Jump to content
Game-Labs Forum
maturin

Connie be-all end-all

Recommended Posts

This forum is really boring lately. Let's talk about ships.

See post from @Malachi below, concerning the Constitution as a step forward in evolution.

So the only critical thing I've read concerning the sailing characteristics of the live oak super frigates was in Gardiner, but he didn't bother explaining himself. Seems like enormous frigates need to be balanced just right in order to shine, and the Americans had the skill and good fortune to be successful their first time around, albeit after years of tinkering. And a lot of cheap repeat Ledas notwithstanding, the rest of the world went with 24-pounders subsequently.

While of course in immediate historical context it was a troll-ship designed to exploit British neuroses by winning battles whose lopsided character was concealed, the equivalent of a handicap cheat in yacht racing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TheHaney said:

...THIS is your attempt to spice up the forums?!

hehe, Maturin is a great resource on the true historical properties of sailing ships, sail plans, effects of rudder on speed, etc.  I've been involved with him for years on this project discussing how sailing works with the Devs.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I WANNA LIVE OAK CONNIE THAT GOES 14 KNOTS NAOW! BCUZ HISTORRY!

Oh, I remember...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jodgi said:

I WANNA LIVE OAK CONNIE THAT GOES 14 KNOTS NAOW! BCUZ HISTORRY!

Oh, I remember...

I zupport idia, waza muzt diez!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, maturin said:

This forum is really boring lately. Let's talk about ships.

See post from @Malachi below, concerning the Constitution as a step forward in evolution.

So the only critical thing I've read concerning the sailing characteristics of the live oak super frigates was in Gardiner, but he didn't bother explaining himself. Seems like enormous frigates need to be balanced just right in order to shine, and the Americans had the skill and good fortune to be successful their first time around, albeit after years of tinkering. And a lot of cheap repeat Ledas notwithstanding, the rest of the world went with 24-pounders subsequently.

While of course in immediate historical context it was a troll-ship designed to exploit British neuroses by winning battles whose lopsided character was concealed, the equivalent of a handicap cheat in yacht racing.

You´re a mean, mean man, monsieur maturin <_<

Don´t get me wrong, I have nothing against the Connie per se. She was a very well designed piece of naval architecture, perfectly suited for the needs of the US Navy at the time. Additionally, her commanders always had the good sense to stick to her job description - rofl-stomp smaller vessels and run from the bigger ones. So her near-mythical status is understandable - from an US point of view. But if you look at her class in the context of frigate development, she´s just one of the many steps in the 'escalation of calibres' (Boudriot) that took place in the 18th and 19th century. The reign - if one can call it that - of the huge 24-pounders frigates was a relatively short one as the larger navies started building 30-/32-pounder frigates in the early 1820s.

By the way, one of the unique characteristics of the Constitution, her size, was exactly the reason european navies didn´t build anything comparable - until the british got butthurt enough to built the monstrosities Leander and Newcastle, at least.

It just didn´t make sense for a navy with SoLs to build a super-frigate costing as much as a 74.

If you have that much money and resources laying around, you build another ship of the line, not a cruiser, which wouldn´t be of much help in the next battle. La Forte and L' Égyptienne (170' ) were the exception as they were explicitly designed for commerce raiding in far-away hostile waters, i.e. the Indian Ocean.

And the performance of the european 24-pounder frigates was a least on the same level as that of the Constitution and her sisters. The Bellonas had a top speed of 14 knots (the af Chapman apparently outsailed those but I haven´t found a source saying by how much) , the Forte-class also 14. Leander and Newcastle managed 15 (they were built of pine, though) , Endymion 13.6.

 

 

Quote

[...]the rest of the world went with 24-pounders subsequently.

Hm, let´s have a look at how many 24-pounder frigates have been built in Europe before, let's say, the War of 1812:

Sweden:   11

                   Bellona-class 1782 - 1785 and the af Chapman 1806

Russia:      15 (Baltic Fleet)

                    10 Arkhangel Mikhail-class and modified Arkhangel Mikhail-class, starting 1790 (all based on the design of the captured swedish Venus)

                    Geroi 1806, Venera 1808

                    3 Speshnyi-class (russian sources say that the Venus was the inspiration for this class, but she looks so similar to the Endymion it´s not even funny

                     anymore, 15 more built in the late 1810s)

                    I omitted the Black Sea Fleet ships, that would add 10 more. The authors of 'Russian Warships in the Age of Sail' claim that those were entirely designed

                    'in-house', but again, they looked suspiciously like a variation of the Bellona-class.

Denmark:  2

                    Rota 1801 and Perlen 1804

France:      2

                   La Forte 1794, L' Égyptienne 1799

                  I omitted La Pourvoyeuse 1772, La Consolante 1772, La Pomone 1785, La Vengeance 1794, La Resistance 1795 because they weren´t designed as 24-

                   pounder frigates or didn´t carry 24-pounders over a longer period of time. And L 'Indien 1777 because she carried 36-pounders.

 

 Great Britain: 1

                         Endymion 1797 (based on La Pomone)

 

As for Spain, Portugal, Venice, no idea.

 

 

Quote

 

I WANNA LIVE OAK CONNIE THAT GOES 14 KNOTS NAOW! BCUZ HISTORRY!

Oh, I remember...

 

 

 

Make that 15 knots, jodgi. If I remember correctly, it was NorthernWolves who found that speed in her logbooks from the 1830s (or late 1820s?), when she served in the Med. 

Edited by Malachi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Connie was not the purpose build right ? Was the cut down 3rd ? Which ones were the purpose builds ? Cheasapeake ? Congress ?

Any major differences ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure constitution is the best example for making statements about the sailing characteristics of live oak as there is no end to exaggerations around the ship thanks to the nationalism and symbolism that surrounds her, Constitution is neither the first super frigate, the first 24lb frigate or is her diagonal framing particularly unique or special either.

Addressing these points individually:

  • Super Frigates - The first super frigates were Venetian, the idea was first theorised around the 1710s, with the 40/56 gun San Andrea drawn up in 1720 and launched in 1724, leaving San Andrea over 70 years ahead of the US Frigates, further more there were 5 classes of super frigate designed by the Venetians 4 of which before the USA was even a country. The Venetian super frigates were also far more cost effective and generally more useful than the large monsters used by the US navy nearly a century later.
  • 24lb Frigates - The first 24lb frigates I have come across are the the French Resistance, Forte and Romaine Classes, also during the same period Britain cut down HMS Anson and HMS Magnanime (both Intrepid class 64s) and HMS Indefatigable (Ardent Class 64) to razee ships, it was realistically these lines, especially the successful Romaine class that set the trend for 24lb Frigates.
  • Diagonal Framing - The cross framing was developed at the same time as Seppings developed his own version independently and before any US frigates had been captured during 1812, it is also noticeable that Seppings and his version of framing was more developed and it was his work that was carried on, not the cross framing used in the US frigates.

