Renaissance War Galley 1470-1590 (New Vanguard, Volume 62)
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The lower wale was sited just above the waterline at the waist, but rose gradually towards the stem and stern. Additional wales were spaced regularly between it and the upper deck of the ship. Between these wales came the planking of the hull, with both planks and wales secured to the frames by means of wooden treenails and iron fasteners. Additional cross bracing known as stringers were provided inside the ship, linking. The frames bulged outwards just above the lower wale, which meant the ship curved out slightly immediately above the waterline, then a tumblehome brought the sides of the hull inwards slightly as they rose towards the upper deck.
The deck beams themselves also rose towards the centreline of the ship, a feature designed to allow water to drain easily into scuppers and so over the side of the ship. As Royal Master Shipwright, Baker laid out the proportions he used in ship construction, and his formula reveals just how scientific the process was. While we have already stated that Sir John Howard introduced his design innovations based on his extensive practical experience, he also needed to team up with a first-class shipwright in order to see the project through - in his case Robert Chapman.
Baker, along with his compatriot Peter Pett, was a disciple of Hawkins' approach to ship design. Therefore his Fragments should best be seen as a means by which the Hawkins' race-built galleon design was explained for all to see. Unlike earlier galleons, those designed by Hawkins and built by men like Baker and Pett tapered rapidly towards the stern, while the lower wale and consequently the wide point of the hull immediately above it both rose towards the stern, creating a lean, streamlined hull that can be seen clearly in the illustrations supplied by Baker in his treatise.
This tapering became more.
Renaissance War Galley 1470–1590
This important sketch from Matthew Baker's Fragments shows the shape of a galleon's keel, as well as the shape of her transom and several key frames. Judging by the keel length this sketch could well depict the ship profile of the Revenge. In this ship profile from Matthew Baker's Fragments , the shipwright has likened the underwater shape of the galleon's hull to a fish. Hawkins followed the same basic lines in his design - the broadest part of the vessel being forward of its central point, the beam then tapering off gradually towards the stern.
The cross-section of a Hawkins galleon, showing the main frame of the ship. The width ofthe beam has been exaggerated for the sake of clarity. From Matthew Baker's Fragments, of Decoration The bare details of ship design and construction only tell part of the story.
Elizabethan warships were also decorated with carvings and paintwork, giving the vessels a festive appearance. The naval accounts of the period provide us with some of the details. Her upperworks were also described as being painted red, while those of the Elizabeth Bonaventure were painted in black and white - presumably in the diagonal panel pattern seen in some contemporary illustrations. Those of the Revenge were painted in green and white - no doubt a popular choice as they were the heraldic colours associated with the Tudor dynasty. There was no set pattern, and the colour scheme appears to have been decided either by the ships' captains themselves, or by dockyard supervisors.
The Tudor accounts suggest that Elizabethan warships were decorated in a similar way, although probably not quite so lavishly. The exceptions are two of the largest and oldest vessels in the fleet. The records state that the Elizabeth Bonaventure had a dragon a Tudor symbol painted on her beakhead, the forward edge of her forecastle. The Elizabethan royal arms were painted on her stern transom, while two lions and two dragons were painted onto her stern gallery structure, and all four were gilded with gold leaf.
The Foresight also carried a painting of the Queen's coat of arms on her stern transom, surmounted by a Tudor rose and a fleur de lys. Carvings were also used, as an account dated claims that a sum was paid for a carving for the Swallow representing the Roman god Saturn as well as one of a salamander. The White Bear carried several carvings: 'an image of Jupiter sitting upon an eagle with the clouds, before the head of the shippe; twoe sidebordes for the heade with compartments and badges and fruitagers; the trayneboard between the stem and the figurehead with compartments and badges of both sides; brackets going round about the heade; 36 pieces of spoyle or artillarie round about the shippe; the great pece of Neptune and the Nymphes about him for the upright of the sterne.
The Rainbow carried a gilded carving of a lion, with planets, rainbows and clouds beneath it, while the royal coat of arms was painted onto the upper, middle and lower counters of her transom. Her cabins were also painted and upholstered in green, with 'Her Majesties badge' - the Tudor emblem - added in green and red. The lion was also used as a figurehead by the Defiance, Repulse and Garland, while Nonpareil, Adventure, Dragon and Hope favoured the carving of a dragon. The Swiftsure had a tiger as a figurehead, and the Mary Rose a unicorn.
While it appears that not every royal vessel was decorated or painted, most appear to have some form of decoration added, and most carried a figurehead. The fleet would certainly have made a colourful display as it sailed out to fight the Spanish Armada. In , the English fleet helped lay siege to a stronghold held by Irish rebels, supported by a contingent of Spanish troops. This detail of an illustration of the action provides us with a rare contemporary view of the Tudor fleet in combat. From top to bottom the largest ships are Swiftsure, Aid, Revenge and Tiger, supported by the pinnace Marline left and the small ship Achates right.
