Hornblower: The Even Chance

Hornblower: The Even Chance (1998)

2 corrected entries

Corrected entry: When the Papillon engages the French corvettes, Hornblower stands behind each cannon and sights before giving the order to fire it. A 12 pounder naval gun has a vicious recoil, so he would only have done that once before being crushed by that recoil.

Correction: A large breeching cable was attached to the ships side, and limited the recoil distance. After the adoption of the flintlock firing devise the normal position of the gunner was behind the gun, with a long lanyard, of course.

Corrected entry: On the evening following his aborted duel, Hornblower learns that England is once again at war with France. In short order he is transferred to HMS Indefatigable, under the command of Sir Edward Pellew. The fact that Simpson was still laid up from his wound is evidence of the speed of Hornblower's posting.The problem with this is: at the time of Hornblower's posting, Pellew had not been knighted, he was not in command of HMS Indefatigable, and in fact, the Indefatigable was never commissioned until December 1794 when she was in the process of being raised from a 64-gun battleship to a 44-gun heavy frigate.

Correction: This is a work of fiction that happens to make use of a few historical individuals. It is not a documentary on the lives of those individuals and, as such, is entitled to take whatever liberties they like for dramatic purposes.




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When Pellew engages the first French warship, he gives the order to his helmsman, "Hard to Larboard". In the 18th century, helm orders were given in relation to the position of the tiller, rather than the rudder. A helmsman would push a tiller in the opposite direction he wanted the vessel to turn. This practice continued even when a ship was steered by a wheel, so the man at the wheel would have turned the wheel to starboard..except that he didn't.