Is this a discussion on constitution or live oak as a whole? Because realistically there isn't really a very good standard to really take into account when discussing the US ships, they simply avoided encounters with similar size vessels, preferring to pick their battles and bully smaller frigates, the only real encounter I have come across where two ships of similar size have engaged each other was the Chesapeake - Leopard affair, which again is a poor distinction because Chesapeake wasn't set up for battle. The other engagements all involved a US ship of much larger size taking on a smaller British opponent, where the most fair fight was USS Chesapeake vs HMS Shannon, which was a decisive victory for Shannon. The other US ship captured by the British being President, was captured in an unfair fight, both these two ships had a very uninspiring service history under Britain Chesapeake being regarded as well built but nowhere good enough for channel service, and President also serving as a cruising frigate, they were both broken up in the late 1810s. President's lines were later copied more out of politics than out of praise for her design, mainly to remind the USA of their loss in 1815, meanwhile the world moved on with the French setting the new trend of 24lb frigates.
 

Edited by Fluffy Fishy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

24lb Frigates - The first 24lb frigates I have come across are the the French Resistance, Forte and Romaine Classes, also during the same period Britain cut down HMS Anson and HMS Magnanime (both Intrepid class 64s) and HMS Indefatigable (Ardent Class 64) to razee ships, it was realistically these lines, especially the successful Romaine class that set the trend for 24lb Frigates.

 

Technically, the first purpose-built french 24-pounder frigates were La Pourvoyeuse and La Consolante (both launched 1772) by Jacques Boux, who also designed the huge L' Indien. Just as her 'spiritual' successors 20 years later, they were designed for commerce raiding in the Indian Ocean. Boux made them larger than any frigate in the french or british navy - the first proper 18-pounder frigate was launched eight years later -  to ensure that they can overpower any british frigate escort or even engage smaller 50 or 64 gun ships of the line under favourable circumstances. But as Boux fell out of political favour, the whole project was put on hold and both ships were subsequently armed with 18-pounders.

 

And the Romaine-class was anything but succesful. None of these vessel carried 24-pounders for a longer period of time which is why I omitted them in my list above. Armed with 18-pounders, they proved to be decent sailing ships, but none of them had special service record (except La Guerrière).

Edited by Malachi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Malachi said:

Technically, the first purpose-built french 24-pounder frigates were La Pourvoyeuse and La Consolante (both launched 1772) by Jacques Boux, who also designed the huge L' Indien. Just as her 'spiritual' successors 20 years later, they were designed for commerce raiding in the Indian Ocean. Boux made them larger than any frigate in the french or british navy - the first proper 18-pounder frigate was launched eight years later -  to ensure that they can overpower any british frigate escort or even engage smaller 50 or 64 gun ships of the line under favourable circumstances. But as Boux fell out of political favour, the whole project was put on hold and both ships were subsequently armed with 18-pounders.

And the Romaine-class was anything but succesful. None of these vessel carried 24-pounders for a longer period of time which is why I omitted them in my list above. Armed with 18-pounders, they proved to be decent sailing ships, but none of them had special service record (except La Guerrière).

Apologies I must have done a special and had them totally mixed up with another class, looking them up properly they are pretty disastrous aren't they :D Thanks for the correction.

I wasn't aware of the Swedes or Russians having 24lb frigates either from your earlier post so thank you for letting me know about those too. Then again its not so surprising the Ruskis had massive cannons, they seem to have a thing for large calibres, maybe it was something to do with their rivalry with the Ottomans.

Clearing up the Venice question you had, the Venetians for the most part armed their largest frigates with their 30lb cannons, which converts to about 19.2 British pounds, the exception is the Fama class which had 40lb Venetian guns, which is equivalent to roughly 26.5 British pounds, but Fama does predate Constitutions design by 12 years, and completion by 13 so she does count too, if only I ever got the chance to continually sink Constitution in Fama ;).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Hethwill said:

Connie was not the purpose build right ? Was the cut down 3rd ? Which ones were the purpose builds ? Cheasapeake ? Congress ?

Any major differences ?

Constitution, Congress and United States were purpose-built. Chesapeake was cut down to the size of a normal frigate, albeit with the framing timbers of her larger half-sisters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Malachi said:

Hm, let´s have a look at how many 24-pounder frigates have been built in Europe before, let's say, the War of 1812:

So given that Consti and United States were launched in 1797, you have just the Bellona-class and the French commerce raiders predating her. Barring occasional experiments, such as L'Indien, which as an American privateer was armed with 36-pdrs.

In that context, the Bellonas have the distinction of consistent success under sail, while most operators of oversized frigates struggled to get things right (the Americans included, given Constitution's various alterations and several decades of poor performance by United States).

On the other hand, the Bellonas are also something of a middling step in the development of the 'super frigate.' Only 26 main deck guns (like Endymion and Forte), even with the razee-like officers' quarters placed out of the way on the poop. And Baltic particularities such as shallow draft and a somewhat hybrid orlop/lower deck with less storage space. Also bearing in mind that Europe's inland sea navies had a persistent knack for overgunning hulls because they could more often get away with it.

And then of course the French ships were meant to carry their heavy armament long distance, with makes them more of a linear precursor to Consti et al. Especially given Egyptienne who actually mounted the same number of main deck guns as an 18-pdr frigate, only in the higher caliber. And then Forte who (at least in English service?) mounted 30 guns, just like the Americans. So that's the 'no compromises' approach to a super frigate that carries many guns and operates at sea long-term. And I certainly agree that Humphreys' ships were a small step up from that (and were a larger conceptual step when you consider that only partially successful 'double-banked' idea, which the British got right with Leander and Newcastle).

So in the world of pre-1800 24-pdr frigates we have European ships that also sailed fast and solved their teething problems quickly, and the French had a ship or two with 30-piece gundecks (including with 18 pdrs IIRC).

But then there was live oak and other details of American construction, which even if (IMHO) didn't make much of a difference tactically, doubtless contributed to the impressive longevity of Constitution and United States. This at a time when wracking stresses were the undoing of many, if not most, lengthened frigates with heavy armament. Both Constitution and United States logged their best turns of speed when they were well into middle age, after all.

French post-war heavy frigates continued to experience 'teething problems' when it came to performance under sail.

 

Ultimately, though, the Americans' fame is due to their record at sea. New technology is often not appreciated until its utility is proved, and neither the British nor the French saw anything particularly noteworthy in Constitution until it made headlines. This was quite reasonable, as British 18-pdr frigates routinely captured French 24-pdr ships, leaving it to the Americans to prove what was possible when both crews were competent. Most scientific innovations appear nearly simultaneously in several companies at once, but the one that enters the history books is the one that is first put into use.

Which reminds me, I should find out more about the Bellonas' service record.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How would the center of gravity play into speed? I have always thought that perhaps the higher gun deck and weight of broadside of the Constitution and Endymion played into their speed. If I understand correctly, a part of the first half of the 19th century's British naval design was influenced by attempts to shift the center of gravity higher, as is the case with the infamous Cherokee ships (seriously, no forecastle, low freeboard?) to increase speed. Perhaps the heavier guns of Endymion and Constitution pushed the center of gravity higher, therefore unintentionally boosting speed? 

