Wednesday, December 31, 2003

More about Jan Adriaensz. van der Werff and problematic sources

Earlier, this evening, I was translating page 211 from Vol. V of Schetsen uit de geschiedenis van ons zeewezen, by Dr. Johan E. Elias. I was focused on this page, as I wanted to see if I might find more information that might resolve the name of Captain van de Werff's ship.

From that and The First Dutch War, Vol. IV, p.323, all we can say is that Captain van de Werff was employed by the Rotterdam Chamber of the VOC (the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie). From that source, we know that the date he set sail to rendezvous with Witte de With's squadron, at sea, was 17 April 1653 (new style).

Perhaps the worst source to use would be Vol. I of The Paintings of the Willem van de Veldes. It pains me to say this, but the text from pages 15 to 19 is filled with errors. It is sad to say, because it was written by the late M. S. Robinson, Frank Fox's friend. As I understand the situation, Mr. Robinson was a great help to Frank Fox in preparing Frank's first book, Great Ships: the battlefleet of King Charles II. Frank is probably the leading authority on van de Velde drawings, now that Mr. Robinson is no longer living.

An example of the sort of problems that exist can be found on page 16. Thre, two of the ships listed at the bottom of the first column are: Jonas in the Walvisch (sic) and Ruiter. In reality, there were two ships involved with the Jonas en de Walvisch (the correct spelling used by Haverkorn van Rijswijk). One, the Jonas was a 30-gun ship commanded by Joris Colerij. The Jonas belonged to the Amsterdam Admiralty. The other was the Walvisch, also a 30-gun ship. She was commanded by Abraham Verleth, and had been hired by the Amsterdam Directors. Her crew was 110 men.

Worse yet is the other ship named, the Ruiter. I suspect that this was a reference to the Gewapende Ruiter. She was a Portuguese prize that was seized by the English, while returning from Brazil in June 1652. It is a mystery why she would be listed, except that the answer can be found in the horrible book by Carl Ballhausen, on page 617, in the Dutch list for the Battle of Scheveningen. Captain Schaeff is listed along with a ship, Huis van Nassau. Captain Boëtius Schaeff commanded the Gewapende Ruiter, at the time of her capture. In 1653, he commanded the Amsterdam ship, the Hoop (which is otherwise unknown). The only thing wrong with including him at Scheveningen is that he was killed at the Battle of the Gabbard, in June 1653.

Perhaps the culprit is Pieter Haverkorn van Rijswijk, writing in Oud Holland, Vol. 17, in 1899. He also lists a ship, the Rode Leeuw, which I happen to know was commanded by Reynst Corneliszoon Sevenhuysen. The problem with this ship name is that it was paid off after the Battle of the Gabbard, and Captain Sevenhuysen and his crew took over the new ship, the Mars.

There are even more atrocities committed here by Mr. Robinson, but I hope that I have made my point. I am trying to decide whether to list more problems or give up. The point is that you can't trust published sources, as they are often wrong. You need to have read all the published sources, and work at resolving the contradictions. I have found that Dr. Elias' work, the Schetsen 6-volume set is excellent. Short of having access to manuscripts from the Nationaal Archief in Den Haag, Schetsen will be extremely helpful.

You can't ignore the Navy Record Society 6-volume set, The First Dutch War, as you will find the greatest amount of Dutch ship information of any published source.

I'm afraid that Vreugdenhil's book, Vreugdenhil, A., Ships of the United Netherlands, 1648-1702, Society for Nautical Research, London, 1938, is a disappointment. There certainly is a wealth of information there. The problem is that it is filled with errors and omissions.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The Dutch fleet in 1653 I just saw something that conflicted with other information that I have about the Dutch fleet in 1653. The July 1653 list, written after the Battle of the Gabbard, says that the one vessel belonging to the Rotterdam Chamber of the VOC was named David en Goliad. However, in my Dutch Captains list from November 25, 2001, the ship commanded by Jan Adriaenszoon van der Werff was said to be the Nassau of 36 guns. Jan Adriaenszoon van der Werff seems definitely to have commanded a ship belonging to the Rotterdam Chamber of the VOC. The reference is The First Dutch War, Vol. IV, page 323, Captain van den Werff set sail to join Witte de With, at the rendezvous. The date was April 7, 1653. The reference for the name Nassau originates from what Michael Robinson wrote in The Paintings of the Willem Van De Veldes, Vol. I, page 17. I tend to be very sceptical about that sort of information, as it generally originated from either Carl Ballhausen or else from Pieter Haverkorn van Rijswijk, in commentary about Willem van de Velde, the Elder in the Oud Holland series. I keep wanting to think well of Ballhausen's work, but there are too many reasons to disregard much of his work. The main problem is that his references do not support the text. I have done like R. C. Anderson did, and have looked at some of what Ballhausen referenced in his footnotes. I'm sad to say that what I have seen has the flavor of a faked PhD thesis. In defense of Dr. Ballhausen, R. C. Anderson found Ballhausen's work on the First Anglo-Dutch War in the Mediterranean to be the definitive source. I am also dependent on Ballhausen, as he has the only published list for Dutch ships at the Battle of Dover in May 1652. I don't like using that list, as every list he compiled, later in the book, is wrong, at least in some degree. The only list that he got right was that for Jacob Wassenaer's operation to Danzig in 1656. That list, he cribbed from Brandt's book on De Ruyter, from 1687. I suspect that Brandt's list originated from that published in the Hollandsche Mercurius for 1656, which I have seen. I have acquired a general scepticism about the Hollandsche Mercurius, although all too often, we must rely upon it as the only available source. My scepticism is fueled by having compared documents from the Nationaal Archief, in the Hague, with what was published in the Hollandsche Mercurius. I can find obvious mistakes that have never been corrected in anything published to date. I have discussed some of that already, with regard to the Amsterdam Directors' ships, in particular.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Dutch ship-116 feet long

I just finished digitally editing this picture of a Dutch ship belonging to the 116 foot charter. I estimate that this ship would probably be 150 lasts. I say that because the calculation for lasts would be something like:

116 x 27 x 11 / K = 150 lasts

where K = 229.68, which is a reasonable number.

My dimensions are those quoted by Dr. Weber for the Gorcum (or Gorinchem).

