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Questions for the Historians

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We all have little things we would like to know in a instant regarding the timeframe depicted by Naval Action.

 

Given we have an excellent community dedicated to this age with excellent knowledge accumulated by all ranging from guns, economy, ship building, and down to some of the technical details why not have a place where a Q&A takes place.

 

Rule is simple. One question only. No more questions from the same individual until it is answered by someone.

 

Questions must be regarding a specific thing, a part, a item, a place, a person. Generic things are vague.

 

Aswering should be as concise as possible and wherever possible share the source and link for the books ( this helps a lot to increase our own personal libraries ).

 

Always give an answer quoting the Question. If several answers are posted it should quote like a pyramid - with all previous answers also included.

 

Thank you.

_______________________

 

 


Question:

 

How was wind speed measured during this time frame ?

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Wind speed was estimated by visual clues, for example, by looking at the waves or flags or trees on land if close enough. So if you see white caps on the waves one could estimate a 12-15 kt breeze. This is how the Beaufort scale works by categorizing these observations into levels, force 4, etc. Same method is taught in sailing classes today. Not everyone has the instruments to precisely measure speed (although there is probably an app for your phone now!).

 

Wiki on the Beaufort scale:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale

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-How was wind speed measured during this time frame?

 

Answer: Beaufort Scale

 

The scale was devised in 1805 by Francis Beaufort (later Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort), an Irish Royal Navy officer, while serving in HMS Woolwich. The scale that carries Beaufort's name had a long and complex evolution from the previous work of others (including Daniel Defoe the century before) to when Beaufort was a top administrator in the Royal Navy in the 1830s when it was adopted officially and first used during the voyage of HMS Beagle under Captain Robert FitzRoy, later to set up the first Meteorological Office (Met Office) in Britain giving regular weather forecasts. In the early 19th century, naval officers made regular weather observations, but there was no standard scale and so they could be very subjective – one man's "stiff breeze" might be another's "soft breeze". Beaufort succeeded in standardizing the scale.

 
 
Sir Francis Beaufort
The initial scale of thirteen classes (zero to twelve) did not reference wind speed numbers but related qualitative wind conditions to effects on the sails of a frigate, then the main ship of the Royal Navy, from "just sufficient to give steerage" to "that which no canvas sails could withstand".
 
The scale was made a standard for ship's log entries on Royal Navy vessels in the late 1830s and was adapted to non-naval use from the 1850s, with scale numbers corresponding to cup anemometer rotations. In 1916, to accommodate the growth of steam power, the descriptions were changed to how the sea, not the sails, behaved and extended to land observations. Rotations to scale numbers were standardized only in 1923. George Simpson, C.B.E. (Later Sir George Simpson), Director of the UK Meteorological Office, was responsible for this and for the addition of the land-based descriptors. The measure was slightly altered some decades later to improve its utility for meteorologists. Today, many countries have abandoned the scale and use the metric system based units, m/s or km/h, instead,[citation needed] but the severe weather warnings given to the public are still approximately the same as when using the Beaufort scale.
 
The Beaufort scale was extended in 1946, when forces 13 to 17 were added. However, forces 13 to 17 were intended to apply only to special cases, such as tropical cyclones. Nowadays, the extended scale is only used in Taiwan and mainland China, which are often affected by typhoons. Internationally, WMO Manual on Marine Meteorological Services (2012 edition) defined the Beaufort Scale only up to Force 12 and there was no recommendation on the use of the extended scale.
 
Wind speed on the 1946 Beaufort scale is based on the empirical relationship:
 
Beaufort_Wind_Force_Scale.jpg
 
v = 0.836 B3/2 m/s
Where v is the equivalent wind speed at 10 metres above the sea surface and B is Beaufort scale number. For example, B = 9.5 is related to 24.5 m/s which is equal to the lower limit of "10 Beaufort". Using this formula the highest winds in hurricanes would be 23 in the scale.
 
