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T2, R1, Prng 36: Dutch 2-Dckr & Great Ship vs English 2-Dckr & Great Ship

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  • T2, R1, Prng 36: Dutch 2-Dckr & Great Ship vs English 2-Dckr & Great Ship

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    49: Dutch large 2-Decker & Great Ship (up to 60 guns) 1601-1700

    As noted elsewhere, Dutch warships on average tended to be a bit smaller and had a somewhat shallower draft, than their English counterparts. This was also true when compared with the larger ships used by some other European powers, such as the Spanish. The largest warships used by the English and Spanish tended to be heavier and carried more gunpower but their Dutch equivalents tended to be somewhat more agile and maneuverable.
    (For the English at least, this was almost a complete turn-around from the previous century during which time, their galleons were typically considerably smaller and lighter than those of the Spanish.)

    Regardless, a study of naval warfare in the 1600's and in particular the three Anglo-Dutch wars, demonstrates that Dutch warships in general were not found wanting when compared to their English adversaries.

    Our first example is Aemilia, launched in 1632. She was a "great ship" or early ship of the line and had a displacement of about 600 tons. At the time of launching she was the heaviest Dutch warship ever built and carried 57 guns of mixed sizes as follows:
    • Main gundeck - 4 x 36pdr, 11 x 24pdr, 9 x 18pdr
    • Upper gundeck - 3 x 18pdr, 21 x 12 pdr
    • Quarterdeck, Poop & Forecastle - 9 x 6pdr
    For 1632, that's a fairly decent total weight of gunpower; but at the same time, I pause when I think about the supply and distribution on-ship, of the ammo for 5 different sizes of gun.
    Having said that, this degree of gun size variation on warships was not at all uncommon for the period and therefore, not peculiar to the Dutch by any means. A critical factor for any ship but especially on a warship with multiple gun-decks, was the need to concentrate weight as low as reasonably possible. An obvious solution was to have the heaviest guns on the lowest deck, graduating to smaller and lighter guns on the decks above; the lightest guns being the ones mounted the highest.
    Aemilia was the flagship of Admiral Maarten Tromp for part of the Eighty Years' War against Spain. In particular, during that conflict Aemilia performed very well at the Battle of the Downs in 1639.

    Great ship Aemilia 1632, a short time prior to Battle of the Downs in 1639

    GrtShp Aemilia 1632 before Battle of Downs c 1639.jpg

    Our second Dutch example is the great ship Brederode, launched in 1644. She was of a similar size and displacement to Aemilia, at different times carrying between 53 and 59 guns of equally mixed sizes. She also served during the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-54) and most notably at the Battle of Scheveningen in 1653.
    Her luck ran out in November 1658 at the Battle of the Sound, during the Second Northern War when she was sunk by the Swedish ship Wismar.

    Great ship Brederode 1644, 56 guns, Dutch flagship at Battle of Scheveningen

    GrtShp Brederode 1644 56gun 1ADW flgshp p21 onv183.jpg

    Although the Dutch did much better in the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch wars, things had not gone nearly so well for them in the first conflict. The last major confrontation in this war was the abovementioned Battle of Scheveningen - also known as the Battle of Texel - in August 1653.
    Below, we see an image from an impressive painting, showing a scene from that battle. Centre of the scene is the Dutch flagship Brederode (left), commanded by Maarten Tromp, slugging it out with the English flagship Resolution (right), commanded by Admiral Monk.

    Battle of Scheveningen, August 1653

    Battle of Scheveningen Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten.jpg

    55: English large 2-Decker & Great Ship 1601-1700

    As noted above, the English equivalents of the Dutch two-deckers and/or great ships tended to be a little larger and they drew more water; but otherwise there was usually not a great disparity in fighting power and they performed much the same role in battle.

    For our first example, I found this photo (further below) of a very appealing scale model showing well the lines and features of an English 2-decker. In this case, it's a representation of Warspite, launched in 1666. As we can see it already has a more "modern" and streamlined (relatively speaking) appearance, than typical 2-deckers of just a few decades before.

    Although the English and most other leading navies were already starting to move towards 3 full decks for their ships of the line, 2-deckers continued in service; the larger and better armed ones still being viable for a place in the line of battle and classified at the appropriate rating. There had been a system of rating in place for some time but this became more formalized when "line of battle" tactics started to become the norm.
    Rating systems were not exactly the same for all navies but what they had in common was a fairly realistic idea of how many guns and/or what weight of gunpower a warship needed to be viable in the line of battle.
    Naturally, as warships evolved and became more powerful, the benchmarks moved upwards accordingly. For example, the gun-power of a 1st rate ship of the mid-to-late 1600's would have been the equivalent of, perhaps, a 3rd rate of the mid 1700's and a 4th or even 5th rate of the early 1800s. Not that warships usually lasted that long; far from it in some cases but we get the idea. (We'll see a few exceptions, though.)

    Our first example for England is Warspite, launched in 1666; the second of no less than seven English/British warships to bear this name.
    Unlike many warships, Warspite had a very long service life which included a number of rebuilds. She was re-named HMS Edinburgh in 1721 and had her final rebuild commencing in 1741, being re-launched in May 1744. She was finally broken up in 1771, with about one century of service to her credit!

    Warspite had begun her active life as a 70-gun third-rate ship of the line. Her first action was during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (March 1665 - July 1667). In July 1666 she helped to defeat a Dutch fleet off North Foreland in Kent. Not long after that, she undertook convoy protection and was recognized as having performed with distinction. Subsequently, Warspite took part in the first major action of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, the Battle of Solebay, which ended inconclusively but again, Warspite fought very well and successfully fended off at least two Dutch fireships.
    Some subsequent battles did not end as well but Warspite and her crew consistently performed well and she survived them all.

    Hull model of Ship of the Line Warspite, 1666

    Warspite 1666 70 gun 3rate renamed Edinburgh.jpg

    Kingfisher was a smaller warship launched in 1675 as a 4th rate displacing 663 tons. She carried 46 guns (nominal), up to a maximum of 54 guns. She was designed specifically to counter Barbary corsairs and in particular, those from Algeria who were proving to be the greatest problem at the time. Kingfisher's often used "modus operandi" was to disguise herself as a merchantman by hiding her armament behind false bulkheads. She was also rigged in such as way as to be able to change her appearance more easily.
    In her most famous action in May 1681, she fought and defeated no less than seven Algerine men-of-war and an armed settee.
    However, the British did suffer some crew losses as well as the life of her captain, Commander Morgan Kempthorne.

    Kingfisher (right) fighting Algerine warships, 1681

    Kingfisher 1675 (probly) vs Algerine warships 1681.jpg

    Our third example is HMS Monmouth, launched in 1667. Monmouth was another successful warship with the good fortune to have a long career; taking part in a considerable number of battles from the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-74) onwards.
    She may be best known for her pursuit, defeat and capture of the French flagship Foudroyant in February 1758, at the battle of Cartagena, near Spain during the Seven Years War.

    Monmouth (centre) vs Foudroyant, February 1758

    Monmouth Battle of Cartegena 1758 capture of Foudroyant 1.jpg

    Time to decide:
    Will you go Dutch or English in this match?

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?
    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).
    Dutch 2-Decker & Great Ship up to 60 Guns
    English 2-Decker & Great Ship 3-4 Rate
    Last edited by panther3485; 27 Aug 18, 09:32.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    Another tough one to decide (at least, for me). I went for the English ships; mainly because I think they had established a lead over the Dutch by the end of this century. Although, mid-1600's was arguably a different story, perhaps.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


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