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Saturday, December 12, 2009

De Jonge's list for the Dutch navy in March 1653

Sadly, we don't know if De Jonge's notes for the list of March 1653 exist. They are not amount his papers preserved at the Nationaal Archief in The Hague. We do have his notes for 1654 and later, at least some of them. If they existed, the notes would be priceless. I can name most of tbe ships in the list, but I can't account for one 40 gun ship of the Admiralty of Amsterdam. The list is peculiar, in that it seems like some ships lost in the Three Days Battle are shown as losses and other ships which were lost in March are still listed (seemingly). One suggestion is that the last Amsterdam 40 gun ship is the Vogelstruis, captured by the English in the Three Days Battle (the Battle of Portland).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Got into 17th Century naval history because of wargaming

In late 1989, I was looking for a new topic to research to support wargaming. I had spent much of the last 20 years studying the War in North Africa, as well as the broader war in Europe. I focused on mechanized warfare, tanks, and artillery. I had expected that there would be sufficient information about the Spanish Armada campaign and ships to pursue that, but that proved to be not the case. Instead, I stumbled onto Archibald's book: THE WOODEN FIGHTING SHIP IN THE ROYAL NAVY AD 897 - 1860. What particularly caught my interest was the period from 1642 to 1660. I started looking for more sources and first found David Howarth's book Man of War. A year or two later, I found The First Dutch War and then The Royal Navy: a History from the Earliest Times to the Present (the 1890's). By then, I was hooked. After meeting Frank Fox, I took his advice and looked for a way to access data from the Dutch archives. "The rest is history" so to speak.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Small Dutch 38-gun ships in the First Anglo-Dutch War

The Dutch had a number of small 38-gun ships in the First Anglo-Dutch War. Almost predictably, most were lost. These were the ships that come immediately to mind:
Adm    Ship                 Captain
Z      Hollandia            Philips Joosten & Adriaan Bankert - Lost at Scheveningen
Ve-Dir Wapen van der Veere  Jan Olivierszoon                  - Survived the war
F      Stad Groningen en Ommelanden Joost Bulter              - Lost at the Gabbard
F      Zevenwolden          Frederik Stellingwerff            - Lost at Scheveningen

The armaments of these ships varied from 34 to 38 guns at different dates. Their lengths varied from 120ft to 123ft, so they were quite small. The smaller Dutch 40-gun ships were 125ft and most were 128ft. Of course, the small Rotterdam ship Vrede carried 40 guns at the Battle of Lowestoft, and she was approximately 112ft long in Amsterdam feet (the actual size different from that, since the ship was designed in Maas feet). These lengths are all in Amsterdam feet.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ron van Maanen

I would like to see Ron van Maanen publish a book, in English, something like Colledge's Ships of the Royal Navy, but for Dutch ships. Even if he published a book that only covered the sailing warships from the late 16th Century to the end of the Dutch Republic, that would be of interest to a great many readers. Ron has information that covers a wider range than what I have. I am limited to 1613 to 1784 or so, with the 18th Century being fairly sparse. I will continue to supply him with my latest set of information so that he could fill in any gaps that he has. He has been working in this arena much longer than I have and I am very appreciative of how generous he has been in sharing information.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

3-1/2pdr guns in 1629

An interesting feature of the guns carried by the Rotterdam ship Postpaert in 1629 is that the ship carried two "Spanish" guns firing 3-1/2 pound shot. These would be roughly equivalent to English falcons. The Dutch also used guns firing 2-1/2 pound shot in the early 17th Century. These were similar to the English falconets in shot size.

Friday, September 11, 2009

22 pounder guns?

