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 Battle Lights 
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Lieutenant

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:53 am
Posts: 176
Location: UK
Post Battle Lights
Please move if this is in the wrong thread.

Lieut G S Parsons, in 'Nelsonian Reminiscences' mentions an incident of 'friendly fire' when HMS Pique, having received no response to her private signals because Parsons, officer of the watch, had fallen asleep. fired on the frigate El Carmen. Parsons said that the Pique had 'all her battle-lights fully displayed'. The term is self-explanatory but does anyone know anything more about battle-lights? Were they a specific colour or placed in a regulation configuration, maybe?


Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:07 pm
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Midshipman

Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:36 pm
Posts: 18
Location: virginia beach, viginia
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i see that this is an old post but i recently was thumbing thought "pirates & patriots of the revolution" by c.k. wilbur. i found this statment under colors and signals that says" to know each other if attacked - each vessel shall hang a lanthorn over her off (?) bow and quarter and keep them their (there) during the action ...." i think the off bow and quarter is the side of the ship not engaging the enemy.


Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:13 pm
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Commander

Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:27 am
Posts: 389
Location: Australia
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“In case of engaging the enemy in the night, the better to know our own ships and prevent their firing into each other, every ship in action is to hoist three lights in a triangle at the mizzen peak, and two lights at the bowsprit end, one over the other…..”
(Extract from Rodney’s instructions to his fleet).

I am uncertain whether Parsons is referring to these lights used for identification or whether, more probably, he is referring to the fighting, or battle, lanterns which provided light to work the guns in night action.


Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:58 pm
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Midshipman

Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:36 pm
Posts: 18
Location: virginia beach, viginia
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i think i need to see the context of this statement, from the post it reads as if the HMS PIQUE happened upon the EL CARMAN and thought it to be an enemy vessel because of it's lack of response to a private signal. i read it as there was no engagment of either vessel at this time.


Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:21 pm
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Midshipman

Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:36 pm
Posts: 18
Location: virginia beach, viginia
Post private signal
i did some research on this subject and the key here is the word "private signals" the differance being an enemy could copy the battle light signal arangement but only a friend would know the private signal. an example would be: he who first makes this signal will hoist 2 lanterns. the one signaled will hoist 3 lanterns. the first will make a flash with powder. the one signaled will answer with 2 flashes of powder. should there be any question of friend or foe remaining both will haul down their lanterns and both will make 1 flash with powder. there would also be pass words or hails as they draw closer. this is from john barry's signal book used by the u.s. navy in the war with france 1798. found in "picture history of the u.s. navy"


Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:43 pm
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Lieutenant

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:53 am
Posts: 176
Location: UK
Post Re: Battle Lights
Sorry to be so long in expressing thanks for the interesting responses posted - I've only just noticed the replies. Much appreciated.


Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:34 pm
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Midshipman

Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:36 pm
Posts: 18
Location: virginia beach, viginia
Post Re: Battle Lights
your welcome. i enjoyed the research. i had heard of battle lights before but had never looked beyond that. so now if i'm ever asked about battle lights, i can enlighten them on the whole processor of identifying friend or foe.


Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:32 pm
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