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.

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