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Greenhill, B. Gardiner, eds. Important chapters on steam technology, screw propulsion, iron hulls, and steam-sail navigation make this an essential companion to Gardiner and Lambert Merchant steamships were used extensively in 19th-century wars as auxiliary warships, transports, and blockade-runners.

Sondhaus, L. Naval Warfare, — London: Routledge, Narrative overview, especially good on the activity of smaller navies; the many wars; and civil wars of Latin America, the Crimean, and the American Civil and Italo-Austrian Wars. A good textbook and guide to the secondary literature. Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login. Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions.

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Developments by other navies

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British political history: Vaughan, W. Colonial history: Ajayi, J. Allen, W. T : " A narrative of the expedition to the river Niger, in Beaver, Philip : " African memoranda: relative to an attempt to establish a British settlement on the island of Bulama Coupland, R. Hollett, David : " The conquest of the Niger by land and sea ": P. Heaton, Abergavenny, Henige, David P. May, W.

The ship that revolutionised naval warfare

Ockerby, Horace : " The Book of Dignities; containing lists of the official personages of the British Empire, civil, diplomatic, heraldic, judicial, ecclesiastical, municipal, naval and military ": W. Allen and Co.

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Sainty, J. Note the way steam allowed an increase in the rate of growth.

Steam, Steel & Shellfire by Gardiner, Robert

The She participated in many important naval battles, including the Siege of Sevastopol — during the Crimean War — She was decommissioned in The largest sailing three-decker ship of the line ever built in the West was the French Valmy , launched in She had right sides, which increased significantly the space available for upper batteries, but reduced the stability of the ship; wooden stabilizers were added under the waterline to address the issue. Valmy was thought to be the largest sort of sailing ship possible, as larger dimensions made the manoeuvre of riggings impractical with mere manpower.

She participated in the Crimean War, and after her return to France later housed the French Naval Academy under the name Borda from to The first major change to the ship-of-the-line concept was the introduction of steam power as an auxiliary propulsion system. The first military uses of steamships came in the s, and in the s a number of navies experimented with paddle steamer warships. Their use spread in the s, with paddle-steamer warships participating in conflicts like the First Opium War alongside ships of the line and frigates.

Paddle steamers, however, had major disadvantages.

Steam, Steel and Shellfire: The Steam Warship, 1815-1905 (Conway's History of the Ship)

The paddle wheel above the waterline was exposed to enemy fire, while itself preventing the ship from firing broadsides effectively. During the s, the screw propeller emerged as the most likely method of steam propulsion, with both Britain and the USA launching screw-propelled warships in Through the s, the British and French navies launched ever larger and more powerful screw ships, alongside sail-powered ships of the line.

In , Viscount Palmerston gave an indication of the role of the new steamships in tense Anglo-French relations, describing the English Channel as a "steam bridge", rather than a barrier to French invasion. It was partly because of the fear of war with France that the Royal Navy converted several old gun ships of the line into gun steam-powered blockships, following the model of Fulton 's Demologos starting in The blockships were to be a cost-effective experiment of great value.

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Altogether, France built 10 new wooden steam battleships and converted 28 from older battleship units, while the United Kingdom built 18 and converted In the end, France and Britain were the only two countries to develop fleets of wooden steam screw battleships, although several other navies made some use of a mixture of screw battleships and paddle-steamer frigates. In the Crimean War , six line-of-battle ships and two frigates of the Russian Black Sea Fleet destroyed seven Turkish frigates and three corvettes with explosive shells at the Battle of Sinop in In the s unarmoured steam line-of-battle ships were replaced by ironclad warships.

On March 8, , during the first day of the Battle of Hampton Roads , two unarmoured wooden frigates were sunk and destroyed by the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia.


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However, the power implied by the ship of the line would find its way into the ironclad, which would develop during the next few decades into the concept of the battleship. Britain emerged from the Napoleonic Wars in with the largest and most professional navy in the world, composed of hundreds of wooden, sail-powered ships of all sizes and classes.

The Royal Navy demonstrated this naval supremacy again during the Crimean War in the s.


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Nonetheless, the Napoleonic Wars, as well as the American War of , had illustrated the shortcomings of ships of the line when an enemy resorted to tactics including the large-scale use of privateers. Both the French and the Americans had demonstrated what a menace small, lightly armed, but fast, nimble, and, most especially, numerous vessels like sloops and schooners could be when they spread across the wide oceans, operating singly or in small groups. They targeted the merchant shipping that was Britain's economic lifeblood, and ships of the line were too few, too slow, and too clumsy to be employed against them.

Overwhelming firepower was of no use if it could not be brought to bear: the Royal Navy's initial response to Napoleon's privateers, which operated from French New World territories, was to buy Bermuda sloops. Similarly, the East India Company's merchant vessels became lightly armed and quite competent in combat during this period, operating a convoy system under an armed merchantman, instead of depending on small numbers of more heavily armed ships.

HMS Victory in , the only surviving example of a ship of the line. The only original ship of the line remaining today is HMS Victory , preserved as a museum in Portsmouth to appear as she was while under Admiral Horatio Nelson at Trafalgar. Although Victory is in drydock, she is still a fully commissioned warship in the Royal Navy and is the oldest commissioned warship in any navy worldwide. She was then raised intact, in remarkably good condition, in and is presently on display at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

At the time she was the largest Swedish warship ever built. Although Mary Rose consists of only half of a ship, it is a remarkable example of ship construction from Tudor England, and like Vasa , it contained a wealth of artifacts that tell of the daily lives of those on board. Sign In Don't have an account? Contents [ show ]. See also: Naval tactics in the Age of Sail.