows the enemy framing his
plans on the lines of what is now known as "a bolt from the blue"--that
is, he projected a surprise invasion, at a time when the two countries
were nominally at peace, in the hope that the first overt act of the war
he was contemplating might be the landing of his troops on British soil.
In 1743, when this project was conceived, England and France were, as I
have said, nominally at peace, but troops belonging to both had fought
at Dettingen, not in any direct quarrel of their own, but because
England was supporting Maria Theresa and France was supporting her
enemies. The fleets of both Powers were jealously watching each other in
the Mediterranean, a situation which led early in 1744 to the too
notorious action of Mathews off Toulon. Nevertheless, until the very end
of 1743 no direct conflict with France was anticipated by the English

Yet France was already secretly preparing her "bolt from the blue." She
had resolved to support the Pretender's cause and to prepare an invasion
of England in which the Pretender's son was to take part, and on landing
in England to rally his party to the overthrow of the Hanoverian
dynasty. The bolt was to be launched from Dunkirk and directed at the
Thames, the intention being to land the invading force at Blackwall.
Some ten thousand French troops to be employed in the expedition were
sent into winter-quarters in and around Dunkirk, but this aroused no
suspicion in England, because this region was the natural place for the
left flank of the French army to winter in, and Dunkirk contained no
transports at the time. Transports were, however, being taken up under
false charter-parties at French ports on the Atlantic and in the
Channel, and were ordered as soon as ready to rendezvous secretly and
separately at Dunkirk. At first the intention was for the expeditionary
force to make its attempt without any support from the French fleet. But
Marshal Saxe, who was to command it and knew that the Thames and its
adjacent waters were never denuded of naval force sufficient to make
short work of a fleet of unarmed transports, flatly declined to
entertain this project and demanded adequate naval support for the
enterprise. Accordingly a powerful fleet, held to be sufficient to
contain or defeat any British fleet that was thought likely to be able
to challenge it, was fitted out with all secrecy at Brest and placed
under the command of De Roquefeuil. Even he was not told its
destination, and false rumours on the subject were allowed to circulate
among those who were concerned in its preparation.

So far everything seemed to be going well. The blow was timed for the
first week in January, but the usual delays occurred, and for a month or
more after the date originally fixed, the expeditionary force and its
escort were separated by the whole length of northern France. Yet even
before the date originally fixed, England had got wind of the
preparations. From the middle of December Brest had been kept under
watch, and orders had been issued to the dockyards to prepare for sea as
many ships of the line as were available. These preparations were
continued, without intermission, until the end of January, the purpose
and destination of the armament at Brest still being unknown. Then two
alarming pieces of intelligence reached England at the same time. One
was that Roquefeuil had put to sea on January 26 (O.S.) with twenty-one
sail of the line, and before being lost sight of by the British cruiser
told off to watch him, had been seen to be clearly standing to the
northward. The other was that Prince Charles, the son of the Pretender,
had left Rome and had landed without hindrance in France. This, being a
direct violation of the Treaty of Utrecht, was naturally held to give to
the sailing of the Brest fleet the complexion of a direct hostile
intent. It was on February 1 that these facts were known, and on
February 2, Sir John Norris, a veteran of Barfleur and La Hogue, who was
now well over eighty years of age, but as the event showed was still
fully equal to the task entrusted to him, was ordered to hoist his flag
at Portsmouth and to "take the most effectual measures to prevent the
making of any descent on the Kingdoms." Norris hoisted his flag on the
6th, and by the 18th he had eighteen sail of the line under his command.
Subsequently his force was increased to twenty. Nothing was known of the
movements of the French fleet since January 29, when the frigate set to
watch it had finally lost sight of it. It was in fact still off the
mouth of the Channel, baffled by adverse winds and gales and vainly
seeking to make headway against them. If it had gone to the
Mediterranean, Mathews off Toulon would be placed in grave jeopardy, and
there were some projects for detaching a powerful squadron of Norris's
ships to his support. If, on the other hand, it was aiming at the
Channel, Norris with his whole force would be none too strong to
encounter and defeat it. This was Norris's dilemma, and it was not until
February 9 that he learned from the Duke of Newcastle that an embargo
had been laid on all shipping at Dunkirk, where some fifty vessels of
one hundred and fifty to two hundred tons had by this time assembled.
These might at a pinch and for a short transit be estimated to be
capable of transporting some ten thousand troops. But an embargo,
although clear proof of hostile intent, was not necessarily a sign of
impending invasion. It was a common expedient, preliminary to war,
whereby you deprived your enemy of ships and men very necessary to his
purposes and secured ships and men equally necessary to your own. Hence
no strategic connexion could with any certainty be held to exist between
the embargo at Dunkirk and the sailing of the French fleet from Brest.
On the other hand it was clearly dangerous to uncover the Channel so
long as the destination of the Brest fleet was unknown, and, although
Newcastle had suggested to Norris that he should divide his fleet and
send the major part of it to reinforce Mathews in the Mediterranean, yet
Norris strongly demurred to the suggestion, and before the time came to
act on it the situation had so far developed as to disallow it
altogether. On February 11, Norris received information that a French
fleet of at least sixteen sail of the line had been seen the day before
off the Start. This convinced him that the French had some scheme to the
eastward in hand; and as he had frigates watching the Channel between
the Isle of Wight and Cape Barfleur he was equally convinced that the
French had so far no appreciable armed force to the eastward of him.
Newcastle, however, did not share this conviction. He had received
numerous reports of movements of French ships in the Channel to the
eastward of the Isle of Wight and other information which pointed to a
concentration at Dunkirk. As a matter of fact no French men-of-war were
at this time east of the Isle of Wight, and the vessels reported to
Newcastle must have been transports making for Dunkirk and magnified
into ships of the line by the fog of war. Newcastle, accordingly,
ordered Norris to go forthwith to the Downs. Foul winds prevented Norris
from sailing at once from St Helen's, and on the 13th, the day before he
did sail, he received further information which confirmed his conviction
that the French were still to the westward. But Newcastle's orders
remained peremptory, and on the 14th he sailed with eighteen ships, and
anchored in the Downs on the 17th. There he found two more ships
awaiting him, while two others were on their way to join him from

I pause here for a moment to point out that Norris's desire, over-ruled
by Newcastle, to remain at Portsmouth was thoroughly well advised. He
knew that there was naval force enough in the Thames and the Downs to
dispose of any expedition coming from Dunkirk unless it were escorted by
the Brest fleet, or by a very considerable detachment therefrom. He was
well assured that no such detachment could have eluded the vigilance of
his frigates, and he felt that in these circumstances he could better
impeach Roquefeuil by lying in wait for him at Spithead or St Helen's
than by preceding him to the Downs. How right he was in this
appreciation will be seen from a closer consideration of the movements
of the French fleet. It was not until February 13 that Roquefeuil
received his final orders off the Start. He was directed to detach De
Baraille, his second in command, with five ships. These were to go
forthwith to Dunkirk and escort Saxe's expedition, while he himself with
the remainder of his fleet was to blockade Norris at Portsmouth and
defeat him if he could. But Roquefeuil and his council of war found
these orders too hazardous for execution. They resolved not to divide
the fleet until at least Norris, presumed to be at Portsmouth, had been
disposed of. On the 17th, the day on which Norris had anchored in the
Downs, they looked into Spithead and persuaded themselves that they had
seen Norris there with eleven sail of the line. Judging that the weather
was too bad for a successful blockade, Roquefeuil then passed on up the
Channel, convinced that Norris was now behind him with too weak a force
to be of any effect. Baraille was then sent on with his detachment to
Dunkirk, but by this time Saxe had lost heart and declined to sail
until Roquefeuil's whole fleet was at hand to escort him.

It never was at hand to escort him, and the expedition never sailed.
Roquefeuil, with his fleet now greatly reduced, anchored off Dungeness
on the 22nd, and never got any further. What had happened in the
meanwhile was this. Norris remained in the Downs, being held there for
some time by a gale. He was not unaware of what was going on at Dunkirk,
but he hesitated to proceed thither lest the French fleet behind him
should be covering another expedition coming from some French port in
the Channel. He sent to reconnoitre, however, and on the 21st received
information that four sixty-gun ships--these were, no doubt, Baraille's
detachment--were at anchor off Gravelines, and there covering the
transports at Dunkirk. On the 22nd, Roquefeuil appeared off Dungeness
and anchored there. As soon as he knew Roquefeuil's whereabouts, Norris
resolved to attack him without delay. The wind, being N.W., was
favourable to his enterprise, and at the same time made it impossible
for the expedition to leave Dunkirk. Should the wind change before
Roquefeuil was brought to action and defeated, Norris held that he was
strong enough to detach a force to impeach Saxe and Baraille, and at the
same time to give a good account of Roquefeuil. But matters did not
exactly turn out in this wise. On the 24th Norris left the Downs, with a
light wind from the N.W., and an ebb tide in his favour, making for
Dungeness, where Roquefeuil was still lying. His appearance in the
offing was Roquefeuil's first information that Norris was to the
eastward of him in superior force, and it greatly disconcerted
Roquefeuil. He held a hasty council of war and decided to cut and run.
By this time the tide had turned and the wind had fallen, so that he
could not stir until the tide again began to ebb. Norris, similarly
disabled, had anchored some few miles to the eastward, intending to make
his attack as soon as wind and tide allowed. But during the night a
furious gale from the N.E. sprang up, which drove most of Norris's ships
from their anchors, and when daylight came the French were nowhere to be
seen. Roquefeuil had slipped his cables, and with the gale behind him
was hurrying back to Brest. Norris went after him as far as Beachy Head,
but there gave up the chase and returned to the Downs, to make sure that
Saxe and Baraille, for whom the wind was now favourable, might find
their way barred should they attempt to set sail. The transports,
however, were by now in no position to move, nor was either Saxe or
Baraille in any mind to allow them to move. They both realized that the
game was up. The troops were in the transports, and they suffered
greatly in the gale that frustrated Norris' attack on Roquefeuil. But
that was merely an accident of warfare. It was not the gale that
shattered the expedition, nor did it save England from invasion. On the
contrary, while it played havoc with the transports and troops at
Dunkirk, it also saved Roquefeuil's fleet from destruction at Dungeness.
But, gale or no gale, the transports and troops never could have crossed
so long as Norris held on to the Downs. Nor could they have crossed had
Norris been allowed to remain at Portsmouth as he desired; for in that
case Baraille could not have been detached.