Here is my new drawing:

116-foot Dutch ship, many of which were built in 1639
An Inquiry One part of an inquiry I received was for information about "Lieven de Zeeuw". I would tend to spell his name as Lieve de Zeeuw. I an guessing that his real name could well have been Lieuwe de Zeeuw (as in Lieuwe van Aitzema, the author of Saken van Staet in Oorlogh in ende omtrent de Vereenigte Nederlanden). Lieuwe is equivalent to "Leo" in English. Lieve de Zeeuw Lieve Corneliszoon de Zeeuw was a captain of the Noorder-Kwartier Admiralty. He fought during the war of independence from Spain. I do not know much about him, except that he was the son-in-law of Hillebrandt Gerritszoon Quast. He served in his ship as lieutenant, up until Quast's death in February 1637. He was appointed captain, in place of his late father-in-law. In at least one place, he was called "Luwe" de Zeeuw (hence my speculation that his name was Lieuwe). I will need to check my archival documents to see if I might find Lieve de Zeeuw mentioned. I may not, as usually, only the captain is listed. In October 1639, Lieve de Zeeuw was in Joost Banckert's squadron, right before the Battle of the Downs, when the Spanish fleet was heavily defeated in English waters. His ship was the Noorder-Kwartier admiralty ship, the Wapen van Holland, which had 39 guns and a crew of 120 men. On October 8, 1639, he attended a council of war on board Tromp's flagship, the Aemelia. I have not read the whole story about his participation during 1639, but I do have some references: C. R. Boxer, The Journal of Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp Anno 1639, Cambridge, 1930. Dr. M.G. De Boer, Tromp en de Armada van 1639, Amsterdam, 1941. Dr. F. Graefe, De Kapiteinsjaren van Maerten Harpertszoon Tromp, Amsterdam, 1938. I know a little more, due to Dr. Graefe, about Lieve de Zeeuw's ship (From appendix V): Wapen van Nassau 250 lasts (a gross tonnage measure, nominally equal to 2 tons) 16 brass cannons and 22 iron cannons. Crew consisted of 100 sailors and 20 soldiers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Off until Sunday night As I will be travelling home for the holiday, I don't expect to be doing any posting until I return, Sunday night. I have been focusing more of my interest on the English fleet, both in terms of orders of battle as well as ship drawings. One conclusion that I have reached is that though most of the Dutch ships used by the English during the First Anglo-Dutch War were captured merchantmen, they seem to have been built to some of the standard dimensions. Our best information concerns the Amsterdam Directors' ships. The biggest surprise was their large size, generally. There were a few of the 116 foot length, but most were larger. The next size larger was 118 feet, which was what many States ships built during the 1630's were. There seem to have been a large number of ships that were 120 feet long. They varied widely in armament, ranging from 28 to 38 guns. The former including the Amsterdam ship, the Bommel while the latter includes the Noorder-Kwartier ship, the Monnikendam, Pieter Florissen's flagship for the First Anglo-Dutch War. The largest ship captured by the English was the Vogelstruis (called Estrich by the English). Herbert Tomesen, with Artitec, the Dutch modelmakers, says that this ship was 160 feet long (Amsterdam feet).
Abraham van der Hulst One question that would be nice to answer is why there would be a Dunkirk flag at the stern of a ship in the background of an Abraham van der Hulst portrait. The ship has a lion on the taffrail and seems to have Dutch flags at the mastheads. There is no obvious ship that would be part of the Amsterdam admiralty that would fit. The protraits is said to date from 1655. I had not been familiar with the ragged cross flag of the Spanish Dunkirkers, but I soon learned something about it. I guess that the red cross is meant to be like to crossed sticks or logs. It is derived from the Hapsburg Spanish flag.

Monday, December 22, 2003

My drawing of the Speaker, Third Rate

Speaker Third Rate built during the Commonwealth

This is the initial result of my latest drawing project. I drew the original, as I have said, at 20 feet to the inch scale. I had to scan the drawing in two pieces, and then assemble them in the digital realm. After that, I did my other digital editing. Part of that was to add my gunport drawings. The rest was to do the head, taffrail, gallery, and lamps.

The Speaker was built, in 1650, at Woolwich Dockyard. Her builder was Christoper Pett. He built well, because the Speaker survived into the Restoration period and beyond. In 1660, she was renamed Mary.

The dimensions, as built were:

Length on the gundeck: 143 feet-3 inches Length on the keel: 116 feet Beam outside of the planking: 34 feet-4 inches Depth in the hold: 14 feet-6 inches

Burden: 727 tons

The Mary was finally lost during the Great Storm, in 1703.

The Great Storm is of interest, as this was towards the end of a series of horrific winter storms caused by "Global Cooling". The first of these storms with which I am familiar was that which wrecked almost half of the Spanish Armada in August of 1588.
Willem II, Prince of Orange I had read that Willem II died in a riot involving a bank in Amsterdam. However, I read something on the Internet that contradicted that story. Instead, Willem II was said to have died of Smallpox. In any case, he died before his son, "The Young Prince" was born in 1650. After Willem II died, Johan de Witt became the Stadholder. He had a profound influence on the course of the First and Second Anglo-Dutch Wars. After all, after the first war, Johan de Witt took soundings in the Thames, so in 1667, he pushed the admirals to stage the raid on the Medway and Harwich.
My current drawing project I am working on a profile drawing of the English Third Rate, Speaker. I am working at a larger scale, to improve the drawing. In general, when you draw large and then reduce, almost anything looks better. I am trying out 20 feet to the inch, as a scale. The main question is if the largest ships will fit onto an 11 x 17 sheet. I suspect the largest ships will require a slightly larger size. I am following my usual pattern by doing a pencil drawing, and then inking. I have started the inking process. For the masts, I scaled off of a Van de Velde drawing of an English ship from 1671. Masts, yards, and bowsprit all benefit from measuring from a prototype. I had started by trying to use the 90-gun Second Rate, shown in Frank Fox's book, Great Ships, as a model, but I didn't have any real confidence in the result. I backed off, and started looking for representative Dutch and English Van de Velde drawings. I found one of each, and am proceeding from there.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Updated Naval History and History of Ship Design Bibliography I just finished a combined and expanded bibliography, which I hope will appear sometime soon, on my website. Presently, there are two separate lists that I prepared in 2001. I have combined them and have included some new materials. A feature of this bibliography is that, as a rule, everything listed is in my library.
My Theory About Tactics My theory, long-held, is that the only way that the Dutch were able to compete in the First, Second, and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars was to use tactics of "mutual support and concentration". The basics are that when a ship is attacked, other ships will converge to support them in the fight. On the attack, several ships will concentrate against a single opponent. The Dutch always operated in a rough line, divided into squadrons. They were not that concerned with sailing in a rigid, single line, although they would do that, on occasion. The advantage of a single line is that all guns can be brought to bear on the opposing line, if they are willing to play the game and also sail in line. There was a great clamour for single-line tactics in the Dutch ranks, after their defeat at the Battle of Lowestoft, in 1665. The great admiral, Michiel Adriaansz. de Ruyter was not one of the believers. My assessment was that the Dutch were so soundly beaten at Lowestoft because they were so badly lead, and had included so many merchant captains in their ranks. That, and they still had many small ships. They were mainly equipped with the ships build by the two thirty-ship building programs from the First Anglo-Dutch War. The large majority of those ships were 130 feet long (in Amsterdam feet). They were approximately equivalent to the smaller, English Fourth Rate frigates. The Dutch admiral was a political choice: Jacob Wassenaer, Lord Obdam. He was a former cavalryman, not a sailor. Johan de Witt, the Dutch leader, was nervous enough about him to appoint Egbert Meeussen Kortenaer as his flag captain. By Lowestoft, Kortenaer had become Lt.-Admiral of the Maas (Rotterdam). At the St. James Day Battle in 1666, the Dutch tried the strict single line formation and were heavily battered. They were beaten in moral terms, although they lost two ships while the English lost one. De Ruyter was successful in the Third Anglo-Dutch War through judicious use of concentration and mutual support, and not risking his fleet until the decisive moment, when they beat the combined English-French fleet at the Battle of the Texel, in 1673. A feature of the Third Anglo-Dutch War was that the Dutch had larger ships that were more heavily armed. While De Ruyter's flagship, the Zeven Provinciën, had a mixed armament of 24 and 36 pounders on the lower tier during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. By the third war, the Zeven Provinciën had a uniform lower tier of 36 pounders. The Dutch had also benefitted from the building program initiated in 1664, once it was clear that another war was inevitable: 1664 12-160 foot ships 12-150 foot ships 1665 12-150 foot ships 12-140 foot ships 1666 12-170 and 171 foot ships See my analysis on my web site: The Dutch building program, starting in 1664.
Ambiguity about Dutch ships in the First Anglo-Dutch War One bothersome aspect about researching the Dutch fleet in the First Anglo-Dutch War is that there is conflicting information between sources. One important source is the list of Dutch ships that was originally published in the periodical, the Hollandsche Mercurius, for 1652. A feature of this list is that it actually contains information from June 1653. The various volumes were published a year later, so this should not be too surprising. One example of the problem that I have found is the listing for Corstiaen Corstiaensen (or Corstiaenszoon). He is listed with the ships belonging to Rotterdam. The most accessible version of the list is found in Volume I of The First Dutch War. His ship is included among those "Ships hired by the admiralty to be deducted from the Hundred". The "Hundred" are the 100 ships to be hired by the admiralties in 1652. When we study the Battle of the Kentish Knock, we find that Corstiaen Corstiaensen is included among the captains with the Rotterdam Directors. I will write later about other issues like this.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

