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T2, R4, Prng 90: British Ship of the Line 1701-1800 vs French 2-Decker 1701-1800

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  • T2, R4, Prng 90: British Ship of the Line 1701-1800 vs French 2-Decker 1701-1800


    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.






    61: British Ship of the Line 1701-1800



    Our first British example is HMS Yarmouth, launched in 1745.
    Yarmouth was a 64-gun 3rd-rate ship of the line, with two full gun decks. She displaced about 1,300 tons and had a crew of 480 officers and men. Yarmouth carried 26 x 32pdr guns on her lower deck and 26 x 18pdr on her upper. The additional armament was 9pdr guns on her forecastle and quarterdeck.

    Yarmouth had a successful career spanning more than 60 years; fighting in numerous wars and battles. Her many distinctions include honours and awards in the Second Battle of Cape Finisterre, 1747; the Seven Years' War, 1756-63; the American Revolutionary War, 1775-83 and the Battle of the Saintes, 1782.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Yarmouth_(1745)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second...isterre_(1747)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Years%27_War
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americ...olutionary_War
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Saintes

    One of Yarmouth's more notable actions was against the American frigate USS Randolph (36 guns) and some smaller American warships, during the American Revolutionary War.
    In February 1778, Randolph - commanded by Captain Nicholas Biddle and accompanied by four smaller American armed ships - was under orders to break the British blockade of Charleston, South Carolina. However, upon sailing out to meet the enemy, no British ships were in sight at that time; so they set sail for the West Indies to raid British commerce. Through late February and into early March, they attacked and overcame a small number of British vessels.
    Things came to a head when lookouts spotted a large warship near Barbados. One account states that Biddle correctly identified the size and type before it came within fighting range; being a ship of the line and an enemy vessel. It was HMS Yarmouth (a 2-decker of 64 guns), commanded by Captain Nicholas Vincent. Another account has Biddle unsure of the exact type of ship until it was close enough to engage. Given that the engagement itself occurred after dark, this seems quite possible.
    In either case, Biddle decided to keep the strongest of the smaller American warships - the 20-gun General Moultrie - with him for much needed support and ordered the others to make good their escape.

    Following some initial maneuvers, the two American ships raised their flags at about 9:00pm and opened fire on Yarmouth. The British ship returned fire and both sides engaged intensively for about 20 minutes. In this initial exchange, Biddle was wounded but continued with the fight. (It is thought that the gunfire he was wounded by actually came from a mistaken volley fired by the General Moultrie.) Randolph in particular, had engaged Yarmouth more closely; and for a while at least the Americans seemed to be holding their own against the British ship, which had also sustained some significant damage.
    However, soon there was an unexpected titanic explosion aboard Randolph, thought to have been sparked in her powder magazine. This effectively ended the fight and the General Moultrie made good her escape. Yarmouth attempted pursuit but due to her extensive damages - much of which had been caused by falling debris from the exploding Randolph - she had to abandon the chase.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Randolph_(1776)


    Yarmouth (left) vs Randolph, March 1778, near Barbados

    SoL Yarmouth 1745 vs Randolph p22-23 onv161.jpg



    Our second British example is HMS Bellona, launched in 1760.
    Bellona had a crew of 650 officers and men. She displaced about 1,600 tons and was also a 2-decker, rated for a nominal 74 guns. The usual distribution of her armament was:
    • Lower gundeck - 28 x 32pdr
    • Upper gundeck - 28 x 18pdr
    • Forecastle - 4 x 9pdr
    • Quarterdeck - 14 x 9pdr
    Bellona was effectively a "prototype" for what was to become a very standard and classic British 74-gun 3rd rate ship of the line. With minor variations, more than 40 examples of this basic design were built.
    Bellona saw good service, with some breaks, over a period or more than 50 years until 1814, when she was finally broken up.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Bellona_(1760)


    The "brand new" Bellona, performing blockade duty off Brest, April 1760 during the Seven Years' War
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Years%27_War

    SoL Bellona 1760 blockade duty off Brest by Geoff Hunt.jpg



    For our third British ship of the line, we have HMS Barfleur, launched in 1768. Barfleur was a full 3-decker 2nd-rate of 90 guns nominal. This was usually 98 guns in practice. She displaced about 1,900 tons and had a crew of 750 officers and men. A typical armament composition with 98 guns was:
    • Lower gundeck - 28 x 32pdr
    • Middle gundeck - 30 x 18pdr
    • Upper gundeck - 30 x 12pdr
    • Forecastle - 2 x 9pdr
    • Quarterdeck - 8 x 12 pdr
    Barfleur had a very distinguished career through to the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815, spending her last few years "in ordinary" until being broken up in 1819. Her service included action in the following:
    Battle of the Chesapeake; Battle of St. Kitts; Battle of the Saintes; Battle of the Mona Passage; Glorious First of June; Battle of Groix; Battle of Cape St Vincent and Battle of Cape Finisterre.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Barfleur_(1768)


