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Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Dutch after the Battle of Portland

While the Battle of Portland, or as the Dutch called, the Three Days Battle, was hard fought, it was not as intense as the Four Days' Battle in June 1666. In the Battle of Portland, the hard fighting took place on the first day. Already, after the first day, the Dutch were running short of gun powder and shot. The Dutch acquired a new interest in the status of ships and how much gun powder, in particular, that they carried. They always had been interested in the status of victuals and water carried.

One consequence of the Battle of Portland was that the Dutch largely rearmed their ships. The fleet flagship Brederode had, by the time of the Battle of the Gabbard, a complete lower tier of 24pdr and 36pdr guns. Prior to that, there were still some 18pdr guns on the lower tier. The overall effect was to increase the broadside weight of many ships. After the Battle of the Gabbard, they often included inventories of shot carried for the guns, as they gathered more status information after the battle.

The Dutch did their best to learn from "the last battle", at least what they saw the problems to be. One consequence of the Battle of the Kentish Knock on 8 October 1652 was to start building new and larger ships for the fleet. The first had joined the fleet for the Battle of Scheveningen, but they did not join the fleet in larger numbers until after that battle. At this time, the Dutch had difficulty in providing guns for the new ships.

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