On 18 February 1800, some 217 years ago today, the French Téméraire-class 74-gun ship of the line Généreux (Generosity) carrying the flag of Rear Adm. Jean-Baptiste Perrée and commanded by Capt. Mathieu-Cyprien Renaudin, ran into a British squadron a week out of Toulon on the way to relieve the embattled French garrison on Malta.
The French force, consisting of Généreux, the 20-gun corvettes Badine and Fauvette, the 16-gun Sans Pareille and the fluyt Ville de Marseille, wound up facing the British squadron just off the island, composed of four (4) 74-gun ships– HMS Alexander, Northumberland, Audacious and Foudroyant— as well as the 64-gun HMS Lion and the 32-gun frigate HMS Success. The leader of the Brits was a chap by the name of Nelson.
The action was heroic on both sides, with the faster Success overtaking Généreux and Perrée electing to engage the British squadron alone in a holding action, allowing the rest of his ships to escape what would have been certain destruction or capture.
In the resulting maiming of the Généreux by the Brits, Perree lost first an eye to a splinter and a leg to a cannonball, but eeked out, “Ce n’est rien, mes amis, continuons notre besogne” (It is nothing, my friends, continue with your work) like a true 18th Century naval hero. He later died that evening, probably telling “your mama” jokes about Nelson to the leeches.
Généreux eventually struck her immense (53 x 27 ft.) tri-color after an hour of terrific battle and went on to be repaired and pressed into service with the RN as HMS Généreux, serving Nelson for a while until broken up in 1816.
On Nelson’s orders, Perrée was interred in Saint Lucy church in the Dominican convent of Syracuse on nearby Sicily and remains there today.
Généreux‘s skipper, Renaudin, after he was paroled was acquitted at a court martial for losing his ship and sought to continue his service in the French Navy, though he was cashiered on direct orders from Napolean. Just 43 at the time, Renaudin had over two decades of sea service under his belt including numerous ship-to-ship combats and likely could have been useful for a good while longer. C’est la vie.
Renaudin retired to the quiet coastal town of Saint-Denis-d’Oleron on a nominal pension of 900 francs per year. He was later offered the Legion of Honor and its associated knighthood by the Bourbon government, which he refused. He died on Valentine’s Day 1836, you could say of a broken heart. A book was written about him in 2010 entitled, Un marin d’infortune (Sailor of misfortune).
As for the Généreux Tri-Color, it is believed to be one of the earliest still in existence and is preserved by the BNPS, though it is deteriorating. The ensign, after being captured, was sent to Norwich, where it was put on display until 1897. Brought out and shown off once more for the 1905 centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, it has been in storage since then.
Set to be put on public display at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery from July 29 to October 1, it was recently unfurled and examined. Fragments of wood, likely splinters from battle-damaged ships, and traces of gunpowder were found as was a nail used to hammer it up at one point, likely for display.
To ensure this amazing object– the oldest Napoleonic flag in the UK– is available for future generations to enjoy, the Costume and Textile Association have launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise £5,000 towards the total costs of £40,000 needed for vital conservation work.
I figured if this was new to me, it was likely new to some of your as well, but did you know that the table two portion of the Marine’s annual rifle range qualification has changed to become more practical?
Among the changes:
•Keeping up the heart rate: Instead of Marines staying stationary while shooting, they are required to start at the standing position and quickly get into the kneeling or prone position when the targets are ready to appear.
•Engaging the enemy: Marines begin qualifying at the 500-yard line then advance towards the 100-yard line, where previously they trained the other way around.
•Maintaining situational awareness in combat: New targets show both friendly and enemy forces and Marines must maintain awareness of the targets to determine when to shoot forcing them to make combat decisions.
The Army has a two-part video series about the Sullivan Cup, “This ain’t your mama’s table VI qualification.”
Big Green takes the top 16 M1 tank crews and pits them against each other in a week-long competition at Fort Benning.
The production team from the Defense Media Activity goes down to Fort Stewart, Georgia, to see two 3rd Infantry Division tank crews, “Cannonarchy” and “Count Trackula”– both from Charlie Co. 1-64 Armor— compete for a chance to go to the Army’s premiere tank crew competition.
And it’s really well done and insightful. The term “degraded engagement” takes on new meaning.
Here we have a very nice Gustloff-Werke “bcd/4” code Model 98K Mauser bolt-action sniper rifle in “long rail” configuration. It’s fitted with a “bmj” code Hensoldt-Wetzlar Dialytan model 4X fixed power scope and includes a period correct leather sling, lens covers, and scope case Via Rock Island Auction House, estimated range $2,000 – $4,500
Gustloff Werke, was a located in Weimar, Germany, and up until 1938 was known as the Jewish-owned Berlin Suhler Waffen- und Fahrzeugwerke (BSW). Seized by the state, it was renamed after assassinated Swiss Nazi Wilhelm Gustloff but, as it was one of the few factories intact after the war, in 1947 the Soviets disassembled the whole concern and moved it to Russia where it became part of the Avtovelo works. Urban legend has it that the disassembly and reassembly was so complete that offices even had the correct trash cans for each desk– still with the trash inside in case anything useful was thrown away.
Last December, the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) and the National Research Centre of Archaeology Indonesia/Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional (ARKENAS) conducted a remote-sensing survey of the wreck sites of Royal Australian navy light cruiser HMAS Perth (D29) and the U.S. heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA30), lost during World War II at Sunda Strait, 1 March 1942.
There had been persistent reports that both ships, along with a number of Dutch vessels, had been extensively raided by illegal scrap metal salvors.
After initial analysis, it looks like Houston may have been spared the vultures.
The new multi-beam sonar imagery shows the entire wreck site and confirms the wreck remains in its original sinking location and is largely intact.
An interesting interview published through NATO’s channels of Lieutenant Silje Johansen Willassen, Norway’s Telemark Battalion’s first female tank platoon commander, in charge of a quartet of German-built Leopard MBTs. Telemark is the Army ‘s rapid reaction force and is equipped with Swedish CV-9030N infantry fighting vehicles and Leopard 2A4NO tanks, the latter picked up slightly used from the Dutch Army in 2001.
Norway will be sending a mixed force company to Lithuania in May to support NATO’s enhanced forward presence. The company, of around 200 troops, will be drawn from the Telemark Battalion– and Willassen will command half of the tanks slated for the force. They will provide combat support to the German-led multinational battalion. The deployment will be for six months.