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HMS Warrior (1860)

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NameWarriorExplanation
TypeIronclad broadside frigate   
Launched29 December 1860
HullIron
PropulsionScrew
Builders measure6109 tons
Displacement9136 tons
Guns37
Fate 
ClassWarrior
Ships book
NoteShips book ADM 136/2.
1902 d.s.
1904 = Vernon III.
1923 = Warrior, hulk.
1945 C77.
1987 restored.
still extant.
Snippets concerning this vessels career
DateEvent
1 August 1861
- 22 November 1864
Commanded (until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane, Channel squadron
7 July 1867
- 24 July 1867
Commanded by John Corbett, Channel squadron
25 July 1867
- 20 August 1869
Commanded by Captain Henry Boys, Channel squadron
21 August 1869
- 21 February 1870
Commanded by Captain Frederick Henry Stirling, Channel squadron
22 February 1870
- 15 September 1871
Commanded by Henry Carr Glyn, Channel squadron
11 June 1875
- 14 March 1878
Commanded by Captain William Henry Whyte, Channel squadron, then (1876) Coast Guard, Portland
15 March 1878
- 7 January 1881
Commanded by Captain Robert Gordon Douglas, Coast Guard, Portland (and the Channel squadron)
7 January 1881
- 30 April 1881
Commanded by Algernon Charles Fieschi Heneage, Coast Guard, Portland
1 May 1881
- 26 November 1882
Commanded by Samuel Philip Townsend, Coast Guard, Greenock
27 November 1882
- 30 May 1883
Commanded by Captain Edward Stanley Adeane, Coast Guard, Greenock
Extracts from the Times newspaper
DateExtract
Th 9 May 1861

The Warrior.

This noble frigate is now jointly in the hands of the builders and the workmen of the Admiralty, both of whom are doing their best to push her forward so as to have her ready for commission by the end of July. Since her launch a great deal has been done, and from though present date almost as much remains to be done before she will be ready to receive the pennant. All the armour plates, except the upper row on the starboard side, have been bolted on, and this partial completion of her sea-going equipment has made a most material difference in her appearance. She is considerably deeper in the water, and has rather a marked list to port, in consequence of more of the plates being in their places on that side than on the starboard. Quiet as are the waters of the Victoria Dock, the Warrior has, nevertheless, already given several unmistakable indications of being rather top-heavy in her present trim, and an armour plate more or less affixed to either side makes an important alteration in her seat on the water. Of course, when ballasted, with all her coals, stores, and water in, her crankness will be reduced to the minimum for a ship of her class. But, on the other hand, if ever the Warrior burns all her coals out, and has to return to port in heavy weather, she is likely to be, to say the least, almost dangerously top-heavy. Captain Ford, of the Thames Ironworks, when building the vessel, proposed a plan to the Admiralty to diminish this tendency to rolling, by filling in between the hollow skins of the ship with water as the coals were consumed. The plan was rejected for the Warrior, but has since been adopted by the new Surveyor of the Navy for the mythical Achilles, which rumour says is always about to be built at Chatham, but with which as yet no manner of progress has been made. The lower masts, topmasts, and topgallantmasts of the Warrior are already up. Viewed from outside the vessel, where the eye can take in the whole of her colossal though fine proportions, these spars appear ridiculously disproportioned to the vast bulk of the ship. They are the masts of a 90-gun vessel notwithstanding, though it is difficult to credit it till the visitor stands close alongside them. The traditional three masts, however, will never do much for this vessel under sail, and, if it is contemplated that she will ever have to depend on her sailing qualities, she should have been given four. Most of the lower deck arrangements, as far as the hull is concerned, are now nearly completed, and one can form a pretty fair idea of what sort of a ship she will be for internal accommodation when at sea. She is, of course, of the most roomy dimensions, though we doubt that in times of peace she will ever be a popular vessel with either officers or men as compared with frigates like the Ariadne or Galatea. In the Warrior, even the little scuttles through which in fair weather officers on the lower deck receive their small modicum of fresh air and hazy daylight are omitted. An armour plate admits of no scuttle or aperture of any kind, so that all within the iron casing below the main deck is as dark as pitch. In times of peace living always by candlelight in a ship that will surely roll awfully will, not unnaturally, be regarded as uncomfortable, though in war time the reflection that all on board are quite sheltered from shot and shell will more than counterbalance these little drawbacks. Even the main deck of the Warrior is now very dim, since the Admiralty have wisely determined to narrow the width of the portholes to 30 inches, instead of 50. The armament of the vessel has at last been definitely fixed, and we think our naval readers will hear with surprise that it has been determined to give her only six Armstrong guns - viz., two 100-pounder pivot guns and four light 40-pounders, two for each broadside. The rest of the armament will consist of 36 common 68-pounder guns of 95 cwt. each. Strange to say, also, all the Armstrong ordnance are on the spar deck, and therefore entirely unprotected by armourplating of any kind, while the common guns are under cover. if the whole vessel was armed with breech-loading 100-pounders, the armament would then be lighter than the present comparatively inefficient guns by nearly 50 tons. The fore and aft bulkheads which are to shut off the stem and stern, not coated with armour, are now also finished. An examination of them will give the visitor the best idea of the immense solidity of the vessel's sides, of which they are the exact counterparts, except in having only 10 inches of teak backing, instead of 20. They shut in the whole extent of the midships portion of the ship, from the keel to the upper deck. Both on the main and lower deck small doors of communication are cut through these bulkheads on the port and starboard sides. These, when necessary, can be closed by doors covered with 4½-inch armour plates, turning on the most massive hinges, and filling in the doorway so as to be perfectly watertight. In the engine-room everything is complete and in perfect order. All that now remains to be done down there is the erection of a cupola furnace for melting iron and filling the hollow shells with the liquid metal. Three or four such shells sent against a wooden adversary would set her in a blaze from stem to stern in ten minutes; whereas supposing such a projectile to get down a hatchway onto the main deck of the Warrior, it would be as harmless as on a stone pavement, for the decks are of wrought iron. With all the haste that may be made by the Admiralty (and the long delay in completing this vessel is due only to the Admiralty, and not to the contractors), it is likely to be well on to the end of the year before the Warrior can rank among