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[[File:Fight of the Poursuivante mp3h9427.jpg|thumb|French frigate [[French frigate Poursuivante (1798)|''Poursuivante'']] firing raking fire on the British ship of the line [[HMS Hercule (1798)|HMS ''Hercule'']] in the [[action of 28 June 1803]].]]
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[[File:Poursuivante.jpg|thumb|French frigate [[French frigate Poursuivante (1798)|''Poursuivante'']] firing raking fire on the British ship of the line ''[[French ship Hercule (1798)|Hercule]].'']]
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[[File:Guillaume Tell PU5634.jpg|thumb|''Capture of the William Tell'', by [[Robert Dodd (artist)|Robert Dodd]]. British frigate [[HMS Penelope (1798)|HMS ''Penelope'']] raking the French ship of the line [[French ship Guillaume Tell (1795)|''Guillaume Tell'']] in the action of 30 March 1800.]]
   
In [[naval warfare]], '''raking fire''' is fire directed parallel to the long axis of an enemy ship. Although each shot is directed against a smaller target profile than by shooting [[broadside]] and thus more likely to miss the target ship to one side or the other, an individual [[cannon]] shot that hits will pass through more of the ship, thereby increasing damage to the [[hull (ship)|hull]], sails, and [[crew]]. In addition, the targeted ship will have fewer (if any) guns able to return fire. A stern rake tends to be more damaging than a bow rake because the shots are not deflected by the curved (and strengthened) bow.
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In [[Age of Sail|sailing]] [[naval warfare]], '''raking fire''' is fire directed parallel to the long axis of an enemy ship from ahead or astern. Although each shot is directed against a smaller target profile than by shooting [[broadside]] and thus more likely to miss the target ship to one side or the other, an individual [[cannon]] shot that hits will pass through more of the ship, thereby increasing damage to the hull, sails, [[cannon]] and [[crew]]. In addition, the targeted ship will have fewer (if any) guns able to return fire. A stern rake tends to be more damaging than a bow rake because the shots are not deflected by the curved (and strengthened) bow,<ref>{{cite book |last= Wills|first= Sam|date= 2008|title=Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century: The Art of Sailing Warfare |url= https://books.google.ca/books?id=UW9kOqCgsIgC&dq=raking+fire&source=gbs_navlinks_s|location= Woodbridge UK|publisher= Boydell Press|page= 143|isbn= 978-1-84383-367-3|accessdate= December 5, 2014}}</ref> and because disabling the exposed rudder at the stern would render the target unable to steer and thus manoeuvre. However, achieving a position to rake a single enemy ship was usually very difficult unless the opponent was unable to manoeuvre due to damage to the sails or rudder; it was easier if a ship was constrained by its position in the line of battle.
   
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==Efficacy==
The effectiveness of this tactic was demonstrated at the [[Battle of Trafalgar]]. Admiral [[Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson|Nelson]]'s [[HMS Victory|HMS ''Victory'']], leading the weather column of the British fleet, broke the French line just astern of the French flagship ''[[French ship Bucentaure (1804)|Bucentaure]]'', and just ahead of ''[[French ship Redoutable (1791)|Redoutable]]''. Victory raked the Bucentaure's less protected stern killing 197 and wounding a further 85, including the Bucentaure's captain, [[Jean-Jacques Magendie|Magendie]]. Admiral [[Pierre-Charles Villeneuve|Villeneuve]] was lucky to survive, and although he was not captured for three hours, the raking put ''Bucentaure'' out of the fight.
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The effectiveness of this tactic was demonstrated at the [[Battle of Trafalgar]]. Admiral [[Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson|Nelson]]'s [[HMS Victory|HMS ''Victory'']], leading the weather column of the British fleet, broke the French line just astern of the French flagship ''[[French ship Bucentaure (1804)|Bucentaure]]'', and just ahead of ''[[French ship Redoutable (1791)|Redoutable]]''. ''Victory'' raked the ''Bucentaure's'' less protected stern, killing 197 and wounding a further 85, including the ''Bucentaure's'' captain, [[Jean-Jacques Magendie]]. Admiral [[Pierre-Charles Villeneuve]] survived, and although he was not captured for three hours, the raking put ''Bucentaure'' out of the fight.
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==References==
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{{Reflist}}
   
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
 
* [[Enfilade and defilade]]
 
* [[Enfilade and defilade]]
 
* [[Crossing the T]]
 
* [[Crossing the T]]
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{{Wikipedia|Raking fire}}
   
 
{{DEFAULTSORT:Raking Fire}}
 
{{DEFAULTSORT:Raking Fire}}
 
[[Category:Naval warfare tactics]]
 
[[Category:Naval warfare tactics]]
 
[[Category:Weapon operation]]
 
[[Category:Weapon operation]]
 
{{Wikipedia|Raking fire}}
 

Latest revision as of 17:35, 4 April 2020

French frigate Poursuivante firing raking fire on the British ship of the line HMS Hercule in the action of 28 June 1803.

Capture of the William Tell, by Robert Dodd. British frigate HMS Penelope raking the French ship of the line Guillaume Tell in the action of 30 March 1800.

In sailing naval warfare, raking fire is fire directed parallel to the long axis of an enemy ship from ahead or astern. Although each shot is directed against a smaller target profile than by shooting broadside and thus more likely to miss the target ship to one side or the other, an individual cannon shot that hits will pass through more of the ship, thereby increasing damage to the hull, sails, cannon and crew. In addition, the targeted ship will have fewer (if any) guns able to return fire. A stern rake tends to be more damaging than a bow rake because the shots are not deflected by the curved (and strengthened) bow,[1] and because disabling the exposed rudder at the stern would render the target unable to steer and thus manoeuvre. However, achieving a position to rake a single enemy ship was usually very difficult unless the opponent was unable to manoeuvre due to damage to the sails or rudder; it was easier if a ship was constrained by its position in the line of battle.

Efficacy[edit | edit source]

The effectiveness of this tactic was demonstrated at the Battle of Trafalgar. Admiral Nelson's HMS Victory, leading the weather column of the British fleet, broke the French line just astern of the French flagship Bucentaure, and just ahead of Redoutable. Victory raked the Bucentaure's less protected stern, killing 197 and wounding a further 85, including the Bucentaure's captain, Jean-Jacques Magendie. Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve survived, and although he was not captured for three hours, the raking put Bucentaure out of the fight.

References[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

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