The Battle Of The Spanish Armada Essay — страница 3

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justices and 50 administrators, carefully selected to set up government in England, and 146 young men who volunteered for the adventure, as well as 728 servants. (Marx 40) The main task of the Armada would be to transport soldiers to fight in England. Apart from the 22 great Portuguese and Spanish fighting ships, there were merchant ships converted for battle. Smaller panaches and zabras were used as messenger ships and guards. The Armada was divided into ten squadrons, led by the most famous and experienced commanders of the Spanish forces. In charge of the Biscay ships was Don Juan Martinez de Recalde. Don Pedro de Valdes led the Andalusian ships. Don Miguel de Oquendo, nicknamed the “Glory of the Fleet,” was the heroic leader of the Guipuzcoan fleet. One of the most

dashing commanders was the young Don Alonso de Leyva, whose task was to take over should Medina be killed or be disabled. (Marx 43-45) During the development of the Spanish fleet, England prepared for war as well. Defenses were improved around all cities, especially London. Since there was no standing army in England, the Earl of Leicester set up a militia to defend the Queen and London. John Hawkins had been working on the development of new ships, and Drake created new methods of fighting. Drake’s new method got rid of the usual hand-to-hand combat aboard a boarded ship and relied on skilled sailors and heavy guns. He figured that if the Spanish would try to board the English ships, they could outmaneuver them and fire heavily upon them. (Mckee 68) By May 11, 1588, the Great

Armada was complete and set sail from Lisbon, Portugal. One hundred thirty ships carrying 30,000 men sailed in an orderly procession behind the ship of Medina, which carried the Spanish standard. However, weather was not in the fleet’s favor. Great winds forced the ships to dock along the mouth of the Tagus River. For over two weeks the ships waited to set sail. About three weeks after they had set sail again, they were forced to seek shelter in Corunna because of horrible sailing conditions that had scattered the Armada. (Lewis 88) Medina waited about a month to reassemble his fleet. During this time, he repaired ships that had been damaged and refreshed rotting supplies. The next time the ships set out, they were lucky; the wind that had carried them north had blown back the

Plymoth fleet that came to stop them. (Lewis 92) On Friday, July 29, Captain Thomas Fleyming in the Golden Hind caught sight of the Spanish fleet, which was only 50 miles southwest of the southern tip of England. At the time that Sir Francis Drake was notified of the approaching Spanish ships, he was playing a game of bowls. It is here where he gave a rather famous comment. “There is plenty of time to finish the game and beat the Spaniards.” He was right, in a sense, because it was low tide and it would take another 8 hours to take the fleet out of the harbor. When he did set sail with 54 ships, the rain made it almost impossible to determine the position of any other ship, either ally or enemy. (Lewis 101) Despite these conditions, the Armada sailed on, followed by the

English fleet. Two Spanish ships had been wrecked by accident when The Rosario collided with other ships. At dawn on August 1, she was captured by Drake, along with the San Salvador, a ship that had blown up. From these two ships, the English acquired 2,000 cannon balls and 140 barrels of gunpowder. The next battle occurred off Portland Bill. It was rather unsuccessful, for the Spanish were unable to board the English ships, and the English ships were unable to damage any Spanish ship from long range firepower. This battle has been quoted by the English as the “waste of a terrible value of shot.” (Marx 87) On August 4, as the Isle of Wright came into view, the Duke of Medina realized that he needed ammunition and troops from Parma, but was unable to reach them. The English

fleet was determined to prevent the Spanish from entering a little inlet, known as the Solent. Howard ordered two ships, the Ark Royal and the Golden Lion to be towed into battle by rowboats. Three Spanish ships detached from the main fleet in order to engage the two English vessels. For a few hours, these ships bombarded each other. Just as the wind finally came to the Spanish ships’ advantage, the more nimble English ships were able to get away. The Spanish fleet, however, continued northeast to the Strait of Dover with the hope of meeting up with Parma at Dunkirk to recharge his supplies. However, as he was sailing, Medina learned that there was no anchorage deep enough for the fleet on the Flemish shore. (Walker 48) When the English learned that the Great Fleet was forced