Battle of Camperdown

The Battle of Camperdown (known in Dutch as the Zeeslag bij Kamperduin) was a major naval action fought on 11 October 1797 between a Royal Navy fleet under Admiral Adam Duncan and a Dutch Navy fleet under Vice-Admiral Jan de Winter. The battle was the most significant action between British and Dutch forces during the French Revolutionary Wars and resulted in a complete victory for the British, who captured eleven Dutch ships without losing any of their own. In 1795 the Dutch Republic had been overrun by the army of the French Republic and had been reorganised into the Batavian Republic, a French client state. In early 1797, after the French Atlantic Fleet had suffered heavy losses in a disastrous winter campaign, the Dutch fleet was ordered to reinforce the French at Brest. The rendezvous never occurred; the continental allies failed to capitalise on the Spithead and Nore mutinies that paralysed the British Channel forces and North Sea fleets during the spring of 1797.

By September, the Dutch fleet under De Winter were blockaded within their harbour in the Texel by the British North Sea fleet under Duncan. At the start of October, Duncan was forced to return to Yarmouth for supplies and De Winter used the opportunity to conduct a brief raid into the North Sea. When the Dutch fleet returned to the Dutch coast on 11 October, Duncan was waiting, and intercepted De Winter off the coastal village of Camperduin. Attacking the Dutch line of battle in two loose groups, Duncan's ships broke through at the rear and van and were subsequently engaged by Dutch frigates lined up on the other side. The battle split into two melees, one to south, or leeward, where the more numerous British overwhelmed the Dutch rear, and one to the north, or windward, where a more evenly matched exchange centred on the battling flagships. As the Dutch fleet attempted to reach shallower waters in an effort to escape the British attack, the British leeward division joined the windward combat and eventually forced the surrender of the Dutch flagship Vrijheid and ten other ships.

The loss of their flagship prompted the surviving Dutch ships to disperse and retreat, Duncan recalling the British ships with their prizes for the journey back to Yarmouth. En route, the fleet was struck by a series of gales and two prizes were wrecked and another recaptured before the remainder reached Britain. Casualties in both fleets were heavy, as the Dutch followed the British practice of firing at the hulls of enemy ships rather than their masts and rigging, which caused higher losses among the British crews than were normally experienced against continental nations. The Dutch fleet was broken as a fighting force, losing ten ships and more than 1,100 men. When British forces confronted the Dutch Navy again two years later in the Vlieter Incident, the Dutch sailors refused to fight and their ships surrendered en masse.

Read more about Battle Of Camperdown:  Background, De Winter's Cruise, Aftermath, Effects, Legacy

Other articles related to "battle of camperdown, camperdown, battle":

Battle Of Camperdown - Legacy
... only makes the old cock young again." Anonymous sailor, October 1797 Although Camperdown was considered the greatest ever victory for a British fleet over an equal enemy force ... Navy superiority in the North Sea, a position enhanced by the disruption the battle caused to French negotiations for an alliance with what historian Edward Pelham Brenton describes as the "North ... The destruction of the Dutch fleet at Camperdown was also a serious blow to French ambitions to invade Ireland, and denied their Atlantic fleet of essential reinforcements it may even have played a part ...
Samuel Story - Battle of Camperdown
... The new fleet was first put to the test in the Battle of Camperdown of 1797 ... During this battle, Story commanded the Batavian frigate division as rear-admiral aboard the ship-of-the-line Staten-Generaal (74 guns) ... to leeward, which made it impossible to rejoin the battle ...

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