At least on paper, all but two were operational. The real situation was a little different, and an average of ten ships were actually manned and sent to sea on patrol, including an average of three large warships. During the Tudor and early Stuart periods, the peacetime routine was to send out a Summer Guard and a Winter Guard, charged with protecting English fishing fleets or merchantman from pirates, and patrolling the waters of the English Channel and the Irish Sea.
This was also a period when England was allied to Spain, so another function of the fleet was to prevent continental arms and money reaching England, where they were used by Protestant rebels against the crown. She proved a sound investment, as the new galleon built according to Hawkins' principles proved to be one of the best-designed galleons in the fleet. Although her builder was never named, it is usually accepted that the man responsible for her construction was Master Shipwright Matthew Baker, the author of Fragments of Ancient Shipwrightry.
However, Peter Pett was also almost certainly involved in the project. The Revenge was noted for being a stoutly built ship, and while her sailing qualities were not as impressive as those of her lighter contemporaries, she was considered probably the best all-round warship in the fleet.
During the Spanish Armada campaign of , the Revenge served as the flagship of Sir Francis Drake, and consequently she was involved in the fighting from the first engagement off Plymouth on 31 July, until the c1oserange engagement fought off Gravelines on 8 August.
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Under Drake's command she forced the surrender of the Spanish galleon Nuestro Seiiora del Rosario, and her crew were first to loot the Spanish prize. Her most famous battle, however, came in , when she was overtaken by a Spanish fleet off the Azores. Her commander Sir Richard Grenville put up a spirited fight, but after 16 hours of battle he was forced to surrender the battered hulk of his ship. The Revenge was caught in a storm a few days later, and was wrecked off the island ofTerceira.
In this detail from the chart by Baptista Boazio, produced in , of Drake's attack on Cartagena on the Spanish Main , a vessel that is probably meant to portray Drake's flagship Elizabeth Bonaventure is shown approaching the Spanish-held port. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. In this detail of Drake's attack on Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands , the fleet strangely shown firing from the bow provides naval gunfire support to cover the disembarkation of Drake's raiding party, which captured and sacked the town.
The vessels on the left are shown at anchor, and the restriction of the gunnery to bow guns suggests the landing was conducted on an ebb tide. From a chart by 8aptista Boazio, Royal warships laid up 'in ordinary' 'mothballed' in modern naval parlance were also available for private hire. Although the galleon returned from Russia in , the carrack was wrecked on the Scottish coast. This policy continued during Elizabeth I's reign, although the terms had changed, and the Crown was usually an active stockholder in these trading ventures. Typically the terms were extremely advantageous for Elizabeth, who ensured that her otherwise inactive ships were overhauled, refitted and manned at someone else's expense, and guaranteed a return whether the venture was successful or not.
As the vessels were hired privately, the government could also deny any involvement in these ventures - an important legal point that helped maintain the fragile peace with Spain during the 'Cold War' of The best-known example of this practice is the hiring out of the Jesus of Lubeck and the Minion to Sir John Hawkins in A very thin line existed between privateering and piracy during this period, and while 'Sea Dogs' such as Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake were issued with 'letters of marque' in order to exact 'reprisals' against the Spanish, Elizabeth stopped short of anything that could be seen as direct involvement in the 'Cold War'.
This situation all changed in , when the Elizabeth Bonaventure and the Aid took part in Drake's latest raid on the Spanish Main, and Elizabeth even appointed the expedition's commanders as admirals in the Navy Royal. At least three of the private warships that made up the fleet of 14 ships and eight pinnaces were built according to the principles laid down by Hawkins, which made them virtually identical to warships of the Tudor fleet.
It is hardly surprising that the Spanish viewed the highly successful enterprise as a declaration of war. Four royal warships, the Elizabeth Bonaventure, Golden Lion, Dreadnought and Rainbow were involved in 'singeing the 5 Elizabethan Sea Dogs Osprey Elite Series 20 contains more information about Drake's 'privateering' activities during this period.
King of Spain's beard', although the bulk of the ship main battle fleet was made up of armed merchantmen. This proportion was also reflected in the composition of the English fleet during the Spanish Armada campaign of the following year. The English fleet that sailed out of Plymouth in late July consisted of just 19 warships of the Navy Royal, accompanied by no less than 54 armed merchant vessels.
A further 21 armed merchantmen temporarily joined the fleet during the fighting off the Devon coast. A secondary force stationed off the Downs in Kent was more equally balanced, with seven royal warships and seven armed merchantman in the squadron. However, this force was reinforced by 17 additional armed merchantmen mid-way through the campaign, making the proportion of royal ships to hired ships in the squadron similar to that in the main fleet. If we discount the 15 volunteer merchantmen that displaced less than 90 tons, we find that the main fleet consisted of 19 royal ships and 79 merchantmen, the royal ships being approximately 24 per cent of the total.
Similarly, if we include the additions to the Downs Squadron, we reach a tally of 7 royal ships to 31 merchantmen, or 23 per cent of the total. This means that for every royal ship that sailed out to fight the Spanish that year, three armed merchantmen sailed alongside her. While Hawkins' race-built galleons might have formed the fighting core of the fleet, the majority of the force - some 44 ships, or 40 per cent of the English fleet, consisted of privately owned vessels displacing between and tons.
