The Battle of Cape Passaro

                                                                         The Battle of Cape Passaro, painted in 1767 by Richard                                                                               Paton. The action is shown at around 1600 and to the                                                                                   right, Superb can be seen raking the Real San Felipe as                                                                             the Spanish flagship strikes her colours.

 

 

 

 

 

During the Anglo/Spanish Wars on 10 August 1718 the British were off the Calabrian coast when they spotted two vessels, which they presumed to be Spanish scouts.

 

Hoping they would lead to the main fleet, Admiral Byng ordered his ships to follow and they located the enemy at around noon.

 

On seeing the British, the Spanish fleet turned away.

 

To prevent losing contact with the enemy during the night, Byng sent his four fastest ships on ahead. HMS Superb, Kent, Grafton and Orford kept up with the Spanish fleet, who were reduced to rowing their heaviest ships in the light wind.

 

When dawn broke the following morning, the Spanish discovered the proximity of the British and split their fleet; sending the smaller vessels, store ships, bomb ketches and fire ships towards the shore.

 

In response, Byng sent eight ships in pursuit, including HMS Canterbury and HMS Argyll. Meanwhile Superb, Kent, Grafton and Orford, were ordered to overtake the remaining, larger, Spanish ships, which included Real San Felipe (St Philip the Royal) with Vice-Admiral Castagneta aboard.

 

At around 1300 Superb engaged the enemy flagship and two others, and a running battle ensued.

 

After two hours Kent joined the fight and Superb was able to force the Spanish admiral to surrender. In total, 17 Spanish ships were either taken or destroyed by the British fleet