Today, hurricane-force winds are sometimes described as Beaufort scale 12 through 16, very roughly related to the respective category speeds of the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale, by which actual hurricanes are measured, where Category 1 is equivalent to Beaufort 12. However, the extended Beaufort numbers above 13 do not match the Saffir–Simpson Scale. Category 1 tornadoes on the Fujita and TORRO scales also begin roughly at the end of level 12 of the Beaufort scale, but are independent scales – although the TORRO scale wind values are based on the 3/2 power law relating wind velocity to Beaufort force.
 
Wave heights in the scale are for conditions in the open ocean, not along the shore.
 
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>>Aswering should be as concise as possible and wherever possible share the source and link for the books ( this helps a lot to increase our own personal libraries ).

>>Always give an answer quoting the Question. If several answers are posted it should quote like a pyramid - with all previous answers also included.

 

Is "questioning" any answer being allowed?

 

The question was, Question:

How was wind speed measured during this time frame ?

(What do you mean by "time frame"? 1600 -1820?)

 

Answer: Beaufort Scale,

question answered from 1805-1820

 

What was before?

Edited by Wilson09
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Actually, the Beaufort Scale was not in wide use until a few decades after the period of the game. It was invented in 1805 but its creator didn't have the influence to institute it.

 

So seamen would have used a much more poetic and descriptive vocabulary to describe wind conditions. Of course, that also means a totally imprecise and subjective vocabulary.

 

What kinds of descriptions and labels were used, you ask? Well, here's a list of 1,001 of them:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gU0iRHPhVeZWIWHmL2HzprnK75q0hwlI6pP9Hek-G0k/edit?usp=sharing

 

There were some general rules. 'Gale' did not suggest a particularly strong wind, but was usually used with a modifier. For example, a 'topgallant gale' meant that you could set your topgallants, which is a rather moderate wind. 'Whole topsail gale' meant that you could set topsails without a reef in them, while a 'close-reefed topsail gale' meant that you needed to reef them three or four times. Just to make things confusing, a 'whole gale' was much stronger than a 'whole topsail gale,' being more like a 'stiff gale' or 'full gale' when very little canvas could be set. Lighter winds were referred to as breezes, although a 'stiff breeze' could probably be similar to a 'topgallant gale.'

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-How was wind speed measured during this time frame?

 

 

Before the Beaufort Scale, there was Defoe's Scale of Winds...

 

http://weather.mailasail.com/Franks-Weather/Historical-And-Contemporay-Versions-Of-Beaufort-Scales

 

 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wea.153/pdf

Edited by Vernon Merrill
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What are the differences(or weight,lenght etc) in caliber between British,French and Spanish(and Swedish,Danish,Russian if possible) guns?

 

Tables like this are more than welcome:

O7JuakO.png

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I am still figuring out anything about question 1 and there comes another question... :wub:

http://www.vos.noaa.gov/MWL/aug_08/navigation_tools.shtml

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Journals/TAPA/82/Speed_under_Sail_of_Ancient_Ships*.html

 

Imagine, confronting the players in NA with these playing conditions...

---------

"Wind conditions were often bad enough to force a vessel to stop at an intermediate port for days or weeks

or even months. It took Cicero three weeks to cross from Patras to Brindisi in 50 B.C."

---------

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-How was wind speed measured during this time frame?

 

Answer: Beaufort Scale

 

The scale was devised in 1805 by Francis Beaufort (later Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort), an Irish Royal Navy officer, while serving in HMS Woolwich. The scale that carries Beaufort's name had a long and complex evolution from the previous work of others (including Daniel Defoe the century before) to when Beaufort was a top administrator in the Royal Navy in the 1830s when it was adopted officially and first used during the voyage of HMS Beagle under Captain Robert FitzRoy, later to set up the first Meteorological Office (Met Office) in Britain giving regular weather forecasts. In the early 19th century, naval officers made regular weather observations, but there was no standard scale and so they could be very subjective – one man's "stiff breeze" might be another's "soft breeze". Beaufort succeeded in standardizing the scale.