To point the moral of this memorable story, I cannot do better than
quote Mr Julian Corbett's comment on it. "The whole attempt, it will be
seen, with everything in its favour, had exhibited the normal course of
degradation. For all the nicely framed plan and perfect deception, the
inherent difficulties, when it came to the point of execution, had as
usual forced a clumsy concentration of the enemy's battle fleet with his
transports, and we on our part were able to forestall it with every
advantage in our favour by the simple expedient of a central mass on a
revealed and certain line of passage." We were certainly taken at a
disadvantage at the outset, for the "bolt from the blue" was preparing
some time before any one in England got wind of it. The country had
been largely denuded of troops for foreign enterprises, Scotland was
deeply disaffected, the Jacobites were full of hope and intrigue, the
Ministry was supine and feeble, the navy was deplorably weak in home
waters, and such ships as were available had been dispersed to their
ports for refit. Nevertheless with all these conditions in its favour
the projected "bolt from the blue" was detected and anticipated--tardily,
it is true, and with no great sagacity except on the part of Norris--long
before the expedition was ready to start. Surely the moral needs no
further pointing.

By these instances, and others which might be quoted, the law seems to
be established that in default of an assured command of the sea the
fleet which seeks to cover an invasion is drawn by irresistible
attraction towards the place of embarkation, and that the same
attraction brings it there--if not earlier--into conflict with the
superior forces of the enemy. If in the Trafalgar campaign, which I have
no space to examine in detail, the law does not seem to operate to the
extent that it did in the other cases examined, that is only because the
disposition of the British fleets was so masterly that Napoleon never
got the opportunity he yearned for of bringing his fleets to the place
of embarkation. They were outmanoeuvred beforehand and finally
overthrown at Trafalgar.

There is indeed a fourth alternative which has been advanced by some
speculative writers, though history lends it no countenance, and it has
never, I believe, been taken seriously by any naval authority of repute.
I cannot take it seriously myself. It assumes that some naval Power,
suitably situated as regards this country, might without either
provocation or overt international dispute, clandestinely take up
transport--either a comparatively small number of very large merchant
vessels or a very large number of barges, lighters, or what not to be
towed by steam vessels--might clandestinely put an army with all its
necessary _impedimenta_ on board the transports so provided and then
clandestinely, and without either notice or warning, send them to sea,
with or without escort, with intent to effect a landing at some suitable
point on the English coast. The whole theory seems to me to involve at
least three monstrous improbabilities: first, a piratical intent on the
part of a civilized nation; secondly, a concealment of such intent in
conditions wellnigh incompatible with the degree of secrecy required;
and thirdly, a precision and a punctuality of movement in the operations
of embarkation, transit, and landing of which history affords no
example, while naval opinion and experience scoff at them as utterly
impracticable. Of course the future may not resemble the past, and naval
wars of the future may not be conducted on a pattern sealed by the
unbroken teaching of over eight hundred years. But that is an assumption
which I cannot seriously entertain.



The maritime trade of a nation at war has always been regarded by the
other belligerent as his legitimate prey. In the Dutch Wars the
suppression of the enemy's commerce was the main objective of both
parties to the conflict. In all wars in which either belligerent has any
commerce afloat worth considering one belligerent may always be expected
to do all that he can for its capture or suppression, while the other
will do as much as he can for its defence. In proportion to the volume
and value of the national trade afloat is the potency of its destruction
as an agency for bringing the national will into submission. If, for
example, the maritime trade of England could be suppressed by her
enemies, England would thereby be vanquished. Her commerce is her
life-blood. On the other hand there are nations, very powerful in war,
which either by reason of their geographical position, or because their
oversea trade is no vital element in their national economy, would
suffer comparatively little in like circumstances. It thus appears that
the volume and value of the national trade afloat is the measure of the
efforts which an enemy is likely to make for its suppression. But it is
not directly the measure of the efforts which a nation so assailed must
make for its defence. The measure of these efforts is determined not by
the volume and value of the trade to be protected but by the amount and
character of the naval force which the enemy can employ in assailing it.
In the Boer War British maritime commerce was unassailed and
uninterrupted in all parts of the world, and yet not a single ship of
the British Navy was directly employed in its protection. If on the
other hand England were at war with a naval Power of the first rank, she
might have to employ the whole of her naval resources in securing the
free transit of her maritime commerce. So long as she can do this with
success she need give no thought to the menace of possible invasion. A
command of the sea so far established as to secure freedom of transit
for the vast and ubiquitous maritime commerce of this country is also,
of necessity, so far established as to deny free transit to the
transports of an enemy seeking to invade. The greater includes the less.

It may at first sight seem to be an anomaly--some, indeed, would
represent it as a mere survival of barbarism--that whereas in war on
land the private property of an enemy's subjects is, by the established
law and custom of civilized nations, not liable to capture or
destruction without compensation to its owners, the opposite rule still
prevails in war at sea. But a little consideration will, I think, show
that the analogy sought to be established between the two cases is a
very imperfect one. War on land does _ipso facto_ suspend in large
measure the free transport of commerce in transit. As between the two
belligerents it interrupts it altogether. Moreover, throughout the
territory occupied by the enemy, the railways, and in large measure the
roads, are practically monopolized for the movements of his troops and
the transport of his supplies--in a word for the maintenance of his
communications. There can have been little or no consignment of goods
from Paris to Berlin or _vice versa_ during the war of 1870, and even
though at certain stages of the war goods might have been consigned,
say, from Lyons to Geneva, or from Lille to Brussels, yet such cases are
really only the counterparts of the frequent failure of one
belligerent's cruisers to intercept the merchant vessels of the other on
the high seas. Again, in the case of a beleaguered fortress, the
besiegers would never dream of allowing a convoy of food or of munitions
of war--or for the matter of that of merchandise of any kind--to enter
the fortress. They would intercept it as a matter of course, and if
necessary they would appropriate it to their own use. The upshot of it
all is that even in war on land the transit of all commerce, albeit the
private property of some one, is practically suspended within the area
of the territory occupied, and very seriously impeded throughout the
whole country subject to invasion. It is not, therefore, true to say
without many qualifications that in war private property is respected on
land and not respected at sea. The only difference that I can discern is
that by the law and custom of nations private property cannot be
appropriated on land, whereas at sea it can. But this difference is not
really essential. The essential thing in both cases is that the wealth
of the enemy is diminished and the credit of his traders destroyed--a
far more important matter in these days than the destruction of this or
that cargo of his goods--by the suspension of that interchange of
commodities with other nations which is the chief element of national
prosperity, and may be, as in the case of England, the indispensable
condition of national existence. Indeed, although private property on
land is exempt from capture, and at sea it is not, yet there are many
nations which would suffer far more from the interruption of their
mercantile communications which war on land entails than they would from
the destruction of their commerce at sea.

For these reasons I hold that the proposed exemption of private property
from capture or molestation at sea is a chimerical one. War is
essentially an act of violence. It operates by the destruction of human
life as well as by all other agencies which are likely to subdue the
enemy's will. Among these agencies the capture or destruction of
commerce afloat is by far the most humane since it entails the least
sacrifice of life, limb, or liberty, and at the same time its coercive
pressure may in some cases, though not in all, be the most effective
instrument for compelling the enemy's submission. Moreover, it is not
proposed to exempt from capture or destruction such merchant vessels of
the enemy--or even of a neutral for that matter--as attempt to break a
blockade. Now the modern conditions of blockade are such that the
warships conducting it may be stationed hundreds of miles from the
blockaded port or ports, and their outlying cruisers, remaining in touch
with each other and with the main body, may be much further afield.
Within the area of the organized patrol thus established, every vessel
seeking to enter a blockaded port or to issue from it will still be
liable to capture. In these conditions the proposal to exempt the
remainder of the enemy's private property afloat from capture would be a
mockery. There would not be enough of such property afloat to pay for
the cost of capture.

