The Great Napoleonic Turkey Shoot aka. The First Battle of Copenhagen
Patrick Harris -This engagement should not even be called a battle. The Danish-Norwegians never had a chance; especially when faced with Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson (and his puppet on a string Sir Hyde Parker). The battle was, like most wars, a failure for politicians to communicate. The British wanted to overthrow Napoleon and the Danes were well, scared of him. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. The Danes were waiting for reinforcements from the rest of the "League of Armed Neutrality", needless to say this help never came. They were pounced upon by the waiting British lion. The battle went like this: the Danes were anchored in harbour; with a motley collection of ships that were severely outgunned by the British. Parker, being the stuffy old man that he was, put himself in charge of the reserve and left Nelson to do his dirty work. At one point he thought Nelson was losing (impossible) and ordered him to retreat. This episode is the origin of the phrase to turn a blind eye. Nelson pretended not to see Parker's signal by putting the telescope to the eye that had been blinded at the battle of Calvi. This act allowed Nelson to press on. The superior British gunnery paid off and the Danes fell silent. Nelson later went to shore to negotiate a peace deal.
|by: Sir William Laird Clowes|
|The Battle of Copenhagen, as painted by Nicholas Pocock. British bomb vessels are in the foreground in the lower left; to the right are the British and Danish ships in formations called "line of battle", and the city of Copenhagen in the background.|