19 Jun 2012

Could This Have Worked on the Armada?

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The old-fashioned way of stopping enemy ships.


A Russian ship believed to be carrying helicopters and missiles for Syria has been effectively stopped in its tracks off the coast of Scotland after its insurance was cancelled at the behest of the British government.

The British marine insurer Standard Club said it had withdrawn cover from all the ships owned by Femco, a Russian cargo line, including the MV Alaed.

“We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria,” the company said in a statement. “We have already informed the ship owner that their insurance cover ceased automatically in view of the nature of the voyage.”

The Royal Navy blocked invasion of the British Isles by the Spanish Armada in 1588 with cannon-fire and cutlass. So formidable was the Royal Navy’s fighting superiority in 1805 that Admiral Jervis was able to quip: “I do not say that they [the French] cannot come — I only say they cannot come by sea.”

Where in days of yore, England maintained command of the seas with “hearts of oak,” clearly today Britain has succeeded in substituting hearts of ink.

One pictures Napoleon glaring in frustration as Marshall Bertrand reports that Lloyds’ has cancelled the invasion fleet’s insurance, so the fleet cannot embark.

2 Feedbacks on "Could This Have Worked on the Armada?"


If I remember my history correctly the notorious English Channel weather beat the Spanish Armada. On that day the English was one weather system away from defeat from a vastly superior naval force. So it was a simple case of luck.

No Man

Point iof information: The Engllish ships far outgunned, and were far more weatherly, than the Spanish. The last thing Drake and Hawkins wanted to do was grapple and board. That was the Spaniards only hope and both sides knew it.

Garrett Mattingly’s excellent The Armada is a history not only of the Armada campaign but concurrent diplomatic, political and military actions in France, Holland, Rome, and Spain.


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