our available defences. By that time the Emperor of the French will have at least 10, if not 12, iron frigates afloat, of which five, it is expected, will be actually in commission. The apparent supineness of the Admiralty, therefore, in not building more ships of the Warrior class seems inexplicable, and their apathy becomes almost a subject for alarm when we recollect that France is such a long way ahead, and that, even with all our manufacturing resources, it is almost impossible to build one of these iron frigates in less than 18 months. With the most lavish expenditure, and with all the aids our private yards could give the Government, it would be impossible, even supposing them to build no more, to be on an equality with our neighbours in this matter in less time than two years. The excuse of the Admiralty is, that they must wait till they have tried the Warrior and Black Prince. But how can the real efficiency of these ships ever be tested, except by actual warfare? In all else they are known, as far as our present knowledge of such matters goes, to be as near perfection as they well can be. No doubt, future vessels will be built a thousand tons larger, to enable them to carry armour plates from end to end, and 500 tons more coal. Beyond this slight development of principle, even the private builders can suggest no improvement, yet the Admiralty still wait and wait, and lose their present and only opportunity day by day. Our navy may really be said to possess only two efficient iron frigates, for the Resistance and the Defence were a compromise. The expense of vessels like the Warrior was thought too great, and so, as the Admiralty wanted to have more to show for their money, they determined on building two cheap and inefficient vessels instead of one good and dear one. Then, the Warrior and Black Prince are never to be used as steam rams, though they will have great speed, while the two steam rams are so deficient on this vital point that it is said they will not be able to run down a sand barge if they have first to overtake her. In all we have actually four iron ships launched, two frigates and two steam rams, with two more building, which are neither one thing nor the other. So completely does the prestige of success in this class of shipbuilding now attach to France that the Russians are having two large iron frigates built there. So also are two building for the King of Italy and two for Spain. The latter Power is also having a sister ship to the Ariadne built in England, and likewise a sister vessel to our Orlando. The Achilles, which it is always said is about to be commenced at Chatham, has been put off so often that even the two new vessels just ordered at Glasgow and Millwall are likely to be afloat before she is well begun.
Th 13 June 1861'In the matter of ironcased ships…'
We 7 August 1861

The Warrior.

To-morrow, for the first time, the Warrior will be on her way under steam down the river. This trip will not be a very long one - no longer, in fact, than that of moving down from the Victoria Docks to Greenhithe; but short as it is we hail it with satisfaction, as the commencement of the two or three preliminary cruises which she must make before she really ranks among our effective defences, of which, of this kind at least, we are just now so much in need. A very large amount of work has still to be done on board, which, with a ship of less colossal dimensions, would be completed before she left the docks at all. In the case of the Warrior, however, this cannot be done, as she already draws within two feet of the depth of water of the docks themselves, and deeper than this it is not considered prudent to have her in case of any accidental accumulation of sand interfering with her getting away easily. She now draws 22 feet forward and 23 by the stern. Her guns, coals, provisions, and other heavy stores still to go on board, will bring her down about four or four and a half feet more; but nothing further will be added to her present weights till she is moored lower down the river. To-morrow, therefore, soon after 1 o'clock, she starts for Greenhithe. Four tugs will attend to assist in turning, &c., if necessary, and the Warrior will herself be under steam, so that the chances of casualties in the way of her taking the ground at any point are almost out of the question. At Greenhithe she will most probably remain during the rest of the present month, swinging to adjust compasses, and taking in her heavy stores and armament. The latter, with the exception of two 100-pounder Armstrongs on the upper dock, will, for the present, at least, consist entirely of solid smooth bore 68-pounders of 95 cwt. What is the reason of thus arming her even temporarily we cannot say but it is certain that during her first cruise she will carry no other guns. But even this armament will suffice to make her the most formidable ship afloat, for the 68-pounder is still preferred by many to the 100-pounder Armstrong, with which it is undoubtedly equally efficient at short ranges of from 400 to 500 yards. Eventually, however, though very likely not before the close of the year, all her portholes will be filled with 100-pounders, save only the two foremost on the upper deck, which will be defended by 40-pounder Armstrongs. But long before this final change is made, the Admiralty will have ascertained, to the value of each fibre of iron, the exact amount of Resistance her broadside will offer to either 68 or 100-pounders. The experiments at Shoeburyness, of which we are always hearing so much, have hitherto been almost exclusively conducted against fancy targets, the like of which we must never expect to see on any ship's side. Now, however, the Admiralty are going to try the effect of shot and shell on a broadside manufactured like the Warrior. For this purpose the Thames Ironworks are building a target 20 feet long by 10 high, with one porthole in the centre, of precisely the same description of plates, teak, and all other materials as the Warrior itself. This will be sent to Shoeburyness in the course of five or six weeks, and will then be pounded at till destroyed, when the country and the Government will know exactly how much or how little the present class of iron ships can be depended on. From Greenhithe the Warrior will, early next month, go round under steam to Portsmouth. This will be her first real trip, for of course when dropping down the river to-morrow there will be no opportunity of judging how she either steers or steams. Even the run round to Portsmouth, unless the weather proves very heavy, will give no fair specimen of her powers, as the large iron launching cleats are still fastened to her bottom, which is also supposed to be very foul. She will be docked at Portsmouth for three or four days, to got rid of these impediments, and then, probably in the beginning of October, stand out for a regular trial trip in the Bay of Biscay, where her sea-going qualities will be tested with the severest impartiality. Before all this comes to pass, however, a great deal of work has to be done to her internally. There are nearly 1,000 hands employed upon her now in completing the cabins and fittings up between decks, and though each day shows marked advances towards the