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The Spanish Armada was a Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed to escort an

army from Netherlands to invade England.
On 28 May 1588, the Armada set sail from Lisbon. The fleet comprised of 130 ships,
8,000 sailors and 18,000 soldiers. It included 28 purpose-built warships, of which 20
were galleons, 4 galleys and 4 galleasses.
On 20 July the English fleet was off Plymouth, with the Armada upwind to the west.
That night to execute their attack, the English tacked upwind of the Armada, thus
gaining the weather gage, a significant advantage.
On 21 July the English fleet engaged the Armada off Plymouth. The Armada was in a
crescent-shaped defensive formation. The galleons and great ships were
concentrated in the centre and at the tips of the crescent's horns, covering the
supply ships in between. Opposing them the English were in two sections, Drake to
the north in Revenge with 11 ships, and Howard to the south in Ark Royal with the
bulk of the fleet.
Given the Spanish advantage in close-quarter fighting, the English ships used their
superior speed and maneuverability to keep beyond grappling range and
bombarded the Spanish ships from a distance with cannon fire. However the
distance was too great, and at the end of the first day's neither fleet lost a ship in
action, although the Spanish carrack Rosario and galleon San Salvador were
abandoned after they collided.
The English spent most of their gunpowder in the first engagements and, after the
Isle of Wight, been forced to conserve explosives for a final attack near Gravelines.
During all the engagements, the Spanish heavy guns could not easily be run in for
reloading because of their close spacing and the quantities of supplies stowed
between decks. Instead the gunners fired once and then jumped to the rigging to
attend to their main task as marines ready to board enemy ships their
determination to fight by boarding, rather than cannon fire at a distance, proved a
weakness for the Spanish.
At Gravelines the English fleet provoked Spanish fire while staying out of range. The
English then closed, fired repeatedly damaging the Spanish ships. Many of the
Spanish gunners were killed or wounded by the English cannon fires, and the task of
manning the cannon often fell to the regular foot soldiers on board. After eight
hours, the English ships began to run out of ammunition, and some gunners began
loading objects such as chains into cannons. Around 4:00 pm, the English fired their
last shots and were forced to pull back.
In the battle 5 Spanish ships were lost. The galleass San Lorenzo, flagship of Don
Hugo de Moncada, ran aground at Calais and was taken by Howard. The galleons
San Mateo and San Felipe drifted away in a sinking condition, ran aground on the
island of Walcheren the next day, and were taken by the Dutch. One carrack ran

Supplies of food and water ran short. the Spanish were not aware that the current was carrying them north and east as they tried to move west. there being at that time no way of accurately measuring longitude.000 men. a devastating navigational error. and also gives the importance of Good Navigation . The ships showed wear from the long voyage. As a result the Spanish plan to join with Parma's army had been defeated and the English had gained some breathing space. when Philip II learned of the result of the expedition.aground near Blankenberge. more ships and sailors were lost to cold and stormy weather than in direct combat. which drove many of the damaged ships further toward the shore. "I sent the Armada against men. and they eventually turned south much further to the east than planned. in the relative safety of the open sea. as a result. Off the coasts of Scotland and Ireland the fleet ran into a series of powerful westerly winds. The intention would have been to keep well to the west of the coast of Scotland and Ireland. It was reported that. is considered one of the greatest sea battles in history. another foundered. he declared. This Naval expedition. Many other Spanish ships were severely damaged. 67 ships and fewer than 10. . Because so many anchors had been abandoned during the escape from the English fireships off Calais. However. many of the ships were incapable of securing shelter as they reached the coast of Ireland and were driven onto the rocks . In the end. especially the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic-class galleons which had to bear the brunt of the fighting during the early hours of the battle. not God's winds and waves". which is still applicable today. In September 1588 the Armada sailed around Scotland and Ireland into the North Atlantic. but the Armada's presence in northern waters still posed a great threat to England.