Battle of Bergen, 2/12 August 1665

The battle of Bergen (2/12 August 1665) was an unsuccessful attempt by the British to capture a Dutch convoy that had taken shelter in the neutral harbour of Bergen in Norway. The inbound convoy from the Dutch East Indies had sailed around Ireland and Scotland to avoid the English Channel, and then taken shelter in Bergen. The British victory at Lowestoft on 3 June meant that they were free to send a small fleet, under the Earl of Sandwich, into the North Sea to intercept the convoy.

Battle of Bergen, 2/12 August 1665, by Van de Velde the Elder
Battle of Bergen,
2/12 August 1665, by
Van de Velde the Elder

Norway was then ruled by Frederick III, king of Denmark. A week before the battle Frederick came to an agreement with the British ambassador in Copenhagen. He would send orders to the commander of the Norwegian forces at Bergen instructing him not to resist the attack, and in return the British would give him half of the money seized from the Dutch.

Sandwich sent Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Tyddiman to carry out the attack, giving him fourteen ships of the line, three fireships and four ketches. On the morning of 2/12 August (given as 3/13 August in some sources), Tyddiman entered the harbour, but the message from Frederick had not yet reached the Norwegian commander, and so the guns opened fire.

As a result the British were unable to close with the Dutch ships, and after two hours under bombardment Tyddiman was forced to withdraw, after losing at least three of his captains. He remained off Bergen for another week, before on 10 August leaving to rejoin the main fleet.

The Four Days Battle of 1666, Frank L Fox. This is a detailed study of the longest major battle of the age of sail, using English and Dutch accounts of the fighting to produce a clear but detailed account of the battle, the events that led up to it and its aftermath. An excellent study of a battle often described as the 'Greatest Sea Fight of the Age of Sail', and one that came just as the old melee tactics were being replaced by the line of battle [read full review]
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Subject Index: Anglo-Dutch Wars

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 August 2009), Battle of Bergen, 2/12 August 1665 ,

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