No announcement yet.

T2, R1, Prng 33: Brandenburg Early Frigate vs Swedish Great Ship

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • T2, R1, Prng 33: Brandenburg Early Frigate vs Swedish 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.

    43: Brandenburg 2-Decker Early Frigate 1601-1700

    The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire, situated mostly in what is now north-eastern Germany and partly in Poland. (Berlin is within this area.)
    Brandenburg, though not having a coast of its own as such, was close to the Baltic Sea and had port access. It had its own navy from the 16th century until 1701, when its fleet was incorporated into the Prussian Navy.
    The Brandenburg Navy was never large; having - at its height around the year 1680 - no more than about 30 serving warships. Nevertheless it was quite active in the Baltic and eastern North Sea areas, as well as in the protection of trade routes and lines of communication; especially to the Brandenburg Gold Coast colony in Africa.
    After 1688, with the death of the prince-elector Frederick William, his descendants had little interest in maintaining a navy. They recognized that they were simply too small to compete directly with the larger maritime powers (which was almost all of them). A decision was made to concentrate more on the development of their army, while at the same time courting good relations with strong friendly maritime powers such as Denmark and the Netherlands.

    The more powerful ships in the Brandenburg navy were its heavy (for the time) frigates; the model below being a good example. This was the Friedrich Wilhelm Zu Pferde (which translates to "Frederick William on Horseback"). Here, we are using Friedrich Wilhelm for short.

    Friedrich Wilhelm was launched in 1681. She displaced about 900 tons, carring a nominal armament of 54 guns and a crew of between 200 and 250 men.
    She served the Brandenburg Navy well until October 1692, when she became involved in a battle against three French warships. (Brandenburg was at war with France at this time.) Friedrich Wilhelm was defeated, captured and set on fire by the French.
    A few months prior to this, she had been escorting a convoy to Guinea, sailing from Emden. During that voyage, in company with another escort, Friedrich Wilhelm had successfully engaged and defeated a French warship.

    Model of the frigate Friedrich Wilhelm 1681

    Frigate 2-deck Friedrich Wilhelm 1681 left side.jpg

    Friedrich Wilhelm - closer view of model, showing detail to advantage

    Frigate 2-deck Friedrich Wilhelm 1681 Rfront frm above.jpg

    A portion of the Brandenburg fleet.
    Friedrich Wilhelm can be seen in left foreground

    Brandenburg fleet - Friedrich Wilhelm is front left.jpg

    90: Swedish Great Ship / early Ship of the Line 1601-1700

    During this period, Sweden was one of the three major naval powers of the Baltic area; the others being Denmark/Norway and (to some extent, as an emerging force) Poland. These powers were always competitors and sometimes enemies.
    The Russians were to become very significant too; however, their development of a navy strong enough to seriously rival those of Sweden or Denmark would come somewhat later. We shall see one or two examples elsewhere in this tournament.

    In common with the major (larger) European maritime powers, both Sweden and Denmark/Norway needed to maintain strong fleets for defence and the protection of commerce. The quality and strength of Sweden's warships was generally very good; easily comparable to the best equivalents built by the English, Dutch, French or Spanish. However, due mainly to their relatively small population, the building and manning of a fleet sufficiently large to seriously rival those of the major European navies wasn't realistic. This arguably may have made quality even more important to the Swedes.

    In common with these other navies, the Swedish also began the 1600's with galleons and gradually evolved such designs into "great ships", which became the early ships of the line. Probably, the most well known of all Swedish sailing warships is Vasa (Wasa); if for no other reasons than (a) the fact that she sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 and (b) the remarkable state of preservation in which she was found to be, when salvaged in 1961.
    Her wreck had been discovered in the late 1950's in a busy shipping lane near Stockholm harbor. After careful storage in a temporary location, Wasa was moved in 1988 to her permanent home at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Since her housing and basic restoration, she has become one of Sweden's major tourist attractions with (at a count several years ago) over 35 million visitors having stopped by to see her.

    Wasa displaced about 1,200 tonnes and had her official launch in 1627. She was to be very well armed, carrying 64 guns as follows: 48 x 24pdr, 8 x 3pdr, 2 x 1pdr, 6 x howitzer. She had been built on the orders of King Gustavus Adolphus as part of a military expansion, prompted by war against Poland-Lithuania (1621-29).
    Wasa was richly decorated, to reflect the King's ambitions and interest in her. Unfortunately, as fitted out, she was also dangerously top-heavy and unstable. This was known at the time but words of caution did not reach Gustavus's ear.
    A number of factors combined to make this happen. Among them was the King's very well-known impatience for Wasa to become a new flagship. None of his subordinates wanted to be the one to give him the bad news, which would have led to a substantial delay for the launch. Wasa was therefore ordered to sea as scheduled; capsizing and sinking as soon as the wind picked up. With a sensible re-distribution of weight, she may have had an excellent career as the basic design appears to have been sound enough. We shall never know for sure.

    A very nice painting of Wasa, commencing her maiden and tragically final voyage.

    GrtShp Wasa 1627 image.jpg

    Large scale model of Wasa at the museum.
    The remarkably well preserved hulk of the original ship provides an interesting - as well as sobering and haunting - background.

    GrtShp Wasa 1627 model 2.JPG

    The Swedish ship of the line Kronan, launched in 1668, is a good example of "the state of the art" at this time. Kronan served as the Baltic flagship of the Swedish Navy in the 1670's. She had a displacement of about 2,300 tonnes and carried 105 guns, with the plans allowing for up to 126. At this time, Kronan was one of the largest warships in the World.
    After four years of exemplary service, she sank in an accident. This occurred in very rough weather at the Battle of Oland in June 1676; part of the Scanian War (1675-79).
    Kronan's captain had ordered a very sharp turn under too much sail, leading to a capsize. The violent upheaval within the ship caused an ignition of the powder magazine, which blew off most of the bow. Kronan sank very quickly, taking 800 men, all her guns and a large quantity of silver and gold coins down with her. This was a severe blow for the Swedes; Kronan being not only an excellent and very powerful warship but also a national status symbol.

    Ship of the line Kronan 1668

    GrtShp Kronan 1668 2.jpg

    Time to decide:
    Will your vote go to the Brandenburg frigate or the Swedish great ship?

    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).
    Brandenburg 2-Decker Early Frigate 1601-1700
    Swedish Great Ship 1601-1700
    Last edited by panther3485; 29 Aug 18, 18:04.
    "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
    The Vasa sank on its maiden voyage. That does not win prize with me.

    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
      When visiting Stockholm, the Vasa museum is, surely, a "must-see",
      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
      Samuel Johnson.


      • #4
        I voted Swedish in this one. Although the ships shown here didn't have great careers - indeed, one had NO career at all - Swedish warships of these general types (which the examples here represent) were IMO more influential in this region than the Brandenburg ones.
        "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.


        Latest Topics