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Hey guys i posted this in a discussion about carronades but thought it deserved its own thread.

 

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1NF_NYwhMjD81wQkU9Ce-k0tOngRN4PxXot2nH5FfxGQ/edit?usp=sharing

 

This is a chapter in one of my books 'The Frigates' which cover the essex in her prime. If there is much interest i may post another slideshow with pictures and diagrams of interest concerning her. 

 

Cheers

Dazed

 

Edit. Sorry about the flash

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Some notes on her history and configuration.

Originally as built:
26 12lb US pattern guns, 16 24lb Carronades. (estimated gun & carriage weight ~ 58-65 tons)

1810 configuration (as at Valpariso):
6 12lb guns, 40 32lb Carronades. (estimated gun and carriage weight ~ 59-61 tons)

RN configuration 1814 post capture (never used in action ~ to depot and prison vessel):
26 18lb guns, 2 9lb guns, 14 32lb Carronades. (estimated gun and carriage weight ~ 77-82 tons)

This seems to argue against the change in armament being mainly responsible for her handling worsening by her capture as being mostly fluff. A bigger issue may be the difference in loading between a coastal defence frigate and one equipped and stowed for a 6 month offensive cruise with a larger than average crew.


Captain Porter consistently and repeatedly violated international laws regarding neutral ports (which Valpariso probably wasn't except by mutual agreement in any case), and attempted to provoke Phoebe to engage her within Valpariso bay on several occasions.

When engaged decisively he was outside the bay, having attempted to break the blockade and then slipped her anchor.

The weather during the engagement was mostly calm with gusting and variable winds. Captain Porter described both large ships as "being in a sinking condition" saved "only by the calm seas", although the RN carpenter's report had the damage as being fairly light and both vessels fit for the voyage to England (which they completed in November 1814).

Despite claiming to have been defeated because his 32lb carronades lacked the range (a call taken up by most authors of histories of the 1812 war), the Phoebe was holed at least 8 times by 32lb ball, and at least twice by 12lb ball (for a total of 21 shot holes, 8 at or below the waterline) - the rigging was also damaged, fairly severely. It should also be noted that Cherub did some damage to the Essex despite being considerably more lightly armed, and was lightly damaged as well.

Captain Porter requested that the shore battery (supposedly neutral) should fire in support of the Essex against the RN squadron. A request that was declined by the Chillean garrison. Previously he had fired an English Prize (illegally held at a neutral port, as were several others (including the Essex Junior which had been purchased via Valpariso by the US government against neutral port rules), endangering shipping in the roads. The governor of Valpariso withdrew support from the US squadron as a result of these provocations and others (including an attempted boarding action at night) and gave the RN squadron permission to engage the US squadron within the bay. This option was not taken up, but the fight was pursued once the Essex was underway.

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A bigger issue may be the difference in loading between a coastal defence frigate and one equipped and stowed for a 6 month offensive cruise with a larger than average crew.

The British praised her hold capacity and seakeeping qualities, though. So she wasn't built with limited coastal service in mind, although a quirk of her hullform (which looks very unusual to me) may have made her very sensitive to being heavily laden.

 

 

 

RN configuration 1814 post capture (never used in action ~ to depot and prison vessel):

Were these 18-pdr guns mounted before or after returning to England from South America?

 

 

The author's tone really does smack of desperately excusing the Essex's defeat. What was the relevance of supposedly terrible sailing qualities when fighting in a confined space at anchor anyhow? And the British ships were no fliers either. One of them (can't remember which) was described as being similar in performance to Essex.

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She never saw active sea service as a 42 gun Frigate...being reclassified as a 22 gun troopship, then a convict hulk before being sold.

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She never saw active sea service as a 42 gun Frigate...being reclassified as a 22 gun troopship, then a convict hulk before being sold.

Right, but I'm asking whether the British assessed her sailing qualities with the new armament or the carronades.

