However, the pumps clogged and red-hot shot fired from the fortress set nine batteries on fire; The last was destroyed by a british boat attack.
In 1781 the french sent a fleet to the east Indies, hoping to recover their power in india. While on passage admiral suffren (1729-88), a bold, aggressive, battle-orientated officer, completely out of step with his service, crippled a British force intending to seize cape town from the dutch. He then conducted a daring campaign on the coast of india. While suffren had considerable tactical skill, and understood the importance of concentrating his attack against part of the british fleet, his efforts were negated by the solid qualities of the british admiral sir Edward hughes and his fleet.
While suffren’s ships were badly handled, and some of his captains were mutinous or cowardly, hughes’s fFleet invariably formed a close-knit line, and out-fought the superior numbers that suffren’s tactical finesse threw against them. Suffren kept the french campaign alive by his ability and energy, patching up his ships miles from any base. But apart from the seizure of trincomalee he was unable to defeat hughes. The battles between these two resolute men form a fascinating page in the history of naval tactics, but they had no effect on the decisive defeat of french power in india.