 
 
Sir Francis Beaufort
The initial scale of thirteen classes (zero to twelve) did not reference wind speed numbers but related qualitative wind conditions to effects on the sails of a frigate, then the main ship of the Royal Navy, from "just sufficient to give steerage" to "that which no canvas sails could withstand".
 
The scale was made a standard for ship's log entries on Royal Navy vessels in the late 1830s and was adapted to non-naval use from the 1850s, with scale numbers corresponding to cup anemometer rotations. In 1916, to accommodate the growth of steam power, the descriptions were changed to how the sea, not the sails, behaved and extended to land observations. Rotations to scale numbers were standardized only in 1923. George Simpson, C.B.E. (Later Sir George Simpson), Director of the UK Meteorological Office, was responsible for this and for the addition of the land-based descriptors. The measure was slightly altered some decades later to improve its utility for meteorologists. Today, many countries have abandoned the scale and use the metric system based units, m/s or km/h, instead,[citation needed] but the severe weather warnings given to the public are still approximately the same as when using the Beaufort scale.
 
The Beaufort scale was extended in 1946, when forces 13 to 17 were added. However, forces 13 to 17 were intended to apply only to special cases, such as tropical cyclones. Nowadays, the extended scale is only used in Taiwan and mainland China, which are often affected by typhoons. Internationally, WMO Manual on Marine Meteorological Services (2012 edition) defined the Beaufort Scale only up to Force 12 and there was no recommendation on the use of the extended scale.
 
Wind speed on the 1946 Beaufort scale is based on the empirical relationship:
 
Beaufort_Wind_Force_Scale.jpg
 
v = 0.836 B3/2 m/s
Where v is the equivalent wind speed at 10 metres above the sea surface and B is Beaufort scale number. For example, B = 9.5 is related to 24.5 m/s which is equal to the lower limit of "10 Beaufort". Using this formula the highest winds in hurricanes would be 23 in the scale.
 
Today, hurricane-force winds are sometimes described as Beaufort scale 12 through 16, very roughly related to the respective category speeds of the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale, by which actual hurricanes are measured, where Category 1 is equivalent to Beaufort 12. However, the extended Beaufort numbers above 13 do not match the Saffir–Simpson Scale. Category 1 tornadoes on the Fujita and TORRO scales also begin roughly at the end of level 12 of the Beaufort scale, but are independent scales – although the TORRO scale wind values are based on the 3/2 power law relating wind velocity to Beaufort force.
 
Wave heights in the scale are for conditions in the open ocean, not along the shore.
 

 

I would love to have that picture in full resolution. Hard to read.

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-How was wind speed measured during this time frame?

 

Another way to measure the wind is the sails that can be worn.

Before we did not measure the wind, but he was named, and they outside the good sails. (to the French way)

 

I'm sorry for this very bad translation. Thank you to correct the terms of winds and sails if possible.

 

Speed wind (Km / H) - name of wind - action of the sails

0 -    no wind -                the building must be towed

4 -    very small wind -    all sailing outside (but little or no effect)

9 -    small wind -           all sailing outside (but little or no effect)

11 -   breeze -               poor wind, the sails are a little swollen, we wear whatever we can

14 -   good fresh wind - considered the most advantageous, it does not flying royals sails and royal's syudding sails and small forestay sails

22 -   good fresh wind - it tightens the main and fore topsail's studding sails and the low studding sails

29 -   great cost -           the high sails are tight, the four major sails only (mainsail, foresail + topsails), a topmast staysail, main jib and the mizzen topgallant

36 -   gale wind -            it tightens the mizzen topgallant, we take all the reefing in the fore topsail, and one or two in the main top sail, the main jib is tight

43 -   Wholesale wind - the mainsail and fore topsail are tight

54 -   big wind -             we put lying gradually reducing the sails

72 -   Storm  -              the sail is reduced to small jib, then we arrive at the dry and then we make downwind

144 - Hurricane -         you're dead! Or almost ...