It is an axiom of naval warfare that an assured command of the sea is at
once the best defence for commerce afloat and an indispensable
condition for any such attack on it as is likely to have any appreciable
effect in subduing the enemy's will. War is an affair not of pin-pricks
but of smashing blows. "The harassment and distress," says Admiral
Mahan, "caused to a country by serious interference with its commerce
will be conceded by all. It is doubtless a most important secondary
operation of naval war, and is not likely to be abandoned until war
itself shall cease; but regarded as a primary and fundamental measure
sufficient in itself to crush an enemy, it is probably a delusion, and a
most dangerous delusion, when presented in the fascinating garb of
cheapness to the representatives of a people." Here again we may discern
some of the larger implications of that potent and far-reaching agency
of naval warfare, the command of the sea. If a belligerent not aiming at
the command of the sea, and having no sufficient naval force wherewithal
to secure it, thinks to crush his enemy by directing sporadic attacks on
his commerce, he will, if history is any guide, soon find out his
mistake. His naval forces available for this purpose, are, by the
hypothesis, inferior to those of the enemy. It is certain that they will
sooner or later be hunted down and destroyed. Moreover, the mercantile
flag of the weaker belligerent will, as I have shown, disappear from the
sea from the very outset of the conflict; and the maritime commerce of
such a belligerent must be of very insignificant volume if the loss
entailed by its suppression is not greater than that likely to be
inflicted by such a belligerent on the enemy's commerce which crosses
the seas under the _ægis_ of a flag which commands them. Admiral Mahan
has estimated that during the whole of the war of the French Revolution
and Empire the direct loss to England "by the operation of hostile
cruisers did not exceed 2-1/2 per cent. of the commerce of the Empire;
and that this loss was partially made good by the prize ships and
merchandise taken by its own naval vessels and privateers." It should be
noted, however, that the Royal Commission on Food Supply was of opinion
that 4 per cent. would be a more accurate estimate. It is also well
known that during the same period the maritime commerce of England was
doubled in volume while that of France was annihilated. In point of fact
the risks run in war by commerce afloat are measured very exactly by the
degree in which the flag which covers it has secured the command of the
sea--that is, be it always remembered, the control of the maritime
communications affected. During the War of American Independence, when
British supremacy at sea was seriously challenged and at times was in
grave jeopardy--owing quite as much to faulty disposition as to
inferiority of force--premiums of fifteen guineas per cent. were paid in
1782 on ships trading to the Far East; whereas from the spring of 1793
until the close of the struggle with Napoleon no premiums exceeding half
that rate were paid. Yet to the very end of the war British merchant
vessels were being seized even in the Channel almost every day. There
is, however, good reason to think that many of these seizures were in
reality collusive operations undertaken for the purpose of carrying on
clandestinely the direct trade with the Continent which Napoleon sought
in vain to suppress. The full history of the memorable conflict between
the Berlin Decrees of Napoleon and the British Orders in Council, is
still to be written. Some very illuminating side-lights are thrown on it
by Mr David Hannay in a volume entitled _The Sea-Trader, His Friends and

It would seem to follow from these premisses--fortified as they are by
other historical examples that might be cited--that of two belligerents
in a naval war, that one which establishes and maintains an effective
command of the sea will be absolute master of the maritime commerce of
the other, while his own maritime commerce, though not entirely immune,
will suffer no such decisive losses as will determine or even materially
affect the course and issue of the war; and that he may indeed emerge
from the war much stronger and more prosperous than he was at the
beginning. Such is assuredly the teaching of history, and although vast
changes have taken place alike in respect of the methods, opportunities,
implements, and international conventions of naval war and in respect of
the conditions, volume, and national importance of maritime commerce,
yet I think it can be shown that the sum total of these changes has made
on the whole rather for the advantage of the superior belligerent than
otherwise. In the first place privateering--formerly a very effective
weapon in the hands of the weaker belligerent--is now abolished. It is
true that the Declaration of Paris, which recorded and ratified its
abolition, has not been formally accepted by all the naval Powers of the
world; but it is also true that since its promulgation no naval Power
has sought to revive privateering. It is indeed held by some that the
right claimed by certain maritime Powers to convert merchant ships of
their own nationality into warships by arming and commissioning them on
the high seas is, or may be, equivalent to the revival of privateering
in its most dangerous and aggressive form. But those who argue thus
appear to overlook the fact that this process of conversion on the high
seas is by the Seventh Convention of the Second Hague Conference hedged
round with a series of restrictions which differentiate the warship thus
improvised very sharply from the privateer of the past. The following
are the leading provisions of this Convention:--

1. A merchant ship converted into a warship cannot have the rights and
duties appertaining to vessels having that status unless it is under the
direct authority, immediate control, and responsibility of the Power the
flag of which it flies.

2. Merchant ships converted into warships must bear the external marks
which distinguish the warships of their nationality.

3. The commander must be in the service of the State and duly
commissioned by the proper authorities. His name must figure on the list
of the officers of the fighting fleet.

4. The crew must be subject to military discipline.

5. Every merchant ship converted into a warship is bound to observe in
its operations the laws and customs of war.

6. A belligerent who converts a merchant ship into a warship must, as
soon as possible, announce such conversion in the list of its warships.

This Convention has been accepted and ratified by all the great maritime
Powers. It is true that it gives the converted merchant ship what may be
called the dog's privilege of taking a first bite with impunity, but it
makes it very difficult for any second bite to be taken. Such a vessel
may as a merchant ship have obtained coal and other supplies in a
neutral port before conversion, but she cannot after conversion return
to the same or another neutral port and repeat the process; nor can she
easily play the game which some have attributed to her of being a
merchant ship one day, a warship the next, and a merchant ship again on
the third. Further, as a weapon to be employed against England in
particular, the method of conversion here prescribed would seem to be
largely discounted by the fact that this country could, if it were so
disposed, convert as many merchant ships into warships in this way as
all the rest of the world put together.

It will be argued, perhaps, that a belligerent when hard pressed will
not respect the provisions of a mere paper Convention, but will, if it
suits him, treat them as non-existent. In that case it is not easy to
see why he should ever have accepted and ratified them. The preamble of
this very Convention recites that "whereas the contracting Powers have
been unable to come to an agreement on the question whether the
conversion of a merchant ship into a warship may take place upon the
high seas, it is understood that the question of the place where such
conversion is effected remains outside the scope of this agreement, and
is in no way affected by the following rules." In other words some of
the very Powers which have ratified the Convention as it stands
categorically declined to add to it a provision forbidding altogether
the conversion of a merchant ship into a warship on the high seas. If
this does not mean that, while reserving their freedom of action in this
respect, they are prepared to abide by the provisions of a Convention
which they have not less categorically accepted and ratified we are
driven to the absurd conclusion that all International Law is a nullity.

Secondly, the practical disappearance of the sailing ship from the seas
has profoundly modified all the pre-existing conditions affecting the
attack and defence of commerce afloat. In the days of sailing, all
vessels were compelled to sail according to the wind, that is, to take
devious courses whenever the wind was adverse, so that some of them
might at all times be found scattered over very wide areas of the seas
connecting the ports of departure with those of arrival. Accordingly the
sporadic attack on commerce by isolated warships cruising at large
within the limits of trade routes, which might be hundreds of miles in
width, was often productive of very appreciable results. There were few
blank coverts on the seas to be drawn. Nowadays a steamer can always
take the most direct course to her destination. As a consequence, trade
routes have now been narrowed down to what may more fittingly be called
lines of communication, and these lines possess the true characteristic
of all lines, namely, that they have practically no breadth. Thus the
areas bounded by these lines are nowadays all blank coverts. Any one who
happens to cross the Atlantic, as I have crossed it more than once, by
one of the less frequented routes, will know that the number of vessels
sighted in a voyage quite as long as any warship could take without
coaling may often be counted on the fingers of one hand. Another
characteristic of these lines is that though their points of departure
and destination are fixed, yet the lines joining these points may be
varied if necessary to such an extent that any warship hovering about
their ordinary direction would be thrown entirely off the scent. On the
other hand their ports of departure and destination being fixed, the
lines of communication must inevitably converge as they approach these
points. There are other points also more in the open at which several
lines of communication may intersect. At these "terminal and focal
points," as Mr Corbett has aptly called them, the belligerent, being by
hypothesis inferior to his adversary, must needs endeavour to
concentrate his attack on his enemy's commerce, because at any other
points the game would not be worth the candle. But it is precisely at
these points that the superior adversary will concentrate his defence,
and being superior, will take care to do so in force sufficient for the
purpose. So far as the remaining portions of the lines of communication
need any direct defence at all this can be afforded, if and when
necessary, by collecting the merchant ships about to traverse them into
convoys and giving them an escort sufficiently powerful to deal
effectually with attacks which from the nature of the case can only be
sporadic and intermittent. Be it remembered that the last thing a
warship bent on commerce destruction wants is to encounter an enemy in
superior or even in equal force. The moment she does so her game is up.

Thirdly, the substitution of steam for sails has very largely reduced
the enduring mobility of the commerce-destroying warship. In time of war
no warship will ever go further from the nearest available supply of
coal than is represented by considerably less than half of the distance
that she can steam at full speed with her bunkers full. If she does so
she runs the risk, if chased, of burning her last pound of coal before
she has reached shelter. Coaling at sea is only possible in exceptional
circumstances, and is in any case a very tedious operation. A warship
which attempts it will be taken at a great disadvantage if an enemy
catches her in the process. Colliers, moreover, are exposed to capture
while proceeding to the appointed rendezvous, and if they fail to reach
it the warship awaiting them will be placed in extreme danger. All these
difficulties and dangers may be surmounted once and again, but they must
needs put a tremendous handicap in the long run on the commerce-destroying
efforts of a belligerent who is not superior to his adversary at sea.
Of course if he is superior at sea the enemy's commerce will be at his
mercy, and nothing can prevent its destruction or at least its total
suppression. But that is not the hypothesis we are considering.

