Battle of Solebay

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Battle of Solebay
Part of Third Anglo-Dutch War
Battle of Solebay
The Burning of the Royal James at the Battle of Solebay, 7 June 1672 by Willem van de Velde the younger. De Ruyter's flagship De Zeven Provinciën is shown in the left background in close combat with the Vice-Admiral of the Blue, Sir Joseph Jordan on Royal Sovereign. The ship to the right of the burning Royal James is that of Vice-Admiral Johan de Liefde.
Date28 May 1672
LocationSolebay, England
ResultTactically indecisive
Strategic Dutch victory
Belligerents
 Dutch Republic England
 France
Commanders and leaders
Dutch Republic Michiel de Ruyter
Dutch Republic Adriaen Banckert
Dutch Republic Willem Joseph van Ghent 
Kingdom of England James II of England
Kingdom of England Edward Montagu 
Kingdom of France Jean II d'Estrées
Strength
75 ships93 ships
Casualties and losses
1 ship destroyed, 1 captured1 ship destroyed
 
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Battle of Solebay
Part of Third Anglo-Dutch War
Battle of Solebay
The Burning of the Royal James at the Battle of Solebay, 7 June 1672 by Willem van de Velde the younger. De Ruyter's flagship De Zeven Provinciën is shown in the left background in close combat with the Vice-Admiral of the Blue, Sir Joseph Jordan on Royal Sovereign. The ship to the right of the burning Royal James is that of Vice-Admiral Johan de Liefde.
Date28 May 1672
LocationSolebay, England
ResultTactically indecisive
Strategic Dutch victory
Belligerents
 Dutch Republic England
 France
Commanders and leaders
Dutch Republic Michiel de Ruyter
Dutch Republic Adriaen Banckert
Dutch Republic Willem Joseph van Ghent 
Kingdom of England James II of England
Kingdom of England Edward Montagu 
Kingdom of France Jean II d'Estrées
Strength
75 ships93 ships
Casualties and losses
1 ship destroyed, 1 captured1 ship destroyed

The naval Battle of Solebay took place on 28 May Old Style, 7 June New Style[1][2] 1672 and was the first naval battle of the Third Anglo-Dutch War.

The battle[edit]

A fleet of 75 ships, 20,738 men and 4,484 cannon of the United Provinces, commanded by Lieutenant-Admirals Michiel de Ruyter, Adriaen Banckert and Willem Joseph van Ghent, surprised a joint Anglo-French fleet of 93 ships, 34,496 men and 6,018 cannon at anchor in Solebay (nowadays Sole Bay), near Southwold in Suffolk, on the east coast of England.[3]

The Duke of York and Vice-Admiral Comte Jean II d'Estrées planned to blockade the Dutch in their home ports and deny the North Sea to Dutch shipping. The Dutch had hoped to repeat the success of the Raid on the Medway and a frigate squadron under Van Ghent sailed up the Thames in May but discovered that Sheerness Fort was now too well prepared to pass. The Dutch main fleet came too late, mainly due to coordination problems between the five Dutch admiralties, to prevent a joining of the English and French fleets. It followed the Allied fleet to the north, which, unaware of this, put in at Solebay to refit. On 7 June the Allies were caught by surprise and got into disarray when the Dutch fleet, having the weather gauge, suddenly appeared on the horizon in the early morning. The French fleet, whether through accident or design, steered south followed by Banckert's fifteen ships and limited its action to long-distance fire. Nevertheless the Superbe was heavily damaged and des Rabesnières killed by fire from Enno Doedes Star's Groningen; total French casualties were about 450.

This left the Dutch van and centre to fight it out with the English, and the latter were hard pressed, as they had great difficulty to beat up the wind to bring ships out. The Duke of York had to move his flag twice, finally to London, as his flagships Prince and St Michael were taken out of action. The Prince was crippled by De Ruyter's flagship De Zeven Provinciën in a two hours' duel. De Ruyter was accompanied by the representative of the States-General of the Netherlands, Cornelis de Witt (the brother of Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt) who bravely remained seated on the main deck, although half of his guard of honour standing next to him was killed or wounded.

