The Principles of War Podcast
Mission Command Navy Nelson Podcast

59 – Nelson, Mission Command and Mission Failure

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We look at Mission Command in the context of Mission Failure.  How can Mission Command success when your plan fails?


This is Part IV of our look at Lord Horatio Nelson and the practice of Mission Command.  Check out episode 1 of our Nelson and Mission Command series.

This covers the lead up to the Battle of Tenerife – Nelson’s worst defeat – an epic mission failure.  We look at

  • Raids – The Dieppe Raid.
  • Demonstrations  – Marines in Gulf War 1.
  • Assaults – A degree of permanency on an uncertain or hostile shore – Falklands San Carlos, D-Day, 9th Division landing at Lae.
  • Withdrawals – Gallipoli and Dunkirk.
  • Amphibious activities in support of other operations –  Humanitarian, Peacekeeping our non-combatant evacuations, eg the use of HMAS Choules to evacuate civilians from the bushfires.

Nelson plans an Amphibious Raid on Tenerife to support the English Economy and banking system by raiding Tenefire and liberating a significant amount of Spanish bullion.  He was unable to get support from the Army for the raid, so he was going to be forced to raid the town with just the marines and sailors that he had with him.

  • How will Nelson plan the raid?
  • What role does Surprise play?
  • Who doesn’t use their initiative?

Listen to the podcast to find the answers to these questions and more.

You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your favourite Android Podcast player.

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