Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dingeman Cats' ship the Liefde

I happen to have an inventory of the guns carried on Dingeman Cats' ship, the Liefde (23 guns), dating from June 1653. The Liefde was a ship of the Admiralty of Zeeland. Captain Cats moved to the Liefde from the Dolphijn following the storm in the Shetlands in early August 1652. The Liefde carried a rather modest armament but must have been a good ship, as the Liefde served until at least the end of 1653. The main battery of the Liefde consisted of 8pdr guns of about 2150 pounds. Presumably, these were iron guns. There were a small number of 3pdr guns of 714 or 744 pounds. The rest were 4pdr guns. There was one very light 4pdr of 413 pounds. Several more were of 1155-1175 pounds. The remainder were of about 1530 pounds.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The ship Sint Willeboort of the Hoorn Chamber of the VOC

One of the photographs that I have received this month is an inventory for the ship Sint Willeboort, a ship of the Hoorn Chamber of the VOC. The inventory is from about 21 June 1653, after the Battle of the Gabbard (or the Zeeslag bij Nieuwpoort). The list of shot carried seems rather small in number:
100 18pdr shot
100 12pdr shot
 80  8pdr shot
 70  6pdr shot
100  4pdr shot
 40  3pdr shot

The Sint Willeboort carried 27 guns, ranging from 3pdr to 18pdr.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Frustration: you can't assume anything

The frustrating thing is to find that where you don't have specific information, that the situation was different from anything you have seen. There were apparently some "mystery ships" and different captain assignments in the Dutch fleet up to the storm in the Shetlands in early August 1652. I have good information from September, some of which refers to August and before, so I had assumed that I knew more about ship assignments in the fleet than I apparently do. I am not able to look in the Nationaal Archief myself, so I have to rely upon finding out enough specifics so that my researcher can find and photograph pages for me. One complication is that the research in this area is competitive, so when I find out that there is new information, I am likely not to find out the specific location. The main problem area is the ships and captains of the Admiralty of Amsterdam, apparently. Some ships only appeared in September 1652 and others had new captains in September.

Monday, May 28, 2007

There is more to be learned and understood

There is more information that has been found that indicates that our understanding of Dutch captains and warships for March to September 1652 (and probably more than that) is still incomplete. For example, there were two Amsterdam ships named Overijssel in service at the start of 1652. One was the new ship Overijssel, built in 1650 (seemingly) and the other was an older ship that may or may not have served in the Battle of the Downs in 1639. I have seen a list from 30 June 1652 that indicated that Jan van Campen served with the fleet on that date. What ship did he command? On 5 August 1652, he and Dirck Schey were fitting out two ships between Amsterdam and the Texel. Dirck Schey's ship was the Achillis (the 131ft long ship) while Jan van Campen's ship seems to have been the newer Overijssel. That must mean that the older Overijssel was not sold in March but was still in service, under the command of Abraham van der Hulst.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Dutch Snauw

I had a request for a list of the snauwen in service in the Dutch navy. I have two sources on the subject. One is Vreugdenhil's list that was published by the Society for Nautical Research in 1938. The other is information that I have from the archivist Ron van Maanen, who is at Geldermalsen. This is the list that I just compiled:


1)  Ron van Maanen, unpublished manuscript "Dutch Warships 1600-1800",
undated, but circa 1992

2)  A. Vreugdenhil, Ships of the United Netherlands 1648-1702, 1938

Admiraliteit van Amsterdam:

Haan   18-23 guns  1658-1674, could be the fluytschip transport

Bonte Haan  8 guns  1674

Den Goes   1674

Hoen    12 guns  1674

Tonijn  8-10 guns  crew 40  1674-1677  blown up in action

Bonte Haan 8-18 guns  1675-1686  70ft x 19ft x 8-1/2ft

Prinsen Wapen  8 guns  1675-1676

Roos  8 guns  1675-1676

Kreeft  8 guns  1675-1677

Admiraliteit van de Maze

Faam  12 guns 1667-1674

Griffioen  1672-1694

Kievet  16 guns  1677-1690  79ft x 21-3/4ft x 10-1/2ft

Faam  16 guns  1702-1708   78ft x 21-1/4ft x 10-1/2ft

Maas  1705-1707

San Antonio de Padua  1707-1712

Admiraliteit van Zeeland:

