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Re: [WarOf1812] Re: U.S.S. Niagara photo - group photo sept 18 2006

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  • suthren@magma.ca
    In addition, the British focus on rate of fire rather than aimed fire meant that well-trained gun crews could do virtually all the service of the gun by feel,
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 18, 2006
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      In addition, the British focus on rate of fire rather than aimed fire meant
      that well-trained gun crews could do virtually all the service of the gun by
      feel, since they were drilled incessantly at the guns until they literally
      could do it all blindfolded---which was often the case in actual battle,
      where accounts exist of the gunsmoke pouring like black smoke from a foundry
      fire out of the companionways leading below the gundecks. What the world of
      the gun crews was like in such conditions, with the guns banging away in
      thunderous anvil gongs, can barely be imagined.

      If there was a general rule about ships' paint schemes, it would be that
      individuality in a ship's paint was often the norm in the years leading up
      to the period of the final great struggle between France and England,
      1792-1815, but by the end of the period uniformity in paint scheme was the
      norm, initially through voluntary choice, and finally by Admiralty order.

      On the question of firing 'on the rise', that is as the ship rolled away
      from the enemy, British practice was in fact to more often fire on the
      downroll, to 'hull' and seriously damage the enemy and create chaos amidst
      her packed gun crews below decks, while French practice was more often to
      fire on the uproll in an effort to dismantle the rigging of English ships
      and so make possible an escape 'to fight another day'. There were exceptions
      to both tendencies, naturally. The shock to the Royal Navy in 1812-1814 was
      to come to grips with the dogged and tough USN who fought as they did: go
      for the weather gauge, fire on the downroll, close for action and fight with
      steady courage rather than trying to escape or 'striking' soon. It was a
      rude shock to British frigatemen accustomed to defeating the French and,
      before, the Spanish with relative ease.

      Vic Suthren
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Dale Kidd" <ucpm_gunner@...>
      To: <WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, September 18, 2006 8:42 PM
      Subject: [WarOf1812] Re: U.S.S. Niagara photo - group photo sept 18 2006


      > --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, Craig Williams <sgtwarner@...> wrote:
      > > As to an aiming point, (beyond Broke's insistence on aimed gunnery
      > > practice), even if a general broadside is being delivered "on the
      > > rise" it would be easier to time it if part of your intended
      > target
      > > is highlighted, specially after there have been several volleys
      > fired
      > > as the gun smoke could be thick in a large fleet action.
      >
      >
      > In actual fact, Craig, accounts I have read would seem to indicate
      > that even that seeming advantage would be totally pointless after the
      > first broadside or two had been fired, particularly on the enclosed
      > gundecks of frigates and ships of the line. In this situation, the
      > smoke is usually related as being so thick you could barely see the
      > other members of your own gun crew, much less your target. This meant
      > that your least obscured guns (if you were blessed with a decent
      > breeze) were going to be your lightest guns, since the lighter guns
      > were generally mounted on the upper decks (the exception being heavy
      > carronades, which were limited in range). The reason for this was that
      > the heavier long guns (which provide your long range capability) were
      > generally placed lower in the ship to lower her center of gravity.
      >
      > The colour scheme of a ship seems to have usually been the choice of
      > her captain. I have read of instances in which ships were painted
      > brown or black, with or without strakes, which might be of varying
      > widths and in a variety of colours. There is one account I have read
      > of a squadron using a yellow checkerboard double strake down the sides
      > of their black ships. I can only imagine that this paint scheme must
      > have made it very confusing to try to guess at the number of gun ports
      > in a ship's hull.
      >
      > Dale Kidd
      > Master at Arms
      > H.M. Provincial Marine
      >
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