Battle of Gravelines, 29 July 1588

The decisive battle of the Spanish Armada. The Spanish fleet, having passed along the English Channel, had reached Calais, where the fleet moored. On the night of the 28th, the English sent fire-ships into the Spanish fleet, causing much chaos. The following day, battle was joined. The English used new tactics, suited to their lighter, better armed ships, and fired salvos into the Spanish fleet without closing to grapple. To add to Spanish distress, the wind was driving them into shallow water, where the entire fleet could have been grounded. Fortunately, the wind changed, and the Spanish were able to escape to the north-east. However, this trapped them in the North Sea, and forced them to return to Spain by sailing around the north coast of Scotland, during which journey they took most of their losses.
Spanish Armada: The Great Enterprise against England 1588, Angus Konstam. A useful book that places the Armada campaign in its wider context, with a focus on the two fleets, their ships, commanders, men and fighting styles, and some interesting material on the Spanish Galleon and the English Race-built Galleon [go to full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (6 September 2000), Battle of Gravelines, 29 July 1588,

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