Thursday, December 27, 2007

A radical change: the armoured cruiser Dupuy de Lôme

French armoured ship design took a radical turn with the armoured cruiser Dupuy de Lôme. Prior to this, the armouring scheme used for French ships consisted of a thick waterline belt, from stem to stern, with high, unprotected sides. In the Dupuy de Lôme, the sides were now protected by armour, although of only 4 inches in this case. The Dupuy de Lôme was a reaction to the threat of quick firing guns. The previous armour scheme was only protecting against armour piercing shot, not shell fire. The Dupuy de Lôme displaced 6,297 tons, had dimensions of 374ft x 51ft-6in x 23ft-6in. The ship was had three screws, including one on the centerline. The engines produced 14,000 IHP to achieve a 20 knot speed. For 1890, this was fast, at least for a large ship. The armament consisted of 2-7.6in and 6-6.4in guns. By modern standards, the Dupuy de Lôme had excessive upper works. Admiral Fournier considered this type of vessel as the basis for La Jeune École ("the Young School"). The idea was to concentrate on commerce raiding rather than building a battlefleet.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More about the coast defense battleship Furieux

According to my 1894 Brassey's, this photograph seems to reflect the original configuration of the French coast defense battleship Furieux. The Furieux was constructed of a mixture of both iron and steel, so the Furieux was a transitional step. I am sure that the figures given in Brassey's are just nominal, but they are still of interest:

French coast defense battleship Furieux, launched in 1883
Displacement: 6,000 tons
Dimensions: 247ft-10in x 59ft x 21ft-9in two screws
Belt: 20in Armament: 17-3/4in
Armament: 2-34cm (13.4in) 48 ton, 5-small QF, 10-mg
Max speed: 14 knots Range: 1,500nm Coal: 290 tons

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Infanta Maria Teresa

Early in my life, I had studied the Spanish-American War. My copy of the 1894 Brassey's has coverage of many of the ships involved. The Spanish flagship at the Battle of Santiago Bay was the belted cruiser, the Infanta Maria Teresa. This was a ship of nominally 7000 tons, with dimensions of 340ft x 65ft x 21ft-6in, with an armament of 2-11in and 10-5.5in guns. There were additional 6pdr and 2pdr QF guns, as well as the six above water torpedo launchers that were so hazardous. The wooden decks were a terrible fire hazard, as well. The Infanta Maria Teresa was listed with a maximum speed of 20.25 knots. The belt was 10.5 inches and the deck varied between 2in and 3in. The conning tower was 12in, of steel, as was the rest of the armour. The main armament was mounted in 10.5in barbettes with hemispherical shields. Belted cruisers of this sort were obsolescent in 1890 when the Infanta Maria Teresa was completed. The Spanish belted cruisers were destroyed in an hour-and-a-half hour at the Battle of Santiago Bay by shellfire from the American ships, according to William Hovgaard, in the Modern History of Warships. The Infanta Maria Teresa had a narrow 12in belt and a high, unprotected side.