A good, online translator For anyone who needs to do translation, I highly recommend the Systran engine (Systran Box). I have been using this service for both Dutch and French to English translation help. It has the problem of a somewhat limited vocabulary, especially for ships and naval history. I also have to correct archaic spellings, as the Systran box only knows the modern languages. My main use is to help with idiom and phrases. That is my main problem with Dutch: a literal translation seems like "Chinese" (not to disparage Chinese). What I mean is that, typically, a literal translation of any language is laughable. You have to know phrases and idiom to get a smooth translation.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Lasts, why they can't be reliably calculated In the early 17th Century, Dutch ships have sizes in terms of "lasts". Dimensions are very rare. I do not have any archival documents that list dimensions. Lasts are a load-carrying measure. I persist in trying to calculate lasts for Dutch ships, because there is no other way to estimate dimensions. When I want to draw ships, they must have some dimensions. The reason why estimating size from lasts can't be done with any accuracy, is that they seem to have been largely estimated. Unlike English tons and tonnage, there was not a formula that you can apply. Well, there is a formula, but the constant fluctuates. The formula is: Lasts = Length x Beam x Hold / K The length is the length from stem to sternpost, in Amsterdam feet. The beam is that measured inside the planking. The hold (depth in hold) is measured at the side of the ship. I have heard it described as being at the widest part. I will include a diagram. The tricky part is "K". Lasts generally seem to be rounded off. The K is adjusted to make the amount end in a zero, generally. For example, the Brederode had the following dimensions: Length: 144 feet (Amsterdam) (132 Maas feet) Beam: 35 feet (Amsterdam) (32 Maas feet) Hold: 14 feet-8 inches (Amsterdam) (13-1/2 Maas feet) The product of Length x Beam x Hold = 74225.45 cubic feet The lasts are given as 300, so the K needed is calculated: K = 74225.45 / 300 = 247.42 This is a quite large K. I usually use a K of 217. Another example is the Gorcum, which we believe was 150 lasts. Length: 116 feet (Amsterdam) (106 Maas feet) Beam: 27 feet (Amsterdam) (25 Maas feet) Hold: 11 feet (Amsterdam) (9.5 Maas feet) 150 = 116 x 27 x 11 / K K = 116 x 27 x 11 / 150 = 229.68 As you can see, this is not an exact calculation. A feature of my examples is that they are ships that have published dimensions that would appear to be Amsterdam feet, but actually Maas feet. Today, I saw the Brederode described as having dimensions of 132 x 32 x 13-1/2 feet, which everyone had assumed were Amsterdam feet. The crazy thing is that information has long been available which clearly shows these dimensions as been "Maes voeten" (Maas feet). A Maas foot is the same as a Rhineland foot, and is approximately 12/11 x 283mm, or about 308.7mm. I have a published source and two archival sources that confirm this. Experts, including Prof. Jan Glete and Ab Hoving, have known this for a long time. I only learned it in early 2003, when I received the Rotterdam Admiralty document dated 26 February 1652.
Something a little different I was browsing, looking for a good map showing Rye Bay, the Downs, and Dover, when I found this list, showing Joost Banckert's squadron, circa October 1639, before the Battle of the Downs. The list was from Dr. M. G. De Boer's book, Tromp en de Armada van 1639. I have considerably augmented the list from other sources. Joost Banckert - 't Wapen van Zeeland, 28 guns, crew 110 (Zeeland) Frans Jansz. van Vlissingen - Zeeridder, 34 guns, crew 120 (Zeeland) Joris van Cats - Zutphen, 28 guns, crew 110 sailors and 20 soldiers (Amsterdam) 250 lasts Jan Theunisz. Sluis - Walcheren, 28 guns, crew 110 (Amsterdam) - 200 lasts Lieve Cornelisz. de Zeeuw - 't Wapen van Holland, 39 guns, crew 120 (Noorder-Kwartier) - 200 lasts Albert 't Jongen Hoen - Neptunis, 33 guns, crew 110 (Nooder-Kwartier) Pieter Barentsz. Dorrevelt - Amsterdam, 10 guns, crew 60 (Amsterdam) Gerrit Veen - Drenthe, 16 guns, crew 60 (a jacht) ( Joris Pietersz. van den Broucke (or Broeck) - Rotterdam, 10 guns, crew 70 (Friesland) Adriaan Jansz. den Gloeyenden Oven - Arnemuyden, 22 guns, crew 80 (Zeeland-Middelburg) Abraham Crijnssen - Ter Goes, 24 guns, crew 90 (Zeeland-Middelburg) Tjaert de Groot - Friesland, 22 guns, crew 70 (Friesland) I had to draw upon three books, plus my 46 page list of captains and ships from 1628 to 1700, to complete the list as far as I have.
Since I mentioned the Witte Lam I believe that the list from the 1652 edition of the Hollandsche Mercurius lists the Witte Lam as having 32 guns and a crew of 120 sailors. Often called simply the Lam , this ship is famous as being Michiel Adriaanszoon De Ruyter's flagship at the Battle of Portland, the Battle of the Gabbard, and the Battle of Scheveningen. My 1653, the Lam carried 40 guns and had a crew of 145 sailors (possibly including marines and land soldiers). The book, Salt in Their Blood, is a good resource for De Ruyter in 1653. De Ruyter actually had a new ship before the Battle of Scheveningen, the Huis te Kruiningen. He and Witte de With both were fitting out their new ships, "in the Texel". However, they were not ready for sea for the Battle of Scheveningen (a.k.a. Ter Heide). Witte de With's new ship, the Huis te Swieten, became De Ruyter's flagship by July 1654. By then, I believe that Witte de With was back in his favorite ship, the Brederode.
My theory about the Battle off Dover, 19/29 May 1652 My thoughts had turned to the opening battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War. Leading up to this encounter, the Dutch fleet had been driven from the continental side of the Channel, due to bad weather. They had lost anchors and cables in the process. They headed for the South Foreland, to seek shelter. On the afternoon of 29 May (I prefer new style dates, using the Dutch preference), Tromp encountered Jacob Huyrluyt, Joris van der Zaan, and 7 merchantmen. They described an encounter they had, on 22 May, with Anthony Young's small detachement. They had, at first, refused to render the salute demanded by the English. Shots were fired, and the Dutch ultimately complied. When Lt-Admiral Tromp heard the story, he seems to have been greatly angered. He had already sent Jan Thyssen (commanding the Vlissingen DIrectors' ship, Witte Lam, then carrying as few as 32 guns) and Pieter Aldertszoon (I believe his ship was the Noorder-Kwartier Admiralty ship, Mem>Burcht), into the Downs. They met with Commodore Nehemiah Bourne, telling him of the Dutch plans. The Dutch fleet then entered the Downs. The English demanded that the Dutch salute their sovereignty over the seas around England. Commodore Bourne came out of the Downs with his squadron, while General-at-Sea Robert Blake came from Rye Bay. Blake was said to be a friend of Tromp's, but you wouldn't have known, by what proceeded. The English fired one shot, which they did to prompt the Dutch to strike (lower their flags in salute). I believe that Tromp, in his angry state, replied with a broadside, and the battle was started. The largest Dutch ship present was Tromp's flagship, the 54-gun Brederode. The Dutch totalled 42 ships, but all were smaller than the largest English ships. The English had about 21 ships, with some smaller craft. One of the English ships was the merchantman Reuben. The result was that the Vlissingen Directors' ship, the St. Laurens, 30 guns, was captured along with the Amsterdam Directors' ship, St. Maria, 28 guns. The St. Maria was thought be sinking, so the English abandoned her. The Dutch found her abandoned, the next day, and towed her home.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

