The Battle of Trafalgar, One Of The Greatest Battles In Military History (Watch)

HMS Sandwich fights the French flagship Bucentaure at Trafalgar - painting by Auguste Meyer, 1836
HMS Sandwich fights the French flagship Bucentaure at Trafalgar - painting by Auguste Meyer, 1836

Early on in the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon had grand plans to invade Great Britain. Conquering that region would leave him free to pursue other conquests and remove the largest rival naval power.

Unfortunately for Napoleon, his juggernaut of a land army was stopped by the Royal Navy that dedicatedly guarded the narrow English Channel. Napoleon needed only to control Channel for long enough to get his army across and he was as confident of victory as the British were terrified of defeat.

To keep Napoleon from even having a chance of temporarily controlling the Channel, the British split their navy up to blockade many of the ports that contained the French navy. The series of movements between Napoleon attempting to seize control of the Channel and the British preventing him would be known as the Trafalgar campaign, lasting through most of 1805.

Thus the stage was set for Nelson’s greatest and last battle as he was shot and killed during a boarding struggle.

Lord Nelson was brought back to London for burial where he was simultaneously mourned and celebrated. The greatest fear of the British, the invasion of their homeland, was gone thanks to the bold tactics and leadership of Nelson. Many were torn by the grief of losing such a talented and loved commander, and his funeral was one of the most remarkable of all British history.

Nelson banked on the skill of his men and used aggressive tactics against a much larger force to force a decisive victory. He is remembered today as one of the greatest British commanders of all time.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.