Bonhomme Richard vs Serapis

Flamborough Head 1779

By Mark Lardas; Giuseppe Rava (Illustrator)
(Osprey Publishing (UK), Paperback, 9781849087858, 80pp.)

Publication Date: July 24, 2012

List Price: $18.95*
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Description
The clash between the American Bonhomme Richard and the British HMS Serapis during the American Revolutionary War is perhaps the most famous single-ship duel in history. This epic battle between two very similar ships - and crews - off the coast of Britain in September 1779 created two naval heroes: in victory John Paul Jones became a figure that all future American naval officers would aspire to emulate, while Richard Pearson, in defeat, became a hero to the British for a tenacious defense that allowed the merchant vessels under his protection to escape.
In September 1779 five warships loosely commanded by John Paul Jones and sailing under the American flag - although all but one had all been loaned or donated by France, a key American ally - were moving down the Yorkshire coast when they encountered a Baltic merchant convoy of over 40 ships escorted by two British vessels, the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough. A confused encounter battle culminated in the Bonhomme Richard, already severely damaged by British gunnery, deliberately colliding with the Serapis as John Paul Jones strove to board and capture the Royal Navy vessel before his own sank beneath him. The two ships continued to exchange devastating fire at point-blank range; an American grenade exploded on an arms chest on the Serapis, causing massive destruction on deck. Even so, the outcome of the battle remained inconclusive throughout the night until the British captain Richard Pearson, seeing that the merchant vessels under his protection had reached safety, reluctantly decided to surrender to his exhausted adversary. The Countess of Scarborough also surrendered, and the American squadron (minus the Bonhomme Richard, which promptly sank) were able to escape with their two prizes, observed by thousands of onlookers from the Yorkshire coastline.
Featuring specially commissioned full-color artwork, this is the story of an epic maritime clash at the height of the Revolutionary War that provided a founding legend for generations of US naval officers and demonstrated the intrepidity and fighting prowess of the fledgling American Navy.



About the Author
Mark Lardas is the author of numerous books on maritime and Texas history. A longtime resident of the Houston area, he has maintained an interest in the Port of Houston. In cooperation with the Houston Maritime Museum and the Port of Houston Authority, and with generous assistance from the University of Houston and other local resources, he has pulled together a fascinating collection of images to illustrate the history of the port from its founding in 1836 to its role in the 21st century.

Gordon L Rottman entered the US Army in 1967, volunteered for Special Forces and trained as a weapons specialist. He served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam in 1969-70 and in airborne infantry, patrol and intelligence. He was a special operations forces scenario writer at the Joint Readiness Training Center for 12 years and is now a freelance writer. The author lives in Cypress, Texas.
Ian Palmer is a highly experienced digital artist. A graduate in 3D design, he currently works as a senior artist for a leading UK games developer. Besides his artistic interests he is also a keen musician and motorcyclist. He lives in West London with his wife and three cats.
Born in Faenza in 1963, and from an early age taking an interest in all things military, Giuseppe Rava has established himself as a leading military history artist. Entirely self-taught, Giuseppe is inspired by the works of the great military artists, such as Detaille, Meissonier, Rochling, Lady Butler, Ottenfeld and Angus McBride. He lives and works in Italy.
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