My Main Research Focus My primary work is to completely describe the Dutch in the First Anglo-Dutch War. Part of that is to have a list of all ships and their captains. In a good number of cases, there were multiple captains per ship. Next is to build orders of battle for the battles and operations. Finally, I want to have a good understanding of the manouevers in each battle, and to have diagrams and narratives. On my website,, I have made some progress, although what I have is only a start.
Royal Louis (1692) drawings If anyone knows the current location of the Royal Louis drawings that show the carvings, we would be very greatful. These drawings last surfaced in the 1970's, and have not been seen, in public, since. They are presumed to be in the hands of a private collector.
We now show up in Google I was pleased to see that this blog now appears prominently placed in Google, at least for some specific topics. I intend to continue to publish previously unpublished information, as well as the results of research and analysis.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Some of what is "out there", unpublished There is a great deal of unpublished information that is available. This example is from the "Staet van Oorloge te water voor den jaere 1629". These lists have pages grouped by admiralty. I believe that all the lists that I have (1628, 1629, 1631, 1633, and 1654) all begin with the Admiralty of Rotterdam. The entries vary in their completeness. Only the 1654 list has dimensions. Even then, a fraction does not have anything more than the ship's name, possibly with the number of guns and captain's name. This first page from the 1629 list has the following information: Claes Marinusz. Juinbol [Juynbol] commands the ship Neptunis, built in the year 1623, of 170 lasts, mounting: Brass Guns 2 half cartouwen 24 pdr 2 half cartouwen 18 pdr 2 guns 12 pdr Iron Guns 12 guns 18 pdr 6 pieces 6 pdr Crew 85 sailors This is my interpretation and translation of what is there. The handwritten Dutch from the 1620's and 1630's (and even later) is always a challenge to read. I mainly rely on knowing what the words must be, which is rather sad, but true. I have learned some variations of how letters were formed by knowing what the words were, and figuring out from multiple examples just what was meant.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

This is worth studying I know that sometimes, in the past, I have dispaired over studying a topic that "no one" else cares about. One example of why not to give up is the late Charles R. Boxer. He was not well-known, at first. I had not thought that he was an academic, but he was (see Charles R. Boxer An Uncommon Man (1904-2000)). He was generally interested in the Dutch, in the 16th and 17th Century. He especially was interested in the Dutch in the Far East. Out of that, he also became knowledgable about the Portuguese, an important Dutch adversary, at least outside of Europe. He lived to a great age He wrote many books (over 300 books and articles), and eventually became an acknowledged expert in his field. He was an example to show that you can become prominent in your field, no matter obscure it might seem to you. There is no substitute, however, for hard work.
Back to the 2 July 1653 list Another ship that is easy to identify is the Edam Director's ship, the Zon. The captain was Jacob Klaesz. Duym. This was number 65 on the "Vlissingen" list. The list from the Hollandsche Mercurius (and reprinted and edited in the First Dutch War, Vol.I) describes Jacob Duym as commanding an Enkhuizen Directors ship. I rely on the note in Schetsen uit de geschiedenis van ons zeewezen, Vol.V, page 94. In any case, the Zon is said to carry 28 guns and had a crew of 108 men. The 1653 list says that number 65 was "genomen", or captured.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Drawing Ships A significant feature of 17th Century ships are the sails. The rule was for large topsails (tall) and small topgallants. My drawing violates this rule, as it was done freehand, with masts and sails not measured, but drawn to eye. I do measure the hull, however. I size my template, by turning on the grid with 0.2 inch squares, and then adjust the size to about 145 feet (in the case of what I have posted), length on the gundeck. I print the resulting drawing, set to the desired length. I put that on my improvised light table, upside down. The first thing I do is to draw the gun deck, in pencil. Next, I measure the height between decks, and draw the upper deck (or at least, the deck above the lower deck). Basically, I am tracing, freehand, except for the hull. Then, I start from the stern and draw gunports, leaving a suitable distance from the stern. I tend to have gunports spaced out at 10 foot intervals. The actual distance between ports is less, by the size of the port. Towards the bow, I leave a gap and draw a foreshortened forward port. On the upper deck, I draw slightly smaller ports (possibly), set in the interval between the lower deck gun ports. Of course, for ships with a single tier, that is not the case. Next, I draw the quarter gallery and head. After that, I draw the quarterdeck, forecastle, and poop (if there is one). At that point, I draw gunports in the upperworks. A good source on gun port locations is the table in Frank Fox's book, Great Ships. Finally, I start drawing masts, flagstaffs, lanterns, bowsprit, and sails. At that point, I draw the rigging, including stays. When that is complete, I start inking. After the drawing is completely inked and is dry, I use a kneaded eraser to eliminate the pencil lines. After that step, I apply colored pencil. Now, I scan the drawing to a template file. I do some cleanup and adding detail, using a graphics editor. I have started using predrawn flags and guns. I copy and paste. For flags, I typically have to size them by resampling and rotating to the correct angle. For the guns, I have started using a gun port with raised lid. Inside the port is a brass cannon (colored a plausible green, for the corrosion). I have a black dot at the center of the barrel. For the forward-most gun port, it shows the cannon pointing at a forward angle. For upper-deck English guns, I have port wreaths. I have started doing graphic editing on the head and quarter gallery, to eliminate outlines and to show three dimensions, through shading. If you are able to enlarge my drawing, you should be able to see what I am writing about.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