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btw they never took off the 24pd nades. only 24 32pdr nades were on the ship. and 6 12prs in various chase positions

 

correction.

 

The 24pd nades were taken off with most of the 12pd longs during her time in ordinary from 1806 to 1809. Josiah fox oversaw her refit and judged her one of the finest frigates he had seen. In 1810 Captain John Smith fitted her with 40 32pd carronades.

 

My bad.

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Funny, because the lowest estimate I've seen for the rebuilt Essex is a 17 carronade broadside of 32s (and most her full allotment of 20 per side). No other mention than yours of any 24s after her rebuild.
The damage reported on Phoebe is given as 12 and 32 lb shot. No mention of 24s.

(There are also small variations in armament of the RN ships reported, in some accounts including the deletion of some of the light guns and the loss of several carronades and the replacement of one 32 with an 18 on the Phoebe...)

The initial engagement range was given as 250yds in the only source that mentions it, with a longer range only taken after wearing away from the shore and just under an hour of repairs to rigging.
If Porter had taken an offensive stance rather than allowing the RN ships to dictate position (most important) and range, then the battle may have gone differently.

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The Essex at the moment. My first impression is that she feels like a crossing of a trinc with a Frigate.

I really like that ship!!!

 

( Stats in the last picture with blue speed + build strength inbuild)

 

cCA6bpu.jpg
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2vk1zmn.jpg

Edited by z4ys

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hmm...armament is not quite historical. Too many broadside guns in main battery (usual, perhaps unavoidable, problem with arming chase / bridle ports as part of broadside in game), too few guns on weather deck.  Missing forward chasers (although connected to, and cancelled out in terms of gun count by, previous issue) and aft chasers (chase ports in quarterdeck).  She should have 46 guns total.  But she is beautiful!

 

Would appreciate it if you could post the deck class restrictions.

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hmm...armament is not quite historical. Too many broadside guns in main battery (usual, perhaps unavoidable, problem with arming chase / bridle ports as part of broadside in game), too few guns on weather deck.  Missing forward chasers (although connected to, and cancelled out in terms of gun count by, previous issue) and aft chasers (chase ports in quarterdeck).  She should have 46 guns total.  But she is beautiful!

 

Would appreciate it if you could post the deck class restrictions.

 

We build ships according to plans.

In the British service ship listed 40-42 guns. On most paintings ship has 40 guns. Perhaps they used windows or they had falseboord (nautical term) installed which could support extra cannons.

But on all drawings and plans there are exactly 40 gun ports. I am not sure where they placed extra guns listed in the wiki.

 

Perhaps in the middle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Essex_(1799)#/media/File:USS_Essex_I.jpg but it is not backed by any other references and this painting has 48 gunports

 

the ships is not tuned properly and currently has max historically possible armament

 

12lb guns

18lb guns

 

and/or 

 

24lb

32lb

carronades

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We build ships according to plans.

What sources do you use for sailplans?

 

For instance, what is the origin of those very short, rectangular-shaped royal sails? Pavel has royals just like it. If they are historical, then so be it, but otherwise they are very unattractive.

 

Edit: Wait, you used the Anatomy of the Ship title on Essex, right? I recognize those strange royals from their diagram.

Those books are probably well-researched, but I think their rig is all messed up for this ships. The proportions of the topgallant and royal yards clearly conflict with the books own table of historical dimensions on page 10:

Maintopgallant yard: 40 ft

Main royal yard: 30 ft

The book's rigging diagram shows topgallant and royal yards that are strangely similar in length, just like NA's new Essex. The former is certainly not 133% longer than the latter in their flawed model.

Hopefully it's not too late to restore proper proportions to the yards with Essex. Pavel deserves the same treatment.

L1080726.JPG

 

In absence of highly reputable sailplans, it would be best to use the likes of Surprise, Trincomalee and Renommee as the standard for sail shapes.

