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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Jacob van Boshuisen, Dutch captain

For some reason, Dr. Elias did not write about captains who commanded ships during the First Anglo-Dutch War. One example is Jacob van Boshuisen. One place where he appears is in the famous "26 February 1652" list from the Admiralty of Rotterdam. On that date, Jacob van Boshuisen was in command of the Wapen van Rotterdam, another of those 116ft ships built in 1639 to the same general design. In early 1652, she carried 26 guns. Presumably, her dimensions were 116ft x 27ft x 11ft, as was the case with a more prominent member of the group, the Gorinchem. Captain Boshuisen also appeared in The First Dutch War, Vol.III, on page 196. This is a list of Rotterdam captains who started the war in command of ships. The entry says that Captain Jacob van Boshuisen "entered the service on August 1, 1651 with 70 men for a period of 13 months, until he was obliged to abandon his ship, detained in England". Apparently, this ship was one of those seized in an English port at the start of the war. I guess that must be the reason he didn't appear in Dr. Elias' index in Schetsen uit de Geschiedenis van Ons Zeewezen.

To my mind, it is an open question if he was the same Jacob van Boshuisen who commanded the Delft at Lowestoft in June 1665.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Jan de Haes, a Rotterdam captain in the First Anglo-Dutch War

Jan de Haes started off the First Anglo-Dutch War in command of the hired ship Gulden Beer. He was in Witte de With's squadron from the beginning of the war, including the voyage to the Shetlands in July-August 1652. There was a list seen by J.C. de Jonge, for March 1653 (following the Battle of Portland) that if we could find it would be priceless beyond any physical riches. That list gives the armament for the Rotterdam hired ships as 26 guns and the crew as 80 sailors and 20 soldiers. In May 1653, the Gulden Beer was paid off and Jan de Haes assumed command of the captured English Garland, now called the Rozenkrans (it was spelled differently at the time). She was a substantial ship that was armed with 20-18pdr and 22-12pdr guns. the Rozenkrans had been captured at Dungeness, but didn't last long in Dutch service, as she was taken and burnt at Scheveningen. I estimate that the Rozenkrans's dimensions in Amsterdam feet were 145ft x 36ft x 16ft. I suspect that she had a large rake forward, as the length of the captured Leopard in Dutch service was 145ft. We are fortunate that the dimensions for the Leopard were recorded in the "Staet van Oorlogh te Water" for 1654.

Monday, September 27, 2004

There were more ships built than just those in the 30-ship building program

I keep finding examples of ships built in 1653 (especially) that didn't fit into the well-known building program started in early 1653. One example of an an "odd" ship was the frigate Klein-Frisia probably built at Harlingen in 1653. She was built to the 120ft charter and probably was 190 lasts. Her dimensions were 120ft x 28-1/4ft x 11-1/4ft. Her armament was a mixture of 12pdr, 6pdr, 3pdr, and 2pdr guns of unknown numbers, but totalling 38 in all. I would guess that she had a lower tier of 12pdr guns and an upper tier of 6pdr guns, with 2pdr and 3pdr on the forecastle and quarterdeck. There was an ongoing need to replace lost frigates with new construction. The new building program was really only concerned with "ships of the line", although that term was not in use that early. For example, circa 1658, the Klein Harder was built to the same dimensions as the Overijssel of 1650 (114ft x 28ft x 11ft).

Saturday, September 25, 2004

So, what do we know about the Friesland ship, the Sneek?

The Sneek was a brand new ship built at Harlingen in 1666. Because of manning issues, she left behind and did not participate in the Four Days Battle. She is usually referred to as a 66 gun ship, but Frank Fox says that she carried 65 guns at the St. James' Day Battle, where she was lost. Her crew was 326 men. Some slightly older Frisian ships, the Prins Hendrik Casimir and Groot-Frisia both carried 72 guns and had dimensions 150ft x 40ft x 14ft (or 14-1/2ft). Presumably, with only 66 guns (nominally), the Sneek would have been smaller. These are actually small for 72 gun ships. Most contemporaries were over 150ft in length. I would guess that the Sneek was similar to the Deventer (66 guns) built in1666, although by Amsterdam. We have to guess somewhat, but think that the Deventer was about 148ft x 38ft x 14ft, and the Sneek was probably near to that in size, as well.

