Battle of Lagos
The Battle of Lagos took place over two days in 1759 during the Seven Years’ War. It was fought between a British fleet commanded by Sir Edward Boscawen and a French fleet under Jean-François de La Clue-Sabran. The British were trying to prevent a French breakout into the Atlantic and to pursue and fight the French if they did.
About Battle of Lagos in brief
The Battle of Lagos took place over two days in 1759 during the Seven Years’ War. It was fought between a British fleet commanded by Sir Edward Boscawen and a French fleet under Jean-François de La Clue-Sabran. The British were trying to prevent a French breakout into the Atlantic, and to pursue and fight the French if they did. They fought south west of the Gulf of Cádiz on 18 August and to the east of the small Portuguese port oflagos, after which the battle is named, on 19 August. The endemic ill feeling between France and Great Britain during the 18th century turned into open warfare in 1754 and 1755. France supported Austria and Russia in a land campaign against Prussia, and launched what it saw as its main effort in a maritime and colonial offensive against Britain. By the beginning of 1759 neither alliance had the advantage, in either the land or sea campaigns, and both were having serious problems financing the war. In 1759 more than 60 per cent of French revenue went to service its debt, causing numerous shortages. The French Navy in particular was overstretched and suffered from the lack of a coherent doctrine, exacerbated by the inexperience verging on incompetence of the secretary of state for the navy, Nicolas René Berryer, a former chief of police. Meanwhile, Britain’s war effort up to early 1757 had been a failure, with setbacks in Europe, North America, India and at sea. By early 1759 this was beginning to bear fruit.
In response to the British successes, the ministers of the French king, Louis XV, planned a direct invasion of Britain, which, if successful, would have decided the war in their favour. In May 1759 Edward Bos cawen took the command of the British fleet in the Mediterranean. As well as 15 ships of the line, he also had 12 frigates and 12 – smaller and faster frigates, primarily intended for raiding and reconnaissance, for the reconnaissance and reconnaissance of the enemy. In total the British had about 25,000 men; they were more than 9,000 short of this The British had 40 of the ships in home waters, which was based in Gibraltar, and a further 15 in their Mediterranean Fleet, based in the Bay of Biscay, with a small number at two ports on the Atlantic port of Lorient and Rochefort. The latter was split between the largest warships of the time, the Trestrest and Toulon, with the latter at the Mediterranean port of Boulon and the smaller number at Lorient. The battle was won by the British, who greatly outnumbered the remaining six French ships, during the moonlit night of 18–19 August, during which a further two French ships made their escape. On the 19th the remnants of theFrench fleet attempted to shelter in neutral Portuguese waters near Lagos, but Boscwen violated that neutrality, capturing a further 2 French ships and destroying the other two.