Although the records of the time described the vessels as armed merchantmen, this was something of a misnomer. Many of these were the ships used by men such as Drake and Hawkins during their expeditions, or else were fitted out and operated as 'privateers', or private warships. Some were even race-built galleons, and so were the equals in manoeuvrability and firepower to equivalent-sized warships in the Navy Royal.
On the right the artist has depicted the crippled Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora del Rosario, which was captured then added to strength of the Navy Royal. Another depiction of the Armada campaign by Claes Visscher, this time showing the fighting off Gravelines on 8 August The loose melee of ships is somewhat fanciful, as the Spanish managed to maintain some semblance of a battle formation during the engagement.
Contrary to popular belief, the English fleet failed to break up the Spanish battle formation as it progressed up the English Channel, although the lessons learned during the early fights led to an important revision of fleet tactics and operations. During these early battles the fleet relied on long-range gunnery to disrupt the Spanish formation, and this tactic had proved largely ineffective.
Therefore, during the climactic fighting off Calais in early August, the fleet fought at close range, where the English advantage in gunnery would be most apparent. Fireships were used to drive the Spaniards from their secure anchorage, and although the English failed to destroy the now-disrupted Armada through gunnery alone, they succeeded in preventing the Spanish from landing on 6 Adetailed examination of the operation of the fleet during the campaign is found in The Armada Campaign, Osprey Campaign.
On 6 August Sir Henry led his vessels out from the Downs, the anchorage between Sandwich and Dover that had long been a mustering point for the fleet.
New Vanguard: Renaissance War Galley 1470-1590 62 by Angus Konstam (2002, Paperback)
Two days previously, reinforcements consisting of 17 armed merchantmen had sailed from London to join his squadron, and once they arrived, Seymour sailed across the narrows of the Channel to join the rest of the English fleet off Ca lais. Seymour's fleet of 31 ships was spearheaded by seven vessels of the Navy Royal: the SOO-ton galleons Rainbow and Vanguard, the ton Antelope, the two ton converted galleasses Tiger and Bull, and two smaller vessels, the Tramontana and the Scout.
The plate shows Seymour flying his flag in the Rainbow, the flagship followed by the other ships of the Navy Royal in his squadron. They are pictured sailing in the order given above. After the first days of the fighting, Lord Howard divided his fleet into four squadrons - his own, and those of Hawkins, Drake and Frobisher. English soil. A chronic shortage of ammunition also prevented the English from taking full advantage of their victory.
Fortunately for them, an unseasonable storm front wrecked the Spanish fleet as it sailed home by circumnavigating the British Isles. One clear outcome of the campaign was the vindication of Hawkins' design. The principal warships of the Navy Royal had proved their worth in the fighting, and could be relied upon to more than hold their own against the Spanish in the future. Despite their losses, the Spanish still posed a serious threat, and so the war continued as the English attempted to prevent the gathering of a second armada by raiding Spanish ports and disrupting the flow of specie from the New World.
During the Portuguese expedition of , Sir Francis Drake's force of 85 ships included eight vessels from the Navy Royal, including his own flagship Revenge, as well as Nonpareil and three of Hawkins' galleons. The English fleet was also joined by some 60 Dutch vessels, thereby creating what was effectively an Armada in reverse. The expedition achieved little, and cost the royal treasury dear. In a second expedition was launched against the Spanish, except this time Elizabeth returned to the old policy of leasing out her warships, as part of a joint stock venture.
In theory it was a powerful force, but diseJlse and dissent greatly reduced its effectiveness, and the Spanish managed to intercept Howard as he layoff the Azores. This encounter led to the loss of the Revenge, commanded by Sir Richard Grenville, whose vessel was cut off from the rest of the fleet and pounded into submission by the bulk of the Spanish fleet. The one-sided engagement, however, did demonstrate the clear superiority of Hawkins' ships over those of the Spanish, and played a part in discouraging the Spanish from attempting another full-scale assault on England.
During the final years of Elizabeth's reign, the bulk of the Navy Royal was held in reserve against an attack that never came, while Drake, Hawkins and Raleigh resumed their policy of conducting raids against the Spanish Main, where their enemy was considered vulnerable.
In the Foresight and the Garland were leased out for an attack on the Spanish treasure fleet off the Azores, a venture that yielded great profits for the participants but little for the Queen, as the bulk of the plunder was divided before the Queen's officers could intervene. For the expedition to the Spanish Main led by Drake and Hawkins, the Queen provided the Garland, Elizabeth Bonaventure, Defiance, Hope, Foresight and Adventure as her stake in the venture, although the tight conditions she imposed on her ships' use did much to limit Drake's independence.