I eagerly await some new Gardiner works from my parents this Christmas, especially his work on the "Heavy Frigates" :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

they simply avoided encounters with similar size vessels

Of course, there weren't any vessels of similar firepower, as a 74 still through quite a bit more metal. I'm not aware of an American 44 ever running from a 50 or 64-gun ship.

 

Quote

President's lines were later copied more out of politics than out of praise for her design, mainly to remind the USA of their loss in 1815, meanwhile the world moved on with the French setting the new trend of 24lb frigates.

So after the war of 1812 it was the French who set the trend of 24-pdr frigates? I think you're being a wee bit myopic here. Why do you suppose the French suddenly went from occasional experiments with 24-pdrs (over several generations without an epiphany), to wholesale adoption for the fleet as a whole?

 

Quote

The first super frigates were Venetian, the idea was first theorised around the 1710s, with the 40/56 gun San Andrea drawn up in 1720 and launched in 1724, leaving San Andrea over 70 years ahead of the US Frigates,

I remember scouring your Venice thread for this concept, and only found you describing perfectly ordinary two-deckers as 'super frigates', in an era before 'frigate' even referred to a settled class of vessel. If Venice built super frigates, then doesn't every two-decker 44 (like HMS Serapis) qualify?

Are there any sources that attempt to draw distinctions between speed-built Venician two-deckers and other 17th century 'great ships'?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, _Masterviolin said:

How would the center of gravity play into speed?

Dump all the fresh water out of your tanks and find out. :D

Center of gravity was certainly no mysterious concept or elusive goal, even back in the day. Changing center of gravity is as simple as adding or removing ballast. And building a ship with a high center of gravity is like building a slow ship: anyone can do it.

Generally speaking, if the center of gravity wasn't within a few feet of the waterline, a warship would heel excessively, forcing it to reduce sail just when wind conditions were most conducive to speed.

Of course, if you sacrifice a bit of stability with a higher center of gravity, the rolling motion is slow and gentle, which eases strain on the masts and makes gunnery easier.

Quote

 If I understand correctly, a part of the first half of the 19th century's British naval design was influenced by attempts to shift the center of gravity higher, as is the case with the infamous Cherokee ships (seriously, no forecastle, low freeboard?) to increase speed.

I haven't heard that. Strictly speaking, the lack of upper works and low freeboard of a Cherokee would lower the center of gravity, since there is less wood above water. Freeboard contributes to form stability, as opposed to weight stability which is a direct function of center of gravity. When water overtops the leeward rail, the ship rapidly loses the buoyancy that prevents capsize.

IIRC the Cherokees were just too small for the cruises they were sent on, and tended to get boarded by rough seas. Improving stability can't fix that problem.
 

Quote

 

Perhaps the heavier guns of Endymion and Constitution pushed the center of gravity higher, therefore unintentionally boosting speed? 


 

Actually, Endymion was reported to be 'very stiff', so her center of gravity was low.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, maturin said:

Of course, there weren't any vessels of similar firepower, as a 74 still through quite a bit more metal. I'm not aware of an American 44 ever running from a 50 or 64-gun ship.

Well thats something that you should probably know was nearly impossible to begin with, being there simply weren't any real 64s, the royal navy cut down from 8 to 1 between 1811 and 1814, so yeah, there weren't really a huge number to run away from, again there were only 5 50 gunners in the Royal navy in 1812 and 4 in 1814, there simply aren't many of those size ships to commit to the region. However taking even the peacetime squadrons from 1808 you see 2 SoLs and 9 Frigates in the North American Squadron, 5 SoLs and 10 frigates in the Leeward Islands Squadron, 1 SoL and 15 Frigates in Jamaica Squadron and 4 Frigates in the Nova Scotia squadron. I imagine at least similar numbers during 1812, leaving it very likely that there were SoLs hunting down the US frigates, you should probably also know from your experience that you don't actually have to engage or sight an enemy to run away from it. There is no way that Constitution would be able to or even want to risk fighting a royal navy SoL but it would easily be able to acquire decent intel on their movements.

13 minutes ago, maturin said:

So after the war of 1812 it was the French who set the trend of 24-pdr frigates? I think you're being a wee bit myopic here. Why do you suppose the French suddenly went from occasional experiments with 24-pdrs (over several generations without an epiphany), to wholesale adoption for the fleet as a whole?

It was really the British and the French that set the trend for 24lb frigates, although other nations had toyed with them as Malachi elegantly points out above, again as Malachi has already pointed out the 24lb is only a short step before the 24lb ships were quickly replaced by 32lbs, something that started taking place as general naval thought before the war of 1812 was even in motion, let alone finished, as navies tended to outfit increasingly more compact 32lb guns on all decks, having started to toy with the idea as early as around 1810, so in some sense the 24lb wasn't really anything to do with anyone they were just the next logical step in frigate outfitting as part of a grander scheme of naval inflation.

13 minutes ago, maturin said:

I remember scouring your Venice thread for this concept, and only found you describing perfectly ordinary two-deckers as 'super frigates', in an era before 'frigate' even referred to a settled class of vessel. If Venice built super frigates, then doesn't every two-decker 44 (like HMS Serapis) qualify?

Are there any sources that attempt to draw distinctions between speed-built Venice two-deckers and other 17th century 'great ships'?

And I remember answering you fully before on the same subject, the idea that Serapis could be a frigate or not generally comes down to the British Admiralty being a bunch of old farts, not wanting their lovely definitions challenged by slightly different designs, again realistically the definition of frigate does vary from nation to nation but in general they come down to be a collection of ships with lighter armament, higher speed and agility who's main role was to protect and patrol, Serepis' lines and dimensions do reflect more a small 50 style SoL rather than a Frigate if you ask me, something the Venetian ships do not as there is a very clear design distinction between their Galley Fleet, their Frigates, Super Frigates and Ships of the Line.

I'm also unsure where the 17th century has come from, or where you even picked that up, but if you want to pick at straws the Venetian concept of what was a super frigate doesn't meet the expectations of what might be covered in another nation, but then when you look at general dimensions it seems to qualify quite nicely, all of which are smaller than the Roebuck class. you are typically looking at ships of about 42-44m around 11.5-12m beam, with a varied armament to what activities they were taking part in and whether they are acting as a super frigate or a second rate warship.

Again I would also like to point out due to time restraints and some difficulty with using sources I haven't covered the Fregata Grossa in nearly as much details as I would like to, leaving nearly everyone in a state of ignorance, but giving me a hard time over not providing in depth information over the rating group doesn't make it any less valid, you are welcome to do your own research and I would strongly encourage you to get hold of a copy of Vascelli e fregate della Serenissima if you are actually interested, although its in Italian and as its no longer in print Amazon.com is only selling it at a nice comfortable almost $110, so you may be dissuaded until I get round to posting it myself, which isn't high on my priority list right now either.