Lieutenant-Admiral Aert Jansse van Nes on the Eendracht first duelled Vice-Admiral Edward Spragge on HMS London and then was attacked by HMS Royal Katherine. The latter ship was then so heavily damaged that Captain John Chichely struck her flag and was taken prisoner; the Dutch prize crew however got drunk on the brandy found and allowed the ship to be later recaptured by the English.

Overview of the battle by Van de Velde
French flagship Saint-Philippe at the Battle of Solebay

The flagship of Admiral Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich, HMS Royal James, was first fiercely engaged by Lieutenant-Admiral Van Ghent, who in 1667 had executed the Raid on the Medway, on Dolfijn. Van Ghent was however killed by shrapnel. Then captain Jan van Brakel made his Groot Hollandia attach to the Royal James, incessantly pounding the hull of that ship for over an hour and bringing her into such a condition that Lord Sandwich considered to strike his flag but decided against it because it was beneath his honour to surrender to a mere captain of low birth. He then ordered sloops from other ships to board the Groot Hollandia; his upper deck soon swarming with Englishmen Van Brakel was forced to cut the lines and retreat between friendly vessels to drive the boarding teams off. The Royal James now drifted away, sinking, and was attacked by several fire ships. She sank two, but a third, Vrede, commanded by Jan Daniëlszoon van den Rijn, its approach shielded by Vice-Admiral Isaac Sweers's Oliphant, set her on fire. She burnt with great loss of life; Sandwich himself and his son-in-law Philip Carteret drowned trying to escape when his sloop collapsed under the weight of panicked sailors jumping in; his body washed ashore, only recognisable by the scorched clothing still showing the shield of the Order of the Garter.

During the battle the wind shifted, now giving the English the benefit of the weather gage; in the late afternoon the Dutch withdrew.

Losses were heavy on both sides: one Dutch ship, the Jozua, was destroyed and another, the Stavoren, captured, a third Dutch ship had an accident during repairs immediately after the battle and blew up. The battle ended inconclusively at sunset. Both sides claimed victory, the Dutch with the more justification as the English-French plan to blockade the Dutch was abandoned.

The fleets met again at the Battle of Schooneveld in 1673.

Ship List[edit]

Not all fireships are listed; there were about 24 of them on the Allied, 36 on the Dutch side.

England and France (The Duke of York and Albany)[edit]

White Squadron (French)GunsCaptain
Terrible70(Rear Admiral Abraham Duquesne)
Illustre70Marquis de Grancey
Conquérant70M. de Thivas
Admirable68M. de Beaulieu
Téméraire50M. de Larson
Prince50Charles Davy, Marquis d'Amfreville
Bourbon50M. de Kervin
Vaillant50Chevalier de Nesmond
Alcion46M. Bitaut de Beor
Hasardeux38M. de la Vigerie
Saint Phillippe78(Vice Admiral Jean II, Comte d'Estrées; cp. M. Pierre de Cou)
Foudroyant70M. Louis Gabaret
Grand70M. Gombaud
Tonnant58M. Des Ardents
Brave54Chevalier Jean-Baptiste de Valbelle
Aquilon50Chevalier d'Hally
Duc50Chevalier de Sepville
Oriflamme50M. de Kerjean
Excellent50M. de Magnon
Eole38Chevalier de Cogolin
Arrogant38M. de Villeneuve-Ferriere
Superbe70(Chef d'escadre Des Rabesnières, killed in battle)
Invincible70Comodorre de Verdille
Sans-Pareil66M. de la Clocheterie
Fort60Comte de Benac
Sage50M. Anne Hilarion de Contentin, Comte de Tourville
Heureux50M. Francois Panetie
Rubis46M. de Saint Aubin d'Infreville
Galant46Chevalier de Flacourt
Hardi38M. de la Roque-Garseval
Red Squadron (English)GunsCaptain
London96(Vice Admiral Edward Spragge)
Old James70John Haywood
Resolution70John Berry
Dunkirk60Francis Courtney
Monck60Bernard Ludman, killed in battle
Monmouth70Richard Beach
Royal Katherine86John Chicheley
Dreadnought62Arthur Herbert, 1st Earl of Torrington
Adventure44
Dartmouth32Richard Sadlington
Supply6
Prince100(James Stuart, Duke of York and Albany, Lord High Admiral; First Captain John Cox, killed in battle, Second Captain John Narborough)
St Michael96Sir Robert Holmes
Victory82Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory
Cambridge70Frescheville Holles, killed in battle
York64Thomas Elliot, killed in battle
Fairfax60George Legge
Yarmouth54Robert Werden
Portland50Thomas Guy
Diamond50Thomas Foulis
Phoenix40Richard Le Neve
Robert26
Charles96(Rear Admiral Sir John Harman)
Rainbow64James Storey
Revenge62John Hart Sr.
Greenwich60Levi Greene
Anne58John Waterworth, killed in battle
Advice50Dominick Nugent
Dover48Sir John Ernle (or Ernley)
Forester40
Blue Squadron (English)GunsCaptain
St Andrew96(Rear Admiral John Kempthorne)
French Ruby80Thomas R. Cole
St George70Jeffrey Pearce, killed in battle
Warspite70Richard White
Gloucester62William Coleman
Bonaventure48Richard Trevanion
Antelope48
Success32George Watson
Royal James100(Admiral Sir Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich (killed in battle); Captain Richard Haddock)
Henry82Francis Digby, killed in battle
Edgar72John Wetwang
Rupert66John Holmes
Montagu62Thomas Darcy
Leopard54Peter Bowen
Crown48William Finch
Falcon40Charles Montague
Alice & Francis26George Yennes, killed in battle
Royal Sovereign100(Vice Admiral Sir Joseph Jordan)
Triumph74Willoughby Hannam, killed in battle
Unicorn68Richard James
Mary62John Brooks
Plymouth60Sir Roger Strickland
Princesse54Sir Richard Munden
Ruby48Stephen Pyend
Mary Rose48William Davies
Tyger44John Turner

The Netherlands (Michiel de Ruyter)[edit]

Admiralty of AmsterdamGunsCaptain
Akerboom60Jacob Teding van Berkhout
Woerden70Jacob Binckes
Jaersveld48Nicolaes de Boes
Stad Utrecht66Jan Davidszoon Bondt
Callantsoog70Hendrik Brouwer
Stavoren48Daniël Elsevier
Amsterdam60Anske Fokkes
Provincie van Utrecht60Jan Pauluszoon van Gelder
Dolphijn82Lt-Admiral Willem Joseph, Baron van Ghent (killed in battle), Flag-Cpt Michiel Kindt
Gouda72Schout-bij-Nacht Jan de Haan
Leeuwen50Jan Gijsels van Lier
Reigersbergen72Commodore Jacob van Meeuwen
Gideon58Pieter Middelandt
Essen50Philips de Munnik
Waesdorp72Francois Palm
Steenbergen68Jan Roetering
Deventer60Engel de Ruyter
Agatha50Pieter Corneliszoon de Sitter
Oosterwijk60Volckert Hendrikszoon Swart
Olifant82Vice-Admiral Isaac Sweers
Beschermer50David Swerius (Sweers)
Oudshoorn70Tomas Tobiaszoon
Komeetstar70Hendrik van Tol
Kruiningen56Balthazar van de Voorde
Edam (frigate)32Jacob Willemszoon Broeder
Bommel (frigate)24Pieter Klaaszoon Dekker
Asperen (frigate)30Barent Hals
Damiaten (frigate)34Jan Janszoon de Jongh
Popkensburg (frigate)24Mattheus Megank
Haas (frigate)24Hendrik Titus, Graaf van Nassau
Overijssel (frigate)30Cornelis Tijloos
Postijljon (frigate)24Roemer Vlacq
Brak (frigate)24Cornelis van der Zaan
Egmond (advice yacht)10Jan Bogaart
Triton (advice yacht)12Huibert Geel
Kater (advice yacht)8Jan Kramer
Walvis (advice yacht)12Jan Klaaszoon van Oosthuys
Eenhoorn (advice yacht)10Jacob Stadtlander
Kat (advice yacht)12Abraham Taelman
Galei (advice yacht)12Marcus Willemszoon
Velsen (fireship) ?Hendrick Hendricksen
Windhond (fireship) ?Willem Willemsen
Beemster (fireship) ?Hendrick Rosaeus
Sollenburg (fireship) ?Jan Janssen Bout
Draak (fireship) ?Pieter van Grootveldt
Leydtstar (fireship) ?Sybrant Barentsen
St. Salvador (fireship) ?Andries Randel
Sollenburgh (fireship) ?Klaas Pietersen Schuit
Admiralty of de Maze (Rotterdam)GunsCaptain
De Zeven Provinciën80fleet flag, Lt-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, 1st Lieutenant Gerard Callenburgh
Wassenaer56Philips van Almonde
Groot Hollandia60Jan van Brakel
Gelderland64Laurens Davidszoon van Convent
Zeelandia44Jan de Laucourt
Maagd van Dordrecht68Vice-Admiral Jan Evertszoon de Liefde
Reigersbergen72Jacob van Meeuwen
Schieland60Nicolaes Naalhout
Eendracht76Lt-Admiral Aert Janszoon van Nes
Ridderschap van Holland66Schout-bij-Nacht Jan Janszoon van Nes
Dordrecht50Barend Rees
Delft62Gerolf Ysselmuyden
Utrecht (frigate)36François van Aarssen
Schiedam (frigate)20François van Nijdek
Harderwijk (frigate)24Mozes Wichmans
Faam (advice yacht)12Cornelis Jacobszoon van der Hoeven
Rotterdam (advice yacht)5Wijnand van Meurs
Gorinchem (fireship)4Dirk de Munnik
Vrede (fireship)2Jan Daniëlszoon van den Rijn
Swol (fireship) ?Abraham Schryver
Eenhoorn (fireship) ?Pieter Besançon
Admiralty of the NoorderkwartierGunsCaptain
Alkmaar62Klaas Anker
Wapen van Holland44Cornelis Jacobszoon de Boer
Jupiter40Jacob de Boer
Gelderland56Maarten Jacobszoon de Boer
Jozua54Jan Dick
Justina van Nassau64Jan Heck
Westfriesland78Johan Belgicus, Graaf van Hoorne
Wapen van Nassau62Peiter Kerseboom
Caleb48Jan Krook
Noorderkwartier60Jan Janszoon Maauw
Pacificatie76Vice-Admiral Volckert Schram
Drie Helden Davids50Claes Corneliszoon Valehen
Wapen van Medemblick46Hendrik Visscher
Wapen van Enkhuizen72Schout-bij-Nacht David Vlugh
Wapen van Hoorn62Claes Pieterszoon Wijnbergen
Helena Leonora (fireship) ?Pieter Syvertsen Bokker
Admiralty of ZealandGunsCaptain
Walcheren70Lt-Admiral Adriaen Banckert
Kampveere50Adriaan van Cruiningen
Zierikzee60Vice-Admiral Cornelis Evertsen de Jonge
Zwanenburg44Cornelis Evertsen de Jongste
Middelburg50Willem Hendrikszoon
Oranje70Schout-bij-Nacht Jan Matthijszoon
Vlissingen50Salomon Le Sage
Visscher Harder (frigate)26Barent Martenszoon Boom
Delft (frigate)34Simon Loncke
Ter Goes (frigate)34Karel van der Putte
Bruinvisch (advice)6Cornelis Hollardt
Zeehond (advice) ?Anteunis Matthijszoon
Zwaluw (advice)6Karel de Ritter
Middelburgh (fireship) ?Willem Meerman
Prinsje (fireship) ?Cornelis Ewout
Hoop (fireship) ?Antony Janssen
Admiralty of FrieslandGunsCaptain
Elf Steden54Wytse Johannes Beyma
Prins Hendrik Casimir70Schout-bij-Nacht Hendrik Bruynsvelt
Westergo56Yde Hilkeszoon Kolaart
Groningen70Vice-Admiral Enno Doedes Star
Vredewold60Christiaan Ebelszoon Uma
Oostergo62Jan Janszoon Vijselaar
Windhond (frigate)34Joost Michelszoon Kuik
 ? (advice yacht) ?snauw, Pieter Pauw

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Battle of Solebay
  2. ^ Battle of Solebay
  3. ^ John A. Lynn, The Wars of Louis XIV: 1667-1714 (Longman Publishing: Harlow, England, 1999) p. 113.
  4. ^ "The Lion of Sole Bay by Julia Jones" book review on The Bookbag website, viewed 2013-10-17

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°24′N 1°48′E / 52.4°N 1.8°E / 52.4; 1.8