Battle of Scheveningen

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Battle of Scheveningen
Part of First Anglo-Dutch War
Beerstraaten, Battle of Scheveningen.jpg
The Battle of Scheveningen, 31 July 1653 by Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraaten, painted c. 1654 shows the view of the battle from the Dutch shore where thousands gathered to watch.
Date 31 July 1653
Location Scheveningen, Netherlands
Result English tactical victory
Dutch strategic victory
Belligerents
Flag of The Commonwealth.svg Commonwealth of England  United Provinces
Commanders and leaders
George Monck Maarten Tromp 
Strength
120 ships 100 ships under Tromp
27 ships under De With[1]
Casualties and losses
2 ships sunk,[2]
250 dead and 700 wounded
12-14 (Dutch claim)
- 30 (English claim)[2] ships captured or sunk,
2000 taken prisoner or dead[3]

The Battle of Scheveningen (also known as the Battle of Texel or the Battle of Ter Heijde) was the final naval battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War. It took place on 31 July 1653 (10 August Gregorian calendar) [a] between the fleets of the Commonwealth of England and the United Provinces, and had no clear victor.

Background[edit]

After their victory at the Battle of the Gabbard in June 1653, the English fleet of 120 ships under General at Sea George Monck blockaded the Dutch coast, capturing many merchant vessels. The Dutch economy began to collapse immediately: mass unemployment and even starvation set in. On 24 July (3 August Gregorian calendar), Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp put to sea in the Brederode with a fleet of 100 ships to lift the blockade at the island of Texel, where Vice-Admiral Witte de With's 27 ships were trapped by the English. On 8 August, the English sighted Tromp and pursued to the south, sinking two Dutch ships before dark, but allowing De With to slip out and rendezvous the next day with Tromp off Scheveningen, right next to the small village of Ter Heijde, after Tromp had positioned himself by some brilliant manoeuvering to the north of the English fleet.

The Battle of Terheide, 10 August 1653: episode from the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–54) by Willem van de Velde the Elder

Battle[edit]

The winds were fierce on 30 July and overnight, giving both fleets pause. Around 7 in the morning of 31 July, the Dutch gained an advantage from the weather and attacked, led by the Brederode. The ensuing battle was ferocious, with both fleets moving through each other four times.[4] Tromp was killed early in the fight by a sharpshooter in the rigging of William Penn's ship. [2] His death was kept secret to keep up the morale of the Dutch, but by late afternoon, twelve of their ships had either been sunk or captured and many were too heavily damaged to continue the fight. In the end, morale broke and a large group of vessels under the command of merchant captains fled to the north. De With tried to halt their flight, but had to limit himself to covering the retreat to the island of Texel. However, the English fleet, also heavily damaged and with many wounded in urgent need of treatment, had to return to port to refit and were unable to maintain the blockade.

Aftermath[edit]

Both sides claimed a victory: the English because of their tactical superiority, the Dutch because the strategic goal of their attack, the lifting of the blockade, had been achieved. However, Tromp's death was a severe blow to the Dutch – few now expected to beat the English; the Orangist faction lost political influence and Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt was willing to give formal treaty assurances to Cromwell that the infant William III of Orange would never become stadtholder, thus turning the Netherlands into a base for a Stuart restoration. Peace negotiations began in earnest, leading to the 1654 Treaty of Westminster.

The damage done to the Dutch fleet effectively ended the first war. The Dutch capitulated to several English demands.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ During this period in English history dates of events are usually recoded in the Julian calendar, while those the Netherlands are recorded in the Gregorian calendar. In this article dates are in the Julian calendar with the start of the year adjusted to 1 January (see Old Style and New Style dates).

References[edit]