It was kind of clear from the start this was one of those LOOK AT THE USS CONSTITUTION ISN'T IT AMAZING patriotic nonsense threads which was supposed to flame history into activity rather than actually adding an interesting and worthwhile article to read,  I probably shouldn't have got involved in the first place but then the US constitution is a pretty meh ship in reality, only celebrated because sometimes you just have to find the silver lining in a war that truthfully America got wrecked in, despite the British attention being focussed on the much more dangerous threat of France. Never forget, the White House is called the White House because of 1812 and that the general record of the US at sea was pretty abysmal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Fluffy Fishy said:

Well thats something that you should probably know was nearly impossible to begin with

And yet that didn't stop you from portraying the lack of an even fight as something shabby, that should be taken to the ship's detriment. Somewhat transparent, there.

 

Quote

It was really the British and the French that set the trend for 24lb frigates, although other nations had toyed with them as Malachi elegantly points out above

 

That's really not what Malachi was pointing out. On the contrary, Malachi's information favors the Swedish as the trendsetters, given that they actually deployed a large, successful class of 24-pdr sister ships. Of course, if we are to think about this critically, I doubt the French and British navies upgunned their frigates in response to the Swedish threat.

The French, on the other hand, deployed a handful of one-off experiments over the course of decades, which the British lazily emulated a few times. The British were unimpressed by French 24-pdr frigates because they could still be taken by inferior British ships.

And then--HUGE COINCIDENCE--the British undergo a moral crisis due to a handful of (in any other context very modest) defeats by American 24-pdr frigates, after which suddenly the 24-pdr trend takes off. The American 44s inspired a crash building program on the part of the British, FFS. The evidence couldn't possibly be any stronger as to what inspired the RN's shift.

If the French 24-pdr frigates had actually beaten the British in single ship actions, you can bet your ass the British would have responded immediately. It could have happened before the United States even existed. Just one of those historical contingencies.

 

Quote

again as Malachi has already pointed out the 24lb is only a short step before the 24lb ships were quickly replaced by 32lbs, something that started taking place as general naval thought before the war of 1812 was even in motion

Such as which vessels? Any that were deployed and saw service?

Or should we claim that 24-pdr frigates were a step backwards because the L'Indien tried out 36-pdrs back in the 1770s?

 

Quote

And I remember answering you fully before on the same subject, the idea that Serapis could be a frigate or not generally comes down to the British Admiralty being a bunch of old farts, not wanting their lovely definitions challenged by slightly different designs, again realistically the definition of frigate does vary from nation to nation but in general they come down to be a collection of ships with lighter armament, higher speed and agility who's main role was to protect and patrol, Serepis' lines and dimensions do reflect more a small 50 style SoL rather than a Frigate if you ask me, something the Venetian ships do not as there is a very clear design distinction between their Galley Fleet, their Frigates, Super Frigates and Ships of the Line.

So let me get this straight: the Serapis doesn't get to be a frigate, but the Venician two-deckers do? And super frigates at that? (Serapis' 44-gun rating was the same as Constitution's, by the way.) You can't be critical of the British designation of their 44-gun cruisers as frigates, and then make claims of Venician primacy based on their own unique criteria for frigate-hood.

The two-decker 5th Rates of the British Navy were emphatically designed as cruisers (to protect and patrol, usually independently) and not battleships. She carried only carried 18-pdrs, a lighter armament than some Venetian 'super frigates', and yet you are trying to shoehorn her into an SoL category?

 

Quote

I'm also unsure where the 17th century has come from, or where you even picked that up, but if you want to pick at straws the Venetian concept of what was a super frigate doesn't meet the expectations of what might be covered in another nation, but then when you look at general dimensions it seems to qualify quite nicely, all of which are smaller than the Roebuck class. you are typically looking at ships of about 42-44m around 11.5-12m beam, with a varied armament to what activities they were taking part in and whether they are acting as a super frigate or a second rate warship.

Roebuck has both smaller beam and shorter gundeck length than the figures you just quoted for Venetian 'super frigates.' So quite similar to the Venician two-deckers. Both ship types were the on previous step on the evolutionary ladder that led to the modern frigate.

 

Quote

but if you want to pick at straws the Venetian concept of what was a super frigate doesn't meet the expectations of what might be covered in another nation,

That's just the thing, isn't it? You are using Venice's unique set of criteria for what a 'super frigate' is, while acknowledging that they aren't compatible with the systems of other nations. And it's fine that they are not applicable: Venice was an independent nation.

But THEN you go back and try to claim the concept of the 'super frigate' as a Venetian invention (70 years before those capitalist pigdog Americans!), even though the standards you are using apply to Venice alone!

Should we also give the Koreans credit for inventing the surface-to-air missile? After all, the medieval Koreans did put rocket motors in tubes. And when you read Korean books, it's inarguable that their rockets started on the ground and exploded in the air. Eat that, arrogant 20th Century Europeans! Korea beat you by a millennium.

 

Quote


It was kind of clear from the start this was one of those LOOK AT THE USS CONSTITUTION ISN'T IT AMAZING patriotic nonsense threads which was supposed to flame history into activity rather than actually adding an interesting and worthwhile article to read,  I probably shouldn't have got involved in the first place but then the US constitution is a pretty meh ship in reality, only celebrated because sometimes you just have to find the silver lining in a war that truthfully America got wrecked in, despite the British attention being focussed on the much more dangerous threat of France. Never forget, the White House is called the White House because of 1812 and that the general record of the US at sea was pretty abysmal.

And now you are just embarrassing yourself.

Nothing more than the mirror image of Malachy in this thread. (Where of course I was accused of going to school at Eton while eating tea and crumpets.)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, maturin said:

And yet that didn't stop you from portraying the lack of an even fight as something shabby, that should be taken to the ship's detriment. Somewhat transparent, there.

Its not shabby to portray the lack of potential fight that in real terms constitution would have lost, she's just a speedy frigate that goes fast and turns like a pig. Like it or not, Constitution did avoid larger ships, you were the one that specifically brought up 50s or 64s not me. Although its clear Constitution would have been wrecked in an encounter with either one of these two builds, even more so against a larger tougher opponent like a 74, there is simply no doubt about it, "old iron sides" would be old burnt or even old sold for timber similarly to President and Chesapeake.

1 minute ago, maturin said:

That's really not what Malachi was pointing out. On the contrary, Malachi's information favors the Swedish as the trendsetters, given that they actually deployed a large, successful class of 24-pdr sister ships. Of course, if we are to think about this critically, I doubt the French and British navies upgunned their frigates in response to the Swedish threat.

The French, on the other hand, deployed a handful of one-off experiments over the course of decades, which the British lazily emulated a few times. The British were unimpressed by French 24-pdr frigates because they could still be taken by inferior British ships.

And then--HUGE COINCIDENCE--the British undergo a moral crisis due to a handful of (in any other context very modest) defeats by American 24-pdr frigates, after which suddenly the 24-pdr trend takes off. The American 44s inspired a crash building program on the part of the British, FFS. The evidence couldn't possibly be any stronger as to what inspired the RN's shift.

