Gun port spacing c1790.

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1500 – 1830 Gun port spacing c1790.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #24772
    Michael Leek
    Participant

      Were there ever minimum distances between centres for the spacing of gun ports, particularly on British-built ships? I can find no reference to such details in any of the recognised reference sources, including Steel. Even comparing Admiralty lines or as fitted plans shows no evidence that there were any regulations or rules which determined such spacing, even when ships carried the same weight of canon. The variations can be quite pronounced. I’m particularly interested in such dimensions as applied to RN frigates, c1790.

      #24779
      Tony Beales
      Participant

        I can’t answer the question, but presumably gunport spacing was determined by frame spacing? Frame spacing would have been an important aspect of design, being a compromise between strength and weight.

        #24786
        Sam Willis
        Keymaster

          A couple of interesting suggestions from Facebook:

          Ric Smith: Have you contacted the HMS Trincomalee Trust at Hartlepool or the NMRN at Portsmouth? As they have the plans for Trincomalee and it may say on them.

          Heather Johnson: Is there any detail on the plans held at the Brass Foundry (NMM Admiralty Ship plans collection). I can’t recall any gun spacing detail on the Sepping plans held by the Naval Historical Branch but it’s been a while since I last saw them.

          https://www.facebook.com/thesocietyfornauticalresearch

          #24790
          Frank Scott
          Participant

            Interesting question. I will pass it on to Peter Goodwin, who is a former Keeper & Curator for Victory & author of several books on British warships of that era. He is SNR, but not on this forum.

            #24801
            Michael Leek
            Participant

              I have copies of most of the accepted texts relating to the design and construction of Royal Navy sailing men-of-war (Endsor, Gardiner, Goodwin, Lavery, Steel and even Longridge, etc, etc). None give any indication that the rules laid down specific distances between centres for gun ports, relative to weight and size of canon to be carried (although weight may not be as important a consideration as actual size relative to gun port dimensions, etc). The only conclusion I can come to is that distances between centres, and the actual width of gun ports, was determined by each of the Establishment rules relating to the room-and-space frame dimensions which were set against different Rates and/or classes of vessels. If my interpretation is correct then it implies that size and weight of canon was not a determining factor in the dimensions or spacing of and between gun ports, but by the spacing between the double or main frames (scantlings and spacing of the filling frames being determined by the main frames, particularly for larger vessels). However, by checking against a number of lines plans of vessels classified as being of the same Rate, there are ‘discrepancies’, albeit minimal. This suggests that the various Establishment rules regarding room-and-space were loosely applied, or, maybe, implying that some official draughts are not as accurate as we think.

              Interestingly, even accepted texts relating to the construction of French equivalent ships between approximately 1700 and 1820, I can find no reference to any rules regarding the distances between centres for gun ports relative to the size of canon carried.

              This question has intrigued me for some years, prompted by Harold A Underhill’s set of plans for what seems to be a generic 40-gun frigate (but claimed to be based on the Endymion). These plans show a gun port spacing that seems too tight compared to official Admiralty draughts. Whilst many of Underhill’s plans of named sailing ships are, by and large, very accurate, we do not know for sure if the same reliability applies to his generic plans, particularly of the two sailing warship sets he produced.

              #24802
              Michael Leek
              Participant

                Further to my post above, it occurred to me that the concept of ‘distances between centres’ was not one that was widely applied in the design of sailing warships, but is a relatively more recent concept more usually applied in engineering (and in steel ship construction). What may be a more relevant question would be about the distances/spacing between the sides/edges of gun ports, and were there Establishment rules that determined such spacing vis-a-vis size of canon carried? If my interpretation in my previous post is correct, then the question becomes almost irrelevant!

                What I probably now need to do is an assessment of the maximum gun carriage widths, including wheels, of different canon carried by the RN to see how much space they took relative to gun port spacing. Yet this poses another question on the same theme: were there minimum distances laid down between gun carriages of the same size for different Rates?

                #24838
                Frank Scott
                Participant

                  I contacted Peter Goodwin & he states that there was a minimum spacing based on working space for gun crew. He has made a note of it with the ref, but may take some time to track it down!

                  #24845
                  Michael Leek
                  Participant

                    Thank you Frank.

                    Whilst I understand the logic of Peter’s response, I’m not sure it answers the question, particularly in relation to various Establishment rules for different Rates, or indeed different sizes of canon, because that would mean on some Rates, if not all, even frame spacing would be impacted upon!

                  Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
                  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.