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Viewing Topic "The raid on the Medway, June 1667"
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Posted by: Amaral In the winter of 1666-67, with peace negotiations between the Dutch and the English under way, King Charles and his advisers decided to keep the fleet laid up in dockyards when spring came. Meanwhile the Dutch political leader Johan de Witt wanted to inflict a humiliating defeat on England that would enable him to dictate peace terms. He ordered an expedition to raid the Thames and the Medway, placing his brother Cornelis in charge to ensure bold agressive action. The nominal commander was Admiral de Ruyter. Spending more than six decades at sea and fighting in over 40 maritime battles, Michiel Adrianzoon de Ruyter was the greatest commander of the 17th century. He distinguished himself during the First Anglo-Dutch War as a worth naval commander. He fought the English in West Africa and the Caribbean, and liberated some 2,500 Christian slaves from the Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean, before returning to take command of the Dutch navy in August 1665. Before the raid, de Ruyter led his fleet to a hard-fought victory in the Four Days Battle of 11-14 june 1666. The Dutch fleet (60 ships) appeared in the Thames estuary on 7 june. Overcoming the objections of his cautious sea captains, Cornelis de Witt ordered his ships into the mouth of the Thames, where they failed to capture 20 merchantmen that took refuge in the direction of London. An attack on Sheerness three days later was more successful, Dutch marines capturing the poorly defended fort without difficulty. A clutch of English commanders, including George Monck (Duke of Albermarle), gathered at Chatham to organize the defense of the dockyards. Blockships were hastily sunk at various points in the Medway's navigable channels. The chain was defended by the frigate "Unity", two captured Dutch merchantmen renamed "Matthias" and "Charles V", and the ship of the line "Monmouth". When the Dutch ships advanced into the Medway on 12 June they made short work of these defences. The crew of the frigate "Unity" rapidly jumped ship, leaving the vessel to be taken. Fireships daringly sailed over the chain and set "Charles V" and "Matthias" ablaze. Dutch engineers set to work dismantling the chain and worked to haul off the blockships, soon clearing the passage upriver. The 80-gun first-rate "Royal Charles" had been left in an exposed position manned with a skeleton crew and was easily taken. Numerous other English vessels - including the great ships "Loyal London", "Royal James", and "Royal Oak" - were scuttled to prevent them too being captured. Half sunk, the three great ships were set on fire by the Dutch to complete the scene of destruction. Only "Monmouth" escaped. The Dutch took very light losses - some casualties from the fire of shore batteries and guns in Upnor Castle -, withdrawing in 14 June. They didn't destroyed the dockyard stores, leaving the english with some capacity to recover. "Royal Charles" was towed back to the Netherlands, to be shown off to foreign visitors over the following years. London was humiliated and its rulers hastily signed peace on terms highly favourable to the Dutch, that left them with no gains but the little-valued possession of New York. In the words of writer and diarist John Evelyn, it was "a dreadful spectacle as ever Englishman saw and a dishonor never to be wiped off".
Posted on: 09/09/2013 21:24:00

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Posted by: scratchbuilder
Total Posts: 51
Joined Date: Saturday, 6 July 2013
One evening Charles II and the gentlemen of the court were relaxing after dinner. I suspect the alcohol had been flowing freely. They began to amuse themselves with a game of epitaphs. The King suggested that someone create an epitaph for him This is what he got: "Here Lies Our Gracious King Whose Word No Man Relied On. He Never Said A Foolish Thing, And Never Did A Wise One.
Posted on: 09/09/2013 22:10:00
Posted by: CMB
Total Posts: 10
Joined Date: Monday, 15 March 2010
Hi Amaral, I took a class on sea power last semester (I'm working on my master's in history.), and I'm pretty sure I recommended the Medway as a RAID title at that time. But I'll say it again: It would make a good book!
Posted on: 10/09/2013 04:39:00
Posted by: Amaral
Total Posts: 200
Joined Date: Friday, 8 March 2013
I would love to see artwork depicting the Dutch marines on the assault of the fort.
Posted on: 10/09/2013 04:55:00
Posted by: hobbe62
Total Posts: 66
Joined Date: Thursday, 6 October 2011
You have my full support. If the Medway raid doesn't fit the RAID book series I don't know what does.
Posted on: 10/09/2013 10:23:00
Posted by: baldrick
Total Posts: 6
Joined Date: Monday, 20 January 2014
Put me down for a copy - its a brillant Raid title!
Posted on: 10/09/2013 12:50:00
Posted by: WickedMessenger
Total Posts: 10
Joined Date: Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Thanx for posting, Amaral. Would be good sport from the English if the released a book about a raid where they were very much the losers.
Posted on: 10/09/2013 13:38:00
Posted by: mdaniels
Total Posts: 36
Joined Date: Monday, 14 May 2012
Ah, but Osprey have already used up their 'one 17th Century title every three years' allocation with the Warrior title on musketeers. We'll have to wait until at least 2017 for this!!! ;)
Posted on: 10/09/2013 14:00:00
Posted by: 1830
Total Posts: 17
Joined Date: Friday, 24 May 2013
Hello: I support the Medway raid for RAID, even I suggested it in "BOOKS I'D LIKE TO READ" (despite my WW2 bias). It was the worst defeat in the Royal Navy's history.
Posted on: 10/09/2013 15:24:00
Posted by: 1830
Total Posts: 17
Joined Date: Friday, 24 May 2013
Hello: I rectify my comment to "The most humiliating defeat in the history of Royal Naval" before forum members starts to pointing other defeats of greater consequence.
Posted on: 10/09/2013 15:39:00
Posted by: Amaral
Total Posts: 200
Joined Date: Friday, 8 March 2013
Remembering that it's the 525th anniversary of the Dutch navy this year!
Posted on: 13/09/2013 02:24:00
Posted by: Mr History again!
Total Posts:
Joined Date: Wednesday, 8 July 2020
1780 now!
Posted on: 14/09/2013 23:57:00
Posted by: mdaniels
Total Posts: 36
Joined Date: Monday, 14 May 2012
I endorse this suggestion (despite being English - I can take it!).
Posted on: 19/09/2013 13:41:00
Posted by: .George Washington
Total Posts: 164
Joined Date: Friday, 21 June 2013
Dogger Bank 1781 would also be nice.
Posted on: 28/02/2014 16:07:00

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