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Gentlemen,

Our ships are overgunned compared to the historical loadouts the captains of the time used. Currently, the game uses the “if it fits, it sits” mentality in regards to armaments. However, the captains of time certainly did not. Take captain Hull for example. First thing he did was to get rid of long 18-pounder battery on USS Constitution as soon as there was a lighter carronade replacement available. Why did he and other captains of the time generally used lighter armaments that were technically possible on their ships? Answers I found could be summarized as follows:

  1. Less crew – On a smaller sized ship (think frigate), it actually got logistically quite difficult to carry complement that would be able to man all the guns, if all the guns were long guns
  2. Performance – The ships speed, heel and manoeuvrability was heavily influenced by the armament as the carronades were third or a quarter of the weight of the long cannon of the same ball weight.
  3. Damage to the ship itself – As evidenced by the French ships (which tended to use the “if it fits it sits” mentality at some points) that were captured by the Brits and underwent their general repairs, they were in considerably worse shape than their not overgunned counterparts. If you compare the forces that are applied on the ship when firing 12 pounder and 18 pounder, the increase is exponential. You fire heavier shell, which is going faster from a heavier gun.

How to address this in the game and thus impose realistic armaments while keeping in the ability to choose the loadout? Here are my proposals:

 

1. Crew capacity is based on the hull, but the requirement is based on the guns. I.e. USS Constitution can carry 450 men, while each 24 pounder requires 12 men, 18 pounder requires 10 men, while 32 pound carronade requires 5 men.

Therefore 30 * 24 lbs + 24 * 18lbs = 600 men, therefore the ships is crewed only as 75% and suffers those penalties.

However 30*24lbs + 24*32lbscar= 480 men, therefore she is crewed as 93.75% and suffers less penalties.

 

2. Make the speed, heel and turn more dependent on the gun and where are they placed. This means get rid of speed mods and present large difference based on the built wood type. The subtle gun type effect gets overshadowed quite heavily by the +5% speed overall, so either get rid of that, or get rid of that and make gun, ballast distribution, trimming and fiddling with ship part of the game :-).

 

3. Firing heavier guns than was historically correct for the vessel will damage the ship overtime as a random leak (not an armour decrease), with each shot fired, compounded by the built wood type. I.e.:

Oak Belle Poule with 12 lbs (as she was built) has a chance of 0.1% for a random leak. Fir Belle Poule 12lbs has a 1% random leak chance.

Oak Belle Poule with 18lbs has a 3% random leak chance. Fir Belle Poule with 18lbs has a 30% random leak chance.

(The numbers should of course be adjusted, however the idea that overgunned ship built from low quality wood should be almost guaranteed to have random leaks during engagement should be preserved.)

Edited by marecek05
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As this proposal seems to be generally liked it would be nice to see what the devs think about it...

In the meantime let me present you my more controversial proposal on gun v. carronade balance:

 

Historically the carronade was a huge success and short after its introduction became part of standard armament for many vessels. It was mostly used either on top decks of ships and frigates or as a main armament on smaller ships.

It quickly replaced small caliber long guns, however it never replaced the ships main battery on larger vessels. For ships of the line it gets pretty clear. Advantages of heavy carronade when compared to heavy gun are overshadowed by its disadvantages.

 

Large weight carronade, like 68 pounder start to require more crew and are quite cumbersome to operate and thus start to be similiar in this aspect to the normal gun. Although its damage against light vessels is extreme, its low velocity would struggle to penetrate side of a ship of the line. (32 pounder used 10 lbs of powder charge, while 68 lbs carronade used 5 lbs of charge).

 

On medium sized ships, like 4th rates and Constitution, when they were in competition with 24 pounder guns as the main armament, their advantages or disadvantages become more blurred. From what I read, they werent chosen as the main battery on these ships for the fact that they were not accurate at longer ranges and frigates wanted to retain ability to shoot for the rigging at range, weight distribution as frigates were designed to have certain weight at their upper deck and tradition.

