Russian navy

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
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.

Indeed, the chains likely didn't prevent a single penetration by 32 lb shells at Cherbourg. All such hits cut the chain and the shell functioned correctly, although in one case the fuse was too short and the shell detonated halfway through the hull rather than inside.

Everyone knew it was a Hail Mary, but better than nothing.
 

galveston bay

Corporal
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
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.

the all or nothing school of armor protection would continue well into World War 2, where most ships, even heavily armored battleships, had most of their armor protection concentrated on vital points instead of spread through the ship

My own take is that two warships with similar protection are more likely to beat each other up to the point of being knocked out of action. Ships with heavy guns and no armor protection would be in a lot of very important ways similar to the battlecruisers of the Great War...... eggshells armed with hammers.
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
the all or nothing school of armor protection would continue well into World War 2, where most ships, even heavily armored battleships, had most of their armor protection concentrated on vital points instead of spread through the ship

My own take is that two warships with similar protection are more likely to beat each other up to the point of being knocked out of action. Ships with heavy guns and no armor protection would be in a lot of very important ways similar to the battlecruisers of the Great War...... eggshells armed with hammers.

Losses would be mutual, quite possibly on the scale of Sinope, except to both sides.

Lissa is an interesting example of one side prevailing in an action between two roughly comparable steam era forces - not that it did the Austrians any good in strategic terms, however.

Best,
 

Dilandu

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Location
Moscow, Russian Federation
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.

Exactly the reason why monitors were so popular in 1860-1880s. They cost a fraction of sea-capable ironclad cost, and in coastal waters - where the enemy ironclad was forced to went, if she was supposed to attack the coast - they have the same combat ability.
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
Exactly the reason why monitors were so popular in 1860-1880s. They cost a fraction of sea-capable ironclad cost, and in coastal waters - where the enemy ironclad was forced to went, if she was supposed to attack the coast - they have the same combat ability.

Yep. Between that sort of development and the Achill exercises, not surprising the RN strategy against a Continental enemy evolved from close to distant blockade.

The Russo-Japanese War gives an example of the dangers of close blockade to the blockading force; the IJN lost a third of their modern capital ships to Russian mines...

Best,
 

Dilandu

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Location
Moscow, Russian Federation
The Russo-Japanese War gives an example of the dangers of close blockade to the blockading force; the IJN lost a third of their modern capital ships to Russian mines...

Yeah, the "Amur" done her job pretty good) If our surface forces were actually prepared for such luck, and able to sortie immediately - the whole course of war may be changed dramatically)

Yep. Between that sort of development and the Achill exercises, not surprising the RN strategy against a Continental enemy evolved from close to distant blockade.

They started to doubt the effectivness of close blockade as soon as self-propelled torpedo appeared - and when it became obvious, that torpedo boats are the power to be reckoned with.
 

Dilandu

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Location
Moscow, Russian Federation
My own take is that two warships with similar protection are more likely to beat each other up to the point of being knocked out of action. Ships with heavy guns and no armor protection would be in a lot of very important ways similar to the battlecruisers of the Great War...... eggshells armed with hammers.

In 1860s era the most probable result would be statlemate, with both ships damaged, but not very seriously. Not mission-killed, either. After said Lissa, most of Italian ironclads which weren't sunk, were still battle-worthy (except of completely demoralized crews), and no Austrian ironclad was seriously damaged. Despite the fact, that both sides used heavy muzzle-loading rifles of Krupp and Armstrong design, including 300-pdr Armstrong MLR.
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
Yeah, the "Amur" done her job pretty good) If our surface forces were actually prepared for such luck, and able to sortie immediately - the whole course of war may be changed dramatically)



They started to doubt the effectivness of close blockade as soon as self-propelled torpedo appeared - and when it became obvious, that torpedo boats are the power to be reckoned with.

Very true on the first point. Given that Port Arthur was the naval base and the IJN had to sustain the sea lanes for their expeditionary force, they did not have much of a choice, but it speaks to the hazards of littoral operations.

