No announcement yet.

T2, R3, Prng 80: American Brig & Sloop vs Dutch Small Warship

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

  • T2, R3, Prng 80: American Brig & Sloop vs Dutch Small Warship

    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.

    The history of the United States Navy began with the creation of the Continental Navy on 13 October 1775; and having been thus named, this fledgling naval force served through to the end of the American Revolutionary War (War of Independence) which had begun in April of that year. The conflict ended in September 1783 with the Treaty of Paris and British acknowledgement of the United States as an independent sovereign nation.

    Under President George Washington, there was official recognition that the "Barbary Pirates" - naval forces of the Barbary States of North Africa - were a serious threat to American shipping and commerce. This in turn helped to bring about the Naval Act of 1794 and with it, the formal creation of a permanent standing U.S. Navy. Over the next 20 years, the Navy fought the French in the Quasi War (1798-99) and the Barbary States in the First and Second Barbary Wars (1801-05 and 1815); as well as the British again in the War of 1812 (1812-15).

    Although it would be quite some time yet before the United States could seriously rival the World's leading navies on a global scale, these early conflicts were the forge in which the Americans began to assert themselves as a naval power to be respected.
    It is in this setting and context that warships of the United States are introduced to our series of Tournaments.

    33: American Brig & Sloop 1775-1815

    A sailing brig is a relatively small vessel with two masts. Usually, both masts are square-rigged. That is, the main driving sails are suspended from horizonal yards (spars) attached to the masts. These spars are set square to the keel of the ship but their method of attachment to the mast, combined with their rigging, allows the horizontal angle to be varied considerably for best advantage from the wind.
    Sailing brigs were fast and maneuverable, being designed and employed both as merchant vessels and as warships. They reached their height of popularity in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

    The American Continental Congress acquired the brig Andrew Doria in November 1775. Her usual armament was 14 x 4-pounder guns and she had a crew of 112 officers and men.
    Andrew Doria fought well in a number of engagements but in particular, has the following distinctions to her name:
    • Participation in the Battle of Nassau; the first amphibious engagement by the Continental Navy and Marines.
    • The first United States vessel to receive a salute from a foreign power.

    Brig Andrew Doria receiving a return salute from the Dutch at Fort Oranje, Ternate Island, Indonesia, November 1776

    Brig Andrew Doria 1776 .jpg

    The sailing sloop was another type of small ship. Over the centuries in which they were used and from one nation to another, their configuration could vary somewhat and they could have one, two or three masts. However, in the period we are considering here they more often had at least two; three being common.
    Sloops were generally square-rigged and those that had two masts were sometimes called "brig sloops", given that their appearance was quite similar to that of a brig. As we might expect, in common with brigs, sloops also were fast and highly maneuverable; especially when compared to many of the larger warship types. Sloops built for combat were often referred to as "sloops of war", for obvious reasons.

    More than one American ship has borne the name "Ranger" but the first USS Ranger was a sloop of war in the Continental Navy, launched in May 1777.
    She was captured by the British almost exactly three years later but during the interval, rendered some outstanding service.
    Her achievements under command of Captain John Paul Jones were considerable. On his first voyage, he captured at least four British prize ships. A month or two later, he carried out a very daring raid on the British port of Whitehaven in April 1778; he and his crew spiking the guns of the fortress and burning the ships in the harbor.
    Not long afterwards, near Carrickfergus in Ireland, he engaged and defeated the British sloop HMS Drake. In terms of size and gun-power, the two ships were close to equal and the fight lasted for about an hour but eventually, Drake had gotten the worst of it and her captain struck his colors.
    USS Ranger was handed over to Jones' first officer, Lieutenant Simpson, in August 1778. From then and through 1779, Ranger continued to have success; capturing numerous enemy prizes. Eventually, however, her luck ran out and she was captured by the British on the Cooper River near Charleston, in May 1780. The British used her for a year or so (under the name HMS Halifax) and then she was decommissioned.

