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Saturday, May 01, 2004

Experiment with the Battle of the Kentish Knock scenario

My current thinking is that the Dutch should not use the single line formation in the First Anglo-Dutch War scenarios. However, that does not preclude using what I consider to be "good fleet tactics":

  • That involves fighting for the weather gauge,

  • maneuvering as a single unit,

  • keeping away from the English, so that the Dutch are not intermixed with the English, except after taking damage,

  • Sailing back and forth on opposite tacks, so that the Dutch ships face the English bows, generally,

  • Be aware of the relationship of Dutch to English ships, watching the closest point, and maneuvering the fleet based on that relationship, to keep clear of the English,

  • If possible, set full sails, contrary to customary 18th Century practice,

  • Always wear, turning away from the wind to go onto the opposite course, rather than tacking through the wind, where your bows, at some point, are pointing into the wind.

  • Following these guidelines will allow the Dutch to stay mobile, even if they may lose more ships. In the Battle of the Kentish Knock scenario I just ran on the simulator, the English had more ships left, but they were all heavily damaged. The Sovereign (90 guns) and the James (62 guns) both had surrendered. The Resolution was heavily damaged aloft, and was slowed. Many of the remaining English armed merchantmen could have been sunk, if there had been more daylight left. Still, this was another "fight to the finish", which is very unlike 17th and 18th Century reality. You might have seen such a thing, earlier. The Battle of the Downs, in 1639, when the Dutch did great damage to the Spanish fleet in English waters, was almost like a "fight to the finish".

    I have several photographs of the last simulation run that I will eventually post.

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