Also true on the second, but presume the idea of running a rigged cruiser up against a mastless ironclad (an analogue of Shah vs. Huascar, for example, but with an enemy prepared to fight it out) probably wasn't really appealing to the RN, either.

Best,
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
In 1860s era the most probable result would be statlemate, with both ships damaged, but not very seriously. Not mission-killed, either. After said Lissa, most of Italian ironclads which weren't sunk, were still battle-worthy (except of completely demoralized crews), and no Austrian ironclad was seriously damaged. Despite the fact, that both sides used heavy muzzle-loading rifles of Krupp and Armstrong design, including 300-pdr Armstrong MLR.

True on the ironclads but I think the "eggshells" bit would come in with the wooden hulled ships armed with shell guns, rifles, etc. Akin to Sinope, but with the losses spread equally.

Best,
 

Dilandu

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Location
Moscow, Russian Federation
Also true on the second, but presume the idea of running a rigged cruiser up against a mastless ironclad (an analogue of Shah vs. Huascar, for example, but with an enemy prepared to fight it out) probably wasn't really appealing to the RN, either.

Clearly. Doubt that they would avoid such action, if it happens, but also doubt that they would be pressed to fight to death. Excluding, maybe, the convoy protection scenario.
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
Clearly. Doubt that they would avoid such action, if it happens, but also doubt that they would be pressed to fight to death. Excluding, maybe, the convoy protection scenario.

Yep; they certainly did not with the Peruvians.

But if a convoy was involved, then, yes, one would expect some antecedents to Rawalpindi or Jervis Bay.

Best,
 

galveston bay

Corporal
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Indeed, the chains likely didn't prevent a single penetration by 32 lb shells at Cherbourg. All such hits cut the chain and the shell functioned correctly, although in one case the fuse was too short and the shell detonated halfway through the hull rather than inside.

Everyone knew it was a Hail Mary, but better than nothing.

except that isn't what the quote said... it said it broke the armor but did not penetrate past the backing in the first hit, while the second hit damaged the armor it did hit but did not penetrate

The actual important hit was a 100 pdr hit in the stern that did not detonate. If that had detonated, the loss of steering control, at least temporarily, might have given the Alabama an important advantage.. However as it suffered a similar hit (that did explode) and was able to use alternative steering control measures makes it likely that the Union ship would have done the same.

The Alabama went down because heavy shells penetrated her hull below the waterline "as big as a wheelbarrow" and she flooded and foundered.

useful thread on the subject here
http://civilwartalk.com/threads/alabama-vs-kearsarge-myths.94478/
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
except that isn't what the quote said... it said it broke the armor but did not penetrate past the backing in the first hit, while the second hit damaged the armor it did hit but did not penetrate

The actual important hit was a 100 pdr hit in the stern that did not detonate. If that had detonated, the loss of steering control, at least temporarily, might have given the Alabama an important advantage.. However as it suffered a similar hit (that did explode) and was able to use alternative steering control measures makes it likely that the Union ship would have done the same.

The Alabama went down because heavy shells penetrated her hull below the waterline "as big as a wheelbarrow" and she flooded and foundered.

useful thread on the subject here
http://civilwartalk.com/threads/alabama-vs-kearsarge-myths.94478/

Thanks for the link; reading the thread, there's another point worth making - the blockade breakers can plan their action out ashore, can sortie at their leisure with full crews and all equipment overhauled, plus full bunkers and tanks, and presumably even fresh powder and fuses; the blockaders are always going to be reacting to the blockade breakers' initiative, dependent on signal flags for command, will be shy crew because of illness and have stale water, progressively emptying coal bunkers which means they're riding increasingly high in the water, and everything that breaks has to be dealt with through shipboard resources, and they will be fighting with powder exposesd to salt air for however many weeks or months...

Operational tempo is a thing.

Best,
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
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,

With the obvious caveat that the whole of the attacking force can take the dispersed defenders in detail....

