English Operations around Brest, 1594

By John S Nolan, published August 1995


Although the war between England and Spain from 1585 to 1603 was the widest conflict to date, the limited resources of the English meant that they were unable to hold New World ports for long or to ensure a strong enough presence at sea to intercept Spanish treasure ships by the blocking of their sea lanes. This was in part due to the logistics and tactics necessary not being sufficiently developed at the time. At the same time, the Spaniards required a deep-water port to resupply forces engaged in invading England (as planned by the Spanish), and because Brest was chosen it put southern England under threat. To counter this England initiated – albeit not without its own logistical problems – one of the first combined operations – the army and navy working together to a common aim. Whilst there were issues, including personality clashes, overall the operations were a success and led to the withdrawal of the Spanish and eventually to a situation whereby the French were able to defend Brittany for themselves.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | Francis Drake | English Channel
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Logistics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

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