I have never seen a 22pdr gun before, but supposedly, Hillebrant Quast's ship, the Hollandsche Tuin, carried two of them in 1631. For a ship of 180 lasts, the Hollandsche Tuin was heavily armed, as it also carried 6-18pdr guns. The 22 pounders were bronze chambered guns, while the 18 pounders were bronze guns. A ship of 180 lasts might have dimensions of 120ft x 28ft x 11ft.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The crew of the ship Sint Pieter in 28 October 1653

The ship Sint Pieter was hired by the Directors of Amsterdam in 1653. On 28 October 1653, the crew consisted of 68 officers and sailors, 29 ship's soldiers (marines), 5 land soldiers, and 6 boys. This is from a report signed by Captain Gerrit Schuijt.

A Dutch ship in 1616

There are gun lists for some ships in service in 1616 on page 750 of Vol.I of Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen, now available from Google Books. My identification of the 36-gun ship at the upper left of the page is the Amsterdam ship Gulden Arend. This was a ship of 220 lasts armed with 2-24pdr, 4-18pdr, 2-12pdr, 12-8pdr, 2-6pdr, 6-5pdr, and 8-steenstukken shooting a three pound shot. The crew in 1616 was 90 men.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I would like to find a college or university in the United States where there was interest in studying 17th Century Dutch naval history and warships. There is no one in my family who would be interested in continuing my work. I hope to have a good bit of time left, but I would like to find a home for what I have found by the time I am done with it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

22pdr guns?

The Noorderkwartier ship Hollandsche Tuin, in the Staat van Oorlog te Water for the year 1633, is listed as carrying two chambered bronze 22pdr guns. The 22pdr is a very odd size. Most Dutch guns close in size to this fired a 24 pound shot. A very few fired a 20 pound shot. I had assumed that when I first saw this size mentioned that it was a mistake, but now I think it is correct. One of the old Rotterdam ships was listed as carrying 22pdr guns, and I had thought that it must be wrong, but it was probably correct.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Rotterdam ships

I realized today that the Rotterdam ship Zeekalf was probably the same size as the ship Dolfijn (or Dolphijn, in the archaic way of spelling the name). The Zeekalf is listed with different Rotterdam last figures, but when it is 180 Rotterdam lasts, that is about the same as the Dolfijn, built in 1631 or 1632. An ship size in Amsterdam lasts is about 1.3 times the number of Rotterdam lasts. For example, the small frigates Overijssel, Utrecht, and Gelderland, listed in Vreugdenhil as 100ft x 23ft x 8ft are said to be 90 Rotterdam lasts. Of course, those dimensions are in Maas feet of 12 inches (about 308mm). An Amsterdam foot is about 283mm and is divided into 11 inches of about the same size inch as those in the Maas foot. You can find my example of how to do the conversion at I also list what seems to be the correct dimensions for the Dolfijn. My working hypothesis is that about the same dimensions were used for certain sizes of ships in lasts over an extended period of time. That may be wrong, but I have not found a way to check the hypothesis yet, as I lack Rotterdam ship dimensions for the 1620's and earlier.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I noticed this morning that two of the ships in service with the Admiralty of Amsterdam in November 1616 were cromsters. One of these served as a guardship on the Rhine, the Steur. The other was the Salm. They were both vessels of 45 lasts. This picture is from, which has some ship images.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Applying my theory about Rotterdam ships

Early this morning, I applied my theory about lasts and Rotterdam ships to the data that I had entered into my ship list the latter part of this week. The idea is that the last figures (gross tonnage) for Rotterdam ships is calculated from Maas feet. If you calculate from Amsterdam feet measurements, the figures are about 30 percent greater. Doing this has interesting results. For Example, the ship Hond, built about 1604, has the same dimensions as the ships Overijssel and Utrecht that found in the First Anglo-Dutch War (100ft x 23ft x 8ft in Maas feet).

