Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum


‘What was the name of Sir Francis Drake's flagship in the battle against the Spanish Armada in 1588?’ . .

Chrístõ
chris@cjsquire.plus.com
Thu Sep 21


. . is today's question from Oxford Reference; visit: www.oxfordreference.com/viewbydoi/10%2E1093/acref/9780199205684%2E013%2E1982 to find the answer.

Clue: “ . . Sink me the ship, Master Gunner . . “


Must have been heavily damaged

Bob Bridges
robhbridges@gmail.com
Thu Sep 21


Says here:
....a 34-gun ship of 441 tons, launched at Deptford in 1577....fought her last fight, which lasted for fifteen hours, against overwhelming odds. When there was no further hope of fighting her, Grenville ordered her to be sunk. However, his surviving officers would not agree to this and terms of surrender were made with the Spaniards on the understanding that the lives and liberties of the ship's company should be spared....Five days after the battle the [vessel] foundered in a storm, taking with her 200 Spaniards who had been put on board.

Two hundred men as a prize crew for a 34-gun ship?  Seems to me she must have been badly hurt to need that many; was she close to sinking, then?

On Thu Sep 21, Chrístõ wrote
----------------------------
>. . is today's question from Oxford Reference; visit: www.oxfordreference.com/viewbydoi/10%2E1093/acref/9780199205684%2E013%2E1982 to find the answer.

>Clue: “ . . Sink me the ship, Master Gunner . . “


Re: Must have been heavily damaged

Don Seltzer
Sat Sep 23


Different sources cited by Wikipedia put the loss at only 70, Spanish prize crew and British prisoners combined.

Spanish naval battles of that era were mostly boarding actions by soldiers carried on board.  Ships cannons did little damage to opposing ships, they were primarily anti-personnel weapons.  


On Thu Sep 21, Bob Bridges wrote
--------------------------------
>Says here:

....a 34-gun ship of 441 tons, launched at Deptford in 1577....fought her last fight, which lasted for fifteen hours, against overwhelming odds. When there was no further hope of fighting her, Grenville ordered her to be sunk. However, his surviving officers would not agree to this and terms of surrender were made with the Spaniards on the understanding that the lives and liberties of the ship's company should be spared....Five days after the battle the [vessel] foundered in a storm, taking with her 200 Spaniards who had been put on board.

>Two hundred men as a prize crew for a 34-gun ship?  Seems to me she must have been badly hurt to need that many; was she close to sinking, then?


Re^2: Must have been heavily damaged

Bob Bridges
robhbridges@gmail.com
Thu Sep 28


You seem to be talking about the butcher's bill; I'm asking about damage to the prize herself.  If you think the damage to the hull was light, why did she need such a large prize crew?  200 seems unnecessary to take a 34-gun ship in to harbor somewhere.  Or am I to think that the ship joined the fleet as a fighting vessel immediately? I guess that would make sense.

On Sat Sep 23, Don Seltzer wrote
--------------------------------
>Different sources cited by Wikipedia put the loss at only 70, Spanish prize crew and British prisoners combined.

>Spanish naval battles of that era were mostly boarding actions by soldiers carried on board.  Ships cannons did little damage to opposing ships, they were primarily anti-personnel weapons.  

>On Thu Sep 21, Bob Bridges wrote
>--------------------------------
>>Says here:

....a 34-gun ship of 441 tons, launched at Deptford in 1577....fought her last fight, which lasted for fifteen hours, against overwhelming odds. When there was no further hope of fighting her, Grenville ordered her to be sunk. However, his surviving officers would not agree to this and terms of surrender were made with the Spaniards on the understanding that the lives and liberties of the ship's company should be spared....Five days after the battle the [vessel] foundered in a storm, taking with her 200 Spaniards who had been put on board.

>>Two hundred men as a prize crew for a 34-gun ship?  Seems to me she must have been badly hurt to need that many; was she close to sinking, then?


Re^3: Must have been heavily damaged

Don Seltzer
Thu Sep 28


On Thu Sep 28, Bob Bridges wrote
--------------------------------
>You seem to be talking about the butcher's bill; I'm asking about damage to the prize herself.  If you think the damage to the hull was light, why did she need such a large prize crew?  200 seems unnecessary to take a 34-gun ship in to harbor somewhere.  Or am I to think that the ship joined the fleet as a fighting vessel immediately? I guess that would make sense.


No, I was questioning whether there really were 200 Spaniards in the prize crew.  Other sources claim only 70 aboard, comprised of prize crew and British prisoners.  

My other comment about Spanish naval tactics was meant to suggest that the battle was unlikely to have caused serious damage to the British ship.  The Spanish strategy was generally to close quickly, grapple, and board with overwhelming numbers of soldiers. A lot of hand to hand combat and small arms fire, but not much ship-battering from a distance.


Oh, ~that~ loss

Bob Bridges
robhbridges@gmail.com
Fri Sep 29


Oh, I thought by "the loss" you meant who was killed during the action, rather than who went down in the storm later.  Got it.

On Thu Sep 28, Don Seltzer wrote
--------------------------------
>No, I was questioning whether there really were 200 Spaniards in the prize crew.  Other sources claim only 70 aboard, comprised of prize crew and British prisoners.  

