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Old December 12th, 2012, 12:32 PM   #51

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pikeshot1600, the English faced the Spanish in other minor, less remembered clashes. I can tell that by this time the English, at least the officials, were more knights than soldiers. In words of 19th century historians, for example goes to the combat that begint with "He had accordingly ordered Sir John Norris...":

History of the United Netherlands, Volume II. by John Lothrop Motley
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Old December 12th, 2012, 12:59 PM   #52

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I disagree with some of that view. Maurice developed the tactics for which he (and his cousins) are known, after 1588. Through almost all of the 1590s the Dutch art of war revolved around engineering and seigecraft, and strategic maneuver (with great success).
Yes, you are correct, but they were learning the Dutch methods of warfare as they served in the lowlands.

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English troops served in the Dutch army, both in regiments that could be recalled by Elizabeth, and individually, and did so, mostly, with distinction. The English were primarily involved as garrisons of important places, but were generally known as good soldiers. However, the only two cases of the Dutch facing Spanish troops in the open field were Tournhout in 1597, and Nieuwpoort in 1600 - with Francis Vere's English in the vanguard.
Yes, they were two notable victories and Francis Vere's contingent played a notable part.

These were battled of an officially sanctioned war however.

Before that, contingents of mercenaries were constantly fighting in the lowlands. One such man, John Norreys, performed quite well. He fought the Spanish at the battle of Rijmenam in 1578 and defeated them, and he performed notably well around Meppel after relieving Steenwijk in 1580.

He was also able to repulse Alexander Farnese, with untested foot, around Aaschot, until he ran out of supplies, and he was able to keep fighting the Spanish considerably well, as their reputation of invincibility was becoming shattered.

Alo, yes, the English were involved in alot of defensive and offenive sieges but were used at pivotal points and were mainlt successful.

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The Armada campaign was no secret, and Elizabeth had recalled English troops from the Netherlands, to the distress of her Dutch ally. Although experienced troops, their numbers would not have made much difference in a pitched battle against a large professional Spanish army.
I don't think they would have either, hence my initial post in the thread. But I did state the more experienced troops and leaders were in the lowlands, although I think Norrys was back in England.

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But it is true that Enlgish troops changed radically the situation. I wouldn't call what they accomplished a victorious action in the short run, for the most part the English army had tu suffer severe punishment, as hard as inflicted, and also they couldn't fully stop the Spanish advance. But in order to beat them, the Tercios had to do far more effort than fighting other troops, and furhtermore, the additional 7000 infantry and 2000 cavalry were a full new maneuver army to face with. It was clear that after 1585, campaigns were far more hard to win.

In my opinion, this was the first and foremost cause of the Armada campaign, over religious and other considerations, even superior to English attacks in America.
Yep, they did suffer a lot of punishment, but at times they gave as good as they got as they became more experienced. I think the biggest example of this is the siege of Ostend in 1601.

There was a sizable English contingent defending against the great Ambrosio Spinola, and although Ostend was eventually taken, it was only through ferocious resistance which cost 30,000+ casualties on both sides, and was known as "the carnival of death". Although Francis Vere left before the end of the siege, english forces continued to fight for the Dutch, until the end.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 02:49 PM   #53

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Thank God the great and strong Elizabeth I was our leader in 1588. If you had been the leader you would have welcomed the Spanish invaders with opens arms and handed your country and your people over to them on a silver platter.


.....by the way, it's nice to see you here again.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:16 PM   #54

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Thank God the great and strong Elizabeth I was our leader in 1588. If you had been the leader you would have welcomed the Spanish invaders with opens arms and handed your country and your people over to them on a silver platter.

I sometimes think the Spanish would rather not have followed
the Spanish Hapsburg King Philip II european ventures. Early on he even spent most of his time in the Netherlands and not in Spian.

Should point out that he was once King of England via his marriage to Mary I ruler of England. She was daughter to Queen Isabela I of Castile. Found an article which says that if Mary I had had a son that in time the english might have ended up with the Spanish Hapsburgs Empire.

Read this - King Philip of England | History Today
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Old December 12th, 2012, 08:50 PM   #55

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Philip was totally misled if he though he would have significant Catholic support in England. One of the first men to raise troops in defence was Viscount Montague and he was a Catholic.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:46 AM   #56
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Philip was totally misled if he though he would have significant Catholic support in England. One of the first men to raise troops in defence was Viscount Montague and he was a Catholic.
Philip had difficulty deciding what approach to take in the Enterprise of England. One approach considered was a strong landing in Ireland to draw English strength away from the Thames, and then to land the AoF there.

