Order beats class

Order beats class

7727682_original“Battle of Danes” - the story of how poorly armed British merchant ships put the French military squadron to flight.

In early 1804, a convoy of 16 ships of the East India Company gathered in England at the Chinese port of Wampoo. Believing that together it is safer, several independent “merchants” joined them. The total cost of ships and cargo was estimated at an astronomical sum of £ 8,000,000. This made the security of the convoy a matter of national importance. But he had no military escort.

It was known that the French squadron under the command of Vice-Admiral Linoy was making raids in the Far Eastern waters. With 6 ships and 1,350 infantry on board, he was sent into the Indian Ocean for free cruising.

Although the largest of the East Indian ships from afar resembled 64th or even 74-gun ships, their combat capability was barely enough to scare away local pirates. The artillery (30–36 barrels), where it was, consisted of cannoners — a cheap “commercial” cross between a cannon and a carronade — which had neither the range and accuracy of the first, nor the lethal force of the second.In many cases, even they were packed with boxes and bales with cargo, which made them useless. The number of teams (rarely more than 100-150 people) did not meet the military standards, which meant defeat in the case of boarding. The heavily loaded ships themselves did not have enough speed and maneuverability to fight. The fighting reputation of the “East Indians” was also low. Only a month earlier, the French privatir, just 12 cannons, did not hesitate to attack two ships, which he accepted as East India.

But the British decided to take a chance. The command of the convoy took an experienced sailor Nathaniel Dance. The obvious place to expect interception was the narrowness at the entrance to the Strait of Malacca. Indeed there was a French squadron. The French watched - and waited. Vice Admiral Linoya was discouraged by the belligerent behavior of the merchant ships, which were built into the battle line. He expected that with darkness they would start to scatter, and he would be able to capture one by one without haste.

Seeing that the French did not attack, the convoy headed for the entrance to the strait. Then Linoy moved forward with the intention of attacking the closing ships.Dance immediately raised the signal to the “East Indians” to roll the tack consistently, to descend into the wind in a column and join the battle. The ships showed a warlike look and behavior characteristic of the fleet, which confused the French even more.

British merchant ships headed straight for the French, ignoring the fire of the entire French line. They opened fire, which was more enthusiastic than sighting. Linoya seemed to be trying to surround the whole fleet. His nerves could not stand it, and after only forty minutes of battle, the French fell into the wind and ran to the northwest.

Then, within two hours, an unprecedented picture unfolded: the pursuit of the merchant ships for the combat ships. Fortunately for the British, it was impossible to catch up with the enemy. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the Dance ordered to stop the persecution, and turned back into the strait. The British lost only one sailor in battle.

The ships safely delivered cargo to England. Crews hailed as heroes: the British public was already accustomed to the victories of their fleet, but never before had a “bunch of almost unarmed merchants” put the admiral to flight.The East India Company gave Duns 2000 guineas, and a lifetime pension of £ 500 per annum. Members of the Bombay Insurance Company gathered for a subscription of 45,500 rupees. The Patriotic Lloyd Foundation, in violation of its own rules, awarded him with an honorary sword, and the king granted chivalry.

As for Linua, it soon became known who he had fled from. The fight, which could be the pinnacle of his career, became a humiliating fiasco. His squadron was destroyed in the Atlantic upon returning home.



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