English ships In the process of upgrading my ship drawings, I am looking at the ship drawing in Frank Fox's book, Great Ships: the Battlefleet of King Charles II. I have been a strong believer in using proportions, and I am looking at mast heights, positions, yard lengths, and height of yards above the waterline. The proportions seem to vary according to the size of ship. A good source for that is Deane's Doctrine of Naval Architecture, 1670, edited by Brian Lavery.

Saturday, December 13, 2003


I will be posting some of what I have been drawing. I just need to be able keep the size down. What I like about the drawings of the last week (both Dutch and English), is that I have gone three-dimensional in my graphic editing. I have been drawing ships for use as "pieces" (as in "game pieces"), since late 1989. I have always gone for dark outlines filled with flat colors. My attempt to indicate the three-dimensionality of sails had been my first (half-hearted) attempt at the moving beyond that.

Commonwealth 3rd Rate, similar to the Speaker

Commonwealth 3rd Rate, Similar to the Speaker

Friday, December 12, 2003

English ship sterns When Frank Fox saw my last English ship drawings, his main criticism was that my sterns, as I had drawn them, were too vertical. English ships should have a stern with a substantial rake to them. I have spent the Evening doing more graphic editing on my "sheet one" of English ships. The ships on that sheet are: Andrew, 56 guns George, 58 guns Triumph, 62 guns Expedition, 32 guns James, 60 guns Unicorn, 58 guns Paragon, 56 guns Resolution, 88 guns They are all showing the Commonwealth jack, with the white field next to the jackstaff, with the red St. George's cross, and the blue field at the end, with the harp, representing Ireland. On the admirals' ships, I show the Commonwealth command flag, which is different than I have show in the past. This version is a red flag with a yellow circle, centered on the flag. In the yellow circle, there are two shields. The left shield is blue with a yellow harp while the right shield is white with a red cross. These ships all have my latest attempt at showing more three dimensions, rather than flat drawings with outline that are filled with flat colors.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

More about the July 1653 List For Friesland, we can know what two ships were. Number 103, which was captured by the English, was the Westergoo. Number 104, which was sunk, was the Kameel. The Westergoo was commanded by Tymen Claeszoon, who had assumed command after the death of Joris Pietersz. van den Broucke, in August 1652. The English measured her, so we know those dimensions, and can estimate the Dutch dimensions: English Dimensions: Length on the keel: 86 feet Beam outside the planking: 24 feet-6 inches Depth in the hold: not known Dutch Dimensions (in Amsterdam feet): Length from stem to sternpost: 120 feet Beam inside the planking: 28 feet Hold: not known, but estimated at 11 feet-6 inches The Dutch armament was 28 guns with a crew of 98 men. The Kameel is something of an enigma. The First Dutch War refers to her as the Stad en Lande. That was because the ship seemed to be funded by Groningen, as a Directors' ship. Willem van de Velde de Oude's drawings indicate that she was called the Kameel. That is how Dr. Elias refers to her, as well, in Schetsen uit de geschiedenis van ons zeewezen, Vol. V. The ship was commanded by Joost Bulter, who died at the Battle of the Gabbard, when the Kameel was sunk. The July 1653 list clearly indicates that the Kameel belonged to the Friesland Admiralty. By the way, number 105, the Harlingen Directors' ship, was the St. Vincent. Her captain was Adriaan Gerritszoon Cleyntien. The St. Vincent carried 28 guns and had a crew of 100 men. We know that from the 1652 list republished in The First Dutch War, Vol. I.
More about the Halve Maen (Half Moon) Earlier this year, I had estimated the Halve Maen's dimensions somewhat differently (see Research Results): Length from Stem to Sternpost: 124 feet Beam: 27 feet Depth in Hold: 12-1/2 feet I currently convert English measurements to Dutch measurements by using some constants that I derived through empirical analysis: length multiplier: 1.33 beam multiplier: 1.136 depth multiplier: 1.13 The English measurements used as the starting point are: length on the keel (LK) beam outside of planking (B) depth from keel to center of deck, including the camber: (D) The resulting Dutch measurements are in Amsterdam feet (283mm): length from stem to sternpost beam inside of planking hold, measured from keel to the edge of the deck, at the side of the ship. This does not include the deck camber. I have seen this described as being "at the widest point". From drawings in books and articles, this can be seen to be the height, where the deck intersects the side of the ship.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

More about the July 1653 List I will fill in some of the ships from this list, that I know. In part, I am drawing upon Schetsen uit de Geschiedenis van ons Zeewezen, Vol. V, Note 3, page 94. This lists ships and captains for the Dutch ships lost at the Battle of the Gabbard, June 12-13, 1653. No. 76, belonging to the Directors of Monnikendam, which was captured, was the Halve Maen, whose captain was Hendrick Pieterszoon. The Halve Maen was used as a warship by the English, and they measured her. Her English dimensions were: Length on the keel: 97 feet Beam: 25 feet Depth: 10 feet-8 inches Burden: 322 tons My estimate of Dutch dimensions (Amsterdam feet) are: Length: 130 feet Beam: 28 feet-4 inches Hold: 12 feet I estimate the likely Dutch armament as 34 guns. I have no data about the Noorder-Kwartier Directors armaments. 34-gun ships belonging to the Amsterdam Directors would have an armament like 4-24pdr, 12-12pdr, 8-8pdr, 4-6pdr, 4-3pdr.
The "2 July 1653 at Vlissingen" Document I wanted to summarize this document, which actually lists the Dutch fleet at the Battle of the Gabbard, in June 12-13, 1653. The survivors were mainly at Vlissingen, but some were in the Goeree Gatt, while a larger number were lying off Texel, in the roads. Where ships are mentioned, I use the spelling from the document. Most ships are not named. If they were, this would be priceless. As it is, the document is interesting and useful. The document makes notations about ships sunk, captured, or missing. I will probably post my reading of this later. Admiralty of Amsterdam: 25 ships (numbers 1-25) Named ships: no. 1 Leeuw no. 2 Phesant no. 3 Dolphijn no. 4 d'Oude Prins no. 5 Omlandia no. 6 Leiden Directors of Amsterdam: 18 ships (numbers 26-43) East India Company at Amsterdam: 3 ships (numbers 44-46) Admiralty of Rotterdam: 9 ships (numbers 47-55) Directors of Rotterdam: 4 ships (numbers 56-59) The Chamber of the East India Company at Rotterdam: 4 ships (numbers 60-63) no. 60 David en Goliat no. 61 an "advijs burck" (my best reading) numbers 62 and 63 were fireships (branders) The Directors of Hoorne (Noorder-Kwartier): 1 ship (number 64) The Directors of Edam (Noorder-Kwartier): 1 ship (number 65) Admiralty of the Noorder-Kwartier: 10 ships (numbers 66-75) Directors of Monnikendam (Noorder-Kwartier): 2 ships (numbers 76-77) The East India Company at Hoorne (Noorder-Kwartier): 1 ship (number 78) Admiralty of Zeeland: 12 ships (numbers 79-90) Directors of Zeeland: 9 ships (numbers 91-99) Captain Jan Pouwelsz. is mentioned as is Captain Andries Fortuijn and his ship, d'Eendracht. East India Company at Zeeland: 1 ship (number 100) Admiralty of Friesland: 4 ships (numbers 101-104) Directors of Harlingen (Friesland): 1 ship (number 105)

Monday, December 08, 2003

English Ships in the First Anglo-Dutch War I have started (again) a list of English ships that participated in the First Anglo-Dutch War. My intent is to estimate all information that is not known, because I want to use the list as the basis for comparing Dutch and English fleets at all the battles of the war. With few data points about English armaments, what I will have is a rather more speculative than I would like. Besides my last posting, there are some armaments listed in Michael Oppenheim's book, A History of the Administration of the Royal Navy 1509-1660. My sense is that the armaments were not radically different from what we know from 1666. The main difference was that the ships were not so heavily over-gunned. That was carried to extremes in the Restoration navy. I am indebted to Frank Fox for his detailed English armament information. He has done more research beyond what was published in his last book, A Distant Storm: the Four Days Battle of 1666. Amazingly enough, I have quite detailed information about Dutch armaments for the First Anglo-Dutch War. Naturally, what is known is still a small percentage. Sadly, there are still a large number of ships for which we only know the captain's name, at a certain date. If we are lucky, we have number of guns and crew (such as the Hollandsche Mercurius list republished in The First Dutch War, Vol. I).

Sunday, December 07, 2003

English ships in the First Anglo-Dutch War I have mistakenly (I find) thought that we did not have any information about English armaments for the period 1652-1654. I was mistaken, because Brian Lavery, in The Ship of the Line, Vol. I, pages 21-22, gives the armament of the 2nd Rate George, as of 1652: 52 guns: 18 demi-cannons (32pdr), 16-culverins (18pdr), 12-demi-culverins (9pdr), and 4-sakers (5-1/4pdr). This is about what I had expected. For a while, I thought that the 2nd Rates (former Jacobean and Carolean Great Ships) had mixed armaments, with the lower tier being culverins (as they had 20 years before), but I suspected that they were armed in the more modern style. In fact, this confirms what I had thought, that they had a substantial demi-cannon armament, similar to 1664 and later. Only the Resolution (ex-Prince Royal) and Sovereign had cannon-of-7 (42pdr) on the lower tier. I had forgotten where I had seen that the Sovereign had been modernized in 1651. I had believed the source to be The First Dutch War, Vol. I. I now see that the source was Brian Lavery's book.
I have a vast store of untapped information about Dutch warships from 1628 to 1633 At some point, I will spend more time researching Dutch ships from prior to 1633. There will still some ships in service, at least in 1629, from at least as early as 1610. Certainly, Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp's famous ship, the Groene Draeck was among them. Tromp was Piet Hein's flag captain for the famous capture of the Spanish Silver fleet (Zilvervloot). I also have the most complete version of the "Staet van Oorlog te water voor den Jaere 1654". My earlier information is mainly in the form of the "Staet van Oorlog te Water" for 1628, 1629, 1631, and 1633. I have some additional pages, as well. I am hoping to get more information about the latter 1630's and the 1640's as well. I would like to see a listing of Dutch ships at the Battle of the Downs, in 1639, when the Spanish armada was decisively beaten and largely destroyed. From the latter 1640's, I would like to see the list of 40 ships that were funded as convoyers, following the Peace of Munster in 1648.
My last posting I just tweaked my translation, in my last posting, to read better. I corrected a few word order issues in the translation from Dutch to English. The essence of what I translated says is that there were the five ships assigned to the local defense of the roads off Vlieland ("the Vlie"). They had been commanded by Evert Anthonissen, who was largely engaged in convoying, up until this time. He was typically the convoy commander. He did participate in the Battle of Scheveningen, where his ship, the Hollandia, 32 guns, was lost. He survived and continued up through the Battle of the Sound, in 1658. After that, he disappears from sight. He had been a ship commander since as long before as 1627, when he commanded the Amsterdam Admiralty ship, Sphera Mundi. The Sphera Mundi carried 18 guns plus 6 steenstukken. Jan Glete says that steenstukken were "swivels", not stone-firing guns, as the name might imply. I had assumed that they were like the English "fowlers" or "port pieces".