Fourthly, the power of the modern warship to send her prizes into court
for adjudication, or to destroy them off-hand on capture is much more
limited than was that of her sailing predecessor. If she sends them into
port she must either put a prize crew on board or escort them herself.
In the former case the prizes, and in the latter case both prizes and
their captors are liable to recapture, a liability which becomes the
greater in proportion as the enemy is superior at sea. As to the former
alternative, moreover, the crew of a modern man-of-war is highly
specialized, and in particular its engine-room complement, which must
furnish a portion of every prize crew, is at the outset no greater than
is required for the full fighting efficiency of the ship. It is
probable, therefore, that the captor would in nearly all cases adopt the
alternative of destroying his prizes at sea. In that case there will be
no prize money for any one concerned, but that is perhaps a minor
consideration. A far more important consideration is that before
destroying the prize the captor must take its crew on board and provide
food and accommodation for them. Any other course would be sheer piracy
and would inevitably lead to drastic reprisals. Now, before the captor
had destroyed many prizes in this fashion--especially if even one of
them happened to be a passenger steamer well filled with passengers--she
would find herself gravely embarrassed by the number of her prisoners,
and the need of providing for them even in the roughest fashion. A
captain having to fight his ship even with a few hundreds of prisoners
on board would be in no very enviable position.

The foregoing are the leading considerations which appear to me to
govern the problem of the attack and defence of maritime commerce in
modern conditions of naval warfare. I have discussed the question in
greater detail in a work entitled _Nelson and Other Naval Studies_, and
as I have seen no reason to abandon or substantially to modify the
conclusions there formulated, I reproduce them here for the sake of

1. All experience shows that commerce-destroying never has been, and
never can be, a primary object of naval war.

2. There is nothing in the changes which modern times have witnessed in
the methods and appliances of naval warfare to suggest that the
experience of former wars is no longer applicable.

3. Such experience as there is of modern war points to the same
conclusion and enforces it.

4. The case of the "Alabama," rightly understood, does not disallow this
conclusion but rather confirms it.

5. Though the volume of maritime commerce has vastly increased, the
number of units of naval force capable of assailing it has decreased in
far greater proportion.

6. Privateering is, and remains abolished, not merely by the fiat of
International Law, but by changes in the methods and appliances of
navigation and naval warfare which have rendered the privateer entirely

7. Maritime commerce is much less assailable than in former times,
because the introduction of steam has confined its course to definite
trade routes of extremely narrow width, and has almost denuded the sea
of commerce outside these limits.

8. The modern commerce destroyer is confined to a comparatively narrow
radius of action by the inexorable limits of her coal supply. If she
destroys her prizes she must forgo the prize money and find
accommodation for the crews and passengers of the ships destroyed. If
she sends them into port she must deplete her engine-room complement and
thereby gravely impair her own efficiency.

9. Torpedo craft are of little or no use for commerce destruction except
in certain well-defined areas where special measures can be taken for
checking their depredations.

Of course all this depends on the one fundamental assumption that the
commerce to be defended belongs to a Power which can, and does, command
the sea. On no other condition can maritime commerce be defended at



A warship, considered in the abstract, may be defined as a vessel
employed, and generally constructed, for the purpose of conveying across
the seas to the place of conflict, the weapons that are to be used in
conflict, the men who are to use them, and all such stores, whether of
food or other supplies, as will give to the vessel as large a measure of
enduring mobility as is compatible with her displacement. If we confine
our attention to the period posterior to the employment of the gun on
shipboard as the principal weapon of offence, and if we regard the
torpedo as a particular kind of projectile, and the tube from which it
is discharged as a particular kind of gun, we may condense this
definition into the modern formula that a warship is a floating
gun-carriage. With the methods and implements of sea warfare anterior to
the introduction of the gun we need not concern ourselves. They belong
to the archæology of the subject. It suffices to point out that in all
periods of naval warfare the nature of the principal weapon employed,
and to some extent that of the motive power available, have not only
governed the structure of the ship and determined the practicable limit
of its displacement, but have also exercised a dominant influence over
the ordering of fleets and their disposition in action. Sea tactics have
never been more elaborate than they were in the last days of the galley
period which came to an end with the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, less
than a score of years before the defeat of the Armada in 1588. But the
substitution of sails for oars as the motive power of the warship and
the more general employment of the gun as the principal weapon of
offence necessarily entailed radical changes in the tactical methods
which had been slowly evolved during the galley period. At first all was
confusion and a sea-fight was reduced for a time to a very disorderly
and tumultuous affair. "We went down in no order," wrote an officer who
was present at Trafalgar, "but every man to take his bird." This is a
very inaccurate and even more unintelligent account of the tactics
pursued at Trafalgar; but it might very well stand for a picturesque
summary of the tactical confusion which prevailed at the period of the
Armada and for half a century afterwards.

Gradually, however, order was again evolved out of the prevailing chaos.
But it was not the old order. It was a new order based on the
predominance of the gun and its disposition on board the ship. To go
down in no order and for each man to take his bird would mean that each
ship, whether large or small, would be free as far as circumstances
permitted to select an adversary not disproportioned in strength to
herself, so that there was no very pressing need for the fleet to
consist of homogeneous units, nor for the elimination of comparatively
small craft from a general engagement. But in the course of the Dutch
Wars the practice was slowly evolved of fighting in a compact or
close-hauled line, the ships being ranged in a line ahead--that is, each
succeeding ship following in the wake of her next ahead--in order to
give free play to the guns disposed mainly on the broadside, and being,
for purposes of mutual support, disposed as closely to each other as was
compatible with individual freedom of evolution and manoeuvre. This
disposition necessarily involved the exclusion from the line of battle
of all vessels below a certain average or standard of fighting strength,
since it was no longer possible for "every man to take his bird" and a
weak ship might find herself in conflict with an adversary of
overpowering strength in the enemy's line. Hence the main fighting
forces of naval belligerents came in time to be composed entirely of
"ships fit to lie in a line," as Torrington phrased it, of "capital
ships," as they were frequently called in former days, of "line of
battle ships" or "ships of the line," as afterwards they were more
commonly called, or of "battleships" as is nowadays the accepted
appellation. Other elements of naval force not "fit to lie in a line"
were also required, as I am about to show, and took different forms at
different times, but the root of the whole evolution lies in the
elimination of the non-capital ship from the main fighting line. In a
very instructive chapter of his _Naval Warfare_, Admiral Colomb has
traced the whole course of this gradual "Differentiation of Naval
Force." But for my purpose it suffices to cite the briefer exposition of
a French writer quoted by Admiral Mahan in his _Influence of Sea Power
upon History_:--

"With the increase of the power of the ship of war, and with the
perfecting of its sea and warlike qualities, there has come an equal
progress in the art of utilizing them.... As naval evolutions become
more skilful, their importance grows from day to day. To these
evolutions there is needed a base, a point from which they depart and to
which they return. A fleet of warships must always be ready to meet an
enemy; logically, therefore, this point of departure for naval
evolutions must be the order of battle. Now since the disappearance of
galleys, almost all the artillery is found upon the sides of a ship of
war. Hence it is the beam that must necessarily and always be turned
toward the enemy. On the other hand it is necessary that the sight of
the latter must never be interrupted by a friendly ship. Only one
formation allows the ships of the same fleet to satisfy fully these
conditions. That formation is the line ahead. The line, therefore, is
imposed as the only order of battle, and consequently as the basis of
all fleet tactics. In order that this line of battle, this long thin
line of guns, may not be injured or broken at some point weaker than the
rest, there is at the same time felt to be the necessity of putting in
it only ships which, if not of equal force, have at least equally strong
sides. Logically it follows, at the same moment in which the line ahead
became definitely the order for battle, there was established the
distinction between the 'ships of the line' alone destined for a place
therein, and the lighter ships meant for other uses."

But the need for other and lighter ships "meant for other uses" and not
"fit to lie in a line," is equally demonstrable. The function of
battleships is to act in concert. They must therefore be concentrated in
fleets sufficiently strong to give a good account of the enemy's fleets
opposed to them. This does not necessarily mean that all the fleets of a
belligerent must be concentrated in a single position. But it does mean
that if disposed in accordance with the dispositions of the enemy they
must be so disposed and connected, that, moving on interior lines, they
can always bring a superior force to the point of contact with the
enemy. Subject to this paramount condition, that of being able to
concentrate more rapidly than the enemy can, dispersal of naval
force--not of units but of organized fighting fleets--is generally a
better disposition than extreme concentration. But it is a fatal error
in strategy so to disperse your fleets as to expose them to the risk of
being overpowered by the enemy in detail.

The fleets of capital ships thus organized, and disposed as occasion may
require and sound strategy dictate, are not, however, by any means to be
regarded as autonomous and self-sufficing organisms. They are rather to
be regarded as the moving base of a much larger organization, much more
widely dispersed, consisting of lighter vessels not fit to lie in a
line, but specially adapted to discharge functions which capital ships
cannot as such discharge, yet which are indispensable either to the full
efficiency of the latter or to the maintenance of an effective command
of the sea. The first of these functions is the collection and rapid
transmission of intelligence as to the enemy's dispositions and
movements over as wide an area of the waters in dispute as is compatible
with communication rapid enough to allow of counter-movements being made
before it is too late. The development of wireless telegraphy has
largely extended this area, but it is not without limits in practice,
and those limits are already narrower than the extreme range of a single
transmission by wireless telegraphy. For example, a warship in the
Levant might, if the conditions were exceptionally favourable,
communicate by direct wireless with another warship in the Orkneys. But
the information thus transmitted would hardly be likely directly to
influence the movements and dispositions of the latter. If it did it
would probably not be through the immediate initiative of the Admiral
commanding in the North Sea, but through the supreme control of all the
naval forces of the belligerent affected, exercised through the General
Staff of the Navy at the seat of Government. It may here be remarked in
passing that the development of wireless telegraphy will probably be
found in war to strengthen this supreme control and to weaken to that
extent the independent and isolated initiative of individual
Commanders-in-Chief. But that is not necessarily a disadvantage, and
even so far as it is disadvantage at all it is more than balanced by the
immense corresponding advantage of keeping the War Staff at all times in
direct touch with every part of the field of naval operations, and
thereby making it the focus of all available information, and the
directing authority for all the larger strategy of the campaign. Except
in degree, moreover, there is nothing new in this. When Nelson was
returning across the Atlantic, after chasing Villeneuve out of the West
Indies, his only way of informing the Admiralty of the nature of the
situation was to send on Bettesworth in the brig "Curieux" with his
news. Nowadays a modern "Curieux" would be able to send on the news as
soon as she came within fifteen hundred or possibly two thousand miles
from the British Isles, and Nelson at the same distance might have
received his orders direct from the Admiralty. But the special point to
note is that as soon as Bettesworth's information was received at the
Admiralty, Barham, the First Lord of the Admiralty, instantly issued
orders which profoundly modified the dispositions of the fleets engaged
in blockading the French ports and led directly to Calder's action off
Finisterre, and in the sequel to the abandonment by Napoleon of all his
projects of invasion and the destruction of the allied fleets at
Trafalgar. There were giants in those days both afloat and ashore. But
the giants afloat did not resent the interference of the giants ashore,
and, as Mr Corbett has shown, the Trafalgar campaign was conducted with
consummate sagacity by Barham, who embodied in himself the War Staff of
the time.

