History Community ~ All Empires Homepage


This is the Archive on WORLD Historia, the old original forum.

 You cannot post here - you can only read.

 

Here is the link to the new forum:

  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Calendar   Register Register  Login Login


Forum LockedThe Anglo-Spanish War

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1 3456>
Author
gcle2003 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 06-Dec-2004
Location: Luxembourg
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7011
Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Anglo-Spanish War
    Posted: 22-Jan-2008 at 19:37
Thanks for the link.
 
I especially noted
Tras esto "...el buque debe arribar para descargar la artillería que estaba a barlovento y abordar al enemigo al amparo del viento, con el fuego de apoyo de la gente y piezas situadas en las cofas y altos". Es decir, el uso que se establecía de la artillería consistía casi únicamente en descargar las dos andanadas que se habían preparado con anterioridad al encuentro con el fin de causar ya desde el inicio la mayor cantidad de daño posible y abordar el buque con un trozo de abordaje compuesto principalmente de soldados e infantes profesionales, que siempre en las naves españolas estuvieron embarcados en gran número."
which I make to be something like
After that, "... the ship should discharge its guns from upwind and run down on the enemy downwind, with supporting fire from the crew and from guns mounted on the quarterdeck and above." That is, the established use of the guns was almost solely restricted to firing the two rounds that had been made ready before the engagement in order to cause as much initial damage as possible and take the (enemy) ship with a boarding group of mainly professional infantry, of which Spanish ships always carried large numbers."
which confirms my point that, while the Spanish had graduated in part to using sail, they were still using galley tactics. In particular, the reliance on pre-prepared ammunition, as opposed to being ready for quick reloading during an engagement, was going to give them lots of problems in 1588. 
 
(Elsewhere the link also points out the Spanish reliance on superior freeboard - height of decks above water - to facilitate taking by boarding and small-arms fire as the main method of engagement.)
 
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 06-Dec-2004
Location: Luxembourg
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7011
Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jan-2008 at 21:17
I should also have quoted this paragraph from near the end
Sin embargo, aunque su sucesor el Duque de Medinasidonia carecía del carisma del Marqués de Santa Cruz, los experimentados marinos españoles que se embarcaron en la Empresa de Inglaterra estaban decididos a continuar combatiendo al viejo modo, algo que los capitanes ingleses no aceptarían.
However, although his successor, the Duke of Medinasidonia (sic), did not have Santa Cruz's charisma, the grizzled Spanish seamen who embarked on the "Enterprise of England" were determined to continue fighting the old way, something the English captains would no longer put up with.
which makes the same point about 1588.
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 06-Dec-2004
Location: Luxembourg
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7011
Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2008 at 11:28
If I'm not boring everybody stiff[1], I'd like to change my translation of 'piezas situadas en las cofas y altos' as 'guns mounted on the quarter-deck and above' a couple of posts ago to 'pieces mounted in the tops' (as in maintop, foretop, etc.).
 
It's not just more accurate (I've found a Spanish-Spanish dictionary that helps) but it makes more sense of the restriction of the main guns (deck-mounted) to their initial loads.
 
[1] Or, on reflection, even if I am.


Edited by gcle2003 - 23-Jan-2008 at 11:29
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 15-May-2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 609
Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2008 at 13:32
Technically, you are not boring anyone but the reference to "las cofas y los altos" is a general descriptive of the masts and the galleon's superstructures. The handiest aid here is the classic Diccionario Maritímo Español by Timoteo O'Scanlan first published in 1831 and still in print under the auspices of the Spanish Museo Naval. In the narrative under discussion, the better translation is "the supporting fire from the troops and artillery situated above deck (or, technically, on the superstructures [includes the masts--where the cofas are located--and the forecastle and cabins with its lighter rotatable ordnance and falconets]). The distinction is made essentially in terms of the advantages gleaned from grapeshot levelled at the enemy in close combat.
 
There is an image of the San Martin, the 1000 tonner at Terceira, on-line:
 
 
The cofas are those cup-shaped structures on the masts.
 
