Baltic Fleet (United Kingdom)

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British Baltic Fleet
Government Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the British Baltic Fleet March-August 1854
Active1658-1856
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Type Fleet
Part of Royal Navy
Garrison/HQ Spithead, Hampshire, England
Commanders
Notable
commanders
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.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

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.

Baltic Sea A sea in Northern Europe bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands

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.

Contents

Overview

The Baltic fleet sailing from Spithead, 11 March 1854 The Baltic fleet sailing from Spithead 11 March 1854.jpg
The Baltic fleet sailing from Spithead, 11 March 1854

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. [1] 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. [2] Pictured right is the fleet sailing from Spithead on 11 March 1854.

Spithead watercourse in the United Kingdom

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.

Nore sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary

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.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

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).

History

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). [3]

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.

General at sea

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.

George Ayscue Royal Navy admiral

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. [4]

John Norris (Royal Navy officer) British naval officer

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.

Electorate of Hanover former Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire

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

Swedish Empire the years 1611–1721 in the history of Sweden

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. [5]

George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington 17th and 18th-century Royal Navy admiral

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 of Sweden King of Sweden

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 political ideology

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. [6]

Adoption of the Gregorian calendar

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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. [7]

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. [8] [9]

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. [10]

The fleet in the Baltic, 1854 Marinmotiv-Franskengelsk eskader vid Sveaborg 1854 - Sjohistoriska museet - O 08128.jpeg
The fleet in the Baltic, 1854

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. [11] [12]

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. [13] [14]

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. [15]

In command

Post holders included:
Commander-in-Chief, Baltic Fleet
No.ranknamedate/snotesref
1.Vice-AdmiralSir William Goodsonn 1658-1659as Commander of the British Baltic Fleet [16]
2.Admiral Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich 1659in command as General at Sea [17]
3.AdmiralSir John Norris 1715in command as Admiral of the Blue [18]
4.AdmiralSir George Byng 1717in command as Admiral of the White [19]
5.AdmiralSir John Norris1718-1725in command as Admiral of the Blue and second appointment [20]
6.Vice-AdmiralSir Charles Wager 1726in command as Vice-Admiral of the Red [21]
7.AdmiralSir John Norris1727in command as Admiral of the Blue and third appointment [22]
8.AdmiralSir Hyde Parker 1801in command as Admiral of the Blue [23]
9.Vice-Admiral James Saumarez 1808-1812in command as Vice-Admiral of the Red [24] [25]
10.Vice-Admiral Charles Napier February – March, 1854in command of the Baltic Fleet and Vice-Admiral of the Blue [26]
11.Vice-Admiral James Dundas March, – August, 1854in command of the Baltic Fleet and Vice-Admiral of the Blue [27]
12.Rear-Admiral Richard Dundas February, 1855 – April 1856in command of the Baltic Fleet [28] [29]

Composition of the fleet 1855

As of 27 June 1855: [30]