    Barfleur at the Battle of the Saintes, 1782, off Dominica in the West Indies.
    This painting shows the surrender of the French flagship Ville de Paris and with it, the final capituation of what was left of the French fleet.
    Ville de Paris is close to the right, with Barfleur to her left.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Saintes
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French...de_Paris_(1764)

    SoL Barfleur 1768 batt Saintes 1782 surrender Ville de Paris v2.jpg





    72: French 2-Decker 1701-1800



    "Two-decker" sailing warships in the age of sail are generally regarded as those having two full decks of guns and in many cases they also had at least a few more guns - usually smaller ones - on quarter-decks, poop decks and forecastles (where these structures existed).
    By the mid-to-late 1700's two-deckers of sufficient size and gunpower could still, if need be, function as ships of the line and be designated as such but the larger ones generally no higher than 3rd rate, more commonly 4th; and medium-sized vessels - if so employed - 5th or 6th rate. Otherwise, they were often used for roles and duties similar or equivalent to a frigate.

    The French, in common with many of the other navies of this period had already been using two-deckers for at least a century (give or take a bit). They were considerably cheaper to build and operate, as well as being more versatile and useful overall than a 3-deck ship of the line. Eventually, we do see 2-deckers - as a type - beginning to lose favour in some navies as heavy frigates with a single main deck came into service. (More on this elsewhere in these polls.)

    Our first example is one of the smaller French 2-deckers, Louis Le Grand, from the early 1700's. She was rated to carry 50 guns (nominal).
    This fine model is in the Musee de la Marine, in Paris, and is 1/12 scale. Apparently, it dates back to that century. If so, it has been kept in remarkably good condition but of course, is likely to have been restored or repaired a number of times. Still impressive, though. The model itself is said to have been used to assist in the training of naval officer students in Rochefort.


    Model of Louis Le Grand in Paris

    2dckr Louis le Grand 1701 50gun 1.jpg



    Louis le Grand model, closer view from bow.
    The intricacy of the rigging is very well shown here.

    2dckr Louis le Grand 1701 50gun 2.jpg



    Our final example in this pairing is Neptune, launched in early 1778. She displaced 1,500 tonnes and was designed for a nominal armament of 74 guns; putting her definitely at the large end of the range for a 2-decker. As with many warships of her time she could carry a few extra guns and 78 was her usual total. With that number, her armament was distributed as follows:
    • Lower gundeck - 28 x 36pdr long guns
    • Upper gundeck - 30 x 24pdr long guns
    • Forecastle & quarterdeck - 16 x 8pdr long guns and 4 x 36pdr carronades
    Neptune got her career off to a good start almost immediately. In October 1778 under the command of Captain Latouche, she captured the 30-gun British privateer Hercules. In 1782, she was one of the ships in a squadron led by de Grasse at the Battle of the Saintes.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Saintes

    The French lost the battle but the crew of Neptune had fought well enough, engaging both HMS Repulse and HMS Candia and surviving to fight in later battles. These included the Bataille du 13 prairial an 2 (better known as Glorious First of June) and Croisiere du Grand Hiver.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glorious_First_of_June
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croisi...du_Grand_Hiver

    When Neptune's end came, it was by accident. She ran aground and was destroyed in December 1794, with the loss of 50 of her crew.


    Model of Neptune 1778

    2dckr Neptune 1778 74 guns.JPG






    Which of these two contestants most deserves to win here?
    Will you vote for the British Ships of the Line or the French 2-Deckers?



    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).
    14
    61 - British Ship of the Line 1701-1800
    71.43%
    10
    72 - French 2-Decker 1701-1800
    28.57%
    4
    Last edited by panther3485; 19 Nov 18, 08:00.
    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

  • #2
    Seeing the poll results I'm surprised that the disparity is so great. Perhaps if there were more people voting in this poll we would see a closer percentage.
    ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
    IN MARE IN COELO

    Comment


    • #3
      Both of these types are very significant and influential and both on the global scale.
      I'm voting for the British ship of the line. This is mainly because it was around the end of this period (and into the early part of the next) that British naval supremacy - in the global context - was cemented, and would last for at least a century thereafter.
      In this global scenario, there WAS no greater naval power for all of that time.
      For better or worse, it would help to build, maintain, defend and perpetuate the British Empire for more than a century.
      "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

      Comment


      • #4
        I pick the French for the best of reasons...it isn't British

        For better or worse, it would help to build, maintain, defend and perpetuate the British Empire for more than a century.
        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
          I pick the French for the best of reasons...it isn't British
          Whatever you like John; but as of the moment I am typing this you haven't voted for either candidate yet?
          "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

          Comment

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