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This was the Second fleet engagement of the First Anglo-Dutch War between the Commonwealth of England and the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
On 13 August 1652, the Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter set sail from Calais with 32 (or36) men-of-war to escort a merchant fleet of 60 ships through the Channel to the Mediterranean. General-at-Sea George Ayscue was patrolling, with forty men-of-war and armed merchantmen and five fireships, in search of prizes. He sighted the Dutch convoy off Plymouth on 15 August. de Ruyter altered course to fend off Ayscue's attack.
Although the English ships were in the majority, and were better armed, many of them failed to keep their station in the line of attack, and Ayscue lost the advantage, The battle continued all afternoon. As evening fell Ayscue broke off the engagement and sailed back to Plymouth. He was pursued by de Ruyter, who intended to attack the English ships in their anchorage until a change of wind forced him to withdraw. No ships were lost, but both sides suffered heavy casualties among their crews. The Dutch merchant convoy succeeded in escaping through the Channel.
|Van division, William Haddock|
|Name : Vanguard||56||Richard Haddock||Squadron Flagship|
|Main division, Sir George Ayscue|
|Name : Rainbow||64||Sir George Ayscue||Fleet Flagship|
|Name : Pelican||34||Joseph Jordan|
|Rear division, Michael Packe†|
|Name : Amity||36||Henry Packe†||Squadron Flagship CO Killed|
|Name : Increase||36||Thomas Varnell|
|Name : Malaga Merchant||36||Henry Collins|
|Name : Success||30|
|Name : Nightingale||30||Jacob Reynolds|
|Name : John and Elizabeth||26||Thomas Wright|
|Name : George Bonaventure||20||John Crampe|
|Name : Charity||Unknown||Simon Orton||Fireship, Expended|
|Main division, Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter|
|Name : Neptunus||28||Cornelis Mangelaer||Fleet Flagship|
|Name : Westergo||34||Joris Pieterszoon van den Broek|
|Name : Amsterdam||Unknown||Jan Hendrickszoon Overbeek|
|Name : Vogelstruis||40||Douwe Aukes|
|Name : Drie Koningen||36||Lucas Albertszoon|
|Name : Faam||30||Cornelis Loncke|
|Name : Haes in 't Veld||30||Leendert den Haen|
|Name : Amsterdam||30||Adriaen Nicolaeszoon Kempen|
|Name : Maria||30||Claes Zael|
|Name : West Capelle||28|
|Name : Sint Pieter||28||Jan Janszoon van der Valck|
|Name : Gelderland||28||Cornelis van Velsen|
|Name : Liefde||26||Joost Bankert de Jonge|
|Name : Wapen van Sweden||24||Jacob Sichels|