The Battle of Quiberon Bay
Patrick Harris -During the Seven Years War, the French had decided to mount an invasion of the British Isles. The French Navy, under Conflans, was ordered to escort the invasion flotilla. The British had other ideas though. Admiral Hawke was maintaining a close blockade of Brest, where the French Fleet lay. In November of 1759, a westerly gale forced the British off station. Conflans sailed for Quiberon Bay in the British absence. Hawke followed as soon as he got back. The French were closing on the bay when the British arrived. The French had six less ships than the British, and far worse officers and men. Conflans headed for the inner, shallow bay. Hawke gambled with British survival, heading into a lee shore, where his ships could be smashed against the shoals at any moment. It worked though. Hawke had signalled a general chase, and the British charged into the fray. Several French ships foundered in the heavy seas. Their rear was pounded by the hammer of the British van. The French were simply outclassed, and they paid for it.The French were forced to either beach,surrender, run to Rochefort, or place themselves in the Vilaine river, which they were stuck in for the next year. Hawke's victory had ended French plans for an invasion, and exposed her colonies around the world, leaving them defenceless to British naval supremacy.