We’re talking about the time the French fleet . . .

Yes, the French fleet!

No, it was more of a skirmish at sea, but . . .

230 years ago. Off the Virgina Capes.

Maybe the most important sea action in our history?

Read about it at “The Pivot Upon Which Everything Turned”.

Or my humble offering here.

Oh, that quote in the title? From A History of Sea Power.

Posted by Mark Tempest in History

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  • And, yes, I know the title quote comes from a book published in 1920. So, let the arguments begin about Midway – or the “most important battle” of your choosing.

    I already made my choice.

  • Other than perhaps Salamis, I would have to agree.

  • BJ Armstrong

    I know it’s not a USNI book, however, grab a copy of Dr. Craig Symonds “Decision at Sea.” Its a great conversation starter for us naval history geeks. Doc Symonds tells the stories of the five naval battles that he thinks have shaped American history the most. Read the book (it’s one of my all time favorites) and then come up with your own list … disucss.

    I’ve had a lot of great arguments over the list in the book with a lot of smart people…and introduced some JO’s to their heritage in the process.

    BTW The introduction is Doc’s retelling of the Battle of VA Capes (it’s not one of his five, only because it wasn’t the USN).

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    I second for Dr. Symonds’ book. It’s one of maybe a dozen books I’ve read more than once.

  • Eagle1

    Thanks, BJ, Amazon keeps my iPad full and my bank account emptier.

  • ewok40k

    Arguably both WW1 and WW2 battles for the North Atlantic should be counted… with UK starved of supplies, allied cause would be lost in both wars.

  • Byron


  • Phil Ridderhof

    I would my vote in for “The War for America 1775-1783” by Piers Mackesy as one of the best books to describe any war. Mackesy shows how the Battle of the Capes was not just a mere fluke of of chance, but how the UK mismanaged the naval strategy for the entire effort.

  • LoFlyer

    I can forgive the French for a lot of mistakes and a national ego second to none for this one skirmish that gave the 13 colonies ultimate victory against the global superpower of the era. When one looks at the resources of England versus the 13 colonies in the revolutionary war, a citizen can only recognize that our founding fathers had a ton of balls, incredible audacity and perseverance in their cause of liberty and justice.
    Best of luck, guys!