The Bermuda Gazette
of 12 November 1796, calling for privateering against Spain and its allies, and with advertisements for crew for two privateer vessels.
The first sort of commerce raiding was for nations to commission privateers
. Early instances of this type of warfare were by the English and Dutch against the Spanish treasure fleets
of the 16th century, which resulted in financial gain for both captain and crew upon capture of enemy vessels ("prizes
17th and 18th centuries
formed a large part of the total military force at sea during the 17th and 18th centuries. In the First Anglo-Dutch War
, English privateers attacked the trade on which the United Provinces
entirely depended, capturing over 1,000 Dutch merchant ships. During the subsequent war with Spain
, Spanish and Flemish privateers in the service of the Spanish Crown, including the notorious Dunkirkers
, captured 1,500 English merchant ships
, which provided a major boost to the flagging Dutch trade.
Dutch privateers and others also attacked English trade, whether coastal, Atlantic, or Mediterranean, in the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch wars
In the War of Austrian Succession
, the Royal Navy was able to concentrate more on defending British ships. Britain lost 3,238 merchantmen, a smaller fraction of her merchant marine than the enemy losses of 3,434.
While French losses were proportionally severe, the smaller but better-protected Spanish trade suffered the least, and Spanish privateers enjoyed much of the best plunder of enemy merchantmen, particularly in the West Indies.
's wars against Revolutionary
and Napoleonic France
, the Royal Navy
dominated the seas. France adopted a guerre de course
strategy by licensing civilian privateers
to seize British shipping. British East Indiamen
of the time were therefore heavily armed to protect themselves against such raids, at the cost of considerable speed and maneuverability. Some East Indiamen, such as Arniston
, were successfully able to fend off these attacks in other parts of the world; others, such as when Kent
in 1800, were less fortunate.
U.S. and British privateers also actively raided each other's shipping during the War of 1812
American Civil War
By the 1880s, the navies of Europe began to deploy warships made of iron and steel. The natural evolution that followed was the installation of more powerful guns to penetrate the new steel warships. No longer would navies fight for "prizes"
, in which capture of the enemy warship meant financial gain for captain and crew as well as government when the prize and her cargo were auctioned
The advent of steel armor and high explosive
shells meant the destruction and sinking of enemy "men o' war"
was the priority. First seen at the Sinope
in 1853, the change was little appreciated until 1905, when at Tsushima
were sent to the bottom, and the only prizes were those that had voluntarily surrendered.
World War I
World War II
Limitations set by the Treaty of Versailles
meant Germany could not build a large battle fleet as she had in the time leading up to the World War I, and chose to covertly develop her submarines
instead. U-boats were cheaper and quicker to build than capital ships, and consequently Germany built up a submarine
force rather than a surface fleet.
This meant Germany was not able to fight a war of "guerre d'escadre"
(battles between fleets), and therefore pursued guerre de course
; what small numbers of surface warships Germany possessed, such as the Deutschlands
, as well as her auxiliary cruisers, also participated in this strategy. In addition, a number of commercial vessels were converted, perhaps the most famous being Atlantis
During World War II, elements of the United States Navy
based in Brazil conducted operations in the Atlantic against German commerce raiders and blockade runners
. In the Pacific, the U.S. Navy operated against Japanese merchant shipping, as well as engaging in offensive operations against ships of the Japanese Imperial Navy. The bulk of the Japanese merchant marine was sunk by American submarines
. By the end of the war, only 12% of Japan's pre-war merchant tonnage was still afloat.
The staff of the Imperial Japanese Navy decided to send some raiders
to Indian Ocean
waters during December 12, 1941 – July 12, 1942.
The Germans had already been operating in the area and conducted mutual aid with Japanese submarines, in the form of re-supply and military intelligence.
The Indian Ocean was the largest operating area involving direct contact between the two Axis partners, in which their primary objective was to keep pressure on the shipping lanes. The Japanese Navy participated in some commerce raiding, but concentrated its efforts toward a "decisive battle"
in the Pacific, which never took place.
- ^ Norman Friedman (2001). Seapower as Strategy: Navies and National Interests. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-291-9.
- ^ Spanish Privateers
- ^ a b Privateering and the Private Production of Naval Power, by Gary M. Anderson and Adam Gifford Jr.
- ^ Brewer, John. The Sinews of Power: War, Money, and the English State, 1688-1783 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989), p.197.
- ^ James, William (1835). "Light Squadrons and Single Ships: Kent and Confiance". The Naval History of Great Britain From the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV. London: Richard Bentley.
- ^ Coggeshall, George (1851). Voyages to various parts of the world, made between the years 1799 and 1844. 200 Broadway, New-York: D. Appleton & Company.
- ^ Lehmann Chapter VI
- ^ Bjorkman, James. "U-Boats, Scourge of the Seas". Retrieved 2021-01-31.
- ^ George W. Baer (1996). One Hundred Years of Sea Power. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2794-5.
- ^ Visser, Jan (1999–2000). "The Ondina Story". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942. Archived from the original on 2011-03-21.
- ^ Rosselli, Alberto (1999–2000). "The U-Boat War in the Indian Ocean". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. Archived from the original on 2011-03-21.
- Brown, David. Warship Losses Of World War II. 1995. ISBN 1-55750-914-X.
- Blair, Clay, Jr. Silent Victory. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1975.
- Mahan, Alfred, Captain. Influence of Seapower on History.
- Reeman, Douglas. The Last Raider. Arrow Books. ISBN 0-09-905580-5. Novel detailing the last voyage of a WWI German commerce raider.
Last edited on 30 March 2021, at 04:25
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