Friday, September 24, 2004

By the Second Anglo-Dutch War, you started to see Dutch admirals have flag captains, rather than commanding their own ship

At the start of the First Anglo-Dutch War, you seem to have Dutch flag officers commanding their own ships. Before long, that changed. It may well be that Lt-Admiral Tromp always had a flag captain, but he certainly had one by later in 1652. By the time of the Four Days Battle, you saw men like Schout-bij-Nacht Jan Janszoon van Nes with a flag captain for his ship, the Delft (62 guns). His flag captain was Laurens Kerseboom. The Delft was a brand new ship built by Rotterdam, completed in 1666. Her dimensions were 146ft x 38ft x 15ft. Her armament at the Four Days Battle was: 8-brass 24pdr, 3-brass 18pdr, 13-iron 18pdr, 5-brass 12pdr, 17-iron 12pdr, 10-brass 6pdr, and 6-iron 4pdr. Her crew consisted of 217 sailors and 62 soldiers. Her intended crew was 260 sailors and 4 soldiers.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Small English 4th Rates had a mixed lower tier of guns

Small English 4th Rates, at the time of the Four Days Battle had mixed armaments on the lower tier. That seems to be because they were perceived as being too small to have a complete lower tier of culverins (18pdr). For example, the frigate Assurance, built in 1646, had a lower tier of 10-culverins with the remainder being demi-culverins (9pdr). The upper tier was partially armed with demi-culverins, with the waist apparently unarmed. She had 10-culverins, 24-demi-culverins, and 4-sakers (5-1/4pdr). The sakers were apparently on the quarterdeck. The dimensions of the Assurance were: 89ft x 26ft-10in x 11ft, giving a burden of 340-81/94 tons. I estimate her gun deck length to have been about 110ft.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I still smile at the Dutch ships that have large numbers of 3pdr guns

The Amsterdam ship Callantsoog is another example of ship that carried large numbers of 3pdr guns to bring the ship up to 70 guns. The ship was another of the ships built to the 150ft charter (usually 150ft x 38ft x 15ft), as was the Eendracht of 1653, the Groot Hollandia, and others. The Rotterdam ship Gelderland of 1666, was built to an expanded version, having greater beam and depth (150ft x 39ft x 15-1/2ft).

The Callantsoog, at the Four Days Battle, had the following armament:

  • lower tier: 6-brass 24pdr nd 20-iron 18pdr
  • middle tier (really, the upper tier): 8-brass 12pdr and 16-iron 18pdr
  • upper tier (with an unarmed waist): 16-3pdr
  • poop: 4-brass "klokwijs" 4pdr

This meant that only 50 of the 70 guns were "substantial". The 16 3pdr were more to just bring the total to 70 guns.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Some English ships still had mixed armaments on a gun deck

The 4th Rate Newcastle, in June 1666, still had a mixed armament on the lower tier. The lower tier had 10-demi-cannon (32pdr) and 12-culverins (18pdr). The upper tier was a uniform 22-demi-culverins (9pdr). The quarterdeck was armed with 6-sakers (5-1/4pdr). The Newcastle had been built at Radcliffe, in 1653, as part of the First Anglo-Dutch War building program. At the Four Days Battle, her captain was Thomas Page, and her assigned crew was 200 men. The Newcastle is one of the few ships from this period for which we know a gun deck length. Her dimensions were:
  • length on the gundeck: 131ft
  • length on the keel: 108ft
  • beam outside of the planking: 33ft-1in
  • depth in hold: 13ft-2in
  • burden: 628-71/94 tons

Monday, September 20, 2004

Some English 3rd and 4th Rates at the Four Days Battle had peculiar guns, perhaps as chase pieces

This data is from Dr. Weber's book about the Four Days Battle. At first glance, the 3rd Rate Dover looks to have uniform calibers per deck. The lower tier must have been 22-demi-cannon (32pdr) with an upper tier with demi-culverins, with demi-culverins (9pdr) on the quarterdeck (a total of 32 demi-culverins). There were 4-odd culverins (18pdr) that we are left to wonder where they were mounted. One explanation could be 2-culverins firing forward and two aft. Perhaps a few of the demi-culverins were also firing forward and aft. All the van de Velde drawings tend to show all ports armed, even in the chase, rather than allowing for guns to be moved from the broadside, a difficult thing with big guns, even as small as the culverin (only relatively small).

