Laird Rams and the CSS Stonewall

Story

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#61
One night in England, Bulloch sat down with paper, pencil and a ruler and designed a warship the likes of which the world had never seen. Bulloch drew a combat vessel that could sink the entire U.S. Navy, then sail unopposed to New York City and Philadelphia, blasting those ports at will.
Can you point me to the source? That plan reads much like someone's else's I've read within recent memory.
 

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#64
Some new data about Larid rams & company...

"Mounting and Working Heavy Guns at Sea", by RN commander William Dawson, 1872.

https://archive.org/stream/journalofroyalun1618rhod#page/400/mode/2up

In short - the Laird Rams were pathetic (p. 405). Their weapon mounts were an awful mess. In perfect conditions - calm waters, no movement - it took nearly an HOUR just to change the guns elevation. In actual combat it would basically means that their guns have no means to change pre-set elevation. I.e. they could not control the vertical angle of their shots at all; they would be forced to pre-set some elevation before the actual combat started and use only that.

P.S. Other data about the RN ironclads (p.406-407) clearly indicated that almost all RN ironclads, build in 1860s, have mounitng problems...
 

DaveBrt

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#65
Some new data about Larid rams & company...

"Mounting and Working Heavy Guns at Sea", by RN commander William Dawson, 1872.

https://archive.org/stream/journalofroyalun1618rhod#page/400/mode/2up

In short - the Laird Rams were pathetic (p. 405). Their weapon mounts were an awful mess. In perfect conditions - calm waters, no movement - it took nearly an HOUR just to change the guns elevation. In actual combat it would basically means that their guns have no means to change pre-set elevation. I.e. they could not control the vertical angle of their shots at all; they would be forced to pre-set some elevation before the actual combat started and use only that.

P.S. Other data about the RN ironclads (p.406-407) clearly indicated that almost all RN ironclads, build in 1860s, have mounitng problems...
Very interesting article. Thanks for posting it.
 

67th Tigers

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3,366
#67
In short - the Laird Rams were pathetic (p. 405). Their weapon mounts were an awful mess. In perfect conditions - calm waters, no movement - it took nearly an HOUR just to change the guns elevation. In actual combat it would basically means that their guns have no means to change pre-set elevation. I.e. they could not control the vertical angle of their shots at all; they would be forced to pre-set some elevation before the actual combat started and use only that.

P.S. Other data about the RN ironclads (p.406-407) clearly indicated that almost all RN ironclads, build in 1860s, have mounitng problems...
You've exaggerated this a lot.

The early sliding mounts on the Wivern used elevation screws of a type similar to those in US mounts (Marsilly etc.). They at the time were mounting the 12.5 ton 10.5" RML, which was of course lighter than the 18.75 ton Dahlgren XV.

They indeed could take an hour to move through their whole range of movement (about 20 degrees). They of course could control the elevation to a very fine degree, but that's the point....
 

rebelatsea

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#68
I wasn't going to respond to the comments by Dawson ,who was talking through his hawsepipe at times.

The wooden slide carriages on Royal Sovereign were the ones that took 30mins from depression to full elevation. The carriages in Prince Albert took 4.5 mins.

The 9" MLR in Scorpion and Wyvern were mounted on Scotts iron carriages which allowed full elevation and depression as fast or as slow as their crews could work the levers.

It is true that the first 7"MLR taken to sea were a problem ,mounted on wooden chock carriages ,but that was because of their weight and size if cast loose on a rolling ship - they had actually outgrown the carriage.

In that respect John M Brooke's 7" MLR mounted in his wooden compressor slide carriage was far superior at the time, even more so when it was mounted in John Roy's iron turntable carriages.
 

67th Tigers

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#69
The 9" MLR in Scorpion and Wyvern were mounted on Scotts iron carriages which allowed full elevation and depression as fast or as slow as their crews could work the levers.
True, but this refers to an earlier period (i.e. when completed in 1865) where they had 10.5" RML (i.e. the "300 pounder") on lifting slides. I'm not sure when they were refitted with 9" on the Scott carriage, but I know they had them after their first major refit (1869 for Scorpion, 1868 for Wivern).