Such is the transcendent importance of intelligence, and of its
collection, transmission, collation, interpretation, and translation
into supreme executive orders. Its collection and transmission is mainly
the function of cruising ships disposed either individually or in small
groups for the purpose, and at such a distance from the main body of
battleships as is not incompatible with the movements of the latter
being controlled and directed, either by their immediate commanders, or
by the War Staff at the centre, according to the information received
from the outlying cruisers. Such cruising vessels may vary in size and
strength from the modern battle-cruiser, so heavily armed and armoured
as to be not incapable of taking a place, on occasion, in the line of
battle, down to the smallest torpedo craft which is endowed with
sufficient enduring mobility to enable her to keep the sea and to cruise
as near as may be to the enemy's ports. I have already indicated the
other collateral functions which will have to be discharged by torpedo
craft in case of a blockade and pointed out the vital distinction which
differentiates them from the small craft of the past in that in certain
circumstances they are capable of taking a formidable part in a fleet
action even as against the most powerful battleships. But we are here
considering them solely from the point of view of their cruising
functions, whether as guarding their own shores or watching those of the
enemy with a view to fighting on occasion and to observation at all
times. Their supports will be cruisers of larger size, disposed at
suitable distances in the rear, and themselves supported in like manner
by successive cordons or patrols of cruisers increasing in size and
power, until we come to the battle fleet as the concentrated nucleus of
the whole organization. This is merely an abstract or diagrammatic
exposition of such an organization, and it is of course liable to almost
infinite variation in the infinite variety of warlike operations at sea,
but it serves to exhibit the _rationale_ of the differentiation of naval
force into battleships, cruisers, and small craft.

It has sometimes been argued that, inasmuch as the torpedo craft is, or
may be, in certain conditions, more than a match for even the biggest
battleship, battleships together with all intermediate ships between the
battleship and the torpedo vessel, are not unlikely to be some day
regarded as superfluous and in consequence to be discarded altogether
from the naval armament of even a first-class maritime Power. It is true
that the range and accuracy of the torpedo have latterly undergone an
immense development, so that a range of even ten thousand yards or five
sea-miles is no longer beyond its powers. It is true that the
development of the submarine vessel has vastly intensified the menace of
the torpedo and it may soon be true that the development of aircraft
will add a new and very formidable menace to the supremacy of the
battleship. But except for this last consideration, which is at present
exceedingly speculative, a little reflection will disclose the
underlying fallacy of arguments of this kind. The enduring mobility of
the torpedo craft is necessarily limited. It is incapable of that wide
range of action which is required of warships if they are to establish
and maintain any effective command of the sea. It is exceedingly
vulnerable to ships of a larger size, and of more ample enduring
mobility. These again will be vulnerable in their turn to ships of a
still larger size and thus the logic of the situation brings us back to
the battleship once more with its characteristic functions. It may
perhaps be urged that this chain of argument takes too little account of
the submarine vessel which is at present singularly invulnerable because
for the most part invisible to any vessels, whether big or little, which
operate only on the surface and even if discovered betimes by the
latter, is not very readily assailable by them. But of two things one.
Either the submarine vessel will remain small and therefore weak, and
lacking in enduring mobility, in which case it can never establish and
maintain an effective command of the sea. Or it will grow indefinitely
in size, in which case it will fall under the inexorable stress of the
logic which brings us back once more to the battleship. It may be that
the battleship of the still distant future will be a submersible
battleship. But many exceedingly complex problems of construction and
stability will have to be solved before that consummation is reached.

Lastly, the specific function of the so-called battle-cruiser would seem
to need some further elucidation. At first sight this hybrid type of
vessel might seem to be an anomalous intrusion into the time-honoured
hierarchy of battleship, cruiser, and small craft, which the ripe
experience of many wars, battles, and campaigns had finally established
in the last golden days of the sailing ship period. It is indeed held by
some high authorities that the battle-cruiser is in very truth a hybrid
and an anomaly, and that no adequate reason for its existence can be
given. In face of these opinions I cannot presume to dogmatize on the
subject. But some not wholly irrelevant considerations may be advanced.
The battle-cruiser is, as its name implies, a vessel not only fitted by
the nature of its armour and armament "to lie in a line," whenever
occasion may require, but also exceedingly well qualified by its armour
and armament, and still more by its speed, to discharge many of the
functions of a cruiser either alone or in company with other cruisers.
In this latter capacity, it can overhaul nearly every merchant ship
afloat, it can scout far and wide, it can push home a vital
reconnaissance in cases where a weaker and slower cruiser would have to
run away if she could, it can serve as a rallying point to a squadron of
smaller cruisers engaged in the defence of this or that vital line of
communication, and alone or in company with a consort of the same type
it can hold the terminal and focal points of any such line against
almost any number of hostile cruisers inferior in defensive and
offensive powers to itself. Such are its powers and capacities when
acting as a cruiser proper. But it may be thought that in the stress of
conflict it will have very little opportunity of displaying these very
exceptional powers because an admiral in command of a fighting fleet
will never, when anticipating an engagement with the enemy, consent to
weaken his fighting line by detaching so powerful a unit for scouting or
other cruising purposes. That is as it may be. It will depend on many
circumstances of the moment not to be clearly anticipated or defined
beforehand; on the strength of the enemy's force, on the personality,
sagacity, and fortitude of the admiral--whether he is or is not a man of
the mettle and temper ascribed to Nelson by Admiral Mahan in a passage
already quoted--on the comparative need as determined by the
circumstances of the moment of scouting for information, of cruising
for the defence of trade, or of strengthening the battle line for a
decisive conflict to the uttermost extent of the nation's resources. It
is unbecoming to assume that in the crisis of his country's fate an
admiral will act either as a fool or as a poltroon. It is the country's
fault if a man capable of so acting is placed in supreme command, and
for that there is no remedy. But it is sounder to assume that the
admiral selected for command is a man not incapable of disposing his
force to the best advantage. "We must," said Lord Goschen, on one
occasion, "put our trust in Providence and a good admiral." If a nation
cannot find a good admiral in its need it is idle to trust in

It remains to consider the function of the battle-cruiser in the line of
battle. The lines of battle in former times were often composed of ships
of varying size and power. There was a legitimate prejudice against
ships of excessive size, although their superior power in action was
recognized--we have the unimpeachable testimony on that point of
Nelson's Hardy, a man of unrivalled fighting experience to whom Nelson
himself attributed "an intuitive right judgment"--because they were
unhandy in manoeuvre and slow in sailing as compared with ships of more
moderate dimensions. But except for difficulties of docking--a very
serious consideration from the financial point of view--hardly any
limit can be assigned to the size of the modern warship on these
particular grounds. Quite the contrary. Other things being equal, the
bigger the ship the higher the speed, and it is well known that ships of
the Dreadnought type are as handy to steer as a torpedo boat. For
tactical reasons, moreover, it is not expedient to lengthen the line of
battle unduly. Hence there is a manifest advantage in concentrating
offensive power, as far as may be, in single units. On the other hand,
the experience and practice of the eighteenth century showed
conclusively that there was also a distinct advantage in having in the
line of battle a certain number of ships which, being smaller than their
consorts, were more handy and faster sailing than the latter. The enemy
might not want to fight. Very often he did not, and by crowding all
possible sail he did his best to get away. In this case the only way to
bring him to action was for the pursuing admiral to order "a general
chase"--that is, to direct his ships, disregarding the precise line of
battle, to hurry on with all possible sail after the enemy so that the
fastest ships of the pursuing fleet might bring individually to action
the laggards of the retreating fleet and hold them until the main body
of the pursuing fleet came up. In this case the retreating admiral must
either return to the succour of his ships astern and thereby accept the
general action which he sought to avoid, or abandon his overtaken ships
to the enemy without attempting to rescue them. Hawke's action in
Quiberon Bay and Duncan's action off Camperdown are two of the most
memorable examples of this particular mode of attack, and their
brilliant results are a striking testimony to its efficacy. If ever in
the naval battles of the future it becomes expedient for an admiral to
order a general chase, it stands to reason that ships of the
battle-cruiser type will be invaluable for the purpose. Their speed will
enable them to hold the tail of the enemy's line, and their power will
enable them to crush it unless the retreating admiral who seeks to avoid
a decisive action turns back to succour such of his ships as are
assailed and thereby renders a decisive action inevitable.