Paragon d'Alette  1666-1667  sunk in harbour

Tijdverdrijf  6 guns  1671

Nachtegaal  crew 60  1690

Zeepost  8-12 guns  crew 25-60  1690-1697

Neptunus  10 guns  1695

Blikkenburg  10-14 guns  1696-1707  captured by the French

Mercurius  16 guns  1702-1705  78ft x 21-3/4ft x 10-1/2ft

Saturday, May 26, 2007

There was apparently a lot of shuffling captains and ships in August 1652

Yet again, there are apparently surprises about which Dutch captain commanded which ship in early 1652. I do not have a good list of ships and captains for May to August 1652. I have better information dating from September, but there are still holes in my knowledge, even after having seen hundreds of pages from the Nationaal Archief in The Hague. I know just enough to know that I need to see better information about Amsterdam and Noorderkwartier ships, particularly. One thing that we know is that the Amsterdam ship Groningen was in service prior to September 1652, as you would expect.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The plan to arm ships in early 1653

Apparently, the plan to arm the newly built ships is described in Witte de With's journal on 3 February 1653. The plan for the 140ft ships being built was to give them the following guns:
 4-24pdr bronze half-cartouwen 4400 lbs
10-18pdr iron heavy            3600 lbs
10-12pdr iron heavy            2900 lbs
 6-bronze 6pdr drakes           800 lbs

In addition, the following would have been added:

 8-12pdr iron                  2500 lbs
12-12pdr iron heavy            2900 lbs

The latter seem to have been an afterthought, as they are on the left margin, but they bring the total gun up to a more reasonable 50 guns.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Guns from early 1653

This gun information is from Witte de With's journal, dating from early 1653. I am always looking for specific information about weights for the different kinds of guns:

24pdr bronze      4400 lbs
18pdr iron        3600 lbs
12pdr bronze      2500 lbs
12pdr iron        2900 lbs
 6pdr bronze drake 800 lbs

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

One thing that I need to do is to collect my various gun inventories from 1652 and 1653

Most of the gun inventories that I have that list the weights of individual pieces on each ship are from early 1653. I have at least one, from a notary document, for a hired ship in 1652. I would think that it would be valuable to be able to make some generalizations about the weights of guns, based on whether they are bronze or iron, regular or drakes (possibly with a bell-shaped chamber). The chambered guns seem to have been bronze. One question is if there were any iron drakes or chambered guns.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

From a list dating from 11 September 1653

Witte de With's journal, for 11 September 1653, has a list of Noorderkwartier ships with his fleet:
Adm    Ship                   Guns Crew Commander
N      Monnikendam            34   176  commandeur Pieter Floriszoon
N      Wapen van Monnikendam  28   107  kapitein Arent Dirckszoon
N      Lastdrager             32   102  kapitein Gerrit Munt
N      Hoorn                  28   116  kapitein Claes Aldertszoon
N      Schel                  24   100  kapitein Claes Cornelisz Hen
N      Peereboom ?            24    80  lt-commandeur Hendrick Pietersz Wolf
N      Casteel van Medemblick 28   124  lt-commandeur Dirck Arensz Houttuijn
N      Wapen van Enkhuizen    33   115  kapitein Gerrit Femszoon
N      Harder                 31   136  kapitein Backer

Monday, May 21, 2007

I am concerned about information about Noorderkwartier ships in the 14 July 1653 list

We have this list, dating from 14 July 1653, that includes some interesting information about Noorderkwartier ships on that date. There is an entry for the ship Schel which has the name Coninck Radbout marked out and "de Schel" written above it. The list of guns, totalling 30, includes some heavier guns. On the next page is another entry for the Coninck Radbout (Koning Radboud) that seems more plausible. The captain, Jan Rootjes, is the one that I expected, as well. The entry lists the number of guns as 32, while I had thought that the ship had carried 28 guns. Perhaps all this is correct. I guess that I need to compare my other sources, before I panic.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Zeeland ships, particularly, carried an odd assortment of guns

