Saturday, 6 March 2021

All at Sea - Trafalgar Project Update, The Penultimate Group Added to the Collection

The Heavyweight Punch - Geoff Hunt
This picture, a 60th birthday present, graces the wall in my room, so seems a fitting one to head up the final builds of the Trafalgar collection of models which sees the heavyweight punch added to both fleets as I round off the collection with the mighty British and Spanish three-deckers.

Last month I posted the first pictures of the Trafalgar collection of 1:700th model ships which is now into the final builds to complete the collection and this week I finished off the penultimate group of six models that have now been added to the respective line-ups.

So first up I will start with the outstanding French and British third and fifth-rates that were the last ones needed to complete their respective groups.

The French fielded fourteen 74-gun ships of the line at Trafalgar, alongside their four 80-gun two-deckers and so these last two 74's complete the collection of French ships of the line in Vice-Admiral Villeneuve's Combined Franco-Spanish fleet.

Algesiras - Admiral Charles Magon, Capt. Gabriel Brouard
Pluton - Commodore Cosmao Kerjulien
Mont-Blanc - Commodore Noel La Villegris
Intrepide - Commodore Louis Infernet
Swiftsure - Capt. L’Hospitalier Villemadrin
Aigle - Capt. P Gourrege
Argonaut - Capt. J Epron
Achille - Capt. G de Nieport
Redoutable - Capt. J Lucas
Fougueux - Capt. L Beaudouin
Heros - Capt. Jean Poulain
Scipion - Capt. Charles Berrenger
Berwick - Capt. Jean-Gilles Filhol de Camas
Duguay Trouin - Capt. Claude Touffet

The Combined Fleet had a superiority of eleven third-rate 80's and 74's (28 against 17), which included no fewer than six of the excellent 80-gun ships against just one British.

It was in this part of the fleet line-ups that the British were at a distinct disadvantage with three of the much weaker 64's versus just one in the Spanish fleet compounding it.

As with the previous six French 74's presented I decided to paint these in the Revolutionary war scheme rather than the more common chequerboard look seen later in the Napoleonic War.

To complete my Trafalgar French collection I needed to add one more fifth-rate 40-gun frigate to complete the line up.

All the light ships of the Combined Fleet were French, with five 40-gun frigates and two brigs acting as scouts, signal relay vessels, command vessels if needed and in the end valuable tows for the bigger ships of the line, dismasted and badly damaged, that the Allies were able to get away from the victorious British fleet.

Cornelie - Capt. André-Jules-François de Martineng
Hermione - Capt. Jean-Michel Mahé
Hortense - Capt. Louis-Charles-Auguste Delamarre de Lamellerie
Rhin - Capt. Michel Chesneau
Themis - Capt. Nicolas-Joseph-Pierre Jugan

I think the role of the small ships in a battle such as Trafalgar is often underplayed by naval wargamers, often leaving these ships aside as unimportant to the decision of the battle between the big ships of the line, but I'm keen to see them not only on the table for completeness but fulfilling their important role during our games as described.

At Trafalgar, Villeneuve distributed his frigates and brigs across his five squadrons thus;
1st Squadron (Gravina), Squadron of Observation, Themis (40-guns) and Argus (16-guns)
2nd Squadron (Magon), Squadron of Observation, Hermione (40-guns)
2nd (Rear) Squadron (Alava), Rhin (40-guns)
1st (Centre) Squadron (Villeneuve), Hortense (40-guns), Furet (18-guns)
3rd (Van) Squadron (Dumanoir), Cornelie (40-guns)

The French frigate Themis takes the Spanish three deck flagship of Vice Admiral Alava, Santa Anna under tow after the Battle of Trafalgar - Antoine Roux

Finally I added the last British third-rate 74-gun ship to complete the British line up of sixteen ships

Conqueror - Capt. Israel Pellew
Leviathan - Capt. Henry Baytun 
Ajax - Capt. (acting) John Pilford
Orion - Capt. Edward Codrington
Minotaur - Capt. Charles Mansfield
Spartiate - Capt. Sir Charles LaForey
Mars - Capt. George Duff
Belleisle - Capt. William Hargood
Bellerophon - Capt. John Cooke
Colossus - Capt. James Morris
Achille - Capt. Richard King
Revenge - Capt. Robert Moorsom
Swiftsure - Capt. William Rutherford
Defence - Capt. George Hope
Thunderer - Capt. (acting) John Stockham
Defiance -Capt. Philip Durham

As mentioned, the British fleet was at a distinct disadvantage in third-rates versus the Combined Fleet, offset by the heavy batteries of the seven three deck first and second-rates, vessels I intend to look at in the next two posts as I complete the fleet line-ups.

That said the British third-rate component contributed about 25% of the total broadside weight of fire the British fleet could muster with 10,934 lbs out of 43,666 lbs (19.5 tons) total. This against 34,240 lbs (15 tons) for the French and 28,170 lbs (12.5 tons) for the Spanish.

These total weights of fire power for the three national fleets at Trafalgar are staggering when you consider one of the largest land battles of the era, Waterloo, would see the combined capability of all the artillery present generate a tiny 1.5 tons in comparison.

These models have been really fun to build and certainly repay the effort in trying to capture the look of the respective fleets and I will conclude this look at the last models needed to complete the collection with the six British and Spanish three-deckers to be added and the humble but just as important little British ships, the Bermudan schooner HMS Pickle and the Cutter, HMS Entreprenante.

The Fatal Embrace, Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October 1805 - Barry Mason

Next up: More ships as the final models to be added get their showcase before I look at the fleets in detail with the models built to represent them, plus Steve and I are into a new Vassal module, the Battle of Eylau, 1807 from Vae Victrix Magazine.


  1. Beautiful. You should feel very proud of your collection,well done.

  2. A stunningly superb collection! Thank you for a series of most enjoyable reports on your progress.

  3. Trafalgar? Don't know this battle! 😊...Splendid, truly splendid!

  4. Hi Chaps,
    Thank you for your comments and glad you have enjoyed seeing the work to complete this project.

    Once the collection is built I will put a review together of all the models in their fleet organisations prior to the anticipated first games.