Thursday, March 3, 2011

HNLMS De Ruyter F804 WarShip Class Frigate Dutch Royal Navy

HNLMS De Ruyter saved the situation for the Netherlands in the Third Anglo-Dutch War. His strategic victories over larger Anglo-French fleets at the Battles of Solebay (1672), the double Schooneveld (1673) and Texel (1673) warded off invasion. The new rank of Lieutenant-Admiral-General was created especially for him in February 1673, when the new stadtholder William III of Orange became Admiral-General.

 Again taking the battle to the Caribbean, this time against the French, HNLMS De Ruyter F 804 arrived off Martinique aboard his flagship De Zeven ProvinciĆ«n on 19 July 1674. He led a substantial force of eighteen warships, nine storeships, and fifteen troop transports bearing 3,400 soldiers. Attempting to assault Fort Royal, his fleet was becalmed, allowing the greatly outnumbered French defenders time to solidify their defenses. The next day, newly-placed booms prevented de Ruyter from entering the harbor. Nonetheless, the Dutch soldiers went ashore without the support of the fleet's guns, and were badly mauled in their attempt to reach the French fortifications atop the steep cliffs. Within two hours, the soldiers were returning to the fleet, with 143 killed and 318 wounded, as compared to only fifteen French defenders lost. His ambitions thwarted and with the element of surprise lost, De Ruyter sailed north to Dominica and Nevis, then returned to Europe while disease spread aboard his ships.


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