A turning point in the history of naval warfare, the Battle of Portland raged for three days off the south coast of England and ended in a decisive victory for the English fleet under General-at-Sea Robert Blake.
Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth of England had only just emerged victorious from the Civil War when it was plunged into conflict with the Dutch Republic. The First Anglo-Dutch War saw the two greatest navies in the world pitched against each other for control of the English Channel and North Sea. At stake was dominance of the world’s maritime trade, as well as Cromwell's determination to put and end to Dutch support for the exiled monarch Charles II.The battle of Portland was fought at a crucial time for naval warfare, when the centuries-old tradition of free-for-all skirmishes was being replaced by professional military discipline and revolutionary new line-of-battle tactics. The three-day battle was the first time in naval history that both sides entered the fray with a pre-determined plan of battle, and the chain of command and habit of discipline to put it into action -- an epic battle in every sense of the word.
Copyright © 2013 Andrew May