Russian navy

galveston bay

Corporal
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
"Chainclads" in a nonsense.

It derives from the USS Kearsarge. The design of the Kearsarge was very bad in that she had a vertical boiler above the waterline (RN screw ships of the time put a horizontal boiler below the waterline). Obviously one shot amidships that penetrated the boiler would instantly put the whole ship out of action as scalding hot steam filled the entire internal volume.

To give some degree of protection the captain of the Kearsarge draped his anchor chains over the second that the boiler was in to provide some additional protection. This didn't stop Alabama's shells.

Farragut and his fleets used that same measure of adding at least some basic armor at New Orleans and Mobile Bay. Sandbags were also used. Obviously this isn't a replacement for armor plate, but it does add a measure of protection. If nothing else it helps morale.

While a number of smaller gunboats were knocked out of action by penetrating shots that holed boilers (and thus live steam killed or wounded much of the crew below decks), I know of no instance involving a a larger ship running 1,000 or more tons. Do you know of one?
 

CanadianCanuck

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Actually, I really doubt that the Britain would be eager to launch the military campaing without formal declaration... They have France on the other side of the Channel, and the idea that France may be worried by such... unpleasant actions, and deside that "c'est un bon temps pour un peu de couteau dans le dos (it's a good time for a little backstabbing"

Not a chance in hell.

Why oh why do so many people ignore that Napoleon III never made any threatening moves against British interests in the period from 1852-1870? In the period in question (1861-65) he was rather busy trying to subjugate Mexico and extend his dominions in South East Asia. Hell, when he had the opportunity to snub Britain diplomatically during the Trent Affair, he explicitly came down on Britain's side, as did the Russians funnily enough.

The Russians would have no desire to be mixed up in a kerfuffle between Britain and the United States beyond offering moral platitudes to Washington.
 

CanadianCanuck

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Farragut and his fleets used that same measure of adding at least some basic armor at New Orleans and Mobile Bay. Sandbags were also used. Obviously this isn't a replacement for armor plate, but it does add a measure of protection. If nothing else it helps morale.

IIRC Kearsarge's chainclad status was an ad hoc measure designed to protect certain vulnerable spots on the hull, which was then covered with wood planking. This was capable of stopping smaller guns up to 32 pounder size, but was estimated to have been of little value versus heavy guns.

Great morale boost and certainly a significant protection against shrapnel.
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
"Chainclads" in a nonsense.

It derives from the USS Kearsarge. The design of the Kearsarge was very bad in that she had a vertical boiler above the waterline (RN screw ships of the time put a horizontal boiler below the waterline). Obviously one shot amidships that penetrated the boiler would instantly put the whole ship out of action as scalding hot steam filled the entire internal volume.

To give some degree of protection the captain of the Kearsarge draped his anchor chains over the second that the boiler was in to provide some additional protection. This didn't stop Alabama's shells.

"Chainclad" or "iron-cased" or "tinclad" - shorthand for an existing wooden steam screw warship with varying degrees of additional protection added, but not to the extent of a full re-build like Roanoke or the British equivalents. Obviously, if a large screw steamer is stripped of her masts and yards, rigging, sails, and much of her need for deep ocean stores (fresh water for the crew, food and small stores for weeks to months of cruising) a significant amount of equivalent tonnage for protection is freed up, thus making a ship that is better suited for coast defense and blockade breaking tasks than the equivalent opposing wooden steam screw warship assigned to blockade duty at transoceanic distances that must retain her masts, yards, crew stores, etc.

So "nonsense" to your "nonsense," Admiral. :wink:
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
Not a chance in hell.

Why oh why do so many people ignore that Napoleon III never made any threatening moves against British interests in the period from 1852-1870? In the period in question (1861-65) he was rather busy trying to subjugate Mexico and extend his dominions in South East Asia. Hell, when he had the opportunity to snub Britain diplomatically during the Trent Affair, he explicitly came down on Britain's side, as did the Russians funnily enough.

The Russians would have no desire to be mixed up in a kerfuffle between Britain and the United States beyond offering moral platitudes to Washington.

There's the minor point of the steam naval race between the two powers (from Napeoleon to Gloire to Couronne on the Fench side, all of which prompted British responses and then French responses in turn), but hey, why let the realities of European power politics intrude?

Presumably the British weren't quite so sanguine, since they maintained the Mediterranean Fleet at strength throughout this period..

Best,
 

galveston bay

Corporal
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
IIRC Kearsarge's chainclad status was an ad hoc measure designed to protect certain vulnerable spots on the hull, which was then covered with wood planking. This was capable of stopping smaller guns up to 32 pounder size, but was estimated to have been of little value versus heavy guns.

