Action of 1745-01-08

8th January 1744/45
Part of : War of the Austrian Succession (1740/12/16 - 1748/10/18)
Previous action : Rose vs Concepcion 1.12.1744
Next action : Straits of Banca 24.1.1744/45


Great Britain

Unknown Division
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Hampton Court (64) Savage Mostyn (1713-1757)

Royaume de France

Unknown Division
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Neptune (74)  
Le Fleuron (64)  



Previous comments on this page

Posted by Albert Parker on Friday 13th of March 2020 16:26

/Neptune/ and /Fleuron/ were encountered and initially chased by FOUR British ships:
Captain, 70: Capt. Thomas Griffin (senior officer)
Sunderland, 58: Capt. John Brett
Hampton Court, 64: Capt. Savage Mostyn
Dreadnought, 58: Capt. Thorpe Fowke
Griffin thought that they had sighted two large merchantmen escorted by a smaller warship. The "warship" broke off to leeward and Griffin, in the leewardmost British ship, went in pursuit of her. She turned out to be a British privateer that the two French "merchantmen"--actually ships of the line--had captured on their approach to Brest while returning from the West Indies.
The other three British ships continued the pursuit, but /Sunderland/, under studding sails, lost her main topmast and fell well behind. Eventualy, /Hampton Court/ came up with the two French ships, but Capt. Mostyn was not willing to engage without the support of /Dreadnought/. He fell back until /Dreadnought/ could come up. /Dreadnought/ was not fast enough to gain on the French. The two ships kept the French in sight for another day, but they were uncertain of their longitude and when night came they gave up the puruit, fearing that they would run onto Ushant island in the dark.
Mostyn had two reasons for not engaging: (10 without /Dreadnought/, he was outnumbered 2-1. (2) He had overtaken the French to windward, and his ship heeled over so far in the strong winds that he dared not open his main-deck gunports, and he could not elevate his upper deck guns enough to reach the French; whereas the French, being to leeward and not heeling as much, could use all of their batteries (they didn't open fire, but did open their lower-deck gunports).
Mostyn was criticized for not doing more, such as at least trying some shots to make sure that he couldn't reach, or getting to leeward of the French, where the effects of heel would be reversed. He requested and was granted a court-martial, which found that he had acted properly. There was a "pamphlet" war and political controversy over this incident, stimulated by cashiered admiral Edward Vernon.
French officers:
NEPTUNE: Capitaine de vaisseau Nicolas Hercule d'Épinay de Boisgéroult, comte d'Épinay
FLEURON: Capitaine de vaisseau Clément-François de Charry, comte des Gouttes
British gun ratings: /Hampton Court/ had been ordered as a 70 and is sometimes listed as such, but her class of 70s was systematically armed with 64 guns, which gave a heavier broadside. /Dreadnought/ and /Sunderland/ are usually given as 60s. They had been ordered as such, but armed with only 58 guns. However, the 1745 establishment ordered the 13th pair of upper-deck guns restored, making them 60s again. /Dreadnought/ and /Sunderland/ had been in service throughout 1745 and probably had not been rearmed by January 1746 (still 1745 in the British calendar anyway☺).

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