But at the same point the Swedes, as much as it would be nice to give them the credit, as the ones who really starting using the poundage first, realistically their only influence was the Russians, who would have made that step anyway, their circle of technological feedback is too small, where the first rate navies simply didn't meet the circumstances to copy them. Similarly I wouldn't claim that Venice set the trend for super frigates, just that they came about the idea long before the USA...

I'm unaware of there being a large crisis, had it been serious they might have responded by building something that wasn't made cheaply of fir.

1 minute ago, maturin said:

Such as which vessels? Any that were deployed and saw service?

Or should we claim that 24-pdr frigates were a step backwards because the L'Indien tried out 36-pdrs back in the 1770s?

As far as I am aware there were some experiments with the Leda class in quieter waters, which is part of the reason we can plop 32lb on all decks in game. The majority of the testing was involved with larger ships though such as playing with 74s, although the most famous example is probably the trials with the much larger Caledonia, its also the best documented, either way the royal navy was keen to try and streamline the equipment process by standardising shot within their ships much earlier than you see the official outfitting over the 1820s.

If you are going to be a pain about L'indien why not just go the full ridiculous and say everything is a step back from HMS Glatton? Failing that you could accept that the thought process is there before the non issue of what is really the lack of influence the US frigates, which were as I keep having to point out them being largely ineffective.

1 minute ago, maturin said:

So let me get this straight: the Serapis doesn't get to be a frigate, but the Venician two-deckers do? And super frigates at that? (Serapis' 44-gun rating was the same as Constitution's, by the way.) You can't be critical of the British designation of their 44-gun cruisers as frigates, and then make claims of Venician primacy based on their own unique criteria for frigate-hood.

The two-decker 5th Rates of the British Navy were emphatically designed as cruisers (to protect and patrol, usually independently) and not battleships. She carried only carried 18-pdrs, a lighter armament than some Venetian 'super frigates', and yet you are trying to shoehorn her into an SoL category.

Serapis is not a ship designed for speed or manoeuvrability, she is a pocket SoL you can clearly see that in her lines. The whole point of the Roebuck class was to deliver a cheaper alternative to the 50, which it did somewhat effectively, however it wasn't really worthwhile since they weren't as useful as a frigate, therefore ended up being destined for slightly different tasks, which is why so many of the class quickly became outfitted as support ships.

At no point was I being critical of the British designation of their ships, because reality is they are right, it would be interesting to see what the British admiralty would have made of the Venetian style of frigates, but judging that they did tend to fit descriptions of the British fairly well and realistically their super frigate status takes on a different armament from their role as second rate warships the British description works fine anyway. You are trying to argue about something you don't really understand, something I'd happily talk to you about it if you weren't being so abrasive about the whole subject...

1 minute ago, maturin said:

Roebuck has both smaller beam and shorter gundeck length than the figures you just quoted for Venetian 'super frigates.'

Those figures are maximum footprint, Roebuck is limited to gundeck/beam, the two different measurement systems leave the Roebuck class similarly sized to only the larger Fama as I previously mentioned.

1 minute ago, maturin said:

That's just the thing, isn't it? You are using Venice's unique set of criteria for what a 'super frigate' is, and acknowledging that they aren't compatible with the systems of other nations. And that's fine that they are not applicable: Venice was an independent nation.

But THEN you go back and try to claim the concept of the 'super frigate' as a Venetian invention (70 years before those capitalist pigdog Americans!), even though the standards you are using apply to Venice alone!

All nations have slight variants on what they call a frigate, especially back then and anyway as I stated above I'm pretty sure that Venice's idea of what a super frigate is meets most expectations by other nations. I'm not sure why you would call America a capitalist pigdog when comparing it to Venice, the USA nicked a lot of ideas on how to be a successful mercantile state from Venice....

The standards don't apply to Venice alone, mainly because the idea of a super frigate is a large frigate, maintaining the speed, agility and costing of a frigate but combining it with a higher broadside power of a larger ship, something that the American's actually did pretty badly, which is why the Venetian Fregata Grossa actually work out to be a much better adaption of the idea as realistically by the point you get to the US styled super frigates you may as well just commission a speed built sleek 74.

1 minute ago, maturin said:

And now you are just embarrassing yourself.

Nothing more than the mirror image of Malachy in this thread. (Where of course I was accused of going to school at Eton while eating tea and crumpets.)

 

I'm not really embarrassing myself though am I? I'm not making claims for the universal acceptance that a nation that basically failed in all counts at a naval war some how pretends to be influential over things, over the course of the war of 1812 the USA lost 8 of their 12 frigates, while also losing 278 privateers and over 1400 merchant ships, including the majority of their largest and most important merchant vessels. This in comparison to British losses of the war, which is 4 frigates and just under 1000 merchant ships, especially as Britain could afford these losses, the USA really couldn't.

All in all I would say the American theatre was fairly good in understanding the effectiveness of the 24lb Frigate, but not through the US ships, mainly through the feats of ships such as HMS Endymion, meanwhile the other 24lber of the game Indefatigable also served particularly well in Europe.

I do really hope you didn't fork out £35k a year for an education, I'd hope for that kind of money you might have picked up some modesty and ability to make judgements on data, not on nationalistic pride for an over celebrated ship, you might also have picked up you can't eat tea too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Its not shabby to portray the lack of potential fight that in real terms constitution would have lost,

You're trying to cast aspersions using a videogame mindset, while pretending not to. It's passive-aggressive sniping at a sailing ship, which is a little undignified.

Quote

you were the one that specifically brought up 50s or 64s not me. Although its clear Constitution would have been wrecked in an encounter with either one of these two builds,

Really? Do the math on the broadside weight of a 50 and a 64-gun ship and get back to me.

Quote

even more so against a larger tougher opponent like a 74

That's what I explicitly said (albeit with a typo).

Quote

, there is simply no doubt about it, "old iron sides" would be old burnt or even old sold for timber similarly to President and Chesapeake.

Heavens, what emotional language to describe the perfectly ordinary fate of every ship. See, this is why it isn't worth engaging with you. Very low standards of discourse, sir. The equivalent of teabagging in a game of Halo 2. Yo momma so fat. Yo ship got burnt.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

where the first rate navies simply didn't meet the circumstances to copy them.

Exactly, the British met the circumstances to consider 24-pdr frigates when they suffered a series of defeats in single-ship frigate actions, something that had not happened more than once or twice in the entire Napoleonic and Revolutionary periods.

The degree of shock, controversy and public scandal can be (and best is) demonstrated exclusively by British primary sources and writings by British historians. You can pretend the United States doesn't exist and read about how the British reacted to losing frigates to the Martians if you prefer.

As I referenced above, the scandal was really quite an overreaction, given the precise circumstances. But we are arguing about *what* happened, not about what we think should have happened.