finish, more than enough, nevertheless, remains to do to show that it is very unlikely she will be able to start for Portsmouth before the 5th or 6th of next month at soonest. The arrangements for working the tiller we venture, with the utmost deference, to think are exceedingly complicated. She can be steered alike from the upper, main, and lower deck, but it seems almost an open question if, with the utmost number of men they are able to put at the wheels, they will ever have sufficient power to get the helm over more than 15 or 18 degrees. The difficulty which is likely to be experienced in this respect would certainly seem to call for the introduction of Mr. Humphry's beautiful little machine, by which the helm can be forced hard over in three or four seconds by the irresistible might of hydraulic pressure. With this simple apparatus, which works so admirably in the Mooltan and other ships, one man would be ample to turn the Warrior in any direction, though of course the usual tiller ropes could be kept on in case of anything happening to the machine itself. Workmen just now are busily engaged in building a shot-proof tower, or rifle chamber, in the centre of the spar deck, just forward of the mainmast. This tower is apparently being built because La Gloire and most of the French ships have a similar iron martello on their upper decks also. That in the Warrior is oval-shaped, being about 12 feet long by 8 wide, and a little over 7 feet high. It is built of double teak, lined with iron, and will be coated all over its sides and roof with 4½-inch iron plates, exactly similar to the Warrior's broadside. At about 6 feet from the ground a series of small apertures, of some 6 inches diameter, will be pierced, for the men to fire through. The theory of this tower is, that the Warrior when fully laden will be little more than a frigate's height from the water, and in engaging a large ship (say a French three-decker, with its usual crowd of guns on the spar deck) the enemy would be able to fire right down on to the deck of the Warrior, and clear it of every living soul. The tower on deck is capable of holding at least eight men, who have two small openings through which they can communicate with the crew below, and up which loaded rifles can be passed for them to fire through the loopholes as fast as possible. The fire of these eight marksmen continually supplied with loaded rifles, and sending their bullets through the enemy's ports, would be enough, it is estimated, to keep down the fire of eight or ten guns, while in case of an attempt to carry by boarding, they would, of course, be able to inflict a murderous slaughter on the assailants scattered over the vast expanse of deck and utterly exposed. One tower, however, seems scarcely enough for all this, and the efforts of it defenders to be thoroughly efficient should be seconded by a few marksmen well sheltered in the fore, main, and mizen tops. One cupola melting furnace has been erected in the forward stoke-hole for melting iron to fill shells with. A full charge in this of, say, six tons would supply molten iron for upwards of 500 missiles. A half dozen such shots lodging between the timbers of a wooden ship would set her ablaze from stem to stern in ten minutes. Against an iron vessel they would of course be harmless. With a vessel of such peculiar construction as the Warrior, nothing appeared so difficult of accomplishment as securing a perfect system of ventilation through her dark iron-bound decks. This all-important matter has now, we are glad to say, been brought to almost complete perfection, and either in action or out of it the Warrior will be one of the best ventilated ships afloat. The draught of air is secured by means of two large metal pipes, which pass through the entire length of the vessel from stem to stern. In addition to the natural draught through these, the air, whenever it is necessary, can be driven through them at a prodigious velocity by fans worked by a 30-horse power auxiliary engine. These pipes ventilate all the coal bunkers, and keep a constant passage of air through the 'tween decks, and ordinary canvas hose pipes screwed into the sides of the pipe convey strong currents to any portion of the ship, just as so much water would be conveyed. When in action a powerful draught of air can be sent by the fanners through all the pipes and coal bunkers. The latter, of course, communicate directly with the coal shoots on the main deck, the covers of which being taken off will allow a great stream of air to rise almost between each gun amidships. The smoke, therefore, of the guns will be, it is hoped, driven out through the ventilators over the portholes. But for some such arrangement as this, with the very narrow portholes of the Warrior and the quantity of smoke generated by the firing of breech loaders, her main deck would be little short of suffocating during an engagement. The stoke-holes, it is anticipated, will be very cool, but the engine-room not so much so. It is very likely, therefore, that the latter will be fitted with down and upcast airshafts which will do all that is necessary in respect of ventilation. The designs for the six new ironsides the Admiralty are about to build have not yet been made known publicly, Official rumour says that they are to be 40 feet longer, three feet wider beam, and with a flatter floor than either the Warrior or Black Prince. They are to be of 7,500 tons, instead of 6,500, and this additional thousand tons and greater midship section will enable them to carry armour-plates over all, from stem to stern. They will have no beak of any kind, but will be almost as straight at bow and stern as the little river steamers. The stem, however, though rising at a right angle from the water, will be as sharp and fine as the edge of a wedge. We do most sincerely hope that the official incubation of these schemes is nearly over, and that they will soon resolve themselves into something more tangible than Admiralty on dits. If all six had their keels laid and were fast progressing, we should still have done very little to diminish the immense distance by which France has outstripped us in respect of these vessels. She can show 15 - some quite, and some almost ready - against the Warrior, to be ready in October, Black Prince, Defence, and Resistance, to be ready in December, and two which have just begun building. As for the Achilles at Chatham, it is even more mythical than its redoubtable namesake. It has been building, we are told, for more than a year; yet it is only within the last few days that some of the keel plates were laid. The Admiralty have had warnings enough given them by this country with regard to iron ships; but all our warnings have been as nothing compared with the unmistakable monitions they have had in the preparations of France. Yesterday the Thames Ironworks received an order for an iron steam ram for the Russian Government. The vessel is to be 3,500 tons, and to carry a heavy armament of 40 guns. She is to have a most prononcé "beak" projecting under water more than 20 feet in advance of the apparent bows. If this ship attains the high rate of speed for which she is built she will be an overmatch for a whole Channel squadron of ordinary wooden ships.
