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HMS Archer, and the Archer-class of gun-brigs

 

From 1793 to 1813, the Royal Navy demanded large numbers of small armed brigs for coastal warfare. These were smaller than the brig-sloops or man-of-war brigs, with a complement of 50 men under the command of a Lieutenant. Some were converted from merchant ships, while most were built to order - the most common design of these gun-brigs was the Archer-class by William Rule, consisting of 58 ships. These ships were workhorses, most with individually undistinguished careers or a supporting role apart from some colourful exceptions; HMS Staunch, for instance, was decorated for its efforts in the 1810 Mauritius campaign, while HMS Manly was captured and recaptured twice, spending half of its life in the Dutch and Danish navies, making the ship itself something of a battleground.

 

It is worth noting that these ships were built at a great rate - the first 10 Archer-class ships were ordered on the 30th of December, 1800, and the last of that batch, HMS Constant, was launched on the 28th of April, 1801 and completed fitting out on the 10th of June that year. Also worth noting is that arming these tiny brigs to the teeth gave them a marked tendency to roll.

 

post-22617-0-66297500-1465448059_thumb.jpg

 

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Measurements

Length at gundeck: 80' (24 m)

Length at keel: 65' 10.25" (20.072m)

Beam: 22' 6" (6.86m)

Depth of hold: 9' 5" (2.87m)

Tonnage (by burthen, not displacement): 177 31/94; 177.3298 tonnes burthen

 

Armament:

Broadsides: 10x18-pounder carronades

Bow chasers: 2x18-pounder carronades

 

(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_gun-brigs_of_the_Royal_Navy#Archer_class_.281801_batch.29)

 

What could she be in game? A low-level ship that doesn't handle like a the others, a square-rigged ship with both broadside guns and bow chasers for people who want to jump in the deep end early. For more experienced players, she would still be an ideal interdictor for the smallest trade ships, and the combination of an in-game 7th-rate's turn speed and bow chasers could make her a potent shallow-water warship in its own right.

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Oh my word, yes please. This would be a nice alternative amongst the 7th Rates we currently have. Be a handy patrol vessel for dealing with those pesky smugglers (like myself) who whizz around in Traders Lynxs/Cutters, if you can force them to sail with the wind with some adroit manoeuvering.

Edited by Rikard Frederiksen
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I'd love to see more ships like this, Archer is a great choice. Other good ones are the Cherokee and Cruizer/Snakes. Besides being the standard RN light ship of the era, the latter is a good two-fer, since they can make both ship and brig rigged versions with the same hull under different names.

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I had planned to make a thread on brig sloops / gun-brigs this week. Thanks for getting this going.

 

Archer-class would also be an excellent candidate for conversion to a light mortar brig, e.g.

 

 


On completion, HMS Desperate was a vessel of 177 tons. She was 80ft long on her main deck and 22'6" wide across the beam. She was armed with 10 18pdr carronades on her broadside and two 9pdr long guns in her bow. She was manned by a crew of 50 officers, men and boys. She was the first vessel in the Royal Navy to bear the name.
 
...
 
In 1811, HMS Desperate was converted into a Mortar-Brig. This entailed the removal of her bow 9pdr guns and their replacement with a 12" mortar. The beams under her forward main deck were reinforced to allow the massive recoil from the mortar to be safely absorbed.
 

 

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=17028.0

 

Conquest-class is a gun-brig of interesting design and armament.

 

WkFearless_850.jpg

WkFearless2_850.jpg

 

Hull length: 75ft

Hull beam: 21ft

Hull displacement: 149 tons

Armament:

2 x 24pdr (short Gover) bow chasers
10 x 18pdr carronades / 4pdr guns
2 x 18pdr carronade / 4pdr gun stern chasers

Crew: 50

 

Particularly interesting is the half-deck at the bow to carry the 24pdr chasers.

 

http://www.promare.co.uk/ships/Wrecks/Wk_Fearless.html

 

Cherokee is another prolific class of brig sloops.

 

cherokeeclasslines_zps40b35828.jpg

cherokeeclassinboardprofile_zpsbb1f89a6.

cherokeeclassframes_zps8202abaf.jpg

 

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=16647.0

 

Cherokee_large.png

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee-class_brig-sloop

 

A number of these were converted into exploration vessels, including HMS Beagle.

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If I'm not mistaken, weren't these the vessels that were known for being a bit "tippy"?

 

According to Robert Gardiner, there was no particular design fault, but it seems these vessels may been too small for their far-ranging assignments.

