Friday, January 16

Book review The Spanish Armada

I have to admit kids that I didn't know the details of this episode. Of course I knew the basics, Philip of Spain wanted to attack England and Elizabeth with Drake managed to fight him off. Big seminal moment in British history. Take that, you poxy papists.
But managed to go deeper this time on this book. It's a bit of an old book so I'm sure there will be more recent research based books which provide more information via library and newly discovered archives and books. But this 55 year old book was good enough to talk to me about the leaders. The ships. The cannons and culverins. The food and water - or rather the lack of it. On both sides.
Two lessons I took away. First is that I'm still very convinced that logistics are the crucial part of any strategy. England at times had only 1 day worth of food and water in their ships. They were fighting while hungry. They couldn't fight many times because they didn't have any ammunition. Round shot and powder was terribly in short supply.
Second, it's about luck. And luck comes to the brave and people who jump at more opportunities than the next one.
Curiously the actual number of ships destroyed in actual battle were minuscule. Most ships were lost to the storms and when they had accidents while getting lost. Huge number of sailors died due to disease and sickness rather than battle. Hardly any damage was actually done to the ships.
It's curious. One of the greatest triumphs of England and the reason for that was luck and that the Spaniards were badly led. Truly history is written by the victors.


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