Presented by HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, this is an in-depth look back at centuries of British naval history.
The King's Ships: 1500-1599 The story begins with the creation of a Royal Navy under the orders of King Henry VIII, followed by the daring exploits of Sir Francis Drake and the showdown with the Spanish Armada in 1588, which laid the groundwork for the dramatic rise of English naval power. Wooden Walls: 1600-1805 During the 17th century, the Royal Navy's codification of naval tactics in 'The Fighting Instructions' transformed naval battles into linear chess games on water. Superior French ship design and military training helped to free America, but a revolution in naval tactics saw Admiral Nelson triumph at the Battle of Trafalgar. Steam, Steel and Dreadnoughts: 1806-1918 During the 19th century technical innovations developed at an alarming rate, with muzzle-loading cannon replaced by powerful breech-loaders mounted in revolving armoured turrets, and mighty wooden walls replaced by iron and steel as sail gave way to steam power. The Sun Never Sets: 1919-Present Following a hard fought victory in WWII, the downsizing of the armed forces and decline of the British Empire signaled the end of the Royal Navy as a world force. However, the Falklands War in 1982 once again demonstrated its continuing resolve and effectiveness.