British Battleships of 1870 Part XIII The Resistance and Defence

By Admiral G.A. Ballard, published August 1933


The development of armour-cladding for battleships in the 1850s spurred a period of experimentation and change in naval architecture.   Resistance and Defence were the Royal Navy’s second attempts to marry the defensive properties of armour with the offensive power. In doing so they produced the first ocean-going ships built with a ram stem, becoming known as ‘steam rams’. This paper discusses the technical details of the ships; their armament, engines, propulsion and rig. It also provides a short history of these two ships’ careers in the Royal Navy.  The Resistance and Defence had a length of 280ft., a beam of 54, and a full-load draught 24 ft. forward and 26 ft. aft on a displacement calculated at 6070 tons. With a moderately fine entry and run they were shaped on the general lines of a frigate of the period. Forward they carried the “plough bow”. After their maiden commissions they were re-armed throughout with rifled muzzle-loading guns on slides. Internally they were built with the three decks of all British battleships of 1870 (except the Captain). As the first ram-bowed British capital ship the Resistance retained the service nickname of” old rammo ” to the end of her days.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Weapons

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