Saturday 28 November 2020

The Armada of Flanders

 Your starter for ten: When was Spanish naval power in the North at its height?

To make it easier, have some multiple choice options: A: 1634 B: 1588 C: 1609

Many people, myself included, would probably have answered B. Even though the Armada lost, the Spanish did sail with a fair degree of impunity up the Channel and, subsequently, around the British Isles and back to the ports of northern Spain. Most modern historiography suggests that the weather and bad communications caused the Armada’s loss, not the actions of the English navy.

However, a book I have just read:

Stradling, R. A. (1992). The Armada of Flanders: Spanish Maritime Policy and European War 1568 - 1668. Cambridge: CUP.

suggests otherwise. Stradling argues convincingly that the Spanish controlled fleet, the Armada of Flanders, was at its peak during the 1630s when it took the fight to the Dutch (in particular) in the narrow seas.

Much of the earlier effort had been on land. Alba had spent his effort, and the initial Army of Flanders in attempting to suppress the rebellion of the provinces. The 1572 influx of Sea Beggars into the ports of Zealand was related to diplomatic pressure on Elizabeth of England to reduce piracy in the Channel, as the Dutch exile had little choice but to lurk in English ports and snap up passing Spanish merchantmen.

The subsequent war, down to the 1609 truce, was mainly land-based and normally related to siege warfare. A lot of the aquatic part of it was fought out with small boats on flooded plains around besieged cities. The Duke of Parma, famously, did not have the vessels (or, in fact, the facilities) to break the Dutch blockade of the Low Countries ports to get his army out into the Channel, let alone land it in England. But that situation did not have to be the case.

Parma, of course, was distracted by intervention in the French wars of religion after 1588, and little further progress was made. The memory of the Sea Beggars lived on, however, and, as the Dutch maritime trade empire grew, strategists and theorists in Spain began to argue for an armada based in Flanders. It could they thought, pay for itself by privateering and place a huge pressure on the Dutch who relied on trade and fishing for much of their income.

A problem was ports, and a great deal of investment was needed to make Dunkirk a viable base for a fleet. Nevertheless, this was accomplished and by the time the war with the Dutch restarted in 1621 the Spanish strategy was clear. The Army of Flanders was to remain on the defensive (it did so at least after 1629; sieges were extremely expensive in terms of money, men, and material) while the pressure on the Dutch was to be maintained by a new fleet based in Dunkirk. This would intercept the Dutch trade with Iberia and beyond as well as raid the fishing fleets, thus tackling both of the main income streams for the Dutch state.

It worked rather well for about a decade. The Armada of Flanders became quite quickly an elite force within the Spanish navy (at least according to Stradling). It achieved many of its strategic aims – the Dutch maritime trade did fell the pressure. So long as money was available from Spain for its operation and maintenance, the ships could slip in and out of Dunkirk past blockading Dutch squadrons and wreak havoc among shipping and fishing fleets. The Dunkirkers became a feared privateer force as well; entrepreneurs obtained licenses to take ‘enemy’ shipping, so long as they brought it into Dunkirk and it was sold via the Admiralty courts, the crown taking its percentage.

Strategically it was a win for Spain as well. The famous Spanish Road from Italy to the Low Countries, along which reinforcements and money flowed for the Army of Flanders was pretty well cut by 1630, and the Spanish could then use the sea route along the Channel, protected, in part, by the Armada of Flanders. According to Stradling in the decade of the 1630s nearly twenty-eight and a half thousand reinforcements arrived by sea, as opposed to nearly twenty-three thousand by land. These latter, I suppose, included those Spanish troops who had fought at Nordlingen with the Cardinal-Infante.

It did not, of course, last. War with France brought additional problems for the fleet, although it also provided extra targets. In 1639 the Battle of the Downs saw the destruction of a large number of reinforcements for Flanders, although it did not bring about overall Franco-Dutch naval supremacy. In 1640, however, the pigeons started to come home to roost for the overstretched Spanish imperial system. Portugal and Catalonia both rebelled, and, allied to the Dutch and French, proved difficult to reconquer (Portugal never was, of course). The naval resources were required in Spanish waters and the Armada of Flanders spent much of the rest of its time based in Cadiz, operating relief convoys to besieged cities in the south.

Dunkirk still operated as a privateer port, but without much central direction. In other words, it proved a pain still to the British and the Dutch. One of the French war aims became the capture of Dunkirk and, after a fair old struggle, it fell in September 1646. Of course, by this time the British polity had fallen apart into civil war and the Royal Navy (or Commonwealth Navy, as the Ship-Money fleet should probably be called) was not intervening.

That was not the end, however. In 1652, as part of the ongoing struggle between France and Spain with added allies of the Commonwealth regime now at war with France, the Spanish recaptured Dunkirk in 1652. The end, so far as the Spanish went, came in 1658 when the Cromwellian British, allied now to France, besieged the port, forcing the Spanish to attempt to relieve it, which effort was crushed at the battle of the Dune. Dunkirk became British, at least until Charles II sold it to Louis XIV in 1662, at it could resume its privateer trade.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Armies, Chivalry and Warfare

It is one of those odder aspects of writing this blog that, as a wargame blog, the actual wargames seem to be of less interest than my musings on history and historiography, at least according to the statistics which Google records of views. Of course, they are highly dubious sorts of statistics, a bit like counting how many friends you have from your Facebook page.

Nevertheless, those posts with less wargame content, such as the posts about Stanton and Oman, get less attention, even from Russian ‘bot nets, than wargames and toy soldiers, even odd ones like Hussites. Mind you, there are two issues at least here: firstly, originally, the blog was notorious for not having many pictures of toy soldiers on it, largely because I was not playing many wargames at the time, and secondly, I do have a tendency to skip over other people’s wargame reports myself, so I imagine most others do the same.

Anyway, after a spate of actual wargame reports, it is time for a bit more historiography. I have been reading:

Strickland, M. (Ed.) (1998). Armies, Chivalry and Warfare in Medieval Britain and France. Stamford: Paul Watkins.

As the title implies, this is an edited volume of academic papers, actually the proceedings of a symposium in 1995, which itself is part of a series. As an academic tome, of course, the price was high, but with twenty essays at two pounds apiece, you cannot really argue.

I got the book largely because it has a companion piece on ‘waste’ in the Domesday Book to the one in ‘The Medieval Military Revolution’ which I wrote about a few weeks ago. That focussed on the south and whether you can track the movement of armies via statements of waste. This one focusses more on the north and the extent of devastation wrought by the Harrying of the North.

Having bought the book, however, it seemed impolite as well as expensive just to read the one essay. It being a compilation of pieces it covers a wide range of stuff, ranging from the influence of Constantinople on Welsh castles, how field armies in Normandy were organised during the English occupation, tournaments in Scotland and a plethora of others. For those of us who are dilettantes in the ways of academic history, some of it is interesting, some of it is a bit ‘why did you write about that?’ but mostly it is fascinating, trying to get beyond the drums and trumpets of military history so beloved of wargamers to something that might indicate exactly how and why people fought and what they, and their society, thought about it.

How people thought about was is, of course, where the middle bit of the book’s title cones in. Chivalry, in its various forms, informed how war was conducted, or how people thought it should be conducted, at least at the higher levels of society. Sonya Cameron’s artilce on Chivalry in Barbour’s Bruce notes that there was an ambiguous relationship between the concepts of chivalry as being courteous to your enemies, never being mean or underhand and so on, and the way that the Scots under Bruce actually fought. Indeed, there is an implication at some points of the poem that those who did fight chivalrously were being, well, a bit thick. Not only that but, if they decided to fight rather than run away when the odds were against them, as some did on both sides, they had a tendency to land up dead.

The problem with books such as this is you land up with a whole load more stuff on you aspirational reading list. For example, Tony Goodman makes a ‘preliminary survey’ of the defence of Northumberland. Those who know me will be aware that I have an interest in the Scottish Borders, and so this was an interesting read. The only problem is that it added about half a dozen items to my reading list, on a topic – the medieval borders – which I am not sure I really want to make a focus. As I tell my students from time to time, you need to read with a question in mind, not just because a text you have read directs you to it. On the other hand, that is a suggestion for research students, not for hobby reading.

Still, for the real hardcore wargamer, there are essays of interest. Kelly De Vries describes the ‘forgotten’ battle of Bevershoulsveld, and suggests that gunpowder was an important factor. In fact, he argues that it was the first battle in which gunpowder was a significant factor. Perhaps it is not quite such a forgotten battle, as Bert Hall mentions it in Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe, but pretty obscure, nevertheless. In case you were wondering, the battle was fought on 3rd May 1382.

Matthew Bennett follows that with a discussion of the ‘myth’ of the supremacy of knightly cavalry. Cavalry, he argues, did become more important as the medieval period developed. Hastings is often pointed to as being the point at which infantry yielded the battlefield to the knight, but Hastings was an unusual battle. Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that all battles are unusual and we cannot, therefore, compare one battle with another a delimit the ascendency of the knight, or the longbow, or any other weapon system, for that matter. Bennett makes two points which I think might be useful for wargame rules writers: up to the invention of the bayonet and platoon firing, foot could not advance on cavalry with expectation of success; conversely, cavalry could not make any impression on foot that kept their formation.

I could go on, of course, at some length. But the point to be made here is that even modern military history can make interesting observations about things pertaining to the drums and trumpets required to write wargame rules or play wargames. If anyone exhibits any interest in the above bits, I might write a more detailed account of the essays. In fact, I might anyway, just because they are interesting in their own right.

Saturday 14 November 2020

The Citrus Campaign - Part III

‘Read it out.’

‘Um, yes, sire. “Mandy, We’ve got ashore. Meet us at Neac ASAP. Hope you’ve dried your socks. Clemmy and Sally.”’

‘Do we have any idea where they are?’

‘Sire, Lord Clementine landed north of Eppeid, and Lord Satsuma landed at the port. I believe that they had to fight off some Korean and Chinese troops in order to make the bridgehead.’

‘So they’ve already had to do some fighting?’

‘I believe so, sire, and that Lord Clementine was wounded at the head of his troops.’

‘That will never do. We must advance and hope an army opposes us!’

‘Yes, sire.’


As you will doubtless recall (if not, have a look at the campaign page to the right), three armies of 1590s era Japanese, led by three bored young Samurai, have invaded Korea separately from the main force, looking for some fighting and some extra land. Lord Satsuma had a hard fight to land at a port (yes, it is Dieppe spelt backwards, for you World War Two aficionados) and had to be rescued by Lord Clementine’s army which had landed on a beach further north, unopposed. This is the activities of the third army, led by Lord ‘Mandy’ Mandarin.

Mandy’s men landed unopposed to the south of the others and has now been requested to march inland. Needless to say, the Koreans take a less than rosy view of this intrusion and have rallied an army to delay Mandy’s men as they head inland. The scenario actually is the first one from Grant and Asquith’s Scenarios for all Ages, adjusted to period, taste and resources.

Mandy has thirty moves to cross the table and exit by the road. I had to think for a while about Korean dispositions and tactics, and decided eventually on a partial ambush while holding the pass on the ridge. The Japanese order of march was established (Samurai first, of course) and off we went.

In the picture, Mandy’s men are, of course, on the road. Assorted Korean bowmen lurk in the woods, while half the cavalry is behind the nearer trees. The rest are on the ridge except the rocket-men who are behind the ridge, but able to shoot over it.

Ambushes, on a reasonably large scale are, it seems to me, tricky things to pull off. The Korean mark of movement was when Mandy got to the second bend in the road. Then the rockets opened up and the bowmen and cavalry moved forward. 

A lot depended on the Korean cavalry. The group from ambush did their job, hit the front of the infantry column and swept away the lead element, pursuing them across towards the smaller wood. The cavalry group on the hill, however, refused to charge, enabling Mandy to turn his own cavalry and hit the Korean pursuers from behind, routing them. This included the general, who was lost. The second Korean cavalry element from ambush was held by a Samurai base and then itself eliminated.

The picture shows the ambush well and truly sprung. The fleeing bases, one from each side, can be seen at the top of the picture, while the arrow and shot fight goes on around the Japanese column. To the right, up a hill, Mandy is rallying his victorious cavalry while the Korean rocket battery is taking its toll on the other cavalry base. In fact, the bombardment became too much for them and they broke a few moves after the picture was taken.

It took a while for both sides to reorganise after the initial fighting. Mandy got his cavalry moving again along with the Ashigaru rear guard and saw off the Korean bows on the far side. Meanwhile the remaining Korean cavalry started to lurk ominously and, indeed, they defeated the advancing Ashigaru blades. 