On 22 June 1653, the ships of the Admiralty of Zeeland carried a very odd assortment of gun calibers and types. Some were very odd weights, indeed:
bronze 36pdr
bronze 24pdr
bronze 24pdr klokwijs (chambered)
?      20pdr
bronze 18pdr
iron   18pdr
bronze 16pdr
bronze 15pdr
iron   12pdr
bronze 12pdr
bronze 12pdr klokwijs (chambered)
bronze 10pdr
iron    9pdr
iron    8pdr
iron    7pdr
iron    6pdr
bronze  6pdr
bronze  5pdr
iron    5pdr
iron    4pdr
bronze  4pdr
iron    3pdr
bronze  3pdr

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Brederode in June 1653

The Dutch fleet flagship is listed in Witte de With's journal as having 56 guns in June 1653. The only gun list that I have from that month has 54 guns. The main feature is that there seems to be a complete lower tier of 24pdr guns, except for the four 36pdr guns, rather than a mix of 18pdr and 24pdr guns. As I recall, there is an Danish article that gives a total of 56 guns, with a large number of 24pdr guns, as well. I need to find that and see what that list is, so I can compare that with the list from 22 June 1653.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The hired ship Harderin in July 1653

The hired ship Harderin, in service with the Admiralty of the Noorderkwartier in July 1653 seems likely not to be the same ship that was purchased or built by the Admiralty of Amsterdam, later in the 1650's. This Harderin, commanded by Claes Cornelisz Hen (Claes Valehen), only carried 24 small guns. These were very small guns. Most were smaller than 8pdr. The crew was supposed to be 90 men, but only 38 were on board on 14 July.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ron van Maanen says that Gerrit Femssen's ship was 120ft long

According to Ron van Maanen, Gerrit Femssen's ship, the Wapen van Enkhuizen, was 120ft long. The Wapen van Enkhuizen was closer in size to Pieter Florissen's ship, the Monnikendam, than to the smaller Casteel van Medemblick, also 120ft long. On 21 June 1653, the Wapen van Enkhuizen carried 34 guns. There were several 18pdr guns, more 12pdr, 8pdr, and 6pdr guns, with another two 3pdr guns.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Rotterdam ship Roscam, in June 1653

The ship Roscam was hired by the Admiralty of Rotterdam in early 1652 and served until lost in the storm off the Texel in early November 1653. For the entire period, the Roscam was commanded by Corstiaen (or Christiaen) Eldertszoon. The Roscam was mainly armed with 6pdr and 4pdr guns in June 1653, with several larger to bring to total to 24 guns. The crew was nominally 95 men. One new tidbit is that the length was apparently 112 Amsterdam feet.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

English line tactics

One of the things that I heard in the Netherlands, last week, was the assertion, which I believe to be true, is that General Monck decided to use line tactics against the Dutch, starting at the Battle of the Gabbard to counter the Dutch preference for entering and boarding, at which they were very practiced and effective. I would also say that the Dutch used concentration and mutual support, between ships, as a means of staying competitive with the larger, more heavily armed English ships. When the English adopted the line, the Dutch had little alternative to fighting in an informal line of battle, as well. When they adopted the line, their ships and men suffered greatly against the numerous English culverins (18pdr) and demi-cannons (32 pdr). Only the best Dutch ships, except the Brederode, which was much more heavily armed, had a complete lower tier of 12pdr guns. Many had a main battery of 8pdr or even 6pdr guns. I was amazed to see more detailed gun lists for the Dutch ships, to see just how many had such light armaments. They often supplemented the smaller guns with a few larger guns, but maybe just two to six of them. In some cases, the larger guns were 18pdr or even 24pdr guns. In the case of Adriaan Bankert's ship Hollandia, it was the two 36pdr guns, with a few more fairly large guns.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Barend Simonssen in June 1653

One of the few ships that still remain nameless is a new addition: the ship of Barend Simonssen, which is mentioned in the list of 22 June 1653. This is an Amsterdam Directors' ship that carried 30 guns. The list mentions the ship as being missing, after the Battle of the Gabbard. I naively expected to be able to determine the ship name from the known losses in the battle, but they all appear elsewhere in the list!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Sint Joris

I was somewhat surprised the Jacob Wolphertszoon's small ship, the Sint Joris, fought at the Battle of the Gabbard on 12 and 13 June 1653. His ship was hired by the Admiralty of Zeeland and had just 23 small guns. The crew consisted of 75 sailors and 25 soldiers. The Sint Joris only had four guns larger then 6pdr, out of the 23 guns. There were an odd number of 5pdr guns.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Adriaan Banckert's ship Hollandia (38 guns)

