The background of the battle of
in the Anglo Spanish naval battle
in the second half of the 16th century, the old colonial empire Spain repeatedly succeeded in the competition with Portugal, annexed many colonies of Portugal, spread over Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia, and mastered the monopoly of trade between Europe and the East and the Americas.
colonial plunder and huge overseas profits have brought huge wealth and hidden dangers to Spain. Those in power only know that heavy taxes are levied on industry and commerce to meet their extravagant needs. All the money in the hands of the nobility is used to buy luxury goods from abroad, leading to the gradual decline of Spain’s economy. Compared with the declining rivers of Spain, Britain was in a booming state at this time. It developed rapidly through enclosure movement, bloody legislation, overseas plunder, especially the combination of overseas trade and naked piracy, with the support of the king.
the expansion of Britain is naturally intolerable to Spain. So King Philip II of Spain colluded with British Catholic forces in an attempt to help Queen Mary of Scotland, a Catholic, to the British throne. In 1587, Philip II organized subversive activities in Britain, encouraging British Catholics to assassinate Elizabeth and set up another Mary. However, the east window incident, Elizabeth took the opportunity to execute Mary. The cruel reality made Britain realize that in order to expand overseas, it must defeat Spain and destroy its powerful fleet. Queen Elizabeth is determined to fully develop a strong navy and compete with Spain for maritime hegemony. Since the 1960s, the maritime battles between Britain and Spain have increased day by day. By 1587, after strengthening its naval strength, Britain finally launched a maritime attack on Spain, and the Anglo Spanish war actually competed for maritime hegemony broke out. The Anglo Spanish naval battle in 1588 was the key battle to determine the turning point of the war.
in May 1588, in order to let Britain experience the power of maritime hegemony, Philip II ordered the Duke of Sidonia to lead a “luckiest invincible fleet” from Lisbon, He was ordered to join the army troop carriers assembled in the ports of the territory of Nederland (equivalent to today’s Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and northeast France), and then cover the army to cross the Strait of Dover and land in Britain in order to carry out an attack on the British mainland. The fleet has 134 ships, more than 8000 crew and sailors, more than 2000 paddle slaves, and 21000 infantry on board. Obviously, Philip II wanted to use the advantages of Spanish infantry and traditional methods of warfare to collide with enemy ships, carry out hand to hand combat after forcibly boarding the ship, and then seize British ships and pound London through the English Channel. However, the fatal weakness of the “invincible fleet” was not noticed by the Spanish rulers at that time: the warship was large and bulky, the hull was as tall as a building, the navigation was slow and extremely inflexible, and it was easy to be hit by the enemy in the battle using artillery.
Britain has long been clear about the military trend of Spain. In order to meet the challenge, the queen has gathered all the ships of the Royal Navy, major ship owners, businessmen and pirates. There are 197 ships, 14500 sailors and 1500 infantry to form a powerful fleet. Lord Howard is appointed as the admiral of the fleet, and Drake and s, who are pirates and have rich navigation experience and combat command ability, are appointed as deputy commanders. Although the performance of British warships is not as good as that of Spain, they have been improved by Hawkins. They have small hull, fast speed, strong mobility, large number of guns and long range. This kind of warship can not only avoid the bombardment of heavy shells with short range from Spain, but also fire at enemy ships from a long distance to win with artillery advantage.
Spain’s “invincible fleet” had a bad start, was hit by a storm shortly after departure, and was forced to take shelter and supply in the port of La Coruna. Due to the long formation of the fleet and poor organization and command, nearly half of the ships were dispersed by the rough waves or sank on the rocks, so that 33 warships remained silent six days later.
on July 22, after avoiding the storm and obtaining supplies, the Spanish “invincible fleet” set sail again from the port of La Coruna, arrived at the sea area near Cape lized on July 29 and entered the English Channel. At this time, the British fleet followed without the enemy’s awareness. The British fleet sent a small fleet of ships to advance rapidly, constantly harassing and hindering Spanish ships, and sank three Spanish ships on the 31st, opening the prelude to the naval battle.
on August 6, the “invincible fleet” arrived in Calais, France, moored at sea and wanted to contact the Western army in Flanders. As the latter failed to arrive in time, the rendezvous plan failed, and there were British ships trailing behind. They could not wait, so they had to move on. The next night, it was dark and foggy, and a strong east wind blew from the sea. The Spanish crew had fallen asleep. The British ingeniously filled six old ships with inflammables and lit them after they were covered with tar. Six fire dragons came down the wind and sped off to the Spanish fleet. Suddenly, the sea of fire was a mess, and the “invincible fleet” was in chaos. When the cable was broken and sailed, the ships were in a mess, some collided and sank, and some were burned. The remaining ships fled in disorder to the northwest. The British fleet took advantage of the victory and pursued to the grivaline sea area at 4:00 on the 8th, forcing the Western fleet to accept the decisive battle. In the decisive battle, the Western fleet adhered to the outdated horizontal array tactics and insisted on the side contact battle. However, the ship body was bulky, the mobility was poor, it was difficult to get close to the British ship, and the range of naval guns was close, so the British ship could not be damaged. The British admiral has good command, flexible ships and long range guns, and has always been in an active position. By 18:00 that day, the battle was over. The Western fleet suffered heavy losses and was forced to decide to return the next morning. The British fleet had exhausted its ammunition at that time, and the wind direction changed suddenly, so it did not pursue and returned with complete victory. The remaining Spanish ships fled North in the wind, ready to bypass Scotland and Ireland and return home. The Spanish fleet, which ran out of ammunition and food, encountered two major storms at sea, and some ships capsized. Many soldiers and sailors were washed to the west coast of Ireland by wind and waves and killed by the British army. By October 1588, there were only 43 broken ships left in the “invincible fleet” to return to Spain, which ended in near total annihilationDefeat. The British ship did not suffer much loss, and only about 100 sailors were killed in battle.
the Anglo Spanish naval battle is essentially a decisive battle between the late colonial Britain and the old colonial Spain. Britain won a complete victory at sea, defeated its most powerful opponent and seized maritime hegemony from Spain. Spain was devastated by the collapse of the “invincible fleet” and has declined ever since. After the Anglo Spanish naval war, maritime hegemony was transferred from Spain to the increasingly powerful England. In addition, the flexibility of ships and the advantages of artillery have replaced the hand to hand combat of close combat and forced boarding in the past sea war, which also makes the sea war present a new pattern.