Born Nov. 12, 1854, in Thames Ditton, county of Surrey; died Sept. 21, 1922, in Stopham, county of Sussex. English naval historian and theoretician.
Corbett graduated from Cambridge University and taught at Oxford University and the Naval College; he was chief of the historical section of the Committee for the Defense of the Empire. Corbett’s chief works deal with the combat actions of the sailing fleets of the late 16th to early 19th century. In the book Some Principles of Maritime Strategy (published 1911; Russian translation, 1932), he set forth the fundamentals of naval strategy. He allotted the main role in war to the navy and asserted that dominance on the seas is the condition for the achievement of victory; thus, as he saw it, the task facing the navy was the search and destruction of the enemy’s navy. His tenets were not confirmed in World War I; the decisive battles took place on land, and the mighty British surface line navy was unable to destroy the navy of the enemy. In the four-volume history Naval Operations: History of the Great War (Russian translation, 1941) he gave a detailed account of the actions of the British Navy at sea, paying much attention to the organization of convoys.
WORKSThe Successors of Drake. London, 1900.
England in the Mediterranean, 1603–1713, vols. 1–2. London, 1904.
England in the Seven Years’ War, vols. 1–2. London, 1907.
The Campaign of Trafalgar. London, 1910.