We 4 September 1861'The Proposed New Iron Frigates'.
Tu 3 December 1861'Our Iron-Clad Frigates'.
Fr 21 February 1862It is a matter of much surprise and comment in naval circles to find that no sum has been apportioned in the Naval Estimates for 1862-3 for the commencement of the long talked of increase in the dock and basin accommodation of Portsmouth dockyard. Under these Estimates immense sums will be spent on works in the dockyard which, when completed, will be found useless. Of this class will be the north inlet, or No. 11 dock, the total Estimate for which is 77,160l., but which, like No. 10, now occupied by the Black Prince, will possibly exceed the original Estimate by some 21,000l., the extension of No. 8 dock at a cost of 19,292l., and the deepening the present steam basin - a work often begun and as often only partially completed owing to the scarcity of dock and basin room in the yard. The north inlet dock may be constructed, No. 8 extended, and the bottom of the steam basin this time excavated, but when all is done there will be no depth of water at their entrances. In the plans for the north inlet dock is shown an outline of the Achilles midship section, but should that ship ever become a reality she will never get inside the north inlet unless the latter has deeper water approaches given to it. This new dock (which has been commenced by the contractor) is to be 426 feet in length, 99 feet in width from coping to coping, 33 feet in depth from coping to entrance invert, and with a depth of water at spring tides of only 28 feet 6 inches. This depth of water might, however, be found sufficient in the majority of cases if the dock was in an accessible position, which, as already stated, it is not. It is unfortunate that works should be executed in such positions, as plan after plan has been prepared and submitted to the Admiralty for the creation of a new steam basin and docks at the north part of the harbour, adjoining the dockyard, where basins and docks of any extent could be created at very little cost, and adjoining the present steam basin and factory. Another provision in the Estimates relating to Portsmouth is equally useless and objectionable:-12,000l. is set down for dredging the harbour and its channel of entrance, in addition to the thousands that have been spent upon the same object during the few past years. A series of groynes, costing but little more than has been paid for one year's dredging, would confine the ebb tide to the channel proper, and more effectually deepen the channel and remove the mud from the bed of the harbour by doing away with the existing eddies than any process of dredging that engineering skill may devise, and would render Portsmouth harbour capable of receiving or sending from within our largest men of war. The patching up of old docks and the completion of others in situations where they can never be of service to our Warriors and Minotaurs, and the dredging of a harbour, an operation often to be repeated, instead of at once applying effectual remedies, can never render Portsmouth harbour equal to the service required from it for the accommodation of our first-class ships. Twenty years ago Portsmouth supplied all that could be desired for the building, outfit, repair, and reception when afloat of our fleets, but now our ships have outgrown our docks and harbours. If the intention of the authorities be not to extend Portsmouth dockyard and improve its harbour and entrance channel, why are those endless lines of defence being constructed, the outer circle of which is nine miles in diameter? In Portsmouth dockyard all is puny and insignificant as compared with our present wants, and the occupation of one dock stays the work of the port. If Portsmouth dockyard is to remain in its present state, why all this costly expenditure to defend an establishment, which, if continued in its present state, would, in the event of an action in the channel, be brought to a dead lock for want of the common resources which would be required for the quick repair of an iron steam fleet? The dock question has been discussed more than once during the past year, and cannot be much longer delayed. There must be additional docks formed, whether their site be Portsmouth, Hamble, Portland, or any other part of our south coast. The existence of iron ships is not a more imperative necessity.
Th 10 April 1862'Important Experiments At Shoeburyness'.
Th 7 August 1862'Admiralty Waste'.
Ma 11 August 1862'Our Iron-Cased Fleets'.
We 4 February 1863Instructions have been given to Messrs. Allen and Co. to fit their engine-room telegraphs on board the Royal Oak at Chatham, similar to those fitted on board the Warrior. The Recruit iron paddlewheel steamer, at Chatham, is also to be fitted with an engine-room telegraph, with one deck dial only.
Th 19 November 1863When the Chief Constructor of the Navy …
Sa 12 November 1864The following is the list of the vessels of the Royal navy which will be armed, and are now being armed, with the new description of 300-pounder and other guns in course of issue. The figures after each vessel specify the number of guns of the description mentioned she will carry. To mount the 12-ton 300-pounders:- Bellerophon, 10; Royal Sovereign, 5; Minotaur, 4; Scorpion, 4; Wiveren, 4; Prince Albert, 4; Agincourt, 4; and Northumberland, 4. To be armed with the 6½-ton guns:- The Achilles, 20; Black Prince, 20; Warrior, 20; Lord Warden, 20; Lord Clyde, 20; Royal Oak, 20; Prince Consort, 20; Royal Alfred, 20; Caledonia, 20; Ocean, 20; Minotaur, 18 ; Agincourt, 18; Valiant, 16; Zealous, 16; Hector, 16; Defence, 10; Resistance, 10; Endymion, 6; Mersey, 4; Orlando, 4, Pallas, 4; Favourite, 4; Research, 4; Enterprise, 4; Amazon, 2; Viper, 2; and Vixen, 2. To mount the 64-pounder muzzle-loader:- The Bristol, 12; Melpomene, 12; Liverpool, 12; Severn, 12; Arethusa, 12; Phoebe, 12;. Shannon, 12; Octavia, 12; Constance, 12; Sutlej, 12; Undaunted, 12; Impérieuse, 12; Aurora, 12; Leander, 12; Bacchante, 12; Emerald, 12; Phaeton, 12: Narcissus, 12; Forte, 12; Euryalus, 12; Topaz, 12; Newcastle, 12; Liffey, 12; Immortalité, 12; Glasgow, 12; Clio, 8, North Star, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1865]; Racoon, 8; Challenge[r], 8; and Menai, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1864]. The following will be supplied with the 64-pounder breech-loaders:- The Scout, 8; Rattlesnake, 8; Cadmus, 8; Scylla, 8; Barossa, 8; Jason, 8; Charybdis, 8; Wolverine, 8; Pylades, 8; Orestes, 8; Pearl, 8; Pelorus, 8; Satellite, 8; Acheron, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Shearwater, 4; Valorous, 4; Furious, 4; Bittern, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Magicienne, 4; and Columbine, 4. A supply of the 6½-ton smooth-bore 100-pounder wrought iron guns has already been received at Chatham, and it is understood that the first supply of the 300-pounder rifled 12-ton Armstrong gun may shortly be expected at the Ordnance wharf.