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

In 1624, Rombout van der Parre commanded an Amsterdam ship

An interesting piece of trivia: Friesland captain Rombout van der Parre commanded the Amsterdam ship Oranjeboom (Orangienboom) in 1624. This was a vessel of 120 lasts that carried 16 guns and had a crew of 90 men.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The list of Zeeland ships from 1655

I just consulted this list of Zeeland ships from 1655. You will be hard-pressed to find mention of many of the more significant Zeeland ships. I already knew the answer, but I was looking for a sign of the ship Meermin listed by Vreugdenhil as number 41. The only mention that I have seen of a ship named Meermin (or Meerminne with the old spelling) was as an alternate name for the Zeeridder.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Dutch ship Patientia

Jan Glete's list of the ships hired by Louis Geer to help the Swedes includes a ship named Patientia. The dimensions and guns suggest that this was the same ship hired in 1652 and then paid off. I would suggest that the Patientia was also the same ship hired in 1645 by the Nieuwe Directie van Amsterdam to be part of Witte de With's fleet. Jan Glete gives the dimensions as a length of 126ft and a beam of 26-1/2ft, very similar to the dimensions of the Patientia in 1652, although the Patientia is mentioned as 130ft in 1652.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some datapoints: 1636, 1641, and 1645

We have three good lists from 1630's and 1640's. One is from 1636, from Dr. Graefe's book De Kapiteinsjaren van Maerten Harpertszoon Tromp (1938). Another is from a list dated 1641 of Amsterdam ships and captains. The third is the list of Witte de With's fleet in 1645. There is also some useful information in Dr. De Boer's book Tromp en de Armada van 1639. The question is always, "are these the same ship?"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I wish that I knew more about the Spanish Dunkirkers

Since a great many of the Dutch naval operations in the 1620 to 1640's involved the Spanish Dunkirkers, I would like to know more about the men and ships that operated from Dunkirk and Ostende. This Wikipedia article has some nice background information but no specifics.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In 1629, there were many 5pdr and 10pdr guns in the Dutch service

We are used to seeing the gun calibers that were used by the Dutch after 1648. These were mostly 3pdr, 4pdr, 6pdr, 8pdr, 12pdr, 18pdr, 24pdr, and a few 36pdr guns. In 1629, there were many 5pdr and 10pdr guns in service. For example, the Goude Raven carried 4-10pdr and 10-5pdr as part of its armament. There were also a few 15pdr and 20pdr guns used in the Dutch service.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Estimating dimensions for old Dutch ships

The ship lists of old Dutch ships only give the size in lasts. I have been running wild, estimating dimensions for the ships, mostly prior to 1648, for which I have not seen dimensions. I have gun lists for many of the ships, so I have the basis for wargame pieces with the estimated dimensions and gun lists. One issue is that many of the published last figures are incorrect for the ships like the Brederode.

Friday, May 08, 2009

My Sevenwolden wargame piece

This is my wargame piece for the Friesland ship Sevenwolden (38 guns) that served in 1653 and was sunk at the Battle of Scheveningen on 10 August 1653.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A small English warship, circa 1652

This represents my first attempt in several years to make an English ship wargame piece. The ship is 100ft long on the gun deck. A representative ship would be the Hector, taken from the Royalists in 1644 and sold out of the service in 1656. The specifications for this ship are (as estimated):
Ship: Hector, 5th Rate prize
22-30 guns
LGD: 100ft
LK:   80ft
Beam: 25ft
Hold: 10ft
LK x B x D:         200 tons
LK x B x D x (4/3): 266 tons
LK x B x (B/2)/94 : 265-45/47 tons (burden)

Guns probably sakers (5-1/4pdr) and minions (4pdr) 
 (say 16-sakers and 8 minions)

I am in desperate need of better gun information for English ships in 1652 to 1654, if someone has some better information). I would settle for some representative gun lists.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A mistaken idea that I had in the past

Perhaps 15 years ago, before I had very much knowledge and information about Dutch warships in 1652-1653, I could only imagine what the ships were liked. From The First Dutch War, I knew that Michiel De Ruyter's flagship Neptunus in 1652 was said to be armed with 28 guns. I imagined that if there were so few guns, that the ship might carry larger guns on the lower tier. I got that idea from a book about sailing warships from the late 16th to the 18th Century that showed an armament for a Dutch ship from about 1600. The ship had perhaps 18 guns, but there were mostly larger guns, perhaps 18pdr. I had thought that the Neptunus might be armed like that: 18pdr on the lower tier and 6pdr and 8pdr on the upper tier and quarterdeck. In fact, the Neptunus was quite small and lightly armed. You have to wonder how De Ruyter survived the Battle of Plymouth in such a modest ship.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wargame pieces