Despite delivering attacks on Las Palmas in the Canary Islands and San Juan on Puerto Rico, the expedition proved to be another failure, and resulted in the deaths of both Drake and Hawkins. Following the deaths of her two greatest 'sea dogs', Elizabeth abandoned her policy of contracting out major elements of her fleet, although she still relied on hiring merchant vessels to augment the Navy Royal for specific operations, and of regarding such expeditions as sources for profit. In Lord Howard led the bulk of the Navy Royal - some 17 warships - in another attack on Cadiz, supported by 47 armed merchantmen and a small Dutch contingent.
In effect, this was the first real national effort undertaken by the fleet since Raleigh spearheaded the attack in the Warspite, and the operation proved an unqualified success, yielding two prize ships the galleons San Andreas and San Mateo , the loss of at least eight further major Spanish warships, and the seizure of a sizeable haul in plunder. By way of retaliation, Philip II of Spain launched two further armadas against England, both of which were dispersed by gales. Their threat meant that the bulk of the Navy Royal was held in readiness at Plymouth, supported by the usual merchant auxiliaries.
An unsuccessful pre-emptive raid was also. The importance of ensuring an adequate supply of stores and ammunition to the fleet was demonstrated in , when the English fleet was forced to disengage from the Spanish when their ammunition ran out. Elizabeth established Chatham as a royal dockyard in , and the riverine anchorage was where warships of the Navy Royal were kept 'in ordinary' Le. This operation proved to be the last major naval action of the war. The threat of invasion evaporated following the death of Philip II in Elizabeth took the opportunity to place the bulk of her fleet in ordinary, although small forces were retained on active service to provide Summer and Winter Guards, and to cruise off the Spanish coast in search of prey.
True to form, Elizabeth turned these cruises into commercial ventures, effectively turning the royal warships that participated in them into privateers. Sir Francis Drake c. He remained a plunderer at heart, and consequently performed best as a privateer rather than as a naval commander. The Triumph was a galleon of tons, built in according to the requirements of the time. In many respects she resembled her Spanish counterparts, which is hardly surprising as her lines were probably based on the trio of galleons commissioned by Mary I, based upon the warships used by her husband, Prince Philip of Spain.
However, the Triumph boasted a powerful armament of 46 heavy guns, mounted on modern carriages. This meant she could outshoot any vessel in the Spanish Armada. During the campaign, she served as the flagship of Sir John Hawkins. By contrast, the ton Ark Royal was build in according to the race-built galleon design advocated by Hawkins, and represented the latest word in Elizabethan ship design at the time of the Spanish Armada. Although her armament of 38 heavy guns made her less powerful than the Triumph, her speed and manoeuvrability more than compensated for any lack of hitting power.
During the Armada campaign she served as the fleet flagship. Specifications - Triumph Displacement: tons Keel length: ft m Beam: 40ft Specifications - Ark Royal Displacement: tons Keel length: ft Wrecked off Tilbury, During her reign Elizabeth may well have built up a powerful navy, but what the above summary shows is that it lacked the resources needed to do more than avert the strategic threat posed by Philip II's Spain.
Throughout her reign, the Navy Royal was too small to engage the Spanish without augmenting the fleet with hired merchantmen, and although it proved highly successful, it was unable to challenge Spain's control of the seas as defined by Alfred Mahan in The Influence of Sea Power Upon History Instead, she used the limited resources at limiting the ability of the Spanish to launch more than one effective Armada.
While the process of hiring out warships for commercial gain had been practised by her father Henry VIII, Elizabeth turned this procedure into a form of strategic policy, one that greatly reduced the cost of maintaining her fleet and which offered the chance of substantial profit. Above all, it turned the business of England's naval defence into a commercial venture, where men such as Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher and Raleigh all stood to gain from their achievements. This unusual policy worked, creating a breed of commanders willing to take extraordinary risks in the service of their Queen - and for their own profit.
A comprehensive survey of the Tudor fleet, forts and arsenals was conducted in , detailing the guns, ammunition and ordnance stores owned by the crown. Supporting this wealth of information is the archaeological evidence from the Mary Rose, which sank in A similar survey was conducted in , during the last year of Queen Elizabeth I's reign. During the intervening years a handful of ordnance manuals and lists were published, identifying the gun types mentioned in these inventories.
A comparison of all this information helps to highlight the gunnery revolution that helped transform the Tudor fleet during the Elizabethan age. If it does nothing else, this contemporary although extremely fanciful German woodcut of an English galleon does demonstrate the reputation for firepower enjoyed by Elizabeth's Navy Royal among other European states. The artist has depicted the warship with two gundecks - a development not introduced to English ship design until the following century. What is immediately apparent is the increase in the size and calibre of ordnance carried in the fleet.
Equally important is the reduction in the number of wrought-iron guns carried. While these accounted for almost half of the ordnance supplied on warships in Henry VIII's navy, guns of this kind were extremely rare by the close of Elizabeth's reign. However, as late as the Spanish Armada campaign of , a small number of these obsolete breechloading weapons - by then classified as port pieces - were carried throughout the fleet as close-range anti-personnel weapons.