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 06-Dec-2004
Location: Luxembourg
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7011
Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2008 at 14:07
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga

There is an image of the San Martin, the 1000 tonner at Terceira, on-line:
 
 
The cofas are those cup-shaped structures on the masts.
 
Which, in English, are the tops, as I corrected myself to. Foretop, maintop, mizzentop. Except she doesn't seem to have a mizzentop, which I would have expected in a 1,000 ton ship.
 
(Incidentally she also doesn't seem to be carrying anything like 48 guns either: I count a 13 gun broadside plus a couple mounted on the sterncastle and possibly on the forecastle. Anyway I've e-mailed the maker of the model to ask him if this is the Terceira San Martin: I can't see it stated anywhere on the site. There was another one sunk shortly before in the Far East.)


Edited by gcle2003 - 23-Jan-2008 at 14:09
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 15-May-2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 609
Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2008 at 17:44

The San Martin she is and she was a new vessel at Terceira since she had just been completed when Philip II became Philip I of Portugal.  The San Martin was chosen as the flagship by Santa Cruz and she is the same vessel that sailed in the 1587 Armada under Medina-Sidonia, and limped back to Spain after Gravelines. She was a two square rigged with a lateen mizzen masted galleon.

The San Martin to which you make reference was the patache that wrecked off the Cantonese coast in 1578 while engaged in the China trade. That type of vessel in Spanish and Portugue maritime lingo is the equivalent of a transport bark. In compiling total cannonage, one must keep in mind the actual types, which in the San Martin consisted of 16 demicannons, 16 pedreros (cannon perier), 12 culvern, and 4 demiculvern [24 to a side]; now as to their deployment on the existing models (there are several hobby shops that carry this particular vessel), one can only guess on the accuracy of the models as to gun deployment. The pedreros were stone-shot and deployed on the main deck since they served as anti-personnel weaponry and were not directed at the hulls. 

Back to Top
pikeshot1600 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard


Joined: 22-Jan-2005
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 4232
Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2008 at 18:18
I have to dispute the participation of Mediterranean galleys in the first battle in the Azores, Sao Miguel.  The French and Portuguese did not (AFAIK) use many, or any, galleys out of their Atlantic harbors.  The Channel and the Bay of Biscay are both quite stormy much of the year, and in any event galleys would have only been useful for in-shore operations.  The Portuguese had no Mediterranean presence.
 
That said, Strozzi's movements were not a surprise to the Spaniards who met his fleet with ocean going galleons and the usual armed auxilliaries.  I have seen several paintings of Sao Miguel, and no representations of either galleys or of galleases are to be seen.  Unquestionably the grapple and board tactics understood by fighting mariners were utilized by both sides, but not using galleys.  The following year, galleys were used in the occupation of the Azores, for amphibious approaches in shallows, and for the fire support of their cannon.
 
Santa Cruz understood Mediterranean galley warfare, but he also was able to adapt to the different conditions of the Atlantic.  In 1588, although six galleys were to be a part of the Armada, none of them could make it across the Bay of Biscay...they were only to have been support for the landing of the Army of Flanders anyway.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 23-Jan-2008 at 19:08
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 15-May-2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 609
Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2008 at 19:49
Sorry to have to disagree with you, Pike, but Don Álvaro did deploy his personal squadron of galeazas in the Azores venture; however, as shown by the illustration these were not in the style of the Venetian or Mediterranean mode since their principal means of mobility were sails. The confusion comes with the connotation raised by the terminology, given that a galeaza is primarily a sailing vessel and not a Mediterranean type galley (hence my illustration). Of the seven largest vessels commanded by the Spanish, two were galeazes (and the property of Don Alvaro, as were two of the galleons and these composed his personal squadron). However, you are also correct in making the distinction between events at Sao Miguel and the later enterprise for the assault on Terceira. Galleys were deployed in this latter venture and formed part of the 91 vessel armada despatched to handle the Prior of Crato. An essay on this phase of the Azores campaign is on-line:
 
 
And it includes the illustration of the galleys employed for the Terceira operation.
 
