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Monday, April 19, 2004

The Amsterdam ship Maria at the Battle of the Kentish Knock

The Amsterdam ship, Maria, was one of two Dutch ships lost at the Battle of the Kentish Knock. Interestingly enough, almost every time I run Privateers Bounty, for that scenario, the Maria is a casualty. I have a good picture, from the weekend, of the Maria, obviously in deep trouble, with a fire buring, and no foremast, and other damage. A large splash, just to starboard, must be a large caliber shot (32pdr?), while two smaller shot splashes are just beyond (perhaps demi-culverins).

I have wondered at the explanation as to why the Maria keeps getting destroyed. I believe it has to do in its place in its squadron, and in the English squadron that is the most obvious to attack. The Maria was in Michiel De Ruyter's squadron, and was commanded by Claes Sael. She carried about 30 guns, the largest of which were probably 12pdrs. She was not very large, and carried a crew of about 100 sailors and soldiers.

When we look at the English fleet, with two 1st Rates, several 2nd and 3rd Rates (such as the Andrew, Triumph, and Speaker), the logical question is why the Dutch weren't more badly beaten. The only other Dutch loss, besides the Maria, the Noorderkwartier 24-gun ship, the Burcht van Alkmaar, the English results seem pretty meager. I suspect that the answer is that Blake was not interested in tactics. Michael Baumber paints Blake as someone who believes that the combatant with the strongest will, will triumph, and that nothing else matters. Blake had enough concern about the tactical situation to slow, to allow the others to catch up, but that is about his limit.

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