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Hendrick de Raedt Reference This is my translation of a note from Schetsen uit de geschiedenis van ons zeewezen, (Vol. V, p.169 Note 4): This quintet was comprised of the following ships: Hollandia (under the command of Commandeur Evert Anthoniszoon), that soon sailed toward the Texel, and was replaced by the Groote Fortuyn (Captain Frederick de Coninck); Edam (Captain Barend Cramer) and the Swarte Leeuw (Captain Hendrik de Raet): both, on the 19th July, were commanded to sail from the Vlie towards the Texel (see after this, page 174); Samson (Captain Hendrik Adriaanszoon), that was "unready, due to age, to serve under the flag", and Purmerlandt (Captain Andries Sijbrantszoon), the last two being involved with the protection of Vliereede (see the letter of the deputies from their High Majesties, "in the yacht of Amsterdam, lying before the Schilt of Texel", 8 July 1653. Note the variant spelling of Hendrick de Raedt's name. I need to check my list for early July 1653, to see if I can identify these ships from the group at the Texel. The problem with this unpublished list is that there are only a half a dozen ship names. Still, from context, I have been able to positively identify quite a few more (still only a fraction of the list). The list shows the Dutch fleet that was at the Battle of the Gabbard, and lists losses.
More thoughts on the Battle of Scheveningen (Ter Heide) I had several, long-held misconceptions about Scheveningen. One was that the English were on the attack. The second was that the English repeatedly broke the Dutch line. The third was that the English used the line formation while the Dutch did not. The fourth was that the Dutch were able to limit their losses, compared to the Battle of the Gabbard. With regard to the first, the reality was that the Dutch started the battle with the advantage of the wind, and they used that to attack the English, who had held back, in a defensive posture. With regard to the second point, the Dutch often were the aggressors in breaking the English line. At the point of contact, there was confusion on both sides. Volume V of the First Dutch War has a description that is the most accessible to the English speaking reader. The third point is rather controversial, but a reading of the same description in The First Dutch War leads me to believe that the Dutch were also emulating the English example from the Gabbard, in keeping a rough line formation. We know that the Dutch had used this formation in the past. A Van de Velde drawing of a battle in 1645 shows the Dutch squadron in a single line. Legend also sayst that the line formation was employed at the Battle of the Downs, in 1639, against the Spanish. Permit me an aside about the line formation. The line formation is a good defensive formation, and, for small squadrons, is a requirement. However, for the attack, and I would argue, even in defense, a large fleet in a single line is an unwieldy formation and does not allow for concentration against a smaller opponent. The Dutch were generally out-matched in ship size and broadside weight through first, second, and third Anglo-Dutch wars. They managed to survive by the judicious use of mutual support and concentration. That was the preferred tactical scheme used by Michiel De Ruyter. The Dutch misread the lessons of the Battle of Lowestoft, in 1665, and thought that they had failed by not employing the strict, single line. My reading is that they failed to poor fleet command, tolerance for timid captains with only merchant experience, small ships, and too many armed merchant vessels. My fourth misconception was that the determination by Witte de With, Jan Evertsen, and Michiel De Ruyter had by a rear-guard action, limited the losses at Scheveningen, compared to the Gabbard (see my listing of these losses, in my November 22 posting). Admittedly, 13 ships were lost at the Gabbard, while there may have been 10 at Scheveningen. My current assessment is that the only achievement by the admirals was to prevent the headlong pursuit that happened as the Battle of the Gabbard descended into chaos, as cowardly captains fled the battle, when they saw that the battle was going badly.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Dutch Ships in August 1653 I have some details about Dutch ships right before and after the Battle of Scheveningen. These are primarilty from Vol. V, Schetsen ui de Geschiedenis van ons Zeewezen, published in 1928. There is also an unpublished manuscript about the fleet at Vlissingen in July 1653.
Groningen, 42 guns
crew 140 men
captain Gillis Thyssen Campen
Amsterdam Admiralty

Huis te Swieten, 60 guns
crew 225 men
flagship of Vice-Admiral Witte Corneliszoon de With
(fitting out at the time of Scheveningen)
Amsterdam Admiralty

Vrijheid, 46 guns
crew 170 men
flagship of Vice-Admiral Witte Corneliszoon de With at Scheveningen
captain Abraham van der Hulst
Amsterdam Admiralty

captain Claes Aldertszoon
Noorder-Kwartier Admiralty

Gorcum, 30 guns
crew 131 men
captain Willem Adriaanszoon Warmont (killed at Scheveningen)
Rotterdam Admiralty

Roskam, 26 guns
crew 105 men
captain Corstiaen Eldertszoon
Rotterdam Admiralty

Sint Pieter
captain Simon Corneliszoon
Rotterdam Directors

captain Hendrick Adriaanszoon Glas
Rotterdam Directors

captain Jan Tijssen
Zeeland Admiralty

Jonas, 30 guns
captain Joris de Colerij (Caulery)
Amsterdam Admiralty

Graaf Willem
(is this the Frisian jacht?)
captain Jan Coenders
Friesland Admiralty

Walvisch, 30 guns
crew 110 men
captain Abraham Verleth
Amsterdam Directors

Westfriesland, 28 guns
crew 140 men
captain Hendrick Huyskens
Amsterdam Admiralty

Zutphen, 26 guns
crew 120 men
captain Hillebrant Jeroenszoon
Amsterdam Admiralty

Gouden Reael, 28 guns
crew 110 men
captain Adriaan van Loenen
Amsterdam Admiralty

Moor, 34 guns
crew 108 men
captain Adriaen Corneliszoon van Ackersloot
Amsterdam Directors

captain Evert Pieterszoon Swart
Amsterdam chamber of the VOC

Hollandsche Tuin
captain Harmen Walman
Amsterdam Directors

David en Goliad
captain Jan Adriaenszoon van der Werff
Rotterdam chamber of the VOC
I would be glad to provide more detailed sourcing for these ships, if someone is interested.
The Rest of the Scheveningen List By the way, this document was from 12 August 1652. This is the rest of the list from there: Brak, 18 guns - Poppe Brinckers - Amsterdam Admiralty Westfriesland, 28 guns - Hendrick Huyskens - Amsterdam Admiralty Amsterdam, 30 guns - Pouwelis (Paulus) Egbertsz. Souck - Amsterdam Admiralty Windhond, 18 guns - Jan Admirael - Amsterdam Admiralty Leeuwarden, 36 guns - Govert Reael - Amsterdam Admiralty Leiden, 28 guns - Hendrick Kroeger - Amsterdam Admiralty Hoop - Dirck Pater - Amsterdam Directors Fazant, 32 guns - Jan Janszoon Lapper - Amsterdam Admiralty Hollandsche Tuin, 32 guns - Joris Willemszoon Block - Amsterdam Directors This concludes the list. Already, including the known losses, we know many Dutch ships that were at the Battle of Scheveningen. I have questions about Dirck Pater and the Hoop, as he commanded the Amsterdam Directors' ship, Blauwe Arend, from early 1652 up until at least after the Battle of Portland. It is possible that Dirck Pater took command of the Hoop, after the Battle of the Gabbard, where Boëtius Schaeff was killed.
Jump in train of thought-Gaming, again I was thinking, again, about how to describe armaments in Privateers Bounty. The armaments can be divided between lower-deck, middle-deck, and upper deck. You also have the quarterdeck and forecastle. On the quarterdeck and forecastle, you can have both guns and carronades. For 17th-Century Dutch ships, with mixed armaments, you have to be creative. Let's consider how to arm Witte de With's flagship, the Prinses Louise. As I noted some time ago, the armament was: 36 guns Brass: 2-light 24pdr 4-light 12pdr 10-chambered 12pdr 4-chambered 5pdr Iron: 16-12pdr For game purposes, we will distribute the guns as follows: Lower deck: 20-12pdr Upper deck: 10-12pdr Quarterdeck guns: 4-5pdr Quarterdeck carronades: 2-24pdr I'm not sure how good that is, but it is a way to "finesse" the game.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

More ships at the Battle of Scheveningen (1653)

A feature of how I am doing this is that I don't always have a clear picture of what I have already posted. Hopefully, this is new information to most people. Having this list here will help me, as I compile a complete list of Dutch ships that participated in the Battle of Scheveningen (also known as Ter Heide).