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The English had started to arm ships with uniform calibers per deck by 1666

Compared to the Dutch, it is very striking to see that the English were arming ships with uniform calibers on each deck. That was not universal, but it was extremely common. Even the Black Bull (ex-Dutch Wapen van Edam) was armed that way. She had a lower tier armed with 22-12pdr and upper tier armed with English sakers (5-1/4pdr). Her Dutch dimensions had been 120ft x 28ft x 11ft, while her English dimensions, as measured, were 86ft on the keel x 28ft-4in outside the planking x 12ft in the hold. Her intended crew at the Four Days Battle numbered 160 men.

Friday, September 17, 2004

The Amsterdam frigate Ijlst (Ylst) in 1666

The small Amsterdam frigate Ijlst participated in the Four Days Battle in 1666. Thanks to Dr. Weber, we know a good bit about her.
  • captain: Jacob Dirkszoon Boom
  • crew: 120 sailors and 20 soldiers
  • built: probably in 1663
  • dimensions: 114ft x 28ft x 11ft
  • armament: Lower tier: 6-12pdr and 12-8pdr; Upper tier: 12-6pdr; quarterdeck: 4-2pdr

I would guess that she measured 170 lasts, at least if we are generous in rounding.

The Haarlem in 1666

Even though the Amsterdam ship Haarlem, built in 1644, was 128ft long, it seems to have left some ports empty. Her dimensions were the standard for a 250-last ship: 128ft x 31-1/2ft x 12ft. Her armament in 1666, at the Four Days Battle, was 4-18pdr and 14-12pdr on the lower tier. The upper tier was armed with 18-6pdr. In both cases, that is 9 ports filled per tier, per side. The upperworks (presumably, the quarterdeck) was armed with 8-3pdr. This continues the practice of 1665, where gun counts were filled out with many small-caliber guns, so that certain ships would have 70 guns, despite having a low broadside weight. In this case, the armament was 44 guns.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

So, how did the Dutch stay competitive in the Anglo-Dutch Wars?

My long-standing theory is that if you summed the displacements of ships and the broadside weights, that the English were superior in those criteria through the Anglo-Dutch Wars. In two large-scale battles where the Dutch won, Dungeness and the Four Days Battle, the Dutch outnumbered the English. At the Kentish Knock and Portland, during the First Anglo-Dutch War, the English, commanded by Robert Blake, made mistakes. Witte de With managed to survive the Kentish Knock with minimal losses, due to Blake's tactical ignorance, while Tromp still lost at Portland, but escaped where they could well have been annihilated, again due to Blake's strange behavior. The other part of my theory is that the Dutch utilized tactics where they concentrated ships against strong enemy ships and gave each other mutual support. I really need complete OOB's and calculations for all ships in the three Anglo-Dutch wars to be able to do this analysis, but I am gradually making progress on this, especially for the Dutch.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Aert van Nes' division at the Battle of the Texel (17 August 1673)

This is the list of Aert van Nes' division at the Battle of the Texel, from J.R. Bruijn's book from 1966:
  • Spiegel Capt. van Meeuwen 70 guns 314 sailors + 12 soldiers Amsterdam
  • Schiedam frigate Capt. van der Hoeven 20 guns 79 sailors Rotterdam
  • Beschermer Capt. Swerius 50 guns 200 sailors + 16 soldiers Amsterdam
  • Eendracht Aert van Nes 72 guns 353 sailors + 57 soldiers Rotterdam
  • Essen Philips de Munnik 50 guns 194 sailors + 20 soldiers Amsterdam
  • Utrecht frigate Capt. Snellen 34 guns 143 sailors Rotterdam
  • Harderwijk frigate Capt. Wichmans 24 guns 96 sailors Rotterdam
  • Caleb Capt. Wijnbergen 40 guns 199 sailors Noorderkwartier
  • Maria fireship Capt. Barendszoon 4 guns 22 sailors Amsterdam
  • Tonijn fireship Capt. De Moor 6 guns 30 sailors Zeeland

