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  • T2, R2, Prng 71: Dutch Great Ship vs French 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.






    50: Dutch Great Ship / early Ship of the Line 1601-1700



    During the 17th Century, the Dutch were very much a naval force to be reckoned with and they gave the English - along with one or two other leading European maritime rivals - a damned good run for their money.
    Eventually, the English (later, the British) would prevail; but during this period and in particular in the Anglo-Dutch wars, the Dutch - despite some strong English victories - dealt them more than one "bloody nose" and at least one very severe humiliation along the way.
    (This humiliation was the very bold Dutch raid on the Medway in 1667, which I have already covered in pairing #34.)
    In short, the Anglo-Dutch wars of 1652-1674 were most certainly very far from being a one-sided affair.

    Below, we can see the Dutch great ship Gouda (1665, 72 guns) taking the surrender of the English great ship Royal Prince (92 guns) at the Four Days Battle 1666, during the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War, 1665-1667.
    This battle is still one of the longest engagements in the history of naval warfare and was a Dutch victory.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Days%27_Battle

    In a straight-out slugging match, one-on-one and broadside-to-broadside, Gouda could not have reasonably expected to prevail against the larger and more heavily armed Royal Prince.
    However, a decisive factor in this particular match was the fact that the English ship had become stuck on a sand bar and was therefore effectively immobilized.
    (Two other English ships - Royal Charles and Royal Katherine - had also become stuck but managed to free themselves. Royal Prince was not so lucky.)
    Given the near hopelessness of their situation and with the Dutch ships already winning the battle and therefore in control of the waters around them, the English crew aboard Royal Prince had little option but to surrender.

    Gouda is to the left and obviously somewhat the smaller of the two ships.

    image_78489.jpg



    Closer view of Gouda offering a better view of her firepower assets.
    Gouda mounted her 72 guns across 2 full gun decks, plus a partial third; one full deck less than Royal Prince.
    Medium-to-large sized Dutch warships tended in general to have less draft than their English equivalents; a necessary measure for their relatively shallow home coastal and estuary waters.
    To maintain the required flotation for a given size of ship, less draft was generally compensated with a somewhat broader beam, meaning that Dutch warships would often have a greater "beam to length" ratio.
    As such, and being smaller overall, Gouda was not as heavily armed but had better maneuverability than the English adversary she was dealing with (and might otherwise have had to face in maneuvering condition) here.

    image_78488.jpg



    Close-up view of Royal Prince's stern showing Dutch crew members accepting her surrender. She started her career as the 55-gun "Prince Royal", having been launched in 1610.
    Between then and her capture she had a number of rebuilds and upgrades, changing her name to "Resolution" during the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell; then to Royal Prince with Charles II's ascent to the throne upon the Restoration of 1660.

    image_78487.jpg





    68: French Great Ship / early Ship of the Line 1601-1700



    During the 17th century, the French were among the leading nations competing for trade and control of the seas. By the late 1660's, the naval forces of Spain and Portugal had declined relative to their former positions and the French now had one of the top three most powerful navies, along with the Dutch and the English.

    Despite being launched in 1669, the Soleil Royal (Royal Sun) remained in harbour and did not see any action until the Nine Years' War (1688 - 1697). This was a conflict fought both on land and sea, between France and its territories on one side and a coalition of Austria, England, the Dutch Republic, the Holy Roman Empire, Savoy and Spain on the other.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Years%27_War

    Accordingly, Soleil Royal was re-commissioned in the first year of this war as the flagship of the Escadre du Ponant (Ponant Squadron).
    She was rated to carry up to 120 guns but usually carried between 104 and 112. Soleil Royal was one of the two largest and most heavily armed French ships at this time; the other being the Royal Louis.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French...il_Royal_(1670)

    Soleil Royal's first action of note was at the battle of Beachy Head in 1690, when the French ships managed to surprise the English ships while they were at anchor.
    The next notable action was in 1692, when she led a 45-ship fleet against a 97-ship combined Dutch and English fleet. This was the Battle of Barfleur and the French pressed home their attack despite the numerical disparity. There were heavy losses on both sides before the French were forced to break off the engagement. Although Soleil Royal made it through, she was very heavily damaged and was unable to make it back to Brest. Therefore, she was forced to beach near Cherbourg for repairs. Not very long after her beaching, she was attacked by a number of enemy ships, most of which she managed to repel with gunfire. However, a fireship set her alight leading to an explosion in her powder rooms and the final destruction of Soleil Royal.


    French great ship Soleil Royal (left of picture) in battle

    GrtShp Soleil Royal 1669 in battle.jpg



    Model of Soleil Royal showing her gun arrangement & overall layout.
    For her time, she was one of the most powerful ships in the World.

    GrtShp Soleil Royal 1669 model 2 right front.jpg



    Soleil Royal model - rear quarter view showing intricate stern work; among the richest and most decorative of any ship at that time.
    As with the leading warship types of any era, they were not just formidable fighting platforms. They were symbols of national prestige.

    GrtShp Soleil Royal 1669 model 8 rear left.jpg







    Whose early ships of the line most deserve to make Round 3?
    The Dutch or the French? You can help to decide!


    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).
    16
    50 - Dutch Great Ship
    68.75%
    11
    68 - French Great Ship
    31.25%
    5
    Last edited by panther3485; 21 Oct 18, 01:25.
    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

  • #2
    I would rate the Dutch great ships as being rather more important and influential overall, during this period.
    IMO, the French came to the fore somewhat later.
    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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