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4th rates - ship of the line, yes and no.


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In many navies the 4th rates served as ships of the line.

The British kept 4th rates ships as shipf of the line until 1756 but other, smaller nations kept 4th rates as ships of the line. The upcoming Rättvisan was called "linjeskepp" in Sweden and served in battles against russian ship of the lines in the same class. When Rättvisan later became a russian ship it continued to serve as a ship of the line, for example in the Battle of the dardanells 1807.

Chapman gave the 60-64 gun ships very heavy guns, so they could compete with 2nd and 3rd rates. That was how the Swedes did it. Similar things was done by the Russians. The 4th rates had an advantage when the weather was more stormy and the 2nd or 3rd rates could not use their lowest gun deck.

I find this quite interesting. 

Do anyone know if the french navy used 4th rates as ships of the line, or notT





(I DONT want any wining about the recent DLC, this is a post about naval history)

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Don't make the mistake of suggesting 4th rate is a consistent term. Almost every navy that had 4th rates as part of their rating system defined them as something completely different depending on the navy in question and the time period involved. Simply taking the British evolution of 4th rate over the age of sail it meant crewed by 100-120 men to the end definition of 50-69 guns.

You see some pretty striking comparisons between nations too, with France having 44-50 guns for the majority of the Age of Sail while smaller nations like Venice a fourth rate was less than 38 guns.

The point made by some nations keeping 4th rates as battleships kind of depends significantly on the 4th rate in question, especially once the inflation of "frigates" meant that you quite often had 50 or even 60 gunners which were by no means built for the line, while you also have a number of examples of purpose built battleships of the same armaments.

Naval rating systems are something modern perspective builds too much emphasis on when comparing ships, the whole system was much more built as a loose way of defining funding, general role, equipping and crewing for administration purposes rather than a straight definition of what the ship was capable of.

All ships of the line suffered in heavy seas, frigates were defined as weatherly due to the fact their main gun decks were situated notably higher out the water than a standard ship of the line :).

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36 minutes ago, Ligatorswe said:

The 4th rates had an advantage when the weather was more stormy and the 2nd or 3rd rates could not use their lowest gun deck.

Every time I forget about it someone reminds me how awesome it would be to have storm battles in NA. I never even had the chance to test them.... 

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The ships with 50 to 64 guns are indeed SoLs in France. But this type of ship does not have good press, it is neither manoeuvrable nor powerful enough. The 12-fregates and 74-gun ships (considered the best balance between strength and maneuverability in France) precipitated the end of the 50/64 guns.
On 31 January 1780 there were only 3 ships of 50 guns, one of 56, one of 60 and 18 of 64.
These types of ships were no longer built in 1780, but the last 64 guns were built in 1779.
In 1745, France ranked the 50 guns in the 4th rates and the 54/64 in the 3rd rates.

Edited by Surcouf
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1 hour ago, Ligatorswe said:

Do anyone know if the french navy used 4th rates as ships of the line, or notT

No rates for the French (well... almost).

While Louis XIV set up classifications in the 17th century with 5 rates for ships (about 100, 80, 60, 44, 36 guns), it was less and less significant during the 18th century and was totally abandoned in 1790 (with the Revolution) as the standardization of the total number of guns, of the number of guns per deck and of the caliber per deck were sought :

  • The equivalent of the '3rd rate' built in 1730 had 64-gun, thus they were called '64-gun ships', not 'something-Rates'. 
  • The equivalent of the '2nd-Rate' built in 1770 had 74-guns, thus they were only called '74-gun' ships. Sometimes, ships carrying 50-56 guns were called 4th-rates.
  • In 1790, no more Rate classification, but only a gun classification for Sols with 3 types : 118 gun-ships, 80-gun ships and 74-gun ships.

As for frigates, there was a classification by caliber, not by rates : 'une frégate de 12" is a 12-pdr frigate, etc :

  • Given the tendency to standardization, the term '8-pdr frigate' gives an idea of the caliber, of the number of guns (total and per deck) and a period of building. For example, any 8-pdr frigate (like La Renommée) must have been built between 1740-1774 and most likely had 30 guns in total, 26 x 8-pdr on the GD and 4 x 4-pdr on the Fc/Qd (however, a few ones shows slight variations such as 24 guns on the GD...).
  • Likewise, 90% of the 12-pdr French frigates have 26 guns x 12-pdr on the GD (a few had 28 or 30 guns on the GD) and they all were built between 1748-1798.
  • And L'Egyptienne (1799, 50 guns) was called a "24-pdr frigate".

