Elizabeth I: The Golden Age - THE FLEETS ENGAGE

THE FLEETS ENGAGE (Illustration) Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Biographies Film Geography History Legends and Legendary People Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs Visual Arts World History

England employed faster ships, known as "race ships," in the English-Channel battles with the Spanish Armada. This image depicts how this "race ships" appeared. Image online via British Battles.


Departing from Lisbon, the Armada sailed to the English Channel. As the Spanish Fleet approached Lizard Point, and a fortified British shoreline,  the ships were not in battle formation.

To protect their slower and weaker ships, however, the Spaniards tried to maintain a crescent formation during their first engagement west of Plymouth. The faster galleasses  (whose oars could move the boats even without wind) were on both sides (nearest the enemy ships) while the slower, weaker vessels were farther away from England's firing power.

It was not easy to keep formation,  however, as England's faster "race" ships continued to harass the slow-moving Spanish fleet.

As the Armada moved through the Channel, many British ships followed, attacking whenever they could. Others protected important ports like Plymouth.

King Philip wanted his fleet in the Channel to keep moving until it could rendezvous with Parma and his men and ships. Not everyone agreed with that strategy, however.

Continuing to move east through the Channel, the wind and the weather were not always favorable for the Spaniards. The fleets lined up for engagements off Berry Point and Bill of Portland, then off the Isle of Wright.

When the Armada reached Calais, British ships protected their country's southeastern shore, off the Dover coast. Then ... hoping their actions would break the Spaniard's battle formation ... the British directed eight fire ships toward the Spanish fleet.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Sep 03, 2015

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"THE FLEETS ENGAGE" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 2007. Jan 19, 2020.
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