Of all types of military and naval activity, combined operations have had a particular fascination for public and politicians in the English-speaking world. In England, from Drake’s raid on Cadiz in 1587 through to actions initiated by Sir Roger Keyes’ Combined Operations Head Quarters in 1940, this mode of warfare has offered the romantic and morale-boosting spectacle of a beleaguered nation striking back at a powerful and threatening adversary. To politicians and administrators such operations seemed to present tantalizingly rich results at little cost. From the early part of the sixteenth century, France and Spain were largely immune from decisive English military action on the continent, but seemed extremely vulnerable on their seaboards and, as their overseas empires grew, in their colonies. A naval squadron with a small seaborne army could inflict damage upon the economy and prestige of these powers out of all proportion to the forces employed. Even when France was able to continue the fight after major colonial defeats, as she did between 1761 and 1763 and after 1809, England was at least enriched by the profits from her seizures. The belief that the navy could be relied upon to defend Britain and carry the war to the enemy received significant support from the great school of naval historians that developed between 1870 and 1914. 1 Their works, supplemented by popular histories, and enlisted unsuccessfully by the royal navy in its attempt to resist a reorientation of British strategy between 1905 and 1911, added great weight to the conviction that British strategy traditionally lay in the application of sea power, of which combined operations was a major element. Assisted by newsreel and film, the spectacular developments in the power and technology of combined operations since 1941 have ensured continued public interest in this mode of warfare. As a consequence of this interest, combined operations have never lacked 128commentators and historians, and the eighteenth century in particular is rich in historical studies. This is hardly surprising as in the years between 1689 and 1815 British maritime supremacy was firmly established and its fruits were clearly visible. After Barfleur and La Hogue in 1692, the battle-fleet did not have to be concentrated for home defence. Large squadrons could be despatched to cover offensive operations elsewhere. The result was, eventually, the great conquests in America and the West Indies during the Seven Years War. The opportunities, both military and political, were quickly recognized by contemporaries. The strategic options apparently offered by naval supremacy underpinned the political debate concerning continental or maritime war from the 1690s, and by 1763 the uneven success of amphibious operations had generated some literature upon the technicalities of conducting such expeditions. 2 It is largely upon these sources that historians have built their analyses of the success and failure of combined operations.