Fr 17 March 1865Admirals Sir Frederick Grey and R.S. Robinson, with other members of the Board of Admiralty, are expected to arrive at Portsmouth this morning and visit that portion of our ironclad fleet now lying at Spithead and in Portsmouth harbour, and a few hours cruise may possibly be taken by them off the Isle of Wight. The ships now lying at Spithead comprise the iron frigate Achilles, 20 guns, 1,250-horse power, Capt. E.W. Vansittart; the Black Prince, 40 guns, 1,250-horse power, Capt. Lord Frederick Kerr; the Royal Sovereign, 5, iron-cased turret ship, Capt. A.C. Key, C.B., temporary (of Her Majesty's ship Excellent); the Liverpool, 34, wooden frigate, 600-horse power, Capt. R. Lambert; and the Niger, 10, screw corvette, 400-horse power, Capt. Byng. The Royal Sovereign steamed out of Portsmouth harbour to Spithead yesterday morning, where she anchored near the other vessels lying there. The Edgar, a wooden screw liner, is in Portsmouth harbour fitting for her Lisbon voyage; and the Hector, iron frigate, Capt. G.W. Preedy, is also there.
The iron frigate Achilles, 20 guns, 1,250-horse power, of engines, Capt. E.W. Vansittart, made her final trial over the measured knot course in Stokes Bay, near Portsmouth, on Tuesday, with her new four-bladed propeller, which has recently been supplied to her at Devonport. The ship drew 25ft. 11in. Forward and 26ft. 11in. aft. She was supplied with "Royal Yacht" coal for the trial. This is of the kind known as Nixon's Aberdare, from the 4ft. lower seam, and from its superior quality was supplied to the Warrior on the day of her trial. The Achilles' new screw was of the same diameter and pitch as the one she broke during her last trial over the course in Stokes Bay. Plenty of steam was generated, and the results of the trial may be stated to be as follows: - Mean speed of the ship in six runs over the mile with full boiler power, 14·322 knots; mean speed in four runs with half boiler power, 12·049 knots; indicated horse power of the engines, as developed on the indicator diagrams, 5,724; pressure of steam in boilers, 26·16lb.; pressure of steam in cylinders, 25·34lb. The speed of our three largest ironclads that have yet been placed under trial is relatively thus:- Warrior, full power, 14·354 knots; Achilles, ditto, 14·322; Black Prince, ditto, 13·584. According to these figures, therefore, the Warrior still maintains her position as the fastest ship in Her Majesty's navy by about 32 thousandths of a knot in excess of the Achilles' speed. The hull of the Achilles has a mean immersion of about 3in. in excess of the hull of the Warrior, and this excess will fully account for the slight difference in speed between the two ships. Both vessels have engines made from the same patterns by Messrs. John Penn and Sons, and the detailed working out of the trials gives an astonishing similarity in the results attained by the power exerted by the engines in comparison with the area of each ship's midship section.
Tu 12 December 1865We are gradually approaching a question of vital importance to the efficiency of the Navy. Our ironclad fleet has recently been strengthened by successive additions, exhibiting an enormous increase of defensive power, until at length we possess a vessel which may be expected to resist even a shot of 600lb. The Hercules, one of Mr. Reed's ships, is completely proof against a 300-pounder, and will be so plated along her water-line as to repel a ball of twice that weight. All this time, however, we have made little or no advance in the way of offensive armament. Even the 300-pounder gun is not actually received into the service, so that our progress is on the side of the ships alone. For this there are good reasons. We can make ships carry armour more easily than we can make them carry cannon. The sides of a man-of-war are now as thick as the walls of a feudal castle, and yet the vessels are as fleet and buoyant as ever; but when it comes to mounting heavy guns upon these batteries we soon find ourselves checked. It was thought a few years ago that the 68-pounder was about the heaviest piece that could be successfully carried and worked in a ship's broadside. This gun weighed 95 cwt., or about 10,000lb., and the Americans are still of opinion that a gun of 12,000lb. represents the maximum of size admissible under such circumstances. Of course, they have far heavier guns in use, but they carry them in turrets, and so, it is said, must we. This proposal, however, opens another question. It is proved that very heavy cannon, can be worked in turrets, but it is not proved that turret ships can be made seaworthy or commodious vessels. Moreover, we have got some magnificent ironclads constructed on the broadside principle, and if these cannot, by some means or other, be made to carry batteries of effective strength, they must either be reconstructed or be lost to the service altogether. So it becomes of infinite importance to ascertain by practical experiment whether guns above a certain weight can or cannot be carried in our first-rate ironclads, and what are the limits imposed upon us in this arrangement. Great professional authorities have asserted that any gun which can be carried in a turret can be carried in a broadside, but the contrary opinion has also been strongly defended, and is very widely entertained. Nothing, it is obvious, can solve this question but experiment, and the experiment, we are glad to say, will commence this morning.
