1707-10-21 – Engagement at The Lizard

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Battles and Encounters >> 1707-10-21 – Engagement at The Lizard

French victory

Prelude to the Engagement

On 19 October 1707, two French squadrons sailed from Brest under the Chevalier de Forbin and Duguay-Trouin.

On 20 October, a large merchant fleet (130 transports) left Plymouth for Portugal with supplies for the war in Spain. This convoy was escorted by five warships under Commodore Richard Edwards.

Map

no map available

The engagement took place some 40 km west off Lizard Point, in Cornwall.

Description of Events

The naval Battle near Lizard Point, Cornwall on 21 October 1707 - Source: Museum of the History of France

On 21 October, the two French squadrons spotted the large convoy some 40 km off Lizard Point. The French immediately gave chase. The five British warships waited for them to cover the merchant fleet.

When the British commodore realised that his warships were greatly outnumbered and gave the signal to escape. However, Duguay-Trouin's Squadron, which was at the head of the French fleet, decided to engage the retiring ships. He ordered the Achille (64), the Jason (58) and the Amazone (42) to attack and board the Royal Oak (70) and the Chester (50). Duguay-Trouin also instructed the captain of the Gloire (38) to follow and support them.

Meanwhile, the Maure (50) and the Blackwall (54) prepared to attack the Devonshire (80) and the Ruby (50).

The Lys (72) cannonaded the Cumberland (80) who was then attacked by the Gloire (38). With 200 men out of combat, the Cumberland surrendered to the Lys.

The Devonshire (80) opposed a fierce resistance but she soon caught fire and exploded, only three men escaping out of 500.

The Royal Oak (70) escaped but was pursued and boarded by the Achille (64). The latter lost 120 men in an explosion on board and disengaged to fight the fire, and the Royal Oak managed to escape into Kinsale with a few merchantmen.

The Chester (50) fought the Jason (58) and the Amazone (42) but was forced to surrender. The Ruby (50) had the same fate in her combat with the Maure (50) and the Mars (54), who had finally joined the fight.

Outcome

In addition to three British warships, the French captured 15 transports carrying troops.

Order of Battle

British Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Commodore Richard Edwards

  • Cumberland (80), flagship of Commodore Richard Edwards
  • Devonshire (80), captain John Watkins
  • Royal Oak (70) Captain Baron Wylde
  • Chester (50), Captain John Balchen
  • Ruby (50), Captain The Honourable Peregrine Bertie
  • 130 unidentified armed transports

French Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Rear-Admiral Chevalier Claude de Forbin assisted by René Duguay-Trouin

Forbin's Squadrons

  • Mars (54), flagship of Rear-Admiral Chevalier de Forbin
  • Blackwall (54), Captain Jean-Alexandre de Tourouvre
  • Salisbury (50), Captain Kerlo de l'Isle
  • Protée (52), Captain Comte de Illiers
  • Jersey (46), Captain François Cornil Bart
  • Griffon (48), Captain Comte de Nangis
  • Dauphine (40), Captain Comte de Roquefeuil
  • Dryade (46), Captain Joris van Crombrugghe

Duguay-Trouin's Squadron

  • Lys (72), flagship of Captain Duguay-Trouin
  • Achille (64), Captain Chevalier de Beauharnois
  • Jason (58), Captain Chevalier de Coursérac
  • Maure (50), Captain Thomas-Auguste Moinerie-Miniac
  • Amazone (42), Lieutenant Joseph de Nesmond de Brie
  • Gloire (38), Captain Chevalier de La Jaille

References

Castex, Jean-Claude: Dictionnaire des batailles navales franco-anglaises, Les Éditions du Phare-Ouest: 2012, pp. 90-91

Quincy, Marquis de: Histoire Militaire du Règne de Louis Le Grand Roy de France, Vol. 5, Paris 1726, pp. 467-471

Wikipedia