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If I'm not mistaken, weren't these the vessels that were known for being a bit "tippy"?

Not a stability issue, just really low freeboard and no foredeck, so they were easily swamped in rough seas.

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Righto...  I thought I had read somewhere where the "ambitious" armament made them a bit rolly-polly..  I must have them confused with another class.  On a related note, I saw Hethwill's fancy new "Heavy Rattlesnake" yesterday on the open seas yesterday.  Does anyone know if its the same model of the Rattlesnake, and just "enlarged"? Or is a different model altogether?  I would love for another class of raider-type ships to enter the game.  Does anyone have any plans from the "Merlin" class ship-sloops, by any chance?

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Righto...  I thought I had read somewhere where the "ambitious" armament made them a bit rolly-polly..  I must have them confused with another class.  On a related note, I saw Hethwill's fancy new "Heavy Rattlesnake" yesterday on the open seas yesterday.  Does anyone know if its the same model of the Rattlesnake, and just "enlarged"? Or is a different model altogether?  I would love for another class of raider-type ships to enter the game.  Does anyone have any plans from the "Merlin" class ship-sloops, by any chance?

 

Here you go:http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=vessel-330772;browseBy=vessel;vesselFacetLetter=M

 

I believe the Heavy Rattlesnake has different armament. Dont quote me on that though.

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Thanks Sella!! I would love to see more of these and Wasp-types in the game. In my mind, when I think Caribbean, I think smaller type ships like these and sloops, with the occasional frigate thrown in.

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Cherokee is another prolific class of brig sloops.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=16647.0

 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee-class_brig-sloop

 

A number of these were converted into exploration vessels, including HMS Beagle.

 

Prolific is an understatement. Cherokees were the largest class of wooden proper warships built (as opposed to something like an open-deck gunboat), with something like 120. There is an Anatomy of the Ship book on Beagle that has a large amount of plans and reconstruction work on the Cherokee, it'd be a good starting point.

 

 

Thanks Sella!! I would love to see more of these and Wasp-types in the game. In my mind, when I think Caribbean, I think smaller type ships like these and sloops, with the occasional frigate thrown in.

 

How about the Bittern-class too? Slightly larger than the Merlin (18-gun, compared to 16-gun). This plan is from Chapelle, listed as the Cyane that was captured and became part of the US Navy, but it's actually incorrect. That ship was a larger Banterer-class 22-gun Post Ship. He must have been sent the plans for the Bittern-class Cyane instead, which can be found in the RMG website. He tweaked the drawing, adding later war features like the built up bulwarks (they're open rails on the original plan).

post-23027-0-54455800-1465493551_thumb.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/MezbcIL.jpg

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I had planned to make a thread on brig sloops / gun-brigs this week. Thanks for getting this going.

 

Archer-class would also be an excellent candidate for conversion to a light mortar brig, e.g....

 

Conquest-class is a gun-brig of interesting design and armament....

 

Cherokee is another prolific class of brig sloops.

 

 

Thanks - and yes, there's definitely other interesting candidates among the gun-brigs; Conquest-class as you point out, the first batch of these little ladies to be built to a common design, the Confounder and Bold-class had an interesting setup with a single centreline bow chaser and stern chaser mounted on a special traversing carriage for wide field of fire. I put forward the Archer-class as their numbers made them a good representative of the overall type.

 

Cherokee was definitely a prolific class, but they were more grown up - 75-man complement, brig-sloops under a Commander rather than gun-brigs under a Lieutenant. In-game, they'd be a little bit screwed by the network as they'd have a really small crew for a Second Lieutenant ship while being outgunned by the Privateer. Still, cool collection of plans and pics.

 

If I'm not mistaken, weren't these the vessels that were known for being a bit "tippy"?

 

gun-brigs had low freeboard, plenty of topweight, and got put to harder work than they were designed for - some tippy-ness is to be expected. A few Archer-class brigs were lost and presumed to have foundered, but they never attracted the 'coffin brig' or 'Half Tide Rock' infamy of the aforementioned Cherokee. And when you craft a tippy ship, you actually feel good when you random Stiffness.

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And when you craft a tippy ship, you actually feel good when you random Stiffness.

NyQVfyU.jpg

Sorry, it fitted in too brilliantly to not be used - HMS Archer, the joke in the Archer TV series about 'the tip' and the juvenile humour present in the series.

 

On a more serious level, it is good to see the level of support for these smaller vessels. Considering how prolific this type of ship was in the Royal Navy, built and employed in such large numbers, it would be almost rude to not have them.

Edited by Rikard Frederiksen
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