I was amazed to see that Adriaan Banckert's ship, the Hollandia, carried two 36pdr guns in June 1653. The Hollandia was a ship of the Admiralty of Zeeland which had previously been used as Johan Evertsen's flagship. Up through the Battle of the Kentish Knock, the Hollandia had been commanded by Philips Joosten. The crew mutinied and he was replaced by Adriaan Banckert and the crew from the West Cappel. Cornelis Evertsen de Jonge replaced Adriaan Banckert as captain of the West Cappel, and he was force to recruit a new crew. The Hollandia was larger than the published dimensions, as the Hollandia had a length, in Amsterdam feet, of 122ft. By June 1653, the Hollandia was armed with 38 guns.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The start of the First Anglo-Dutch War on 29 May 1652

This is probably not news, but I thought that my ideas about how the First Anglo-Dutch War was started were clarified by hearing the circumstances described. I just spent some time in the Netherlands, from Sunday afternoon to Thursday morning. We had a meeting on Wednesday morning where a friend described the start of the First Anglo-Dutch War. We had been talking about the power of guns (which may not be quite right, but in my present jet-lag addled state, it is the best I can do). We heard how on 29 May 1652, Robert Blake had a shot fired at Tromp's flagship, the Brederode. The purpose was ostensibly to demand that the Dutch fleet salute the English sovereignty in the prescribed fashion. The shot passed completely through the Brederode. After penetrating the near side, a Dutch sailor lost his arm to the shot from Blake's flagship. Tromp was so angered by this, and being already predisposed to resist, he returned fire with a broadside. This broadside effectively started the First Anglo-Dutch War (the Dutch call it the First English War, or Eerste Engelse Oorlog).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Late June 1653

One thing that is really interesting is that there is a very good list of Dutch ships from 22 June 1653, along with inventories of ships. Several of them have gun inventories, with weights. In one case, the length of the pieces is mentioned. There are gun lists for ships like the Herder, the Harderinne, the Lastdrager, and Wapen van der Veere. The latter should be the upgraded armament, after being rearmed after the Three Days Battle in early 1653.

Pronouncing Dutch names

Since I arrived in the Netherlands, I found out that most of my way of saying names was wrong. Just a small example is Evert Anthonissen. I would say "ev-ert an-ton-is-sen". Carl Staple says the name something like "Ay-fert ahn-tone-iss-son". The key man at Artitec's name is Herbert Tomesen. I would say "Tom-uh-sen". From Ab Hoving, I found out that the correct way to say Herbert's name is "Tome-ay-sen". I try to hide behind the fact that I have never been around native Dutch speakers, before. I only was around my Afrikaans-speaking manager in 2001 to 2004. He helped me learn Dutch and helped me do translation.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I flew over the Dover area today, leaving England

When I left Gatwick Airport for the Netherlands, I passed near the Dover area, where the unfortunate incident took place on 29 May 1652. As I have said before, I believe that Tromp had entered area, ready to fight. He was already angry about English affronts to Dutch sovereignty, and after hearing a biased report from Joris van der Zaan about the encounter with Anthony Young's small squadron off the Start, a week or so earlier. Anthony Young was very congizent of the tense state of Anglo-Dutch relations, so he backed off from demands from the Dutch, after the original shots were fired. Anthony Young did not want to be the cause of a war with the Dutch. After leaving the seven Straatsvaarders he had been convoying, Joris van der Zaan and Jacob Huyrluyt found Tromp and the fleet. He gave Tromp a rather embellished account of his encounter with Anthony Young, so that angered Tromp further. Tromp was in no place to salute the English colors and strike the Dutch flag as they Englihs demanded. I believe it was Tromp who answered the demand with a broadside, and started the First Anglo-Dutch War.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I'll be making a flying trip to the Netherlands and back this week

Blogging will be affected while I travel. Once I arrive, I hope to have WiFi and to be able to do some blogging.

