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T2, R1, Prng 44: Dano-Norwegian Ship of the Line vs Dutch Ship of the Line

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  • T2, R1, Prng 44: Dano-Norwegian Ship of the Line vs Dutch Ship of the Line

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    45: Dano-Norwegian Ship of the Line 1701-1814

    We have spoken of ships of the line in some of the other polls. In simple terms, their role was to function as effective heavily-gunned fighting platforms powerful enough to take and hold their place in the line of battle. Opposing lines of battle became the classic fleet vs fleet formation in the age of sail. The sheer size and gun power of these ships of the line steadily increased over a couple of centuries or so; such that by the late 1700's and early 1800's only the heaviest of 2-deckers could be considered as truly viable and 3-deckers had become very much the norm for many of the leading navies. Indeed, by the later part of the age of sail some 4-deckers - massive vessels even by ship of the line standards - had emerged; although the classic 3-decker remained far more numerous and in terms of functional efficiency was probably, in reality, the practical workable limit.

    We start with Dannebroge, a Dano-Norwegian ship of the line that was launched in 1692 and served through the first decade of the 1700s. (Her working life would have been considerably longer had she not been destroyed in October 1710). As such, she is a fair example for the early part of our period here.
    By the beginning of 1710, Dannebroge carried 76 guns as follows:
    • 26 x 24pdr
    • 22 x 14pdr
    • 20 x 8pdr
    • 4 x 4pdr
    • 4 x 14pdr howitzer
    Earlier in her career she had carried 84 guns but many of these were of smaller calibre than the later 76 gun configuration, which gave her heavier firepower overall.
    Dannebroge had a complement of 550 officers and men. At the time of her launch and for several years afterwards, she was the largest ship of the line in the Dano-Norwegian Navy. She didn't quite have three full continuous decks of armament in the same way as some other ships (the third deck not being "full length" for the purpose of carrying guns) but with additional guns on her forecastle and quarterdeck she effectively came very close.
    Unfortunately for the crew of Dannebroge, her end - at the Battle of Koge Bay, near Copenhagen in October 1710 - was calamitous. This was part of the Great Northern War (1700-1721) against the Swedish empire and its allies. Denmark-Norway had joined the coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia.

    During the battle, a fire ignited on one of Dannebroge's decks; almost certainly from the propellant for her guns. It flared up and grew so quickly that there was no chance of fighting it. She exploded and sank rapidly, killing almost her entire crew with only 9 men surviving.

    Model of Dannebroge

    SoL Dannebroge 1.jpg

    Our second example is Fredericus Quartus, launched in December 1700. She was very powerful for the time and would turn out to be the largest ship of the line ever constructed for the Danish Navy. She displaced about 3,400 tons and had a crew of 950 officers and men. She carried 106 guns as follows:
    • Lower deck - 28 x 36pdr
    • Middle deck - 28 x 18pdr
    • Upper deck - 28 x 12pdr
    • Poop and quarter decks - 20 x 6pdr and 6 x 4pdr
    Among Fredericus Quartus' engagements was the above-mentioned battle of Koge Bay in 1710, which ended inconclusively. There were some significant Danish losses but she was not among them, managing to to fight well yet avoid serious damage. However, following that time the sheer cost of keeping her, combined with the fact that she was considered to have too much draft for ease of handling in Danish home waters, meant that she ended up being inactive for most of the remainder of her career. With the death of King Frederik IV in 1730, she was permanently deactivated and broken up.

    Model of Fredericus Quartus, 1700

    SoL Fredericus Quartus 1700 m5.jpg

    For the third Dano-Norwegian example, we have Christian VII, launched in 1767.
    She was one of the largest warships built for the Danish Navy, with a crew of 849 officers and men and carrying 90 guns:
    • 28 x 36pdr
    • 28 x 18pdr
    • 26 x 12pdr
    • 8 x 6pdr
    Christian VII began her service life as a prestigious symbol of the Danish crown and for quite some time she was the flagship of the Dano-Norwegian fleet.
    However, in 1799 after little more than two decades as a first-line warship, she was cut down to a 2-decker and converted into a defensive "blockship" (floating gun platform), being re-named Provesteen. In this configuration her crew was 525.
    As such, she provided defensive fire at the First Battle of Copenhagen in April 1801, which is generally thought of as Nelson's hardest fought engagement. In the battle, British ships attacked the Danish in their harbour at Copenhagen.

    During this action, Provesteen fought well but in return received very heavy fire. She burned and sank, with 40 of her crew dead and 34 wounded.

    Image showing a painting of Christian VII in her heyday as the Danish flagship.

    SoL Christian VII 1767.jpg

    54: Dutch Ship of the Line 1701-1860

    Relative to other leading European navies, the Dutch reached the peak of their strength during the 1600's. Throughout that century their fleet was one of the top three and arguably the top naval force for a portion of it at least. However, over the course of the following century the French and - as time went by even more so the British fleet - would steadily come to leave them behind in terms of sheer size and power.
    Nevertheless, the Dutch continued to be a naval force to be reckoned with, having a still very substantial fleet and the quality of their warships remained more or less competitive; so they were by no means weak. This was critical if they were to continue to be able to protect their vital trade routes.

    Our first example of a more modern and powerful Dutch ship of the line is Vrijheid, launched in 1782. She was rated for 74 guns (nominal) and was essentially a heavy 2-decker, making maximum use of forecastle and quarter-deck for her lighter guns.
    Vrijheid's early service was no doubt useful but seems to have been relatively uneventful until February 1784 when, as part of a squadron of six warships serving in the Mediterranean, she was caught in a violent storm that lasted for two days. One of the other ships - Drenthe - was so badly damaged that she sank and Vrijheid herself needed extensive repairs.

    Her greatest test came at the Battle of Camperdown, in the North Sea near Camperduin, Holland. By this time, Vrijheid was serving in the Batavian Republic, successor to the previous Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (otherwise known as The Seven Provinces).
    Vrijheid was the flagship carrying Vice-Admiral Jan de Winter. Their opponents were the British North Sea Fleet under Admiral Adam Duncan. aboard the British flagship HMS Venerable (1784).
    This battle was the most significant confrontation between Dutch and British forces in the French Revolutionary War.

    At one stage, Vrijheid was being engaged by four British ships at once; but there was also a confrontation between the two rival flagships. After a valiant fight in which she had taken enormous punishment, the Dutch ship finally struck her colours. She was captured and taken into the Royal Navy as HMS Vryheid.
    Camperdown was a decisive British victory but Vrijheid and her crew had not been found wanting.

    Vrijheid 1782 (left) vs British ship of the line Venerable (centre) at the battle of Camperdown, 1797

    SoL Vrijheid 1782 74gun v Venerable at Camperdown 1797.jpg

    Our second Dutch example is Delft, launched in 1783. She was another 2-decker but not as heavy as Frijheid, carrying 56 guns (nominal). Her displacement/size and gun-power would have made her a fourth-rate and therefore barely viable in the line of battle. Nevertheless, she was a fine and well designed vessel and could be considered a good "all-rounder" for her time. Her distribution of guns was as follows:

    Lower gundeck - 22 x 24pdr
    Upper gundeck - 24 x 12pdr
    Forecastle & Quarterdeck - 6pdr (number varied)

    In common with Frijheid, Delft's early active career was mainly in the Mediterranean. In 1787 she successfully fought Barbary Pirates and made a significant contribution to the security of Dutch traders in that region. Returning to the area in 1793 under the command of Theodorus Frederik van Capellen, Delft was employed to help free 75 Dutch slaves from Algiers.
    Her final major action was in the above-mentioned Battle of Camperdown. In this action, she too was forced to surrender but had likewise fought with stubborn bravery before finally striking.

    Model of Delft 1783, with her guns absent (not yet fitted?)

    SoL Delft 1783 56gun 4rate model.jpg

    Our third example returns us to the heavier Dutch two-deckers; this one - Neptunus, launched in 1825 - being of similar size to our first example (Frijheid) but a little more "modern" in overall appearance and a fair representation for heavier Dutch warships of the early-to-mid 1800s.
    Neptunus was rated for 84 guns (nominal) and could carry up to 94 with some later modification. Her quarterdeck and forecastle were both quite long, leaving a relatively small gap between; so she wasn't all that far from being effectively a 3-decker. Indeed, some sources list this part of her as a third deck for the purpose of armament layout.

    Guns provided shortly after launch were 32 x 36pdr; 35 x 30pdr; 25 x 36pdr carronade and 2 x 12pdr; the details and exact number of guns being varied somewhat over the course of her career as a "first line" warship. In terms of her firepower, she fell between 2nd and 3rd rate equivalent (3rd rate initially with 84 guns; 4th rate not long afterwards with 94).
    In 1844, Neptunus was re-named to Konig der Nederlanden and in 1859 she was modified into a floating gun battery at Vlissingen, her name reverting back to Neptunus. She was stricken in 1876.
    Other than that, I have not as yet been able to find out much more detail regarding her service record.

    My selected image this time is a very nice wooden model of Neptunus' hull in her early days, showing the armament layout with good clarity. I considered this especially important because that aspect was not shown well in either of the first two images. The figurine of Neptune just below the bowsprit caught my attention too!
    (This model does in fact "open up". It's split vertically from stem to stern down the middle and shows the interior hull structure. Perhaps I can show a pic or two later.)

    SoL Neptunus 1825 84 guns model 1.jpg

    Your choice:
    Are you going Danish or going Dutch?

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?
    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).
    Dano-Norwegian Ship of the Line 1701-1814
    Dutch Ship of the Line 1701-1860
    Last edited by panther3485; 15 Sep 18, 06:54.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    I voted for the Dano-Norwegian (Danish) ships in this one. I found it hard to decide but I thought that if any of the Danish types should make it to the next round, this would be the one most deserving.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


    • #3
      I chose the Danish ship purely because of the plethora of armament and ability to throw more iron at whichever enemy happened to come within range.
      ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th


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