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T2, R2, Prng 77: French Frigate vs Swedish Frigate

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  • panther3485
    I think the French frigates were not only very well built but also, far more influential in the global sense, compared to their Swedish equivalents. Not a hard decision for me.

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  • panther3485
    Originally posted by Jose50 View Post
    From the illustrations it seems to me that the Swedish fifth rater had cleaner lines and thus may have handles better than the French frigate. The French ship, however, looks as though it would handle better in heavy weather.
    I think those are fair observations and I had similar thoughts.

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  • Jose50
    From the illustrations it seems to me that the Swedish fifth rater had cleaner lines and thus may have handles better than the French frigate. The French ship, however, looks as though it would handle better in heavy weather.

    Leave a comment:

  • T2, R2, Prng 77: French Frigate vs Swedish Frigate

    71 - French Frigate
    94 - Swedish Frigate

    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.

    71: French Frigate 1701-1800

    As mentioned in Round 1, the French in the mid 1700's are regarded as having made a significant step forward in the development and refinement of the frigate concept. Indeed, from my own reading it seems quite reasonable to expand this: When it came to both the design and the construction of good quality warships, the French were leaders rather than followers during this general period.
    To give relevant parts of a quote from Dr James Pritchard, Associate Professor of History at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada:

    "Eighteenth-century naval officers thought that French warships were the finest in the World. Perceptive observers remarked on their attributes as early as the War of the Spanish Succession, when inferior French forces proved almost impossible to intercept. At the end of the century, French warships continued to display innovations that revealed their builders to be still in the forefront of naval ship design and construction. ... "
    " ... A recent scholar goes so far as to claim that French warships were not only the best on the seas then, but probably as good as any produced before the advent of steam. But the surest proof of the high quality of French ships lay in the British practice of sometimes converting prizes into flagships and designating particular vessels as models on drafts of English ships. ... "

    Of course, as we very well know victory at sea depends on a great deal more than just the build quality or design refinements of one's warships. Nevertheless, I thought this a reasonable consideration to raise before we look at a couple of French frigates.

    The first of our two French examples is Hermione, a Concorde class frigate launched in 1779. Hermione was of substantial size, displacing about 1160 tons. She was rated to carry 32 guns and had a crew of 255 officers and men. Nevertheless, she was designated as a "light" frigate; presumably based on the size of her guns, which were 12-pounders. She became famous when she ferried General Lafayette to the United States in 1780, to support the Americans in their Revolutionary War.
    In June 1780, Hermione, under command of Lieutenant de Latouche, was involved in a fierce engagement against the 32-gun British frigate HMS Iris, commanded by James Hawker. The engagement was indecisive, with both captains claiming that the other's ship and crew had got the worst of it; both ships having suffered substantial damage. However, Hermione was repaired and continued to render good service for well over a decade after this engagement.

    Hermione's career came to an end when she ran aground in September 1793.

    Construction of a sailing replica commenced in the late 1990's.

    Replica of the frigate Hermione 1779.
    Among her voyages was a goodwill trip to the USA in 2015.

    Frigate Hermione 1779 replica 1998 5.jpg

    Our second French example is Cleopatre, a Venus class frigate launched in 1781.
    Cleopatre displaced about 1,080 tons and, like Hermione, was rated to carry 32 guns. This began as 18 x 12pdr and 14 x 6pdr long guns.
    A couple of years later, the 12pdr guns were exchanged for 18pdr weapons.
    Finally by 1793, the fit was 36 guns comprising 26 x 12pdr and 10 x 6pdr.
    Cleopatre's crew was between 250 and 260.

    Cleopatre fought well in a number of engagements, including naval support for the taking of Cuddalore in India, in 1782.

    Cleopatre 1781

    Frigate Cleopatre 1781 36gun p20 duel52.jpg

    However, Cleopatre's hardest fight was her final one against the British frigate HMS Nymphe in June 1793, commanded by Captain Edward Pellew, near the island of Guernsey in the English Channel. After a short but exceptionally ferocious battle, during which both crews fought with remarkable courage and tenacity, the British mounted a determined assault and captured her. The French captain, Lieutenant de vasseau Mullon, had suffered mortal wounds during the battle.
    The British repaired Cleopatre and brought her into service as HMS Oiseau. She served her "new owners" quite well indeed for more than a decade after this.

    Artist's impression of the desperate situation aboard Cleopatre not long before her capture.

    Frigate Cleopatre quarterdeck view 1793 p56 duel52.jpg

    94: Swedish Frigate 1701-1860

    For our Swedish candidate, I have chosen a quite different approach by presenting two frigates of a single type. This is the Bellona class which, from the number built (10) and their varied service record (commencing from the early 1780's) appears to be fairly representative for Sweden at this time. Information so far is somewhat limited but as a class, these frigates seem to have been generally quite successful overall. However, as we might expect, they had mixed individual fates. Those that managed to avoid an earlier demise served well into the 1800's.

    Contemporary drawing of Bellona class frigate hull

    Frigate Bellona class drawing.jpg

    The first example is Bellona, the name ship of her class launched in 1782. These ships were fifth-rates, built to a fairly consistent standard pattern. They had a nominal armament of 40 guns and displaced about 1,350 tons.
    In 1794, Bellona was re-built and strengthened but retained her original basic specifications. Her armament was:
    • Main gun-deck - 26 x 24pdr + 2 x 6pdr
    • Forecastle & quarterdeck - 12 x 6pdr
    Bellona became wrecked in 1809.

    "Waterline" model of Bellona

    Frigate Bellona model 2.jpg

    Our second example is Camilla, launched in 1784. She was very active and quite successful, participating in a number of battles including:
    • Battle of Hogland, 1788
    • Battle of Reval, 1790
    • Battle of Vyborg Bay, July 1790

    These were all part of the Russo-Swedish War, 1788-90

    Camilla had to be broken up in 1798 after only 14 years service; perhaps at least partly due to wear & tear and the effects of battle damage.

    Image of Camilla from a painting, showing her nice clean lines to advantage

    Frigate Camilla 1784 painting.jpg

    So, whose frigates will curry your favor?
    The French or the Swedish?

    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).
    Last edited by panther3485; 21 Oct 18, 06:42.

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