Pussers - Admiral Lord Nelson Ships DecanterRum Ahoy
At the beginning of the 19th century, England was in a difficult position. Parts of the North American colonies had gained their independence from the crown. Spain was the undisputed ruler of the oceans and a strict enemy to England. English ships were often taken by the Spanish fleet and there was no defense against this. Europe had been conquered by Napoleon's French army and Britain was threatened by invasion. The British fleet was weak in number and suffered from uncreative leadership.
There was one British naval officer who was different - Horatio Nelson!
Admiral Nelson was an outstanding and strongly nonconformist leader. He did not follow the old and traditional patterns, but instead created his own solutions in the battles and engagements that he fought and later lead. In fact, at times his path to success was in direct defiance of the orders given him. He did not follow orders that he found useless or not according to his own concept, and because of his leadership and tactical genius, he was victorious in every major engagement he fought and was therefore never brought to task for his disobedience. He was constantly developing and evolving new tactics that became known as the "Nelson touch" as in the famous and vital Battle of Trafalgar, the largest sea battle ever fought between ships-of-the-line. He was popular and well-respected, and those he led worshipped him in contrast to the usual relationship between English military leaders and their men at that time. He was always personally in the thick of the fight. He appealed to the pride and patriotism of his sailors. This connection to his men, apart from winning the most important sea battle at the time and one of the greatest in the annals of naval warfare, made him a hero to not only his men and the Royal Navy, but to the common people of England where the Battle of Trafalgar, 200 years later, is still celebrated.Trafalgar was a turning point in world history.
The English fleet led by Nelson performed a miracle in defeating the combined French and Spanish fleets, thus destroying Spain's dominance of the world's oceans. Now Britain "ruled the waves" as the famous anthem goes. Britain had finally curtailed the Spanish predominance of the oceans and the end of French dominance of the European continent would soon follow. This victory opened the path to the construction of the British Empire, as no other European power could now prevent Britain's imperialism. Her Walls of Oak, as the wooden hulled ships of the Royal Navy were called, dominated the seas and gave cover to Britain's expansion, while Great Britain lay protected and secure behind them.
If Nelson had not prevailed at Trafalgar, the British Empire could not have happened, and the world today would be a very different place.