|British Baltic Fleet|
Ensign of the British Baltic Fleet March-August 1854
|Part of||Royal Navy|
|Garrison/HQ||Spithead, Hampshire, England|
|Vice-Admiral James Saumarez|
The British Baltic Fleet and also known as the Baltic Squadron was a series of temporary or semi permanent fleets assembled for various naval operations of the Royal Navy in the Baltic Sea from 1658 to 1856 commanded by the Commander-in-Chief, British Baltic Fleet.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.
The Baltic Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain.
The British Baltic Fleet comprised a series of temporary fleets assembled for various naval campaigns of the Royal Navy from 1658 to 1854 under the command of a Commander-in-Chief, British Baltic Fleet. The fleet operated from a number of bases including Spithead in Hampshire but also the Nore.During the Crimean War of 1853–1856, the final British Baltic Fleet was the largest assembled since the Napoleonic Wars, and in terms of armament the most powerful naval force the Royal Navy possessed in the mid-19th century. Pictured right is the fleet sailing from Spithead on 11 March 1854.
Spithead is an area of the Solent and a roadstead off Gilkicker Point in Hampshire, England. It is protected from all winds, except those from the southeast. It receives its name from the Spit, a sandbank stretching south from the Hampshire shore for 5 km (3.1 mi); and it is 22.5 km (14.0 mi) long by about 6.5 km (4.0 mi) in average breadth. Spithead has been strongly defended since 1864 by four Solent Forts, which complement the Fortifications of Portsmouth.
The Nore is a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, England. It marks the point where the River Thames meets the North Sea, roughly halfway between Havengore Creek in Essex and Warden Point on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).
In November 1658 Vice-Admiral William Goodsonn was appointed[ by whom? ] to command the English Baltic Fleet of twenty ships – he was transporting General at sea Sir George Ayscue, who was being loaned to Sweden to assist in their naval operations against Denmark and the Dutch during the Dano-Swedish War (1658–1660).
Vice Admiral William Goodsonn, joined the Parliamentary cause during the Second English Civil War in 1647. During the First Anglo-Dutch War he was captain of the Entrance in the battle of Portland, 25 January 1663. He was a rear-admiral of the blue in the battles of June and July 1653. In the Anglo-Spanish War, he was vice-admiral under William Penn in 1664, and with him at attempt on Hispaniola, and capture of Jamaica in 1655. He took over command of the Jamaica Station after Penn went home.
The rank of general at sea, was the highest position of command in the English Parliamentary Navy, and approximates to the current rank of admiral. Alongside others, the generals at sea were also appointed as Commissioners for the Admiralty and Navy.
Sir George Ayscue was an English naval officer who served in the English Civil War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars who rose to the rank of Admiral of the White. He also served as Governor of Scilly Isles (1647) and Governor of Barbados (1650–1652).
In 1715 Sir John Norris was sent with a fleet to the Baltic Sea to support a coalition of naval forces from Russia, Denmark and Hanover taking part in the Great Northern War of 1700–1721 against Sweden. Tsar Peter of Russia took personal command of the coalition fleet and appointed Norris as his deputy in 1716: together they protected British and other allied merchant vessels from attack by warships of the Swedish Empire.
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Norris was a Royal Navy officer and Whig politician. After serving as a junior officer during the Nine Years' War and the Williamite War in Ireland, he was given command of a squadron sent to North America to protect British settlements on the banks of Hudson Bay in 1697. Although he developed a plan to recapture some territories in Newfoundland and Labrador taken by French forces the previous winter, he was prevented from implementing that plan when the local council overruled him.
The Electorate of Hanover was an Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, located in northwestern Germany and taking its name from the capital city of Hanover. It was formally known as the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg. For most of its existence, the electorate was ruled in personal union with Great Britain following the Hanoverian Succession
The Swedish Empire was a European great power that exercised territorial control over much of the Baltic region during the 17th and early 18th centuries. The beginning of the Empire is usually taken as the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, who ascended the throne in 1611, and its end as the loss of territories in 1721 following the Great Northern War.
In 1717 the Baltic fleet formed again – this time under the command of Sir George Byng. It set out for the Baltic following information received by the Admiralty that Charles XII of Sweden was mediating a new movement in support of the exiled Stuarts.
Admiral of the Fleet George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington, of Southill Park in Bedfordshire, was a Royal Navy officer and statesman. While still a lieutenant, he delivered a letter from various captains to Prince William of Orange, who had just landed at Torbay, assuring the Prince of the captains' support; the Prince gave Byng a response which ultimately led to the Royal Navy switching allegiance to the Prince and the Glorious Revolution of November 1688.
Charles XII, sometimes Carl or Latinized to Carolus Rex, was the King of Sweden from 1697 to 1718. He belonged to the House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken, a branch line of the House of Wittelsbach. Charles was the only surviving son of Charles XI and Ulrika Eleonora the Elder. He assumed power, after a seven-month caretaker government, at the age of fifteen.
Jacobitism is the name of the political movement in Great Britain and Ireland that aims to restore the House of Stuart to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The movement is named after Jacobus, the Latin form of James.
Following the death of Charles XII of Sweden on 30 November 1718 O.S., Admiral Sir John Norris returned to the region as Commander-in-Chief of the Baltic Fleet to protect British merchant shipping from attack by Russian raiders.
In 1726 Sir Charles Wager was appointed[ by whom? ] to take command of a large battle fleet sent to the Baltic to protect Sweden and Denmark from the threat of a recently mobilized Russian fleet. Stopping first at Copenhagen, he met with the court and completed arrangements for co-operation with the Danish navy. Wager took his twenty ships of the line of the fleet to Reval (in present-day Estonia). He had orders to engage and destroy the Russian fleet if it came out. To reassure Sweden, the British fleet stayed at Reval all summer until 1 November 1726.
In 1801 Sir Hyde Parker was appointed to command the British Baltic fleet destined to break up the northern armed neutrality (Denmark–Norway, Prussia, Sweden, and Russia), with Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson as his second-in-command. Copenhagen, the first objective of the expedition, fell in the Battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801.
In 1808 Rear-Admiral Sir James Saumarez was given command of the British Baltic fleet with his flag in HMS Victory. His mission involved protecting the British trade interests that were of vital importance for Royal Navy supplies (naval stores and timber), in addition to blockading enemy ports such as those under French control in northern Germany. The Russian fleet was also kept under blockade until Alexander I reopened Russian ports. In 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia – the Baltic fleet succeeded in obstructing French operations.
In February 1854 Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Napier was appointed to command the Baltic Fleet. It sailed on 11 March for an expedition to the Baltic to attack the fortresses at Kronstadt and Sveaborg. Napier reported back to the Admiralty they despite his attempts the fortresses were impregnable – he was relieved of his command in December 1854.
On 20 March 1855, Vice-Admiral James Dundas taking command of the fleet stationed at Spithead, Hampshire, it proceeded to the Baltic Sea where it was employed on blockading duties to prevent Russia from receiving supplies at its Baltic ports until 13 August 1854.
On 27 June 1855 the fleet was stationed at Spithead under the command of Rear-Admiral Richard Dundas it was a very large force consisted of some 93 naval units in total as reported in the Melbourne Argus newspaper at the time.
|Commander-in-Chief, Baltic Fleet|
|1.||Vice-Admiral||Sir William Goodsonn||1658-1659||as Commander of the British Baltic Fleet|
|2.||Admiral||Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich||1659||in command as General at Sea|
|3.||Admiral||Sir John Norris||1715||in command as Admiral of the Blue|
|4.||Admiral||Sir George Byng||1717||in command as Admiral of the White|
|5.||Admiral||Sir John Norris||1718-1725||in command as Admiral of the Blue and second appointment|
|6.||Vice-Admiral||Sir Charles Wager||1726||in command as Vice-Admiral of the Red|
|7.||Admiral||Sir John Norris||1727||in command as Admiral of the Blue and third appointment|
|8.||Admiral||Sir Hyde Parker||1801||in command as Admiral of the Blue|