There's probably a list of potential feedback on this point, if there is ever time in the development cycle to make such changes.

 

 

hmm...armament is not quite historical. Too many broadside guns in main battery (usual, perhaps unavoidable, problem with arming chase / bridle ports as part of broadside in game), too few guns on weather deck.  Missing forward chasers (although connected to, and cancelled out in terms of gun count by, previous issue) and aft chasers (chase ports in quarterdeck).  She should have 46 guns total.  But she is beautiful!

According to Anatomy of the Ship, the original plan for Essex envisioned arming the bridal ports, for 28 main deck guns. But it appears she never sailed like this, and mounted 26 guns in the main battery. Perhaps the game could use the bridal port guns as chasers.

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We build ships according to plans.

In the British service ship listed 40-42 guns. On most paintings ship has 40 guns. Perhaps they used windows or they had falseboord (nautical term) installed which could support extra cannons.

But on all drawings and plans there are exactly 40 gun ports. I am not sure where they placed extra guns listed in the wiki.

 

Perhaps in the middle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Essex_(1799)#/media/File:USS_Essex_I.jpg but it is not backed by any other references and this painting has 48 gunports

 

 

Understood.  I have not seen her admiralty draught as refitted by the Brits and base my statements on research into US armament.  We know she had 40x 32pdr carronades and 6x 12pdrs at the time of capture.  4 of the 12 pdrs were carried on the QD/FC and the other 2x 12 pdrs were carried on her gundeck.  Presumably these last two were mounted in the foremost two bridle/chase ports on the gun deck.

 

So, to distribute the known guns in US service (40x 32pdr carronade, 6x 12pdr guns):

 

Upper Deck: 26x 32 pdr carronade, 2x 12pdr gun (likely in foremost chase/bridle ports that were not always armed with dedicated guns)

Quarterdeck / Forecastle: 14x 32 pdr carronade, 4x 12pdr gun (some or all of the 12 pdrs may have been carried in chase positions)

 

There is some nice research into her appearance in US service here: http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/3272-the-two-possible-sterns-of-the-frigate-essex/

 

But if model is based on the British plans as refit, then I agree with lower total of 42 guns (armament in British service was 26x 18 pdrs on upper deck, 12x 32pdr carronades on QD, 2x 32 pdr carronades and 2x 9 pdr long guns on FC).  In that case, I think what we are missing in game is 4x guns carried on the forecastle (deck 1), which would give 42 guns on the model in game not counting the two foremost guns on the upper deck (deck 2) which the British did not arm with dedicated guns (26x 18pdrs, not 28x 18pdrs).  Possibly like forecastle on this model (I don't know the basis of these plans and don't vouch for their authenticity; as you can see this gives 46 guns, but also conforms to the British armament if we don't count 2x extra guns in the main battery and 2x extra guns in QD stern chase position):

 

at1HDUL.jpg?1

 

 

the ships is not tuned properly and currently has max historically possible armament

 

12lb guns

18lb guns

 

and/or 

 

24lb

32lb

carronades

 

I assume this is for Deck 1 / Deck 2.  If so, the gun combination produces a fairly extreme over-armament, while the carronade combination is under-armed compared to history.  A better approximation of her historical armament would be:

 

Deck 1: 9lb gun (a full QD of 12pdrs is very heavy for a frigate.  Brits never did that on Essex or other comparable frigates, and Americans only carried 4 up there in combination with carronades.  This is also a problem for Trincomallee, Belle Poule and Frigate.  And note that the original armament of the Essex QD was 10x 6pdr guns.)

Deck 2: 18lb gun (note, however, that although the British re-armed her with 18s, she never undertook a cruise in British service with this armament.  An argument could be made for 12 pdrs max.)

 

and / or

 

Deck 1: 32 pdr carronade (this is what both Brits and Americans principally armed her QD/FC with)

Deck 2: 32 pdr carronade (her historical armament toward the end of her US service)

 

That's just the historical take.  Game balance may dictate otherwise.

