Rolf Krake: Europe’s First Turreted Ironclad

By Arnold A Putnam, published February 1998


In 1862, as tension between Denmark and Prussia increased, the Danish Navy ordered the ironclad Rolf Krake from Napiers, Glasgow, a firm already experienced in this new form of construction. For the first time in a European warship, the main armament was mounted in two armoured turrets.   The author in “Contract and Construction” includes many structural details with drawings to illustrate improvements in the design since construction of the 1850s prototype, especially the turret arrangement. Launched in May 1863 she completed her sea trials in the Baltic at the end of August. She was found to be an indifferent sea boat and too deep in draft to conduct close inshore military support, the role she was expected to perform. In mid February she assisted the Danish army against the Germans but, due to her draft, her guns had difficulty reaching the inshore targets. To the Danes the war with Germany had an unsatisfactory outcome. In 1864, she took part in the unsuccessful defence of Düppel, surviving many hits from Prussian artillery, but was badly damaged by a shell plunging through the un-armoured deck. Though repaired and modified, she never saw action again, and was decommissioned in 1893, ending her life as a target.

Join Today To Read The Full Article

Filed under: Baltic | North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Join Today To Read The Full Article

Join Now

If you are already a member please login here.