The armament of the ironclad HMS Warrior in Friedman’s book British Battleships.
- January 22, 2019 at 4:55 pm #17153
I am reading Norman Friedmann’s book “British Battleships of the Victorian Era”, Seaforth Publishing, 2018.
At page 79, rightmost column, writing about the armament of the ironclad Warrior, the author makes what appears to me a very odd statement: he says
“THERE WAS ONE OTHER DIFFERENCE [BETWEEN THE IRONCLADS DEFENCE AND WARRIOR], THE METHOD OF TRANSFERRING GUNS FROM SIDE TO SIDE. THE WARRIORS USED A TURNTABLE FLUSH WITH THE DECK ON WHICH AN ENTIRE GUN AND MOUNTING COULD SWING AROUND. DEFENCE HAD TRAVERSING RACERS ON DECK COMBINED WITH TRAINING RACERS AT EACH PORT…”
Now, to the best of my knowledge, neither Warrior nor Black Prince had any such device: it is evident from the known plan of those two ships and from the Warrior at Portsmouth, that the upper deck big pivot 110pdr guns where swung by means of traversing and training racers, as well as the smaller broadside 40pdr guns.
The main deck guns whose carriages pivoted by way of a pivot placed in front of the carriage, had no racers, but surely, there was not a turntable under them, nor any flush with the deck anywhere.
I would like to hear opinions by members.
Aldo AntonicelliJanuary 23, 2019 at 3:19 pm #17158AnonymousInactive
This is clearly a reference to the lone gun mounted aft; according to Ballard a 100-pdr in Warrior and Black Prince (on a turntable) and I gather a 7-in. Armstrong in the Defence and Resistance (on racers). One reason I refuse to buy any more of Friedman’s books is his inability to express things clearly (especially in the bloody captions which contain information best absorbed into the main text).January 23, 2019 at 4:22 pm #17159Frank ScottParticipant
I have consulted Commander Alastair Wilson, who has been a guide for HMS Warrior (1860) for the last 25 years, and his response is as follows:
You are absolutely right – Warrior had no turntables. This is backed up by all the research which Captain John Wells did for his book, The Immortal Warrior (Emsworth, 1987), and as a former gunnery officer he would have taken especial interest in this area, and though Admiral G. A. Ballard’s The Black Battlefleet (Lymington, 1980), does mention a turntable for the stern chaser 110 pdr, I think that he has misused terminology. John Wells has bow & stern 110 pdr chasers both being the same (which makes sense), mounted on wooden carriages with revolving slides, allowing them to be traversed to different ports pivoting at each end around deck pivot bolts. In something of an understatement he says that this was an evolution ‘requiring skill and teamwork’.
It is just possible that something like a turntable was mooted at the design stage, when Isaac Watts and his draughtsmen were brainstorming the layout. However, had there been any such idea, it should have appeared in former Naval Constructor D. K. Brown’s Warrior to Dreadnought (London, 1997), which it does not.
There is one small error in what you have written about the Warrior‘s guns, and that is that the main deck guns have a small racer under their fore wheels. So when you were traversing a gun, by only a small amount, you put a handspike under the breech end of the carriage, and hove the whole thing over by main force, pivoting at the sill, with the fore wheels sliding on the racer.January 24, 2019 at 11:43 am #17160
Dear Simon and Frank, thank you for your kind answers. I had forgotten to check Ballard’s book. I am glad to have been right. I agree that Friedman’s way of writing is sometimes very difficult to understand: his “British Battleship of the Victorian Era” is the very first English language naval book that I find tiring to read.January 29, 2019 at 10:36 am #17188Frank ScottParticipant
As a follow up, I have just looked at Andrew Lambert, WARRIOR: Restoring the world’s first ironclad (London, 1987), and found that on page 82 he has a photograph of an Armstrong 110pdr on its slide & pivot carriage.January 29, 2019 at 11:46 am #17189
Thank you; with so much evidence it is a very strange mistake that made by Friedmann
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