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Despite claiming to have been defeated because his 32lb carronades lacked the range (a call taken up by most authors of histories of the 1812 war), the Phoebe was holed at least 8 times by 32lb ball, and at least twice by 12lb ball (for a total of 21 shot holes, 8 at or below the waterline) - the rigging was also damaged, fairly severely. It should also be noted that Cherub did some damage to the Essex despite being considerably more lightly armed, and was lightly damaged as well.

 

Because she was hit with 8 carronade balls is a ridiculous reason to claim that the limited range of the carronades had nothing to do with the defeat. It is demonstrably false when the details of the battle are looked at. Where is that version from, an Osprey illustrated book?

 
If you look at the details (below) we see that they twice tried to close with the Essex and were driven off and during those attempts is when they were hit with the carronades.

 
Initially they pulled into the harbor but Cherub fell behind and Phoebe found herself next to a ready Essex, and Hilyard disgracefully and cowardly fumbled himself out of the situation and Porter should have cut loose right there.
 

"They hauled into the harbor on a wind, the Cherub falling to leeward; while the Phoebe made the port quarters of the Essex, and then, putting her helm down, luffed up on her starboard bow, but 10 or 15 feet distant. Porter's crew were all at quarters, the powder boys with slow matches ready to discharge the guns, the boarders standing by, cutlass in hand, to board in the smoke; everything was cleared for action on both frigates.

Captain 

Hilyar now probably saw that there was no chance of carrying the Essex by surprise, and, standing on the after-gun, he inquired after Captain Porter's health; the latter returned the inquiry, but warned Hilyar not to fall foul. The British captain then braced back his yards, remarking that if he did fall aboard it would be purely accidental. "Well," said Porter, "you have no business where you are; if you touch a rope-yarn of this ship I shall board instantly."' 

Ph"be, in her then position, was completely at the mercy of the American ships, and Hilyar,greatly agitated, assured Porter that he meant nothing hostile; and the Phoebe backed down, her yards passing over those of the Essex without touching a rope, and anchored half a mile astern.

Shortly afterward the two captains met on shore, when 

Hilyar thanked Porter for his behavior, and, on his inquiry, assured him that after thus owing his safety to the latter’s forbearance, Porter need be under no apprehension as to his breaking the neutrality.
 
 
"The British ships now began a blockade of the port. On Feb. 27th, the Phoebe being hove to close off the port, and the Cherub a league to leeward, the former fired a weather gun; the Essex interpreting this as a challenge, took the crew of the Essex Junior aboard and went out to attack the British frigate. But the latter did not await the combat; she bore up, set her studding-sails, and ran down to the Cherub. The American officers were intensely irritated over this, and American writers have sneered much at " a British 36 refusing combat with an American 32.”
 
"Hilyar's conduct in avoiding Porter except when the Cherub was in company was certainly overcautious, and very difficult to explain in a man of his tried courage.”
 
 
"On March 27th Porter decided to run out of the harbor on the first opportunity, so as to draw away his two antagonists in chase, and let the Essex Junior escape”
 
"On the next day, the 28th, it came on to blow from the south, when the Essex parted her port cable and dragged the starboard anchor to leeward, so she got under way, and made sail; by several trials it had been found that she was faster than the Phoebe, and that the Cherub was very slow indeed, so Porter had little anxiety about his own ship, only fearing for his consort.”
 
"Just as he was rounding the outermost point, which, if accomplished, would have secured his safety, a heavy squall struck the Essex, and when she was nearly gunwale under, the main-top-mast went by the board. 
She now wore and stood in for the harbor, but the wind had shifted, and on account of her crippled condition she could not gain it; so she bore up and anchored in a small bay, three miles from Valparaiso, and half a mile from a detached Chilian battery of one gun, the Essex being within pistol-shot of the shore.’ 
 