I should be noted that the Spanish also employed the galeazas on the Cantabrian coast for guard duty and these were organized by Don Álvaro [see "Las galeazas cantábricas de Alvaro de Bazán contra la piratería" in Annuario del Instituto de Estudios Maritímos Juan de La Cosa, VII]
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 15-May-2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 609
Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2008 at 20:01
PS: Perhaps the confusion arose over my generic use of the term Terceira for the Azores campaign of 1582-1583. Nevertheless, the private vessels of Santa Cruz were involved in the two separate events...
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 15-May-2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 609
Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2008 at 21:49
Hey, Pike, here is a technicality for you. You stated: "The Portuguese had no Mediterranean presence".
 
They had Ceuta! Having captured the town in 1415, it was part of the Portuguese crown until 1640 [when it declared itself loyal to the Habsburg Dynasty at the time of the Braganza rebellion. OK, so the little slip of land does not make Portugal a Mediterranean Sea power but...
Back to Top
pikeshot1600 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard


Joined: 22-Jan-2005
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 4232
Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2008 at 23:06
Originally posted by drgonzaga

Sorry to have to disagree with you, Pike, but Don Álvaro did deploy his personal squadron of galeazas in the Azores venture; however, as shown by the illustration these were not in the style of the Venetian or Mediterranean mode since their principal means of mobility were sails. The confusion comes with the connotation raised by the terminology, given that a galeaza is primarily a sailing vessel and not a Mediterranean type galley (hence my illustration). Of the seven largest vessels commanded by the Spanish, two were galeazes (and the property of Don Alvaro, as were two of the galleons and these composed his personal squadron). However, you are also correct in making the distinction between events at Sao Miguel and the later enterprise for the assault on Terceira. Galleys were deployed in this latter venture and formed part of the 91 vessel armada despatched to handle the Prior of Crato. An essay on this phase of the Azores campaign is on-line:
 
 
And it includes the illustration of the galleys employed for the Terceira operation.
 
I should be noted that the Spanish also employed the galeazas on the Cantabrian coast for guard duty and these were organized by Don Álvaro [see "Las galeazas cantábricas de Alvaro de Bazán contra la piratería" in Annuario del Instituto de Estudios Maritímos Juan de La Cosa, VII]

Well, I guess my conception of galley is a low freeboard, shallow draft military barge powered by oars.  The paintings of Sao Miguel, 1582, which was a true naval battle, show what appear to be all galleons and other large ships.  The link for the expedition of 1583 does of course show galleys, and the painting with them supporting the army is the same as I had seen before.

Thanks.
 
 
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 06-Dec-2004
Location: Luxembourg
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7011
Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2008 at 10:46
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga

The San Martin she is and she was a new vessel at Terceira since she had just been completed when Philip II became Philip I of Portugal.  The San Martin was chosen as the flagship by Santa Cruz and she is the same vessel that sailed in the 1587 Armada under Medina-Sidonia, and limped back to Spain after Gravelines. She was a two square rigged with a lateen mizzen masted galleon.

I'm not disputing any of that. What I'm questioning is the reliability of the model. How do you explain the 13-gun broadside on a ship rated at 48 guns?
Moreover the San Martin you are talking about had an overall length of 180ft and beam of 40ft compared to say 227 x 52 for HMS Victory, which works out about right to give San Martin 1,000 tons compared to Victory's 2,100.
But Victory, on one side of a single gundeck mounted 15 guns for 227 feet which would be around 11/12 for 180 ft, which is about right for 48 guns in all, but is a lot bigger broadside than the model shows.
The San Martin to which you make reference was the patache that wrecked off the Cantonese coast in 1578 while engaged in the China trade. That type of vessel in Spanish and Portugue maritime lingo is the equivalent of a transport bark. In compiling total cannonage, one must keep in mind the actual types, which in the San Martin consisted of 16 demicannons, 16 pedreros (cannon perier), 12 culvern, and 4 demiculvern [24 to a side]; now as to their deployment on the existing models (there are several hobby shops that carry this particular vessel), one can only guess on the accuracy of the models as to gun deployment. The pedreros were stone-shot and deployed on the main deck since they served as anti-personnel weaponry and were not directed at the hulls. 
 