Consider an exercise with the US wanting to send available ironclads (not fantasy ones) to defend ports. Say in the summer of 1863 (when the Russian crisis was).

From north to south:

Penobscot Bay
Kennebec River
Portland
Portsmouth
Boston
Narrgansett Bay
Long Island Sound
NY Harbor Narrows
Delaware River
Chesapeake Bay entrance (with Baltimore and the Potomac River behind)
Port Royal, SC

With 11 major blockade points to cover the USN has exactly 11 ironclads at this point, Roanoke (which is basically going to be stuck in the Chesapeake), New Ironsides and 9x Passaics.

If the USN spreads out to try and defend everything then it defends nothing. A single monitor is easy meat for a large frigate or ship of the line. They need to be employed massed to achieve anything. Frankly the best course of action is to abandon everything except the mouth of the Chesapeake and New York, maybe detaching a single monitor as a floating battery in the Delaware.

Say you've then concentrated 5 monitors at NY and the Chesapeake. How will the RN respond? They of course have nine armoured frigates in full Commission or 1st class reserve and will soon gain another three, and have 4 ironclad batteries in good condition.*

So in summer '63 it is 11 US ironclads vs 13 RN ironclads.

The RN may be forced (if blockading) to keep a pair of ironclad frigates each off the Chesapeake, NY narrows and off Long Island sound. Thus we need to think of say 5 monitors sortieing against a pair of ironclad frigates, maybe a battery and some wooden ships.

Coming out in line ahead the monitors will come under fire from the RN battleline, say a pair of liners, a pair of frigates, a pair of ironclad frigates and the battery, plus smaller craft. The fire of 100-150 guns firing a round per minute with say a 20% hit rate. The leading monitor is basically there as a soak and will quickly be battered into an unfightable mess with the turret quickly knocked out and the deck ripped to pieces. As the others come round to unmask themselves they'll take similar fire. As they try and close the RN can essentially pull back and keep the fire on the attackers, because at none of these places is there not plenty of sea room. The monitor likely never get within effective range.

Now, if the RN is going into one of these places for an assault they'll be all up. More than one ironclad per monitor, probably leading with 3-4 batteries which were built to do exactly this. They would have 30 or 40 68 pdr 95 cwts between them again 5x 11" and 5x 15" with the 11" ineffective and the 15" unable to hit much but capable of penetrating at close range.

Of course, the RN planned immediately to tender for another nine "90 day ironclads" similar to Erebus in the event of an American war, with a budget of 60,000 pounds per ship set aside and the ships to be turned over within 90 days.

Anyway, the point being the USN faces choices, and just live with the consequences of their choices.

*Black Prince, Caledonia, Defence, Hector, Ocean, Prince Consort, Resistance, Royal Oak and Warrior. The batteries Terror, Thunderbolt, Erebus and Aetna are in good shape.
 
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Tielhard

Corporal
Joined
May 18, 2010
Yeah, not like the amazing progress we're making here.

Oh I dunno. I think discussions of an Anglo-Union war during the ACW on CivilWarTalk have gone rather better than they have on most of the boards that have hosted them. The level of civility here is much better than normal, none of the usual suspects has gone Supreme Dalek here yet.

There have been lots of useful nuggets of information that have been turned up especially the recent information on railway capacities and even the orders to the Russian flotilla Admirals in this thread which I had not seen before. Having railway capacities to work with has made it much easier to investigate in detail that the Union really cannot bring a large number of troops against the key parts of the BNA border.

There are people that are more interested in presenting an agenda than debating the facts but you can't have everything and on the plus side they have been consistently amusing on this board

All in all I think the debate and my understanding is moving forward admittedly at a snail's pace whether that snail is Union blue, British red or Confederate grey I have no idea.
 