If you wanted to make Dutch wargame pieces for the First Anglo-Dutch War, you would have the field pretty well covered if you had standard pieces of 116ft, 120ft, 125ft, 128ft, and 130ft. There were a very few larger ships. You would need lengths such as 132ft, 134ft, 136ft, 141 or 142ft, and 144 or 145ft long ships. The large East Indiamen were much longer than that. The smallest might be 155ft or 160ft and many were 170ft. The idea that the largest were 182ft or so is controversial.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Noorderkwartier ships

The idea that Noorderkwartier ships that served in 1652 were the same ones that had served since at least the 1630's is appealing. If it is true, then we know a great deal about some ships that would otherwise be a mystery. We have Dr.Graefe's book, we have De Sleutels van de Sondt, and we have what we know about the Dutch navy in 1652. The dates are from my analysis of those from Ron van Maanen. This list could be enhanced more, but this was what I could quickly do.
Ship                Lasts Date Guns Crew 1637               1645                1652
Eenhoorn              200 1625 32   110  Jan Keert de Koe                       Allert Tamessen
Eendracht             300 1622 31   110  Jan Bleecker       
Eendracht             300 1639 41   140                                         Jacob de Boer
Hollandsche Tuin      250 1632 32    90  Lambert Halffhoorn  
Hoop                  150 1622 26                           SbN Halffhoorn
Koninck David         250 1632 34   100  Claes Ham
Medemblick            170 1640 26    80                     Gabriel Anthonisz   Gabriel Anthonisz
Sampson               240 1625 28    92                     kapt Schellinckhout Willem Ham
Wapen van Alkmaar     150 1638 24    80                     Jan Cappelman    
Wapen van Holland     200 1639 28    90                                         Herman Munnekes
Wapen van Hoorn       150 1636 24    87                     Claes Tesselaar
Wapen van Monnikendam 150 1640 26    80                     Arent Dircksz       Arent Dircksz
Wapen van Nassau      250 1631 38   100  Hilbrant Quast  

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A question about the jacht Jaeger

The Jaeger, or Zeeuwsche Jaeger, was apparently built as a binnenjacht. The Jaeger played a significant role, especially with De Ruyter's fleet in the Channel, in 1652 into 1653. The entry in Vreugdenhil's list (No.350) gives a length of 60ft, which is too short. The Staet van Oorlog te Water for the year 1654 (July 1654) gives a length of 80ft. Given that Vreugdenhil would ordinarily use the data from the Staet, it is curious that he gave the wrong length. My question is: how was the Zeeusche Jaeger rigged? Was it a three-masted ship?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Progress report

The good news is that I am making progress on my new set of Dutch ship wargame pieces. Through the means of digital editing, I am making new ship drawings to the right scale. The best way is to do a detailed pencil drawing and then scan and print it. I would take that and ink it and color it with pencils. I then scan again and do editing. That takes too long, at least it takes longer than I have. This ship is a 128ft long ship to my own design.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I am making some new Dutch ship wargame pieces

I finally am making some progress on new Dutch ship wargame pieces. I am using a combination of Paint and the GIMP for graphic editing. I am working at a scale of 120 x 120 pixels per inch. My scale is set so that five pixels are two Amsterdam feet (what I said first one incorrect: five pixels = 1 foot). The ship drawings are really just symbolic, and not intended to be very realistic. I just don't have the time to do that sort of work. I am trying to mass-produce some new ship pieces based on what I have learned in the last two years.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Pieter Aldertszoon's ship up to early August 1652

