Ships of the line

From the battle of Lepanto to the mid-19th century.
User avatar
cascoskuro
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2004 9:13 pm
Location: S/C Tenerife, España

Ships of the line

Postby cascoskuro » Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:45 pm

To talk about them.

There are three types (first-rate, second-rate, and third-rate). I'm not sure, but I think that it depends of the number of guns. For example, a first-rate ship has more or less 100 guns, as Victory. And also three gundecks, and about 850 of crew.

And, wich was the most powerfull ship of the line in history?, Santísima Trinidad perhaps?.

Image
HMS Victory in 1884

Image
The Spanish Santísima Trinidad, four gundecks with 140 guns.

User avatar
Ulrich Rudofsky
Contributor & Translator
Posts: 844
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:16 pm
Location: State of New York

Postby Ulrich Rudofsky » Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:52 pm

The number of guns are only part of the equation of which ship is most powerful. To serve 140 guns was an enormous job. The 74's and 100's probably out-gunned any 140. :lol:
Ulrich

User avatar
marcelo_malara
Senior Member
Posts: 1072
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:14 pm
Location: buenos aires

Postby marcelo_malara » Tue Nov 15, 2005 8:41 pm

According to Dodds & Moore (Building the wooden fighting ship):

First 100+ guns 3 decks
Second 90-98 guns 3 decks
Third 64-80 guns 2 decks
Fourth 50-60 guns 2 decks
Fifth 32 guns 1 deck
Sixth 20-30 guns 1 deck

The number of guns in a rate varied in time, this corresponds to 1792.
The decks are complete decks, the forecastle and quarterdeck are not counted.

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Postby Bgile » Thu Nov 17, 2005 4:36 am

Ulrich Rudofsky wrote:The number of guns are only part of the equation of which ship is most powerful. To serve 140 guns was an enormous job. The 74's and 100's probably out-gunned any 140. :lol:


I don't understand. Perhaps you can be more specific? On the surface of it, that seems silly, presuming the 140 has a proportionatly larger crew.

User avatar
miro777
Member
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:13 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Postby miro777 » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:16 pm

hey
hmmm
what u both forgot is how big the guns are themselves.
there are different guns.
36 pounders, 24 punders, 12 pounders, etc.
so it depends on how many of each they had
for me i think a well manned english ship with 100 guns could outgun any french or spanish 120+ gun ship
in this kind of battle it's very important how the crew works together and how many salvos they can fire.
it's a fact that the british ships had better crews most of the time in that era (also at trafalgar), and so i would say to mention a name,
the HMS Victory is the best ship of line.

adios
miro
Die See ruft....

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:58 pm

Ulrich Rudofsky wrote:The number of guns are only part of the equation of which ship is most powerful. To serve 140 guns was an enormous job. The 74's and 100's probably out-gunned any 140.


Proposed equation:
1. Number of guns. A design and technological element.
2. Type of guns. Another design and technical element.
3. Rate of fire. A crew team work and training aspect.
4. Overall combat performance. This belong to the captain and his officers.
5. Fleet manouver. The admiral.

Miro 777 wrote:for me i think a well manned english ship with 100 guns could outgun any french or spanish 120+ gun ship


I agree with Miro´s opinion that a British ship can outgun a french or Spanish one because, let´s face it, that is History. The British managed to win over both of her ancient and natural enemies at sea.
But I think there is redemption for the Spanish in all this. If they wouldn´t be so lethally tied to the French at the end of XVIII century and at the beggining of XIX century they would have managed to save their battle fleet, their global influence and, more important, their naval prestige. The Trafalgar disaster was a French blunder, not a Spanish one. At the eve of the battle the Spanish commanders leaded by Churruca pleaded to the allied fleet overall "commander" Villeneuve not to sail under the circumstances present. There was no victory in sight at that moment, but Villeneuve and his french officers insisted (because Napoleon´s order firing him as C in C was incoming in a few days or hours). At the end the French prevailed and with them a naval disaster that put Great Britain as sole master of the seas for more than a century. Well done, Villeneuve! :clap:
I do believe that only the French and that Russian admiral at Tushima managed to get wiped out the way they were.

User avatar
Matthias
Member
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:59 pm
Location: Mailand
Contact:

Postby Matthias » Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:43 pm

Bgile wrote:
Ulrich Rudofsky wrote:The number of guns are only part of the equation of which ship is most powerful. To serve 140 guns was an enormous job. The 74's and 100's probably out-gunned any 140. :lol:


I don't understand. Perhaps you can be more specific? On the surface of it, that seems silly, presuming the 140 has a proportionatly larger crew.


He means that to serve a so large number of guns, and expecially the heaviest 42 pounders ones, remember we are speaking of ancient guns which needed to be reloaded form the muzzle, would require a very large number of crew (which, by the way, the ship have had the space to store somewhere...).Then, lots of lads would be employed to take ammunition from the depots, and powder packets, and projectiles, and so on.Not only, a so large number of man running around on the lowest decks would create a mass.The results would be a lack of high fire rating, which was vital for a ship of that time (remember Captain Aubrey teachings...;)) and a level of confusion unacceptable during a battle...
"Wir kämpfen bis zur letzten Granate."

