Thursday, August 31, 2006

I have an odd question

This may seem odd or goofy, but I wondered if I went back in my time machine, and could see the Dutch fleet at sea in 1652 or 1653, how would I tell which ships were present? Much later, it was the custom in the British and American navies to put the name of the ship on the stern, but did not think, from the van de Velde drawing evidence, that this practice was common in the Dutch navy during the First Anglo-Dutch War. Of course, the Reinier Nooms painting of Tromp's flagship Aemilia at the Battle of the Downs does show the name on the stern. Presumably, the flags flown might be useful, as well as position in the squadron, but that would not be enough to make the identification. The other possibility, which might be useful, in many cases, is to see the taffrail or upper stern, and see the painting or carving that is there.

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