Friday, November 23, 2007

The coast defense battleship Valmy

William Hovgaard desribed the Jemmappes and Valmy as being reduced copies of the battleship Brennus. The Valmy, as you can see, had a very low freeboard but was designed to make 17 knots. If that had been possible, the speed would have kept the bow covered with water. The concept of a small battleship with heavy guns and a good speed always interested me. The Valmy had a complete waterline belt, 18in amidships and 10in at the ends, covered by a 4in deck. The Valmy was armed with 2-13.4in/40 and 4-3.9in QF guns. An old "Jane's" said that the two ships in the class could only "keep station" at a speed of 12.5 knots. On trials, the best that the Valmy could do was to make 15.9 knots.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another look at the USS Concord gunboat

The USS Concord built in 1891 was another ship that fought in the Battle of Manilla Bay in 1898. I find the Concord interesting because the ship was a substantial unarmoured cruiser of 1,710 tons, despite the gunboat designation. The British classed smaller vessels as sloops and actually built ships designated as cruisers of this approximate size. The Concord was stout enough to fight in the line with the cruisers when they surprised the Spanish at anchor in the bay. My book from 1911 has a different photograph, dating from 1891. The Concord had dimensions of 230ft x 36ft x 14ft and carried 6-4in guns. By 1911, the Concord served with the contemporary equivalent of the naval reserve, the Naval Militia.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The yacht USS Gloucester

When I was young, I still had access to books dating from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries about naval history and ships. I remember reading about the yacht USS Gloucester, which served with the fleet off of Santiago, as I recall. The Gloucester was a 240ft vessel of 786 tons armed with 4-6pdr (57mm) and 4-3pdr (47mm) guns. The Gloucester had a speed of 17 knots, so it was fast enough to be useful.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Spanish cruiser Castilla

The Spanish cruiser Castilla was one of the ships sunk in the Battle of Manilla Bay in 1898. Captain Donald MacIntyre described the Castilla as a "tub" in his book The Thunder of the Guns. I have heard that the Castilla had a composite hull, but it was apparently just a wooden hull. I have relied on the 1894 Naval Annual for information. The Castilla had a displacement of 3,342 tons and had a ram bow. The dimensions were 246ft x 45ft-11in x 20ft-11in. The machinery developed 4,400 IHP which drove a single screw to achieve a maximum of 14 knots. The coal supply was 470 tons. The Castilla carried 4 Krupp 5.9in guns, 2 Krupp 4.7in guns, 4-75mm guns, and 8-quick firing guns. The Castilla was launched at Cadiz in 1881 and was sunk on 1 May 1898. The Castilla had a crew of 392 men.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Spanish cruiser Reina Christina

My source of information about the Spanish cruiser Reina Christina is the 1894 edition of The Naval Annual. the Reina Christina was the Spanish flagship at the Battle of Manilla Bay, where ship was wrecked. The nominal displacement was 3,520 tons. The dimensions were 278ft-10in x 42ft-7in x 16ft-5in. The ship could make 17.5 knots on an IHP=3,970 with a bunker capacity of 600 tons of coal. The Reina Christina was launched in 1886. The armament consisted of 6-16cm (6.4in), 2-7cm, 3-57mm QF, and 6-37mm QF guns. The the ship also carried 5-14in TT. There was no armour, but the hull had a French-style "cellular layer".

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The French coast defense battleship Furieux

At one point, Jane's All the World's Fighting Ships expected that the French coast defense battleship Furieux would have her freeboard forward raised by a deck. The Furieux had been originally launched in 1883, but was not completed until 1887. Both the British and French often took many years to complete ships in the 1880's. The rebuilt Furieux was given 2-9.4in/40 guns, which were greatly superior to the original 2-13.4in/24 guns. I have seen other photographs which confirm that the Furieux retained the low freeboard forward, which meant that she was very wet when underway.