Monday, January 12, 2004
Breaking the line My experience running simulations has given me more confidence in my belief that breaking the line can radically affect the outcome of a battle. If you care breaking an enemy's line, you can only hope that they are in a strict single line. If they are, then they are very vulnerable. Of course, in the run up to breaking the line, you are vulnerable to raking fire, but if you have a column that is not a single line, it is not a critical point. I had not realized, until recently, upon restudying De Ruyter's action against Sir George Ayscue, at the Battle of Plymouth, that De Ruyter broke the English line several times. The Dutch also broke the English line several times at Scheveningen, in the last battle. I already knew that the English broke the Dutch line. When breaking the line consists simply of sailing your single line through the Dutch formation, there is a lesser effect than when the goal of breaking the line is to fight a melee battle against an isolated portion of the enemy fleet.