Great morale boost and certainly a significant protection against shrapnel.

True, but that ad hoc measure was frequently practiced to the point of being essentially doctrine. Farragut faced a lot of older 32 pounders in his runs past the forts (to name his example). Many gunboats adopted this measure as field expedient during coastal operations. One would assume that the Russians and British would adopt the practice as well as the benefits are reasonably obvious.

A modern example would be the practice of piling sandbags atop tanks and armored personnel carriers during World War II and after. It doesn't help a lot, but combat soldiers (and sailors in the era we are discussing) have a tendency to do whatever they can to maximize their chances of survival.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Farragut and his fleets used that same measure of adding at least some basic armor at New Orleans and Mobile Bay. Sandbags were also used. Obviously this isn't a replacement for armor plate, but it does add a measure of protection. If nothing else it helps morale.

While a number of smaller gunboats were knocked out of action by penetrating shots that holed boilers (and thus live steam killed or wounded much of the crew below decks), I know of no instance involving a a larger ship running 1,000 or more tons. Do you know of one?

Off the top of my head,the Essex of course suffered exactly such a penetration at Fort Henry with 11 killed and 23 wounded be the escaping steam, including Porter who was blinded (temporarily as it turns out) amongst other injuries. The Mound City had only 26 survivors out of her complement of 175 when a boiler was penetrated on 17th June 1862 (although only 97 of these were killed onboard, many of the rest died in the water as they came under musket fire).

I'm sure there are other examples, but the Essex was completely rebuilt, this time with the boilers below the waterline. The danger of exposed boilers was revealed, and was a nightmare that no captain wished to face. Hence the Captain of the Kearsarge trying his best to prevent such a hit.

The positioning of the boilers had a serious impact on the survivability of a ship under fire. A vertical boiler was such a hazard that essentially no RN ship had one. Some USN ships certainly did, but certainly the Merrimac's had the boilers well below the waterline to be survivable.
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
IIRC Kearsarge's chainclad status was an ad hoc measure designed to protect certain vulnerable spots on the hull, which was then covered with wood planking. This was capable of stopping smaller guns up to 32 pounder size, but was estimated to have been of little value versus heavy guns. Great morale boost and certainly a significant protection against shrapnel.

And it was an extremely ad hoc measure accomplished with very limited resources, and while maintaining the ship's masts and rigging for oceanic cruising. Just imagine if a big steam frigate like Niagara or one of the Colorados or one of the big screw sloops was able to use the tonnage gained by losing the deep water cruising features (masts, yards, rigging, sails, bowsprit, etc) in favor of improved protection for coast defense duties...

Best,
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
Off the top of my head,the Essex of course suffered exactly such a penetration at Fort Henry with 11 killed and 23 wounded be the escaping steam, including Porter who was blinded (temporarily as it turns out) amongst other injuries. The Mound City had only 26 survivors out of her complement of 175 when a boiler was penetrated on 17th June 1862 (although only 97 of these were killed onboard, many of the rest died in the water as they came under musket fire).

I'm sure there are other examples, but the Essex was completely rebuilt, this time with the boilers below the waterline. The danger of exposed boilers was revealed, and was a nightmare that no captain wished to face. Hence the Captain of the Kearsarge trying his best to prevent such a hit.

The positioning of the boilers had a serious impact on the survivability of a ship under fire. A vertical boiler was such a hazard that essentially no RN ship had one. Some USN ships certainly did, but certainly the Merrimac's had the boilers well below the waterline to be survivable.

USS Essex (the river ironclad) was a converted merchant vessel, and converted as such in 1861 as an emergency and ad hoc effort for use on the Mississippi, with many of her merchantile features intact because of the strategic need; when there was an opportunity to rebuild her, she was rebuilt. Shocking...

USS Mound City was also a riverine ironclad, built as such as one of the first class of seven such vessels in the US, also in 1861-62 as an emergency measure, and she was quite small - about 500 tons - and with an extremely shallow draft for obvious reasons as a riverine vessel.

So, not exactly comparable to an ocean-going cruiser with a conventional deep draft hull.
 

CanadianCanuck

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
True, but that ad hoc measure was frequently practiced to the point of being essentially doctrine. Farragut faced a lot of older 32 pounders in his runs past the forts (to name his example). Many gunboats adopted this measure as field expedient during coastal operations. One would assume that the Russians and British would adopt the practice as well as the benefits are reasonably obvious.

A modern example would be the practice of piling sandbags atop tanks and armored personnel carriers during World War II and after. It doesn't help a lot, but combat soldiers (and sailors in the era we are discussing) have a tendency to do whatever they can to maximize their chances of survival.