Mandy managed to reorganise too, however, and sent in the Samurai at the Korean spears and shot on the ridgeline. While the Korean cavalry rally from their successful charge in the distance, the spears have been beaten and the shot is now fleeing. The road to Neac lies open, although the Koreans had done a good job and Mandy only had eight moves left to get off the left-hand edge of the table.

I think that there are few lessons to be learnt here. Firstly, both armies are tough. The Japanese have a hard time dealing with the Korean cavalry. Historically, it is thought that contact with the Koreans increased the popularity of the spear-like yari. Secondly, as noted before, the Samurai are tough and hard to beat. Thirdly, generals are important. The Korean effort was hamstrung by the early loss of the general, and Mandy’s habit of charging off with the cavalry did the organisation of the Japanese response to the ambush no good at all. Indeed, he spent some valuable time charging and capturing the rocket battery, which took him out of sight of the battle and led to having to spend about four turns rallying and reordering his troops. While to rockets were annoying, they were not that critical to the action and Mandy could have done some other stuff with his time.


Here he is.’

Hi, Mandy. What kept you?’

Oh, you know. The usual. I had to do a lot of dashing around.’

Mandy, I thought you had loads more horses than that.’

Horses? Oh, you mean my cavalry? Well, yes, I do.’

So, where are they?’

Oh, I sent some of them on leave, you know. Gone to see their friends. I think most of them will be back in a day or so.’

You’ve just had a battle and you’ve sent some of the troops vital to our forces on leave?’

It was only a small battle, really. Not more than an inn brawl really. But you should have seen me, rushing around, commanding people, charging generals and capturing their bang-stick things. It was great!’

I don’t suppose you’ve brought any bang-stick things with you, have you?’

No. Why?’

How are we going to besiege Neac, then?’

Elephants Again

Every once in a while I get a craving to put elephants on the table. I do not know what it is about pachyderms, but every wargamer I know (which is not that many, admittedly) seems to want to launch elephants at the other die. Perhaps they are simply majestic. Perhaps it is the write-ups of early ancients wargamers who had elephants running amok. I really do not know, but nevertheless, sometimes you just have to put an elephant or two on the wargame table. It is one of those life things, I suppose.

Anyway, I was getting Nellie cravings again (ooh-er, missus) and looked back through my notes. My last adventure with elephants seems to have been over a year ago, so the cravings are hardly surprising. That was a scenario taken from Grant and Asquith’s Scenarios for All Ages book, so I pondered what to do next.

I could, of course, have ramped up another battle over the same terrain, except I was not sure I could create the terrain again. Nevertheless, I felt, the Vietnamese would be out to counter-attack somewhere. I flicked back to the previous scenario and started to modify it.

The result was that a Khmer army is snoozing quietly in a village, with an advanced outpost in a hamlet on the other side of the river. The Vietnamese are trying to sneak up on them.

As you might be able to see, the bulk of the Khmer army is in the rightmost village, with two skirmisher bases and the cavalry is the forward position. The stream is actually fordable, but the Vietnamese do not know that. They advance from the top right to try to surprise the Khmer. The troops, when they appear, are all irregular, the bridges and some of the buildings are Leven, other buildings are Irregular and very old Baccus. The trees are Irregular.

The Vietnamese appeared over the next few moves to try to forces the bridges and undermine the Khmer position. A degree of chaos naturally ensued, with the Khmer scrambling to activate troops and cross the river, while never having enough tempo points to achieve what they needed to. The Vietnamese drove straight at the hamlet and the forward position, hoping to overwhelm it before help arrived.

A swirling cavalry combat ensued, between the Khmer cavalry protecting the village (the only active Khmer element at the time) and the Vietnamese cavalry sent forward to surprise the village. After a few moves help arrived from the rest of the Khmer army, which you can see above straggling over their bridge, while the Vietnamese attempt to pile over theirs. In the background, you can see the Vietnamese rocket battery, which has been surprisingly effective at disrupting the Khmer reinforcements.

The combat between the Vietnamese bridge and the hamlet swirled around confusingly for a while. Both sides got their bowmen into position, and the Vietnamese bow attacked the Khmer to some effect, the latter losing a base to a crossbow base commanded by the general in person. More Khmer troops kept turning up (and being hit by rocket fire) while the elephants on both sides declined, repeatedly, to charge each other. Sensible animal, your average elephant, it seems to me, but it certainly frustrated the Vietnamese advance as the Nellies were now blocking the bridge.

