Royal Navy Order of Battle 1861

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Talos

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Unfortunately by 1861 the average RN frigate is getting some rifles in and hence has been upgraded.

It's not correct to say a IX inch Dahlgren would "still easily penetrate" the side of a frigate and possibly a liner, because it looks like the penetration of a liner can't really be predicted from that gun. Liners are planked to 30" or even 36", while the Colorado was planked to 24", meaning a long 32 pounder will penetrate the Colorado at 1000 yards with shot, but not with shell, and the 8" will nearly penetrate with shell; however, the liner will only be penetrated by the 64 pounder with shot (and nearly by the 42 pounder if the liner's only planked to 30".)
The 64 pounder's penetration is achieved with shot while burning 16 lbs of powder. Since the IX Dahlgren only had a 10 lbs powder charge approved (smaller charge, heavier projectile, hence lower speed and lower penetration) it seems it would not be able to penetrate a liner's sidewalls with shot let alone with shell. The IX Dahlgren is actually burning less powder than the 42 pounder.

The penetration of the 10" old shell gun with 10 lbs of powder was about 24" oak when firing shell. Based on that and the powder load of the IX inch, we can say penetration of an enemy heavy frigate would be "possible but marginal" - a liner, however, is right out.
The old 10" shell gun of 86cwt is the worst possible gun to use as an example. It was notoriously weak and had already been condemned in the 1850s (in fact, in Dahlgren's Shells and Shell-Guns book, the range table for the 10" is crossed out completely). This is what compelled the Navy to purchase Dahlgren's shell guns in the first place, to provide a X-inch replacement. The penetration of the IX-inch gun was rated in period information as 30" at 1300 yards, thus my comment about it almost penetrating a liner at range (though this means the shell explodes in her side anyway). This compares to 16 inches for the American 8"/63 and 21 inches for the 32-pdr/56cwt at that range. The IX-inch will comfortably penetrate the sides of a frigate like the Shannon. If the Liffey even gets a rifle, it would have been in place of the 68-pdr anyway, the only important gun on the ship. Otherwise it's the same disparity in firepower you'd see in an 18-pdr frigate taking on a 24-pdr frigate in the old days. Each individual deck plus the pivots is capable of firing larger shells further than on the British ship. It's the literal one the American ship was specifically designed to defeat.
 

67th Tigers

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Unfortunately by 1861 the average RN frigate is getting some rifles in and hence has been upgraded.

It's not correct to say a IX inch Dahlgren would "still easily penetrate" the side of a frigate and possibly a liner, because it looks like the penetration of a liner can't really be predicted from that gun. Liners are planked to 30" or even 36", while the Colorado was planked to 24", meaning a long 32 pounder will penetrate the Colorado at 1000 yards with shot, but not with shell, and the 8" will nearly penetrate with shell; however, the liner will only be penetrated by the 64 pounder with shot (and nearly by the 42 pounder if the liner's only planked to 30".)
The 64 pounder's penetration is achieved with shot while burning 16 lbs of powder. Since the IX Dahlgren only had a 10 lbs powder charge approved (smaller charge, heavier projectile, hence lower speed and lower penetration) it seems it would not be able to penetrate a liner's sidewalls with shot let alone with shell. The IX Dahlgren is actually burning less powder than the 42 pounder.

The penetration of the 10" old shell gun with 10 lbs of powder was about 24" oak when firing shell. Based on that and the powder load of the IX inch, we can say penetration of an enemy heavy frigate would be "possible but marginal" - a liner, however, is right out.
The 9" had a 10 lb ordinary charge and a 13 lb distant charge authorised. Quick calculation suggests with the 13 lb charge an initial velocity of 1,300 - 1,350 fps would be achieved.

In Shells and Shell Guns Dahlgren tested the 9" with distant charges against 3x 10" timbers without strapping. The shell destroyed the first two timbers and was stopped by the third, and Dahlgren qualified the effect with noting this was an unusually severe penetration, and should not be considered representative. This was discussed previously before you joined with Dilandu, who failed to understand how gases expand during a deflagration.

At 1,300 yards a 9" shell gun is incapable of doing much real damage to a ship, since to have terminal effects and degrade fighting capacity you want the shell to explode inside the target.
 

