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Admin. Review. Key Themes. The US Navy as an Instrument of Foreign Policy Interaction with Congress Interservice Relations Technology Leaders Strategy and Tactics US Naval Doctrine over Time The Future. Sea Power and Maritime Affairs. Lesson 1: The American Revolution 1775-1783.

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Key themes
Key Themes

  • The US Navy as an Instrument of Foreign Policy

  • Interaction with Congress

  • Interservice Relations

  • Technology

  • Leaders

  • Strategy and Tactics

  • US Naval Doctrine over Time

  • The Future

Sea power and maritime affairs

Sea Power and Maritime Affairs

Lesson 1:

The American Revolution1775-1783

Learning objectives
Learning Objectives

  • Comprehend the American Revolution in the context of European politics and the regeneration of the struggle between Great Britain and France.

  • Know and be able to identify the causes of the American Revolution.

  • Comprehend the uses of sea power by the Americans, British and French.

Learning objectives1
Learning Objectives

  • Know the course of the war and representative campaigns.

  • Comprehend the relationship of military and naval policy, diplomacy, and strategy as demonstrated during the war.

European political context
European Political Context

  • Results of the Seven Year’s War

    • The Peace of Paris, 1763, was a “truce”, in effect, not a peace.

    • Britain (sea power) and France (land power) potential enemies

    • Rivalry for Empire: N. America, W. Indies, Indian Ocean

    • Britain wants colonials to:

      • Pay costs of Seven Years’ War- British finances seriously depleted

      • Garrison soldiers

      • Proclamation of 1763

      • Oppressive acts

  • Resulting American Revolution becomes a renewed Anglo-French War

State of major power navies
State of Major Power Navies

  • Great Britain

    • Permanent Fighting Instructions –

      • Rigidly defined tactics

      • Limits ability of Admirals to concentrate fleet’s firepower.

  • France

    • Seven Year’s War decimates France’s Navy

    • Navy is rebuilt in conjunction with Spain.

Two doctrines
Two Doctrines

  • Guerre de course: commerce raiding

    • predominant in 19th century

  • Guerre d’escadre: squadron, i.e. naval warfare in line formations

    • predominant in 20th century

  • Since the American Revolution both traditions have competed with one another in American doctrinal thought

Advantages of being a colony
Advantages of Being a Colony

  • Protection

  • Ready market for goods

  • Benefit of imperial trade.

Disadvantages of being a colony
Disadvantages of Being a Colony

  • All trade supported Britain

    • No trade outside of empire.

    • British set who colonies traded with

  • Different national interests

    • Americans would trade with anyone

  • No voice in policy

    • No say in Parliament

The beligerants
The Beligerants:

  • Great Britain

    • Advantages

      • Large economy based on world empire

      • Well established government

      • Professional Army

      • Royal Navy is most powerful Navy in the world

    • Disadvantages

      • Long Lines of Communication

      • Fighting on “Foreign” Soil

      • Many hostile nation in Europe

      • Unfamiliar with guerrilla warfare and skirmishing

      • Not enough manpower to occupy the entire 13 Colonies

The beligerants1
The Beligerants:

  • American Colonies

    • Advantages

      • Fighting on “Home Turf”

      • Ready market of raw resources

      • No specific center of gravity

      • Lots of territory

    • Disadvantages

      • Weak central government: Continental Congress

      • Economy designed to support Britain in mercantilist system

      • Disunity - Loyalists or Tories make up one third of population

Naval strategies
Naval Strategies

  • British

    • Command of the Sea

      • Blockade American ports.

      • Transport troops to areas of rebellion.

    • Hudson River Valley

      • Cut off New England from middle and southern colonies.

  • American

    • War of Attrition

      • Wear down British forces.

    • Diplomacy

      • Gain European allies with large navies - France.

    • Commerce Raiding

      • Privateering

Continental navy
Continental Navy

  • Starting from Scratch

  • Never more than an inferior naval power.

    • Unable to build enough ships to challenge British command of the sea.

    • Had to rely on French Navy for command of the sea.

  • Commerce Raiding against British shipping.