 

In game I would like these aspects to see implemented as follows:

1. Carronades keep their range;

2. They lose the ability to be loaded with double shot;

3. The armour penetration of a carronade falls down with its weight and is about 40% penetration of the same weight gun;

   

     Meaning 24lbs carronade has about equal penetration to a medium 12 lbs.

     24 lbs carronade has higher penetration than 18 lbs carronade, the 68 lbs carronade does have about equal penetration with a 42 lbs carronade.

 

4. Accuracy of carronades shooting normal is the same as their accuracy today, while shooting double.

 

These changes would probably need to be implemented with my first proposal. Although theoretically allowing first rates to have all carronade loadout, it would be of very questionable practical use for a first rate.

This I believe would lead to reflect their real life use in game. They will still be very useful on top decks of larger ships (mainly due to logistical reasons) and would be of very much use in smaller ships expecting to fight „unarmoured targets“, but would be of no use in a line fight.

Edited by marecek05
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2. They lose the ability to be loaded with double shot;

   

 

The problem is that it isnt possible to load different decks with differnent gun loadouts at the moment. Because of this it isnt possible to use mixed gun decks in a good way.

Edited by z4ys
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Can you support your statement that all things equal, a larger carronade shot would penetrate less than a smaller one? You seem to be assuming that velocity is the only determinant of penetration. The weight of the shot is a huge factor.

<40lb ball was the largest shot that could be consistently loaded efficiently in battle. 42lb and up would slow reloading over time due to crew exhaustion.

Agree with other points.

Mixing carronades and regular guns is currently irrelevant, because it is fundamentally bugged (limits your max range for long guns to carronade max range), but that aside, if when you switched to double for a broadside, carronades simply stayed on single shot, it wouldn't be a problem. In fact, the single shot carronade and double shot long gun should have somewhat compatible trajectories. Might even be an advantage over current system. IMO, damage model would be more balanced and easier to tweak for balance with double shot removed from carronades.

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Mixing carronades and regular guns is currently irrelevant, because it is fundamentally bugged (limits your max range for long guns to carronade max range), but that aside, if when you switched to double for a broadside, carronades simply stayed on single shot, it wouldn't be a problem. In fact, the single shot carronade and double shot long gun should have somewhat compatible trajectories. Might even be an advantage over current system. IMO, damage model would be more balanced and easier to tweak for balance with double shot removed from carronades.

Yes, remove double shot from carronades. It isn't historically accurate. The advantage of carros is fast reload and close range damage.

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Can you support your statement that all things equal, a larger carronade shot would penetrate less than a smaller one? You seem to be assuming that velocity is the only determinant of penetration. The weight of the shot is a huge factor.

 

Sadly, I was not able to find historical penetration comparison, so I mostly used the amount of charge that was loaded to the carronade

 

When I compared historical powder charges for different weights of carronades from this site http://www.thenrg.org/resources/articles/The%20carronade.pdfI found that the charges do not increase proportionally. Also here https://books.google.sk/books?id=F4hHAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA790&lpg=PA790&dq=powder+charge+for+42+pounder+gun&source=bl&ots=K3lbVBIv16&sig=-tHeQ-Vvnbby6Sn0lgnIKUpHEc4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAmoVChMIusvl3bP7yAIVE4YaCh3NvQYQ#v=onepage&q=powder%20charge%20for%2042%20pounder%20gun&f=false

 

I have also found smoothbore ballistics calculatore, which i am not able to run for some reason here>

http://arc.id.au/CannonBallistics.html

 

My assumptions might a be a case of wishful thinking though, as I am really convinced that lower penetration of higher weight carronades would be beneficial.

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Admin says this is fixed.

 

If I put carronades on my snow top deck and regular guns on the main deck, I cannot fire the regular guns any further than the carronades, even if I disable the top deck.  But even without firing, this is readily apparent by the fact that when I elevate the aiming cursor (increase range) there is no point at which the carronade deck Xs out.  That means the range for both is always the same, because the aiming cursor = range.