Günther Lütjens

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Postby Bgile » Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:04 pm

I understand, and I disagree. A 140 gun ship should be more powerful than a 100 gun ship, assuming both ships had the necessary crew size to man their guns and that the gun size was proportional to the ship size.

I know the British won most of the time because of better gun drill, but I thought we were talking about the most powerful ship without regard to the crews. If you take crew training into account, of course the equation changes.

User avatar
Matthias
Member
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:59 pm
Location: Mailand
Contact:

Postby Matthias » Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:49 pm

Bgile wrote: If you take crew training into account, of course the equation changes.


Well, in effect you have to count the crew...Iif I'm not mistaken Nelson once said that the "dons" (you know don is tha spanish for lord) build great ships, but they were unable to build up crews too...;)

Go straight at 'em!
"Wir kämpfen bis zur letzten Granate."



Günther Lütjens

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:00 pm

After reading a bit about the Battle of Trafalgar I confirm my believing that the Spanish (the "dons") can´t be blamed for the defeat. Indeed the British had better crews and the greatest commander of all but the French were responsible for the total defeat of the combined franco-spanish fleet.
The Spanish commanders Churruca and Galiano were opposed to set sail out of Cadiz (and they said it loud and clear) while the French C in C Villeneuve insisted to get out and fight (he was expecting the message of Napoleon "firing" him as C in C for his previous poor performance).
And when the combined fleet sighted the British then Villeneuve (who was sailing south) ordered a 180 degree turn manouver (now heading North) that destroyed the cohesion of his battleline and exposed it to Nelson´s intentions.
OK. The Spanish got whipped before by the British but the outcome of Trafalgar is not their making. They obeyed the orders Madrid sent to them and, in doing so, there was not much for them to be done. The blame for the greatest naval defeat in History was due to the French, not the Spanish. Anyhow the Victory is undoubtable: British.

User avatar
marcelo_malara
Senior Member
Posts: 1072
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:14 pm
Location: buenos aires

Postby marcelo_malara » Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:15 pm

A 140 gun ship should be more powerful than a 100 gun ship

I recently received "The ships of Trafalgar" by Peter Goodwin. It describes all the ships of the three fleets that were engaged in the battle.
It is interesting comparing the data to find that the lower decks have aproximately the same number of guns irrespective of the total number of guns (remember the lower decks guns were the heavier ones). The difference is made in the guns of the upper decks, which in fact are much more lighter pieces. That teoretically would enable a 74 to engage a 100 at long to medium distance in equal terms.

....................Santisima Trinidad........Victory.................Belleisle
......................136 guns...................100 guns..............74 guns

Forecastle....10x24pdr Carronade...2x68pdr Carron....2x24pdr Carron.
Waist............6x4pdr
Quarterdeck.18x8pdr......................12x6pdr................14x32prd Carron

Upper deck..34x18pdr.....................30x12pdr
Middle deck..34x24pdr.....................28x24pdr..............30x24pdr
Lower deck..34x36pdr.....................30x42pdr..............30x32pdr

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Postby Bgile » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:43 pm

According to Marcelo's comparison, one could pose an argument in favor of Victory being the most powerful because of the 42 pdr guns. Wheren't those the brass ones they had a lot of trouble with and eventually went back to the iron 36 pdrs though?

Clearly any English ship had an advantage over any other navy one-on-one due to their superior standard of training leading to much higher rate of fire, so that's a whole different thing. The one exception I'm aware of us America, Americans were largely retreaded English, with the same traditions, etc. We were really insignificant due to our very small navy though.

User avatar
marcelo_malara
Senior Member
Posts: 1072
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:14 pm
Location: buenos aires

Postby marcelo_malara » Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:08 am

According to "The arming and fitting of English ships of war" by Brian Lavery:
-The 42 pdr were introduced in 1637 aboard the Sovereign of the Seas, and phased out begining in 1790, because it was thought that the 32 pdr was quicker to fire.
-There were both brass and iron cannons, brass being discontinued because of the price.
Bear in mind that the much vaunted Santisima Trinidad was called a four-decker just because she had a catwalk bridging the forecastle and quarterdeck where they installed 6 4pdr.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:24 pm

Can someone explain to me how this 42 pdr or 4 pdr, carronade or carron worked? Was something like the contemporary field artillery, canister fire or a Napoleon cannon? Dreadnought armament is quite an easy concept: how many inches in diameter vs. range, muzzle velocity, armour penetration, etc. etc. This stuff of sailing warships´armament becames like Mesopotamical philosophy to me. :? :think: :?

Monitor
Member
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 12:46 am
Location: US

Postby Monitor » Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:09 pm

I'm not familiar with old gunnery but since they didn't care about armor at all it is my understanding that sailing ships could hardly be sunk by gunfire. Is that correct? Guns were useful to dismantle enemy ships that were later boarded and captured. How many ships were actually sunk by gunfire at Trafalgar?

From Antony Preston's "Battleships"

Cannon --- 42-pounders
Demi-cannon --- 32 pounders
Culverings --- 18 pounders
Demi-culverings --- 9 pounders.

Did shells have a bursting charge inside or were just cast-iron balls? Were fires common aboard ships during this era?

Many unanswered questions.


Return to “The Age of Sail (1571-1860)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest