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Honour - Four Days' Battle 1666


Date - 01/04-June
Type - Fleet or Squadron Actions
Conflict - Second Dutch War; 1665-67

 
Description The action was a prolonged battle fought in the southern part of the North Sea, between an English Fleet of 56 ships-of-the-line plus smaller vessels and a Dutch Fleet of 85 ships.

Although outnumbered, the English under the Duke of Albemarle , attacked the Dutch under Admiral de Ruyter, off North Foreland with light winds in their favour.

During the following running battle, the Dutch southern squadron was chased near to the French coast. The remaining Dutch ships under de Ruyter joined the action close action ensued. By the end of the first day the English withdrew too the west to repair damage.

At the start of the second day the English had about 40 effective ships against the Dutch who had about 80. Battle was joined with the fleets on opposite tacks. There was some confusion in the Dutch line but the English were unable to take advantage of this. The day ended with the English in full retreat.

During day three the English retreat continued and three ships were fired to prevent their capture. In addition the Royal Prince (90) ran aground on the Galloper Sands, was captured and burned. That night Prince Rupert with his squadron of about 20 ships joined Albemarle.

So on the morning of the fourth day the English had about 60 effective ships against the Dutch 78 ships and the battle continued. As the day wore on both fleets became exhausted, but Albemarle gained the weather advantage and so a degree of safety.

The battle was over and the Dutch withdrew during the evening.

Losses on both sides were enormous. The English lost 17 ships and about 8,000 men, the Dutch 6 ships and about 2,000 men.

 

 
 
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This page last edited - 27 March, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.