 

Edit: after some more careful testing using longs instead of regulars and controlling for aim point movement up and down with waves, perhaps the bug is fixed and things just work a bit different now, letting you fire your carronades with the aim point elevated beyond their max range (which is fine).

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As this proposal seems to be generally liked it would be nice to see what the devs think about it...

In the meantime let me present you my more controversial proposal on gun v. carronade balance:

 

Historically the carronade was a huge success and short after its introduction became part of standard armament for many vessels. It was mostly used either on top decks of ships and frigates or as a main armament on smaller ships.

It quickly replaced small caliber long guns, however it never replaced the ships main battery on larger vessels. For ships of the line it gets pretty clear. Advantages of heavy carronade when compared to heavy gun are overshadowed by its disadvantages.

 

Large weight carronade, like 68 pounder start to require more crew and are quite cumbersome to operate and thus start to be similiar in this aspect to the normal gun. Although its damage against light vessels is extreme, its low velocity would struggle to penetrate side of a ship of the line. (32 pounder used 10 lbs of powder charge, while 68 lbs carronade used 5 lbs of charge).

 

On medium sized ships, like 4th rates and Constitution, when they were in competition with 24 pounder guns as the main armament, their advantages or disadvantages become more blurred. From what I read, they werent chosen as the main battery on these ships for the fact that they were not accurate at longer ranges and frigates wanted to retain ability to shoot for the rigging at range, weight distribution as frigates were designed to have certain weight at their upper deck and tradition.

 

In game I would like these aspects to see implemented as follows:

1. Carronades keep their range;

2. They lose the ability to be loaded with double shot;

3. The armour penetration of a carronade falls down with its weight and is about 40% penetration of the same weight gun;

   

     Meaning 24lbs carronade has about equal penetration to a medium 12 lbs.

     24 lbs carronade has higher penetration than 18 lbs carronade, the 68 lbs carronade does have about equal penetration with a 42 lbs carronade.

 

4. Accuracy of carronades shooting normal is the same as their accuracy today, while shooting double.

 

These changes would probably need to be implemented with my first proposal. Although theoretically allowing first rates to have all carronade loadout, it would be of very questionable practical use for a first rate.

This I believe would lead to reflect their real life use in game. They will still be very useful on top decks of larger ships (mainly due to logistical reasons) and would be of very much use in smaller ships expecting to fight „unarmoured targets“, but would be of no use in a line fight.

Definitely would like to see this implemented. Although you should be able to be given the option to fit out the ship with all long guns and with that carrying all the penalties that come with it.

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1. Crew capacity is based on the hull, but the requirement is based on the guns. I.e. USS Constitution can carry 450 men, while each 24 pounder requires 12 men, 18 pounder requires 10 men, while 32 pound carronade requires 5 men.

Therefore 30 * 24 lbs + 24 * 18lbs = 600 men, therefore the ships is crewed only as 75% and suffers those penalties.

However 30*24lbs + 24*32lbscar= 480 men, therefore she is crewed as 93.75% and suffers less penalties.

 

I'm all for historical armament, as long as it is applied to all ships accurately. The big problem right now is that most of these ships had mixed upper deck loads, i.e. 12 longs, some carronades, an 18 or 24 or two, etc. Since that can't be done - or if it was done then people would instantly start complaining that controlling multiple gun types on one deck is 'too hard'.

 

Ships did not put crew ashore when they changed armament either, so these penalties would be a gamey deviation from real life application.

 

Since you used the Constitution as an example: She sailed in 1798 with 475 men; her muster roll shows 461 just before she defeated the Cyane and Levant in 1815; 475 men when she defeated the Java (who had 446 men aboard) in 1812; the United States had 480 aboard when she captured the Macedonian (who had 440); President 465. Those different crew sizes had nothing to do with what armaments they had aboard.