    • Effectiveness improved after French Navy forced Royal Navy to concentrate their ships into fleets.

Going it alone

Going It Alone

1775 to 1778

The need for an american navy
The Need for an American Navy

  • British control of sea lines of communication.

    • Americans unable to oppose British troop movements.

    • British blockades of American ports restricts commerce.

  • States authorize navies:

    • Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

  • Privateering commences against British shipping and commerce.

    • Definition of Privateering: Privately-owned vessels sanctioned by a government to seize enemy ships.

  • Washington’s Navy

    • Seizure of gunpowder on British supply ships enroute to Boston.

    • Ships commanded by Army officers with maritime experience.

Continental navy and marine corps
Continental Navy and Marine Corps

  • Authorized by the Continental Congress.

    13 October 1775 - Navy Birthday

    • Continental Congress approves purchase of two armed vessels.

      10 November 1775 - Marine Corps Birthday

    • Continental Congress authorizes two battalions of Marines.

    • Samuel Nicholas - “First Commandant” of the Marine Corps

      • Tun Tavern, Philadelphia

        28 November 1775 - Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies established.

        December 1775 - Marine Committee appointed by Continental Congress to oversee naval affairs.

    • Authorizes construction of 13 frigates.

  • Debate continues over the need for naval forces:

    Samuel Chase of Maryland: “Maddest idea in the world.”

  • Early military operations
    Early Military Operations

    • American Siege of Boston (p.6)

      • April 1775 – March 1776

      • George Washington commands America’s Continental Army.

        • Battle of Bunker Hill

      • Royal Navy evacuates British forces to Halifax in 1776.

    • American Invasion of Canada

      • 1775

      • Ethan Allen takes Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain.

      • Siege of Quebec fails.

        • General Benedict Arnold retreats to Lake Champlain - 1776.

        • Small fleet of shallow-draft vessels built to stop British counter-attack.

    American raid on the bahamas p 8 jan 1776
    American Raid on the Bahamas (p.8) Jan 1776

    • Esek Hopkins

      • Commander in Chief of the Fleet - converted merchantmen.

      • Eventually dismissed in 1777.

    • Ordered to break British blockade of the Virginia coast.

      • Discretionary clause in orders allows Hopkins to change plans.

    • Raid on New Providence Island, Bahamas - March 1776

      • Storage area for British supplies of gunpowder and cannon.

      • Sailors and Marines under Samuel Nicholas capture supplies and transport back to colonies.

    General washington 1776
    General Washington1776

    • Defense of New York from British invasion.

      • Aug 1776

      • Prevent British from dividing the colonies.

      • Continental Army defeated and forced to retreat toward Philadelphia.

    • Washington crosses the Delaware.

      • Christmas 1776

      • Trenton

      • Princeton

    • Continental Army remains a threat to the British.

    Battle of valcour island p 10
    Battle of Valcour Island (p.10)

    • British counter-attack across Lake Champlain to reach New York.

      • British required to construct a fleet to counter Benedict Arnold’s fleet and secure lines of communication on the lake.

    • Benedict Arnold loses all 15 of his ships.

      • Tactical — Failure

    • Battle delays British invasion - forces their withdrawal to Canada for winter months.

      • Strategic — Victory



    Battle of saratoga oct 1777
    Battle of SaratogaOct 1777

    • Classic case of bad coordination and miscommunication:

      • GEN Burgoyne (Canada)

        • Launch 2 pronged attack to cut off and Isolate New England

      • GEN Howe (New York)

        • Decides to Attack Philadelphia first

      • Lord Germain (London)

        • Sec of Sate for the American Colonies

    • Americans defeat and capture General “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne in upstate New York.

    • Washington escapes with his army intact from Philly

    Strategic implications
    Strategic Implications

    • Turning point of the war.

      • French enter the war as America’s ally.

    • French Navy: 80 ships of the line.

      • Small American rebellion grows into a world war.

    • Great Britain faces multiple enemies:

      • 1775 American Colonies

      • 1778 France, Spain, The Netherlands

      • 1780 Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Prussia, Austria, and Portugal form an Armed Neutrality.

