Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Battle of Dogger Bank (1781)

Battle of Dogger Bank (1781)

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Battle of Dogger Bank (1781)'
Start a new discussion about 'Battle of Dogger Bank (1781)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The naval Battle of the Dogger Bank took place on 5 August 1781 during the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War
Fourth Anglo-Dutch War
The Fourth Anglo–Dutch War was a conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Dutch Republic. The war, tangentially related to the American Revolutionary War, broke out over British and Dutch disagreements on the legality and conduct of Dutch trade with Britain's enemies in that...

, part of the American War of Independence, in the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

. It was a bloody encounter between a British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 squadron under Vice Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, 5th Baronet
Sir Hyde Parker, 5th Baronet
Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, 5th Baronet was a British naval commander.Parker was born at Tredington, Gloucestershire. His father, a clergyman, was a son of Sir Henry Parker. His paternal grandfather had married a daughter of Alexander Hyde, Bishop of Salisbury. He began his career at sea in the...

 and a Dutch
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 squadron under Vice Admiral Johan Zoutman
Johan Zoutman
Johan Arnold Zoutman was a Dutch naval figure and Rear Admiral who fought at the Battle of Dogger Bank in the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War.Zoutman also fought in the American Revolutionary War.-Legacy:...

, both of which were escorting convoys.

Background



In December 1780, Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 declared war on the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

, drawing it militarily into the American War of Independence. The Dutch had for many years been supplying the Americans, and shipping French supplies to the Americans, in support of the American war effort. The opening of hostilities with the Dutch meant that Britain's trade with countries on the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 (where key supplies of lumber for naval construction were purchased) was potentially at risk, and that the British had to increase protection of their shipping in the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

. In order to accomplish this, the British began blockading the Dutch coast to monitor and intercept any significant attempts to send shipping into or out of Dutch ports, and began to protect merchant shipping convoys with armed vessels.

The Dutch were politically in turmoil, and were consequently unable to mount any sort of effective actions against the British. The result of this inaction was the collapse of their economically important trade. It was finally decided that a merchant fleet had to be launched. On 1 August 1781, Admiral Johan Zoutman
Johan Zoutman
Johan Arnold Zoutman was a Dutch naval figure and Rear Admiral who fought at the Battle of Dogger Bank in the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War.Zoutman also fought in the American Revolutionary War.-Legacy:...

 led a fleet of some 70 merchantmen from the Texel
Texel
Texel is a municipality and an island in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is the biggest and most populated of the Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea, and also the westernmost of this archipelago, which extends to Denmark...

, protected by seven ships of the line as well as a number of frigates and smaller armed vessels.

Admiral Hyde Parker
Sir Hyde Parker, 5th Baronet
Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, 5th Baronet was a British naval commander.Parker was born at Tredington, Gloucestershire. His father, a clergyman, was a son of Sir Henry Parker. His paternal grandfather had married a daughter of Alexander Hyde, Bishop of Salisbury. He began his career at sea in the...

 was accompanying a convoy of ships from the Baltic when he spotted the sails of the Dutch fleet on the morning of 5 August. He immediately despatched his convoy toward the English coast, and ordered his line to give chase. Zoutman, whose ships had been interspersed with the merchantmen, signalled his line to form in between Parker and the convoy.

The ships of Parker's fleet were not in the best of condition, since great demands were placed on the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 by the demands of the war, and all manner of ships were pressed into service, or did not receive necessary maintenance. Some ships were in such poor condition that the number of guns available to fire was reduced from its normal complement. In spite of this, Berwick and Parker's flagship Fortitude, both 74 guns, were both relatively new and in good shape. The Dutch fleet had not seen any significant action due to the British blockade.

Battle


With a calm sea and a breeze from the northeast, Zoutman maneuvered his line onto a port tack, heading east-southeast, and awaited Parker, who held the weather gage
Weather gage
The weather gage is a nautical term used to describe the advantageous position of a fighting sailing vessel, relative to another. The term is from the Age of Sail, and is now antiquated. A ship is said to possess the weather gage if it is in any position, at sea, upwind of the other vessel...