Saphroneth

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The old 10" shell gun of 86cwt is the worst possible gun to use as an example. It was notoriously weak and had already been condemned in the 1850s (in fact, in Dahlgren's Shells and Shell-Guns book, the range table for the 10" is crossed out completely).
I was actually using his book to get the oak penetration figures. The 10" shell gun is the last line on the table and seemed entirely legible.

The penetration of the IX-inch gun was rated in period information as 30" at 1300 yards, thus my comment about it almost penetrating a liner at range (though this means the shell explodes in her side anyway).
Interesting. Any idea how it gets so much better penetration for the same powder charge?
If it's by using a more solid ball, this means a smaller bursting charge, and it looks like the bursting charge of the IX inch Dahlgren was only 2-3 lbs. (By comparison the 4.75" 40 pounder Armstrong rifle had a 2.4 lb bursting charge and the 7" 110 pounder had a bursting charge of around 10 lbs.) It looks like destructive power has been sacrificed for penetration.


If the Liffey even gets a rifle, it would have been in place of the 68-pdr anyway, the only important gun on the ship.
I'm afraid that when they did re-gun Liffey class frigates they replaced 32 pounder smoothbores with 40 pounder or 110 pounder rifles, though not at 1:1. The Shannon for example replaced 16 of her 32 pounders with four 110 pounder rifles (and became a 40, which suggests to me she also got an extra pivot gun which was probably a 110 pounder too).

That was done for the Shannon in Feb 1862 as per the Times. It does reduce broadside weight, but they noted that in time of war they could ship 32 pounders back on again to make up the broadsides.

Each individual deck plus the pivots is capable of firing larger shells further than on the British ship. It's the literal one the American ship was specifically designed to defeat.
But it misses out the important factor of speed.
Greater range only really helps much if you can either be sure to destroy the enemy while they close the range, or keep the range open... even with that "danger range" increased to 800 yards it still means the Liffey-class can close through the range in two minutes, which is what it'd be doing if it didn't have rifles, whereas if it did have rifles it'd turn to engage at 2,000 yards. Two minutes is enough time for three broadsides at most (assuming the third one's fired just as the Liffey-class turns to engage).


It's also a little hard for an 1855 ship (Wabash LD 1854 launched 1855, same design etc as Colorado) to be specifically designed to defeat an 1855 ship class (Shannon first in class LD 1854 launched 1855)


ED: apparently the RN's 8" shells had 20% larger bursting charges than USN ones. I wonder if that pattern's replicated all the way down...
 
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Saphroneth

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The 9" had a 10 lb ordinary charge and a 13 lb distant charge authorised. Quick calculation suggests with the 13 lb charge an initial velocity of 1,300 - 1,350 fps would be achieved.
The 13lb charge is not authorized in 1860. Like the 11" gun they increased the authorized charges in mid-war.

11184083915_c0b52a2222_o.jpg
 

galveston bay

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The ends of the Warrior were not protected, but that's fine - there was nothing of fighting value there, and she could still fight and float with her ends completely waterlogged.
The Titantic would disagree... progressive flooding is a thing
 

Saphroneth

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The Titantic would disagree... progressive flooding is a thing

The lack of armour at the ends was less serious than many contemporaries believed, since the ends were well subdivided and even if both ends were flooded the draught would only increase by 26in.
Brown, David K. Warrior to Dreadnought: Warship Design and Development 1860-1905 (Kindle Locations 311-312). Naval Institute Press. Kindle Edition.


While the Titanic is the go-to, what it's worth noting is that she was not a warship and indeed was considered straight afterwards to have severe design flaws in that she could only float if a small number of compartments were flooded. For Warrior, meanwhile, her ends could be completely flooded (both of them) and she'd still have reserve bouyancy.

The Admiralty had considered the design of the Warrior quite carefully, they didn't leave the ends unarmoured because they forgot or something.



Essentially, for Warrior to sink in a battle due to her unarmoured ends you'd need to penetrate the bulkhead (which was 4.5", like her external armour) or penetrate her armour, or have some major incident under her armour. So... she can't sink due to her unarmoured ends alone.
 
