Thursday, April 24, 2008

CSS Virginia

CSS Virginia, Confederate ironclad 1862

I thought that we needed a CSS Virginia photograph. This is the USS Merrimack cut down and given an iron casemate. The navy had burnt the Merrimack on abandoning Norfolk. The Confederates raised the ship and repaired the holes that had been drilled in the hull. The ship had sank, so that most of the lower hull was undamaged by fire. Captain Paulding had not done a very effective scuttling job. The engines were affected by being submerged in seawater, however. The Virginia was a very large ship. As a screw frigate, the Merrimack had displaced 4,363 tons. The Virginia had a mixed armament. She carried 2-7in MLR, 2-6in MLR, and 6-9in Dahlgren SBML. There wre also two 12pdr howitzers. The iron armour was built of two 2-in layers. The best that the Virginia could make was about six knots. (I drew this picture quite a while ago, but I was surprised to find that it was never published!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The "Spanish Cruisers" page

I was impressed by the Spanish cruisers page at the UK website, I was particularly interested to see the photograph titled: "Almirante Oquendo after the Battle of Santiago". This was contributed by Rafael Galvan Diaz. The ship had run ashore, heavily damaged and on fire. The Spanish found out that above water torpedo launchers or tubes were hazardous. Sadly, the British had not learned the lesson and that probably caused the loss of the battlecruiser Hood in 1941.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Confederate ironclad Tennessee

The Confederate ironclad Tennessee took part in the defense of Mobile Bay. The Tennessee was captured when the Union forces were able to enter the bay, under fire and with the loss of two ironclad ships mined. The Tennessee was a somewhat larger ship than the Atlanta, as she displaced 1,273 tons. The Tennessee had 5in iron armour, except on the front, the armour was 6in. The Tennessee had a 7.125in Brooke MLR on each end and two 6in MLR on each side.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Confederate ironclad ram Nashville

When I was very young, I had seen John O'Hara Cosgrave's drawing of the Confederate ironclad Atlanta in Fletcher Pratt's book about the Monitor and Merrimac (CSS Virginia). Cosgrave's illustrations were well done and imaginative, but did not resemble the actual ships very closely. The Atlanta was a conversion of the blockade runner Finlay into an ironclad ram. The armoured superstructure followed the standard pattern used in the later Confederate ironclads, and was very angular. The Atlanta had 4in iron armour and carried 2-6.4in rifles on each side and a 7in rifle firing along the axis. The displacement was about 1006 tons. The Atlanta apparently could make 7 knots, which was adequate in restricted waters. The Atlanta suffered the usual problem of being outgunned by Union monitors armed with large 11 and 15 inch smooth bore guns.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The French ironclad battleship Couronne (1862)

This is apparently a photograph of the French ironclad battleship Couronne, completed in 1862, after the Couronne was altered as a gunnery training ship in 1881 to 1885. The photographs is based on the Wikipedia photograph. The armour was removed and a spar deck and other additions were made to make the Couronne resemble a conventional screw two-decker. The ship was actually constructed of iron and lasted until as late as 1932, although last 22 years were as a hulk.