|The Spanish fleet sailed on July 12, 1588. It consisted of 128 ships carrying 29,522 sailors. The British fleet consisted of 116 large ships and numerous coastal vessels.
On the morning of the 21st, elements of the British fleet attacked superior Spanish forces to forestall their landing troops. The British fleet succeeded in sowing confusion amongst the Spanish fleet, causing many a Spanish ship to collide . The fight continued on and off for five days. There were no decisive battles, just continued engagements in which the English consistently achieved the upper hand. After five days of battering, the Spanish armada which was running low on provisions decided to withdraw. Their path back to Spain became littered with wrecks of additional ships that never made it home.