The Phoebe and Cherub now bore down upon her, covered with ensigns, union jacks, and motto flags; and it became evident  that Hilyar did not intend to keep his word, as soon as he saw that Porter was disabled.”
 
Hilyar had waited until Essex had lost her maintop mast before attacking.
 
"The attack began at 4 P. M. Some of the bow-guns of the American frigate bore upon the Cherub, and, as soon as she found this out, the sloop ran down and stationed herself near the Phoebe. 
 
The latter had opened with her broadside of long 18's, from a position in which not one of Porter's guns could reach her. Three times springs were got on the cables of the Essex, in order to bring her round till her broadside bore; but in each instance they were shot away, as soon as they were hauled taut. Three long 12's were got out of the stern ports, and with these an animated fire was kept up on the two British ships, the aim being especially to cripple their rigging.”
 
“After a quarter of an hour's fight between the three long 12'sof the Essex, and the whole 36 broadside guns of the Phoebe and Cherub, the latter were actually driven off. They wore, and again began with their long guns; but, these producing no visible effect, both of the British ships hauled out of the fight at 4.30.”
 

"Having lost the use of main-sail, jib, and main-stay, appearances looked a little inauspicious," writes Captain Hilyar.

But the damages were soon repaired, and his two ships stood back for the crippled foe."

 

"Both stationed themselves on her port-quarter, the Phoebe at anchor, with a spring, firing her broadside, while the Cherub kept under way, using her long bow-chasers.

 

Their fire was very destructive, for they were out of reach of the Essex's carronades, and not one of her long guns could be brought to bear on them.

 

Porter now cut his cable, at 5.20, and tried to close with his antagonists. After many ineffectual efforts sail was made. The flying-jib halyards were the only serviceable ropes uncut. That sail was hoisted, and the foretop-sail and foresail let fall, though the want of sheets and tacks rendered them almost useless. Still the Essex drove down on her assailants, and for the first time got near enough to use her carronades ; for a minute or two the firing was tremendous, but after the first broadside the Cherub hauled out of the fight in great haste, and during the remainder of the action confined herself to using her bow-guns from a distance. Immediately afterward the Phoebe also edged off and by her superiority of sailing, her foe being now almost helpless, was enabled to choose her own distance, and again opened from her long 18's, out of range of Porter's carronades.

 

 

"At one of the bow-guns was stationed a young Scotchman, named Bissly, who had one leg shot off close by the groin. Using his handkerchief as a tourniquet, he said, turning to his American shipmates: " I left my own country and adopted the United States, to fight for her.

I hope I have this day proved myself worthy of the country of my adoption. I am no longer of any use to you or to her, so good-by! " With these words he leaned on the sill of the port, and threw himself over-board.”

(Myself being of Scottish heritage and John Paul Jones being our most famous Scotsman, I love these little tidbits)

 

 

"Finding it hopeless to try to close, the Essex stood for the land, Porter intending to run her ashore and burn her. But when she had drifted close to the bluffs the wind suddenly shifted, took her flat aback and paid her head off shore, exposing her to a raking fire.”

"The ship caught fire, and the flames came bursting up the hatchway, and a quantity of powder exploded below.Many of the crew were knocked overboard by shot, and drowned; others leaped into the water, thinking the ship was about to blow up, and tried to swim to the land.”

"Nothing remained to be done, and at 6.20 the Essex surrendered and was taken possession of."

"James says that most of the loss was occasioned by the first three broadsides of the Essex; this is not surprising, as in all she hardly fired half a dozen, and the last were discharged when half of the guns had been disabled, and there were scarcely men enough to man the remainder. Most of the time her resistance was limited to firing such of her six long guns as would bear.”

 

So she was beaten by two ships she could not close with due to her damage before the battle started and was severely handicapped by having an entire gundeck of carronades against their long guns.

 

Any other version of the battle is simply false.

