Jump to content
Game-Labs Forum
Hethwill the Red Duke

Questions for the Historians

Recommended Posts

28 minutes ago, Hethwill said:

Why did powerful naval nations deploy long range chase frigates to cover the seas instead of more ships of the line ?

'Cover' the seas? Only the british RN really did that. And reasons for smaller  ships were pretty simple: Cost efficiency and lack of trained sailors.

Edited by Malachi
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not specifically at the napoleonic wars, I mean across 2 centuries. So I bet RN is not the only one that did send frigates to the Pacific, Far East, etc. Even the young US did send them to hit far waters during 1812.

If big SOLs are much more powerful, why send frigates ?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My impression comes down largely to cost.  Frigates are cheaper to build, and can be built in a larger variety of cities, whereas ships of the line are more expensive and need more advanced shipyards to construct.  If you have 10 frigates and 5 ships of the line, odds are you're going to keep the ships of the line as a home defense fleet and use frigates as scouting vessels which can look into more nooks and crannies anyways.  (My own impressions only.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Frigates being faster and more maneuverable than SOL's were more suited to protecting trade routes and fleet escort/scouts.

 

"Following these are the frigates, a widely used and often misunderstood term. Officially, since the 1750’s, it meant any ship of 28 to 48 guns but, in practice, it could refer to a ship with as few as 20 guns. These were the pursuit ships, tasked with hunting down enemy convoys, merchant fleets, and lone warships."

" Below frigates were post ships, of 20-26 guns, essentially small frigates. These were not intended for fleet actions, or even single ship actions, but protected shipping lanes. "

 

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/napoleon/many-types-ships-napoleonic-wars-m.html

Edited by Dibbler
  • Like 1

Share this post


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

A new question (kind of related also with the game reality ).

 

- Why did powerful naval nations deploy long range chase frigates to cover the seas instead of more ships of the line ? What aspects made one the obvious choice over the other ? What made a frigate more suitable for that task ?

It is also is a bit depended, besides the frigates u also had armed traders in the Voc and Wic u had tradingships up to 68 guns which are use to be used together with the frigates. And like Powderhorn says they are also relatively cost efficient and if people needs to be trained not necessarily, but they can be of good use trainingvessels although combatgroups tend to fleet training (manouvering and shootingpractise whilst at sea when nothing is going on to get the general skill up. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The number of crew available and the number of stations (plus spares for rotations home)... plus flexibility of the ships on station.

You can send two frigates and continue to scout while chasing a sail...
One 3rd rate which has to choose between the chase and remaining on station...
Not having a first available...

All for the same crew. Manpower was a strongly limiting factor for the armies and navies of the period.

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

They are already built. Why send the frigates ?

20 SoLs are a battlefleet. A battlefleet makes you a naval power and lets you defend your coast. Without a battlefleet you are naked. 20 lone SoLs can't fight a war.

20 frigates are just a gaggle of light warships, and the battlefleet can operate without them. So you send them out individually. 20 lone frigates can fight a guerre de course.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Hethwill said:

Gotcha.

Why not send individual SOLs ?

Because you dilute the strength of your battlefleet. And disregarding all consideration of cost, value and maintenance, a 74 is still slower in most weather, especially close-hauled where most chases are decided.

Plus it's just overkill. An East Indiaman worth millions will likely still surrender to a frigate. Two frigates can attack a convoy better than a single 74.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Originally it was about raiding trade routes not defending them, and for obvious practical reasons they stayed more efficient as such.

Also one part that is usually overlooked it that they are independent whereas a ship of the line is not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cannons had no aim as for as I know, so (apart from the personal experience of gunners) how they aim to a specific target? Was there some mechanical or whatever help? Any metallic graduate bars maybe? Or simply they used deck line fire as they were line soldier, hoping that "send" 20-30 gun balls, some of them will hit something? More: a ship is definitely not steady in high seas, was there some "trick" to solve the issue for aiming? (whining to Devs was not an option, I suppose) :D

I have another question, but I keep it for next time :)

 

Edited by blubasso

Share this post


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

Cannons had no aim as for as I know, so (apart from the personal experience of gunners) how they aim to a specific target? Was there some mechanical or whatever help? Any metallic graduate bars maybe? Or simply they used deck line fire as they were line soldier, hoping that "send" 20-30 gun balls, some of them will hit something? More: a ship is definitely not steady in high seas, was there some "trick" to solve the issue? (whining to Devs was not an option, I suppose) :D

There weren't really any aiming help, they didn't quiete use deck line fire neither, everybody reloaded and shot as fast as he could usually. Aiming was more a question of xp, like if you would kick a football or play pétanque , no aiming help, but do it a few times and you are good enough. Remember that combat was usually pretty close rather than at maximum distances. So yeah reload speed. Especially since after each shot the recoil didn't leave you much time to re-aim. And most cannons weren't that easy to move anyway even if you were to aim. As to steadiness, playing with the ship speed and direction.

