Reply To: English guns for the Sardinian frigate Carlo Alberto 1853

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Aldo Antonicelli

    David, thank you for your reply. The reference to Kennard’s book will be very useful to me.
    After I posted my enquiry I have located other documents referring to the guns bought by the Sardinian government in 1853 which helped to identify more precisely the firm. The casting of the guns was contracted to “Thomas and Charles Hood” founders of Low Moor.
    The Sardinian emissary Galli della Mantica, a naval officer who was surveying the building of the Carlo Alberto and signed the contract for the casting of the guns, wrote about this foundry:
    “…it was the one which has the best reputation for the high quality of the iron ore it uses, and it provides the English Government with almost all the ordnance it needs…”

    Different from what I mistakenly stated in my previous post, the order was for 4 x 68pdr, 95cwt (4824kg) guns and 40 x 8inch, 65cwt (3301kg) shell guns. Those guns were intended partly for the Carlo Alberto and partly for other frigates.
    The original armament of the Carlo Alberto was:
    Main deck:
    14 x 20cm shell guns (the 8inch,65cwt Millar shell guns noted above);
    16 x 40P N°1: they were old 32pdr, 56cwt (9feet-6inches long) Blomefields.
    Upper deck:
    1 x 80P pivot gun(the 68pdr, 95cwt Dundas’ pattern noted above);
    20 x 40P N°2; those were new guns contracted in 1853 by the Sardinian Government from the Swedish Warhendorff foundries of Akër after the pattern of the Monk’s C 32pdr, 42cwt.
    nb: the P means that the calibre is in Piedmontese pounds.

    The new 32pdr. guns were ordered from the Swedish firm because the prices asked by the Low Moor firm were deemed too high and because of political and commercial connections with the Swedish Kingdom; but as the Swedish foundry was not able to cast such heavy guns as the 68pdr. and 8inch shell guns, they had to be ordered from the Hood firm.
    As for the armament quoted in Joe Clarke’s Building Ships on the North East Coast: a Labour of Love, Risk and Pain, it seems it may refer to the Carlo Alberto armament at the time of the battle of Lissa (1866), but it seems a little off the mark, because at this time she was armed with:
    2 x 160mm ML, rifled, hooped guns;
    6 x 160mm Ml, rifled guns;
    6 x 20cm (8inch) SB shell guns;
    24 x 40P (32pdr) N°1 SB guns;
    12 x 40p (32pdr) N°2 SB guns.

    From 1874, she was used as a gunnery training ship and often rearmed with new guns of different calibres and patterns.