The Battle of Livorno 4th March 1653 Part 2: After action report


The lie of van Galen's ships as Badiley approaches from the north west. Mary is escaping.


Start positions. Sole survivor Mary, makes her escape toward Badiley's reinforcing squadron.

With Badiley to windward appearing over the western horizon to the north of Livorno, van Galen’s victorious squadron picked its way through the wreckage of Appleton’s five ruined ships and attempted to reach open water beyond the mouth of the harbour.  Turning directly into the westerly wind, many Dutch ships were caught in irons and boxed in by their sisters and the four drifting wrecks of Appleton’s command. Much jostling took place and one serious collision damaged the Witte Oliphant so badly that she was forced to drop anchor lest she sink or, fall prey to the enemy. Captain Mol’s crew spent the entire battle making repairs before finally turning for the safety inshore.


End of Turn 1. The Dutch caught in irons amidst the wreckage of Appleton's squadron.


 The other vessel, Jonge Prins, was only slightly damaged but remained for some time in a confused jumble of ships trapped together by the contrary winds, English wrecks and lack of space to manoeuvre. Unable to make any headway, she fell prey to a successful attack by the fireship Charity. The combination of collision damage and a serious conflagration almost ended in disaster however, after much effort, her crew got the blaze under control, the hulk of the burning Charity was cut loose and Jonge Prins, made a wide circuit back toward Livorno. 


Charity burns Jonge Prins further blocking the channel. 


The Julius Caesar had been forced to drop anchor in the channel behind Jonge Prinsas no way through could be found. When the burning wreck of the fireship was disentangled, it began to drift inshore toward this second ship. Captain Roocher was forced to lower his boats and tow Julius Caesar stern first toward Livorno. This steady stream of Dutch ships heading for port further reduced van Galen’s options as just before the battle commenced, the Madonna della Vigna had run aground beyond the mole.


End of Turn 3 the English turn south (Mary can be seen coming about at the rear)


Over a period of around forty minutes, Badiley’s squadron turned south and attempted to form line to prevent a Dutch breakout. The battle opened about fifty minutes after the squadrons first sighted each other. The first shots were fired by Jan Richewijn’s Ter Goes and Roetering’s Magd van Enkhuysen against three English ships furthest inshore Constant Warwick, Lewis and Charity.


From the north. The tangle of Dutch ships attempts to reach open water

Despite access to the space denied the Dutch, William Elle provoked a furious reprimand from his commander when Lewis struck the stern of the flagship in a clumsy manoeuvre whilst trying to avoid enemy fire. The fleets moved on converging courses toward the south east with the English grouped  in a bunched line whilst the Dutch attempted to form as they emerged from the wreckage field of the battle against Appleton.

sweeping view as Badiley's ships race in to bottle up the Dutch fleet

Captain Fisher’s Mary, sole survivor of Appleton’s squadron, managed to reach Badiley’s ships and now swung back inshore to have vengeance. This manoeuvre left his ship isolated as the long turn allowed the rest of the English squadron to sweep by to the south. The already damaged Mary had to deal with three enemy ships Zon, Susanna and Ster. The Dutch surrounded the solitary English ship hitting her repeatedly and eventually she caught fire, burning down to the waterline.

Mary reaches Badiley but will be left behind as she turns

Although famed for their willingness to come to close quarters, it was the Dutch who were surprised by the aggression of Badiley’s captains. As Charity launched her successful run at the stranded Jonge Prins, Captain John Godolphin in the merchantman William and Thomas,came alongside and grappled the larger Ter Goes. In a protracted struggle which saw the ships locked together for over half an hour, the Dutch prevailed and, Godolphin struck his colours. The victorious Ter Goes was in no condition to continue with the battle and both ships limped back toward Livorno. Badiley wanted to salvage English honour. His flagship Paragon,grappled the much smaller Salomans Oordeel. Captain van Oosterwout’s crew were ferocious in defence and chased the English back aboard their ship, cutting the lines and pushing off with defiant cries and expletives!

Mary is away but will turn around and enter the fight once one

Several English ships running with the wind, pushed inshore in an attempt to cut through the forming Dutch line and grapple. This was met with punishing fire. Constant Warwick was bow raked by Zwarte Arendwhich sliced her mainmast and shredded the rigging. Captain Elle onboard Lewis,was saved due opprobrium for his earlier poor seamanship when he fell dead from a splinter through the neck as his ship reeled under a salvo from Cornelis Tromp’s Maan. The battle was going badly for the aptly named English commander yet, these ships pushed into the enemy line despite their travails and ran across the stem and stern of Maagd van Enkhuysen at exactly the same moment on parallel courses. 


Mid stage - Charity attacking Jonge Prins. Top left: Paragon duels with Saloman Oordeel


Their weakened raking broadsides were delivered at less than 30 yards and this proved enough for the first Dutch ship to strike. The vanguard’s of both squadrons had been attempting to curl each around the other and after several gunnery exchanges van Galen’s flagship De Zeven Provincien attacked Pheonix. The English crew were stunned by the terrifying attack and immediately Captain Cox surrendered his ship. Badiley had unsuccessfully tried to re grapple Salomans Oordeel the fearless captain of which, had immediately on freeing his ship from the clutches of Badiley’s Paradox, attacked the smaller Thomas Bonaventure. Her merchant crew offered spirited resistance but were overwhelmed by the Judgement of Solomon and her crew of devils who by this point, had themselves had enough of the fight.


Height of battle: Right - Maagd bow raked by Warwick. Far left - DZP captures Pheonix.


Badiley’s squadron was reduced to his flagship, Elizabeth both of which remained relatively unscathed, the undamaged Mary Roseand the very badly mauled Constant Warwick and Lewis. Seeing the hopelessness of his situation, he signalled to break off and the English ships turned north west seeking safety.

Mary was burned and destroyed, Pheonix, William and Thomas and Thomas Bonaventure were captured and the fireship Charitywas burned. Earlier, Appleton had lost Leopard, Levant Merchant and Peregrineall captured, Samson burned and Bonaventure  blown up.

Badiley's battered survivors Constant Warwick, Lewis, Mary Rose, Paragon, Elizabeth

Dutch losses were the Maagd van Enkhuysen taken but abandoned by the English because she was too damaged to be sailed as a prize, Ter Goes, Jong Prins and Saloman’s Oordeel were badly damaged but seaworthy. The rest of the squadron had sustained varying degrees of light to moderate damage. Overall, this was a resounding victory for van Galen.


Badiley's battered ships sail north west leaving the battleground to the enemy.