The country entered into a naval war with inadequate seapower. The quality of our ships was made worse by the need to be equipped with largely hired ships. At the beginning of 1652 there were no more than 5 ships in service, to which were added the fishery protection ships for defending the herring busses. Among the 79 ships, these hardly mattered. This proportion was totally reversed after March 3, when their High Majesties made a move that intimidated the English: the massive hiring and outfitting of 150 ships. This transformed the navy so that the greatest proportion were hired. By June 1652, 99 of the 186 ships were cruisers hired to aid the cause. In service in March 1653, of a total of 226 ships, no less than 150 were hired. The unfavorable situation was we can infer from the fact that in Tromp’s attack on the Downs in July 1652, there were 58 hired ships and only 34 states’ ships. A year later, Tromp and de With lead a fleet at Terheide with 57 hired ships and 49 states’ ships. From this we can see that our strong fleet formations in the war were due to the practice of hiring ships. The hired ships were not warships and lacked the construction features of purpose-built warships. There were many complaints from the commanders about the nature of the hired ships.Sources:
- Johan E. Elias, De Vlootbouw in Nederland 1596-1655, 1933.