Friday, July 07, 2006

De Ruyter and Witte de With

As we know, Witte de With was trying to get his new ship, the Huis te Zwieten, ready for service. The ship had been built for Genoa, and was purchased for the Dutch navy, along with a smaller ship, the Huis te Kruiningen. Michiel De Ruyter was trying to get the Huis te Kruiningen ready for sea, as well. In the event, neither ship was ready for the Battle of Scheveningen, where both men were squadron commanders. At this date, Witte de With did not have a regular flagship, and he apparently ended up using the Vrijheid, commanded by Abraham van der Hulst, as his flagship. The Vrijheid was probably the most suitable ship available, as the lower tier of guns were 18pdr with four 24pdr guns. Witte de With's favorite ship, the Brederode, was not available at this date, as it was still the fleet flagship. After Tromp's death at Scheveningen and the completion of the new Eendracht (58 guns), the Brederode became available. At least until late 1653, Ebert Meeuwssen Kortenaer, the captain of the Brederode, was temporarily promoted to squadron commander, and he used the Brederode as his flagship for a squadron of 16 ships. By July 1654, Witte de With was back in the Brederode, which he used as his flagship until his death at the Battle of the Sound. Egbert Meeuwssen Kortenaer was Jacob van Wassenaer's flag captain on the Eendracht. Jan de Witt, ruler of the Netherlands, did not trust Wassenaer, a soldier, without experienced supervision to be provided by Kortenaer. By July 1654, De Ruyter used the Huis te Zwieten as his flagship and Cornelis Tromp used the Huis te Kruiningen as his. Sources:
  1. C.T. Atkinson, Ed., The First Dutch War, Vol.V, 1912
  2. C. T. Atkinson, Ed., The First Dutch War, Vol. VI, 1930
  3. Staet van Oorlogh te Water for the year 1654, 1654

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