Naval campaign game 4: Tocht's raid April 1664

Set up
Tocht's squadron has sailed down the Channel and is approaching Plymouth. Several English warships are at anchor in the open waters south of the Hoe. Tocht has a mind to destroy as many vessels as possible. He has not spotted any sail in the Channel thus far and nothing significant is moving around the squadron at anchor. It is difficult to tell what size and state of readiness the enemy vessels are but clearly, they are 5th rate or larger, he suspects 3rds.

Time to sail into the jaws of the English haven!

T2 attack run
Turns 1 to 3

With a light southerly at their backs Tocht ordered the 2nd rate Delft and fireship Oranje into the anchorage to wreak as much havoc as possible. He chose to keep his powerful flagship De Zeven Provincien and the 3rd rate Eendracht patrolling the approaches so as to interdict any English manoeuvres to windward and prevent his squadron being bottled into the bay and destroyed.

End of T3
On Delft’s approach the English offered only ineffectual long-range cannon fire from a small fort on St Nicholas’s Island and an army battery sited on the eastern shore of the estuary. The Oranje was fired about 600 yards out from a large anchored warship which turned out to be the 54-gun Dunkirk. Captain Peere had only just got his crew into boats and away when his ship exploded. The charges rigged to go off on contact with the target has been poorly laid resulting in the needless waste of a valuable asset. The Dutch attack had got off to a stuttering start.

T4 Oranje explodes immediately on being fired!
Turns 4 to 5

The 2nd rate Delft sailed on regardless and moved with menace inshore. As she glided past the 3rd rate Mars, the Dutch ship loosed its broadside. The English vessel was not in active service and consequently almost empty and with most of the guns removed so the damage was structural and superficial. As Delft came parallel with the Tamar Estuary a 5th rate which had been anchored upstream appeared, but the contra winds prevented it from getting beyond the mouth of the river. Delft swung past but did not fire as her crew were unable to load and aim quickly enough. The attack had been under way for more than an hour and thus far the results were signally unspectacular. 

T5 end

Delft swung out to the open sea and her captain considered a second pass at the anchored warships as the wind began to shift to the south east. The previously stranded 5th rate Richmond and a second frigate the Garland now both emerged into the bay behind Delft. The faster Richmond managed to pass her but the Dutch ship altered course and stern raked the frigate to devastating effect. The English ship sustained enormous damage and casualties. Eendracht has come further inshore and joined the action by raking Richmond from the bow. The frigate sustained such extensive damage that her captain immediately attempted to turn for the safety of the Tamar shooting at Delft as she swung inshore.

T6 End 
 Turns 6- 8
Whilst Delft danced with the frigates more menacing opponents had appeared from the Channel. From the south east the 4th rate Portland was sighted almost simultaneously with the 3rd rate Mary from the south west. Both ships had served as part of Sir Jeremy Smith’s Tangier squadron in 1665.  Tocht in De Zeven Provincien faced her south into the channel to deal with the rapidly approaching threat.

T6 End
The faster English ships manoeuvred deftly and soon played fire on the massive flagship which was powerless to respond. Eendracht and Delft from some distance inshore could see what was unfolding and tried to shake off the Garland to come to the aid of their admiral.

Turn 8 End

Turns 9 -15

The sea chase was afoot! The more powerful hunters had suddenly become the hunted as the lumbering and lonely De Zeven Provincien was harried in a criss-crossing chase which always seemed to result in the English ships being better positioned and able to brings their guns to bear.

End T9  Tocht runs runs Channel

As the battle headed into the open Channel the cumulative damage on De Zeven Provincien was so extensive that when she finally fired her mighty broadside the impact on Portland was negligible. Her lighter Dutch guns compounded the feeble effect of the lame salvo. Portland’s captain, a bold fellow, took his chance racing up on Tocht’s larboard quarter and suddenly turned to starboard across her wake and coming parallel with her on the starboard side barely 100 yards distant.

T10 END - Captain Baillie's determined leadership of Portland harries Tocht's flagship

 This surprise broadside cleared the main deck of men and the Dutch flagship was almost finished. Eendracht pulled away toward the open water but Delft circled back as Tocht made ready to shift his flag and boats were lowered on the shielded larboard side. Portland and Garland swiftly closed with the wounded giant and boarded her clearing the few remaining sailors from the upper deck and hoisting the English flag on her stump mainmast.

End T11 Shadowed by Delft, the wounded flagship cannot shake off the dogged Portland

Tocht was nearly abandoned as had been Peere’s fireship crew - still adrift in the bay and about to be picked up by a passing English brig. The admiral however, did make it to the Delft which was allowed to make her escape. 
Baillie slips Portland into a superb position and pounds De Zeven Provincien late in the battle.

The English were jubilant with their unexpected triumph leaving the stunned and freezing Admiral Tocht to contemplate the ruination of his squadron and how he might explain the day’s absolute disaster back home. 

Wat is er mis met onze schepen?

T15 End - De Zeven Provincien surrenders to the English. Delft stands off picking up Admiral Tocht from his longboat.

General at Sea/Admiral


Turn #




Damage inflicted


Damage received




Victory points


Mallus points

Ship lost :Flagship – De Zeven Provincien


Ship lost: Fireship - Oranje


Captain Peere and crew of the Oranje picked up and made prisoner.


Total points


Turn points allowance


Points carried over from previous turn


Points total





Sub- total repairs


Purchases and upgrades

Net points



An opportunity which turned into a disaster. The decision to leave two ships in open water reduced the destructive power of the attack. When English reinforcements began to arrive from different compass points the Dutch were forced to react to multiple though inferior threats. The slow-moving flagship was outmanoeuvred by faster ships and worn down over a protracted period.

Commendation to Captain Baillie of the Portland and an upgrade for her crew to Veteran.