 

To sum up, because of the search of standardization during the 18th-century, rates wasn't much in use in France and the best classifications for French ships are the number of guns for the Sols and the caliber for the frigates. Rates (ie groups) are made to classify a great diversity of ships.

 

"No Rate, no cry." A song for NA.

Edited by LeBoiteux
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You guys are getting too hung up on this, especially folks in the DLC thread.

The game has a reasonably sane and internally consistent system where its rating gives an indication of broad combat capability, but one shouldn't conflate this with RL ratings (of which there are many) and especially not the Royal Navy system with it's way too broad categories and complete shambles when rating what it called Sloops.

You can't really use the easy way out and just categorize "Frigate? yes/no => SoL". A Brig isn't a Frigate (which you would expect to be fully rigged) and clearly isn't a Ship of the Line either.

17th century Frigates were in fact two deckers until some clever bloke decided to take one deck off.

A 4th-rate two-decker with 50 guns (as identified as another starting point for SoL in this thread) would be a big no as a line ship in the Royal Navy in the late 18th/early 19th century. They basically didn't build any with a few specific exceptions: example being HMS Leopard (1790). It's role: cruiser [read: Frigate, though nobody would call her that]

Even a 64-gun two decker where the gun count puts it into the 3rd rate category under the British system (also note that in NA you are still a 4th rate here) is a ship that would have been in the line in the 17th century but was considered too weak by the late 18th. They still ended up fighting at Trafalgar. In war you will throw the kitchen sink at your enemy if that is what it takes.

My point is, arguing about roles of ships in the game and in RL to reach a clear distinction and cut off point is entirely pointless when the RL basis for these things were only guidelines at best and full of contradictions at worst.

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28 minutes ago, Snoopy said:

You guys are getting too hung up on this, especially folks in the DLC thread.

The game has a reasonably sane and internally consistent system where its rating gives an indication of broad combat capability, but one shouldn't conflate this with RL ratings (of which there are many) and especially not the Royal Navy system with it's way too broad categories and complete shambles when rating what it called Sloops.

You can't really use the easy way out and just categorize "Frigate? yes/no => SoL". A Brig isn't a Frigate (which you would expect to be fully rigged) and clearly isn't a Ship of the Line either.

17th century Frigates were in fact two deckers until some clever bloke decided to take one deck off.

A 4th-rate two-decker with 50 guns (as identified as another starting point for SoL in this thread) would be a big no as a line ship in the Royal Navy in the late 18th/early 19th century. They basically didn't build any with a few specific exceptions: example being HMS Leopard (1790). It's role: cruiser [read: Frigate, though nobody would call her that]

Even a 64-gun two decker where the gun count puts it into the 3rd rate category under the British system (also note that in NA you are still a 4th rate here) is a ship that would have been in the line in the 17th century but was considered too weak by the late 18th. They still ended up fighting at Trafalgar. In war you will throw the kitchen sink at your enemy if that is what it takes.

My point is, arguing about roles of ships in the game and in RL to reach a clear distinction and cut off point is entirely pointless when the RL basis for these things were only guidelines at best and full of contradictions at worst.

I'm sorry for the off topic but Snoopy? WTF! Long time no see! 

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4 minutes ago, Malachi said:

'True' frigates are two-deckers. Just sayin...

Not quite, but it kinda looks like it.  To be termed a "Gundeck", it must be a continuous sweep of deck with cannons entirely along it's length.  The upper deck of a 5th rate has secondary guns on it and is broken by the sail handling gangways.  

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To be termed a "Gundeck", it must be a continuous sweep of deck with cannons entirely along it's length.

Nope. Gun Deck is just the lower deck on ships with two decks. Here´s what Mr R. Gardiner has to say about it:

However, it was not just size that was the problem with the sixth rates, since they were built to a clumsy two-decked design. The lower deck - for historical reasons called the 'Gun Deck' - only had ports for 2 guns a side, the remaining space being taken up with oar ports, but this deck had to be far enough above the waterline to allow the guns to be worked when the ship was heeling or rolling in a seaway. This meant that the 'Upper Deck' - in effect, the main gun deck - was even higher out of the water, with the resulting problems of stability and windage caused by the relatively tall hull sides.

The British called the lower deck on frigates Gun Deck long after the Establishment Sixth Rates Gardiner is talking about have been replaced by 'true' frigates based on Le Tygre.

Quote

The upper deck of a 5th rate has secondary guns on it and is broken by the sail handling gangways.

The Upper Deck carries the main armament ;)

By the way, it´s good to have this in mind when using threedecks.org, especially when looking at earlier frigates, Gun Deck = Lower Deck.