The answer to the question "What ship did Pieter Aldertszoon command in the period from the beginning of the First Anglo-Dutch War up to early August" is answered in one letter that names captains and ship names. Pieter Aldertszoon is said to command the ship "Stadt Hoorn", or probably the same ship that he commanded up until the Three Days Battle in 1653, when he was killed.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gunports on Dutch warships

From the Van de Velde drawings, we know something about gunports on Dutch ships in the period of 1639 to 1654. The Gorinchem is from a drawing of the ship in 1665. I would welcome corrections, as I am particularly uncertain about the Brederode. The picture of the Rotterdam is in Dr. Boer's book, Tromp en de Duinkerkers, opposite page 49. The picture is so indistinct that I can't count ports.
Adm  Ship            Built Gunports
R    Aemilia         1632  13 on lower tier, 12 on upper tier, 6 on quarterdeck
A    Star            1644  10 on lower tier, 4 on quarterdeck
A    Vrijheid        1651  12 on lower tier, 9 on upper tier, 4 on quarterdeck
R    Prinses Louijse 1646  10 on lower tier, 6 on upper tier, 4 on quarterdeck
R    Gorinchem       1639  9 on lower tier, 8 on upper tier, 4 on quarterdeck
A    Fazant          1646  9 on lower tier, 6 on upper tier (2+4), 4 on quarterdeck
A    Leiden          1647  9 on lower tier, 5 on upper tier at rear, 2 on quarterdeck
A    Vrede           1650  12 on lower tier, 10 on upper tier, 3 on quarterdeck
R    Brederode       1645  12 on lower tier, 10 on upper tier, 5 on quarterdeckj
F    Groningen       1653  10 on lower tier, 10 on upper tier, 4 on quarterdeck
A    Edam            1644  10 on lower tier, 7 on upper tier (2+5)
R    Rotterdam       1639  10 on lower tier, unk on upper tier, 3 on quarterdeck

Monday, February 16, 2009

When did the Dutch fire on Deal?

The Dutch seemed to have fired on Deal, sometime during the period of 1639 to 1667. As far as I can tell, there were opportunities during the Battle of the Downs, in 1639, during the fight on 29 May 1652 (new style date) and on 3 July 1652 (old style date). There may have been other possible occasions, but I am not sure about them. Does anyone know?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Friesland ship Groningen

I was just looking at the page from April 1653 (apparently) that mentions the ship Groningen, of the Admiralty of Friesland, at Sardam, presumably under construction, that would replace the Graaf Willem and Waterhond. The dimensions given, 132ft x 31ft x 14ft x 7ft, are those given in Van Foreest and Weber's book.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Jan van Campen in 1652 and 1653

In 9 June 1652, Jan van Campen was listed as being off Cape St. Vincent in command of the three-masted jacht Windhond. After returning home, he seems to have been responsible for fitting out the new ship Campen (40 guns). By September, he was appointed to command the ship Overijssel (26 guns) that had been commanded by Abraham van der Hulst. Ships and captains were shuffled in August and September 1652. Jan van Campen commanded the Overijssel through the rest of 1652 and 1653.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pieter van der Does in 1599

I just had an inquiry about Pieter van der Does and the Dutch raid on the Canary Islands in 1599. I was able to find the image that I had seen before and several short paragraphs, but no ship list or anything of that sort of specificity. Is there a good source of information about this incident?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An interesting list from 1671

This morning, I received a photograph of a list from 1671. The list shows Dirck Scheij as captain of the ship Oudshoorn (70 guns), which was the captured English 2nd Rate Swiftsure. The Oudshoorn reportedly had some cosmetic changes that tried to hide the ship's identity.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A different version of the Dungeness "photo"

This is a different approach to the Dungeness photograph that has a different sort of water. The picture still shows the Dutch 40-gun ship Campen exchanging fire with Robert Blake's flagship Triumph.

Another attempt at a Dungeness "photograph"

This is my latest attempt at adding water to the Dungeness picture that shows the Campen (40 guns), in the left foreground, firing at Robert Blake's flagship Triumph.

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