Monday, September 13, 2004

A Dutch ship in 1654 with 18pdrs on the lower tier

The Stad en Lande, built in 1653, actually had a lower tier with 18pdrs in July 1654. This is the ship built by Amsterdam, as it is 136ft long. The dimensions were: 136ft x 34ft x 14ft. In July 1654, the captain was Pieter van Brakel. The armament consisted of 48 guns: 4-brass 18pdr, 18-iron 18pdr, 4-brass 8pdr, 16-iron 8pdr, and 6-brass 6pdr drakes. Obviously, the upper tier was armed with 8pdrs, with the 6pdrs on the quarterdeck.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Several Amsterdam ships from the 1640's have lower tiers armed with 12pdrs

Two ships, the Leeuwarden (built in 1645) and the Maan (or Halve Maan) (built in 1643) both have lower tiers armed with 12pdrs. The Leeuwarden, as I have recently mentioned, had 14-iron 12pdrs on the lower tier, along with 4-brass 18pdrs. The Maan had the same 4-brass 18pdrs, with 16-iron 12pdrs on the lower tier. The Maan was considerably larger ship, being 250 lasts and 128ft x 31.5ft x 12ft, while the Leeuwarden was about 200 lasts and 120ft x 29.75ft x 11.75ft.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

There are many ways to get a 200 last ship

Given the basic formula, which is only approximate, and seems to have been bent pretty far, although I believe that was more from inaccurate dimensions, such as using Maas feet instead of Amsterdam feet. For example, there was the Noorderkwartier ship Eenhoorn with dimensions of 125ft x 29ft x 11.5ft. Then there was the Amsterdam ship Star (built in 1644) with dimensions of 120ft x 28ft x 12ft, but also of 200 lasts. The Amsterdam ship Fazant (built in 1646) was approximately 200 lasts, and had dimensions of 120ft x 29ft x 12ft. It is somewhat larger, but I would still round it to 200 lasts. the Leeuwarden (built in 1645) is pushing things, and might count as being 210 lasts, as her dimensions were 120ft x 29-3/4ft x 11-3/4ft.

Friday, September 10, 2004

The 120ft long ships built by the Noorderkwartier

On page 49 in De Vlootbouw in Nederland, Dr. Elias points to the ships built by the Noorderkwartier to a charter with dimensions: 120ft x 27ft x 11ft. My estimate is that these ships had burdens of 180 lasts. I base that on the 128ft charter that was 250 lasts. These ships were armed with an odd collection of guns. These were seemingly whatever was available, when they were being fitted out for sea. One example of this charter was the frigate Medemblick built in 1640. She was armed with 2-brass 6pdr, 10-iron 12pdr, 8-iron 8pdr, 6-iron 4pdr, and 2-iron 3pdr. Another was the frigate Hoorn, built in 1636. She was armed with: 2-brass 6pdr, 6-iron 12pdr, 20-iron 8pdr, 2-iron 6pdr, and 2-iron 4pdr. The Casteel van Medemblick was built to the same dimensions in 1640. She was armed with 2-brass 6pdr, 10-iron 12pdr, 8-iron 8pdr, 6-iron 4pdr, and 2-iron 3pdr.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The switching of data for the Black Bull and Black Spread Eagle

