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Revenge, the fate of one of the best galleon in England

Nautical stories > Edition 2020

Revenge was an English race-built galleon of 46 guns, built in 1577. She served as captain´s ship to Drake when he went to Santo Domingo, Cádiz and Lisbon. Let us recall the events in which this ship wrote history.   

In the 16th century, the England was greatly and often threatened by Spain. For that reason, the Queen Elizabeth gave the English privateer, Sir Francis Drake, an outstanding leader of previous naval expeditions, the command of a fleet whose mission was to inspect the Spanish military preparations, intercept their supplies, attack the fleet and if possible, the Spanish ports. In 1587, Sir Francis Drake sailed to the Spanish coast and destroyed much materiel that Philip II had accumulated in preparation for the Armada. This was an attack on the Spanish naval forces assembling in the Bay of Cádiz in preparation for the planned expedition against England. Much of the Spanish fleet was destroyed, and substantial were destroyed or captured. There followed a series of raiding parties against several forts along the Portuguese coast. A Spanish treasure ship, returning from the Indies, was also captured. The damage caused by the English delayed Spanish preparations for the Armada by more than a year.  

Revenge, one of the best galleon in England

Revenge at Battle of Gravelines
In early 1588, Drake moved his flag from Elizabeth Bonaventure to Revenge, which was considered to be the best by far of the new ships. On 29 July 1588 the Battle of Gravelines (named after a Flemish town near Calais), was concluded as one of the fiercest and most decisive battles engaged in during these years. At the outset of the conflict, Revenge proved worthy of her reputation. Following Revenge at the head of the line, the English fleet engaged their broadsides into the Spanish Armada, following a fire ships attack the night before which broke up the tight Spanish formation. Many Spanish vessels were severely damaged, although only a few sank or ran aground. Both sides fought until supplies of ammunition was running dangerously low, and the shattered Armada was forced to flee into the North Sea. The English fleet monitored them until they drew level with Edinburgh, and then returned to port, ending the threat of a Spanish invasion.

Next years  
In 1589 Revenge again put to sea as Drake's flagship, in what was to be a failed attempt to invade Spanish controlled Portugal. With the ship in an unseaworthy condition, and without any prizes to his credit Drake fell out of favor with Queen Elizabeth and was kept ashore until 1594. In 1590 Revenge was commanded by Sir Martin Frobisher in an unsuccessful expedition along the coast of Spain to intercept the Spanish treasure fleet.

The last battle of the ship HMS Revenge
Revenge came to her end in a glorious but bizarre episode that has become a legend. In order to impede a Spanish naval recovery after the Armada, Sir John Hawkins proposed a blockade of the supply of treasure being acquired from the Spanish Empire in America by a constant naval patrol designed to intercept Spanish ships. Revenge was on such a patrol in the summer of 1591 under the command of Sir Richard Grenville. The Spanish had dispatched a fleet of some 53 ships under Alonso de Bazán, having under his orders Generals Martín de Bertendona and Marcos de Aramburu. Intent upon the capture of the English at Flores in the northern Azores. In late August 1591 the Spanish fleet came upon the English while repairs to the ships caused the crews, many of whom were suffering an epidemic of fever, to be ashore. Most of the ships managed to slip away to sea. Grenville who had many sick men ashore decided to wait for them. When putting to sea he might have gone round the west of Corvo island, but he decided to go straight through the Spaniards, who were approaching from the eastward.

The battle began late on 31 August

The battle began late on 31 August, when overwhelming force was immediately brought to bear upon the ship, which put up a gallant resistance. For some time, he succeeded by skillful tactics in avoiding much of the enemy's fire, but they were all round him and gradually numbers began to tell. As one Spanish ship retired beaten, another took her place, and for fifteen hours the unequal contest continued. Attempts by the Spaniards to board were driven off. San Felipe, a vessel three times her size, tried to come alongside for the Spaniards to board her, along with Aramburu's San Cristóbal. After boarding Revenge, San Felipe was forced to break off. Seven men of the boarding party died, and the other three were rescued by San Bernabé, which grappled her shortly after. The Spanish also lost the galleon Ascensión and a smaller vessel by accident that night, after they collided with each other. Meanwhile, San Cristóbal, which had come to help San Felipe, rammed Revenge underneath her aftcastle, and sometime later, Bertendona's San Bernabé battered the English warship with heavy fire, inflicting many casualties and severe damage. The English crew returned fire from the embrasures below deck. When morning broke on 1 September, Revenge lay with her masts shot away, six feet of water on the hold and only sixteen men left uninjured out of a crew of two hundred and fifty. She remained grappled by the galleons San Bernabé and San Cristóbal, the latter with her bow shattered by the ramming. The grappling maneuver of San Bernabé, which compelled the English gun crews to ĺ their posts in order to fight off boarding parties, was decisive in securing the fate of the Revenge. "Out-gunned, out-fought, and out-numbered fifty-three to one", when the end looked certain Grenville ordered Revenge to be sunk: "Sink me the ship, Master Gunner—sink her, split her in twain! Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands of Spain! ". His officers could not agree with this order and a surrender was agreed by which the lives of the officers and crew would be spared. After an assurance of proper conduct, and having held off dozens of Spanish ships, Revenge at last surrendered.

Revenge at last surrendered.

The injured Grenville died of wounds two days later aboard the Spanish flagship. The captured but heavily damaged Revenge never reached Spain, but was lost with her mixed prize-crew of 70 Spaniards and English captives, along with a large number of the Spanish ships in a dreadful storm off the Azores. The battle-damaged Revenge was cast upon a cliff next to the island off Terceira, where she broke up completely. Between 1592 and 1593, 14 guns of the Revenge were recovered by the Spanish from the site of the wreck. Other cannons were driven ashore years later by the tide, and the last weapons raised were salvaged as date as 1625.

The battle-damaged Revenge was cast upon a cliff next to the island off Terceira

There are two Revenge ship model kits in our offer

Ship model kit HMS Revenge from Occre
Ship model kit Revenge 1577 from Amati
Revenge OC13004
215,00 € Add
Revenge AM B130008
475,00 € Add
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