Friday, 21 August 2009

The Dutch Raid up the River Medway 1667

I shall cover this raid by the Dutch against the English Men O War moored on the Medway, a handy anchorage for a fleet defending London, in a series of articles here using as a basis the October 1986 Military modelling article ‘Battles for Wargamers’ by Stuart Asquith and illustrated by the excellent and much lamented Richard Scollins.

I can also recommend the book ‘The Dutch in the Medway’ by PC Rogers published in 1970 and can be found if you are lucky in an antiquarian bookshop. I am currently reading this excellent book which is very well written and the first chapters setting the context of the Dutch struggle for independence and the development of their trading and naval power have been an easy read and very informative.

The raid was conceived by the Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt in May 1667 at a time when peace talks were underway at Breda to conclude what has become known as the 2nd Anglo Dutch war and apart from the obvious objective of destroying English ships and shore installations, the principle target being Chatham Dockyard, it would also strengthen the hand of the Dutch at the peace conference table.

Some 70-80 warships of varying sizes were to be used plus 3,000 – 4,000 troops under the command of Lt. Admiral Michael de Ruyter.

The action can be split up into ‘opening moves’ and three subsequent phases; the Attack on Sheerness at the mouth of the Medway, the action at Gillingam Reach and finally the defence of Chatham at Upnor Reach.

Next blog entry the English fleet and the first action!

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