Edited by Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Captain Jean-Luc Picard said:

There weren't really any aiming help, they didn't quiete use deck line fire neither, everybody reloaded and shot as fast as he could usually. Aiming was more a question of xp, like if you would kick a football or play pétanque , no aiming help, but do it a few times and you are good enough. Remember that combat was usually pretty close rather than at maximum distances. So yeah reload speed. Especially since after each shot the recoil didn't leave you much time to re-aim. And most cannons weren't that easy to move anyway even if you were to aim. As to steadiness, playing with the ship speed and direction.

A good explanation, I would add that the Royal Navy tended to train much more than other Navies, the principle was to put a heavier weight of shot in the air than their enemies and hope for a higher hit and damage rate, particularly when it came down to reducing crew numbers, it was faster reloading that achieved that aim. Combat ranges could be as close as Pistol range, and the carnage on and below decks was horrific to say the least.  Hit first, hit hard, and keep on hitting was pretty much the gunner's mantra and if they could keep more balls in flight than the enemy then the chances of scoring more hits than the enemy was achievable, the principle was proved to be folly less then a century after the Napoleonic era ended. 

   

Share this post


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

Gotcha.

Why not send individual SOLs ?

In addition to the answers already given, also consider the number of crew on an SOL; it was difficult to provide sustenance for a crew that large without frequent re-supplies. Hence the SOL was rather short-ranged, for lackk of a better term.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other way round: Most SoLs could store up to 8 - 9 months provisions if needed.

Only large frigates like La Forte or Connie could take equal amounts for their crew (and some smaller British ones :p)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the answers to my cannons question. Now another question: was in the sailing age well known the concept of "Task Force"? I mean a "standard" fleet which within there were certain ships with own role (protecting big ones, tanks, flanking ships...). Of course I know, a fleet was assembled for a certain purpose, depending of purposes in mission, but I wonder if there was some standardized places within the fleet.

Edited by blubasso

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, blubasso said:

Thank you for the answers to my cannons question. Now another question: was in the sailing age well known the concept of "Task Force"? I mean a "standard" fleet which within there were certain ships with own role (protecting big ones, tanks, flanking ships...). Of course I know, a fleet was assembled for a certain purpose, depending of purposes in mission, but I wonder if there was some standardized places within the fleet.

No really. In fleet battles there was only one tactical role: ship of the line. First and Second Rates were larger, but just placed in important places in the line.

Big ships didn't need protection (the formation was the protection), and flanking wasn't really a thing. Too weak as an individual maneuver, too complex to pull off with a group.

Frigates repeated signals, towed disabled ships out of combat, etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, blubasso said:

Cannons had no aim as for as I know, so (apart from the personal experience of gunners) how they aim to a specific target? Was there some mechanical or whatever help? Any metallic graduate bars maybe? Or simply they used deck line fire as they were line soldier, hoping that "send" 20-30 gun balls, some of them will hit something? More: a ship is definitely not steady in high seas, was there some "trick" to solve the issue for aiming? (whining to Devs was not an option, I suppose) :D

I have another question, but I keep it for next time :)

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

Why ships use a spanker sail instead of a normal square sail?

  • The spanker can be bigger than the square sail that would replace it
  • Useful for close-hauled and beam reach sailing
  • Helps force the bow into the wind and control rotation
  • Can be used to hold position in a storm

But more importantly a square mizzen course would not be very useful. When sailing downwind, it would just blanket the main and fore courses, which are larger and more important. Upwind, the spanker is superior. Even the mainsail was often furled when sailing downwind, because it disrupted airflow to the fore course (which exerts a useful lifting effect on the bow).

1850s clipper ships started carrying mizzen courses, but would only use them when appropriate.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote
  • Can be used to hold position in a storm

Could you explain/describe this, please? Sounds interesting. Maybe something more about sailing in the storm.

Edited by Banished Privateer

Share this post


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

Could you explain/describe this, please? Sounds interesting. Maybe something more about sailing in the storm.

#1 storm tactic is sailing very slowly to windward under reduced sail. Either with a close-reefed main topsail or a small lower staysail made of thicker canvas. Reefing the mizzen sail (spanker) right down in another option, but not the best one for most ships.

  • Like 1

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

×