Doing both was probably impractical for financial and logistical reasons (they couldn't even get the AoF across the Channel). Catholic support for a useful bridgehead in Ireland would have been much more likely. Strategically, Spanish seapower operating from Ireland could have damaged English commerce to the point of bringing them to the peace table.

That was not how they thought however. Sometimes the Spanish (and they were not alone) were more concerned with Reputacion than with strategic thinking. Spain tried to do it all in one big operation.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 06:25 AM   #57
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its worth noting that getting an invasion force ashore is not the same as being able to keep it in reinforcements and ammunition, and without ammunition an invading army is just a load of blokes in a field where they're not welcome.

as has been mentioned, Catholic opposition to Protestant government is not Catholic support for Spanish government, from recall Mary's marriage to Phillip had not been a move embraced by the public in an outpouring of joy and rapture - so to assume that large numbers of English Catholics would automatically rally to the colours with a /dreadful Spanish accent on/ 'Ole Miguel, canno io haveo ao rifleo pou favour?' /dreadful Spanish accent off/ would probably be wide of the mark.

it would be interesting to know the attitudes of English Catholics towards Spain given the activities of the Inquisition - Henry VII had rejected the entreaties of Isabella and Ferdinand to set up an English Inquisition, Henry VIII is unlikely to missed a trick in using the Inquisition as propaganda against Roman Catholicism, England had the experience of Mary herself, and Elizabeth would have been foolish not to mention them when the Spanish fleet hoved into view...
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Old December 13th, 2012, 08:45 PM   #58

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I'm quite happy to indulge in speculation from time to time but to suggest the Armada had the slightest chance of success is in the realm of fantasy. If something was wrong or could go wrong it did.
Start with Garret Mattingly's argument that the Armada was defeated before it sailed. Drake's Cadiz expedition "singeing the Spanish king's beard" had an unexpected bonus. He captured a ship filled with barrel stave. Drake was a seaman and knew the value to Spain of those staves so he burned them,. This meant the Armada had to use unseasoned or poorly seasoned wood for their barrels. This would mean the water and food stored in them was prone to spoiling.
Next is Medina Sidonia. Not the best man to rally the forces and inspire confidence.
Now to the fleet of 130 ships. A mixed bag with many unsuitable outside of the Mediterranean.
So we'll concentrate on the galleons. Best way to describe them is as sea castles. They were slow and poorly manoeverable. All that top hamper would make them a real handful in a beam wind. But the Spaniards saw ships as an extension of land warfare. The idea was to close with the enemy. Fire one murderous broadside and then board her. So the castles were useful for pouring fire down on the enemy. The chain of command was based on the nobles. The captain was seen as a subservient minion. This attitude flowed over into the personnel. Soldiers considered themselves superior. Not the greatest way to raise morale.
Now compare that with the English. Howard had introduced a new type of ship, the race bred galleon. Low, fast and very manoeverable. Emphasis shifted from boarding to gunnery. It carried a longer range cannon than the Spanish . But that was not all. As I said above the Spanish fired one broadside before boarding. The way the guns were lashed made it very difficult to reload., So Spanish gunners left their guns to join the boarding. The English had developed the recoil tackle so guns would run back for easy reloading.
Equally the English had introduced the idea of the captain as sole authority and the crew were all seamen.
Some historians have dismissed the English pursuit of the Armada down the Channel as mere harassing, cutting a few strands of easily replaced rigging. That is to misunderstand the situation.The English were learning a new form of sea warfare as they went along and the hits on the hulls would cause lethal splinters.
Damage alone was not the aim of the fire ships it was a morale breaker.
So the Armada lumbered to it's next disaster, Gravelines.
No charts, no local knowledge, no pilots and on a very difficult coastline of shallows and shifting sandbanks. By now the English had the measure of the Spaniards. Provoke them into firing one broadside and they were helpless. The English now knew they had to close the range to inflict real hull damage and that is what they did while staying out of the Spaniard's range.
My argument here is that they did not need the wind to scatter the Armada. It would have taken longer bu the Armada was doomed. The wind was the icing on the cake.
Now I'll turn to Parma. The man was no fool and I'm sure he knew knew it was impossible to join the Armada.
Without the close support of the Armada his men would be involved in a blood bath. To sail to join the Armada would be in undefended transport ships. This would leave him vulnerable to the Dutch fleet. They knew those waters very well and he did not
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Old December 14th, 2012, 05:29 AM   #59

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I'm quite happy to indulge in speculation from time to time but to suggest the Armada had the slightest chance of success is in the realm of fantasy. If something was wrong or could go wrong it did.
Yes, getting across the sea would be the obvious donpoint to any invasion as long as they do not control the channel. Whilst Murphy's law could be applicable to attempted invasions from the Armada down to WWII, the Armada did have a chance to reach England. In fact, I always paraphrase the famou admiral, John Jervis, upon topics like this.

