1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 43

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 43

Thorsten grimaced. “I hadn’t thought of that possibility. It seems a bit risky for Maximilian, though.”

“Not if he’s been given assurances that the Swedes won’t intervene,” Jesse said, his tone harsh. “Assurances that he figures come from Oxenstierna, even if nothing’s said openly.”

“But… That would be –”

“Treason? What does Oxenstierna care if he loses one USE province but gets the rest of it? None of which he had before anyway, the way he sees it.”

Engler leaned back in his chair and brought his cup to his mouth. He didn’t drink from it, though, and after a few seconds he set it back down again. He was a little shaken. Thorsten was not a cynical man by nature. Still something of a country rube, was the way he’d once put it to his betrothed, Caroline Platzer. The idea that Sweden’s own chancellor would connive with an open enemy like the duke of Bavaria against his own nation…

Except he wouldn’t see it that way. Jesse was right. Oxenstierna would always look at the world from a Swedish vantage point — and that of Sweden’s aristocracy, to boot. From his perspective, the USE was an ignoble bastard. Not even that, a domestic animal run amok. Was it “treason” for a farmer to use hounds to bring down unruly livestock?

“You didn’t get around to answering my question, Jesse,” said Jeff.

Jesse smiled thinly. “Noticed that, did you? Well, a good part of the reason I’m flying to Prague is to talk to Mike about it. I want to know what he thinks.”

“He’ll tell you the same thing Simpson did,” said Jeff.

The air force colonel’s eyes widened. “You think so? I was kind of figuring…” He sat up very straight, suddenly. “Don’t tell me that you…”

“Different situation, Jesse. The air force and the navy are seen by most people as up-timer services. The army isn’t. Whatever Mike winds up doing won’t automatically have repercussions on Americans. That’s not true for you and Simpson.”

Wood frowned. “That logic seems kind of twisted to me. What the hell, Mike himself is an American.”

Thorsten extended his hand, waggling it back and forth. “Yes and no. American by origin, certainly. But what do they call him now? ‘Prince of Germany,’ no? With everything that’s happened, he’s transcended his origin in the eyes of most people in the Germanies. Certainly most commoners. They almost forget about it — where they are reminded any time they see an airplane or an ironclad. No, I think Colonel Higgins has the right of it here.”

Jesse went back to looking out the window. After a few seconds, he said: “And what about you, Jeff? Leaving aside whatever Mike decides to do.”

Higgins shrugged. “I don’t expect I’ll have to worry about Mike Stearns.” He drained the last of his own cup. “My wife’s in Dresden, Jesse. The time comes I think she’s against the ropes, fuck everything else. I figure my men will come with me, too.”

Thorsten didn’t have any doubt about that. Jesse glanced at him and must have read his posture correctly. “You’re only one regiment,” he pointed out.

Jeff still seemed quite unperturbed. “An oversized regiment that goes by the name of the Hangman. But, yes, you’re right. We’re only one regiment.”

He grinned, suddenly. “Look at it this way, Jesse — by the time Banér manages to get Gretchen against the ropes, what kind of shape do you think he’s going to be in?”

Prague, capital of Bohemia

“Stay out of it, Jesse. Openly, at least. What Jeff said to you was right on the money.”

Mike Stearns leaned over the railing of the great bridge that spanned the Vltava in the center of the city, and idly watched a barge passing below. “What the army does is one thing. The air force and navy, something else. To put it a bit crudely, the army’s German and the other two services are American.”

“Hell, Mike, the navy’s personnel is already almost all German. Once you get past John Chandler Simpson, anyway, and a few others like Eddie Cantrell. So’s the air force, except for the pilots. And even there…” He paused for an instant, to do a quick calculation. “Give it six months and the majority of my pilots will be down-timers too.”

“Doesn’t matter. It’s the technology involved that makes all the difference. Especially with the air force. The navy’s new generation of warships are sailing ships, where it’s the down-timers who really have most of the know-how. So I expect it won’t be long before people think of the navy the way they do the army. But whenever they see one of your planes in the sky, you might as well be skywriting: ‘look! American gadget!'”

