Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Battle of the Kentish Knock (UPDATED)

I have increased respect for the Dutch performance at the Battle of the Kentish Knock. I have run the simulation, recently, and the Dutch are really out-matched by the large English ships. The worst formation for the Dutch is to "cross the T", by sailing in front of the English, in a line. The English will break the line, and the Dutch take too many losses. I have had the best outcome for the Dutch by getting into position to break the English line. That is difficult, as the Dutch are downwind from the English. Running the simulation, solo, the English sail towards the Dutch in line abreast. That is actually favorable for the Dutch, if the Dutch fleet is able to get turned to break the English line. When I have been able to do that, the English quickly take a large number of losses. The Kentish Knock is a sharp contrast to the Battle of Portland. The Dutch were in a very favorable position at Portland, with the English fleet divided. Frank Fox says that the Dutch very nearly won the battle on the first day. They were able to board English flagships, and almost took them. As as the Kentish Knock and Dungeness, Blake paid no attention to tactics and formations; he just wanted to fight, and to bring the Dutch to battle as quickly as possible. The main problem for the Dutch, and was that they still had small ships and were poorly supplied. The third day was brutal, as the Dutch ships ran short of ammunition.

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