:)

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Excellent material gentlemen. Many thanks. I consider the answers satisfactory :) and I have a few more items to read.

 

Even though, the question has been considered as answered, I am still asking myself

(Before the Beaufort Scale, there was Defoe's Scale of Winds...)

 

What was before Defoe's Scale of Winds. Was there any kind of measure???

(The first known description of an anemometer was given by Alberti in 1450)

There was an anemometer...

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Dont know much about the actual differences, yet the difference in pounds:

cyNSGYW.png

Some of these are not the correct conversions for naval artillery, e.g. Russia.

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-How was wind speed measured during this time frame?
 
Another way to measure the wind is the sails that can be worn.
Before we did not measure the wind, but he was named, and they outside the good sails. (to the French way)
 
I'm sorry for this very bad translation. Thank you to correct the terms of winds and sails if possible.
 
Speed wind (Km / H) - name of wind - action of the sails
0 -    no wind -                the building must be towed
4 -    very small wind -    all sailing outside (but little or no effect)
9 -    small wind -           all sailing outside (but little or no effect)
11 -   breeze -               poor wind, the sails are a little swollen, we wear whatever we can
14 -   good fresh wind - considered the most advantageous, it does not flying royals sails and royal's syudding sails and small forestay sails
22 -   good fresh wind - it tightens the main and fore topsail's studding sails and the low studding sails
29 -   great cost -           the high sails are tight, the four major sails only (mainsail, foresail + topsails), a topmast staysail, main jib and the mizzen topgallant
36 -   gale wind -            it tightens the mizzen topgallant, we take all the reefing in the fore topsail, and one or two in the main top sail, the main jib is tight
43 -   Wholesale wind - the mainsail and fore topsail are tight
54 -   big wind -             we put lying gradually reducing the sails
72 -   Storm  -              the sail is reduced to small jib, then we arrive at the dry and then we make downwind
144 - Hurricane -         you're dead! Or almost ...
:)

 

Here's the professional translation:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-pwrC9JR7ahdU15UXYxSzV0TWc/view?usp=sharing

 

This scale seems incredibly conservative, however.

 

Furling royals at only 7 kts of wind? Triple-reefed topsails at only 20 kts? Lying-to with the wind not yet 30 knots?

I know these scales apply to close-hauled sailing, but this is downright timid compared to other charts I've seen.

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This scale seems incredibly conservative, however.

 

Furling royals at only 7 kts of wind? Triple-reefed topsails at only 20 kts? Lying-to with the wind not yet 30 knots?

I know these scales apply to close-hauled sailing, but this is downright timid compared to other charts I've seen.

 

Answer in two and half months with feedback (probably...)

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Even though, the question has been considered as answered, I am still asking myself

(Before the Beaufort Scale, there was Defoe's Scale of Winds...)

 

What was before Defoe's Scale of Winds. Was there any kind of measure???

(The first known description of an anemometer was given by Alberti in 1450)

There was an anemometer...

 

I think my original answer still serves here - sailor's judged the wind speed by observing the effect on the environment, water, flags, sails, land features, etc. Essentially Defoe and Beaufort simply codified or categorized what was already in common use.

 

The second question is when was an anemometer first used onboard a ship - good question IDK!

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DeRuyter is correct.   There is another dimension too, which is the difference between true wind and apparent wind (measured by on-ship devices).

 

Here's some good reading:

FROM CALM TO STORM: THE ORIGINS OF THE BEAUFORT WIND SCALE

 

 

...wind force was estimated by careful observation of the speed of the vessel (up to moderate breeze, force 4) and, for fresh breeze (force 5) and higher, by the maximum quantity and form of sail that could be safely carried. This decreased in proportion to wind strength and the resulting stresses on the yards and sheets. This may well have been the method by which earlier mariners had estimated wind force, although they would also have taken into account the heel of the ship, the state of the sea and behaviour of pennants and flags. Contemporary documents are curiously reticent on this important matter, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that wind speeds (in distances per unit time) were used additionally to define the Beaufort scale. 