The air force officer thought about it for a while. Eventually, albeit reluctantly, he nodded his head. “Okay. I guess. But you said ‘openly.’ That implies something.”

Mike grinned at him. “You can keep me informed of all important troop movements in or around Saxony, can’t you? That doesn’t involve doing anything more than flying reconnaissance, which you do anyway. Got to keep an eye on the Polish border and the Austrians” — he gestured with his chin to the south — “just down there a ways.”

“Sure. What else?”

“Well, it occurs to me that you overfly the fortress at Königstein every time you come down this way.”

Jessed smiled thinly. “Well, not quite. But it’d be easy enough to vary the route. If the powers-that-be whine about it, I’ll make noises about tailwinds and tetchy weather and such forcing me a tad off course. I take it you want regular reports about the state of the garrison there?”

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47 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 43

  1. dave o says:

    The garrison of Konigstein are almost certainly the usual run of mercenaries. As such, their loyalty is to their paymaster. This WAS the Duke of Saxony. No more. It’s possible that Ox has already contacted them, though we haven’t been told. But they have no reason to support him, if there’s a higher bidder available. Is David Bartley’s scrip better than Swedish money? How about Roth? How about Nasi?

  2. Blackmoore says:

    Dave; the Beckie had better be of good value, if Mike can pay off Konigstein that’s one less issue on his plate.

  3. Todd Bloss says:

    If the new Navy ships are sail, then I hope they’re Clippers.
    Steam killed them off before they had a real chance.

  4. robert says:

    @3 While they are sailing ships, they are also either “iron clads” or have very thick wooden cladding which was an innovation that did not come until a century or so later in response to better cannon and shot (which they also have, I am sure). But I bet they can outsail any Napoleonic era warship.

  5. Doug Lampert says:

    @1 The Sweades should be more or less bankrupt. If they had extra money to hire lots of troops they’d have sent more men into Poland. Roth and Nasi are rich individuals, that doesn’t make them rich on the scale of nations and wars. And Roth is spending his surplus cash on things like a university. Nasi MIGHT be able to buy a garrison, but even if he is, does he have the money THERE? He’s been having trouble transporting a new propeller IIRC.

    @2 I’d expect mercenaries to want money that glitters (but see below). The Beckie is worthless unless Mike wins, these guys have just gotten a demo on what any promises of future payment can be worth. They’re also sitting in a well supplied fortress and quite likely levying their own taxes/requisitions on the surrounding countryside. There’s no reason they should be desperate to make a deal with anyone else. Sit tight and wait for someone to either show up with an army or a lot of money.

    But Mike’s not an idiot, and that garrison’s obviously important. It’s on his line of communication so unless GA has made other arrangements or he’s been given a direct order not to he’s got a legitimate interest in regularizing its status. i.e. He can probably negotiate with them even prior to any open break with Wettin and Ox. And Mike’s got a division’s paychest if he can persuade his OWN men to take Beckies!

    I’ll bet Mike’s soldiers wouldn’t really object to taking pay in Beckies if it meant they didn’t need to take Konigstein by storm.

    @3 Clippers are a light merchant design. Recoil from heavy cannon would wreck them, balls from heavy cannon would go straight through. Warships need heavy timber. The sail rig might be useful for distance sailing, but not in battle, 18th and 19th century warships reduced sail in battle anyway. And the more sails the more of your crew is expensive topmen rather than cheaper gunners or marines. I’d expect Simpson to be trying for something like a 19th century Sloop of War, or maybe a USS Constitution class frigate. The USN came up with quite good ship designs, and there’s a fair chance someone in Grantville has a simplified design drawing for the USS Constellation, WV is not that far from Baltimore and the naval ships there are a popular tourist draw. Give that and a model to a contemporary naval architect…

  6. DMRGrimes says:

    @3 @4 If I had my druthers, I’d want Constitution-class frigates. She didn’t earn the nickname “Old Ironsides” for nothing, and that was against contemporary armaments. Fast enough to run away from anything they couldn’t beat, and able to beat anything they couldn’t run away from.