In the meantime, after a very tough and evenly matched fight, the Khmer cavalry were routed and exited stage right, pursued by their opposite numbers. The Khmer army had just about woken up sufficiently to have started harassing the Vietnamese elephants with skirmishing fire (ineffectively) and they also brought their tribal foot up, in part to threaten the Vietnamese flank. The deciding activity was the charge of a tribal foot base on a bow element with the Vietnamese general attacked. After a couple of rounds of combat, the bows were routed, which meant that the general had to be diced for. He too was routed and the Vietnamese were now both not properly deployed and leaderless.

Above you can see the Khmer cavalry exiting, pursued by Vietnamese at the bottom right. You can also see the hole in the Vietnamese line where the bow and general used to be. The Khmer elephant has also charged a bow base and disposed of that, and the triumphant tribal foot on the far side have crossed the stream (the elephants failed to – their bit was crocodile infested) and eliminated to rocket battery. In the distance and behind the village you can see further Khmer elements assembling.

The Vietnamese struggled on for a few turns more but hit the problems of being without a general. Needing to deploy to get more troops across the bridge they generally failed to move at all. The cavalry attempted to rally at the ford, but came under skirmishing fire from the Khmer from the village and could not get their act together. Slowly the Khmer were building towards an assault on the Vietnamese elephants with their own rallied elephants, tribal foot and bows. At this point, the Vietnamese under-general decided that enough was enough. Surprise and the initiative were well and truly lost, and a retreat was the only way out.

A nice and interesting fun battle. I do like to have the elephants out from time to time, and I learnt a few things about my rules for this one. Firstly, I found that actually gathering my army lists into one place might be a good idea. Secondly, I changed the rocket firing rules so they had a chance to hit something without having to roll a six. They did a fair bit of disruption to the advancing Khmer until they were masked by their own troops. Thirdly, I think I have not got the hang of these armies yet. The Vietnamese relied on the cavalry, elephants and crossbowmen, and the latter were defeated by tribal foot from the other side. The Vietnamese army has in its ranks blade elements, and these, I think, should have been sent over the bridge sooner, perhaps even before the crossbows.

Still, we live and learn, and I dare say it will not be too long before I get more elephant cravings.

Saturday 7 November 2020

Small Boat Sailing

 ‘So, this is Spinoza’s will?’

‘Yes, ma’am.’

‘And what does it say?’

‘For the state, ma’am, he recommends establishing Dunkirk and Ostend as privateer bases.’

‘Already done.’

‘Also, he suggests not assaulting the rebel’s fortresses any more.’

‘Really? What are we to do instead. Madrid will not be happy with the answer ‘nothing’, you know.’

‘No, ma’am. He does not suggest nothing. We should use the ships from the armada, and the troops, to outflank the rebels from the sea, cut off their maritime trade and seize the undefended islands. If we can fortify the towns on the islands, then they will have to come to us while we throttle their trade.’

‘Cunning man that Ambrose.’

‘Yes, ma’am.’


As any discerning wargamer of the Seventeenth Century will know, the Hispano-Dutch wars, once it resumed in 1621, got bogged down in sieges, and no-one really got anywhere. The real action was at sea, both in the Narrow Seas (much of the Dutch trade was, in fact, with the Baltic) and also world-wide. With the East- and West-Indian Companies grabbing trade and trading posts across the Americas and the Indies.

According to Hugh Peter’s account in his pamphlet (‘Digitus Dei. Or Good News from Holland’ p 157-172 in Randall, D., English Military News Pamphlets 1513-1637 (Tempe, Arizona: ACMRS, 2011)), Spinoza left exactly that above suggestion in his will to ‘the Infanta’, Archduchess Isabella, co-ruler, ruler and governor of the Spanish Netherlands until 1633. Again, according to Peter this waterborne assault took place in September 1631 by over eighty Spanish ships. The Prince of Orange, Frederick Henry of Nassau had already retreated from his invasion of Flanders (possibly aimed at Dunkirk, but that might seem a little ambitious) and was forced to dispose of his army against the sea threat, and also launch a naval effort against the incoming fleet.

It all went wrong for the Spanish, many of the sips ran aground in a mist and the whole seems to have been a logistical nightmare. Hugh Peter, of course, acknowledges that the defeat was from God.

