Battle of Cape St Vincent

4th November 1641
Part of : Eighty Years War (1568 - 1648)
Previous action : Battle of the Downs 21st October 1639
Next action : Attack on Saint Martin 20th March 1644 - 17th April 1644

The Spanish squadron of Galicia, under Don Andrés de Castro, the squadron of Naples, under Don Martín Carlos de Meneos, and the galleons of Don Pedro de Ursúa, were urgently gathered in Cádiz to intercept the Dutch fleet. The military governor of Cádiz, Don Juan Alonso de Idiáquez y Robles, Duke of Ciudad Real, was appointed commander of the fleet in substitution of the Captain General, the Duke of Maqueda, who was ill. He was a veteran soldier, having seen action in the Siege of Leucata against the French, but was unexperienced in sea battles.

Gijsels fleet was sighted off Cape St. Vincent on 4 November. The Duke of Ciudad Real immediately ordered to attack the major Dutch vessels, sinking three of them, destroying another one, and causing considerable damage to the remaining. Inexplicably, when his ships were approaching the defenseless Dutch warships to board them, he stopped the attack and ordered to return to Cádiz. This conduct dissatisfied King Philip IV, who severely reprimanded, among other officers, Don Martín Carlos de Meneos, Admiral Don Pedro de Ursúa, and Captains Pedro Girón, Gaspar de Campos and Adrián Pulido.

According to Dutch sources, the battle was indecisive, and broken off when the Spanish disengaged and returned to Cádiz. Dutch casualties were 100-200 killed and 2 ships lost, while Spanish losses were possibly 1,100 killed and 2 ships lost.


Spain - Andrés de Castro

Spanish Fleet, Juan Alonso Idiáquez
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Squadron of Galicia, Andrés de Castro
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Squadron of Naples, Martín Carlos de Meneos
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Squadron of Galleons, Pedro de Ursúa
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes

Dutch Republic - Artus Gijsels

Vanguard, J P Tolk
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Roode Leeuw 38J P TolkSquadron Flagship
Sint Maarten 30Fr J Touw
Hoop 28Adriaen van Crimpen
Sint Jacob 26C van Vliet
Tijger 20Maerten Schaeff
Zwaan 32Gerrit van Limmen Sunk
Abrahams Offerande 20Cornelis Brackman
Admiral's Squadron, Artus Gijsels
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Prins 38A VlughFleet Flagship
Drie Helden Davids 36Reynst Corneliszoon Sevenhuysen
Sint Andries 36H Steuven
Witte Engel 30Cornelis de Liefde
Engel Gabriel 28J Solaes CO Killed
Dom Theodosio Principe de Portugal 26J Leendertszoon
Vlissingen 20Pieter van Gorcum
Rearguard, Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Haas 26Michiel Adriaenszoon de RuyterSquadron Flagship
Roos 36G van Saenen
Pelikaan 32Jacob Pauluszoon Cort
Gouden Leeuw 24Pieter Floriszoon
Graaf Maurits 20C A Oosterlingh
Neptunus 20Paulus van den Kerckhoff


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