    A french ally and a global war

    A French Ally and a Global War


    War shifts south
    War Shifts South

    • British fighting multiple enemies all over the Atlantic

    • Southern Colonies seen as easier picking

    • Determines West Indies are more valuable than American colonies

    Fleet actions
    Fleet Actions

    • “General Chase” melee tactics used unsuccessfully by Royal Navy against the French.

      • Battle of Ushant

      • Battle of Grenada

      • Moonlight Battle off Cape St Vincent

    • New view of some British admirals:

      • No need to strictly adhere to the formal tactics found in the Permanent Fighting Instructions.

      • Admirals now allowed more freedom of action.

      • Admiral Rodney develops copper sheathing to prevent fouling of ships’ hulls.

    Commerce raiding
    Commerce Raiding

    • Capture enemy shipping using Navy ships or Privateers.

      • Privateering very profitable - easy to find sailors.

      • Difficult to man Continental Navy ships.

    • GustavusConyngham - Irish American

      • Captured 60 British vessels in 18 months.

      • Successfully dug way out of prison on 3rd attempt after capture in 1779.

    • Lambert Wickes and Reprisal

      • 1st American ship in European Waters (1777) captures 23 ships.

      • Transports Benjamin Franklin to France.

    • John Paul Jones

      • Receives first salute to an American ship from French Navy.

      • Ben Franklin uses his influence to get him a better ship.

    John paul jones
    John Paul Jones

    “Men mean more than guns in the rating of a ship.”

    “I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

    - 16 November 1778

    Battle of flamborough head p 15 4 sept 1778
    Battle of Flamborough Head (p.15) 4 Sept 1778

    • Bonhomme Richard vs. HMS Serapis

    • Result:

      • Cool Quotes:

        • John Paul Jones: “I have not yet begun tofight.”

      • Takes the battle to English water and English soil

      • Great propaganda for the Americans

    Yorktown campaign p 18 august october1781
    Yorktown Campaign (p.18)August-October1781

    • Initially poor cooperation between Continental Army and French Navy.

      • General Washington - need a combined operation for victory.

    • 1781 Lord Cornwallis leads British Army to Yorktown.

      • Washington marches south with Continental and French troops.

    • French West Indies fleet sails north under de Grasse.

      • British fleet under Graves: Reinforce or evacuate Cornwallis.

    • de Grasse anchors inside the Chesapeake then sorties and defeats British fleet.

      • Hood rigidly adheres to Permanent Fighting Instructions.

    • Lord Cornwallis forced to surrender forces at Yorktown.

    • Defeat at Yorktown causes the fall of the government in London thus effectively ending the war

    Conclusion of the war
    Conclusion of the War

    • Combined French/Spanish attack on Gibraltar defeated in 1782.

    • French and British fleets battle for control of India.

    • Treaty of Paris - 1783

      • Independence of American colonies.

      • France restores most of Great Britain’s West Indian colonies.

    British naval policy
    British Naval Policy

    • Superiority over Continental Navy.

      • Royal Navy used to transport Army troops in America.

      • Blockade of American ports established.

    • Challenged by French Navy after 1778.

    • Improvements in gunnery made after defeat at the Battle of the Virginia Capes.

    • Permanent Fighting Instructions finally abandoned.

      • New system of signals allows more freedom for admirals to maneuver fleet to concentrate firepower.

      • Change in tactics from Formal to Melee.

    • Maintained naval power at the end of the war.

    Colonial naval policy
    Colonial Naval Policy

    • Sectionalism

      • Continental Navy

      • State Navies

      • Privateers

    • Commerce Raiders

    • Fleet Actions

    • French Contribution


    • How does $$ impact strategy and tactics?

    • What actually ended the American revolution:

      • Political fatigue in Britain?

      • American military victories?

    • The British were fighting a different war than the Americans – what can we learn from that today in our current conflicts?

    • What lessons can you draw out of this war that could be directly applicable to Afghanistan?

    Next time the u s navy in the napoleonic era 1783 1815
    Next time:The U.S. Navy in the Napoleonic Era1783-1815