Annual Manoeuvres of 1896

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The Royal Navy's Annual Manoeuvres of 1896 were conducted in the summer of 1896.

Order of Battle

The following ships participated in the exercise.[1][2][3]

The Reserve Fleet would assemble at Plymouth Sound under the command of Vice-Admiral E. H. Seymour with Rear-Admiral A. K. Wilson as second-in-command.

Devonport

Battleships to be brought to full complement:

Cruisers:

Gunboats:

Torpedo Boat Destroyers:

Torpedo-boats:

Portsmouth

Battleships:

Cruisers:

Gunboats:

Torpedo Boat Destroyers:

Torpedo-boats:

Chatham

Battleships:

Cruisers:

Gunboats:

Torpedo Boat Destroyers:

Torpedo-boats:

Report on Findings

A Parliamentary Report was published on 4 June, 1897. It was criticised as being "tardy", but included the following details in the umpires' report:[4]

"The general idea of the manoeuvres of 1896 is attractive, and affords opportunities of gaining instruction in almost every point of naval warfare. The shortness of time between the receipt of the telegram 'Prepare for hostilities' and their commencement gave an advantage to C, of which the Admiral in command availed himself by weighing his ships as soon as the riles permitted, and proceeding to sea unwatched by A's cruisers. This enabled him to effect his junction with D unreported. Leaving To Bay with his combined fleet when authorized to do so under the rules he was enabled to reach Lough Swilly without opposition at 6 a.m. on July 30, two hours before the conclusion of hostilities. He was in this materially assisted by the conditions of both wind and weather. The engagement between Thetis, a second-class cruiser, on the one side, and Seagull, a torpedo-gunboat, and her torpedo flotilla, on the other, is of great interest and affords considerable instruction, showing how almost impossible it is for a torpedo-boat attack to be successful in broad daylight against a cruiser of great speed, carrying, in addition to her heavy armament, a number of quick-firing guns. During the action, lasting one hour one minute, several torpedoes were fired, but not one of which struck the Thetis, until one was fired from T.B. 79, but when this was discharged the boat had been out of action for a quarter of an hour. Out of the 24 torpedo-baots employed in the manoeuvres 13 have been destroyed – six by H.M.S. Thetis, six by the destroyers, and one by the Repulse. Out of the 24 torpedo-boat destroyers engaged but one (name unknown) has been captured ; this capture was effected by H.M.S. Colossus, the claim made by that ship having been allowed."

Footnotes

  1. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Friday, Jun 26, 1896; pg. 7; Issue 34927.
  2. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Thursday, Jul 09, 1896; pg. 11; Issue 34938.
  3. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Friday, Jul 10, 1896; pg. 8; Issue 34939.
  4. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Saturday, Jun 05, 1897; pg. 12; Issue 35222.


Annual Manoeuvres of the Royal Navy
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