Friday, November 13, 2009

HMS Powerful

This page shows that HMS Powerful remained in service in the southwest Pacific up to the war. There are some other Wikipedia pages (and elsewhere) that claim that the Powerful was laid up after 1904, but that was not the case. There are some fabulous pictures of the ship at various times, such as in 1908 at the American visit to New Zealand.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The state of the art: fast cruisers

Admiral Makarov had advocated that the Russian navy acquire very fast cruisers for use as scouts. The British had been slow to adopt such vessels, probably due to the conservatism of William H. White, the DNC. The lead ship, the Novik, was built in Germany, by Schichau at Elbing. The succeeding ships were built in Russia, and were not as fast. The Novik was credited with making as fast as 26 knots, when the usual fast cruiser could make 23 or 24 knots, maximum. The Novik was scuttled in shallow water after the steering gear was disabled. The picture shows the wreck. The Japanese repaired the Novik for service in their navy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lord Brassey's "The Naval Annual" is in Google Books

I got an email from the NavWarGames Yahoo Group that told me that the 1908 edition of Lord Brassey's The Naval Annual is available in Google Books. I checked, and there are many older editions available as "full view" (at least in the United States) (between 1886 and 1908). Many of the good editions from later years don't even have a preview.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Chinese cruiser Nan Shuin

This is my version of the Nan Shuin, a Chinese unprotected steel cruiser built by Howaldt at Kiel, Germany. The Nan Shuin was launched on 8 January 1884. The Nan Shuin was a 2200 ton ship that could reach a speed of just 13 knots. The Nan Shuin was armed with 2-8.2in, 8-4.7in BLR guns.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Galena picture as an "old photograph"

The ironclad gunboat Galena picture with the GIMP "old photograph" look applied.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Galena as a screw sloop

The transformation of the armoured gunboat Galena into the screw sloop Galena is pretty amazing. In 1864, the Galena was fitted out without armour and with masts and sails as a screw sloop. In this guise, the Galena had a successful second career. The Galena even played an important role in the Battle of Mobile Bay, with the sloop Oneida lashed alongside. The Oneida had a boiler disabled, but the Galena carried the Oneida into the bay.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ironclad gunboat Galena

This is my attempt to make the ironclad gunboat Galena drawing look like a photograph.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Old Brassey's have tables of ship data that include the range at 10 knots with a full coal bunker. I was amazed to see that the old broadside British ironclads from the 1860's had short ranges. The Warrior had a nominal range of just 1210 nautical miles. Clearly, the ships must have had a way to extend their range to cross the Atlantic. The either sailed in company with colliers and were able to transfer coal at sea or else would overload the ships with coal. The turret ship Neptune, purchased in 1878, only had a range 0f 1480 nautical miles. The ship had been built for Brazil, so that would account for the lack of range, but it made for a ship that had limited uses for the Royal Navy.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The steam frigate Minnesota

The steam frigate USS Minnesota (1855) was a 4,833 ton unarmoured cruiser. Since large cruisers were called frigates at the time of her construction and early service, she was dubbed a steam frigate. Sailing frigates might be called that or just frigates. The steam powered ships had the "steam" prefix before their type name. The Minnesota was a 9-1/4 knot ship, although one source rates her at 12 knots. Her armament was 2-10in MLSB, 28-9in MLSB, and 14-8in MLSB. She served in the American Civil War and was present during the combat in 1862 with the Confederate ram CSS Virginia (formerly, the USS Merrimack, another steam frigate).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Brassey's drawings

I first saw the old Brassey's (The Naval Annual) back in the mid-1960's. I had already seen the older Jane's, and I was amazed at the variation in quality of the ship drawings. They range from having been drawn from original plans, and showing accurate bulkheads and machinery positions to crude diagrammatic representations that are not to any scale. In the 1894 Brassey's, the ships named there as "Catherine II", "Tchesma", and "Sinope" have an accurate inboard profile and plan view. Just before, there is a crude diagram for the ship called there "Admiral Nachimoff" (drawings 63 and 64).

Monday, February 23, 2009

The paddle frigate Mississippi

The American paddle frigate Mississippi was a historic ship that came to a bad end in 1863. The Mississippi had been Matthew Perry's flagship when he forced the Japanese to open their country to the west. He had personally supervised her completion and fitting out and used his as his flagship. The Mississippi had played a role in the war with Mexico and then had gone to the Far East. She was laid up when the Civil War started. She was obsolescent in 1861, but was used in the capture of New Orleans in 1862, where she disabled the Confederate ram Manassas. Because of her low speed and paddle wheels, she was relegated to the Mississippi river. She was scuttled in 1863 during the attempt to push past Port Hudson. The Mississippi had run aground, under heavy fire, and couldn't be freed. She was burnt after her guns were spiked to keep her from being captured. An interesting note is that George Dewey, the victor of Manilla Bay in 1898, was her executive officer at the time of her loss. This is my enhancement of the photograph from 1863, when she was painted wartime gray.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Chinese belted cruiser Lai Yuan

The Lai Yuan was sunk at Wei-Hai-Wei on 5 February 1895 after being torpedoed by a Japanese torpedo boat Kotaka. The Lai Yuan was a steel cruiser with compound armour. The Lai Yuan was nominally 2,850 tons with dimensions of 270ft x 40ft x 16ft-6in. The compound belt was 9.5in thick with a 3in deck. The armament consisted of 2-8.2in 10 ton BLR, 2-6in 4 ton BLR, and 7 MG.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The CSS Sumter

The Confederate raider Sumter had a short but successful career as a cruiser. The Sumter was purchased in New Orleans in April 1861 and was modified to carry an armament. She was originally armed with 1-8in shell gun and 4-32pdr MLSB guns. She had been built in 1869 in Philidelphia as the Havana. She was capable of between 9 and 10 knots. She was sold in 1862 after being chased by the USS Iroquois into Spanish waters.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The American sloop Brooklyn

The American sloop Brooklyn was a veteran of many of the major Civil war battles. The Brooklyn was built in 1858 and served until 1891. She was a wooden screw sloop of 2532 tons. She was 233ft x 43ft x 16ft and was armed with 1-10in MLSB, 20-9in MLSB. She could reach a speed of 11 knots under power. The Brooklyn served in the Gulf of Mexico blockading squadron and fought in the capture of New Orleans in 1862 and in the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.

Friday, January 9, 2009

More about the Wampanoag

This is my updated Wampanoag photograph (edited). I had decided that the original photograph that I have found seemed defective, as if it had been retouched or digitally altered in some way that created multiple waterlines, different foward from aft. I have fixed that problem. I also found some interesting insight into the design. The ships were originally intended for use in stopping the fast, British-built blockade-runners that could reach 17 knots. Internal naval politics, principally by David Dixon Porter, ensured that the construction was halted at the critical period. By the time that they were finished, the U.S. Navy no longer had any use for the ships. They used old technology boilers and engines, except for the gearing to increase the propellor speed. That meant that they had a very short range, due to their high coal consumption. Still, the Wampanoag set a speed record that held for several decades.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Wampanoag

The Wampanoag was built as a fast cruiser, but with engines that were not sufficiently advanced. As a result, the hull was too weak and the engines too large and heavy. Still, the Wapanoag is said to have achieved 17.75 knots in a trial condition. The Wapanoag was 335ft x 44ft-4in x 18ft-6in and displaced about 4,215 tons. The Wampanoag was eventually renamed Florida. These ships were still classed as screw frigates in the U.S.Navy when they were built. Aside from their other faults, these ships only had guns lacked bow fire, which was regrettable for a commerce raider.