Second battle of Schooneveld, 4/14 June 1673

The second battle of Schooneveld (4/14 June 1673) was the second of three battles that prevented the French and British from successfully landing an invasion army on the Dutch coast (Third Anglo-Dutch War).

An Allied fleet under Prince Rupert of the Rhine and Admiral Jean, Comte d'Estrées had sailed towards the Dutch coast in late May, and on 25 May had found a smaller Dutch fleet under de Ruyter at anchor in the Schooneveld (the Allies had 81 ships of the line, the Dutch 52). On 28 May de Ruyter had taken advantage of a favourable wind to attack the allies (first battle of Schooneveld, 28 May/ 7 June 1673), but the battle was inconclusive, and both fleets remained in place – the Dutch in their anchorage and the Allies two miles out to sea.

On 4/14 June the weather once again favoured de Ruyter, and he decided to launch a second attack on the Allied fleet. As the Dutch sailed towards the Allies Prince Rupert ordered his fleet to move north-west to pull the Dutch away from the shallow water that had helped them so much during the first battle. This move left the Allied line intact but a little ragged, and delayed the start of the main part of the battle until about five in the afternoon.

The fighting lasted until about ten, at which point the Dutch withdrew back towards their coast. The Allies apparently waited until two on the following morning to pursue, which suggested that they had suffered heavy damage during the battle, and the pursuit ended at six. Neither side suffered very heavy losses during this battle. No ships were lost on either side. Dutch casualties were recorded as 216 dead and 285 wounded, and the Allies apparently lost a similar number of men.  

Although no ships had been lost the Allies had now been through two battles in a week, and many of their ships urgently needed repairs. The British reached the Nore on 8 June, where they began to prepare another invasion force, while the French made for Brest and Rochefort. The Allied fleet came back together in mid-July, and put to sea on 17 July, but the final naval battle of the Anglo-Dutch phase of the war didn't take place until mid August, at Texel.

Subject Index: Anglo-Dutch Wars

De Ruyter, Dutch Admiral, ed Jaap R. Bruijn, Ronald Prud'homme van Reine and Rolof van Hövell tot Westerflier. A collection of interesting essays written by Dutch historians and that examines different aspects of de Ruyter’s life and the wider world of the Dutch Republic. This is a valuable piece of work that helps explain the important of de Ruyter as a European figure (not just as a commander during the Anglo-Dutch Wars). [read full review]
Fireship: The Terror Weapon of the Age of Sail, Peter Kirsch. A lavishly illustrated look at one of the most feared weapons of the age of sail. This is a very impressive piece of work – well written and researched, wide ranging in scope and with detailed accounts of most of the key fireship attacks from the sixteenth century wars against Spain to the Greek War of Independence. An essential read for anyone interested in naval warfare in the age of sail. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 August 2009), Second battle of Schooneveld, 4/14 June 1673 ,

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