August 8, 2013 History Lecture: The Art of War in the Age of Sail with Chip Feazel

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Warships powered by the wind roamed the oceans during the "Golden Age of Sail," from the Spanish Armada (1588) to the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). Initially troop transports commanded by army officers, warships evolved into vessels designed to conduct battles at sea. In the 16th Century, the sailing warship replaced the cathedral as the most complicated human creation the world had ever seen. The anatomy of a sailing ship dictates how it can be maneuvered, and how its weapons can be brought to bear on an enemy. Battles at sea began with long hours of preparation as the vessels drew near each other -- and then were fought at very close range, even with ships lashed together. Many accounts describe sailors loading their own ship's cannons by leaning into the gunports of an enemy vessel alongside, or leaping onto the enemy's deck in boarding parties.

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