. The British fleet closed, raggedly at first due the poor condition of some of the ships. When Parker raised the battle flag shortly before 8 am, the two fleets were about half a musket shot apart. Zoutman then also raised his flag, and opened fire, raking the Fortitude with a broadside. Close action ensued, lasting for more than three hours. Around mid-morning the Dutch merchantmen moved away from the action and headed back to the Texel. Around 11 am Parker gave the signal to reform his line, which reformed and limped away from the Dutch.

Casualties on both sides were high, considering the number of ships involved. (Fewer casualties were suffered, for example, in the Battle of the Chesapeake
Battle of the Chesapeake
The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American War of Independence that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas...

, fought a month later between fleets more than twice as large.) The British claimed 104 killed and 339 wounded, while the Dutch claimed 142 killed and 403 wounded. There were private reports made that the Dutch casualties were actually much higher, possibly reaching 1,100. The Hollandia sank the same night. Her flag, which was kept flying, was taken away by the Belle Poule, and carried to Admiral Parker.

Aftermath


Although the Dutch celebrated the battle as victory, their fleet did not leave harbour again during the war and their merchant trade remained crippled. At least one convoy did make it to the Baltic, but it flew under Swedish flags and was accompanied by a Swedish frigate.

Parker considered that he had not been properly equipped for his task, and insisted on resigning his command. The battle had no real impact on the general course of the war.

British (Hyde Parker)


Ships of the line:

Berwick
HMS Berwick (1775)
HMS Berwick was a 74-gun Elizabeth-class third rate of the Royal Navy, launched at Portsmouth Dockyard on 18 April 1775, to a design by Sir Thomas Slade. She fought the French at the Battle of Ushant and the Dutch at the Battle of Dogger Bank...

 74 (Captain John Ferguson)

44 (Captain William Blair)

Buffalo
HMS Captain (1743)
HMS Captain was a 70-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built according to the 1733 proposals of the 1719 Establishment at Woolwich Dockyard, and launched on 14 April 1743....

 60 (Captain William Truscott)

74 (Captain George Robertson, Parker's flag)

80 (Captain John Macartney)

50 (Captain Alexander Graeme)

Bienfaisant
HMS Bienfaisant (1758)
Bienfaisant was a 64-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, launched in 1754.She was captured by the Royal Navy on the night of 25 July 1758 during a cutting out expedition ordered by Admiral Edward Boscawen during the 1758 Siege of Louisbourg. Bienfaisant and the 74-gun Prudent were the last...

 64 (Captain Richard Brathwaite)

Smaller vessels:

40-gun fifth rate (Captain John MacBride
John MacBride (Royal Navy officer)
John MacBride was an officer of the Royal Navy and a politician who saw service during the Seven Years' War, the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary Wars, eventually rising to the rank of Admiral of the Blue.MacBride entered the navy after serving on merchant vessels and...

)

38-gun fifth rate (Captain Hyde Parker)

Belle Poule
French ship Belle Poule (1765)
Belle Poule was a French frigate of the Dédaigneuse class, designed and built by Léon-Michel Guignace, famous for her duel with the English frigate Arethusa on 17 June 1778, which began the French involvement in the American War of Independence....

 36-gun fifth rate (Captain Philip Patton)

32-gun fifth rate (Captain George Murray
George Murray (MP)
Vice Admiral George Murray was a Royal Navy officer and politician. He was the third son of the Jacobite general Lord George Murray.-Naval career:...

)

14-gun cutter (Lieutenant Peter Rivett)

Dutch (Zoutman)


Ships of the line:

Erfprins 54 (Braak)

Admiraal Generaal 74 (van Kinsbergen
Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen
Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen , or Count of Doggersbank, was a Dutch naval officer. Having had a good scientific education, Van Kinbergen was a proponent of fleet modernization and wrote many books about naval organization, discipline and tactics.In 1773, he twice defeated an Ottoman fleet while in...

)

Argo 40 (Staring)

Batavier 54 (Bentinck)

Admiraal de Ruijter 68 (Staringh., Zoutman's flag)

Admiraal Piet Hein 54 (van Braam)

Holland 68 (Dedel) (later sunk)

Smaller vessels:

Bellona (frigate 36, Docker)

Dolphijn (frigate 24, Mulder)

Ajax (cutter 20, van Welderen)

Eensgezindheit (frigate 36, Boritius)

Zephijr (frigate 36, Wiertz)

Amphitrite (frigate 36, von Woensel)

Sources