Smaller wrought-iron breechloading bases or swivel guns continued to be carried, mounted on the ships' gunwales in a manner reminiscent of more modern machine guns. Their role was also much the same - delivering a hail of anti-personnel rounds at an enemy that was attempting to board. A larger version of the base, known as the fowler, was used in much the same way. If we compare a list of the guns issued to the Elizabeth Bonaventure in , and those she actually carried during the expedition to the Caribbean that year, we see that Drake altered her suite of ordnance, dropping all her anti-personnel weapons port pieces, fowlers and bases , and instead carried a handful of extra cannon periers, culverins and demi-culverins see table below for definitions.
In other words, he had no intention of fighting a boarding action, and preferred to equip his most powerful ship with a formidable broadside. The layout of Hawkins' race-built galleons gave commanders the ability to carry larger, heavier guns than before, and so men like Drake made full use of this opportunity. The cannon-perier was an unusual, short, large-calibre weapon that fired a stone rather than a castiron roundshot. Although stone shot was expensive and time-consuming to produce, 16th century navies retained a few such weapons, which had a limited range but were lethal at close quarters, the shot most probably shattering on impact into a shower of high-velocity stone flakes.
This contemporary woodcut depicting a mid 16th-century sea battle shows vessels trading artillery fire, while their crews fire at the enemy using muskets, arquebuses and bows. The advantage of the Elizabethan gunnery revolution meant that for the first time, warships had the option to keep their distance, and pound the enemy into submission beyond range of enemy small-arms fire. Bourne, published in London in As a land-based master gunner in the Queen's service, Bourne was careful to include a list of the most common contemporary types of gun, and listed their basic specifications.
We can compare Bourne's list with a list of ordnance carried in the Navy Royal in , which gave the number of guns carried on all the major units of the fleet that were then on active service, dividing them by gun type. Cannons were considered too large for shipboard use, as there was insufficient room to mount these weapons in pairs, one on each broadside, even if the gundeck beams could support the weight. This meant that the demi-cannon was the largest practical gun carried onboard warships of the Elizabethan fleet, a weapon equivalent to the late 18th century pdr.
The list also shows that as late as the s, most ships in the fleet still carried between one and three paired wrought-iron breech-loading guns, similar to the pieces found on the Mary Rose. This practice reaffirms the idea, already noted, that although these weapons were considered obsolete compared to modern bronze pieces, their ability to fire rapidly at close range made them a valuable weapon to include in a ship's arsenal.
For a similar reason most large warships carried one or two pairs of cannon-periers, which were essentially the modern replacement for the port-piece as a large-calibre antipersonnel weapon. Gunfounders at work during the mid 16th century. The development of an efficient English gunfounding industry and the technical excellence of the pieces these founders produced did much to ensure England's tactical naval advantage over its Spanish adversaries during the Elizabethan period.
Excluding the handful of light swivel guns and other anti-personnel weapons, the vast majority of ordnance carried on ships of the Navy Royal was cast from bronze. An inventory detailing the ordnance carried by the ships of the fleet in lists very few iron pieces - less than 8 per cent of the total carried in the fleet, if swivel guns are excluded from the total. Despite improvements in the techniques of cast-iron gunfounding, and the development of a large and reliable iron gunfounding industry in the Wealden area of south-east England, the Navy Board remained unconvinced, and continued to purchase bronze guns for the fleet, the majority supplied by royal foundries.
Cast-iron ordnance, however, proved popular with private ship owners, largely because the metal was a third of the cost. Merchant vessels usually carried a significantly smaller armament than warships of a comparable size, and so the greater weight of iron guns compared to bronze ones was of less importance. Equally importantly, the Navy Board could exert more control over exactly what kind of weapons the royal gunfounders produced.
The following list of ordnance types is culled from a contemporary artillery manual, The Arte of Shooting in Great Ordnance, by William. A drawing by archaeological illustrator Debbie Fulford of a bronze 'bastard' demiculverin cast by the London gunfounders John and Robert Owen in , recovered from the wreck of the Mary Rose, which sank in The remains of its four-wheeled carriage were also recovered, and would have been a forerunner to the carriages employed by Elizabeth's navy. Mary Rose Trust, Portsmouth. Taking the Revenge as an example, we see that in just three years before the start of the Spanish Armada campaign, she carried 36 large guns, all but two of which were almost certainly bronze pieces.
In addition she was fitted out with ten swivel guns fowlers and bases.
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Using the terminology of the 18th century, the heavy armament was divided into pdrs, pdrs, 12pdrs and 6-pdrs - not counting the cannon-periers. The heaviest guns would be carried as low as possible in the ship, leaving the sakers and demi-culverins to be housed on the upper deck, and in the upper gunroom. Given that the Revenge had a beam of about 32ft 9. However, the Navy Board had already addressed this problem.
During the s, William Wynter, the Master of Ordnance for the Navy, developed a new and shorter range of bronze guns designed for sea service, and these were in general use by the time the Spanish Armada sailed up the English Channel. After a period of refitting in the aftermath of the Portuguese campaign of , the Revenge was prepared for sea again, and a new batch of guns were assigned to her from the ordnance stores at the Tower of London.
