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THE SPANISH ARMADA CONQUERS ENGLAND (1588) (Part ΙI): AN HISTORICAL SCENARIO

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portuguese galleonA Portuguese galleon.
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mapA map of the subjection of England by the Spanish and their allies (Welsh and Irish) according to my scenario. The arrows denote their operations for the capture of London, Bristol and other cities.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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CONTINUED FROM PART I
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The next day Santa Cruz sent message to the Duke of Parma who was waiting with his army in Dunkirk and the neighboring ports, to be ready for the departure of his shallow landing crafts for the English coasts (Note).
Most of the English naval squadron of Dover which by then was guarding Parma’s landing fleet, had to join Howard’s main fleet during his desperate attempt to protect Portsmouth. The English reckoned that the Dutch navy allied to them, was guarding Parma’s fleet but they were mistaken. The Hollanders never really trusted their unnatural friendship with the English, although Elizabeth’s defeat would probably mean also their own subjection to Spain. They were furious by the fact that the Queen was still negotiating with the Duke of Parma on a peace treaty, ignoring their own war against him. They feared that Elizabeth and the Duke had moved much closer to a peace treaty which would leave the Spaniards undisturbed to subdue the Netherlands.
The Duke of Parma had contributed to their confusion by spreading misleading information that his landing fleet would not be heading to England but to the coasts of Holland. After that, the Dutch did not hesitate to keep their warships moored in their ports in order to protect themselves from the threat of Parma’s landing army.

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ENGLAND COLLAPSING

The bad weather delayed the military operations for two days. Santa Cruz was urgent to operate because the English were rapidly concentrating land forces in neighboring Southampton to recapture Portsmouth. After the improvement of the weather, the Armada ships covered the maritime area from Portsmouth to Dunkirk in order to protect Parma’s shallow landing crafts. The English navy attacked for the ultimate deterrence effort. The Englishmen fought furiously unleashing a barrage of shells and thus managed to destroy many galleons of Santa Cruz and sink some of the vessels of the Duke of Parma. But they were finally fought off with heavy losses, by the Spanish who kept unbreakable their “wooden wall” that had set up in the Channel waters. Captain Hawkins, a renowned Sea Dog, was among the casualties, lost together with his galleon.
At the same time, the attacks of the English Army under Leicester (from Southampton) against the Spanish garrison of Portsmouth, had no success because Santa Cruz’s marines and mercenaries who were guarding the city, were experienced soldiers and protected by strong fortifications reinforced by the rapid work of Italian and Spanish engineers. In the final attack, Leicester’s English and a few mercenary troops came very close to recapture the city killing many Spaniards, but they were finally pushed back. Thereby in two days, 17,000 soldiers of the Duke of Parma were in Portsmouth, in the English coast ready for the land invasion. Soon the nearly unprotected ports of Brighton and Dover fell into Parma’s troops.

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Η ΙΣΠΑΝΙΚΗ ΑΡΜΑΔΑ ΚΑΤΑΚΤΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΓΓΛΙΑ (1588): ΕΝΑ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΚΟ ΣΕΝΑΡΙΟ –Μέρος B΄

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portuguese galleonΠορτογαλικό γαλεόνι της εποχής. Το πορτογαλικό ναυτικό ελεγχόταν από τον Φίλιππο.
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mapΧάρτης της χερσαίας κατάκτησης της Αγγλίας. Τα βέλη δείχνουν τις επιχειρήσεις των Ισπανών και των συμμάχων τους (Ουαλών και Ιρλανδών) για την κατάληψη του Λονδίνου, του Μπρίστολ και άλλων πόλεων.
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ΣΥΝΕΧΕΙΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΟ  Α΄ ΜΕΡΟΣ
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Την επόμενη ημέρα, ο Σάντα Κρούζ ειδοποίησε τον Δούκα της Πάρμας ο οποίος περίμενε με τον στρατό του στην Δουνκέρκη και τα γειτονικά λιμάνια, να είναι έτοιμος για τον απόπλου των αποβατικών σκαφών του με προορισμό την αγγλική ακτή. (σημείωση)
Η αγγλική μοίρα του Ντόβερ (Dover), η οποία επιτηρούσε έως τότε τoν Πάρμας, είχε ενωθεί με τον κύριο στόλο του Χάουαρντ κατά την προσπάθεια του να ανακτήσει το Πόρτσμουθ. Οι Άγγλοι υπολόγιζαν ότι ο συμμαχικός τους ολλανδικός στόλος θα επιτηρούσε τον Πάρμας αλλά έσφαλαν. Οι Ολλανδοί δεν εμπιστεύθηκαν ποτέ πραγματικά την αγγλική λυκοφιλία, παρότι η ήττα της Ελισάβετ θα σήμαινε και την δική τους υποταγή στην Ισπανία. Είχαν γίνει έξαλλοι από το γεγονός ότι η Αγγλίδα βασίλισσα συνέχιζε τις διαπραγματεύσεις σύναψης συνθήκης ειρήνης με τον Πάρμας, αγνοώντας τον δικό τους πόλεμο εναντίον του. Φοβούνταν ότι η Ελισάβετ και ο Δούκας είχαν πλησιάσει πολύ στην σύναψη ειρήνης η οποία θα άφηνε τους Ισπανούς απερίσπαστους να υποτάξουν την Ολλανδία. Ο Πάρμας είχε συμβάλει στην σύγχυση τους, διαχέοντας παραπλανητικές πληροφορίες ότι ο αποβατικός στόλος του δεν θα κατευθυνόταν στην Αγγλία αλλά στην ολλανδική ακτή. Μετά από αυτά, οι Ολλανδοί δεν δίστασαν να κρατήσουν τα πολεμικά τους αγκυροβολημένα στα λιμάνια τους προκειμένου να προστατευθούν από την απειλή της απόβασης του στρατού του Πάρμας.
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Η ΚΑΤΑΡΡΕΥΣΗ ΤΗΣ ΑΓΓΛΙΑΣ