There is, moreover, another function to be assigned to the
battle-cruiser in a general action, and that is a function which was
defined once for all by Nelson himself in the immortal memorandum in
which he explained to his captains the mode of attack he proposed to
carry out at Trafalgar. "I have," wrote Nelson, "made up my mind to keep
the fleet in that position of sailing ... that the order of sailing is
to be the order of battle, placing the fleet in two lines of sixteen
ships each, with an advanced squadron of eight _of the fastest sailing
two-decked ships_ which will always make, if wanted, a line of
twenty-four sail, on whichever line the Commander-in-Chief may direct."
Owing to the lack of ships this disposition was not adopted on the day
of Trafalgar, but the principle involved is not affected by that
circumstance. That principle is that a squadron of the fastest sailing
ships in the fleet was to be detached from the two fighting lines
entrusted with the initial attack, and reserved or "refused" until the
development of the main attack had disclosed to the Commander-in-Chief
the point at which the impact of this "advanced squadron" would by
superior concentration on that point secure that the enemy should there
be decisively overpowered. The essence of the matter is that the ships
so employed should by virtue of their superior speed be endowed with a
tactical mobility sufficient to enable them to discharge the function
assigned to them. I need hardly insist on the close analogy which
subsists between Nelson's "advanced squadron" and a modern squadron of
battle-cruisers similarly employed, and although the conflict of modern
warships must needs differ in many essential respects from the conflicts
of sailing ships in Nelson's days, yet I think a clear and authoritative
exposition of one at least of the uses and functions of the
battle-cruiser in a fleet action may still be found in what I have
called elsewhere "the last tactical word of the greatest master of sea
tactics the world has ever known, the final and flawless disposition of
sailing ships marshalled for combat."



The measure of naval strength required by any State is determined mainly
by the naval strength of its possible adversaries in the event of war,
and only in a secondary degree by the volume of the maritime interests
which it has to defend. Paradoxical as the latter half of this
proposition may seem at first sight, it can easily be shown to be sound.
The maritime interests, territorial and commercial, of the British
Empire are beyond all comparison greater than those of any other State
in the world; but if no other State possessed a naval force strong
enough to assail them seriously, it is manifest that the naval force
required to defend them need be no greater than is sufficient to
overcome the assailant, and would not therefore be determined in any
degree by the volume of the interests to be defended. Each State
determines for itself the measure of naval strength which it judges to
be necessary to its security. No State expects to have to encounter the
whole world in arms or makes its provision in view of any such
chimerical contingency. The utmost that any State can do is to adjust
its naval policy to a rational estimate of all the reasonably probable
contingencies of international conflict, due regard being had to the
extent of its financial resources and to such other requirements of
national defence as circumstances impose on it. Germany, for example,
has proclaimed to all the world in the preamble to the Navy Law of 1900

"In order to protect German trade and commerce under existing
conditions, only one thing will suffice, namely, Germany must possess a
battle fleet of such strength that even for the most powerful naval
adversary a war would involve such risks as to make that Power's own
supremacy doubtful. For this purpose it is not absolutely necessary that
the German fleet should be as strong as that of the greatest naval
Power, for, as a rule, a great naval Power will not be in a position to
concentrate all its forces against us."

I am not concerned in any way with the political aspects of this
memorable declaration. But its bearing on the naval policy of the
British Empire is manifest and direct. England is beyond all question
"the greatest naval Power" in the world. The declaration of Germany thus
lays upon England the indefeasible obligation of taking care that by no
efforts of any other Power shall her "own supremacy"--that is her
capacity to secure and maintain the command of the sea in all reasonably
probable contingencies of international conflict--be rendered doubtful.
There is no State in the world on which decisive defeat at sea would
inflict such irretrievable disaster as it would on England and her
Empire. These islands would be open to invasion--and if to invasion to
conquest and subjugation--the commerce of the whole Empire would be
annihilated, and the Empire itself would be dismembered. I need not
attempt to determine what measure of naval strength is required to avert
this unspeakable calamity. It suffices to say that whatever the measure
may be it must be provided and maintained at all hazards. That is merely
the axiomatic expression of the things that belong to our peace.

It will be observed that the German declaration assumes that "a great
naval Power will not, as a rule, be in a position to concentrate all its
forces against" a single adversary. This raises at once the question of
the distribution of naval force, or of what has been called the peace
strategy of position. I shall endeavour to discuss the problem with as
little reference as may be to an actual state of war between any two
individual and specific naval Powers. I shall merely assume that of two
possible belligerents one is so far stronger than the other as to look
with confidence to being able in the event of war to secure and maintain
its own command of the sea; and in order not to complicate the problem
unduly I shall include in the term "belligerent" not merely a single
Power but an alliance of one or more separate Powers, while still
adhering to the assumption that the relative strength of the two
belligerents is as defined above. If England is one of the Powers
affected it is manifest from what has already been said that this
assumption is a legitimate one.

In such a situation it stands to reason that the concentration of the
whole force of the stronger belligerent against the whole force equally
concentrated of the weaker belligerent would not be necessary and would
very rarely be expedient. The stronger belligerent would of course seek,
in time of war, so to dispose his forces as to make it impossible for
the weaker fleets of his adversary to take the sea without being brought
to a decisive action, and he would so order his peace strategy of
position as to further that paramount purpose. But it does not follow
that being superior in the measure above defined he would need to
concentrate all his available forces for that purpose. He would
concentrate so much of his forces as would ensure victory in the
encounters anticipated--so far as mere numbers apart from fighting
efficiency can ensure victory--and the residue would be available for
other and subsidiary purposes. If there were no residue, then the
required superiority would not have been attained, and the belligerent
who has neglected to attain it must take the consequences. One of these
consequences would certainly be that the other and subsidiary purposes
above mentioned would have to be neglected until the main issue was
decided, and if these purposes were of any moment he would have so far
to pay the penalty of his neglect. Nothing is more fatal in warfare than
to attempt to be equally strong everywhere. If you cannot do everything
you desire at once you must concentrate all your energies on doing the
most important and the most vital things first. When the tree is cut
down the branches will fall of themselves. The history of the War of
American Independence is full of illustrations of the neglect of this
paramount principle. England was worsted much more by faulty
distribution than by insufficiency of force.

At the same time it must be observed that the outlying and subsidiary
purposes of the conflict cannot be of vital moment so long as the
superior belligerent is at firm grips with the central forces of his
adversary. We are dealing with the assumption that of two belligerents
one is so far superior to the other that he may entertain a reasonable
confidence of being able to deny the command of the sea to his adversary
and in the end to secure it for himself. It is an essential part of this
assumption that the forces of the superior belligerent will be so
disposed as to make it exceedingly difficult and, subject to the fortune
of war, practically impossible for any considerable portion of the
enemy's forces to act on a vigorous offensive without being speedily
brought to book by a superior force of his adversary, and that the peace
strategy of the latter will have been ordered to that end. So long as
this is the case the virtual command of the sea will be in the hands of
the superior belligerent, even though his forces may be so concentrated,
in accordance with the dispositions of the enemy, as to leave many
regions of the sea apparently unguarded. They are adequately guarded by
the fact that the enemy is _ex hypothesi_ unable to reach them--or if by
a successful evasion of his adversary's guard he manages to send a
detachment, large or small, to aim at some outlying objective, the
initial superiority of force possessed by his adversary will always
enable the latter to send a superior force in pursuit of the fugitive.
Much harm may be done before the fugitive is brought to book, but no
State, however strong, need ever expect to go to war without running
risks and suffering occasional and partial reverses.

It is thus a pure delusion to assume, as loose thinkers on the subject
too often assume, that the command of the sea must be either surrendered
or imperilled by a superior belligerent who, apparently neglecting
those regions of the sea which are not immediately assailed or
threatened, concentrates his forces in the positions best calculated to
enable him to get the better of his adversary, or who in time of peace
so orders his strategy of position as to secure that advantage at once
should war unhappily break out. Not long ago the Leader of the
Opposition in the House of Commons used the following words:--"Ten years
ago we not only had the command of the sea, but we had the command of
every sea. We have the command of no sea in the world except the North
Sea at this moment." Those who have followed and assimilated the
exposition of the true meaning of the command of the sea given in these
pages will readily discern how mischievous a travesty of that meaning is
contained in these words. There is, as I have shown, no such thing as a
command of the sea in time of peace. The phrase is merely a definition
of the paramount objective of naval warfare as such. Ten years ago we
had no command of any sea because we were not at war with any naval
Power. The concentration of a large portion of our naval forces in the
North Sea is no surrender of our command of the sea in any part of the
world, because that command does not exist, never has existed in time of
peace, and never can exist even in time of war until we have fought for
it and secured it. The concentration in question is, together with the
simultaneous disposition of the residue of our naval forces in different
parts of the world, merely the expression of that peace strategy of
position which, in the judgment of those who are responsible for it, is
best calculated in the more probable, yet possibly quite remote,
contingencies of international conflict, to enable our fleets to get the
better of our enemies and thereby ultimately to secure the command of
the sea in any and every part of the world in which we have maritime
interests to defend. There are, it is true, some disadvantages involved
in a close and sustained concentration of naval forces, especially in
home waters. Naval officers lose in breadth and variety of experience
and in the self-reliance which comes of independent command, while the
prestige of the flag is in some measure diminished by the infrequency of
its appearance in distant seas. But these, after all, are subsidiary
considerations which must be subordinated to the paramount needs of a
sound strategy, whether offensive or defensive.