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67th Tigers

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The Titantic would disagree... progressive flooding is a thing
Titanic flooded as her bulkheads didn't run the full height and her damage was monstrous, opening five compartments to immediate massive flooding. No quantity of projectiles will ever do such damage.

whyshesank.jpg


In the case of Warrior, DK Brown showed that if the ends were completely open to the sea then Warrior would remain afloat, and she had sufficient reserve bouyancy in citadel alone. With both ends open she'd simply be riding ca. 26 inches lower.

Unlike Titanic, there is no leak path between Warrior's compartments. She will not progressively flood unless someone goes around opening all the watertight hatches, and especially the watertight hatches into the citadel.

Now, with wooden ironclads like Gloire, New Ironsides and the RN conversions like the Royal Oak the case is different. Their construction did not allow for tight subdivision. Massive damage to wooden vessels below the waterline could not be easily dealt with. Same is true for the monitors. There you have to hope that your pumps are enough whilst the damage control parties patch the breach with canvas.
 

Saphroneth

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Titanic flooded as her bulkheads didn't run the full height and her damage was monstrous, opening five compartments to immediate massive flooding. No quantity of projectiles will ever do such damage.
Functionally this is why ramming attacks could be dangerous, because they can do damage on this sort of scale. (If they hit, that is, which was always the difficult bit.)

Though that does remind me of a possibility someone once pointed out for the traditional Monitor V Warrior discussion, which is that the Warrior is considerably faster than the Monitor and weighs nearly ten times as much. Running the Monitor down would do damage to both ships, but the Warrior is much better able to take that kind of damage...
 

rebelatsea

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The Titantic would disagree... progressive flooding is a thing
Quite out of our time range but of some relevance. I saw a documentary recently about the construction of a big cruise liner in an Italian yard. The narrator did the usual ( and meaningless) comparison with Titanic for size, and then the shipyard director said : but we aren't saying we are unsinkable - even a modern ship sustaining the same level of damage will sink eventually without intervention with major salvage equipment - that's why we are required to have all those lifeboats. Food for thought.​
 
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DaveBrt

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Brown, David K. Warrior to Dreadnought: Warship Design and Development 1860-1905 (Kindle Locations 311-312). Naval Institute Press. Kindle Edition.


While the Titanic is the go-to, what it's worth noting is that she was not a warship and indeed was considered straight afterwards to have severe design flaws in that she could only float if a small number of compartments were flooded. For Warrior, meanwhile, her ends could be completely flooded (both of them) and she'd still have reserve bouyancy.

The Admiralty had considered the design of the Warrior quite carefully, they didn't leave the ends unarmoured because they forgot or something.



Essentially, for Warrior to sink in a battle due to her unarmoured ends you'd need to penetrate the bulkhead (which was 4.5", like her external armour) or penetrate her armour, or have some major incident under her armour. So... she can't sink due to her unarmoured ends alone.
A surprise to many navies was the amount of flooding you can get around WT doors and hatches, through cable ways, through splinter holes, etc. Very active damage control was essential for even the most fully compartmented ships.

This type of damage control would have been a step more sophisticated than on the old wooden ships. DC had to step it up again when underwater explosions were a major threat (WW1 and 2 mines and torpedoes). The next step up was with the advent of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Still another step up was with the new ship construction and ordnance types seen in the Falklands War (aluminum superstructure, missile fuel fires, gases from melted and burning plastics).

I don't know if the 1862 UK ships had real DC parties, or if they just used whoever and whatever was at hand.
 

Saphroneth

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A surprise to many navies was the amount of flooding you can get around WT doors and hatches, through cable ways, through splinter holes, etc. Very active damage control was essential for even the most fully compartmented ships.

This type of damage control would have been a step more sophisticated than on the old wooden ships. DC had to step it up again when underwater explosions were a major threat (WW1 and 2 mines and torpedoes). The next step up was with the advent of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Still another step up was with the new ship construction and ordnance types seen in the Falklands War (aluminum superstructure, missile fuel fires, gases from melted and burning plastics).

I don't know if the 1862 UK ships had real DC parties, or if they just used whoever and whatever was at hand.
For obvious reasons we don't have any good test data on how well the Warrior could handle major damage below the waterline, though we do know she had a steam-powered bilge pump. We also know she didn't have cable ways as such, as there was yet nothing that would require cables.