The Minotaur is, or, at any rate, is intended to be one of our finest ironclads. She was designed as an improvement on the Warrior herself, and it happens that she may be soon, beautifully modelled, in the South Kensington Museum. But it is still a question whether this noble ship can carry such guns as would be required to render her battery effective, and, accordingly she will put to sea to-day to make trial of her capacities. A Report which we publish in another column will explain the conditions of her trip. She takes out three guns of the new pattern, each weighing 12 tons, and throwing a 300lb. shot, and each of those pieces is mounted on an experimental carriage. The trial, therefore, will be competitive in one sense — that is to say, each carriage will be carefully tested, and the advantages or disadvantages of the several patterns will be compared and balanced. But it cannot be dissembled that the experiment will have another and a more comprehensive aspect. It is possible that the Report may be unfavourable to all the patterns together, and that the capacity of a man-of-war to carry 300-pounders in broadside may be left doubtful still. In that event we shall find ourselves in a strange dilemma, for it will appear as if really good ships and really good guns are not to be obtained at once, and as if we must sacrifice either the vessel to the armament or the armament to the vessel.
That these new 12-ton guns can be carried in turrets is beyond a doubt, but then it has never been ascertained whether turret ships can be made good seagoing vessels. We have reason to believe, on the other hand, that the Minotaur is as good a vessel as an ironclad can be, but then we do not know that she can carry 12-ton guns. If she fails to do so, we shall have to invert the experiment, and send out a turret ship to see whether she is seaworthy and habitable. The Americans have furnished no information on this point, unless, indeed, the fact itself may be thought to convey some intelligence. They have a large fleet of ironclads, built almost exclusively on the turret principle, but not one of these vessels have they ventured to send to sea. Only just now have they decided on making the attempt with the latest and most satisfactory of their specimens. The MonadnockExternal link was the last Monitor launched, and so pleased was Admiral Porter with her performance that he declared he could take her across the Atlantic. She is now selected to accompany three wooden frigates to the Pacific, and there reinforce the United States' squadron in those waters, so that we may, perhaps, learn something from the history of her cruise. With this exception, however, the Americans have allowed it to be inferred that their turret ships are floating batteries, but nothing more.
Many — indeed, most — American ships carry 8-ton, or, as they are called, 11-inch guns, but they are mounted on pivots. This was the gun with which the Kearsarge sank the AlabamaExternal link, and which did such good service in other actions of the war. We could mount such guns on pivots too, but that principle would only bring us round to the turret in the end, for a turret gun is a pivot gun protected. The truth is, the artillerists have overtaken the naval architects, for they have been allowed more unbounded scope for their designs. In guns, we have got to a 600-pounder; in ships, we have not got beyond a broadside vessel. Mr. Reed has produced several novelties, and with at least the merit of despatch. He is of opinion, too, we believe, that his ships can carry these new guns, but that has not yet been proved. What ought to have been proved long ago, but is still left uncertain, is whether a kind of vessel which we know can carry cannon of any weight can also lodge a crew comfortably, and be in all respects a safe and commodious cruiser. It is possible, certainly, that the Minotaur may relieve us from the trouble of instituting this inquiry, by demonstrating the capacities of a broadside vessel to do all that is necessary; but in a matter so important we might as well have had the two strings to our bow. As it is, the qualifications required to make a really good man-of-war are divided between two classes of vessels. The Minotaur represents a fine seagoing ship; the Royal Sovereign represents a formidable floating battery. We are now going to try whether the Minotaur cannot be made to carry the Royal Sovereign's guns; but we ought also to have tried whether a Royal Sovereign could not be built with the seagoing capacities of the Minotaur.
It must not be forgotten that this ship which is now to be thus tested represents the first and most powerful class of our new fleet. The powers of Mr. Reed's vessels remain still to be shown, but at present the Minotaur herself, the Agincourt, the Northumberland, the Achilles, the Black Prince, and the Warrior are our six first-rates. These are the specimens in which our ironclad fleet surpasses the fleets of other countries, and it is, therefore, of no slight importance to discover, if possible, some method of arming them with the most powerful guns known. The experiments now to be commenced will illustrate the question for us, though they will not exactly decide it. It will be discouraging if the results tell against all the gun-carriages alike, but still the resources of our inventors may not have been exhausted in those three models. All we know at present is that before our best ships can carry the best guns some new mechanism must be devised. The approaching experiments will represent the first essays in this direction, but, whatever the result, we should be very sorry to regard them as the last.
Tu 2 January 1866The Minotaur iron frigate had her fires lit yesterday morning, preparatory to steaming out of Portsmouth harbour for Spithead and Portland, on her experimental gun-carriage testing cruise. Suddenly, however, on the steam reaching about 12lb. pressure in the boilers, one of the condensers was discovered to be seriously cracked. Steam was then let down, and, for some days at least, the Minotaur cruise must be deferred. Let the damage be less or greater than is now anticipated, it is not improbable that the Minotaur may not now be despatched on this cruise at all, as with the accident to one condenser an examination will necessarily follow into the condition of both, and this may lead to the substitution of another vessel, especially as there happens to be a very suitable one available in the Bellerophon, Capt. E. Tatham, ordered round to Portsmouth from the Medway to complete her trials of speed at the measured mile in Stoke's Bay. The accident to the Minotaur's condenser is just one of those accidents likely to occur to a ship's machinery which no ordinary precautions would apparently have prevented, and for which, therefore, no person or department can now well be blamed. In addition to the three 12½-ton guns mounted on their competitive carriages the Minotaur has also received since our notice of the ship, with the guns and carriages, in The Times of the 12th ult., one 6½-ton 7in. rifled wrought-iron muzzle-loading gun, mounted on a wooden carriage and slide of the ordinary Admiralty pattern, for experimental firing. A report upon it will be drawn up by Capt. A.C. Key, C.B., altogether independent of his report on the competitive 12½-ton competitive gun carriages. This 6½-ton gun is the weapon known a short time since as the Frederick gun, we presume as a compliment to Rear-Admiral Frederick. It is, however, in fact, the Woolwich manufactured wrought-iron coil gun fitted with a seven-inch steel tube, rifled on what is known as the Woolwich system. It has been adopted by the Admiralty as the gun of minimum calibre for the broadsides of our ironclads under the new system of armament, as the 12½-ton gun is at present fixed upon as the maximum weight for broadsides. In accordance with these arrangements the Warrior will carry 32 of the 6½-ton guns, but none of the 12½-ton guns; the Royal Alfred her formidable complement of ten of 12½ tons and four of 12½ [sic; I assume this should be '6½'] tons. The Minotaur, according to present arrangements, will only carry four of the 12½-ton guns on her broadsides, the remainder of her armament being composed of the 6½-ton guns. This apparent disproportion between the armaments of the converted wooden ship Royal Alfred and the massively iron-built Minotaur is owing to the fact that the broadside ports of the latter are only built to carry four of the larger guns, the remainder having been constructed for the smaller, and a reconstruction of the ports could only now be effected at immense cost and sacrifice of time.
