16th Century Sailing Battleships

The Mary Rose.

Before the reign of King Henry 8th of England, ships of war were mainly used for transporting troops which captured enemy ships by getting close and boarding and fighting hand to hand. But Henry VIII had built warships with cannon batteries which fired through ports at the enemy ships to break their resistance. Too bad Mary Rose’s cannons and the soldiers in the tall forecastles made her top-heavy , she rolled her lowere gunports under water , flooded , and she sank on July 19, 1545.

The Mary Rose was built in 1510 along with its sister ship the Great Harry. In 1540 they were rebuilt to carry more guns and troops. She carried 91 guns total from small hailshot guns to repel enemy boarders along with heavy bronze and iron cannons called bastards or culverins , which were put onto wheeled carriages. These cannons were among the first of their kind cast in England. The Mary Rose had a normal sailing crew of 415 men with 285 soldiers. Many of the soldiers were skilled archers who used the English longbow. In 1982 the Mary Rose was raised from the seabed along with weapons, tools, and differing pieces of equipment. She is today on display in a special museum in Portsmouth along with all the guns and other finds excavated from the wreck of the Mary Rose.

The Spanish Armada

These new battleships had yet to be proved when the Spanish Armada sailed against England in 1588 and were an unknown force at sea battle. The Spanish Armada has 130 ships in all. The armada intended to fight by boarding with lots of soldiers. But the English fought with their guns at long range, keeping the armada at bay. A portuguese galleon with 48 guns , the San Martin, was the flagship of the Spanish Armada. The English flagship was called the Ark Royal.

Comments are closed.