E.g. :

https://threedecks.org/index.php?display_type=show_ship&id=5384

Here´s a detail of the plan for Mermaid

 

 

Edited by Malachi
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1 hour ago, Malachi said:

'True' frigates are two-deckers. Just sayin...

The counting of decks is another bottomless pit :)

I used this way to count (and I believe it's the one usually given):

HMS Trincomalee (1817) = single gun deck, two rows  of guns from the waterline
HMS Agamemnon (1781) = two gun decks, three rows of guns from the waterline
Océan (1790) = three gun decks, four rows of guns

 

Edited by Snoopy
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This is the 'Week of the English Terminology' : what is a Sol ? What is a 4th rate ? What is a 'True' frigate ? What is a deck ? What is a Rate ?

Waiting for : is a sloop-of-war a sloop or a war-of-sloop or a sloop-sloop or a half-sloop ?

😁

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On 3/28/2019 at 7:31 PM, LeBoiteux said:

This is the 'Week of the English Terminology' : what is a Sol ? What is a 4th rate ? What is a 'True' frigate ? What is a deck ? What is a Rate ?

Waiting for : is a sloop-of-war a sloop or a war-of-sloop or a sloop-sloop or a half-sloop ?

😁

When will someone finally outline the difference between a corvette and a sloop of war 😭

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I do not see 4th rates as ship of the lines in this game nor do I see them as frigates. Placing the wide range of time this game covers certain classifications become a bit grayed and muddled. The 4th rates one of those classifications that becomes hard to rigidly define for what ships they introduce and more importantly for the game itself. When it comes to the game I see the 4th rates as "super frigates." Too strong to be classified as a normal frigate class but not strong enough for the 3rd rates and above, aka ships of the line. It is one of the reasons I am disappointed that the Constitution and United States are now 3rd rates and not 4th rates. 

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I believe this game uses the British ship rating system and even the British did not regard 4th rates as SoLs. 4th rates should be frigates, imo. And the United States and Constitution are indeed 4th rates. Hell, my (newly) 3rd rate Teak/WO United States takes heavy damage from 5th rates when I just sit there to test it, yet my 4th rate Teak/WO Aggy takes barely any damage from other 4th rates. The US and Connie are absolutely no 3rd rates....maybe the US could be IF it got buffed to other 3rd rate stats. The Indefatigable is barely a 4th rate....barely.

and @admin please change the United States name to President or something else. heh

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On 3/26/2019 at 9:12 AM, Ligatorswe said:

In many navies the 4th rates served as ships of the line.

Yes perhaps... however. the rating system in game is similar to the British rating system... gun count and tonnage should be included in calculating a true ship of the line... in this game 3rd rate, 2nd rate and 1st rate are considered ships of the line... you can use a 4th rate like a true ship of the line... but its structure and armor thickness will be inferior most of the time.

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On 3/28/2019 at 12:31 PM, LeBoiteux said:

Waiting for : is a sloop-of-war a sloop or a war-of-sloop or a sloop-sloop or a half-sloop ?

LOL so funny.

We also have the Ship-Sloop Rattlesnake... just to throw one in their.

 

Edited by LIONOFWALES
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On 3/26/2019 at 9:12 AM, Ligatorswe said:

Do anyone know if the french navy used 4th rates as ships of the line, or notT

 

not entirely sure... I know that the French used gun count rather than rates... and generally used the term... Man of War... so... a 5th rate with 36 guns would be called... a 36 gun Man O War... and a 100 gun First rate ship of the line would be called... a !00 Gun Man O War. The USA adopted this as well later on... mostly because of qualms with Imperial Britain and their alliances with the French. :)

 

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On 3/28/2019 at 10:01 AM, Snoopy said:

The game has a reasonably sane and internally consistent system where its rating gives an indication of broad combat capability, but one shouldn't conflate this with RL ratings (of which there are many) and especially not the Royal Navy system with it's way too broad categories and complete shambles when rating what it called Sloops.

You can't really use the easy way out and just categorize "Frigate? yes/no => SoL". A Brig isn't a Frigate (which you would expect to be fully rigged) and clearly isn't a Ship of the Line either.

Yes, yes yes … somebody that knows a little about their ships I see. :)

 

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On 3/28/2019 at 10:32 AM, Malachi said:

'True' frigates are two-deckers. Just sayin...

I want my frigate to have 4 decks and a neuclear weapon installed on it...

Naw… just kidding...

 

Edited by LIONOFWALES
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