Royal Netherlands Navy / Koninklijke Marine – Frigate

F 813   -   HNLMS Witte de With



HNLMS Witte de With (F 813)

Type, Class:


Guided Missile Frigate – FFG; Jacob van Heemskerck - class / L-Frigate



Koninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde (KMS), Vlissingen –

(Royal Schelde Shipbuilding, Vlissingen, The Netherlands)



Laid down: December 15, 1981

Launched: August 28, 1984

Commissioned: September 17, 1986

Decommissioned: May 26, 2005

Fate: sold to Chile / renamed CNS Capitán Prat (FFG 11)




Ship’s Motto:



Technical Data:

(Measures, Propulsion,

Armament, Aviation, etc.)


see: INFO >> Frigate – Jacob van Heemskerck class



Official Royal Netherlands Navy site


ship images






Witte Corneliszoon de With




Information & History

Vice-Admiral Witte Corneliszoon de With (March 28, 1599 – November 8, 1658):


Witte Corneliszoon de With (born: March 28, 1599 in Den Briel / died: November 8, 1658 in Oresund) was a famous Dutch naval officer of the 17th century. He became legendary in many great victories, some supporting the fleet, and others in a leading role.

Early life and childhood

De With was born on a farmstead near Brielle, the very town in which Maarten Tromp had been born a year earlier. According to legend they were friends or even already rivals in their youth, but there is no proof for this. His father died in 1602. The De With family were Mennonites and strict pacifists; in 1610 Witte, as an anabaptist not yet baptised, obtained a baptism by a calvinist preacher so that he would no longer feel constrained in using violence as he was by nature not a peace-seeking boy. After some failed minor jobs he went on his first sea voyage to the Dutch East Indies when he was seventeen, as a cabin boy on Captain Geen Huygen Schapenham's ship, part of the fleet of Jan Pieterszoon Coen. He was a corporal during the siege of Jakarta in 1619. May 1620 he returned to the Netherlands. He then took service with the Admiralty of the Maze as a schipper (then the highest NCO rank), still under Schapenham, seeing action in the Baltic and the Mediterranean. In July 1622 he became flag captain of Delft of now Vice-Admiral Schapenham, who in 1623 carried out the spectacular raid organised by the Admiralty of Amsterdam, sending the "Nassau fleet" against the Spanish possessions on the west coast of America; this fleet then crossed the Pacific to reach the Indies. In the summer of 1625, in a punitive action, he laid waste Ternate in the Spice Islands. He returned in September 1626, after the death of Schapenham, as Vice-Admiral (in service of the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie) of the Spice Fleet, then worth five million guilders, thus having circumnavigated the globe.

Capturing of Spains' treasure-fleet

In 1628 he was flag captain to Admiral Piet Heyn when the latter captured the Spanish treasure fleet near Cuba. Out of the bounty De With was granted about 500 guilders, with which he was very dissatisfied, as he imputed to himself a crucial role in the capture. In 1629 the five Dutch admiralties refused Heyn, their new factual supreme commander, to enlarge his staff with a special tactical officer, for which function Heyn had De With in mind. Disappointed, De With left the direct navy service to become Commodore of the Grote Visserij, the administrative body controlling and militarily protecting the herring fleet. Maarten Tromp became Heyn's new flag captain. In 1635 for a short time De With rejoined the navy, but soon left the service again after a quarrel with Lieutenant-Admiral Philips van Dorp.

Battle of the Downs

In the Eighty Years' War against the Spanish, De With fought at the Battle of the Downs (1639), having become Vice-Admiral of Holland and West Frisia in 1637, when the highest ranking navy officers, among them Van Dorp, were replaced because of incompetence. However De With was again severely disappointed not to have become supreme commander; he now was second in command under Tromp. De With became very jealous of Tromp's popularity after his destruction of the Spanish fleet at Downs. In the same battle he made an enemy of Zealandic Vice-Admiral Johan Evertsen by accusing him of cowardice and avarice.

Court Martial

In 1640 De With was brought to trial when, his fleet having been dispersed by a storm, he had returned to Hellevoetsluis alone. The court martial was presided by Tromp and though he was acquitted, De With had the compulsive notion that Tromp had tried to influence witnesses against him. Both in 1644 and 1645 De With with an enormous convoy of merchantmen - 702 on the return voyage of the latter year - forced the Sound against the Danes, who had tried to impose higher toll rates. In 1647 De With was sent with a poorly equipped fleet to assist the Dutch colony of Brazil from attack by the Portuguese. He refused to cooperate with the Council of Brazil and, after many months of conflict during which his fleet deteriorated through lack of supplies, he returned against orders with the two remaining seaworthy ships to the Netherlands in November 1649. On his return he went to the States-General to complain about the policy of the colony of Brazil but was himself arrested, charged for insubordination and desertion on 259 points and nearly condemned to decapitation, only saved from this by the intervention of the States of Holland pointing out they had the exclusive right to condemn their admirals to death. In February 1651 he was acquitted of most charges, the punishment reduced to a loss of wages for the period involved; in September 1651 De With was again on convoy duty.

The first Anglo-Dutch War

In the First Anglo-Dutch War against the Commonwealth of England, when Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp fell in disgrace with the States-General, De With commanded the Dutch fleet at the Battle of the Kentish Knock but failed. Morally broken, he remained ill at home for many months, while Tromp replaced him for the Battle of Dungeness and the Battle of Plymouth. On 8 May Tromp officially became supreme commander again and De With fought as subcommander under Tromp in the subsequent actions: the Battle of the Gabbard and the final Battle of Scheveningen in which Tromp died. De With was temporary commander between 14 August and 22 September but was denied permanent command of the Dutch fleet because of his difficult personality in favour of Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam. Between 1654 and 1656 he was inactive, only sailing again for the relief of Danzig.

Death in the Battle of the Sound

He fell in the Battle of the Sound, during the Northern Wars, commanding the vanguard of the Dutch fleet relieving Copenhagen from the Swedish, when his ship Brederode was grounded and surrounded by the enemy. He was first shot through the left thigh by a musket ball and hours later through the breast. When Swedish soldiers boarded the ship he refused to surrender his sword, wrestling with two of them on his knees and exclaiming: "I have faithfully wielded this sword so many years for Holland, so I won't give it up now to some common soldiers!". He collapsed, was brought to his cabin to recover, insisted on walking by himself over the gangplank to the Swedish ship, there collapsed again and died. He body was balmed on orders of Charles X of Sweden and displayed as a war trophy in the town hall of Elsinore by the Swedes, who January 1659 delivered his body to the Danish court in Copenhagen; after the Danes had paid their homage, it was transported to the Netherlands and buried with great pomp in Rotterdam on 7 October, in the church of St Lawrence, where the marble grave memorial, restored after being damaged by the German bombardment of 14 May 1940, can still be seen.

The arch-rivalry with Tromp

He had a lifelong rivalry with Admiral Maarten Tromp. De With was feared and hated by his inferiors - on several occasions crews refused to let him on board to use their ship as flagship - shunned by his equals and always full of insubordination against his superiors. He was also seen as courageous, competent and an excellent sailor. He was embittered by the neglect of the fleet between 1639 and 1650.


One of the more remarkable aspects of De With's personality was his being a notorious pamphleteer, publishing many booklets, anonymous or under the name of friends, in which he sometimes praised but more often ridiculed or even insulted his fellow officers. Tromp was a favourite subject for all three categories.


HNLMS Witte de With (F 813):


F 813 history wanted




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