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DeRuyter is correct.   There is another dimension too, which is the difference between true wind and apparent wind (measured by on-ship devices).

 

Here's some good reading:

FROM CALM TO STORM: THE ORIGINS OF THE BEAUFORT WIND SCALE

 

Nice quote - I think it shows that those earlier, pre 18th century, instruments were not likely used at sea.

 

Good point about the apparent wind!

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Al'right, a new question. Probably more out of the seamanship field but extremely important apparently during this age and more so because of the men that crewed the ships.

 

Came across a reference about wood types, mainly Oak and Teak.

 

Captains would prefer Oak over Teak, and themselves would acknowledge the better maritime properties of the latter, especially the RN teak from the Bombay shipyards, because of one simple reason.

 

Given most casualties would be caused by splintering rather than the shot itself oak was perceived as a better choice over teak because of the septic wounds teak would inflict over the clean wounds provoked by oak.

 

What is you knowledge on this particularity ? Was this a real concern for the navies ? I would expect so, but I want to discuss this.

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What is you knowledge on this particularity ? Was this a real concern for the navies ? I would expect so, but I want to discuss this.

 

No particular knowledge, but some ideas for discussion.  Interesting topic!

 

Seems to me:

 

* The choice of wood type for ships was determined by availability first, and strength / resistance to worms and rot, and not at all by safety considerations.  So, any preference wouldn't be under control of a captain anyway.   See these which are about the drivers for choosing what to build ships out of.  I'd actually like to read the first one, it might address this question:

 

Forests and Sea Power: The Timber Problem of the Royal Navy, 1652-1862 (Classics of Naval Literature) 

by Robert Greenhalgh Albion et al. 

Link: http://amzn.com/1557500215

 

http://rogerknight.org/pdf/New%20England%20Forests%20and%20British%20Seapower.pdf

 

https://books.google.com/books/about/Shipbuilding_timber_for_the_British_Navy.html?id=mJffAAAAMAAJ 

 

 

* I'd bet the few actual data points from battle injuries would be overwhelmed by the uncontrolled variables that we know are significant: splinter size as a function of hull thickness and impact speed, treatment time, climate, location, general crew health, etc, etc.   This makes me think that their idea that one wood type or the other was better can't possibly have been based on actual facts -- even if their conventional wisdom was a correct guess.

 

* We could determine now, today, if teak or oak is the more sanitary choice -- propensity to splinter, the distance and speed those splinters fly based on their mass, any antibiotic properties of the wood itself.

 

 

 

 

Forests and Sea Power: The Timber Problem of the Royal Navy, 1652-1862 (Classics of Naval Literature) 

by Robert Greenhalgh Albion et al. 

Link: http://amzn.com/1557500215

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Any online resource you know with the casualties by ship that you guys know of ? Meaning deaths in combat, wounded and posterior deaths by [insert reason].

Might give me some initial point to cross reference the ship construction wood of choice and the resulting action casualties for a non-factual correlation, for a start.

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Any online resource you know with the casualties by ship that you guys know of ? Meaning deaths in combat, wounded and posterior deaths by [insert reason].

Might give me some initial point to cross reference the ship construction wood of choice and the resulting action casualties for a non-factual correlation, for a start.

 

There are loads of charts showing casualties by ship, but for fleet battles between ships that were built exclusively of oak (or whatever nice Cuban stuff the Spanish had).

 

On the other hand, you'll find plenty of casualty counts for fir-built British frigates knocking the tar out of oak French frigates without breaking a sweat.

 

Basically, it would be like looking for the statistical influence of footwear brands on the batting averages of Major League Baseball players. The more important factors are going to bury everything else.

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