|9.||Vice-Admiral||James Saumarez||1808-1812||in command as Vice-Admiral of the Red|
|10.||Vice-Admiral||Charles Napier||February – March, 1854||in command of the Baltic Fleet and Vice-Admiral of the Blue|
|11.||Vice-Admiral||James Dundas||March, – August, 1854||in command of the Baltic Fleet and Vice-Admiral of the Blue|
|12.||Rear-Admiral||Richard Dundas||February, 1855 – April 1856||in command of the Baltic Fleet|
As of 27 June 1855:
|Composition of the Baltic Fleet June 1855|
|1.||First-rate||HMS Duke of Wellington,||Flag Ship, 131 guns|
|2.||First-rate||HMS Royal George||120 guns newspaper report gives 102 guns|
|3.||Second-rate||HMS Exmouth||91 guns|
|4.||Second-rate||HMS James Watt||steam- and sail-powered, 91 guns|
|5.||Second-rate||HMS Orion||91 guns|
|6.||Second-rate||HMS Caesar||launched 1853, 91 guns|
|7.||Second-rate||HMS Nile||90 guns|
|8.||Second-rate||HMS Majestic||81 guns|
|9.||Second-rate||HMS Colossus||80 guns|
|10.||Second-rate||HMS Sans Pareil||70 guns|
|11.||Third-rate||HMS Cressy (1853)||launched 1853, screw propelled, 80 guns|
|12.||Third-rate||HMS Blenheim||74 guns|
|13.||Third-rate||HMS La Hogue||74 guns source gives 60 guns|
|16.||Third-rate||HMS Pembroke||60 guns|
|17.||Third-rate||HMS Cornwallis||60 guns|
|18.||Third-rate||HMS Hawke||60 guns|
|19.||Third-rate||HMS Russell||74 guns, source gives 60 guns|
|20.||Third-rate||HMS Edinburgh||74 guns, source gives 58 guns|
|21.||Fourth-rate||HMS Euryalus||screw frigate, 51 guns|
|22.||Steam frigate||HMS Imperieuse||51 guns|
|23.||Frigate||HMS Arrogant||46 guns|
|24.||Frigate||HMS Amphion||36 guns, source gives 34 guns|
|25.||Frigate||HMS Horatio||steam frigate, 24 guns|
|26.||Sloop-of-war||HMS Malacca||17 guns|
|27.||Corvette||HMS Cossack||wooden screw, 20 guns|
|28.||Corvette||HMS Tartar||20 guns|
|29.||Corvette||HMS Pylades||wooden screw, 20 guns|
|30.||Corvette||HMS Esk||21 guns source gives 20 guns|
|31.||Screw sloop||HMS Archer||15 guns|
|32.||Paddle frigate||HMS Magicienne||steam powered, 16 guns|
|33.||Paddle frigate||HMS Odin||ditto|
|34.||Paddle frigate||HMS Vulture||6 guns|
|35.||Paddle frigate||HMS Centaur||6 guns|
|36.||Paddle frigate||HMS Dragon||6 guns|
|37.||Paddle sloop||HMS Bulldog||6 guns|
|38.||Paddle steamer||HMS Lightning||3 guns|
|39.||Screw sloop||HMS Desperate||8 guns|
|40.||Screw sloop||HMS Conflict||8 guns|
|41.||Screw sloop||HMS Cruizer||17 guns, source gives 15 guns as HMS Cruiser|
|42.||Screw sloop||HMS Harrier||17 guns, source gives 15 guns|
|43.||Screw sloop||HMS Falcon||ditto|
|44.||Screw sloop||HMS Ariel||9 guns|
|45.||Paddle sloop||HMS Basilisk||6 guns|
|46.||Steam sloop||HMS Rosamond||6 guns|
|47.||Paddle sloop||HMS Driver||6 guns|
|48.||Paddle sloop||HMS Geyser||6 guns|
|49||Paddle sloop||HMS Gorgon||6 guns|
|Ironclad floating batteries total 5|
|1.||Aetna-class||HMS Glatton||16 guns|
|2.||Aetna-class||HMS Meteor||16 guns|
|3.||Aetna-class||HMS Aetna||16 guns|
|4.||Aetna-class||HMS Thunder||16 guns|
|5.||Example||HMS Trusty||16 guns|
|Mortar vessels total 28|
|8||Bomb vessels||Blazer, Firm, Manly, Mastiff, Hardy, Havock, Porcupine, Porpoise.||All built between 1854 and 1855, 1 gun each|
|10||Gunboats||Gleaner, Pelter, Ruby, Pincher, Teazer, Badger, Snaper, Biter, Boxer, Clinker||Between 2 and 3 guns each|
|10||Gunboats||Cracker, Dapper, Fancy, Grinder, Snap, Jackdaw, Jasper, Jack, Magpie, Redwing||Between 2 and 3 guns each|
|Gunboats total 8|
|8||Gunboats||Skylark, Hind, Starling, Stork, Twinger, Thistle, Weasel, Pigmy||Between 2 and 3 guns each|
|Other vessels/units total 3|
|1.||Hospital ship||HMS Belleisle|
|The fleet consisted of 93 naval units of all types|
The intention was to loan Ayscue to the Swedes to assist their naval operations; in addition the fleet carried several hundred English seamen and a dozen officers who had been recruited for the Swedish Marine, and English privateers were operating under Swedish licences.
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