Composition of the Baltic Fleet June 1855
#rateshipsnotesref
1. First-rate HMS Duke of Wellington,Flag Ship, 131 guns [30]
2. First-rate HMS Royal George 120 guns newspaper report gives 102 guns [30]
3. Second-rate HMS Exmouth 91 guns [30]
4.Second-rate HMS James Watt steam- and sail-powered, 91 guns [30]
5.Second-rate HMS Orion 91 guns [30]
6.Second-rate HMS Caesar launched 1853, 91 guns [30]
7.Second-rate HMS Nile 90 guns [30]
8.Second-rate HMS Majestic 81 guns [30]
9.Second-rate HMS Colossus 80 guns [30]
10.Second-rate HMS Sans Pareil 70 guns [30]
11. Third-rate HMS Cressy (1853) launched 1853, screw propelled, 80 guns [30]
12.Third-rate HMS Blenheim 74 guns [30]
13.Third-rate HMS La Hogue 74 guns source gives 60 guns [30]
14.Third-rate HMS Ajax ditto [30]
15.Third-rate HMS Hastings ditto [30]
16.Third-rate HMS Pembroke 60 guns [30]
17.Third-rate HMS Cornwallis 60 guns [30]
18.Third-rate HMS Hawke 60 guns [30]
19.Third-rate HMS Russell 74 guns, source gives 60 guns [30]
20.Third-rate HMS Edinburgh 74 guns, source gives 58 guns [30]
21. Fourth-rate HMS Euryalus screw frigate, 51 guns [30]
22. Steam frigate HMS Imperieuse 51 guns [30]
23. Frigate HMS Arrogant 46 guns [30]
24.Frigate HMS Amphion 36 guns, source gives 34 guns [30]
25.Frigate HMS Horatio steam frigate, 24 guns [30]
26. Sloop-of-war HMS Malacca 17 guns [30]
27. Corvette HMS Cossack wooden screw, 20 guns [30]
28.Corvette HMS Tartar 20 guns [30]
29.Corvette HMS Pylades wooden screw, 20 guns [30]
30.Corvette HMS Esk 21 guns source gives 20 guns [30]
31. Screw sloop HMS Archer 15 guns [30]
32.Paddle frigate HMS Magicienne steam powered, 16 guns [30]
33.Paddle frigate HMS Odin ditto [30]
34.Paddle frigate HMS Vulture 6 guns [30]
35.Paddle frigate HMS Centaur 6 guns [30]
36.Paddle frigate HMS Dragon 6 guns [30]
37.Paddle sloop HMS Bulldog 6 guns [30]
38.Paddle steamer HMS Lightning 3 guns [30]
39.Screw sloop HMS Desperate 8 guns [30]
40.Screw sloop HMS Conflict 8 guns [30]
41.Screw sloop HMS Cruizer 17 guns, source gives 15 guns as HMS Cruiser [30]
42.Screw sloop HMS Harrier 17 guns, source gives 15 guns [30]
43.Screw sloop HMS Falcon ditto [30]
44.Screw sloop HMS Ariel 9 guns [30]
45.Paddle sloop HMS Basilisk 6 guns [30]
46.Steam sloop HMS Rosamond 6 guns [30]
47.Paddle sloop HMS Driver 6 guns [30]
48.Paddle sloop HMS Geyser 6 guns [30]
49Paddle sloop HMS Gorgon 6 guns [30]
Ironclad floating batteries total 5
1.Aetna-class HMS Glatton 16 guns [30]
2.Aetna-class HMS Meteor 16 guns [30]
3.Aetna-class HMS Aetna 16 guns [30]
4.Aetna-class HMS Thunder 16 guns [30]
5.Example HMS Trusty 16 guns [30]
Mortar vessels total 28
8 Bomb vessels Blazer, Firm, Manly, Mastiff, Hardy, Havock, Porcupine, Porpoise.All built between 1854 and 1855, 1 gun each [30]
10 Gunboats Gleaner, Pelter, Ruby, Pincher, Teazer, Badger, Snaper, Biter, Boxer, ClinkerBetween 2 and 3 guns each [30]
10 Gunboats Cracker, Dapper, Fancy, Grinder, Snap, Jackdaw, Jasper, Jack, Magpie, RedwingBetween 2 and 3 guns each [30]
Gunboats total 8
8 Gunboats Skylark, Hind, Starling, Stork, Twinger, Thistle, Weasel, PigmyBetween 2 and 3 guns each [30]
Other vessels/units total 3
1. Hospital ship HMS Belleisle [30]
1.Shell magazineAeolus [30]
1.Powder magazineVolage [30]
The fleet consisted of 93 naval units of all types

