In leadership and materiel the Kingdom of Great Britain was unprepared for, and unequal to the American War of Independence. Yet rarely in the history of Western civilisation has losing a battle been so sweetly and mutually beneficial as was Chesapeake Bay to the British and the United States.
American patriots rightly look back this weekend to the founding of their nation, the American War of Independence, and the battles fought to secure their own freedom.
While the war was predominantly a land fought campaign, both sides were reliant on materiel from Europe brought by sea, and naval forces had the ability to make a decisive impact upon the outcome. Yet through confused leadership and insufficient equipment Britain’s Royal Navy failed to secure a victory.
The fleet was then scattered across the world attending to the nascent British Empire and was unable to build critical mass, and the professional leadership of this fighting force was subject to intolerable interference from the monarch, King George III.
Chesapeake Bay was not a great tactical victory as we often think of them from the age of sail — while the French forces fighting on behalf of America outnumbered the British they suffered greater loss of life in the battle — yet it was a major strategic victory. With the British routed and on the back foot, the French were able to complete their blockade and starve the British army of re-enforcements, effectively ending that part of the war in Yorktown.
This failure of the British at their own game — blockade — provided sharp lessons which proved hugely beneficial in the long run. While the fleet was essentially in sub-prime state and subject to interference in 1781, by the time the French revolution began and Europe was plunged into the Napoleonic wars the British were ready, with a professionalised navy ready to devastatingly employ blockade against the French at home.
While Britain lost in the short-term her hold on 13 North American colonies, she gained in the long run her strongest ally, who along with the other major Anglophone nations Canada, Australia, and New Zealand make up the enviable ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence sharing agreement. Despite decades of attempts by other supranational bodies like the European Union and NATO, no other partnership has ever been as strong, or as close as that one shared by these states.
So to our American cousins, happy Fourth of July. We’re glad you fought for your independence and you got it. And now Britain is fighting for her independence from the European Union — let our friendship grow ever stronger still in the years to come.
Listen to Breitbart London’s Oliver Lane speak with SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon during Breitbart News Daily’s Fourth of July Special about the Royal Navy’s Role in the War of Independence:
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter: Follow @Oliver_Lane or e-mail to: email@example.com