As for DC parties, I think this was still the period when the RN expected almost everyone to be good at almost everything so long as the right kind of NCO was shouting at them.
There's also evidence from much later on (the Resistance torpedo trials in 1886) where the bulkheads remained tight when a 16" torpedo was detonated just above the bilge keel - there was no progressive flooding at all and she could have remained in action.

Frankly having a specific statement from a naval architect with full access to plans and actual ship to the effect she could still fight with both ends flooded is better than we could possibly expect! It's something we could not get from any other warship of the period, so I'm inclined to take it unless there's positive evidence she would be in serious trouble.
 

galveston bay

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Titanic flooded as her bulkheads didn't run the full height and her damage was monstrous, opening five compartments to immediate massive flooding. No quantity of projectiles will ever do such damage.

View attachment 160834

In the case of Warrior, DK Brown showed that if the ends were completely open to the sea then Warrior would remain afloat, and she had sufficient reserve bouyancy in citadel alone. With both ends open she'd simply be riding ca. 26 inches lower.

Unlike Titanic, there is no leak path between Warrior's compartments. She will not progressively flood unless someone goes around opening all the watertight hatches, and especially the watertight hatches into the citadel.

Now, with wooden ironclads like Gloire, New Ironsides and the RN conversions like the Royal Oak the case is different. Their construction did not allow for tight subdivision. Massive damage to wooden vessels below the waterline could not be easily dealt with. Same is true for the monitors. There you have to hope that your pumps are enough whilst the damage control parties patch the breach with canvas.
Possibly

A lot is banking on the continued water tight integrity of compartments that have also been struck by cannon fire, and even if not penetrated, the likelihood that there would be no leaks seems unlikely to me. So would those watertight doors hold? Would there be small leaks that let in flooding from compartments that have filled?

Obviously we will never know for sure, but but other wars, where armored ships took hits seem to indicate that damage from jarring (impact) will cause secondary damage that in itself is not a threat to the ship but in the case of heavier damage (like flooding) can cause serious problems
 
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Saphroneth

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A lot is banking on the continued water tight integrity of compartments that have also been struck by cannon fire, and even if not penetrated, the likelihood that there would be no leaks seems unlikely to me.
Why would the compartments have been struck by cannon fire? We're explicitly talking about what would happen if the unarmoured ends were opened to the water, and the important compartment is between the unarmoured end and the armoured citadel - a bulkhead which was as well armoured as the outside of the ship.

As for no leaks, perfection is unnecessary - you just need the leaking to not be more serious than the pumps can handle, and the Warrior had a donkey engine that could work the pumps.

So would those watertight doors hold? Would there be small leaks that let in flooding from compartments that have filled?
Well, probably they would hold yes, that's what they're for. Small leaks might happen, but Warrior did have pumps.
What the Warrior is, essentially, is a ship with all the means for leak control that wooden ships had, plus a powered pump, plus compartmentalization.

Obviously we will never know for sure, but but other wars, where armored ships took hits seem to indicate that damage from jarring (impact) will cause secondary damage that in itself is not a threat to the ship but in the case of heavier damage (like flooding) can cause serious problems
We will never know for sure - maybe. But the Warrior is the ship of the period about which we know more than any other (aside from those that got into combat and took waterline hits outside their citadels) how well she would handle watertight integrity problems, because she still exists and because a well-regarded naval architect (D.K.Brown) with access to the plans and the original ship said there was no serious danger of sinking due to the ship being penetrated in her unarmoured ends (even if every end compartment flooded).

That should be enough to be going on with, frankly. It's rare we have the opinion of a professional naval designer with over a century of hindsight.


It should also be noted that at least one British ship from this period suffered severe underwater damage - the Lord Clyde (four years newer than the Warrior). She got stuck on Pantellaria while attempting a rescue, and stayed stuck while being pounded by waves for several days. Despite this and the fact her whole hull was later found to be rotten, she was towed back to Malta by her sister for repairs - thus indicating that watertight integrity was not breached sufficient to endanger her even when taking enough damage that her sternpost fell off.

This suggests that the compartmentalization and/or pumping on RN ships of the period was adequate, if a ship that's taken underwater damage is okay for a week and a half.
 
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67th Tigers

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Possibly

A lot is banking on the continued water tight integrity of compartments that have also been struck by cannon fire, and even if not penetrated, the likelihood that there would be no leaks seems unlikely to me. So would those watertight doors hold? Would there be small leaks that let in flooding from compartments that have filled?

