Royal Naval Museum

 

 

Battle of Trafalgar Conference

Held at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Friday 14th – Saturday 15th October 2005

The Spanish Perspective - Dr Agustin Guimerá y Ravina, Instituto de Historia, CISC, Madrid  

British victory in Trafalgar can be seen from many perspectives: economy, public finance, institutions, logistic, leadership, strategy, tactics, manoeuvre, naval intelligence and technology. We are agreed that the allies had to face big manning problems and Napoleon’s ignorance on naval warfare. Even more Villeneuve was not a suitable commander for the Combined Fleet.  But we are revisiting that historical event through new evidences, comparative views and interpretations. The Combined Fleet did a better campaign than the former studies have told us. They built up the best team they could in those circumstances. They fought very efficiently against Calder’s division in the battle of Finisterre. They knew quite well that Nelson’s fleet was better trained and manned, as they agreed in the famous Council of War of 8th October in Cádiz Bay. In the 21st October they resisted the British attack better than Nelson suspected and more important they continued the battle two days later.  The struggle for European naval supremacy was a hard task for everybody.

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