Footnotes

  1. Lavery, Brian (2015). Nelson's Victory: 250 Years of War and Peace. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Publishing. p. 165. ISBN   9781848322325.
  2. Grehan, John; Mace, Martin (2014). "VIII British Battles of the Crimean Wars 1854 to 1855". British Battles of the Crimean Wars 1854–1856: Despatches from the Front. Barnsley, England: Pen and Sword. ISBN   9781473831858.
  3. Grainger, John D. (2014). The British Navy in the Baltic. Woodbridge, England: Boydell & Brewer Ltd. p. 43. ISBN   9781843839477. 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.
  4. Heathcoate, Tony (2002). British admirals of the fleet 1734–1995 : a biographical dictionary. Barnsley: Pen and Sword. p. 196. ISBN   0850528356.
  5. Laughton, John Knox. "Byng George". Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900. London, England: Smith, Elder and Co. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  6. Heathcoate, Tony (2002). British admirals of the fleet 1734–1995 : a biographical dictionary. Barnsley: Pen and Sword. p. 196. ISBN   0850528356. After the death of Charles XII of Sweden in December 1718 Norris was went back to the Baltic to protect Sweden against Peter the Great, whose new navy was regarded as a threat to British control of the Baltic. He served there between 1719 and 1722 [...].
  7. Campbell, John (1814). Lives of the British Admirals: Containing Also a New and Accurate Naval History, from the Earliest Periods. London, England: C. J. Barrinton. pp. 221–222.
  8. Laughton, John Knox. "Parker Hyde (1739–1807)". Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900. London, England: Smith, Elder & Co. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  9. Williams, Chris (2006). A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Britain. Hoboken, New Jersey, United States: John Wiley & Sons. p. 79. ISBN   9781405156790.
  10. Heathcoate, Tony (2005). Nelson's Trafalgar captains and their battles. Barnsley, England: Pen & Sword Maritime. p. 106. ISBN   1844151824.
  11. Callo, Joseph F.; Wilson, Alastair (2004). Who's Who in Naval History: From 1550 to the present. Cambridge, London: Routledge. p. 296. ISBN   9781134395408.
  12. https://books.google.com/books?id=fui_CwAAQBAJ page 210.
  13. Lavery p. 165.
  14. Richards, Donald (2006). Conflict in the Crimea: British Redcoats on Russian Soil. Barnsley, England: Pen and Sword. pp. 143–145. ISBN   9781844153435. The first British ships sailed from Spithead on 20 March bound for Kiel, with the remainder following two weeks later, intent on enforcing a blockade to prevent essential supplies from getting through to Russia from the Baltic ports.
  15. "THE BALTIC FLEET". Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957). 27 June 1855. p. 5. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  16. Harrison, Simon (2010–2018). "Three Decks – Warships in the Age of Sail: Fleet lists 1553 to 1821". threedecks.org. S. Harrison. Retrieved 28 February 2019.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  17. Harrison Fleet Lists
  18. Harrison Fleet Lists
  19. Harrison Fleet Lists
  20. Harrison Fleet Lists
  21. Campbell, John; Kent, John (1785). Biographia Nautica: Or, Memoirs of Those Illustrious Seamen, to Whose Intrepidity and Conduct the English are Indebted, for the Victories of Their Fleets, the Increase of Their Dominions, the Extension of Their Commerce, and Their Preeminence on the Ocean. Interspersed with the Most Material Circumstances of Naval History, from the Norman Invasion to the Year 1779. Embellished with Copper-plates. Dublin, Ireland: J. Williams. p. 188.
  22. Harrison Fleet Lists
  23. Harrison Fleet Lists
  24. Hore, Captain Peter (20 May 2015). "James Saumarez". Nelson's Band of Brothers. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN   9781848323568.
  25. Harrison Fleet Lists
  26. Callo and Wilson p. 296.
  27. Lavery p. 165.
  28. Harrison, Simon (2010–2018). "Richard Saunders Dundas (1802–1861)". threedecks.org. S, Harrison. Retrieved 1 March 2019.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  29. Melbourne Argus 20 June 1855
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 "THE BALTIC FLEET". Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957). 27 June 1855. p. 5. Retrieved 1 March 2019.

Bibliography

  1. Callo, Joseph F.; Wilson, Alastair (2004). Who's Who in Naval History: From 1550 to the present. Cambridge, London: Routledge. ISBN   9781134395408.
  2. Campbell, John; Kent, John (1785). Biographia Nautica: Or, Memoirs of Those Illustrious Seamen, to Whose Intrepidity and Conduct the English are Indebted, for the Victories of Their Fleets, the Increase of Their Dominions, the Extension of Their Commerce, and Their Preeminence on the Ocean. Interspersed with the Most Material Circumstances of Naval History, from the Norman Invasion to the Year 1779. Embellished with Copper-plates. Dublin, Ireland: J. Williams.
  3. Campbell, John (1814). Lives of the British Admirals: Containing Also a New and Accurate Naval History, from the Earliest Periods. London, England: C. J. Barrinton.
  4. Grehan, John; Mace, Martin (2014). "VIII British Battles of the Crimean Wars 1854 to 1855". British Battles of the Crimean Wars 1854–1856: Despatches from the Front. Barnsley, England: Pen and Sword. ISBN   9781473831858.
  5. Harrison, Simon (2010–2018). "Three Decks – Warships in the Age of Sail: Fleet lists 1553 to 1821". threedecks.org. S. Harrison.
  6. Hore, Captain Peter (2015). "James Saumarez". Nelson's Band of Brothers. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN   9781848323568.
  7. Grainger, John D. (2014). The British Navy in the Baltic. Woodbridge, England: Boydell & Brewer Ltd. ISBN   9781843839477.
  8. Heathcoate, Tony (2002). British admirals of the fleet 1734–1995 : a biographical dictionary. Barnsley: Pen and Sword. ISBN   0850528356.
  9. Heathcoate, Tony (2005). Nelson's Trafalgar captains and their battles. Barnsley, England: Pen & Sword Maritime. ISBN   1844151824.
  10. Laughton, John Knox. "Byng George". Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900. London, England: Smith, Elder and Co.
  11. Laughton, John Knox. (1885–1900). "Parker Hyde (1739–1807)". Dictionary of National Biography, London, England: Smith, Elder & Co.
  12. Lavery, Brian (2015). Nelson's Victory: 250 Years of War and Peace. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN   9781848322325.
  13. Richards, Donald (2006). Conflict in the Crimea: British Redcoats on Russian Soil. Barnsley, England: Pen and Sword. ISBN   9781844153435.
  14. Williams, Chris (2006). A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Britain. Hoboken, New Jersey, United States: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN   9781405156790.

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