Tielhard

Corporal
Joined
May 18, 2010
Please provide an example of a conflict between Western powers in this era that did not include a lengthy series of diplomatic and political maneuvers and military mobilization before hostilities broke out; even better would an example where hostilities began without such preliminaries in a mixed maritime and expeditionary conflict at transoceanic distances.
<snip>

I can see no good reason to provide the examples you ask for, the only possible reasons for wanting them is to obfuscate the observation that the British intended to proceed in this way if their demands were rebuffed during the Trent Affair of 1862. Given the very short period of time between 1861/2 and 1863/4 there is little reason to believe they would change there approach.
 

Tielhard

Corporal
Joined
May 18, 2010
Let's do a little more calculations: how many ships the RN would need to mantain blockade of major North ports and naval bases?

<snip - irrelevant>

I would suggest that you go with Milne's comments on Washington's estimates made for a Trent Affair war. The Royal Navy may need a handful more ships due to the modestly increased numbers of Union steam sloops since 1862. Then again it may be their initial attack into the eastern coast which had become a very target rich environment would enavle the RN to sink more steam sloops and no more ships would be needed on the Union coast for blockading.

So, if blockade squadrons were recalled, it would means that both "New Ironsides" and "Roanoke" (and, probably, "Keokuk") would stand here, aided with "Minesotta" and "Wabash" and at least twenty or more both screw and sidewheel gunboats.

You are assuming that two of the screw frigates make it to port through the utter carnage that the initial Royal Navy attack would be. What are you going to uses the sidewheel gunboats for assuming they survive? At least the Unadillas are a bit harder to disable even if they are fairly unseaworthy.

To block such force, the Royal Navy, of course, would be forced to send no less than two ironclads just to have similar numbers. To have some superiority, they would need to send three.

The Royal Navy would have needed no ironclads to impose both an international trade blockade and a coastal blockade upon the east coast of the Union. Nearly all of the Union ironclads are incapable of reaching the blockaders. In the event of a British warship encountering a Union ironclad then baring a lucky shot from a large calibre gun everything bigger than a steam sloop is quite capable of dealing with most ironclads. New Ironsides, Re d'Italia and Re di Portogallo MIGHT make a decent showing against something modest.

<snip> But the closest British shipyard is about 700 nm away from Hampton-Roads. Which means, that it would took almost a week for RN ironclad just to came here. And, with all respect to the British engineers, but naval bases on Bermuda and in Halifax just could not have the same capabilities as Union mainland shipyards.

<snip - irrelevant>

Norfolk would be just fine even though its engine sheds would be very primitive by British standards and they could not even rework plate the thickness of British plate.

In late 1864, the Royal Navy would also be forced to deal with "Dictator" in New York, "Agameticus" and "Monadnock" in Boston (not counting coastal units), which would require sixteen ironclads to blockade them. They obviously haven't got that kind of sea power. Even in early 1865, the number of comissioned Royal Navy ironclads was barely 14 (counting the coastal and small units).

<snip - irrelevant>

You are under counting of British ironclads (even though they don't need any to impose the blockade).
You have also forgotten to add all of those ironclad vessels they (British yards) are building for the rest of the world and can call into service.
 

TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
With the obvious caveat that the whole of the attacking force can take the dispersed defenders in detail....

Consider an exercise with the US wanting to send available ironclads (not fantasy ones) to defend ports. Say in the summer of 1863 (when the Russian crisis was).

From north to south:

Penobscot Bay
Kennebec River
Portland
Portsmouth
Boston
Narrgansett Bay
Long Island Sound
NY Harbor Narrows
Delaware River
Chesapeake Bay entrance (with Baltimore and the Potomac River behind)
Port Royal, SC

With 11 major blockade points to cover the USN has exactly 11 ironclads at this point, Roanoke (which is basically going to be stuck in the Chesapeake), New Ironsides and 9x Passaics.

If the USN spreads out to try and defend everything then it defends nothing. A single monitor is easy meat for a large frigate or ship of the line. They need to be employed massed to achieve anything. Frankly the best course of action is to abandon everything except the mouth of the Chesapeake and New York, maybe detaching a single monitor as a floating battery in the Delaware.