Fine, and not exactly new. However all the different hobby shops offering this kit are offering the same one from the same original builder. And it is precisely the reliability of the model that I was questioning. To say 'the San Martin she is' and then to say one can only 'guess at' the accuracy of the model is not entirely convincing.
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 06-Dec-2004
Location: Luxembourg
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7011
Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2008 at 13:09
With regard to the use of galleys in the Azores campaign, my important point was that the tactics in use were still galley tactics. Strictly whether actual galleys were used, or what type, is irrelevant to that point.
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 15-May-2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 609
Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2008 at 15:38
The galleon had two advantages, its thick planking provided immunity from most standard naval cannon of the the 16th century and its heavier tunnage permitted a greater complement of men (the forerunners of modern marines whose sole task was fighting); hence, it would be natural for tactics to favor utility of these two advantages: advance, sweep the decks, grapple, board. Further for most of the 16th century, the experience on land (the Spanish Square), had emphasized the advantage of musketry over field artillery and its cumbersome limitations. Keep in mind that the most vulnerable points of the classic galleon, in terms of most marine artillery of the period, were not its hulls but its masts thus it was more than natural to limit time of exposure from fixed artillery by going directly at the enemy, winds permitting. We often forget that for the 16th century the effective range of naval gunnery was some 500 yards! The refinements of naval tactics premised on positioning and long-range gunnery still lay in the future; thus, it would be no surprise in understanding that the first naval encounter of galleons, the Battle of São Miguel, would follow classic strategy refined in the Mediterranean experience. The strategy worked and in terms of Strozzi's fleet the smaller more-maneuravable ships of his contingent abandoned the encounter.
 
There is an excellent site, with very detailed and authoritative essays on-line on just this subject (in terms of Mediterranean naval warfare and the art of the cannon).
 
 
Not to be doing PR for a colleague but John F. Guilmartin's Galleons and Galleys (London:2002) is an excellent book on just this topic:
 
 
As an aside, perhaps you'll find this little summation an interesting read:
 
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 06-Dec-2004
Location: Luxembourg
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7011
Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2008 at 16:20
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga

The galleon had two advantages, its thick planking provided immunity from most standard naval cannon of the the 16th century and its heavier tunnage permitted a greater complement of men (the forerunners of modern marines whose sole task was fighting); hence, it would be natural for tactics to favor utility of these two advantages: advance, sweep the decks, grapple, board.
But, as the link you provided explained, that wasn't quite it. The engagement was supposed to start with firing of the pre-prepared shot, after which the fleet would avance, and do as you say. The main armament would not even be re-loaded. Those tactics depend entirely - with sailing ships - on the wind and the weather. They assume you can advance at will, which is true of course of galleys.
Further for most of the 16th century, the experience on land (the Spanish Square), had emphasized the advantage of musketry over field artillery and its cumbersome limitations.
Similar problem actually, if it leads to an initial short long-range barrage followed by something very like a cavalry charge.
Keep in mind that the most vulnerable points of the classic galleon, in terms of most marine artillery of the period, were not its hulls but its masts thus it was more than natural to limit time of exposure from fixed artillery by going directly at the enemy, winds permitting. We often forget that for the 16th century the effective range of naval gunnery was some 500 yards!
Still a lot further than musket shot. The question still remains of how to cover that remaining quarter-mile. Nelson at Trafalgar to some extent adopted similar tactics (running down on the enemy's line), but it was at the expense of exposing his ships to unanswerable broadsides.
The refinements of naval tactics premised on positioning and long-range gunnery still lay in the future; thus, it would be no surprise in understanding that the first naval encounter of galleons, the Battle of São Miguel, would follow classic strategy refined in the Mediterranean experience. The strategy worked and in terms of Strozzi's fleet the smaller more-maneuravable ships of his contingent abandoned the encounter.
I don't think it's surprising. I just think it's significant.
 There is an excellent site, with very detailed and authoritative essays on-line on just this subject (in terms of Mediterranean naval warfare and the art of the cannon).
 