Frank Fox has long believed that a copies, a long time ago, switched the dimensions for the two captured Dutch ships Black Bull and Black Spread Eagle. He had advised Dr. Weber of this, back in the 1980's. The Black Bull (Edam or Wapen van Edam) had well-known Dutch dimensions of 120ft x 28ft x 11ft. Frank Fox's first book, Great Ships, still had the error. The English dimensions for the Black Bull were given as 103ft x 30ft x 13ft-6in with a burden of 493 tons. The dimensions given for the Black Spread Eagle were 86ft x 28ft-4in x 12ft and a burden of 367 tons. This is nonsensical, as the Black Spread Eagle was a much larger ship than the Black Bull. The Black Spread Eagle was the Friesland ship Groningen. Her dimensions in Amsterdam feet were132ft x 31ft x 14-1/2ft. Dr. Weber corrected the error in his book De Vierdaagse Zeeslag 11-14 Juni 1666. I had asked Frank Fox about this in 2001, and he told me that yes, the earlier figures were in error, and that Dr. Weber's book was correct, as he had incorporated Frank's thoughs on the subject.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Martinique in 1667

We know the English ships that took part in the battle against the anchored French fleet at Martinique in June 1667. They were:
  • Lion, 58 guns John Harman
  • Jersey, 50 guns
  • Crown, 48 guns
  • Newcastle, 50 guns
  • Dover, 46 guns
  • Bonaventure, 48 guns
  • Assistance, 46 guns
  • Assurance, 38 guns
  • Norwich, 26 guns
  • Portsmouth ketch, 10 guns
  • Roe ketch, 8 guns
  • Joseph fireship, 4 guns

I don't know the French OOB, but I would welcome help from anyone who might know, as well as how they were anchored.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I just watched the dismasted 1st Rate London "take apart" the Dutch Eendracht (76 guns)

I am finishing playtesting the Battle of Solebay scenario, with me playing the English. This was pretty much "annihilation" for the Dutch. The AI continually closed with the English, and they got shot up pretty badly. I watched the dismasted 1st Rate London, as she "took apart" the Dutch 2nd Rate Eendracht (76 guns), a Rotterdam ship. This scenario is challenging for the Dutch, as I suspect that they are outmatched pretty badly. Despite the "Pearl Harbor" style attack at dawn, they still had a challenge. I may need to downgrade most of the French, as the French were badly led by D'Estrees. Right now, towards the end of a "fight to the finish", the Dutch are outnumbered almost 5:1, and the English Sovereign (100 guns) is only slightly damaged.

I am playtesting the Battle of Solebay scenario for Privateers Bounty

As soon as I have finished playtesting the Battle of Solebay (28 May 1672) scenario, I will make it available for download from I expect that it will be ready in an hour or so, unless I find some unexpected flaw.
The scenarios are always subject to revision, if I find better information that needs to be factored into the scenario.

I know that there are at least several people who are interested in networked Privateers Bounty

I would like to facilitate people getting together to play networked Privateers Bounty games, but I really don't have a mechanism set up to do so. I would be open to suggestions, although I am overextended already, and really am not in a place to have to deal with anything on a large scale.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Updated Battle of Nevis scenario

I realized that I should have included the Castle Frigate in the Battle of Nevis scenario. I have updated the scenario and the usrships.ini file, and both are available for download at By the way, the usrships.ini file has most of the ship definitions for the Battle of Solebay.

What we know about John Berry's ships at the Battle of Nevis

What we know about John Berry's ships comes from Frank Fox's two-part article in the Mariner's Mirror in 1998, and from R.C. Anderson's Lists of Men-of-War 1650-1700 Part I English Ships 1649-1702, Second Edition. It may be that Frank Fox omits some of what Anderson wrote earlier, because he couldn't comfirm the data. For example, Anderson gives the armament for Berry's flagship, the Coronation, as 50 guns, but Frank omits that from his list.
  • Coronation, 50 guns; built 1661; LK=93ft-8in; B=30ft-7in; 466 tons; 22 gun ports on gun deck
  • John & Thomas, 44 guns; built 1664; LK=102ft-0in; B=29ft-4in; 467 tons; 22 gun ports on gun deck
  • Constant Katherine, 40 guns; built 1664; LK=85ft-0in; B=27ft-4in; 338 tons; 20 gun ports on gun deck
  • William (nothing more known)
  • Pearl, 32 guns; 260 tons
  • Companion (nothing more known)
  • St. Peter (nothing more known)
  • Castle Frigate, 36 guns; buiilt 1656; LK=85ft-0in; B=27ft-0in; 330 tons; 20 gun ports on the gun deck (apparently, this ship should be included)
  • William, fireship (nothing more known, except she was small)
  • Norwich, 5th Rate, 28 guns; built at Chatham in 1655; LK=80ft; B=25ft; 265 tons

