blind eye

blind eye

The Great Commanders: Horatio Nelson | PBS America

15h ago
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Narrated by Brian Cox, Phil Grabsky's documentary series of profiles continues with Horatio Nelson, whose maritime feats ensured British domination of the seas for a century. After Britain entered the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793, Nelson's tactical skills and inspirational leadership delivered a succession of victories, although he also developed a reputation for recklessness and the occasional disregard of orders. A notable example of the latter occurred at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, when he raised a telescope to his blind eye and claimed not to be able to see the signal to withdraw. The incident is said to be the origin of the metaphor 'turn a blind eye'. Nelson's greatest triumph occurred on October 21, 1805, when his fleet decisively defeated a combined Franco-Spanish force at the Battle of Trafalgar, off the south west coast of Spain. The victory was achieved due to Nelson's departure from established naval orthodoxy. Rather than aligning his ships in a sideways-on position to exchange broadsides with the enemy, Nelson divided his force into two columns and sailed straight into the middle of the opposing fleet. The admiral's greatest victory, however, would be his last. As the smoke of battle cleared, Nelson lay mortally wounded, slain by a sniper's bullet.