While interesting in detail, the overall picture only seems to confirm what one already knew.
 
I don't think anyone any more makes the elementary mistake of thinking 'long guns' equates to 'long range', do they? (In case that's misunderstood, Guilmartin criticises the mistake, he doesn't make it :-) )
 
Not to be doing PR for a colleague but John F. Guilmartin's Galleons and Galleys (London:2002) is an excellent book on just this topic:
 
 
As an aside, perhaps you'll find this little summation an interesting read:
 
The last link is indeed interesting, and pretty much confirms with what I've said about the Armada.
 
Something he misses the full significance of however is Drake's capture of Rosario on July 31. Guilmartin does point out that after the capture the English tried to "penetrate the Armada's interior" whereas before they stayed warily away. Later, as Guilmartin again points out, the English moved in much more successfully at Gravelines.
 
The thing is that up until Rosario's capture the English had been very wary of Spanish gunnery, crediting it with longer range and more effective capability than it actually had. It was only when Drake saw directly how Rosario was armed and spent time talking with her captain that he realised the truth.
 
From then on the English were much readier to move into more effective range.
 
Yes, by later standards naval artillery at the time wasn't too effective, but the point is that the English gunnery was much more effective than the Spanish.


Edited by gcle2003 - 24-Jan-2008 at 16:28
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 15-May-2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 609
Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2008 at 16:47
What you forget is that the Rosario was not taken in battle but by guile! And the attempt to penetrate the "Armada's interior" with the tactic of fireships is hardly an example of offensive gunnery. Selective reading is dangerous.
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 06-Dec-2004
Location: Luxembourg
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7011
Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2008 at 19:00
I din't forget that. What difference does it make? It was still the first time the English had a close up study of Spanish armament.
 
And when you quote someone as an authority you ought to be willing to stand by them.
The English formed line and passed alongside the Spanish, harrying them with broadsides, though to no discernible effect. The only advantage came from accidents among the Spanish, a powder explosion and a series of collisions on the 31st that delivered two ships to the English the next day — one of them the powerful galleon Nuestra Señora del Rosario — along with several tons of gunpowder.

On 2 August, the English tried penetrate the Armada’s interior, only to be met by powerful warships detailed by Medina Sidonia to protect the merchantmen and hulks. The wind dropped for a time, enabling the galleasses to bring their powerful guns briefly to bear, threatening to close and board. Medina Sidonia reorganized the Armada, placing the hulks and merchantmen in the vanguard, protected by a rearguard of his best warships. On the 3rd, the English, newly formed into four squadrons led by Howard, Drake, John Hawkins and Martin Frobisher, blocked the Spanish from the Solent preventing a descent on the Isle of Wight. By now it was clear that the English could bring their guns to bear at will, but that they were doing little harm.

The 3rd and 4th saw several hot actions, notably by Drake in his flagship Revenge, in which the English closed to substantially shorter ranges than previously, perhaps experimenting to see if they could inflict serious damage. The experiments, if they were that — the hypothesis is Colin Martin’s and Geoffrey Parker’s, and convincing9 — were successful. Having learned that close-in gunnery was effective, the English backed off to conserve powder.

That corresponds exactly to what I said.
 
So if there's any selective reading going on its on your part.
 
The capture of Rosario (no matter how it took place) marked a significant turning point in English tactics.
 
It has nothing whatsoever to do with fireships.
 
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.
Back to Top
pikeshot1600 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard


Joined: 22-Jan-2005
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 4232
Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Feb-2008 at 20:20
Just last week  I obtained Amphibious Warfare, 1000 to 1700,  Brill Academic Publishers (2006).  Don't ask the price, but I got it at deep, deep discount.
 