It's certainly useful, but my skepticism of its utility against a British blockade is large. British warships mount 68 pounder (and larger) weapons as a matter of course, and these would be more than powerful enough to punch through chainclad vessels.

While its utility to the USN against smaller coastal fortifications and the CSN (such as it was) vessels it faced is unquestionable, I would call into question its utility beyond boosting morale against vessels of the Royal Navy.
 

galveston bay

Corporal
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Off the top of my head,the Essex of course suffered exactly such a penetration at Fort Henry with 11 killed and 23 wounded be the escaping steam, including Porter who was blinded (temporarily as it turns out) amongst other injuries. The Mound City had only 26 survivors out of her complement of 175 when a boiler was penetrated on 17th June 1862 (although only 97 of these were killed onboard, many of the rest died in the water as they came under musket fire).

I'm sure there are other examples, but the Essex was completely rebuilt, this time with the boilers below the waterline. The danger of exposed boilers was revealed, and was a nightmare that no captain wished to face. Hence the Captain of the Kearsarge trying his best to prevent such a hit.

The positioning of the boilers had a serious impact on the survivability of a ship under fire. A vertical boiler was such a hazard that essentially no RN ship had one. Some USN ships certainly did, but certainly the Merrimac's had the boilers well below the waterline to be survivable.

ok, the Essex is exactly a 1000 tons, so somewhat meets the definition. However, she was shallow draft and essentially a single decked river boat with armor on it. Any conventional deep draft ships with multiple decks?

We are focusing on the war at sea, while riverine warfare has its own special conditions (the shallow draft requirement being utmost).

Regarding the Kearsarge ... this is what wikipedia says, but I have seen this exact quote in other works and it is quoting (in fact the wikipedia post is nearly word for word) from The Dictionary of American Fighting Ships Online

"This hull armor had been installed in just three days, more than a year before, while Kearsarge was in port at the Azores. It was made using 720 ft (220 m) of 1.7 in (43 mm) single-link iron chain and covered hull spaces 49 ft 6 in (15.09 m) long by 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) deep. It was stopped up and down in three layers to eye-bolts with marlines and secured by iron dogs. This was then concealed behind 1 in (25 mm) deal-boards painted black to match the upper hull's color. This chain cladding was placed along Kearsarge's port and starboard midsection down to her waterline, for the purpose of protecting her engines and boilers when the upper portion of the cruiser's coal bunkers were empty. This armor belt was hit twice during the fight: First in the starboard gangway by one of Alabama's 32-pounder shells which cut the chain armor, denting the hull planking underneath, then again by a second 32-pounder shell that exploded and broke a link of the chain, tearing away a portion of the deal-board covering. Even if the shells had been delivered by Alabama's more powerful 100-pounder Blakely pivot rifle, the impacts were more than 5 ft (1.5 m) above the waterline and would therefore have missed her vital machinery."

This implies that her vital machinery was below the waterline

Apparently that chain armor was a bit more effective than one would think
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
It's certainly useful, but my skepticism of its utility against a British blockade is large. British warships mount 68 pounder (and larger) weapons as a matter of course, and these would be more than powerful enough to punch through chainclad vessels.

While its utility to the USN against smaller coastal fortifications and the CSN (such as it was) vessels it faced is unquestionable, I would call into question its utility beyond boosting morale against vessels of the Royal Navy.

Again, it's shorthand. Take two conventional screw steam warships of the period, roughly similar in tonnage, design, etc. Assign one as is to blockade duty off an enemy port; said ship has to maintain all masts, yards, rigging, etc for transit and cruising duties. Take the second into a shipyard; remove masts, yards, rigging, etc. and fit her with additional protection within the tonnage freed-up by removing her cruising features. Assign her to attack the blockader.

All else being equal, which ship has an advantage going into that fight?

It's not the one with tons of wood, canvas, and cordage hanging above her decks.

Best,
 

Dilandu

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Location
Moscow, Russian Federation
Not a chance in hell.

Why oh why do so many people ignore that Napoleon III never made any threatening moves against British interests in the period from 1852-1870? In the period in question (1861-65) he was rather busy trying to subjugate Mexico and extend his dominions in South East Asia. Hell, when he had the opportunity to snub Britain diplomatically during the Trent Affair, he explicitly came down on Britain's side, as did the Russians funnily enough.

I agree, but I rather doubt that the Britain view this the same way. Especially considering the anti-british furor over Orsini affair. Considering that the French Navy was at this time superior to Royal Navy, I REALLY doubt that Britain would ever turn her back completely toward France.
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
ok, the Essex is exactly a 1000 tons, so somewhat meets the definition. However, she was shallow draft and essentially a single decked river boat with armor on it. Any conventional deep draft ships with multiple decks?

