2009 was the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Quiberon Bay, a major British naval victory won in a storm, in the dark and inside a difficult bay on the French coast. Unlike the far more famous battle of Trafalgar, Quiberon Bay directly prevented a French invasion of Britain, and played a major part in deciding the outcome of the Seven Years War.
The main focus of this book is on the background to the battle - the war itself, naval power in the period, mercantile warfare, the blockade of Brest, Admiral Hawke and the aftermath of the battle - both its immediate impact on the French and the end of the war and the later career of Hawke and his captains.
Although the battle is at the centre of the book Tracy focuses more on putting events in focus than on the details of the fighting itself. The chapter on the actual battle is 25 pages long, and given the relatively simple course of events once the fighting began that feels about right.
Quiberon Bay wasn't a crushing victory on the scale of Nelson's famous victories at the Nile or Trafalgar, so Tracy is right to look for its significance elsewhere - including the defeat of a real threat of French invasion and the impressive demonstration of British seamanship.
1 - Context
2 - Britain's Naval Strategy
3 - Admiral Sir Edward Hawke
4 - Hawke in Command
5 - The Watch on Brest
6 - The Battle of Quiberon Bay
7 - Victory
8 - An Armed Peace and an Empire Lost
Appendix 1 - From the Captain's Log of Swiftsure
Appendix 2 - Neptune's Resignation (poem)
Author: Nicholas Tracy
Publisher: Pen & Sword Marine