    USS Ranger (left) vs British sloop HMS Drake, Irish Sea, April 1778

    Sloop Ranger 1777 vs conv merch Drake p35.jpg

    The USS Hornet referred to next, was the third American ship to bear this name and was originally launched in 1805, having been built as a brig (with two masts). Later, in 1811, she was rebuilt with three masts and re-classified as a sloop. This improved her performance.
    Hornet normally carried 20 guns; 18 x 32pdr carronades and 2 x 12pdr long guns.
    She fought in the War of 1812 and was the first US Navy ship to capture a British vessel during that conflict.
    Hornet participated in numerous actions including the harassment of British shipping. One of her most notable encounters was her defeat of the brig-sloop HMS Peacock, near Demerary in Guyana. During the fight, casualties on the British ship became quite heavy (8 killed and 27 wounded) and included the loss of her commander, Captain Peake. Peacock's position became hopeless and she struck. However, she was so badly damaged that she sank soon afterwards and 19 British seamen - unable to be saved - drowned; but Hornet managed to rescue the remainder.
    On a subsequent raiding voyage in the South Atlantic, Hornet captured the brig-sloop HMS Penguin near Tristan da Cunha in March 1815. The following month, however, her crew somehow managed to mistake HMS Cornwallis - an almost brand new 74-gun ship of the line - for a merchant vessel. Massively out-gunned, Hornet and her crew had little option other than to beat a hasty retreat. They resorted to throwing a lot of equipment, including boats and guns, overboard; thus lightening their ship for a quick getaway!

    USS Hornet engaging British brig-sloop HMS Peacock (closest to viewer) off the coast of Guyana, February 1813

    Sloop Hornet 1805 v Peacock 1.jpeg

    48: Dutch small Warship (up to 34 guns) 1601-1700

    The Dutch built excellent warships, although they typically tended to be a bit smaller than those of many other navies, as well as having less draft with, usually, a somewhat broader beam to compensate. This allowed them to more easily navigate their generally very shallow coastal and estuary waters. A broader beam could also - to some extent at least and for a ship of any given length - make for a more stable gun platform.

    The Dutch fought a number of rival navies during this period; perhaps most notably the English, against whom their principal conflicts were the 1st Anglo-Dutch War 1652-54; the 2nd 1665-67 and the 3rd 1672-74. In a substantial number of the battles of these wars, the Dutch gave as good or better than they got but in the end, it was to little avail. Nevertheless, they had proven themselves as opponents to be greatly respected.

    Raid on the Medway

    By February 1667, a few months before the end of the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War (4 March 1665 - 31 July 1667), the financial situation for the English Crown had become desperate. Simply put, the English at this time lacked the finance to keep their entire fleet in fighting condition. Consequently, it was decided that the majority of their heavier ships - which were the most expensive to maintain - should be "laid up" at Chatham, on the River Medway, just south of the River Thames and not far from London.
    This financial parsimony had followed close on the heels of two major disasters which seriously impacted the English but in particular, the inhabitants of London. The first was the Great Plague of 1665-66; the second was the Great Fire of London, in September 1666. The Dutch raid on Chatham was to be a massive humiliation and a "last straw" for the English. Taking them entirely unprepared over several days starting on 19 June 1667, the Dutch - in a bold and brilliant stroke - brazenly sailed a flotilla of their warships up the Medway and created havoc and destruction in their path.
    The Dutch bombarded and temporarily captured the town of Sheerness, then sailed via the Thames estuary up the River Medway to Chatham and Gillingham. They engaged fortifications with cannon fire, burned or captured thirteen of the most powerful English warships and then captured & towed away the flagship of the English fleet, HMS Royal Charles. This was a disaster for the English and one of the worst defeats ever to be suffered by the Royal Navy. It brought a quick end to the war and a negotiated peace favorable to the Dutch.

    Dutch equivalent to a small corvette.
    Participating in the attack on Chatham, raid on the Medway, June 1667

    Corvette equiv Chatham 1667.jpg

    Dutch equivalent to a small frigate.
    Bombarding a British fort during the Medway raid.

    Sml Frig equiv bombard Brit fort 1667.jpg

    Beside the English, the Dutch inevitably found themselves at war with other naval powers through the 17th century. In particular, they already had difficult and sometimes hostile relations with the Spanish from the mid 16th through to the early 18th century. Spain effectively exercised control over much of what is now the Netherlands during that period. For this and other reasons such as competition for colonial resources and trade, conflict with Spain boiled over on a number of occasions. (The Dutch and the English were far from always being enemies and there were occasions when they were on the same side against the Spanish.)
    I selected the image below because it is of a very fine painting, that seems to capture a "Dutch vs Spanish" action at sea very well:

    Dutch galleon ramming Spanish galleys, English Channel, October 1602

    Sml galleons ram Span galleys Eng Chnl 3 Oct 1602 1.jpg

    Time to decide:
    Will you vote for the American or the Dutch vessels?

    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).
    33 - American Brig & Sloop
    48 - Dutch Small Warship
    Last edited by panther3485; 04 Nov 18, 09:46.
    "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
    These candidates both have very high merit in my opinion, which makes it a tough choice under any conditions.
    The fact that they are from quite different periods makes it even harder. I procrastinated for days here.
    In the end, I decided to give my vote to the Dutch small warships because, even if they are eliminated in this Round, I don't think they deserve to lose by a wide margin.
    "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