There are two essays specifically addressing the period roughly 1587 to 1603, and exploring the ambitious overseas operations of England and Spain.  The main thing that comes through is the enormous complexity and difficulty both experienced in mounting combined operations that seemed to be beyond the capacity of either of them.
 
One interesting attempt was (after the 1588 Armada) Spain taking advantage of France's civil wars to establish herself in Brittany with whatever Catholic League support she could get there.  The Spanish took the small port of Blavet (Lorient?) late in 1590 to have a base from which they could move on Brest, an important deep water port which could accomodate many hundreds of ships.  This location, with the prevailing winds giving the Spanish the advantage of the weather gauge, would have presented a serious threat to the English in the Channel, but there seems to be some controversy over the actual intent of Spanish strategy.
 
Was the attempt to obtain control of Brest intended to challenge the English in the Channel in preparation for another Grand Armada, or was it to threaten the west of England through repeated raids along the Cornwall coast?  By the time Spanish troops appeared in Brittany, the Army of Flanders was committed in France as well as being on the defensive in the Netherlands.  The difficulties of combined operations, with the Armada and Parma in 1588, were not any the less, so what were the Spanish at here?
 
Landings in the west of England could draw ships and troops away from the Thames estuary, but those landings required resources and support that would then be siphoned away from an attempt to reprise the Armada plan.  With fewer Spanish troops available in Flanders, how could another such attempt be successful?
 
Another idea is that by a forward deployment in Brittany, with Brest as a secure base, landings in Ireland might be possible to stretch English resources and to establish Spanish military presence there with the advantage of probable Catholic support.
 
Still another is that Phillip II intended to wage an amphibious raiding war on England as she had done in 1587 at Cadiz and in the fiasco of 1589.  I don't think this last one was it, as the complexity and difficulty of such ambibious campaigns in the 1590s were so new to those involved and the results of most smaller scale raids were somewhat minimal.  Spanish grand strategy was rather more grand than Spanish capability, but it was the same with the English who tried such operations after 1587 with less success than in that year.
 
So what opinions are out there?  Was the Brittany objective to bludgeon English resources through the front door, or to draw them away by going through the back door?
 
What were the aims of the landings on the English coast in the 1590s?  The English certainly took all this seriously with troops of her own in Brittany from 1591 to 1594.
 
It has to be remembered that with France's Henry IV converting to the Catholic Church in 1593, the Catholic League lost its compass, and in 1594 the Spanish garrison nearby Brest was obliterated by English and French royal troops.  However, in January, 1595 the English troops were withdrawn from Brittany, and the Spanish continued to operate out of Blavet for some time.  
 
I don't want this topic to die out.  What do the rest of you think Spain was up to here?
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 09-Feb-2008 at 01:13
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 06-Dec-2004
Location: Luxembourg
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7011
Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2008 at 16:25
Nice post but I need to think about it.
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 15-May-2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 609
Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2008 at 18:12
Gee, Wiki has a different take for the years 1590-1598:

The Spanish landed a considerable force of tercios in Brittany, expelling the English (though Anglo-French forces managed to retain Brest). Normandy added a new front in the war, and the threat of another invasion attempt across the channel. Elizabeth sent a further 2,000 troops to France after the Spanish took Calais. Further battles continued until 1598, when France and Spain finally signed the Peace of Vervins, ending the last of the Wars of Religion and Spanish intervention with it. The English suffered failure in the Islands Voyage against the Azores in 1597. The Habsburgs also struck with the Dunkirkers, who took an increasing toll of English and Dutch shipping.

 
Matters in Brittany were but part of a larger maritime conflict in the Bay of Biscay and involved well known Basque figures such as Pedro de Zubiaurre and Martin de Irigoyen.  The "operating" theatre was much wider than Brittany itself...places such as Blavet (and the Gascon coast as well) were maintained throughout the decade and no Norris did not obliterate anything in fact his withdrawal came as a consequence of continued defeats. The Spanish were never dislodged from the Fuerte del Aguila and withdrew only as a consequence of the 1598 peace.


Edited by drgonzaga - 09-Feb-2008 at 18:13
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1 3456>

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.063 seconds.