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Honour - BARFLEUR 1692


Date - 19/22-May (Barfleur) and 23/24-May (La Hogue)
Type - Fleet or Squadron Actions
Conflict - War of the English Succession; 1689-97

 
Description
Barfleur (19/22-May)
In 1690 in a battle off Beachy Head, the French under Admiral, the Compte de Tourville had gained a naval superiority in the English Channel.

The exiled King James II was trying to regain his throne and assembled an army of 30,000 men and 500 transports in Cherbourg.

The French, under Tourville sailed from Brest  with 44 ships-of-the-line, but an Anglo-Dutch fleet of nearly 100 ships-of-the-line,  had assembled at Portsmouth.

The two fleets sighted each other off Cap Barfleur on the Cotentin peninsula.

The battle started but early in the afternoon a dense fog settled over the battle. The French moved off to the west and both fleets anchored for the night.

Next morning (20th) the French continued to the west towards the Channel Islands and the English began a general chase, which lasted all day. Again both fleets anchored for the night. The chase continued next morning (21st), and the French lost Soleil Royal (76) and Admiral (90), both destroyed by fire.

Twenty two French ships were chased into St Malo and the rest escaped to the Bay of La Hogue.

 

 
Description
La Hogue (23/24-May)
Twelve French ships-of-the-line were chased deep into La Hogue Bay among scores of transports, which had assembled for the invasion of England.

English and French fireships were sent in together with ships-of-the-line. All 12 French ships-of-the-line were destroyed.

The battle was fought so close inshore that crowds watched from the shore. Among such shallow water that it was recorded that French Cavalry were sent to attack some English ships, and French troopers were pulled from their horses by seamen with billhooks.

 

 
  The combined fleets numbered nearly 140 ships and the award Barfleur covers both actions with separate awards not recognised.

 

 
 
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This page last edited - 04 April, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.