Once France and Spain had entered the American War of Independence on the colonists' side, England was forced into hostilities on both sides of the Atlantic. On 10th August 1780, the new 36-gun frigate H.M.S. Flora was patrolling off Ushant when she sighted the French frigate Nymphe, also 36-guns, in company with an armed cutter at about 4.30pm. Captain W.P. Williams immediately gave chase and was soon within musket shot of the Frenchman and able to open fire. The two ships fought a close action for over an hour, with Flora's recently developed 18pdr. carronades causing massive damage to Nymphe's decks, before Lieutenant Thornborough was able to lead his boarding party over the side to take the enemy ship after a brief struggle. French casualties were high - 63 killed and 68 wounded out of a crew of 291 - but Nymphe proved a useful addition for the Royal Navy once she had been repaired and refitted. Ironically, both frigates were subsequently wrecked within a year of each other, in 1809 and 1810 respectively, whilst the action in which they fought their duel thirty years earlier was one of the very first in which the carronade proved itself as a formidable weapon.