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Hardlec

Floating batteries

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In the time from the American Civil war and the Great War, there were many battles on the brown water, and often places were defended with floating batteries.  Some of these were very slow ships, some of these were armed barges with little or no ability to move under its own power.  

One question I have asked repeatedly but never found an answer for:

How big of a gun can you put on a a boat of a given size?  A 24 ft. by 8 ft. boat could carry 12 tons.  Could such a small boat carry a 3-ton 5-inch gun (and not sink itself from the recoil?)

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During the Napoleonic wars Norway built a number of "Cannon boats" to harass the British blockading ships. A typical size was a 46 feet boat carrying one 24 pounder cannon. The crew would typically row the boat to firing range and make a hasty retreat once the gun had been fired. The boats had to be constructed to handle the recoil and extra weight of the cannon. The concept was originally Swedish. There is a Wikipedia entry that may be of interest if you search for "kanonsjalupp", but it is in Norwegian.

In the decades following the Napoleonic wars the concept was continued with larger vessels which had better seakeeping. Below is a drawing of a late iteration (ca 1870) which had a 19 man crew, was powered by two small steam engines and carried a 170mm rifled muzzle loader.

 

Kanonsjalupp.png

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I guess that didn't really answer your question, though. I'm sure a 127mm gun would have way too much recoil to be used on a boat of the size you mention, though. Unless the boat in question was built for that purpose in the first place. Military issue guns of that size will normally come with recoil dampers which would typically be part of the reload system. Modern navies don't put that size gun on boats that small, though. They put a Bofors 40mm DP and several torpedo launchers instead. With perhaps a few Penguin SSMs! :)

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The purpose of my floating batteries is to make them as artillery support for ground units.  Think "Railroad Guns"  that use canals or rivers.  They would be towed into place as needed.

An 88 weighed about 8 tons, 4 of them weighed over 32 tons and with ammo were carried on a 50 ton Sieble Ferry  (along with other, smaller guns.)  So, it seems a dedicated artillery barge might handle guns  up it's cargo capacity.  Unlike PT boats, I don't need 30 knot speeds.  An anchor on a spring would probably be enough.

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Here's an interesting photo I found. The caption says german 15cm gun on the Aisne canal, France WW1.

german-15cm-gun-on-a-barge-aisne-canal-france-ww1-DRHPYY.jpg

Edited by Nereng
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I'd think that best bang for your buck in such a case would be a Monitor or Coastal Defense ship. Generally these have at least some mobility (often 10-20 kn speed, shallow draft also by the late 19th to early 20th century).  

In reality, monitors of comparatively modern make have carried guns as large as 457mm, but I'm not sure if such an arrangement is possible in game on as small of a hull form as was done in reality with ships like the General Wolf. 

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