Friday, February 09, 2007
Dutch ship armaments in 1652
One of the most astonishing features of the Dutch warships in 1652 is that so many were small and carried very light armaments. I was surprised at how many Dutch ships built as warships and how many hired ships had main batteris of 8pdr guns, but when we look at Zeeland ships, in particular, there are many with 6pdr guns as the main armament, with a very few firing heavier shot. The conventional wisdom is that Dutch ships mainly had lower tiers of mostly 12pdr guns and that made them inferior to the English ships. While information about the English ships is very scarce for 1652 and 1653, what we do know indicates that many 5th Rates were armed with demi-culverins as their main armament (9pdr guns). We can see that from the 1660's, when better information is available. In the last few months, dating from when I received the Amsterdam list from Jan Glete, from the Wrangell Collection at the Riksarkivet at Stockholm, there have been overwhelming examples that indicate that many or most smaller Dutch ships had main batteries of 8pdr guns. Now, the latest information about Zeeland ships shows that many 24 and 26 gun ships had mostly 6pdr guns, supplemented by a smaller number of 8pdr and larger guns.