>My other comment about Spanish naval tactics was meant to suggest that the battle was unlikely to have caused serious damage to the British ship.  The Spanish strategy was generally to close quickly, grapple, and board with overwhelming numbers of soldiers. A lot of hand to hand combat and small arms fire, but not much ship-battering from a distance.

>On Thu Sep 28, Bob Bridges wrote
>--------------------------------
>>You seem to be talking about the butcher's bill; I'm asking about damage to the prize herself.  If you think the damage to the hull was light, why did she need such a large prize crew?  200 seems unnecessary to take a 34-gun ship in to harbor somewhere.  Or am I to think that the ship joined the fleet as a fighting vessel immediately? I guess that would make sense.

On Sat Sep 23, Don Seltzer wrote
--------------------------------
>Different sources cited by Wikipedia put the loss at only 70, Spanish prize crew and British prisoners combined.


Re: ‘What was the name of Sir Francis Drake's flagship in the battle against the Spanish Armada in 1588?’ . .

wombat
Thu Sep 21


On Thu Sep 21, Chrístõ wrote
----------------------------
>. . is today's question from Oxford Reference; visit: www.oxfordreference.com/viewbydoi/10%2E1093/acref/9780199205684%2E013%2E1982 to find the answer.

>Clue: “ . . Sink me the ship, Master Gunner . . “
>

da dumpity dum de dum not into the hands of Spain....

I have no idea. But wasn't that Don't Give up the Ship command given "At Flores in the Azores [where] Sir Richard Grenville lay"?

I have recently come across the French naval captain, Du Petit-Thouars. I met him in the memoir of a French exile in the United States*. She described him as "exceptionally witty and gay", especially at the expense of the snootier émigrés who showed contempt for the Americans but were unable to support themselves by farming and were reduced to eating robins and boiled tadpoles. But I digress. Here is Wikipedia on Du Petit-Thouars:

... commander of the Tonnant at the Battle of the Nile, where he died on August 2, 1798. During the battle, he forced HMS Majestic to break off combat, with 50 killed, including Captain Westcott, and 143 wounded. After having lost both legs and an arm, he continued to command from a bucket filled with wheat, until he died.

His last order was allegedly to nail the flag of the Tonnant to her mizzen-mast and never to surrender the ship. The Tonnant was eventually captured by the British.

* the fascinating recollections of Mme De La Tour du Pin "one of the great monuments of French history" (New Yorker).


‘ . . And a pinnace, like a flutter’d bird, came flying from far away . . '

Chrístõ
chris@cjsquire.plus.com
Fri Sep 22


On Thu Sep 21, wombat wrote
---------------------------
>>Clue: “ . . Sink me the ship, Master Gunner . . “
>da dumpity dum de dum not into the hands of Spain....
>I have no idea. But wasn't that Don't Give up the Ship command given "At Flores in the Azores [where] Sir Richard Grenville lay"?
………………...
Correct:

‘AT Flores, in the Azores Sir Richard Grenville lay,     
And a pinnace, like a flutter’d bird, came flying from far away;     
“Spanish ships of war at sea! we have sighted fifty-three!” . .

. . But Sir Richard cried in his English pride:     
“We have fought such a fight for a day and a night     
As may never be fought again!     
We have won great glory, my men!             
And a day less or more     
At sea or ashore,     
We die—does it matter when?     
Sink me the ship, Master Gunner—sink her, split her in twain!     
Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands of Spain!”             

And the gunner said, “Ay, ay,” but the seamen made reply:     
“We have children, we have wives,     
And the Lord hath spared our lives.     
We will make the Spaniard promise, if we yield, to let us go;     
We shall live to fight again and to strike another blow.”             
And the lion there lay dying, and they yielded to the foe . . ‘

www.bartleby.com/42/646.html


Re^2: ‘What was the name of Sir Francis Drake's flagship in the battle against the Spanish Armada in 1588?’ . .

Anonymous
Sun Sep 24


On Thu Sep 21, wombat wrote
---------------------------
>I have recently come across the French naval captain, Du Petit-Thouars. I met him in the memoir of a French exile in the United States*. She described him as "exceptionally witty and gay", especially at the expense of the snootier émigrés who showed contempt for the Americans but were unable to support themselves by farming and were reduced to eating robins and boiled tadpoles. But I digress. Here is Wikipedia on Du Petit-Thouars:

>... commander of the Tonnant at the Battle of the Nile, where he died on August 2, 1798. During the battle, he forced HMS Majestic to break off combat, with 50 killed, including Captain Westcott, and 143 wounded. After having lost both legs and an arm, he continued to command from a bucket filled with wheat, until he died.

>His last order was allegedly to nail the flag of the Tonnant to her mizzen-mast and never to surrender the ship. The Tonnant was eventually captured by the British.

>* the fascinating recollections of Mme De La Tour du Pin "one of the great monuments of French history" (New Yorker).

Du Petit-Thouars always reminds me of the Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail": www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4

I am sure that this is maligning a very brave man, but nonetheless I can't help making the connection.


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