Monday, January 03, 2005

At the Gabbard and Scheveningen, Witte de With flew his flag from the second-most powerful ship in the fleet

Since before the beginning of the First Anglo-Dutch War, Witte de With had flown his flag from the rather small ship Prinses Louise (36 guns). She had been built relatively recently (1646), but was only 120ft long. By the end of 1652, she was overgunned with 46 guns (according to Dr. Elias). Witte de With missed the battles of Dungeness and Portland, but after Portland played an important operational role. He commanded a very active squadron during the intervening period between Portland and the Battle of the Gabbard. He flew his flag on the Vrijheid, with Abraham van der Hulst as his flag captain. This was the second most powerful ship in the fleet, after the Brederode. She later carried as many as 60 guns. She also was the prototype for new construction patterned after the English (where ships were broader for the length). Amsterdam blocked her from being used in the First Anglo-Dutch War building program, but by 1664, new construction was patterned after her. Michiel De Ruyter's famous flagship, the Zeven Provinciƫn was 3.79 times as long as broad. The Brederode was much narrower for the length, having a length to beam ratio of 4.125. De With was trying to ready his brand new flagship, the Huis van Swieten (60 guns) for the battle, but was unsuccessful, probably due to lack of armament and stores. She was his flagship after Scheveningen to the end of the war. By July 1654, he had reclaimed his beloved Brederode from Egbert Meuwssen Kortenaer. Witte de With had been the Brederode's original captain, and had commanded her during the operation in 1645 to force a fleet of merchant ships past the Sound without paying the toll to the Danes. She was also his flagship for the abortive attempt to recover control of Brazil from the Portuguese.

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