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T2, R1, Prng 34: Dano-Norwegian 2-Dckr & Great Ship vs French Great Ship

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  • T2, R1, Prng 34: Dano-Norwegian 2-Dckr & Great Ship vs French Great Ship

    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.

    44: Dano-Norwegian large 2-Decker & Great Ship 1601-1700

    The joint Dano-Norwegian Navy was founded in 1510 when King John of Denmark appointed Henrik Krummedige, a Danish-Norwegian nobleman, to become its chief. It lasted until 1814 when separate navies were established for each country.
    During the 17th and 18th centuries, a primary objective was to control the Strait of Oresund against Sweden. At this time, the Dano-Norwegian Navy was of sufficient size and strength to counter the Royal Swedish Navy. The Navy was treated as the King's personal property and the waters deemed to be under Dano-Norwegian control consisted of the sea off Norway, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland, as well as a substantial portion of the Baltic and the waters off the North Cape and Spitsbergen. Its main base was Holmen at Copenhagen but it operated a few smaller bases elsewhere.

    Given the many narrow and relatively shallow waterways around the Danish isles, there was a general tendency to avoid building ships that were excessively large or drew too much water; however, this did not altogether prevent the building of some very powerful warships as we shall see. For the mid-to-late 1600's, an example to represent the larger Dano-Norwegian ships of the line would be HDMS Sophia Amalia, launched in 1650. She was named after King Frederick III's wife. The ship carried 86 guns (nominal), with capacity for a maximum of 108. The English ship builder James Robbins assisted with direction of the project and Sophia Amalia was commissioned by King Christian with the specific aim of surpassing the British ship HMS Sovereign of the Seas.
    Sophia Amalia did in fact achieve this benchmark, with a gun-carrying capacity exceeding that of the English ship by a small margin.

    A nice model of Sophia Amalia

    Sophia Amalia 1650 m2.jpg

    Another powerful Dano-Norwegian ship was Chritianus Quintus, launched in 1666. She had originally been named Prins Christian after the Danish Crown Prince of that time but he became King Christian V in 1670, hence the name change. She carried 96 guns (nominal, with the capacity to carry a few more) and had a crew averaging about 500 men. For her time, she would have been classed as a first-rate. (Later, in 1684, her name was again changed; this time to Elephanten because the Danes had by then built an even larger ship that was to take the previous name Christianus Quintus.)

    Anyway, the Christianus Quintus of 1666 was the flagship of Danish Admiral Niels Juel, at the battle of Koge Bay in July 1677. This confrontation took place over two days, between the fleets of Denmark/Norway and Sweden. Koge Bay takes its name from the seaport of Koge in Denmark, about 50km south-west of Copenhagen.

    The Swedes had lost much of their control of the Baltic Sea in the Battle of Oland the previous year. They wanted it back.
    They had prepared as well as they could and for some time previously had assembled a very substantial fleet under the command of Henrik Horn, with the combined power of at least 1,792 guns and 9,200 men.
    The Dano-Norwegian fleet, commanded by Niels Juel, was going to be able to respond with a fleet carrying 1,354 guns and 6,700 men.
    However, despite this apparent numerical disadvantage for the Dano-Norwegians, the Swedes had already gotten off on the wrong foot a few weeks before Koge Bay. A Swedish squadron from Gothenburg had departed early, to join the main fleet at Stockholm. On 31 May they were confronted with the Danish fleet at the Battle of Mon and by the following day, 1 June, most of their ships had been destroyed or captured; however, a few managed to escape.
    Nevertheless, this severely weakened the force intended for the main battle. The remaining Swedish fleet, together with a few surviving ships from the errant Gothenburg squadron confronted the Dano-Norwegians on 1 July and this much larger battle continued through the next day. The Swedes followed their previous setback with other mistakes and to cut a long story short they were routed, with very heavy losses on their side and relatively light losses to their opponents. It was an overwhelming Dano-Norwegian victory.

    Scene from the Battle of Koge Bay. Christianus Quintus is prominent to the left of this picture. She succeeded in breaking the Swedish line, which helped to turn the battle.

    Battle of Koge Bay 1677 2.jpg

    A nice "head on" painting of Christianus Quintus making its breakthrough at Koge Bay

    Christianus Quintus 1666 Brkthru Koge Bay 1677.jpg

    68: French Great Ship / early Ship of the Line 1601-1700

    During the 17th century, the French were among the leading nations competing for trade and control of the seas. By the late 1660's, the naval forces of Spain and Portugal had declined relative to their former positions and the French now had one of the top three most powerful navies, along with the Dutch and the English.

    Despite being launched in 1669, the Soleil Royal (Royal Sun) remained in harbour and did not see any action until the Nine Years' War (1688 - 1697). This was a conflict fought both on land and sea, between France and its territories on one side and a coalition of Austria, England, the Dutch Republic, the Holy Roman Empire, Savoy and Spain on the other.

    Accordingly, Soleil Royal was re-commissioned in the first year of this war as the flagship of the Escadre du Ponant (Ponant Squadron).
    She was rated to carry up to 120 guns but usually carried between 104 and 112. Soleil Royal was one of the two largest and most heavily armed French ships at this time; the other being the Royal Louis.

    Soleil Royal's first action of note was at the battle of Beachy Head in 1690, when the French ships managed to surprise the English ships while they were at anchor.
    The next notable action was in 1692, when she led a 45-ship fleet against a 97-ship combined Dutch and English fleet. This was the Battle of Barfleur and the French pressed home their attack despite the numerical disparity. There were heavy losses on both sides before the French were forced to break off the engagement. Although Soleil Royal made it through, she was very heavily damaged and was unable to make it back to Brest. Therefore, she was forced to beach near Cherbourg for repairs. Not very long after her beaching, she was attacked by a number of enemy ships, most of which she managed to repel with gunfire. However, a fireship set her alight leading to an explosion in her powder rooms and the final destruction of Soleil Royal.

    French great ship Soleil Royal (left of picture) in battle

    GrtShp Soleil Royal 1669 in battle.jpg

    Model of Soleil Royal showing her gun arrangement & overall layout.
    For her time, she was one of the most powerful ships in the World.

    GrtShp Soleil Royal 1669 model 2 right front.jpg

    Soleil Royal model - rear quarter view showing intricate stern work; among the richest and most decorative of any ship at that time.
    As with the leading warship types of any era, they were not just formidable fighting platforms. They were symbols of national prestige.

    GrtShp Soleil Royal 1669 model 8 rear left.jpg

    Time to decide:
    Do you lean towards the Dano-Norwegian ships or those of the French?

    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 2-Decker & Great Ship 1601-1700
    French Great Ship 1601-1700
    Last edited by panther3485; 27 Aug 18, 08:24.
    "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 like the French ship better.

    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


    • #3
      I went French also. The Dano-Norwegian ships were fine vessels and very influential in their region. The French ships were arguably even finer; but most importantly they were influential on a global scale.
      "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.


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