 

The 450 is nominal, as is the 650 on the 74's, who were almost always undermanned in reality, more so in the French navy than even the British. In fact having the 700+ crew now is extremely generous. It's Christmas for the 3rd rates.

 

I think the crewing of ships in game now is fine (could be better, could be worse) , rarely will 2 ships encounter each other with the exact same crew due to modules etc, and that's a good thing, allows for personalization.

 

Hopefully one day we can move toward an honor/reputation system which dictates if you can actually fill all those extra hammocks.

 

But I digress.

 

Yes to historical armament hard limits, but allow the player some choice. Want to overgun your top deck with all 18lbers? Overrun that 3rd rates 2nd deck with 24's? Then you will need optimized ballast to counter it, you will incur a slight speed loss etc. But it will pay off at pistol range when you fire double etc.

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Ships did not put crew ashore when they changed armament either, so these penalties would be a gamey deviation from real life application.

 

Since you used the Constitution as an example: She sailed in 1798 with 475 men; her muster roll shows 461 just before she defeated the Cyane and Levant in 1815; 475 men when she defeated the Java (who had 446 men aboard) in 1812; the United States had 480 aboard when she captured the Macedonian (who had 440); President 465. Those different crew sizes had nothing to do with what armaments they had aboard.

 

The 450 is nominal, as is the 650 on the 74's, who were almost always undermanned in reality, more so in the French navy than even the British. In fact having the 700+ crew now is extremely generous. It's Christmas for the 3rd rates.

 

I think the crewing of ships in game now is fine (could be better, could be worse) , rarely will 2 ships encounter each other with the exact same crew due to modules etc, and that's a good thing, allows for personalization.

 

Hopefully one day we can move toward an honor/reputation system which dictates if you can actually fill all those extra hammocks.

 

I believe we have misunderstood each other. What I meant in my proposal was basically to have 2 separate crew values and that being available crew and required crew.

 

Available crew is based on the hull of the ship, installed mods, reputation of the captain. So for USS Constitution it would be 450 as hull based crew + x% as modifiers.

Required crew would be determined by the number and type of guns, as I described in my original post.

 

In game it would translate into, even if you managed to cram 500 men as your crew and yet would choose the heaviest armament (long 18s on spar deck), you still would suffer penalties, since you would require more men than you have available.

 

I believe this isn't gamey, as the guns were the reason for numerous crews of warships compared to merchant ships. For example French ship Duquesne (74) when running from Cap Francaise with only 215 able men was able to run away, however when RN caught up, she was able to only fight 12 guns of her 36-livre battery and no other guns. 

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Two historical examples when frigates didn´t carry the 'right' armarment for their size:

 

-the french 12-pounder frigate Modeste got 18-pounders in british service. She was a good sailor with the armarment she was designed for, but abysmal with the 18-pounders:

 max 6 knots close-hauled/ 10 large and 'she in general sailed worse and was less weatherly than any man of war in company'.

 And she was 4 feet longer and had 1 feet more breadth than our Belle Poule!

 

-the french frigate de 18 Sybille was a rather mediocre sailor  - 8-9 knots close-hauled/11 1/2 knots large -  before she got slightly shorter and lighter 18-pounders.

 After the refit she managed 10 1/2 knots close-hauled and 13 knots large, which is excellent.

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Just as a note on putting heavy armament on frigates, it was more difficult to make it work then expected.

 

Out of 3 French frigate classes that were designed to carry 24 livre guns, Vengeance, Forte and Romaine classes, only Forte class kept 24 livre guns throught their carreers.

 

Others were deemed to be better at their job as frigates with 18 livre guns and thus were rearmed.

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There´s the case of the Pomone (designed by the Baron de Bombelle), though. 18-pounders in french service, 24s in british. But she was really huge for an 18-pounder frigate anyway.

 

The Pomone is noted that at the capture she had 24 pounders, however she went refit in 1801. Wikipedia states that during this refit, she was downgunned to 18 pounders, however, I was not yet able to find more solid evidence.

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