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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wargaming 1648-1720

Wargaming in the 1648-1720 period is a great challenge, due to the large fleets that were employed during this period. If you insist on fighting fleet actions without the help of a compupter, then you must follow some strategy like that employed by Iain Stanford in "General-at-Sea", where the game mechanisms are simplified and the ships are grouped. There is a slight possibility that if you had large teams of gamers, you might be able to use more detailed rules, but I am doubtful.

One alternative is to fight small actions, either small, independent squadrons or else small parts of larger fleets. If what you really want is to be able to fight the Battle of Portland or the Battle of the Gabbard, you would end up being pretty dissatisfied.

The ultimate would be a simulation game with 3D models that was paced to allow large numbers of ships on each side. Barring that, at least a simulation game that used a plan view map as the display would be adequate. You would want to have some degree of artificial intelligence employed, probably at the ship level, as well as for the squadron commander. I can see such a game written in Smalltalk being possible. The main difficulty is the level of effort involved and the cost to pay developer's time. I suspect that such a game would not be commercially viable, as everyone wants a flashy 3D graphics interface.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nine Amsterdam 40 gun Landsschepen in March 1653?

I am back to trying to fill in the details that match J. C. De Jonge's appendix XXII to Vol.I of Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen. This is the table entitled "Staat der Nederlandsche Zeemagt, in Maart des Jaars 1653". One nagging problem involves finding nine Amsterdam 40-gun Landsschepen. Finding eight is easy:
Graaf Willem
Vereenigde Provinciƫn

The question is, what is the ninth ship? The natural ship to list as the one 40-gun hired ship would be the Aartsengel Michiel. Interestingly, that is listed as being funded by the 40-ships of 1648 appropriation in a list from 28 November 1652. I thought it would be possible, then, to include the Aartsengel Michiel as the ninth 40-gun ship. That leaves us with having to find the 40-gun hired ship somewhere else. The only possibility that I could think of would be to use the Vogelstruis as the hired ship. That is more satisfying then using it as a Landsschip. The Vogelstruis was the ship hired from the Amsterdam Chamber of the East India Company (the VOC). I am doubtful that any of this is a reasonable thing to do, but then, what else can you do? We would have to be able to go back in our time machine and ask Johan Cornelisz de Jonge what he meant to resolve the problem, otherwise.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Rotterdam ship Prinses Louise, built in 1646

The Rotterdam ship Prinses Louise was vice-admiraal Witte de With's flagship in 1652. I as looking at the van de Velde drawing of the Prinses Louise and was counting gun ports. There are ten ports on a side on the lower tier. The upper tier is incomplete, with an unarmed waist. There are two guns on a side forward and four on a side aft. There are also four guns at the level above this. The lower tier almost certainly consisted of the 4-bronze 24pdr guns and 16-12pdr guns. The upper tier would have been 12-12pdr guns. At the next level (the poop), there were the 4-bronze chambered 5pdr guns. Of the lower tier, the bronze 24pdr guns were not chambered, apparently. By November, the 24pdr guns were reduced to two and two more 12pdr guns replaced them. Presumably, that was to lighten the ship.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ships in the Three Days Battle (the Battle of Portland)

The question I have is whether there is any documentary support for these ships being at the Three Days Battle (what the English called the Battle of Portland) from 28 February 1653 until 2 March 1653 (new style dates):
Adm    Ship                      Guns Crew Commander
A      Graef Willem              40   140  kapitein Jan Gideonsz Verburgh
A      Zeelandia                 34   120  luitenant-commandeur 
                                             Nicolaes Marrevelt
A      Zutphen                   26   100  kapitein Ewout Jeroensz de Moij
A      Amsterdam                 30   100  kapitein Sijmon van der Aeck
A-Dir  Sint Matheeus             34   125  kapitein Cornelis Naeuoogh
Z      Eendracht                 24    80  kapitein Andries Fortuijn
N      Wapen van Enkhuizen       32   120  kapitein Herman Munneckes
N      Lastdrager                32   110  kapitein Volckert Schram
N      Monnick                   28    95  kapitein Arent Dirckszoon
N      Prins Maurits             32    97  kapitein Cornelis Pietersz Taenman
Mo-Dir Swarte Beer               30   115  kapitein Jacob Claesz Boot
Ed-Dir Vergulde Halve Maen       30   110  kapitein Jan Fredericksz Hoeckboot
Ho-Dir Samson                    30   110  kapitein Jacob Hoeck
F      Breda                     28   110  kapitein Adriaen Bruijnsvelt
F      Graef Hendrick            30   110  kapitein Jan Reijndersz Wagenaer
F      Hector van Troijen        24    70  kapitein Laurens Hermansz Degelencamp
F      Princesse Albertijna      26    90  kapitein Rombout van der Parre
F      Sara                      24    80  luitenant Hessel Franszoon
F      Sevenwolden               36   140  kapitein Frederick Stellingwerff
F      Wapen van Nassau          36   130  kapitein Hendrick Jansz Camp
Ha-Dir Sint Vincent              28   105  kapitein Andries Douwesz Pascaert

I want better support than appearing on De Sneuper website or being listed in Dr. Ballhausen's book. Preferably, I would like two have at least two sources per ship to prove that the ship and captain fought in the battle. The admiralties follow my usual abbreviation system.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Job Forant

I have a copy of the letter of marque from Charles II for Job Forant on the ship Fortune. The letter is dated 1652, so Anderson's date is wrong. We knew that Job Forant was in Brazil until mid-1649, so the 1649 date listed by Anderson was questionable.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Job Forant in 1649 or there abouts

I see the listing in R.C. Anderson's book about English captains in the period of 162 to 1660 where Job Forant (or Foran) is named as a Royalist captain in about 1649. He is listed as the captain of the Fortune.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Captain Belevelt

In his journal, Witte de With mentions a captain Belvelt who commanded a Friesland ship with the fleet in September 1652. The ship has neither guns nor crew mentioned. Carl Stapel had seen a reference from March 1653 that said that Captain Belvelt commanded a ship named Omlandia. There seems to have been an available ship named Omlandia, that built in 1628 and mentioned in July 1654 and then again in 1655.

One problem with this is that we know of the Omlandia from 1652 to 1653. We have many lists of Friesland ships and the ship built in 1628 is totally absent. All other Friesland ships are listed. So that is a concern, but given the list from July 1654, we might conclude that the Omlandia was simply employed outside of home waters and would be omitted from a list of ships based in the Netherlands. There was a Noorderkwartier ship Enkhuizen, which is a similar case.

I am skeptical that the Omlandia mentioned in March 1653 was the Stad Groningen en Ommelanden and that Captain Belvelt was actually Joost Bulter. I would have to see hard evidence before I would believe that. Otherwise, we are just guessing.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


I was interested to see that Google Book Search, at least what is available in the United States, has the volume Catalogus van de Pamfletten-Verzameling Berustende in de Koninklijke Bibliotheek, by Dr. Knuttel. They have the volume that covers 1649 to 1667, or at least the Second Volume, First Part.

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