Saturday, April 08, 2006

There is an interesting discussion of the Dutch participation in the Armada campaign in 1588

J. C. A. Schokkenbroek has a chapter in P. Gallagher & D. W. Cruickschank, God's Obvious Design: Papers for the Spanish Armada Symposium, Sligo, 1988 titled "The Role of the Dutch Fleet in the Conflict of 1588". For whatever reason, Schokkenbroek tries to minimize the importance of the Dutch in the Armada campaign. The main Dutch role in the campaign was to contain the Duke of Parma, so that he could not send an invasion force to England. Schokkenbroek argues that the vessels provided to the Duke were not suitable, so that even if they had broken out, they would not have arrived in England. Those which could have escaped the Dutch blockade would have been easy targets for English guns. One feature of the campaign was the rivalry and ongoing conflict between Holland and Zeeland. Apparently, the Zeeuwse would have liked to be an independent state. The number of Dutch vessels involved in various roles was large, in the neighborhood of 400. There were 90 blockading Flanders, 32 blockading Sluys, which had fallen to the Duke of Parma, 135 blockading Antwerp, 100 blockading Delfzijl, and another 50, which were eventually added to the fleet on the coast of Flanders. They were generally small, the largest being perhaps 200 tons, and the others being as small as 25 tons.

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