What do we really want?: a 3D simulation that let's us realistically maneuver large fleets and fight them

We may settle for a 2D game for fighting Anglo-Dutch War battles, but what we really want is a 3D game with continuous motion. We want what Privateers Bounty has, but we want better. We want to be able to have a fleet tack in session, at a turn point. We want to be able to keep a fleet in an informal line, where ships adjust speed to stay together. We want to be able to maneuver fleets in a way that feels like our concept of how they really manuevered. We want ships to fight like they really did. We might like to be able to script some patterns of behavior, so that we could setup a scenario, where under AI control, a fleet starts at anchor, but upon seeing the enemy fleet approaching, will weigh anchor, and get underway. Perhaps it is too ambitious a goal, but why not say what we really want, so as we can, we can implement more of what we want.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The French at Solebay in 1672

The French squadron at the Battle of Solebay was an odd collection of ships. To make up the needed numbers, they had to resort to four 38-guns ships (Hasardeux, Eole, Arrogant, and Hardi). I can really notice my lack of books that cover the French frigate-leger type in the 17th Century. I really need to get a copy of Jean Boudriot's two books about frigates and corvettes. I do have Cdt. Demerliac's book, which is simply a list of ships and data. The other three books that I own have drawings and text, which is very helpful (even if it is in French). I know that a hole in my Battle of Solebay OOB for the French has to do with "light frigates". Corbett says that they had five with their squadron, along with 8 fireships. I guess I need to go back and retrofit some frigates, so they can be out as a screen on the morning of the Dutch attack.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Battle of Solebay scenario for Privateers Bounty

Sometime this weekend, I expect to make the Privateers Bounty scenario for the Battle of Solebay available for download. Right now, I have completed entering the French, and have started to enter the English ships. I have finished all the calculations, so now only the drudge work of entering ships and putting them on the map remains (along with the more interesting task of playtesting).

Friday, September 03, 2004

The French flagship Saint-Phillipe (78 guns)

I have been collecting information for the Battle of Solebay, for the Privateers Bounty scenario. The French ships are frustrating, in that I find that there are many different figures, in particular for the Saint-Phillipe (d'Estrees' flagship). I have three sources:
  • Jean Boudriot, Les Vaisseaux 74 à 120 Canons, 1995
  • Cdt. Alain Demerliac, Nomenclature des Vasseaux du Roi-Soleil de 1661 à 1715, 1995
  • J.C. Lemineur, Les Vaisseaux du Roi Soleil, 1996

Boudriot: 146ft x 36.5ft x 18.5ft 24-36pdr, 26-18pdr, 24-8pdr, 8-6pdr

Demerliac: 146ft (121ft keel) x 36.5ft x 18.5ft 24-36pdr, 26-18pdr, 24-8pdr, 4/8-6 or 4pdr

Lemineur: 144ft x 40ft x 18ft 12-24pdr, 28-18pdr, 12-12pdr, 26-8pdr, 6-4pdr

The two sets derived from Boudriot's publishing company are essentially the same, but M. Lemineur's is different. The armament seems to be what was carried earlier, while Boudriot's armament seems to be late in her career.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

I'm proceeding with the Battle of Solebay scenario for Privateers Bounty

I just finished the calculations for the French at Solebay (28 May 1672). I've gone back to assembling the scenario. If there are not too many distractions today, I may be able to finish and start playtesting.
The main remaining work, besides the grunt work of entering data is finishing the Dutch ship calculations.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Solebay scenario for Privateers Bounty

I'm sorry to say that forward progress has ground to a halt. I hope to still get this done, but it will take more spreadsheet work for both French and Dutch ships before it will happen. It still seems worth doing, especially after seeing how useful the Lowestoft scenario was.

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