 

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Source indicating Essex should (or could) have stern chasers:

The ship that was captured at Valparaiso looked significantly different then when launched at Salem 14 years earlier. In addition to the previously mentioned amendments, her head had been boarded in, additional gun ports were added (two chasers on Her stern, and the original sixth port on the Quarter Deck).

And also that she was fitted from the beginning for guns on the forecastle (although did not carry dedicated guns there originally):

If you look closely at page 4 of the plans (INTERNAL PLANKING BEAM SEQUENCE ) image you’ll see on the two forward posts of the rail that there are rings to rig a gun This would be for the bow chasers when called into action.

edit: oops, forget to post link:

http://www.historicships.com/TALLSHIPS/Model%20Shipways/USF%20Essex%20MS2041/Essex%20Manual.pdf

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Nice!!! She's in game! 

 

Congrats to the guys who got given her as a prize in a recent traf. - pity i couldn't participate, but you try getting up at 6am on a sunday to play on a computer ;-)

 

As some have stated above, i'm not sure about the 18pdrs - its kinda an iffy argument -

 

But probably a bigger issue is 12's on the QD and FC. There is a trend in all the ships in game of having far too heavy guns in those areas.

 

There are many posts pleading for more reasonable armament on upper decks but its been set aside unfortunately. Just because a ship had a few bigger guns on the upper deck for chasers does not mean that a ship could fit that gun from every port on that deck without major consequences (hogging etc.).

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Ellis and a I had a very intense pvp fight yesterday. We both tried to push the Essex to her limits.

@ admin Ellis noticed a bug and reported it around 11pm (7.12.2015)server time via F11

It's really fun to sail this ship. Sailing feels like a surprise or frigate. But survivability seem to me like a trinc.

I only miss bow chasers for gameplay reason. In my opinion with bow chasers the Essex would become the best solo pvp ship so far.

I definitely have a new favorite ship!

Edited by z4ys
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Imho, all Frigates need chasers, without them they are being robbed of their vital role as tagging ships.

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"From a position" is not equal to "out of range". A point which your own passage continues on to indicate.

The Phoebe was stationed well within range on the stern quarter (just outside musket range at the start), with Cherub stationed on the bow quarter. After breaking contact to repair rigging damage the Phoebe did return to a longer range position for some time, before closing in again towards the end.

This is a poor position even when armed exclusively with long guns, and the fight was lost when the Essex opted to split from Little Essex, and then to anchor rather than to keep manoeuvring ~ either to bring the RN ships to a decisive engagement or to run.


The 8 shot holes were those explicitly called out as from 32lb ~ as were two 12lb shot holes. The remainder were 32 and 12 lb shot holes, not broken out by proportion, but this wasn't an engagement which only involved the 6 12lb long guns....

 

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Looking into her armament over her lifetime some more, I think she could have 4x guns added to the forecastle in the following positions:

 

post-3517-0-65748700-1449684038_thumb.jpg

 

This addition is consistent with our current model and aligns with her 1800 US armament and 1814 British armament.

 

Same can be seen in this detail from the painting in the Peabody Essex Museum:

 

L1080729.JPG

 

And on several Essex models:

 

4cb1634972980f87f95743fe18532c26.jpg

 

gallery_3633_453_81279.jpg

 

essex-essex-003.jpg

 

So reduce top deck 12 pdrs to 9 pdr max and add 4x guns.  More historical with no decrease in broadside weight of metal! :)

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omg I thought this thread was about the whaler... lol... I was thinking to myself "is that a gun deck of harpoons...?" 

It's official, I'm a lubber

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Lots of talk about gunports and guns. Remember gun ports don't mean guns. The Connie was pierced for 60 guns but she carried 44. Whenever the heavy frigates were loaded with more guns it caused problems. She wasn't structurally built well enough to carry all the guns. This went for all the frigates built at that time in the USN.

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On the other hand there is Essex which for a time carried 46 guns, a number that exceeds the count of all gunports and potential gun positions.

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