Say you've then concentrated 5 monitors at NY and the Chesapeake. How will the RN respond? They of course have nine armoured frigates in full Commission or 1st class reserve and will soon gain another three, and have 4 ironclad batteries in good condition.*

So in summer '63 it is 11 US ironclads vs 13 RN ironclads.

The RN may be forced (if blockading) to keep a pair of ironclad frigates each off the Chesapeake, NY narrows and off Long Island sound. Thus we need to think of say 5 monitors sortieing against a pair of ironclad frigates, maybe a battery and some wooden ships.

Coming out in line ahead the monitors will come under fire from the RN battleline, say a pair of liners, a pair of frigates, a pair of ironclad frigates and the battery, plus smaller craft. The fire of 100-150 guns firing a round per minute with say a 20% hit rate. The leading monitor is basically there as a soak and will quickly be battered into an unfightable mess with the turret quickly knocked out and the deck ripped to pieces. As the others come round to unmask themselves they'll take similar fire. As they try and close the RN can essentially pull back and keep the fire on the attackers, because at none of these places is there not plenty of sea room. The monitor likely never get within effective range.

Now, if the RN is going into one of these places for an assault they'll be all up. More than one ironclad per monitor, probably leading with 3-4 batteries which were built to do exactly this. They would have 30 or 40 68 pdr 95 cwts between them again 5x 11" and 5x 15" with the 11" ineffective and the 15" unable to hit much but capable of penetrating at close range.

Of course, the RN planned immediately to tender for another nine "90 day ironclads" similar to Erebus in the event of an American war, with a budget of 60,000 pounds per ship set aside and the ships to be turned over within 90 days.

Anyway, the point being the USN faces choices, and just live with the consequences of their choices.

*Black Prince, Caledonia, Defence, Hector, Ocean, Prince Consort, Resistance, Royal Oak and Warrior. The batteries Terror, Thunderbolt, Erebus and Aetna are in good shape.

And the Americans are sortieing at a disadvantage why, again?

And the British can commission and deploy all these vessels to the Western Atlantic with what funds, and leaving nothing in home waters, and the US and UK are at war in 1863 over what, exactly? Poland?.:wink:

Best,
 
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TFSmith121

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Location
21st Century AD
I can see no good reason to provide the examples you ask for, the only possible reasons for wanting them is to obfuscate the observation that the British intended to proceed in this way if their demands were rebuffed during the Trent Affair of 1862. Given the very short period of time between 1861/2 and 1863/4 there is little reason to believe they would change there approach.

So in other words ... There aren't any. Hum, wonder why? :wink:

Understandable that actual history - as in the four months between Sinope and the declaration of war in 1855, or the weakness of the British Army when ranged against a Western enemy in this period, or the pointlessness of ironclad navies in major conflicts between Western powers in this era, or even the utter incapability of European imperial powers to deploy and sustain military power sufficient to achieve military victory in the Americas in the 1860s - is of such distaste to you.

Spoils all the fantasies, I know, but reality is like that...

Again, if one can't provide an example of such a conflict absent the historical preliminaries, one might wish to pause for a moment and consider why, rather than plowing ahead with a scenario that is so obviously a-historical.

Best,
 
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Tielhard

Corporal
Joined
May 18, 2010
So in other words ... There aren't any. Hum, wonder why? :wink:

Understandable that actual history - as in the four months between Sinope and the declaration of war in 1855, or the weakness of the British Army when ranged against a Western enemy in this period, or the pointlessness of ironclad navies in major conflicts between Western powers in this era, or even the utter incapability of European imperial powers to deploy and sustain military power sufficient to achieve military victory in the Americas in the 1860s - is of such distaste to you.

Spoils all the fantasies, I know, but reality is like that...

Again, if one can't provide an example of such a conflict absent the historical preliminaries, one might wish to pause for a moment and consider why, rather than plowing ahead with a scenario that is so obviously a-historical.

Best,

So in other words ... there is a completely germane and applicable example and you don't like it.
 
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