Of course by 1872 when Dawson writes the Scott carriage has completely replaced all the early lifting slide types on all ships so equipped.
 

rebelatsea

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#70
True, but this refers to an earlier period (i.e. when completed in 1865) where they had 10.5" RML (i.e. the "300 pounder") on lifting slides. I'm not sure when they were refitted with 9" on the Scott carriage, but I know they had them after their first major refit (1869 for Scorpion, 1868 for Wivern).

Of course by 1872 when Dawson writes the Scott carriage has completely replaced all the early lifting slide types on all ships so equipped.
The original ordnance warrant for the two CS ships when redesigned to adopt the Coles turet as was 4 -70pdr Whitworth MLR.
Although assigned 4 -10.5" Armstrong rifled SB, they never carried them, and both were commissioned with four 9" MLR on Scotts iron carriages. Both Ballard and Parkes concur. In fact I doubt the 10.5" guns were ever cast.
 

67th Tigers

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#71
The original ordnance warrant for the two CS ships when redesigned to adopt the Coles turet as was 4 -70pdr Whitworth MLR.
Although assigned 4 -10.5" Armstrong rifled SB, they never carried them, and both were commissioned with four 9" MLR on Scotts iron carriages. Both Ballard and Parkes concur. In fact I doubt the 10.5" guns were ever cast.
So, did some reading on this, as I found I had a Ph.D. thesis about the Laird Rams on my HD. (Online? Yes, here)

At least 13 of the 300 pdr rifles were forged and rifled for the RN, and I've seen comparative tests against the 15" Rodman HMG bought. It is usually said that 12 were issued to ships (4 each to Scorpion, Wivern and Royal Alfred) and one was used for shore tests. Other were forged for other customers (for example, two for Huascar and one for CSS Stonewall). The Royal Sovereign was initially armed with the same pattern gun but not sleeved, and hence smoothbore.

Wivern definitely had 300 pdrs in November 1867, because the left gun of the forward turret burst during target practice. She was taken out of Commission and emerged with 9" RML replacing the 300 pdrs. No-one was injured in the explosion. The problem was the gun in question was one of the early pre-1863 forged guns. A previous gun had failed in testing by the breach bursting in the same manner, and so later guns were reinforced.

Because of this accident the 300 pdr was completely withdrawn from sea service. The remaining guns were resleeved from 10" (10.5" was the "smoothbore" size) to 9" as a variant pattern 9" RML.

In fact, since we're also talking carriages, the Scorpion and Wivern received different carriages. In 1865 there was a shortage of the new Scott iron carriage which were replacing wooden carriages. All the production was already earmarked for other ships receiving the new guns (like Pallas) and Scorpion and Wivern were bottom of the list. It was decided to issue some old wooden lifting slides for them so they could go to sea for testing (they needed the weight of the guns to balance the turret) - hence she got the duff wooden mounts which were noted to be "very defective" when issued. This was meant to be a temporary measure. On 29th December 1865, after pressure from the government, Wivern was issued modern iron carriages with 300 pdrs. I have no data on when or whether Scorpion's carriages were changed before her refit, but they received major work after her first test cruise when it was found that they took an hour to move through extreme elevations etc. One suspects the Scorpion kept her wooden carriages until refit.
 

rebelatsea

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#72
So, did some reading on this, as I found I had a Ph.D. thesis about the Laird Rams on my HD. (Online? Yes, here)

At least 13 of the 300 pdr rifles were forged and rifled for the RN, and I've seen comparative tests against the 15" Rodman HMG bought. It is usually said that 12 were issued to ships (4 each to Scorpion, Wivern and Royal Alfred) and one was used for shore tests. Other were forged for other customers (for example, two for Huascar and one for CSS Stonewall). The Royal Sovereign was initially armed with the same pattern gun but not sleeved, and hence smoothbore.

Wivern definitely had 300 pdrs in November 1867, because the left gun of the forward turret burst during target practice. She was taken out of Commission and emerged with 9" RML replacing the 300 pdrs. No-one was injured in the explosion. The problem was the gun in question was one of the early pre-1863 forged guns. A previous gun had failed in testing by the breach bursting in the same manner, and so later guns were reinforced.

