Excerpt from Nelson: The Centenary of Trafalgar
When it was expected that the British ¿eet would comprise forty sail-of-the-line and the enemy's ¿eet forty-six, each British main division was to be made up of sixteen ships; and eight two-deckers added to either division would... increase the strength of the latter to twenty-four ships. It is interesting to note that, omitting the Africa, which ship came up late, each British main division on the morning of October 21, 1805, had nine ships - a number which, by the addition of the eight already mentioned as distinct from the divisions, could have been increased to seventeen, thus, except for a fraction, exactly maintaining the original proportion as regards the hostile ¿eet, which was now found to be composed of thirty-three ships.
During the night of October 20 - 21 the franco-spanish ¿eet, which had been sailing in three divisions and a squadron of observation,' formed line and stood to the southward, heading a little to the eastward of south. The squadron of observation was parallel to the main body and to windward (in this case to the westward) of it, with the leading ships rather more advanced.
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