Η κακοκαιρία που ξέσπασε καθυστέρησε τις επιχειρήσεις για δύο ημέρες. Ο Σάντα Κρούζ επειγόταν να επιχειρήσει επειδή οι Άγγλοι συγκέντρωναν ταχέως χερσαίες δυνάμεις στο γειτονικό Σάουθάμπτον προκειμένου να ανακαταλάβουν το Πόρτσμουθ. Με την καλυτέρευση του καιρού, τα πλοία της Αρμάδας κάλυψαν τον θαλάσσιο χώρο από το Πόρτσμουθ έως την Δουνκέρκη προκειμένου να προστατεύσουν τα αβαθή αποβατικά σκάφη του Πάρμας. Ο εξουθενωμένος αγγλικός στόλος κινήθηκε για την ύστατη προσπάθεια αποτροπής. Οι Άγγλοι πολέμησαν λυσσαλέα, κατορθώνοντας με καταιγισμό οβίδων να καταστρέψουν αρκετά γαλιόνια του Σάντα Κρούζ και να βυθίσουν λίγα από τα σκάφη του Πάρμας. Αλλά τελικά αποκρούσθηκαν με βαριές απώλειες από τους Ισπανούς ναυτικούς οι οποίοι κράτησαν αδιάρρηκτο το «ξύλινο τείχος» που είχαν στήσει στα νερά της Μάγχης. Ταυτόχρονα, οι επιθέσεις του αγγλικού στρατού υπό τον Λέστερ (από το Σαουθάμπτον) εναντίον της ισπανικής φρουράς του Πόρτσμουθ, δεν είχαν αποτέλεσμα επειδή οι πεζοναύτες και οι μισθοφόροι που είχε εγκαταστήσει στην πόλη ο Σάντα Κρουζ ήταν εμπειροπόλεμοι στρατιώτες και προστατευμένοι από ισχυρές οχυρώσεις. Ετσι σε δύο ημέρες, 17.000 στρατιώτες του Πάρμας βρίσκονταν στην αγγλική ακτή, έτοιμοι για την χερσαία εισβολή. Σύντομα, τα σχεδόν απροστάτευτα λιμάνια του Μπράιτον (Brighton) και του Ντόβερ έπεσαν στα χέρια τους.

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THE SPANISH ARMADA CONQUERS ENGLAND (1588): AN HISTORICAL SCENARIO- Part Ι

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armada1

A Renaissance image of the Spanish Armada confronting English ships.

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Neptune Spanish galleonA modern reconstruction of a Spanish galleon (constructed for the movie ‘Pirates’).

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By Periklis Deligiannis

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This is an historical scenario that I have written about what would have happened if in 1588 the Armada of Spain had defeated the English fleet and the Spanish had conquered England. The scenario extends to the critical impact of such a march of events to the history of Europe and the World. Although it is written in the form of an “historical narrative” (because I was asked to write it in that form for a journal) it is based on actual and – I hope – cogent historical arguments which I mention in the text.

I did not take into account some random factors which in real history favored the English, while in the present scenario I supposed that they did not, for example the weather conditions which actually favored them much (in fact the Armada was defeated by the weather and not by Lord Howard’s fleet). First I quote an introduction comprising the actual historical events until the departure of the Armada. Next follows the scenario, being an estimate of mine on how the events would have evolved if the Spanish were victorious.

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HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION

During the 16th century the Reformation of the Protestants against the arbitrariness of the Papacy and the Inquisition has divided the Western Christian world. Around 1587, the supporters of Catholicism had rallied around the Habsburgs whose dynasties possessed two of the three most powerful European thrones, the ones of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans. In addition, the Spanish throne had inherited large areas of Europe (Portugal, Flanders, half of Italy, and others) while other European regions (eg some Italian states) were its protectorates.

The third most powerful European kingdom, France, was under the control of the Catholic League. The French King Henry III was essentially a ‘hostage’ of the leader of the League, the Duke of Guise who in his turn was manipulated mostly by the Spanish king. The stubborn French Protestants (the Huguenots) despite the carnage of the night of St. Bartholomew at their expense, were still numbering almost 1,000,000 causing instability in France and giving the opportunity to the Catholic League to substitute the royal power. Spain had additionally annexed the extensive network of the Portuguese colonies. The Spanish Empire controlled the most productive parts of the Americas and the numerous Spanish and Portuguese colonial settlements and posts around the world. The abundant American gold which was transported by the Spanish convoys in Madrid’s royal treasuries, ensured the supremacy of the kingdom over any other in Europe.

According to several scholars, the Spanish Empire was the most powerful in the planet, more powerful than the empires of the Ottomans, the Mughals (“Mongols”, in fact Turks) of India or the Ming of China. On the other hand, Protestantism had officially prevailed in England, Scotland, and the Scandinavian, northern German and Baltic countries. However, a large proportion of the population of the English kingdom remained Catholic because all Irishmen and a significant proportion of the Englishmen and Welshmen remained faithful to the papal church.

The Protestant doctrine of Calvin had prevailed in Scotland, however the majority of the Scottish Highlanders and a significant proportion of the Lowlanders remained Catholic. The Germanic Protestants of the Netherlands (ancestors of the Dutch) used to revolt from time to time against the Spanish domination. Their struggle for ethno-religious freedom, in combination with other factors, led to their gradual differentiation from the rest of the Germans. Thus during the 16th-17th centuries arose the Dutch nation.

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