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).

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