Never being one to pass up an excuse like that for a wargame, I pondered my naval assets. Peter actually provides a fairly useful list of troops, sailors and ships (as well as other equipment) which came to 3274 soldiers of all ranks captured, 855 sailors (out of 6000 who left Antwerp). Peter also lists 62 vessels captured although not all of them were warships; the ammunition ships are listed as carrying powder, beer and ‘Deals’, which might be planks or wine.

The geography described by Peter is confusing, at least, it confused the socks off me and, of course, modern maps are fairly useless as a great deal of draining has occurred. The landscape (seascape?) even seems to have changed between 1630 and 1660 as the engineers got to work. So I gave up the idea of a precise reproduction of the events, and went for something ‘inspired by’ them.

Further investigation of my small craft indicated two slight snags in the plan. Firstly, I did not have very many and secondly, the ones I did have were poorly painted even by my low standards. Two of the brigs, for example, had no paint at all applied to one side. Having sworn off Hallmark Miniatures, I was at a bit of a loss until I recalled that Tumbling Dice have assorted ranges in 1:2400, and an order was placed and swiftly despatched. I set to to paint somewhere around fifty craft – being a solo player means you have to have sufficient for both sides. However, it turns out that simple paint jobs on ships are nearly as easy as buildings, and the whole project was only delayed by a fortnight or two.

I did have to invent some terrain. The problem is that at 1:2400 scale, a six-foot-tall human is about 0.83 mm tall. Thus the edge of a piece of felt could be a six to eight-foot cliff. Further, no-one seems to do any buildings in 1:2400 scale, a problem which I have encountered before but not solved. So some imagination was required.

After a few moves, the table looked like this.

The Spanish are sailing from the near edge of the table, in a lump, headed by a ‘hulk’ flagship. Their aim is to capture the two villages to the left, the little brown felt squares. This will interdict maritime traffic from Bergen, in the distance, from which you can see the Dutch starting to emerge. The pale bits are sand-banks or dunes. The dark blue bit is the ‘danger area’ where unwary ships entering are likely to run aground. There is a channel or two through the dunes at the end of the island, through which some optimistic Spanish ships are aiming to pass.

You can also see that there is more clutter on the table than I usually like. These consist of a wind direction marker, a weather tracker (I had, after all, to give a chance for some mist) and a turn tracker, to keep an eye on the tides. The weather rules were nicked, incidentally, from Charles Wesencraft’s ‘With Musket and Pike’.

The main clash of the fleets was in the restricted waters to the starboard of the island. The table edge, of course, was the other shore, and the Dutch landed up being rather pinned against it.

The Dutch, under their admiral the Prince of Orange in the leading galleass split into two to shoot up the Spanish who sailed obligingly between them. However, most of the Dutch ships lost out in the artillery duel and the port squadron (nearest the camera) was forced to sheer off and ran aground, at least in part. While receiving some damage (you can make out the markers if you look) the Spanish sailed fairly serenely on. In the top left of the photograph, you can see the flying squadron has taken one of the villages with consummate ease, the relieving Dutch squadron being hampered by the wind.

It did not really get much better for the Dutch. Attempts to refloat the Prince’s ship led to it sinking (a failed refloat gives a possibility of damaging the ship), the Prince himself being unharmed by captured after struggling ashore. Most (even more?) embarrassingly, the starboard squadron of the Prince’s force largely ran aground trying to get through the channel in the dunes. The Spanish armada sailed on.

The picture shows the situation when I gave up. The Dutch relieving squadron is about to reach the second village; the Spanish main force will not, however, be far behind. To the right, you can see the remainder of the Prince’s squadron aground or struggling to catch up given their damage levels. Even if they do recover, they are going to struggle to get past their own ships as the tide is going out.

It is a good thing when a wargame leads to another. In this case, there are two – the Spanish assault on the second village, now defended by Dutch soldiers and sailors, and the Dutch assault on the first village, now defended by Spanish soldiers and sailors.


Prince Frederick Henry, ma’am.’

Ah, Freddy. Nice of you to drop by. Do come in. Have you dried out?’

I have been well treated.’

Excellent. Well, you know, we must set you a ransom. Your fellow traitors are quite keen to have you home, you know.’

A ransom?’

Yes. What shall we say? The whole of Zealand and Holland?’