Because of this accident the 300 pdr was completely withdrawn from sea service. The remaining guns were resleeved from 10" (10.5" was the "smoothbore" size) to 9" as a variant pattern 9" RML.

In fact, since we're also talking carriages, the Scorpion and Wivern received different carriages. In 1865 there was a shortage of the new Scott iron carriage which were replacing wooden carriages. All the production was already earmarked for other ships receiving the new guns (like Pallas) and Scorpion and Wivern were bottom of the list. It was decided to issue some old wooden lifting slides for them so they could go to sea for testing (they needed the weight of the guns to balance the turret) - hence she got the duff wooden mounts which were noted to be "very defective" when issued. This was meant to be a temporary measure. On 29th December 1865, after pressure from the government, Wivern was issued modern iron carriages with 300 pdrs. I have no data on when or whether Scorpion's carriages were changed before her refit, but they received major work after her first test cruise when it was found that they took an hour to move through extreme elevations etc. One suspects the Scorpion kept her wooden carriages until refit.
Very many thanks for that .That thesis is very, very interesting and contains a lot if information that neither I not I reckon most authors I've read have never seen. I have skimmed through once, and will have a detailed read later on.
 

ebg12

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#73
Some new data about Larid rams & company...

"Mounting and Working Heavy Guns at Sea", by RN commander William Dawson, 1872.

https://archive.org/stream/journalofroyalun1618rhod#page/400/mode/2up

In short - the Laird Rams were pathetic (p. 405). Their weapon mounts were an awful mess. In perfect conditions - calm waters, no movement - it took nearly an HOUR just to change the guns elevation. In actual combat it would basically means that their guns have no means to change pre-set elevation. I.e. they could not control the vertical angle of their shots at all; they would be forced to pre-set some elevation before the actual combat started and use only that.

P.S. Other data about the RN ironclads (p.406-407) clearly indicated that almost all RN ironclads, build in 1860s, have mounitng problems...
But the Confederate Navy never ordered any guns for the ships. The ships were outfitted with 9 inch guns only after they were seized by Great Britain. What guns were the Confederate Navy planning to outfit the two ships to break the blockade?

The difference between the Laird ships and the Union monitors was that the Laird ships were sea worthy, and could fight in the open sea against wooden ships (as opposed to monitors being iron river barges with no keel).

Lincoln was willing to go to war with Great Britain over these ships because the Union Navy knew what damage these ships could cause on the fleet.
 
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rebelatsea

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#74
But the Confederate Navy never ordered any guns for the ships. The ships were outfitted with 9 inch guns only after they were seized by Great Britain. What guns were the Confederate Navy planning to outfit the two ships to break the blockade?

The difference between the Laird ships and the Union monitors was that the Laird ships were sea worthy, and could fight in the open sea against wooden ships (as opposed to monitors being iron river barges with no keel).

Lincoln was willing to go to war with Great Britain over these ships because the Union Navy knew what damage these ships could cause on the fleet.
The ships as constructed with turrets were to be armed with 4 -9" Blakely rifled MLR from Fawcett & Preston's Vauxhall foundry. The 8 weapons were produced and found their way into the Confederacy.
 

ebg12

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#75
The ships as constructed with turrets were to be armed with 4 -9" Blakely rifled MLR from Fawcett & Preston's Vauxhall foundry. The 8 weapons were produced and found their way into the Confederacy.
How would those guns differ in "sea action" then what the British mounted on the vessels? Please if you know.
 

rebelatsea

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#76
The 9" guns in the "laird rams" were mounted on the trial version of Scotts iron carriage. Strangely the initial inten tion had been to give them the 10.5" RML on the same carriages as the SB in HMS Royal Soveriegn which were the were the production version. Had they received the Blakely guns the mounting would have certainly have been a version of Blakely's compressor carriage.
 

rebelatsea

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#77
Sorry ,should have added that this was based on the Armstrong slide carriage used on the BLR
110pdr Armstrong BLR. HMS Warrior..JPG