It follows from the foregoing exposition of the principles which govern
the strategic distribution of naval force in peace and war that a great
naval Power must often maintain fleets of considerable strength in
distant seas. England has for many generations maintained such a fleet
in the Mediterranean, and it is hard to see how any reasonably probable
change in the international situation could absolve her from that
obligation. There are other and more distant stations on which she has
maintained and still does maintain squadrons in a strength which has
varied greatly from time to time in accordance with the changing phases
of international relations and of strategic requirements as affected
thereby. The measure of these requirements is determined from time to
time by the known strength of the hostile forces which would have to be
encountered in any reasonably probable contingencies of international
conflict. But there is one antecedent requirement which is common to all
considerable detachments of naval force in distant waters. In order to
maintain their efficiency and mobility they must have a naval base
conveniently situated within the limits of their station to which they
may resort from time to time for repair, refit, and supply. The need for
supply at the base is less paramount than that for refit and repair,
because it is manifest that the control of maritime communications which
has enabled the requisite stores to reach the base will also enable them
to reach the ships themselves, wherever they may be at the moment. But
for all refit and repair which cannot be effected by the ships'
companies themselves, with the aid of an attached repair ship, the
ships must go to the base, and that base must be furnished with docks
capable of receiving them.

It is essential to note that the base is there for the sake of the
ships. The ships are not there for the sake of the base. It is a fatal
inversion of all sound principles of naval strategy to suppose that the
ships owe, or can afford, to the base any other form of defence than
that which is inherent in their paramount and primary task of
controlling the maritime communications which lead to it. So long as
they can do this the base will be exposed only to such attacks as can be
delivered by a force which has evaded but not defeated the naval guard,
and to this extent the base must be fortified and garrisoned; for, of
course, if the naval guard has been decisively defeated, the control of
maritime communications has passed into the hands of the enemy, and
nothing but the advance of a relieving naval force, too strong for the
enemy to resist, can prevent the base being invested from the sea and
ultimately reduced. It will be seen from this how absurd it is ever to
speak of a naval base as commanding the adjacent seas. As such it does
not command, and never can command, any portion of the sea which lies
beyond the range of its own guns. All that it ever does or can do is, by
its resources for repair, refit, and supply, to enable the fleet based
upon it constantly to renew its efficiency and mobility, and thereby to
discharge its appointed task of controlling the maritime communications
entrusted to its keeping. But such command is in all cases exercised by
the fleet and not by the base. If the fleet is not there or not equal to
its task, the mere possession of the base is nearly always a source of
weakness and not of strength to the naval Power which holds it.

It is held by some that the occupation of naval bases in distant seas by
a Power which is not strong enough to make sure of controlling the
maritime communications which alone give to such bases their strategic
value and importance is a great advantage to such a Power and a
corresponding disadvantage to all its possible adversaries in war. It
will readily be seen from what has been said that this is in large
measure a delusion. As against a weaker adversary than itself the
occupation of such bases may be an appreciable advantage to the Power
which holds them, but only if the adversary in question has in the
waters affected interests which are too important to be sacrificed
without a struggle. On the other hand, as against an adversary strong
enough to secure the command of the sea and determined to hold it at all
hazards, the occupation of such distant bases can very rarely be of any
advantage to the weaker belligerent and may very often expose him to
reverses which, if not positively disastrous, must always be
exceedingly mortifying. Of two things one. Either the belligerent in
such a plight must detach a naval force sufficient to cover the outlying
base, and thus, by dispersing naval forces which he desired to keep
concentrated, he must expose his detachment to destruction by a stronger
force of the enemy, or he must leave the base to its fate, in which case
it is certain to fall in the long run. In point of fact the occupation
of distant bases by any naval Power is merely the giving of hostages to
any and every other Power which in the day of conflict can establish its
command of the sea. That is the plain philosophy of the whole question.

It only remains to consider very briefly the question of the supply of
fleets operating in distant waters. In a very interesting and suggestive
paper on the "Supply and Communications of a Fleet," Admiral Sir Cyprian
Bridge has pointed out that "in time of peace as well as in time of war
there is a continuous consumption of the articles of various kinds used
on board ship, viz., naval stores, ordnance stores, engineers' stores,
victualling stores, coal, water, etc." Of these the consumption of
victualling stores is alone constant, being determined by the number of
men to be victualled from day to day. The consumption of nearly all the
other stores will vary greatly according as the ship is more or less at
sea, and it is safe to say that for a given number of ships the
consumption will be much greater in time of war, especially in coal,
engineers' stores, and ordnance stores, than it is in time of peace. But
in peace conditions Admiral Bridge estimated that for a fleet consisting
of four battleships, four large cruisers, four second-class cruisers,
thirteen smaller vessels of various kinds, and three torpedo craft,
together with their auxiliaries, the _minimum_ requirements for six
months--assuming that the ships started with full supplies, and that
they returned to their principal base at the end of the period--would be
about 6750 tons of stores and ammunition, and 46,000 tons of coal,
without including fresh water. The requirements of water would not be
less than 30,000 tons in the six months, and of this the ships could
distil about half without greatly increasing their coal consumption; the
remainder, some 15,000 or 16,000 tons, would have to be brought to them.
In time of war the requirements of coal would probably be nearly three
times as great as in time of peace, and the requirements of
ammunition--estimated in time of peace at 1140 tons--might easily be ten
times as great. Thus in addition to the foregoing figures we have 16,000
tons of water, and in war time a further _minimum_ addition of some
90,000 tons of coal and 10,260 tons of ammunition, making in all a round
total of 170,000 tons for a fleet of the size specified, which was
approximately the strength of the China Fleet, under the command of
Admiral Bridge, at the time when his paper was written.

All these supplies have to be delivered or obtained periodically and at
convenient intervals in the course of every six months. They are
supplies which the ships must obtain as often as they want them without
necessarily going back to their principal base for the purpose, and even
the principal base must obtain them periodically from the home sources
of supply. There are two alternative ways of maintaining this continuous
stream of supply. One is that in advance of the principal base, what is
called a secondary base should be established from which the ships can
obtain the stores required, a continuous stream of transports bringing
the stores required to the secondary base from sources farther afield,
either from the principal base or from the home sources of supply. The
other method is to have no secondary base--which, since it contains
indispensable stores, must be furnished with some measure of local
defence, and which, as a place of storage, may turn out to be in quite
the wrong place for the particular operations in hand--but to seize and
occupy a "flying base," neither permanent nor designated beforehand, but
selected for the occasion according to the exigencies of the strategic
situation, and capable of being shifted at will in response to any
change in those exigencies. History shows that the latter method has
been something like the normal procedure in war alike in times past and
in the present day. The alternative method is perhaps rather adapted to
the convenience of peace conditions than to the exigencies of war
requirements. During his watch on Toulon Nelson established a flying
base at Maddalena Bay, in Sardinia, and very rarely used the more
distant permanent base at Gibraltar. Togo, as I have stated in an
earlier chapter, established a flying base first at the Elliot Islands
and afterwards at Dalny, during the war in the Far East. Instances might
easily be multiplied to show in which direction the experience of war
points, and how far that direction has been deflected by the possibly
deceptive teaching of peace. I shall not, however, presume to pronounce
_ex cathedrâ_ between two alternative methods each of which is
sanctioned by high naval authority. I will only remark in conclusion
that though the establishment of permanent secondary bases may, in
certain exceptional cases, be defensible and even expedient, yet their
multiplication, beyond such exceptional cases of proved and acknowledged
expediency, is very greatly to be deprecated. The old rule
applies--_Entia non sunt præter necessitatem multiplicanda._

       *       *       *       *       *

My task is now finished--I will not say completed, for the subject of
naval warfare is far too vast to be exhausted within the narrow compass
of a Manual. I should hardly exaggerate if I said that nearly every
paragraph I have written might be expanded into a chapter, and every
chapter into a volume, and that even so the subject would not be
exhausted. All I have endeavoured to do is to expound briefly and in
simple language the nature of naval warfare, its inherent limitations as
an agency for subduing an enemy's will, the fundamental principles which
underlie its methods, and the concrete problems which the application of
those methods presents. Tactical questions I have not touched at all;
strategic questions only incidentally, and so far as they were
implicated in the discussion of methods. Political issues and questions
of international policy I have eschewed as far as might be, and so far
as it was necessary to deal with them I have endeavoured to do so in
broad and abstract terms. Of the many shortcomings in my handling of the
subject no one can be more conscious than I am myself. Yet I must
anticipate one criticism which is not unlikely to be made, and that is
that I have repeated and insisted on certain phrases and ideas such as
"command of the sea," "control of maritime communications," "the fleet
in being," "blockade," and the like, until they might almost be
regarded as an obsession. Rightly or wrongly that has, at any rate, been
done of deliberate intent. The phrases in question are in all men's
mouths. The ideas they stand for are constantly misunderstood,
misinterpreted, and misapplied. I hold that, rightly understood, they
embody the whole philosophy of naval warfare. I have therefore lost no
opportunity of insisting on them, knowing full well that it is only by
frequent iteration that sound ideas can be implanted in minds not
attuned to their reception.