Joost Bulter's ship

We are fairly certain that Joost Bulter's ship in May 1653 and up to the Battle of the Gabbard, when the ship was sunk by gunfire, was the ship Stad Groeningen en Ommelanden. This was a ship employed by the Admiralty of Friesland, and was one the two Friesland ships in service in March to June 1653 that carried 38 guns. The originally intended armament was just 28 guns, as indicated in documents from 1652. The ship was of modest size, just 120ft long (in Amsterdam feet). The Stad Groeningen en Ommelanden (or simply, the Stad en Lande) is mentioned in Vol.V of The First Dutch War, as being named the "Town and Country" (Stad en Lande). This seems to have been accurate, while the many references to the ship as "Kameel" with 42 guns seem to be incorrect. They are curious, though, as they are so widespread. The appendix to Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen that lists an outline list of Dutch ships in service in March 1653 says that there were two Friesland ships that were "States' Ships" with 38 guns in service in March. One ship had a crew of 110 men and the other had a crew of 140 men. One of them was the Zevenwolden (with a crew of 140 men), commanded by Frederick Stellingwerff, and the other was Joost Bulter's ship, the Stad Groeningen en Ommelanden (with the crew of 110 men). Many of us had been mislead by the reference to the Stad Groeningen en Ommelanden as a "Groningen ship" or a ship "of the Stad en Landen" as meaning that it was a Directors' ship. That seems be wrong and the ship was employed by Admiralty of Friesland, as is indicated in the documents.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

One question is how close we can come to the Dutch fleet list for the Three Days Battle

I would think that we could at least prepare a partial list which substantially covered the Dutch fleet in the Three Days Battle (or Battle of Portland). I have used a list based on what is in Dr. Ballhausen's book in the past, but I have only modest confidence in it. Most likely, it is wrong. I had thought that Wikipedia for the Netherlands might have a list, but they seem mostly to have such lists if I have previously published them. The English version of the battle in Wikipedia also does not have a list. Sources:
  1. Dr. Carl Ballhausen, Der Erste Englisch-Höllandische Seekrieg 1652-1654, 1923

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Armaments for Dutch ships

The more modern style of arming gave ships a uniform lower tier of guns. In fact, where it made sense, each tier was uniform. As well, the guns on the quarterdeck would be the same shot weight and the guns on the forecastle, where there were guns, would be the same. Many of the best Amsterdam ships in 1652 and 1653 were armed this way. The larger Amsterdam ships would have the uniform 12pdr lower tier typically supplemented by 4-24pdr guns. The upper tier would be either 6 or 8pdr guns. There were many ships, though, which had odd collections of guns, as if they had whatever was available. Zeeland and the Noorderkwartier seemed to arm their ships this way. The earlier attempts at arming Dutch ships might have 6 or 8 12pdr guns, with a larger number of 8pdr guns. They would have an upper tier of 4 or 6pdr guns, possibly supplemented with some 3pdr guns. Many famous Amsterdam ships were armed this way in 1652 and into 1653, such as the Bommel and Prins Willem. Most Friesland ships in 1652 and into 1653 had odd collections of guns, as well. There are signs that they had hoped to have more uniform armaments, but they were probably forced to use a more diverse armament for new ships, such as the Zevenwolden (38 guns), simply because of what was available.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Aert Jansz Verhaeff's ship Rotterdam in 1653

Aert Jansz Verhaeff commanded the Rotterdam ship named Rotterdam. This was one of the ships that measured 116ft x 27ft x 11ft in Amsterdam feet of 283mm. The usually published dimensions are actually those in Maas feet of 308mm: 106ft x 25ft x 9ft, which are what was reported in the Staet van Oorlog te Water for the year 1654. If you convert to English feet, the dimensions are about 107ft x 25-1/4ft x 9ft. These are measured differently from how the English measured their ships. They length from stem to sternpost x beam inside the planking x hold at the deck edge from the keel. The English actually measured length on the keel x beam outside the planking x depth in hold at the center of the ship. Decks usually had a camber or curvature, so the center was higher than at the deck edge. I estimate the English-style dimensions for the Rotterdam as 87ft-3in x 22ft-4in x 8ft. I would guess that the length on the gun deck, in English feet, was about 112ft. The Rotterdam was like a rather small English 5th Rate. An oddity was that the Rotterdam is usually said to have 18pdr guns on the lower tier. I have a document that indicates that the Rotterdam had 18-18pdr guns. I assume that they had to be very lightweight guns, if this is true. Jan Evertsen's old flagship Hollandia carried four 18pdr guns that were only about 2400 lbs, so maybe the Rotterdam carried similar guns. For that little weight to be workable, they must have used reduced charges. Otherwise, the guns would have been dangerous to fire.

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