Quote

I'm unaware of there being a large crisis, had it been serious they might have responded by building something that wasn't made cheaply of fir

No crisis? See above. The British went so far as to forbid frigates from engaging the American 44s without a 2:1 advantage. Up to this point, British captains were expected to engage French 24-pdr frigates even if they themselves mounted 12-pdrs. The Americans happened to be the first ones to demonstrate the effectiveness of the concept, so far as the British were concerned. Until then, they had not been impressed.

If you aren't aware of the British reaction, then you know less about the subject than I know about Venetian ships, and really aren't qualified to be making sweeping judgments unheard of in the entire annals of naval history.

By the way, fir construction was a method for crash building, precisely in response to a sudden wartime emergency. So fir-built Leander indicates urgency. And fir-built ships were perfectly combat-capable, as proven by experience.

 

Quote

As far as I am aware there were some experiments with the Leda class in quieter waters, which is part of the reason we can plop 32lb on all decks in game. The majority of the testing was involved with larger ships though such as playing with 74s, although the most famous example is probably the trials with the much larger Caledonia, its also the best documented, either way the royal navy was keen to try and streamline the equipment process by standardising shot within their ships much earlier than you see the official outfitting over the 1820s.

We can't put 32-pdr long guns on any frigate in the game, but I've lost the thread of your argument here anyway. You still haven't backed up the 'before 1812' statement. Which is irrelevant anyways, since Constitution was built in the 18th Century.

How does up-gunning existing hulls of battlefleet ships cheapen the innovation of actual new frigate designs?

 

Quote

US frigates, which were as I keep having to point out them being largely ineffective.

Uh-huh. Find me a single secondary source who agrees with you.

 

Quote

Serapis is not a ship designed for speed or manoeuvrability, she is a pocket SoL you can clearly see that in her lines. The whole point of the Roebuck class was to deliver a cheaper alternative to the 50

That is simply incorrect. British two-decker Fifth Rates were expected to fulfill the same duties as a frigate. They are essentially the precursors of British frigates, which emerged from small two-deckers. First most of the main deck armament was dropped, then the old gundeck became progressively lower, and upper works were reduced. That's how you end up with a frigate.

And that's essentially what Venetian 'super frigates' are too. Two-decker 5th Rates. It's easy to treat them as incredible and unique when the sources that describe them omit the larger context of contemporary warships. And you make entirely too much of a few inches of deadrise that may or may not exist, and Venetian reports that these ships were wonderfully fast and maneuverable. These reports are meaningless without actual data or comparisons to other types of warships.

You claim that Roebuck looks like an SoL in her lines, but she has just as much, if not more, deadrise than La Fama. Both ships have a thin section of nearly-flat floor near the keel.  Both look like typical two-decker hulls to me.

And here's where your argument truly jumps the bounds of logic. So Roebuck isn't a frigate because she is too big, when she has similar dimensions to La Fama? (And of course, there were many British two-deckers older and smaller than Serapis, who was among the last of her kind.) But La Fama (with her ridiculous gun count and 3rd Rate designation in French service) does qualify as a frigate? With more guns, similar dimensions and similar hullform? You call her a super frigate in your signature!

Edit: So you say Serapis is more like a 50-gun SoL, but the 'super frigate' La Fama has a wider beam than a Portland-class 50-gunner? Right...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, maturin said:

You're trying to cast aspersions using a videogame mindset, while pretending not to. It's passive-aggressive sniping at a sailing ship, which is a little undignified.

Really? Do the math on the broadside weight of a 50 and a 64-gun ship and get back to me.

That's what I explicitly said (albeit with a typo).

Heavens, what emotional language to describe the perfectly ordinary fate of every ship. See, this is why it isn't worth engaging with you. Very low standards of discourse, sir. The equivalent of teabagging in a game of Halo 2. Yo momma so fat. Yo ship got burnt.

 

Sigh.... We have been through this all before. I'm not passive aggressively sniping at a sailing ship, I'm methodologically assessing her without the stars and spangles assigned to her by blind nationalism.

Broadside weight doesn't have that much to do with a fight in reality, it helps but its not actually the huge influence it is in NA, realistically Constitution doesn't have the manoeuvrability to fight a 50 SoL, especially one of the few 50 SoLs left at the time, consisting of the last and best of their generation slowly being phased out over time. a 64 is another story entirely, the raised fore and aft deck would just sweep down on Constitution, leaving her upper deck as a killing pit and rendering half her broadside almost meaningless. Both these two outfittings are easily capable enough to cause a lot of damage to Constitution too.

Scrolling up I see no mention of Constitution being vulnerable or not to 74s. Although I do remember a previous post talking about mast size on the tester service where you were incredibly convinced she could at least hold her own against a 74, I seriously hope that this ridiculous idea has actually changed....

I'm not sure how on earth is calling her her nickname, even suggesting to what she might have been named on her capture, especially by the British press is emotional language? Its not at all, it also has nothing to do with childish Halo 2 insults....
 

1 hour ago, maturin said:

Exactly, the British met the circumstances to consider 24-pdr frigates when they suffered a series of defeats in single-ship frigate actions, something that had not happened more than once or twice in a generation.

The degree of shock, controversy and public scandal can be (and best is) exclusively by British primary sources and writings by British historians. You can pretend the United States doesn't exist and read about how the British reacted to losing frigates to the martians if you prefer.

As I referenced above, the scandal was really quite the overreaction, given the precise circumstances. But we are arguing about *what* happened, not about what we think should have happened.

A series of defeats? The USA lost twice the frigates Britain did, they were not only larger, more expensively built and less expendable than the British ships, they were also padded out by victories over 278 privateers.

If anything is scandalous to the British its not going to be the occasional loss of single frigate action, especially when the largest navy ships in the region are still intact. Its going to be the loss of around 1000 merchant ships, further made worse by the French privateer influence and how that might affect British morale as a whole knowing their merchant marine wasn't safe, even though reality is they are far safer than their American opponents. The loss of frigates in this circumstance has little to do with the frigates themselves, much more to do with the possibility the larger merchant fleet could be vulnerable.

At no point have I suggested the United states doesn't exist...
 

1 hour ago, maturin said:

No crisis? See above. The British went so far as to forbid frigates from engaging the American 44s without a 2:1 advantage. Meanwhile British captains were expected to engage French 24-pdr frigates even if they themselves mounted 12-pdrs.

If you aren't aware of the British reaction, then you know less about the subject than I know about Venetian ships, and really aren't qualified to be making sweeping judgments unheard of in the entire annals of naval history.

Fir construction was a method for crash building, precisely in response to a sudden wartime emergency. So fir-built Leander indicates urgency. And fir-built ships were perfectly combat-capable, as proven by experience.

The British reaction to the US frigates is perfectly reasonable on account of both the size and unknown capability of the US frigates, where as there is a clear record of superiority over French frigates, its also something that tells of the decisive numerical advantage the British had in the region, why risk something to the unknown. I am aware of the reaction, it just seems like one of those statements that is blown out of reality wherever you study it, in Britain it seems pretty downplayed, where as in the USA its one of those things that gets blown dramatically out of proportions in the typical way American victories tend to be portrayed. Truth is its probably somewhere in the middle, nowhere near as exaggerated as it appears in America, but a little more shocking than it is portrayed in Britain (which isn't at all).

