By Larry Davis

Boeing F4B-4, considered one of approximately ninety three equipped from 1929-1932.

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Generation after generation of French aristocrats destined to serve as members of the Order, and as Knights and officers on galleys, served their apprenticeships at Malta. Just as the fighting methods of the Knights qualified their Order as a "school of naval warfare" for the principal Mediterranean Catholic powers, so their methods for holding and working formats and slaves were seen and learned by men destined for service aboard galleys. It was to tap the resources of the Order that Richelieu and Louis XIV alike sent special missions to Malta.

Some "Spanish" galleys were commanded by Italian noblemen who campaigned out of Naples or Sicily; galleys based in the city state of Genoa were also frequently in the service of Spain. The galley squadrons of certain Italian condottiere (the dukes of Centurione and Tursis, for example) were often in the pay of Genoa or Spain. In 1679 the French consul at Leghorn sent the minister of marine a detailed intelligence report on the dispersal of Spanish forces. 35 41 FIGHTING SHIPS AND PRISONS Spanish galleys regularly campaigned between Spain and Italy with the aid of the islands to which they had access.

In Richelieu's own experience, several maritime campaigns sent against Spain brought the French face to face with squadrons of Spanish galleys. Both vessels and galleys were of importance, as at Taragona (1641). But a special role for galleys was clearly indicated by the engagement that took place off Genoa in 1638 when fifteen French galleys were pitted against an equal number of Spanish. In that clear-cut duel, each commander was confident of victory. The Spanish commander, Don Roderigo de Velasco, boasted on the eve of the combat, "We'll take them like chickens," and vowed that he would either make himself worthy to be a grandee of Spain that day or die in the attempt.

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