Texel, Battle of the

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Texel, Battle of the


a naval battle that took place near the Dutch island of Texel in the West Frisian Islands on Aug. 21, 1673, between the Anglo-French and Dutch navies during the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672–74).

The Anglo-French allies had intended to land an expeditionary force in Holland, but the Dutch Navy was defending the coast to ensure the safe passage to Dutch ports of a large convoy of merchant ships. Despite the superiority of the Allied Navy under the command of the English prince Rupert, Admiral M. De Ruyter, commander of the Dutch Navy, decided to attack the enemy. (The Allies had 92 ships of the line, 28 fire ships, and 23 auxiliary craft, while the Dutch had 75 ships of the line, 15 frigates, and 22 fire ships.)

In view of the inferior seamanship of the French, De Ruyter directed his advance guard (ten ships) against the French (30 ships) and used his main forces to attack the English, who were roughly equal in number to the Dutch. The Dutch advance guard beat off the French ships, which withdrew from the battle and rejoined the main forces. Having thus attained numerical superiority, De Ruyter successfully maneuvered to surround part of the English force, which only managed to break out with difficulty. The battle lasted an entire day: the Allies lost nine ships of the line and about 2,000 dead, and the Dutch lost about 1,000 men.

As a result of the victory at the Texel, De Ruyter prevented the enemy from landing troops and ensured a safe passage for the convoy. The defeat led to a worsening of relations between England and France and strengthened the position of Holland, which concluded an alliance with Spain and the German emperor in August 1673.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.