Scotts iron carriage was essentially this, but much bigger and heavier to take the heavy MLR.
Incidentally there is a serious discrepancy regarding the RN ordnance on these ships. Both Oscar Parkes and Admiral Ballard (who would have seen the vessels) concur that they were completed with 4 -9" Armstrong -Woolwich pattern MLR mounted on the trial version of Scotts IRON carriage. Only Scorpion was assigned the 300pdrs but did not receive them. It was Wyvern that had the gun burst and it was a 9" RML with a flaw in the material which caused the entire breech weighing a ton to be blown off. HMS Royal Alfred was completed with 10 - 9" MLR in the box battery.
 

Tut11

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#78
So, did some reading on this, as I found I had a Ph.D. thesis about the Laird Rams on my HD. (Online? Yes, here)

At least 13 of the 300 pdr rifles were forged and rifled for the RN, and I've seen comparative tests against the 15" Rodman HMG bought. It is usually said that 12 were issued to ships (4 each to Scorpion, Wivern and Royal Alfred) and one was used for shore tests. Other were forged for other customers (for example, two for Huascar and one for CSS Stonewall). The Royal Sovereign was initially armed with the same pattern gun but not sleeved, and hence smoothbore.

Wivern definitely had 300 pdrs in November 1867, because the left gun of the forward turret burst during target practice. She was taken out of Commission and emerged with 9" RML replacing the 300 pdrs. No-one was injured in the explosion. The problem was the gun in question was one of the early pre-1863 forged guns. A previous gun had failed in testing by the breach bursting in the same manner, and so later guns were reinforced.

Because of this accident the 300 pdr was completely withdrawn from sea service. The remaining guns were resleeved from 10" (10.5" was the "smoothbore" size) to 9" as a variant pattern 9" RML.

In fact, since we're also talking carriages, the Scorpion and Wivern received different carriages. In 1865 there was a shortage of the new Scott iron carriage which were replacing wooden carriages. All the production was already earmarked for other ships receiving the new guns (like Pallas) and Scorpion and Wivern were bottom of the list. It was decided to issue some old wooden lifting slides for them so they could go to sea for testing (they needed the weight of the guns to balance the turret) - hence she got the duff wooden mounts which were noted to be "very defective" when issued. This was meant to be a temporary measure. On 29th December 1865, after pressure from the government, Wivern was issued modern iron carriages with 300 pdrs. I have no data on when or whether Scorpion's carriages were changed before her refit, but they received major work after her first test cruise when it was found that they took an hour to move through extreme elevations etc. One suspects the Scorpion kept her wooden carriages until refit.
Thank you very much for the Thesis also.
 

ebg12

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#79
Sorry ,should have added that this was based on the Armstrong slide carriage used on the BLR View attachment 298415
Scotts iron carriage was essentially this, but much bigger and heavier to take the heavy MLR.
Incidentally there is a serious discrepancy regarding the RN ordnance on these ships. Both Oscar Parkes and Admiral Ballard (who would have seen the vessels) concur that they were completed with 4 -9" Armstrong -Woolwich pattern MLR mounted on the trial version of Scotts IRON carriage. Only Scorpion was assigned the 300pdrs but did not receive them. It was Wyvern that had the gun burst and it was a 9" RML with a flaw in the material which caused the entire breech weighing a ton to be blown off. HMS Royal Alfred was completed with 10 - 9" MLR in the box battery.
So what would the problems be for the confederates with their guns on these ships? would they be better at sea with their guns than what the British were experiencing with the guns they had mounted? Please if you know. Thank you
 

rebelatsea

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#80
So what would the problems be for the confederates with their guns on these ships? would they be better at sea with their guns than what the British were experiencing with the guns they had mounted? Please if you know. Thank you
We really don't know how the Fawcett & Preston guns would have been mounted, but I'm guessing on Captain Blakely's patent iron carriages. They worked well on land, and I think off the top of my head either Alabama and or Shenandoah had them at sea. Incidentally Dawson's comments on the 95cwt 68pdr at sea are totally at variance with the accounts by HMS Warrior's gunnery officer.
 

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