Battle of Grand Port

The Battle of Grand Port was fought during 20–27 August 1810. The British squadron of four frigates sought to blockade the port to prevent its use by the French through the capture of the fortified Île de la Passe. Four of the five French ships managed to break past the British blockade, taking shelter in the protected anchorage. When Pym ordered his frigates to attack the anchored French on 22 and 23 August, his ships became trapped in the narrow channels of the bay. Two were irretrievably grounded; a third, outnumbered by the combined French squadron, was defeated; and a fourth was unable to close to within effective gun range. Although the French ships were also badly damaged, the battle was a disaster

About Battle of Grand Port in brief

Summary Battle of Grand PortThe Battle of Grand Port was fought during 20–27 August 1810. The British squadron of four frigates sought to blockade the port to prevent its use by the French through the capture of the fortified Île de la Passe at its entrance. Four of the five French ships managed to break past the British blockade, taking shelter in the protected anchorage. When Pym ordered his frigates to attack the anchored French on 22 and 23 August, his ships became trapped in the narrow channels of the bay. Two were irretrievably grounded; a third, outnumbered by the combined French squadron, was defeated; and a fourth was unable to close to within effective gun range. Although the French ships were also badly damaged, the battle was a disaster for the British: one ship was captured after suffering irreparable damage, the grounded ships were set on fire to prevent their capture by French boarding parties and the remaining vessel was seized as it left the harbour by the main French squadron from Port Napoleon under Commodore Jacques Hamelin. British defeat was the worst suffered by the Royal Navy during the entire war and left the Indian Ocean and its vital trade convoys exposed to attack from Hamelin’s frigates. The French had recognised the importance of these islands as bases for raiding warships during the French Revolutionary Wars, but by late 1807 the only naval resources allocated to the region were a few older frigates and a large number of local privateers. By 1808, the French naval authorities made a serious attempt to disrupt British trade in the region, ordering five large modern frigates with orders to intercept, attack and capture or destroy the heavily armed but extremely valuable East Indiamen.

The first French success came at the end of the spring of 1809, seizing two heavily laden merchant ships at the Action of May 1809. In August, Caroline arrived with her prizes at Saint-Paul-Paul and returned to the Cape of Good Hope in anticipation of the French raid. In December an adequate reinforcement was assembled with the provision of a strong battle squadron under Admiral Albemarle Bertie, that rapidly invaded and captured the Isle de France. In response, the British authorities sought to reinforce the squadron on Île Bourbon under Josias Rowley by ordering all available ships to the region, but this piecemeal reinforcement resulted in a series of desperate actions as individual British ships were attacked by the confident and more powerful French squadron. In the end, Rowley determined to seize the French islands using his limited squadron to seize his forces instead of using his roving squadron to pursue the roving French forces. The battle was fought in the Bay of Bengal, where Hamelin dispersed them into the Bay of Bengal in the spring of 1809 to intercept and capture the heavily-laden East Indiamen of the Honourable East India Company. The French raiders captured the frigate Caroline on 31 May 1809 and returned to the Cape of Good Hope in early 1809 in anticipation of the British response.