Some 40 pieces were listed: 4 cannon-periers, 2 demi-cannons, 10 culverins, 6 demiculverins, 10 sakers, 2 falcons, 2 port-pieces and 4 fowlers. This is remarkably similar to her armament, which suggests that apart from the lighter swivel pieces, the same suite of guns may well have been re-issued. The guns were also listed by weight and length, and all were shorter and lighter than those listed by Bourne. This suggests they were pieces designed by Wynter. While the demi-cannons were still 10ft 3m long, culverins ranged from 7 to 8Vzft 2.
Once these guns were mounted on compact four-wheeled carriages with small truck wheels, they would take up considerably less deck space than earlier, longer guns, and would consequently be easier to reload and to fire. While the Spanish still mounted their guns on two-wheeled carriages essentially solid-wheeled and slightly shortened versions of those employed on land - the English had developed their own form of gun carriage. The carriages recovered from the Mary Rose which sank in show that this process was already underway during Henry VIII's reign, and a combination of accounts and a few scant pictorial records suggest that by the Navy.
Royal had fully adopted the four-wheeled carriage. The combination of shorter guns and more manoeuvrable carriages was as important to the success of the Elizabethan warship as the design of her hull. In fact, in , while one English gunner complained about the lack of skilled gunners in the fleet, Spanish observers claimed that the English fired their guns as frequently as the Spanish could fire a musket. The gun and carriage were perfectly designed for the business of naval gunnery, and consequently they easily outdid the Spanish in terms of rate of fire if not in accuracy.
The effect this gunnery advantage had on English naval tactics has already been examined in some detail in Elizabethan Sea Dogs Osprey Elite Series However, it is worth repeating that while the Spanish based their tactics on boarding the enemy, the English preferred to keep their distance and rely on their ordnance. This is exactly why Drake altered the ordnance carried on board the Elizabeth Bonaventure in Royal warships were issued with boarding weapons, muskets and other close-range weapons, but it was much safer to keep the better-trained Spanish sea soldiers at a safe distance.
If the English fleet closed to within point-blank range of the enemy - jLlst as they did during the final stages of the Armada campaign - then the effect could be devastating. J:- N. This depiction of the Battle off Gravelines 15B8 by a Flemish artist, compresses various stages of the battle into one engraving, including the attack by English fireships - shown in the background - and the close-range gunnery duel that dominates the centre ofthe work. The ton galleon was commanded by the veteran sea captain Sir Richard Grenville, and carried a crew of about men. Dawn revealed the approach of a Spanish fleet of over 30 warships, the majority of which were large galleons.
All but one of Howard's fleet escaped to the north, but Grenville's galleon was delayed as many of his crew were ashore on the island. Unable or unwilling to escape, Grenville ordered the Revenge to turn towards the enemy. Grenville forced his way into the middle of the powerful Castilian Squadron, repeatedly firing both broadsides as he went.
His ship broke through the Spanish formation and headed north, with the Spanish galleons in pursuit. The galleon San Felipe overhauled the Revenge on her starboard side, stealing her wind.
As the Spaniard tried to board, Grenville fired a broadside that all but crippled the enemy galleon, which fell away astern. However, the Spanish vessel had slowed the Revenge down sufficiently for the San Barnabe to came alongside her port side. The two ships locked together. The English were unable to fire their heavy guns for fear of sinking the Spaniard, which would probably have taken the Revenge down with her. The Spanish upper deck guns concentrated on the masts and sails of the Revenge, denying her the opportunity to escape even if she could free herself.
Meanwhile, Spanish sea soldiers took advantage of their vessel's height and whittled down the English defenders using firearms and grenades. Howard made several attempts to break through the ring of Spanish ships that now surrounded the Revenge, but to no avail. Grenville and his men were on their own. Just as darkness fell, the galleon San Cristobal crashed into the stern of the Revenge, and a wave of Spaniards scrambled onto her quarterdeck. Although the attackers cut their way forward as far as the mainmast, the crew of the Revenge rallied and drove them back to the San Cristobal.
Grenville himself was mortally wounded in the melee. Meanwhile, English gunners fired their sternchasers into the Spanish galleon, holing her below the waterline. The San Cristobal pulled away, her commander signalling for assistance. Lord Howard's fleet was surprised by a much larger Spanish force, and while most of the English ships managed to escape, the Revenge was unable to follow them to safety.
Grenville's ship was overhauled, and soon the Revenge was surrounded by Spanish galleons, pouring shot into her at close range. The fight lasted for around 16 hours, the English crew repulsing numerous boarding attempts, while their ship lay battered and helpless. Wit the Revenge unable to fight back, and with most of his men killed or wounded, the dying Grenville finally surrendered his ship. The action was immortalized in verse by Lord Alfred Tennyson in The Revenge: A Ballad of the Fleet: And the night went down, and the sun smiled out far over the summer sea, And the Spanish fleet with broken sides lay round us all in a ring; But they dared not touch us again, for they feared that we still could sting, So they watched what the end would be.
The plate shows the action soon after dawn, when the Revenge was surrounded by three Spanish galleons: the San Barnabe on her port side and La Asuncion and La Serena pinning her bow. Having just driven off a fourth galleon pinned to her stern, the Revenge is exchanging fire with the rest of the Spanish fleet, massed in the darkness off her starboard beam. An English seaman of the Elizabethan period, from a contemporary illustration. Although he appears unusually well dressed, apart from the ruff, the shoes and the stockings, his dress was typical of that worn by sailors of the time.
Fur hats were worn extensively by seamen of the 16th to 18th centuries during winter weather. The next ship to attack was the La Asuncion, whose crew boarded the Revenge over her port bow. The attack was driven back, as were several more attempts to storm the Revenge's forecastle. The La Serena was next, but the English defenders hung on grimly, and repulsed all assaults. Three Spanish galleons were now grappling with the Revenge, and Spanish reinforcements were ferried over to these three ships, thereby adding a fresh impetus to the fight.
Only the starboard side of the Revenge remained clear of enemy ships, which were kept at bay by repeated broadsides from the English guns. The Spanish fired back during lulls in the boarding action. At some point the battered San Barnabe gave up the attack, having been badly damaged. However, English losses continued to mount, and the deck of the Revenge was beginning to resemble a charnel house. As dawn rose the true extent of her damage was revealed. Most of her upper works had been shot away, but her lower deck guns were still firing intermittently.
Daylight also offered the Spanish soldiers fresh targets, and before long few of the English defenders remained standing. The dying Grenville ordered his ship to be blown up, but was convinced by his surviving officers that his ship was already sinking, and that he needed to surrender in order to save his crew. He did so reluctantly, despite being offered full honours by the Spanish commander General Alonso de Bazan. Grenville died three days later. As for the Revenge, she sank in a storm a few days later, as did the five Spanish ships that had been badly damaged during the engagement.
While a stirring piece of English naval history, the last fight of the Revenge also demonstrates the ability of Howard's race-built galleons to fight and to absorb damage. The engagement demonstrated both the heavy volume of firepower available to Elizabethan naval commanders, as well as the way in which the Spanish preferred to fight a naval action by boarding rather than by gunnery. A key element in the fight was the sheer determination of Grenville's crew.
According to Sir Walter Raleigh, we may assume that as many as 90 of the English crew were already too sick to participate in the action. That left Grenville with a crew of just men. At least half of these were killed during the hour battle, and most of the remainder were badly wounded. While books such as this may talk about the technical aspects of ships and their armament, we must remember that warships are only as effective as the men who served aboard them. In this respect, it appears that Grenville, Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher and their like were extremely fortunate to have both the ships and the men they deserved.
To that end the list does not include periodicals, non-English language works or works that are difficult to find either in good libraries or specialist bookshops. For discussion of such important topics as tactics, crew composition, life on board or the design and function of the smaller vessels of the fleet, see Nelson , Loades , Howard and Oppenheim , reprinted Galleon Leicester 22 galleons 4,,6,7,10,38; cross-section 16, 26; new large 6, 1O-U, 12; race-built see design, galleons, race-built; small 13, 16, 18, 18, 19,22 Galley Snbtile 8, 10 galleys 5, 8, 10 Garland aka Guardland 20,23,27,35 George 8 Godson, Benjamin 10, 13, 16 Golden Lion later Lion 6, 7, , 10, 'l1, 19, Gravelines, Battle of U88 32,43 Great Bark formerly Great Galley, later Great Galleon 5,6,8, 8, 11 Grenville, Sir Richard 28, 34, 44, 44, 46 Greyhound 7,]] Griffin 24 Guardland see Garland gun founders 40,40,42 gunnery 43 see also armament.
J 40 Azores, expedition to C 28,34,44, 44,46 Baker, Marrhew 10, 13, 18,20,25,28;. Crane 23 Dainty 23 Defiance 20,23,27, 34, 3S Deptford shipyard 1J, 12, 13, 16, 16, 19, 20,23,28 design: decoration 7,; evolution of Elizabethan warship ,; shipbuilding see shipbuilding design, galleons, race-built 4,6,,16, 18, , 20, ; features 6, J3; innovations ; performance 15 Dilichi, Wilhelm: Kriegsblfsch 6, 7, 16 Downs Squadron 31 Dragon 27 Drake, Sir Francis 12,30,30,31,31,, 36,38,39,43,46; and Armada 20,28, 32,34 Dreadnonght 13,16,19, Due Repulse 20, 23 Edward VI, King S.
Handmaid 13 Hart ,1 J Hawkins, Sir John 10, 14, 16, , 38, 46; and Armada 24, 32, 34, 36; as privateer 7, 8,10,12,30,31; and ship design 7,13,. Seven Stars 19 Seymour, Lord Henry 32 shipbuilding ; hull construction , 25; hull profile 26 Shipwright, Masrer, and assistant 25 Smerwick, siege of 16,20,27,35 Spanish Armada campaign 5,7,12,. This period witnessed the birth of a whole new breed of warships designed to dominate the seas and expand the reaches of the empire. Detailing warfare during the age of sea dogs such as Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh, and the landmark event of the Spanish Armada, he explains the technological innovations that allowed this small but efficient navy to defeat the larger Spanish fleet.
Packed with new research, in-depth analysis, photographs, full-colour reconstructions and detailed cutaway artwork, this book is a must for any lover of maritime history, and for anyone who wants to understand how Britain came to rule the waves, establishing and maintaining her supremacy across the seas throughout the age of fighting sail. British naval history. ISBN: 1 2S2 3 Forecastle Pronounced fo'c'sle, this refers to the castle-like structure built over the bows of the ship, used to house soldiers or weaponry during a battle.
Printed in China through Worldprint Ltd. Mizzen A mast sited behind the mainmast on a sailing ship. Mothballed A modern naval phrase, refiecting the situation when a ship was stripped of its rigging, guns and stores. Topsail The topmost sail on a mast. E-mail: customerservice ospreypublishing. Tumblehome The inward-sloping curve of a ship's hull, where the sides of the ship are brought inwards towards the centreline of the vessel, from the widest point of the ship's beam - which is usually along the waterline.
It was inevitable that English shipwrights One of several depictions of the engagements of the Spanish Armada campaign, this view shows the English fleet harrying the rear of the Spanish formation on 4 August In fact, the conversion of the Great Bark might well have inspired a similar refit to be ordered to six of the smaller galleasses in the Navy Royal, as in the ton galleasses Hart, Antelope and Swallow, as well as the smaller vessels New Bark, Jennet and Greyhound, were all rebuilt as small galleons, following the Spanish model.
Clearly until this refit, and for some three decades after they t?. By permission, the Master and Fellows, Magdalene College, Cambridge 7 Apart from the Jesus of Lubeck, the Great Bark shown here was the only one of her father's major warships that was retained in the Navy Royal of Mary I when she succeeded her brother to the throne in By permission, the Master and Fellows, Magdalene College, Cambridge were first built, all three galleons were considered the equals of more modern additions to the fleet.
It also suggests that she began life as a fairly sleek vessel, and her length to beam ratio of about 2. Gundecks followed the curve of the hull, and therefore rose sharply towards the bow and stern. When this The Thames Estuary during the Elizabethan period was one of the busiest maritime waterways in Europe, and the entry point to the London shipyards of Deptford, Greenwich and Limehouse, and the anchorage at Chatham, seen in the bottom left of this map. Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge ships were rebuilt into race-built galleons.
B Sir John Hawkins retired in the year following the Armada campaign, but the warships designed according to his specifications continued to be built. Condemned, 20 B TIGER, In this rather fanciful depiction of the Ark Royal, the early 17th century artist Claes Visscher Additions to the Elizabethan Fleet ' has added curious and erroneous turret structures at either end of her waist, and the sailing rig and sail Commissioned Vessel type Displacement Guns carried Decommissioned Dainty Pu Discovery Vessel tons Defiance Galleon tons 46 Captured by Spain, Garland Galleon tons 45 Answer Galleon tons 21 appears to be reasonably Advantage Galleon tons 18 Burnt, accurate.
Crane Galleon tons 24 Quittance Galleon tons 25 decoration should at best be considered imaginative. The ' , general hull shape, however, These 99 warships do not include the numerous armed merchantmen that were hired to augment the Navy Royal in wartime. Other smaller additions to the Navy Royal during the Elizabethan period included nine galleys, four pinnaces, four small galleons, seven small ships, In this detail of an engraving showing the last stages of the Spanish Armada campaign, a small English galleon struggles through heavy seas while her crew attempt to reduce sail.
Science Museum, London The Griffin was a ton privateer or private warship from Plymouth, owned by Hawkins and designed according to his principles. Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge stem and sternposts rose to form the profile of the vessel - in the case of the Ark Royal the stern extending 6ft 1. Additional cross bracing known as stringers were provided inside the ship, linking the frames together.
This tapering became more This important sketch from Matthew Baker's Fragments shows the shape of a galleon's keel, as well as the shape of her transom and several key frames. Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge 25 In this ship profile from Matthew Baker's Fragments , the shipwright has likened the underwater shape of the galleon's hull to a fish.
Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge The cross-section of a Hawkins galleon, showing the main frame of the ship. Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge pronounced in the stern superstructure, where the quarterdeck rose gradually as it narrowed, until it reached the top of the narrow transom. Service notes: Built Lost in action, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London In this detail of Drake's attack on Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands , the fleet strangely shown firing from the bow provides naval gunfire support to cover the disembarkation of Drake's raiding party, which captured and sacked the town.
Expeditionis Hispnorum in Angliam series of Armada charts by Richard Adam, a loose gaggle of English ships is shown harrying the rear of the Spanish formation off the Devon coast on 1 August National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.. Fireships were used to drive the Spaniards from their secure anchorage, and although the English failed to destroy the now-disrupted Armada through gunnery alone, they succeeded in preventing the Spanish from landing on 6 Adetailed examination of the operation of the fleet during the campaign is found in The Armada Campaign, Osprey Campaign Series