Aircraft, 121

Alabama, the, 109

Alexander, his conquest of Darius, 48

Allemand, his escape from Rochefort, 66, 67

Amiens, Peace of, 73

_Animus pugnandi_, 46, 47, 48, 49, 55, 58, 59, 61, 78

Antony, Mark, 72

Armada, the, 79, 112

Bacon, quoted, 6

Baraille, De, his part in the Dunkirk campaign, 87, 88

Barham, Lord, 18, 64;
  and Nelson, 66, 67;
  his conduct of the Trafalgar campaign, 118

Base, flying, 142;
  naval, 137

Battle-cruiser, its functions, 122-128

Beachy Head, Battle of, 32, 35;
  campaign of, 70, 78

Berlin Decrees, 100

Bettesworth, 118

Blockade, 17;
  a form of disputed command, 20-29;
  military, its methods, 23;
  military and commercial, 21

Bolt from the blue, 80, 89

Boscawen, at Lagos, 79

Brest, 33, 35;
  blockaded by Cornwallis, 30;
  blockaded by Hawke, 79;
  De Roquefeuil at, 81, 82

Bridge, Admiral Sir Cyprian, on a fleet in being, 31;
  on supply and communications of a fleet, 140;
  his estimate of Torrington, 32, 40;
  on Torrington's trial, 42

Brundusium, Cæsar at, 72

Cadiz, Killigrew at, 34

Cæsar, his Pharsalian campaign, 71, 72

Calais, the Armada at, 79

Calder, his action off Finisterre, 118;
  Barham's instructions to, 64

Camperdown, Duncan at, 126

Cape St Vincent, meeting of Nelson with Craig and Knight off, 65

Capital ships, 113

Carthagena, Spanish ships at, 66

Charles, Prince, 82

Château-Renault, 33, 35

Clausewitz, his definition of war, 4;
  on limited and unlimited war, 5, 22

Colomb, Admiral, on differentiation of naval force, 114;
  on Torrington's strategy, 40, 43, 79

Command of the sea, 6, 10, 11-19, 20, 21, 50, 52, 54, 71, 94, 98, 121,
133, 134, 135;
  its true meaning, 15, 135;
  no meaning except in war, 15, 135

Command of the sea, disputed, in general, 49-67

Commerce, maritime, extent of British, 53;
  in war, 93-110;
  its modern conditions, 101-110

Concentration of naval force, its conditions, 132

Conflans, at Brest, 79

Corbett, Mr Julian, 62, 67;
  on the Dunkirk campaign, 89;
  on commerce in war, 105;
  on Craig's expedition, 61, 66;
  on projects of invasion, 77;
  on the Trafalgar campaign, 118

Cornwallis, and the blockade of Brest, 18, 30

Craft, small, 57, 76

Craig, his expedition to the Mediterranean, 61-67

Cuba, its deliverance by the United States, 54

Dalny, Togo at, 26, 143

Dettingen, 80

Downs, the, Norris ordered to, 85

Duncan, at Camperdown, 126

Dungeness, Roquefeuil anchors at, 87;
  Norris at, 88;
  Norris and Roquefeuil at, 89

Dunkirk, troops collected at, 81;
  embargo at, 83;
  Saxe and Baraille at, 88

Egypt, Napoleon's descent on, 73

Elliott Islands, Togo at, 26, 143

Embargo, at Dunkirk, 83

Farragut, 7

Fleets, and base, their true relation, 138

Fleet in being, phrase first used by Torrington, 42;
  defined, 45, 58;
  a form of disputed command, 30-48

Fleets, supply of, 140

Food Supply, Royal Commission on, 99

Fortress fleet, 48, 58;
  Admiral Mahan on, 47, 55

Ganteaume, at Brest, 31

General chase, 125

General Staff, the, 117

Germany, Navy Law of 1900, 130

Goschen, Lord, quoted, 124

Gravelines, 79, 87

Gunfleet, the, 37, 40, 44

Hague Conference, 102

Hannay, Mr David, 100

Hannibal, his passage of the Alps, 61

Hardy, Nelson's, on big ships, 124

Hawke, 32;
  blockades Brest 79;
  at Quiberon Bay, 126

Hornby, Sir Geoffrey, on the command of the sea, 45

Invasion, 51, 68-92;
  dilemma of, 70

Invasion over sea, three ways of, 75

James II., 32

Justin of Nassau, and the Armada, 79

Killigrew, Vice-Admiral, 34, 37, 39, 40, 44, 78;
  his expedition to Cadiz, 34;
  his return to Plymouth, 35.

Knight, Rear-Admiral, escorts Craig, 65

Lagos, Boscawen and De La Clue at, 79

Lepanto, Battle of, 112

Line of battle, the, 113

Lisbon, Craig and Knight at, 65

Lissa, Battle of, 8

Louis XIV., 33

Maddalena Bay, Nelson's base at, 143

Mahan, Admiral, on commerce at sea, 98, 99;
  on a fleet in being, 31, 43;
  on a fortress fleet, 47, 55;
  on Hannibal's passage of the Alps, 61;
  on Nelson, 48, 123;
  on territorial expansion, 52

Maida, Battle of, 66

Makaroff, Admiral, 47, 59

Manchuria, 59; Japanese successes in, 55

Maria Theresa, 80

Mary, Queen, her orders to Torrington, 40, 44

Mathews, his action off Toulon, 80;
  in the Mediterranean, 83, 84

Medina Sidonia, and the Armada, 79

Mediterranean, the, England's position in, 136, 137

Merchant vessels, conversion of into warships at sea, 101-104

Morbihan, the, troops collected in, 79

Napoleon, 30, 31; and the campaign of Trafalgar, 18, 19;
  his descent on Egypt, 61, 73;
  his ignorance of the sea, 74

Naval force, differentiation of, 111-128;
  distribution and supply of, 129-145

Naval strength, measure of, 129

Naval warfare, defined, 1;
  special characteristic of, 56;
  its limitations, 51;
  philosophy of, 145;
  its primary aim, 14

Nelson, 18, 32, 46, 123;
  his advanced squadron, 127;
  and Barham, 66, 67;
  his base at Maddalena Bay, 143;
  on the blockade of Toulon, 22;
  on Craig's expedition, 64;
  evaded by Napoleon, 73;
  evaded by Villeneuve, 63;
  at Trafalgar, 60;
  his Trafalgar Memorandum, 126;
  his pursuit of Villeneuve, 37, 38

Newcastle, Duke of, 83

Nile, Battle of the, 74

Norman Conquest, the, 68, 75

Norris, Sir John, 83;
  in the Downs, 87;
  leaves the Downs, 88;
  and Roquefeuil at Dungeness, 89;
  at St Helen's, 85, 86

North Sea, concentration in, 135

Orde, Sir John, raises the blockade of Cadiz, 65

Orders in Council, the British, 100

Parma, Duke of, and the Armada, 79

Peace strategy of position, 131, 132, 136

Philippines, the, acquired by the United States, 52

Pitt, 61, 62, 63, 67

Plymouth, Killigrew at, 35

Pompey, at Pharsalus, 71, 72

Port Arthur, 27;
  how blockaded by Togo, 26, 143;
  its capture by Japan, 54, 55;
  first Japanese attack on, 46;
  Russian fleet at, 47, 58

Pretender, the, 80

Privateering, 99, 101

Property, private, at sea, 95-97

Puerto Rico, acquired by the United States, 52

Quiberon Bay, Battle of, 79, 126

Rochefort, Allemand escapes from, 66, 67

Roquefeuil, De, at Brest, 81, 82;
  anchors at Dungeness, 87;
  puts to sea, 82;
  and Norris at Dungeness, 89;
  off the Start, 84, 86

Rozhdestvensky, at Tsu-Shima, 60

Sampson, Admiral, 46

Santiago, 46;
  its capture by the United States, 54

Saxe, Marshal, at Dunkirk, 81;
  with Baraille at Dunkirk, 88

Sea, its characteristics, 13

Sea power, 6, 10, 13, 52, 55

Sea transport, 14

Sebastopol, siege of, 6, 46

Shovel, Sir Cloudesley, 33, 35, 39, 40, 44, 78

Sovereignty of the Seas, 49, 50

St Helen's, Norris at, 85, 86

Start, the, De Roquefeuil off, 84, 86

Submarine, the, 24, 120, 121

Supply, of fleets, two alternative methods of, 142

Syracuse, Athenian expedition to, 61

Talavera, Battle of, 73

Teignmouth, French raid on, 42

Telegraphy, wireless, 26, 117

Togo, Admiral, 59;
  his method of blockading Port Arthur, 26, 143

Torbay, Tourville's projected descent on, 33

Torpedo craft, 24, 57, 69, 120

Torpedo, the locomotive, 24

Torrington, Arthur Herbert, Earl of, 34, 35, 36, 47, 78;
  anchors at Beachy Head, 41;
  Admiral Bridge on, 32, 40, 42;
  Colomb on, 43;
  on a fleet in being, 32, 42;
  ordered to give battle, 44;
  his strategy, 38, 39;
  tried by Court Martial, 42;
  warns Mary and her Council, 40

Toulon, Château-Renault at, 33

Tourville, 33, 34, 43, 44, 48, 70, 78;
  at Brest, 35;
  in the Channel, 36

Trade routes, 104

Trafalgar, 63;
  campaign of, 90, 91;
  and Craig's expedition, 61;
  its significance, 19

Tsu-Shima, Battle of, its effects, 54, 55

Utrecht, Treaty of, 82

Villeneuve, pursued by Nelson, 37;
  driven out of the West Indies, 38;
  leaves Toulon, 63

War, defined, 1;
  its origin, 2;
  its primary object, 4;
  of American Independence, 99, 133;
  Boer, 8, 56, 94;
  civil, 1, 2;
  Crimean, 6;
  Cuban, 9, 46;
  in the Far East, 9;
  of 1859, 7;
  of 1866, 7;
  of 1870, 8, 54;
  of Secession in America, 2, 7;
  the Seven Years', 79

Wars, the Dutch, 93, 113

War Staff, 118, 119

Wellington, 73;
  his Peninsular Campaigns, 19

William the Conqueror, 68

William III., 32

Wolseley, Lord, on communications, 73







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use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.