These ships all survived the battle:

  • Brederode, 54 guns - Lt. Adm. Tromp (killed), Captain Egbert Meeuwsen Kortenaer - Rotterdam Admiralty
  • Vrijheid, 46 guns - Vice-Adm. Witte de With, Captain Abraham van der Hulst - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Zeelandia, 36 guns - Nikolaas Marrevelt - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Prins Willem, 28 guns - Jan Jansz. Boermans - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Jonas - Captain Volderij - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Gouda, 28 guns - Jan Egbertsz. Ooms - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Pelikaan, 28 guns - Captain Overcamp - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Groningen, 42 guns - Gillis Thyssen Campen - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Campen, 40 guns - Willem van der Zaan - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Bommel, 30 guns - Pieter van Brakel - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Engel Gabriel, 28 guns - Adriaan van den Bosch (or Bos)
  • Vrede, 44 guns - Gideon de Wildt - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Zutphen, 28 guns - Hillebrandt Jeroensz. de Moy (killed) - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Goude Reael, 28 guns - Adriaan van Loenen - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Morgenstart - Captain Quaeff - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Edam (Swarte Bul), 28 guns - Barent Cramer - Amsterdam Admiralty
  • Overijssel, 28 guns - Jan van Campen - Amsterdam Admiralty

I will have to finish this list later. I had not realized how many ships we know were at Scheveningen. This is from a manuscript published in Vol.V, The First Dutch War, pp.358-364.

Anglo-Dutch War Computer Gaming

I would be interested to know if there are any alternatives for computer naval war gaming in the age of sail. The most obvious choice, for the present, is Akella's Privateers Bounty. You must be satisfied with late 18th Century ship images, rather than the distinctive 17th Century look. You also must be prepared to compromise on armaments, as our present understanding of ship definitions seems to require a single gun type on each location. There are up to three tiers of guns, as well as the forecastle and quarterdeck. There is the possibility of abusing the carronades by pretending that they are guns, instead. I'm not sure that there is that much difference between a short, chambered Dutch gun and a carronade, anyway. That would not be appropriate for all Dutch guns, but there are definitely some would fit.

A feature of this game is that you had best manouver groups of ship, rather than many individual ships. Even with a "hot" computer, the calculations involved with manouvering many individual ships will overwhelm processing. I learned this the hard way with the scenario for the opening battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War (the Battle off Dover, on May 29, 1652). The Dutch had 42 ships in Tromp's fleet against 21 English ships.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Michiel de Ruijter's Squadron at Scheveningen

De Ruijter apparently flew his flag on the Lam, at both the Battle of the Gabbard and Scheveningen. I remember seeing, in Salt in Their Blood, that the Lam had 40 guns and a crew of 145 men. In the published list from 1652, near the beginning of the war, Jan Tijssen's ship only carried 32 guns and had a crew of 110 men.

Anyway, we know the composition of his squadron at Scheveningen by the orders he gave to the individual captains.

  • Dingeman Cats - Zeeland - Gekroonde Liefde, 23 guns
  • Hendrick Kroeger - Amsterdam - Leiden, 28 guns
  • Lt-Commander Anthonis Fappenlain - Unknown admiralty - Unknown ship
  • Jan Olivierszoon - Veere Directors - Unknown ship, 38 guns
  • Gillis Janszoon - Zeeland - probably Zeeridder, 28 guns
  • Adriaan Corneliszoon van Ackersloot - Amsterdam Directors - Moor, 34 guns
  • Frans Mangelaar - Zeeland - Liefde, 30 guns
  • Evert Pieterszoon Swart - Amsterdam VOC - Gerechtigheid
  • Bastiaan Centen (Senten or Centsen) - Zeeland - Haes
  • Jan Pieterszoon Strijp - VOC, unknown chamber - Huis van Nassau
  • Markus Hartman - Zeeland - Gekroonde Liefde, 34 guns
  • Jakob Wolfertszoon (Wolphertsen) - probably Zeeland - unknown ship
  • Jakob Swart (possibly Jacob Cornelisz. Swart) - Amsterdam Directors - Faam, 28 guns
  • Pieter de Bitter - Amsterdam VOC - Gerechtigheid

That would give De Ruijter's squadron a strength of 16 ships, which is plausible.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

More about Witte de With

Witte de With had been given his chance to command the Dutch fleet, after Tromp's abortive voyage to the Shetlands, in July-August 1652. He was put on the beach for that little outing. Witte de With was given command, as he was the most qualified commander available.

He was still using the Prinses Louise as his flagship. It only carried 36 guns, most of which were 12-pounders.

At the Battle of the Kentish Knock, the English had two very large ships: the Sovereign, 90 guns, and the Resolution, 88 guns.

The Dutch had several fairly large ships at the battle. One was Witte de With's former flagship, the Brederode, of 54 guns. This had been Tromp's flagship, and probably was commanded by Egbert Meeuwsen Kortenaer, in place of Tromp. They denied Witte de With access to the ship, as the crew were Tromp supporters.

The only alternative available that was large enough was the East Indiaman, the Prins Willem. The Prins Willem was a fairly new ship, having been built as recently as 1649. She was almost as long as the Sovereign, being 170 Amsterdam feet from stem to sternpost. That is about 157 feet-9 inches, in English feet and inches.

The Prins Willem only carried about 40 guns, with mainly 18 pounders in the lower tier. The big English ships probably had Cannon-of-7 (42 pounders) on the lower tier.

The Dutch were lucky to escape with only two ships lost (one blown up and one captured).

Witte de With

There obviously was a bitter, professional rivalry between Witte Corneliszoon de With and Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp. They were very close in age, born a year apart. Tromp's career was given a boost by him being flag captain for Piet Hein for the Silver Fleet operation.

Witte de With was also known as having a raging temper, and was not personally liked. However, he was also trusted with important commands, because he was known to be a good commander. For example, Witte de With commanded the big operation in 1645 to force a large fleet of merchantment past the Danes without paying the toll.

When the Zeelanders were pressing for someone to rescue their failing venture in Brazil, Witte de With was also sent. In this case, he was set up in a no-win situation. He was sent with a small fleet, with no logistical support. They fought a small battle and took losses due to a Portuguese captain who blew up his ship. When they returned from the debacle, after some crews mutinied, they imprisoned Witte de With. Prince Willem II was ready to have him executed. He was saved after the incident when Willem II died.

The First Anglo-Dutch War was a case where Witte de With was trusted with a great deal of responsibility, but was greatly disliked by the Orangists/Royalists for his Republican stance. They also disliked his no-nonsense approach to timidity or outright cowardice.

At the Battle of the Kentish Knock, Tromp supporters wouldn't let Witte de With on board the Brederode, even though it had been his flagship for most of the time since 1645.

I will write more on this subject, later.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Back from holiday The latest question that I wondered about is if Dirck Pater, the captain of the Blauwe Arend might have replaced Boëtius Schaeff as captain of the Hoop, after Boëtius Schaeff was killed at the Battle of the Gabbard. There is some evidence to support Dirck Pater being the captain, as there is a ship list from after the Battle of Scheveningen, giving damages, where he is listed as the captain of the Hoop. One issue is that we don't know anything about the Hoop. We don't know when the ship was acquired, or anything about her specifications.

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