Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Marathas and Man O' Wars

Trafalgar, 1805.

The greatest Naval Battle ever fought, by the Greatest Admiral who ever lived. It is still studied by Naval academies around the world. 
This battle fought by British against French and Spanish is the epitome of Warfare under Sail.
The battle was fought by a type of Warship known as "Ship of the Line" or "Man o' War".

Although it is reasonable that Marathas did not build such large, lumbering, ill-maneuverable Man O' Wars during its formative years. Considering the shallow coastline of the Konkan coast and everything...

However, once the coast was firmly under their hand, they did not turn their attention to the high seas. And therein lies their failure.

For to rule the seas you need Man o' Wars.

Only one person had the sense to see this. Tulaji Angre. He had started building two 74 gun ships during 1753-54. This obviously gave nightmares to the British at Bombay. 

They desperately begged for reinforcements from their homeland. And the Royal Navy sent some ships to help them. However, the golden opportunity was given to them by the Peshwa. An opportunity to meddle in the affairs of the Maratha State.

Instead of capturing the entire fleet of Tulaji, and then dividing it between Peshwa and Company, the British burnt the entire fleet. Including the two 74s which were near completion.

None of the Maratha sea powers, Baroda Gaikwads at Billimora, Peshwa at Vasai and Vijaydurg, Angres at Kolaba, Karvir Chhatrapatis at Malwan or Sawants at Redi, either before or after Tulaji, attempted to build such large ships.

No comments: