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“The First Battle of Cape Finisterre (14 May 1747) saw 14 British ships of the line under Admiral George Anson attack a French 30-ship convoy commanded by Admiral de la Jonquière during the War of the Austrian Succession. The British captured 4 ships of the line, 2 frigates and 7 merchantmen, in a five-hour battle in the Bay of Biscay off Cape Finisterre in northwest Spain. One French frigate, one French East India Company warship and the other merchantmen escaped.
France needed to keep shipping lanes open in order to maintain her overseas empire. To this end she assembled merchantmen into convoys protected by warships. Anson on the Prince George and Rear-Admiral Sir Peter Warren on the Devonshire had sailed from Plymouth on 9 April to intercept French shipping. When a large convoy was sighted Anson had made the signal to form line of battle, when Rear-Admiral Warren, suspecting the enemy to be merely manoeuvring to favour the escape of the convoy, bore down and communicated his opinion to the admiral, the latter threw out a signal for a general chase.
The Centurion under a press of sail, was the first to come up with the rearmost French ship, which she attacked heavily and two other ships dropped astern to her support. Three more British ships coming up including the Devonshire, the action became general. The French, though much inferior in numbers, fought till seven in the evening, when all but two of their ships were taken, as well as nine sail of East India merchantmen. The French lost 700 men killed and wounded, and the British 520. Over £300,000 was found on board the ships of war, which were turned into British ships.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_Cape_Finisterre_(1747)