Th 29 March 1866On Tuesday evening Mr. E.J. Reed, the Chief Constructor of the Navy, delivered a public lecture, by invitation of the committee of management, at the Mechanics' Institute, Chatham, on "The Construction of Ships to resist Shot and Shell." Besides the members of the institute and general public a large number of the principal naval and military officers connected with the port and garrison were present. After some introductory observations Mr. Reed proceeded to explain the manner in which the sides of the earliest of the vessels composing the ironclad squadron were constructed to enable them to resist the passage of shot and shell, instancing successively the Warrior, Minotaur, Lord Warden, and Bellerophon, each representing a different type of the iron-plated squadron. With regard to the trials which had taken place at Shoeburyness to test the resisting powers of targets constructed on the principle of the vessels named, it had recently been urged at a scientific meeting that the tests hitherto insisted upon were far too severe, the targets being subjected systematically to trials which would never be equalled in actual warfare, where the firing would be irregular, at greater distances, and with various degrees of obliquity. The Admiralty had, however, considered it the wisest course to find out the worst effects which could possibly be produced upon their ships, and in this respect they had acted most judiciously, while the results would prove that our officers and men would, in time of war, have the greatest confidence in their ships, and go into action with a degree of daring fully equal to that which in other times and under other circumstances won us the naval honour and renown we had so long enjoyed. After alluding to the form of construction of the Warrior, in which were embodied two subordinate but nevertheless important components - viz, the double skin plating above and below the line of ports and the external stringers upon the iron frames below the ports - Mr. Reed described the construction of the Minotaur, and the surprising nature of the results obtained in the experimental trials made on the Minotaur target, which differed from the Warrior mainly in the reduction of the wood backing, with an increase of equivalent weight in the armour. A single layer of 9-inch teak, with armour of 5½ inches thickness, formed its component parts, the frames and skin plating remaining about the same. For a long time it was supposed that this target had proved much inferior to that of the Warrior. while the departure from the system adopted in the Warrior was repeatedly condemned. Subsequently, however, the important fact was discovered that the wrong powder had been used in the trials against the Minotaur target, it having been ascertained that what was known as 2 A powder had been used with two out of the three rounds of 150lb. cast-iron spherical shot fired from the 10½-inch gun at the target, the effect of which was found to be to raise the striking velocity of the shot from 1,620 feet to 1,744 feet per second. This circumstance consequently invalidated all the comparisons which were made at the time of, and after, the trial, subsequent trials having proved the Minotaur, Agincourt, and Northumberland to possess far greater strength than had been at first supposed. Mr. Reed then passed on to consider the Bellerophon and the experiments made on the Bellerophon target, the principal feature in which consisted in extending throughout its entire structure the double skin plating and the external stringers previously introduced. By their adoption many important advantages were secured, the combined horizontal and vertical 10-inch frames, connected by the double skin of three quarter inch iron, constituting an enormously strong and rigid structure. After alluding to a variety of details connected with the Bellerophon and the leading features which rendered her superior to any of the ironclads which preceded her, Mr. Reed next gave some interesting details respecting the Lord Warden, and the improvements made in her construction. The most striking of these was the device of solidifying the frame in the wake of the armour, the chief advantage being that the frame of the ship was thus rendered solid, and the inside of the vessel fitted with a thickness of 2 feet 7 inches of solid timber behind the 4½-inch armour plating. Another important feature introduced in the Lord Warden and the Lord Clyde was the additional 1½ inch of iron placed between the frame and the outer planking of the ship, to prevent the passage of shell - the most important thing to guard against in the case of a wooden armour-plated vessel. Such a contingency was not thought possible at the time the Warrior was designed, but the improvements effected by Mr. Whitworth and Sir W. Armstrong demonstrated most clearly that shells could be made to penetrate the iron armour of armoured ships. It was therefore decided to give the sides an additional thickness of iron plating, and the results of the experimental trials subsequently made proved the soundness of the principle, the shells fired against the targets so constructed failing to pass through them. A similar plan was also to be adopted in the construction of the Hercules, which would carry a thickness of nine inches of armour-plating for several feet above the water-line, with a backing of teak varying from 12 inches to 16 inches. The Hercules would, however, be rendered still more capable to resist the passage of shot and shell through her sides by the addition of a double wood backing, supported by a second series of frames and skin plates The result of the improvements in the construction of the Hercules had been fully anticipated in the experimental trials recently made on the Hercules target at Shoeburyness, where it was only penetrated by two 600-pounder projectiles, each fired with 100lb. charges, both missiles striking upon the same spot, leaving no doubt whatever that the Hercules herself would be proof against any shot fired from any gun in the world. Mr. Reed, before terminating his address, briefly described the Monarch, double turret ship, about being commenced at Chatham Dockyard, and concluded by describing the several experiments made at Shoeburyness on the various descriptions of armour-plates and targets, the particulars of which have been given on various occasions in The Times.
