Nelson the Commander

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The Battle of Trafalgar was hugely important strategically because it was a defining event in British command of the seas during the Napoleonic Wars and enabling the eventual defeat of Napoleon 10 years later. By the same token it launched British maritime dominance for the remainder of the century.  Flexible and agile command and good use of what is now called ‘mission command’ were key to the success of the British fleet over the combined French and Spanish fleets. Nelson’s particular personality, style of leadership and skill as a commander has been of enduring interest to historians. As part of the Institute’s commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar this one day seminar has been organised in association with the National Maritime Museum will bring together eminent British naval historians to explore Nelson’s particular command attributes in the context of naval tactics of the period and his subsequent influence.

This seminar will provide stimulating objective analysis, some of it using newly discovered sources,  and a rich discussion amongst the speakers and a well informed core audience for anyone with an interest in military and naval history generally and of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century and Napoleonic Wars.

SESSION ONE: NELSON IN CONTEXT: Assessing the Development of Military Tactics in the late 18th Century and how Nelson’s Battles fit into this
Chair (and Introductory Remarks): TBC
0930 Professor Nicholas Rodger, Professor of Naval History, University of Exeter

Chair: TBC
1020 Dr. Colin White, Director, Trafalgar 200, National Maritime Museum & Director, Royal Naval Museum

SESSION THREE: A CASE STUDY: Nelson at the Battle of the Nile (1798)
Chair: TBC
1135 Professor Roger Knight, Visiting Professor of Naval History, Greenwich Maritime Institute, University of Greenwich

SESSION FOUR: THE LEGACY: Nelson and his influence on the 19th and 20th Century Royal Navy
Chair: TBC
1330 Professor Andrew Lambert, Laughton Professor of Naval History, King’s College, London
1520 Conference Close

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