Obviously we will never know for sure, but but other wars, where armored ships took hits seem to indicate that damage from jarring (impact) will cause secondary damage that in itself is not a threat to the ship but in the case of heavier damage (like flooding) can cause serious problems
The transverse armoured bulkheads were 4.5" iron. They are not going to be penetrated. There were no doors through the two main bulkheads below the waterline, and the only doors were on the main (gun) deck.

Small leaks in the other compartments are easily plugged, either by hammering a piece of cork into it (which is very effective for shell fragments and still done today) or by umbrella seals for larger holes. Damage control teams could seal round holes several feet across with relative ease.

To flood a compartment you must overwhelm the pumps, and Warrior's pumps could shift a lot of water.

The Warrior is tightly compartmentalised (for the time) thus:

0f2e602b2e43b141c90d79bbcbe3efbb.jpg

The citadel is cutaway, and it alone has enough bouyancy to prevent Warrior from sinking if every other compartment is opened up.

For the kind of "progressive flooding" you're advocating as a method to get her to sink to occur is unlikely. When a compartment is opened to the sea water enters, and enters at a rate proportional to the size of the hole and the water pressure (which is a function of how far below the waterline the hole is). For hits at the waterline the rate of egress of water is very slow, and no gun can penetrate a hull deep below the waterline.

There are three compartments aft of the citadel and five fore of it. If all eight were open to the sea and no pumps were available Warrior would ship 1,070 tons of water and sit 26 inches lower in the water. Metacentric height would be 2.6 ft and she would be stable.
 

Saphroneth

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The transverse armoured bulkheads were 4.5" iron. They are not going to be penetrated. There were no doors through the two main bulkheads below the waterline, and the only doors were on the main (gun) deck.
I did wonder about that, but I couldn't find any good plans.

So there is almost literally no way to sink Warrior without penetrating the 4.5" armoured citadel below the waterline (or making a hole below the armour), and you'd still need a lot of holes or one really big deep one.
 
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67th Tigers

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I did wonder about that, but I couldn't find any good plans.

So there is almost literally no way to sink Warrior without penetrating the 4.5" armoured citadel below the waterline (or making a hole below the armour), and you'd still need a lot of holes or one really big deep one.
Ram her full speed into an iceberg, swerving at the last minute to cause the maximum damage?

Iron shipbuilding allowed for subdivision into watertight compartments. HEIC Nemesis and the early unarmoured iron hulled frigates were all compartmentalised. One of those converted to a troopship, the Birkenhead, was sunk when she struck a rock three times, creating the "women and children first" tradition. Later analysis showed the transport authorities had cut large holes in the bulkheads to improve the ships comfort, rendering them useless. If her bulkheads had been intact she'd have limped home, but the holes allowed the ship to be rapidly inundated. As a result of her loss, regulations were changed and the bulkheads buckled up at all times.

Now, wooden ironclads, like New Ironsides, had serious problems. So did the monitors. They had no subdivision, and so no way to stop the flooding beyond trying to seal the hole and pumping out the water. All the monitors leaked badly, and needed to constantly pump out the water. New Ironsides when she was delivered had no bulkheads, and indeed unarmoured ends. She was completely unprotected from raking fire passing down the whole length of the ship, like a wooden frigate. Her captain had 2.5" plates bolted into an improvised bulkhead across the gundeck and she needed to carry large numbers of sandbags for protection....
 

USS ALASKA

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Not only that ,but there was a project to build wooden copies of the Laird rams in Canada too, Whether they would have been delivered as kits ,or just the guns and armour and machinery, for wooden hulls built somewhere I have never been able to find out.
Wow sir -this is an extremely interesting historical tidbit. Anymore to this story?

Thanks,
USS ALASKA
 

USS ALASKA

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@Dilandu @Saphroneth @67th Tigers @rebelatsea @Talos @galveston bay @DaveBrt

Gents, I would like to thank you all. When I first posted the link, I figured it would just get lost in the sands of thread history time. After the 1st page of posts, I just knew it was destined for Moderated Thread H*ll with the rest Trent Naval discussions. Thanks again for not letting it slip below the required tolerance levels. I learned quite a bit.

Thank You,
USS ALASKA
 
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