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Malachi

Danish Lille Belt-class, 20 guns, 1801

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Posted (edited)

For what´s probably my last thread in the shipyard for quite some time I want to present one of my favourite little frigates, the Lille Belt-class.  Designed by the danish fabrikmester (a post not unlike that of the british surveyor) F.C.H. Hohlenberg at the turn of the 18th century,  they were intended to replace the old type of 20- and 24-gun frigates in use in the danish navy at the time. Not a man for conventional concepts, Hohlenberg designed these letfregatter (light frigates) as fully flush-decked and with a full carronade broadside.

Unlike some other Hohlenberg frigates, these ships were highly regarded in danish service. For example, Diana´s captain seems to have been very pleased with his command:

 The frigate Diana carries her sail excellently, is stiff, steers magnificently, rides easily at anchor. The fastest run I've had was 10 to 11 miles during a watch [...]*

* slightly above 11 knots over the course of 4 hours

Class Overview:

 

Lille Belt and Fylla were taken by the Royal Navy after the 2nd Battle of Copenhagen in 1807. Diana, then escorting a convoy in the Med, could escape the fate of their sisters, but, after Spain declared war on Denmark in 1809, was finally detained in the port of Cartagena in the same year and her crew became prisoners of war.

The most well-known ship of the class certainly is Lille Belt/Little Belt, due to her unfortunate encounter with the american 44-gun frigate President and the subsequent diplomatic affair.

 

Plans:

 

Lille Belt, Lines and Profile, 1801

 

Diana, Inboard Profile, 1803

 

Lille Belt, Detail of the steering mechanism. The high angle of the tiller probably gave enough space for the use of chase guns.

 

Similar tiller/rail on the modell of the brigg Elben

 

Diana, Cross Section, 1803

 

Lille Belt, Sail Plan, 1801

 

Fylla 'as captured', Lines and Profile, 1809

 

Fylla 'as captured', 1809. Modifications for british service in green

 

Little Belt and President, 1811

 

The Little Belt, 1819. Unlike Fylla, LB´s transom and quarter galleries were modified according to british practice.

 

Edited by Malachi
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Posted (edited)

+1. Interesting and very documented.

At the same period, French corvettes of 20/24 guns, either :

  • tried out really heavy gun armament : 12/18/24-pdr guns (Forfait's and Le Tellier's program in 1793/95 : Etna...)
  • or carried 'normal' light ones : 6-pdr or 8-pdr guns

but no carronades (that were still very new in the French navy). Maybe also two philosophies of use ? Fighting vs mainly carrying orders or dispatches (aviso) ?

35 minutes ago, Malachi said:

For what´s probably my last thread in the shipyard for quite some time

Too bad ! Hoping however you'll still post useful comments. 🙂

Edited by LeBoiteux
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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, LeBoiteux said:

At the same period, French corvettes of 20/24 guns, either :

  • tried out really heavy gun armament : 12/18/24-pdr guns (Forfait's and Le Tellier's program in 1793/95 : Etna...)
  • or carried 'normal' light ones : 6-pdr or 8-pdr guns

but no carronades (that were still very new in the French navy). Maybe also two philosophies of use ? Fighting vs mainly carrying orders or dispatches (aviso) ?

In terms of size and amount of guns, Haran´s Bonne Citoyenne-class would be the closest french equivalent to the Lille Belts. But as you said, these initially carried 8-pounders. When the British eventually built a couple of ships to the lines of the BC (Hermes-Class), they armed them with 18 32-pound carronades and 2 9-pounders, just like Fylla and Lille Belt.

It´s been a while since I´ve read Hohlenberg's biography, but if I remember correctly, the 'letfregatter' were only a small part of his fleet program, aiming at the total standardisation of the danish fleet regarding ship types and their armament, with 30-pound medium guns and carronades intended to play a significant role.

This program wasn´t implemented, though, as Hohlenberg retired from his post as fabrikmester in 1803.

48 minutes ago, LeBoiteux said:

Hoping however you'll still post useful comments.  🙂

Useful? We'll see :P

Edited by Malachi

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4 minutes ago, Malachi said:

In terms of size and amount of guns, Haran´s Bonne Citoyenne-class would be the closest french equivalent to the Lille Belts. But as you said, these initially carried 6-pounders.

8-pdr on La Bonne Citoyenne, according to Boudriot (Monographie de la Créole) and Rif Winfield.  🙂

 

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Never knew Little Belt was Danish.

Was she really sailed down by the head? Or could this be the trim at launch?

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Posted (edited)
On 3/5/2019 at 10:30 PM, maturin said:

Was she really sailed down by the head? Or could this be the trim at launch?

Don´t know about Lille Belt, but Fylla was trimmed to an even keel in british service (11' 1'' fore and aft).

In danish service she had 11' 7'' fore and 13' 2'' aft.

And I've never seen a danish plan where a ship was intended to be trimmed by the head, so Gardiner´s comment presumably applies to the british practice regarding the captured danish frigates. Curiously, they all got a lighter armament in RN service (e.g. Venus, which went from 18s to 12s) and that probably necessitated all sorts of trimming experiments to get them back into a 'sailable' condition.

On 3/5/2019 at 8:59 PM, LeBoiteux said:

The decoration looks very minimalist

Well, without a proper transom and quarter galleries there´s not much to decorate ^^

But, truth to be told, the figurehead isn´t that impressive, either. Just an orb (?) and a scroll.

 

 

 

Edit:

Huh, just noticed a neat little detail in the Little Belt/President drawing.

 

That´s either a boarding netting or an overhead netting/sauve-tête (to protect the crew from falling debris like blocks etc.)

 

Edited by Malachi

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