Its also clear that it wasn't such a problem with the slightly smaller US ships, which you can see from Shannon vs Chesapeake, as referenced earlier the only fair action of the war and a decisive British victory.
 

1 hour ago, maturin said:

We can't put 32-pdr long guns on any frigate in the game, but I've lost the thread of your argument here anyway. You still haven't backed up the 'before 1812' statement. Which is irrelevant anyways, since Constitution was built in the 18th Century.

How does up-gunning existing hulls of battlefleet ship cheapen the innovation of actual new frigate designs?

Probably because its something the Devs seem quite averse to put into the game, probably because it largely happens beyond the time frame of the game. Saying that its would be nice to see the game get short and short cut guns, it would be pretty bad game design to allow for 32s on a frigate in general even the 32s on Wasa is a mistake for balance, especially as she's a 64 not a 60 as she should be, but that's a different story.

Up gunning the existing fleet doesn't cheapen innovation, but it does allow for a cheap way to slightly inflate the combative ability and should it be deemed somewhat effective then it creates a first step into potentially branching into heavier armament, its also clear that it happened prior to indulging in 24lbs, with the upgunning of a couple of French captures. In all honesty I can't double check my source on the event because I can't remember where I read it, but I believe it was something Henry Peake was toying with before he was replaced, with the experiments returning after Napoleon's defeat.
 

1 hour ago, maturin said:

Uh-huh. Find me a single secondary source who agrees with you.

This is taken somewhat out of context, its also something that is fairly clear from a modern perspective, on paper the 44 frigates are pretty beastly, but when you take into account everything else involved with them it becomes a lot more cloudy, where they become pretty ineffective on the whole. The costing of the US frigates is totally ridiculous, both in construction and commissioning, as I pointed out above it would have made far more sense to have built something less over the top. They also suffer other design flaws especially in comparison to similarly costed ships such as the open and vulnerable weatherdeck.

Gun for gun they are pretty fantastic, especially compared to their smaller European counterparts, although their wartime success is somewhat limited, which is mainly observable through the Barbary wars and 1812. The whole point of a super frigate was supposed to be as a cost effective way to give stronger support to the merchant marine, mainly in peacetime. For this reason alone you can consider the US frigates are ineffective, so really in conclusion its not so much their combative effectiveness that's the issue with them, its their general oversized construction and the costs involved with that. They do offer some strange quirks but I do like them, they just aren't as special as people seem to make out. Although I know its personal preference but I much prefer the smaller US frigates to the 44s, Essex and such, which now I think about it was another fair fight, and decisive British victory.

I do get the feeling that we aren't going to agree on this though, it seems a bit fruitless to keep going with this, it might just be better to agree to disagree.

Edited by Fluffy Fishy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Fluffy Fishy said:

Sigh.... We have been through this all before. I'm not passive aggressively sniping at a sailing ship, I'm methodologically assessing her without the stars and spangles assigned to her by blind nationalism.

Do you believe yourself when you write that? This whole time you've been transparently trying to needle me, in a manner that would be effective against the nationalist you imagine I am. Citing numbers of American ships sunk in the War of 1812 in a debate about three individual ships, really? Colorful imagery of Constitution sold for firewood (when of course all the wonderful Venetian ships actually did suffer that fate.).

I've probably wasted more breath deflating the proponents of Constitution than anyone else on the forum. Just in regards to a topic where deflation is warranted: that cannon-proof live oak.

Your claims to 'methodology' are somewhat suspect, given your next statements:

 

Quote

Broadside weight doesn't have that much to do with a fight in reality,

So methodology. Much assessment.

Quote

realistically Constitution doesn't have the manoeuvrability to fight a 50 SoL, especially one of the few 50 SoLs left at the time, consisting of the last and best of their generation slowly being phased out over time.

There is zero, zilch, nada evidence for this whatsoever. Speaking as someone who believes her length should result in relatively slow turning in-game, Constitution had a history of outmaneuvering her shorter opponents. She handily outplayed two much smaller post-ships, throwing the yards aback to avoid a rake. So how can a clumsy two-decker outmaneuver her? Stern camping only happens in videogames. How did ships of the line ever fight frigates, do you suppose?

Constitution was slightly longer than a 50-gunner and could experience more drag in turning. All things being equal, advantage to the shorter ship. But all things are almost never equal. In the real world, the performance of the crew and the state of the vessel are decisive, as the record of engagements shows. Constitution and United States brought their firepower to bear with exactly the results you would expect, while beating expectations for sailhandling, thanks to excellent seamanship.

 

Quote

a 64 is another story entirely, the raised fore and aft deck would just sweep down on Constitution, leaving her upper deck as a killing pit and rendering half her broadside almost meaningless. Both these two outfittings are easily capable enough to cause a lot of damage to Constitution too.

This is an argument I've used in the past, and it has some weight in the context of a yardarm-to-yardarm slugging match, like Shannon v Chesapeake. But if you go compare two draughts, as Alex Connor has done, you will be very surprised. Constitution is an enormous ship, and only the lightly armed forecastle and unarmed poop of a 64-gunner overtop her bulwarks, by a foot or so.

In other words, the leeward ship would be protected and the windward ship would be vulnerable. Regardless of which ship that was. Furthermore, Constitution had a proven record of long-range gunnery when it suited her.

See, this is why I can't take your claims of impartiality seriously. You picked out one minor aspect of a monstrously lopsided match-up and pretended like it is some definite, decisive, determinative trump card.

Quote

Scrolling up I see no mention of Constitution being vulnerable or not to 74s. Although I do remember a previous post talking about mast size on the tester service where you were incredibly convinced she could at least hold her own against a 74, I seriously hope that this ridiculous idea has actually changed....

I said that 74s had more firepower, and could not be considered an equal opponent.

And actually you are recalling an argument with NorthernWolves, who insisted that the 74 would have been in deep trouble. So you have that backwards.

I recall agreeing that the 74 would have been in a hopeless position if forced to close her lower ports in rough weather, thereby becoming totally outgunned. Although such a battle likely would have ended in the sinking of the 74, since the British would have refused to surrender. This dynamic was acknowledged by Robert Gardiner, a historian who is very grudging with praise when it comes to non-British ships.

 

Quote

A series of defeats? The USA lost twice the frigates Britain did, they were not only larger, more expensively built and less expendable than the British ships, they were also padded out by victories over 278 privateers.

If anything is scandalous to the British its not going to be the occasional loss of single frigate action, especially when the largest navy ships in the region are still intact. Its going to be the loss of around 1000 merchant ships, further made worse by the French privateer influence and how that might affect British morale as a whole knowing their merchant marine wasn't safe, even though reality is they are far safer than their American opponents. The loss of frigates in this circumstance has little to do with the frigates themselves, much more to do with the possibility the larger merchant fleet could be vulnerable.
 

Here you call into question objective facts, because you have not read anything on the subject. Instead you are speculating.