Upon being asked about the possibilities of a French invsion og Britain, he was said to state;

"I dont say they can't come, I just say they can't come by sea"


Also, I think this thread is speculating mainly upon the possibilities of Spain subduing England if they reached land, rather than just the possibilities of a successful voyage.

Quote:
Start with Garret Mattingly's argument that the Armada was defeated before it sailed. Drake's Cadiz expedition "singeing the Spanish king's beard" had an unexpected bonus. He captured a ship filled with barrel stave. Drake was a seaman and knew the value to Spain of those staves so he burned them,. This meant the Armada had to use unseasoned or poorly seasoned wood for their barrels. This would mean the water and food stored in them was prone to spoiling.
Yes, the raid on Cadiz was a vital and amazing success on the part of Drake, and postponed the armada by one year.

The term "singeing the king's beard" is only really talking about a delayig action, though.

The same terms was used by the vizier of the Ottoman empire after the defeat at Lepanto. The Ottomans rebuilt the fleet and went on to capture Cyprus from the Venetians, allegedly telling them "In wresting Cyprus from you, we deprived you of an arm; "in defeating our fleet, you have only shaved our beard. An arm when cut off cannot grow again; but a shorn beard will grow all the better for the razor"


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Next is Medina Sidonia. Not the best man to rally the forces and inspire confidence.
Agreed.

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Now to the fleet of 130 ships. A mixed bag with many unsuitable outside of the Mediterranean.
It was hastily assembled, agreed.

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So we'll concentrate on the galleons. Best way to describe them is as sea castles. They were slow and poorly manoeverable. All that top hamper would make them a real handful in a beam wind. But the Spaniards saw ships as an extension of land warfare. The idea was to close with the enemy. Fire one murderous broadside and then board her. So the castles were useful for pouring fire down on the enemy. The chain of command was based on the nobles. The captain was seen as a subservient minion. This attitude flowed over into the personnel. Soldiers considered themselves superior. Not the greatest way to raise morale.
That is why they formed the formation they did, and that is why even with the superior maneouverability of the English ships, they could not break the formation without the strategem of fireships.

Also, the English suffered from a severe lack of ammunition, and many of the ships allegedly ran out of ammunition fairly quickly.

.
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Damage alone was not the aim of the fire ships it was a morale breaker.
So the Armada lumbered to it's next disaster, Gravelines
Yep, ironically, the fireships were meant to break the formation and cause damage, but a theory floating around was one based on morale.

They had already come across the "hellburner" which were constructed by the famous Italian engineer; Federigo Giambelli (I think he was subsidised by Elizabeth, to aid the Dutch, but dont quote me on this, my mind is a bit blurry here).

The hellburners were used in the siege of Anterp, 2 years prior, and caused massive destruction, thereby gaining a notoriety amongst the Spanish. I think (again dont quote me here) that Giambelli was also working on a project on the Thames, at the time of the Invasion, and so helped add fuel to the Spanish Frenzy.


Quote:
.
No charts, no local knowledge, no pilots and on a very difficult coastline of shallows and shifting sandbanks. By now the English had the measure of the Spaniards. Provoke them into firing one broadside and they were helpless. The English now knew they had to close the range to inflict real hull damage and that is what they did while staying out of the Spaniard's range.
Yes, the Galleons being sort of top heavy and not having the "low gravity" of the English ships, would not have helped them during storms, especially if their formation was shattered. Also didn't helo they were not familiar with the coastal waters.


Quote:
My argument here is that they did not need the wind to scatter the Armada. It would have taken longer bu the Armada was doomed. The wind was the icing on the cake.
Remember the English suffered from a lack of gunpowder. If the formation was not broken by the fireships, then without the providence of the weather, they had a good chance of landing.


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Without the close support of the Armada his men would be involved in a blood bath. To sail to join the Armada would be in undefended transport ships. This would leave him vulnerable to the Dutch fleet. They knew those waters very well and he did not
Agreed. Although this is one reason they took on the formation they did.



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Old December 14th, 2012, 06:08 AM   #60

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The overriding problem with the `Empresa de Inglaterra` (the Enterprise of England) was one of communicarion. Not only was the Armarda forced to turn back when it first sailed, something which Parma could noy have been informed, but by the time it did turn up he had all but given up on it. An additional point is Parmas failure to secure a safe harour for the Armada once it did arrive. With no deep water port at his disposal loading his army would have been a lengthy and cumbersome operation.
It may be commendable of Phillip to have put so much faith in God, put parhaps he should have spent a little more time pondering the practicalities of so compex an undertaking.
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