Fr 14 February 1868OUR IRON-CLAD FLEET. — A return likely to be called for annually has been laid before Parliament, giving an account of our iron-clad fleet built, building, or ordered. The return, which is dated the 30th of August, 1867, contains a list of 31 ships then completed, 13 of them wholly armour-clad, and 18 partially. They are: — The Black Prince, 32 guns; Warrior, 32; Defence, 16; Resistance, 16; Achilles, 26; Hector, 18: Valiant, 18; Minotaur, 26; Agincourt, 26; Northumberland, 26; Royal Oak, 24; Prince Consort, 24; Caledonia, 24; Ocean, 24; Royal Alfred 18; Zealous, 20; Bellerophon, 15; Lord Clyde, 24; Lord Warden, 18; Penelope, 11; Pallas, 8; Favourite, 10; Research, 4; Enterprise, 4; Waterwitch, 2; Vixen, 2; Viper, 2; Royal Sovereign, 5; Prince Albert, 4; Scorpion, 4; Wivern, 4. Twenty-one of these ships are of more than 3,000 tons each. Six other ships were at the date of this return building; two to be wholly armour-clad, and four partially; the Hercules, just launched; the Monarch, 6 guns, to be launched in June; the Captain, 6, the Repulse, 12, to be launched in April; the Audacious, 14, in December; and the Invincible, 14, in March, 1869. All these six ships exceed 3,700 tons. Another, the Bellona, is ordered [and apparently later cancelled]. Lastly, there are the four wholly armour-clad batteries launched in 1855 and 1856, the Erebus, Terror, Thunderbolt, and Thunder; the three first of 16 guns, and the last 14, their tonnage ranging from 1,469 to 1,973. The first cost of the 31 iron-clad ships completed amounted in the whole to 7,284,294l. This includes fittings, but the accounts for some of the latter ships are not yet closed, and this sum does not include incidental and establishment charges. These last indirect charges, calculated in accordance with the recommendation of the Committee on Dockyard Manufactures, add about 35 per cent. to the gross direct charges for labour and materials expended upon each ship in the financial year 1864-65, about 51 per cent. for 1865-66, and the year 1866-67 is for the present estimated to show the same ratio of 51 per cent. These indirect charges have amounted, on the Bellerophon, to no less than 114,372l.; Lord Warden, 104.292l., with a further addition to follow: Royal Alfred, 69,999l., also liable to some addition; Lord Clyde, 66,964l.; Pallas, 61,076l. The most costly of the ships have been the Minotaur, 450,774l.; the Agincourt, 446,048l., both of them with unsettled claims for extra payment; the Northumberland, 433,130l., with the accounts not yet closed; the Achilles, 444,590l.; and the Hercules, estimated at 401,000l. Further sums have to be added to the cost of these ships for dockyard, incidental, and establishment charges.
Sa 28 November 1868That portion of the Channel Squadron which left Plymouth Sound on Thursday for Lisbon, consisted of the Minotaur, Defence, Penelope, Bellerophon, and Northumberland. The Warrior shipped her powder yesterday (Friday), and will follow shortly. The Helicon and Pigeon will probably leave to-day with despatches for the Admirals.
Fr 2 September 1870Our Malta correspondent, writes under date of Valetta, August 26:-
"By the arrival of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's packet Nyanza on the 21st inst, intelligence has been received of the Mediterranean Squadron under the command of Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, K.C.B., to the 17th inst. The squadron, consisting of the Lord Warden, Caledonia, Royal Oak, Prince Consort, Bellerophon, and Columbine, arrived at Gibraltar on the 12th inst., and completed with coal on the same day. The Lord Warden and Caledonia, being finished coaling, put off from the Mole and moored in the inner anchorage. On coming to an anchor off the New Mole a slight collision occurred between the Prince Consort and Bellerophon. The former touched the quarter of the latter, caring away the quarter davits of the Bellerophon and snapping off her own jibboom. Early on the morning of Monday, the 15th inst., the Channel squadron was sighted from the Gibraltar signal-staff, and soon afterwards made its appearances coming round the point under sail; then furling sails it steamed into the anchorage off the New Mole. The squadron consisted of the Minotaur, bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton, K.C.B..; Agincourt, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Henry Chads; Northumberland, Monarch, Hercules, Inconstant, Captain, and Warrior. By noon on the 17th all the ships had completed coaling, and were ready for sea. The combined Mediterranean and Channel Squadrons, under the supreme command of Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, were expected to put to sea on the 19th for the long talked-of cruise. There were at Gibraltar besides the above-mentioned ships, the Bristol, training vessel, Captain T.W. Wilson; the Trinculo and Porcupine Staff Captain Calver. The latter vessel proceeded into the Mediterranean on the 16th inst. to prosecute a survey of the sea-bottom, in the interests of science. She may soon be expected at Malta. The Bristol was to join the combined squadrons during the cruise. When the Mediterranean squadron was off Algiers on the 8th inst., the Psyche proceeded into that port, rejoining the Flag the same night. She went on to Gibraltar on the following day, and again met the Commander-in-Chief on the 11th inst., with the mails. His Excellency the Governor of Gibraltar has been pleased to allow the gates of the fortress to he opened, when required during the night, for the use of officers of the various ships - a privilege hitherto not conceded, but one which is fully appreciated by the whole squadron. The following is a list of the appointments and charges made since my last letter … [omitted] … Her Majesty’s ironclad ship Defence, 16, Capt. Nowel Salmon, V.C., was unexpectedly ordered off by telegraph on the 20th inst. Her destination was kept secret, but is variously rumoured to be Tunis, Palermo, and Gibraltar. I think that it is not impossible she has gone to Civita Vecchia, for the protection of British residents at Rome, and to offer a refuge to His Holiness the Pope end his Ministers, should the course of events render such protection desirable or necessary. Her Majesty's despatch vessel, Antelope, 3, Lieut.-Commander J. Buchanan, arrived here on the 25th inst. from Constantinople, seven days. The surveying schooner Azov, Lieut.- Commander Moore, which had gone out on hydrographic science, has returned into port."
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