 

Quote

in Britain it seems pretty downplayed, where as in the USA its one of those things that gets blown dramatically out of proportions in the typical way American victories tend to be portrayed. Truth is its probably somewhere in the middle, nowhere near as exaggerated as it appears in America, but a little more shocking than it is portrayed in Britain (which isn't at all).

You have it backwards. There was nothing for the Americans to exaggerate, because the British themselves overreacted in the press and in the court of public opinion. This is a matter of primary sources and accepted historical record.

After-that-fact editorializing by historians is neither here nor there, and that's not what I am talking about. For obvious reasons the Americans were not privy to the particulars of how the British were thinking and writing on the other side of the Atlantic. Please refer yourself to the scholars who actually study this.

A lot of bullshit was written by both sides, as the British searched for reasons why the Constitution's opponents were pathetic and not good representatives of British prowess. Both sides like to indulge in fantasies that the live oak was invulnerable. The British tried to claim that Constitution only won because she had many British seamen on board. The American paint the crew of the Chesapeake as incompetents, etc.

All this happened years after the British press exploded into scandal.

Quote

Its also clear that it wasn't such a problem with the slightly smaller US ships, which you can see from Shannon vs Chesapeake, as referenced earlier the only fair action of the war and a decisive British victory.

So golly gee whiz, why is that battle considered the foremost single-ship action in British naval history? By that time, the British had hundreds of such victories. Why should the British celebrate an even fight, when they had so many heroic victories as underdogs?

Do I need to spell this out? It was because the victory counteracted the moral panic and crisis of confidence caused by the earlier defeats.

Quote

They also suffer other design flaws especially in comparison to similarly costed ships such as the open and vulnerable weatherdeck.

This isn't a flaw, it's a feature of all frigates. It's silly to consider it in relation to ships which Constitution was meant to avoid.

And Constitution's tall, live oak bulwarks give her the best-protected weather deck of any ship ever built at that time. British and French bulwarks were often paper-thin at that level. And before the midships bulwarks were cut down, she had a well-protected space for sailhandlers, which was lacking on any ship of the line.

Also, I assume you've noticed that this "flaw" was reproduced on all the heavy frigates built after the Napoleonic period.

Quote

Gun for gun they are pretty fantastic, especially compared to their smaller European counterparts, although their wartime success is somewhat limited, which is mainly observable through the Barbary wars and 1812.

In other words, their effectiveness as warships was only observable in the wars they fought. As opposed to the wars they didn't fight, including the battle where La Fama sank them all.

Quote

The whole point of a super frigate was supposed to be as a cost effective way to give stronger support to the merchant marine, mainly in peacetime. For this reason alone you can consider the US frigates are ineffective, so really in conclusion its not so much their combative effectiveness that's the issue with them, its their general oversized construction and the costs involved with that.

Hang on, this makes no sense. A super frigate is for protecting merchantmen in peacetime? That's the exact opposite of what a heavy frigate is for. If it's peacetime, all you need is a fleet of small, cheap brigs.

A super frigate is meant for bullying normal frigates (or merchantment) while running away from squadrons.

Quote

Although I know its personal preference but I much prefer the smaller US frigates to the 44s, Essex and such, which now I think about it was another fair fight, and decisive British victory.

Aesthetically I'm not a big fan of the heavy frigates either.

Essex was taken in a 2 v 1 battle, by the way. Not sure how that qualifies as fair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One day without access to my computer and this thread is going places, huh?

@_Masterviolin

If you want to know more about the impact of scientific developments -like the 'discovery' of the metacenter - in the 18th/early 19th on shipbuilding, I heartily recommend 'Ships and Science - The Birth of Naval Architecture in the Scientific Revolution 1600 - 1800'. Great book! :)

 

Speaking of books, is there anything known about the professional books Humphreys and Fox had in their library? Like Broguer's 'Traité du navire' , af Chapman's 'Treatise on Shipbuilding' or Stalkart's 'Marine Architecture'?

 

Quote

On the other hand, the Bellonas are also something of a middling step in the development of the 'super frigate.' Only 26 main deck guns (like Endymion and Forte), even with the razee-like officers' quarters placed out of the way on the poop. And Baltic particularities such as shallow draft and a somewhat hybrid orlop/lower deck with less storage space. 

La Forte, like her sister L' Égyptienne, was pierced for 30 guns on the upper deck. This seems to have been a thing of the constructors the french East India Company (F. Caro in this case) as they built large frigates like this since the mid-1750s  - e.g. La Danaé, La Sylphide, La Terpsichore, La Renommée - albeit those carried just 12-pounders.

 

Regarding the poop: the earliest large 'frigate' with that kind of setup I´ve found is the 36-gun Ilerim of 1716. Then there is a 18-pounder frigate proposal by a certain Captain Kirby (most likely drawn by Sir T. Slade), dated 1756, in the british archives and of course Chapman's 18-pounder privateer (plate XXXI + XXXII) in the ANM 1768. The last two were pierced for 28 guns, by the way.

In the case of the Bellonas, I think the poop was just a try to save money and resources as it reduced the length of the hull by a couple of feet. Money and resources was something the swedish navy absolutely didn´t have throughout the 18th century and Chapman had to do more with less - which could have been the unofficial motto of the whole 1782 20-ship building program :P

Additionally, the poop may have provided better protection for the helmsmen and officers against small arms fire in battle. A more solid environment for the stern chasers may have been another consideration.

 

Quote

Also bearing in mind that Europe's inland sea navies had a persistent knack for overgunning hulls because they could more often get away with it.

Any certain ships in mind? :)

As far as I know only the Russians experimented with higher calibres on sea-going vessels and that was in the Black Sea.

The Hemeenääs (yup, I spelled that correctly) of the swedish Inshore Fleet carried 22 36-pounders on a 142' hull, but those were specifically designed for coastal warfare.

 

 

 

Quote

Which reminds me, I should find out more about the Bellonas' service record.

 

Information about that may be hard to find, so here´s a short overview:

Dimensions  156' x 40' , draught aft with full load 17' 6'', height of the middle gun port above the waterline 7' 5'', crew 342 

Bellona                1782 - 1809 (wrecked)

Minerva               1783 - 1789 (internal explosion)

                              1788 Battle of Hogland

Diana                   1783  - 1802    broken up

Venus                  1783   - 1789  captured by russian squadron near Christiansfiord, last known service as 'Venere' 1812 (Kingdom of Sicily)

                             

Fröja                     1784 - 1834    broken up

                              1788 Battle of Hogland

                               1789 2nd Battle of Oland

                               1790 Battle of Reval

                              1790 Battle of Viborg

Thetis                  1784  - 1818 broken up

                              1788 Battle of Hogland

Camilla              1784 - 1842 broken up

                            1788 Battle of Hogland

                            1790 Battle of Reval

                             1790 Battle of Viborg

Galathea           1785 - 1854 broken up

                           

Euridice            1785 - 1858 broken up

                           1790 Battle of Viborg

Zemire              1785 - 1790 destroyed by swedish fire ship                   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×