We are focusing on the war at sea, while riverine warfare has its own special conditions (the shallow draft requirement being utmost).

Regarding the Kearsarge ... this is what wikipedia says, but I have seen this exact quote in other works and it is quoting (in fact the wikipedia post is nearly word for word) from The Dictionary of American Fighting Ships Online

"This hull armor had been installed in just three days, more than a year before, while Kearsarge was in port at the Azores. It was made using 720 ft (220 m) of 1.7 in (43 mm) single-link iron chain and covered hull spaces 49 ft 6 in (15.09 m) long by 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) deep. It was stopped up and down in three layers to eye-bolts with marlines and secured by iron dogs. This was then concealed behind 1 in (25 mm) deal-boards painted black to match the upper hull's color. This chain cladding was placed along Kearsarge's port and starboard midsection down to her waterline, for the purpose of protecting her engines and boilers when the upper portion of the cruiser's coal bunkers were empty. This armor belt was hit twice during the fight: First in the starboard gangway by one of Alabama's 32-pounder shells which cut the chain armor, denting the hull planking underneath, then again by a second 32-pounder shell that exploded and broke a link of the chain, tearing away a portion of the deal-board covering. Even if the shells had been delivered by Alabama's more powerful 100-pounder Blakely pivot rifle, the impacts were more than 5 ft (1.5 m) above the waterline and would therefore have missed her vital machinery."

This implies that her vital machinery was below the waterline

Apparently that chain armor was a bit more effective than one would think

Apparently. :wink:

It's also worth noting this additional protection was a) installed in a neutral port, presumably with fairly limited resources in terms of men and material; and b) did not require stripping any of Kearsarge's masts and rigging, since she maintained her sailing capabilities, so even adding the weight inherent in the chain protection was not a significant burden.

A modification in a US yard, to a design focused on coast defense duty, would have yielded an even more capable ship for blockade breaking.

Best,
 

Dilandu

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Location
Moscow, Russian Federation
One would assume that the Russians and British would adopt the practice as well as the benefits are reasonably obvious.

Russian Navy tested something like this on semi-armored "Opyt" gunboat;

image009.jpg

She was a coastal defense gunboat for supplement of Kronshtadt fortresses. Small unit, baout 270 tons, she was armed with single bow 60-pdr chaser, which was placed behind V-shaped armored breastwork. 4,5-inch armor plates on 12-inch wood backing, both sloped and inclined. Also, the bow deck was protected with 0,5-inch iron plates and sloped.

After 1862, she also recieved spar torpedoes;

%D0%9C%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B9_%D1%88%D0%B5%D1%81%D1%82.gif
 

CanadianCanuck

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
I agree, but I rather doubt that the Britain view this the same way. Especially considering the anti-british furor over Orsini affair. Considering that the French Navy was at this time superior to Royal Navy, I REALLY doubt that Britain would ever turn her back completely toward France.

Agreed, though if France gifted them with the same assurances as they did in November 1861 historically, Britain would gladly weaken their duty stations in the Med to take ships for blockade duty. They couldn't weaken the Channel Fleet though, since no matter what they don't trust Nap III that much, and they always need an "ace in the hole" to threaten to stop up the Baltic if they get into a dispute with Russia.
 

Dilandu

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Location
Moscow, Russian Federation
Agreed, though if France gifted them with the same assurances as they did in November 1861 historically, Britain would gladly weaken their duty stations in the Med to take ships for blockade duty. They couldn't weaken the Channel Fleet though, since no matter what they don't trust Nap III that much, and they always need an "ace in the hole" to threaten to stop up the Baltic if they get into a dispute with Russia.

I agree, so they would definitely left SOME ironclads to defend home waters. They may pull ironclads out of Mediterranean, yes - probably by replacing them with additional ships-of-the-line (they are relatively useless against Union), but they would clearly mantain the Channel Fleet on same strenght (or at least as close to that as its possible). And - in case of conflict with Russia - the Royal Navy would need at least one ironclad and 10-11 ships-of-the-line on Baltic, to counter the battleline of Baltic Fleet.
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
I'd like to note, that even limited protection - like just plates around the boilers and machines, and anti-fragment iron lists near guns - would greatly improve the ship durability.

Yep. There's a reason all the Western navies, even the RN, invested in various types of coast defense vessels in the steam era - any ship designed for and assigned permanently to home/coast/port defense duties was going to have an inherent advantage over ocean going cruisers trying to blockade the same port.

Best,
 
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