  7. Willem Meijer says:

    17th century shipbuilders would probbly be more at home with a model than with drawings.

  8. PeterZ says:

    @3,4 and 5

    Iron clads would be tough to fight without steam. As heavy as they are they would need serious wind to manouver well. Lighter wind conditions would render them as manouverable as a steam-powered ship without fuel. One can get away with taller masts and more sail area with powered winches but not on pure manpower. Without more sails the weight to sail ration on ironclads is simply too poor for a reliable fighting ship. The hull would have to be broader and less streamlined to support any given mass of the ship otherwise it would sink like a rock. Iron is more dense than wood, afterall. That means an iron clad has to ‘push’ more water out of the way to move, which means it needs more power to achive a given speed.

    No, it looks like the frigate is the goal until they come up with a reliable steam power plant. 2 gun decks and speed to burn. Ships of the line will follow only if no one figures out how to make that steam power plant.

  9. Matthew says:

    How do you aerial reconnaissance of 17th century armies camped in one place? Seriously, take the most lightly equipped guerilla division of the 20th century and reduce that. They’re downtimers so they carry very little ammunition. They’re a garrison, so you can’t count the horses; they have no cavalry. The only thing would be to know if the garrison starts moving. And for all that, I think the Americans are going to become too reliant on the planes. They’re are limits to what they can see, but they impart a feeling of omniscience. I’m thinking of how the Chinese army caught the entire US military flat footed in Korea using nothing more sophisticated than night marches and a lack of cooking fires.

  10. William McLamb says:

    It is possible that the garrison commander at Konigstein might decide to try for a “mini-Bernard” solution and become Lord Konigstein. And whoever accepted, or offered, that would get his loyalty, whatever that is worth.

  11. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @7 Willem, there are plenty of models of the USS Constitution scattered throughout the US. As the country’s premier Tall Ship it’s a very popular ship model and due to its historical importance information is likely available through the Grantville schools. It’s hard to imagine that the Grantville naval wargame geek (Eddie Cantrell is established as such) wouldn’t enough info about Constitution to let downtime shipbuilders do some reverse engineering.

  12. dave o says:

    All comments about navies: Simpson already has guns which shoot shells, not shot. No wooden warship would be anything but a slaughterhouse against shellfire. If he has them, everyone else will soon. A warship takes a long time to build. It would be hideously expensive to do, but something on the line of pre-dreadnought protected cruisers is probably the way to go. With turrets and more modern battery design. Building a turbine is probably beyond the technical capabilities available. Maybe a diesel is not; I don’t know enough to say. Otherwise reciprocating stream engine are the obvious power source.

    #5 No one needs to finance a war. All that’s necessary is enough to buy a garrison. As you say, Sweden is likely near bankruptcy, so it shouldn’t take that much to outbid Ox. Levying contributions isn’t likely to yield enough to do much more than keep the wolf a few steps away from the door.

    #10 Bernard is able to survive because he’s between France and the USE. Neither side will allow the other to take over his territories. I don’t see how that applies to the commander at Konigstein.

    #9 I think the point of aerial reconnaissance is to be sure that no-one is moving troops INTO the fortress. Troops would most likely have to come from Baner’s forces. Unless they can use the Elbe, pretty much any force would take up a mile or more of road, and move very, very slowly. And no 17th century general would find the idea of concealing his movements by night marches practical. Or necessary, unless he had prior experience with the air force. Baner doesn’t.

    And by the way, Jeff is a lot closer to Konigstein than Mike, and he doesn’t seem to be concerned about getting past the fortress.

  13. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @9 As I read the snippet, Mike asked Jesse to scout troop movements in Saxony, not Koenigstein in specific. The 15-20 thousand guys in Baner’s army will be visible.

    Sure the air recon isn’t perfect, but it isn’t meant to be — the info will be combined with reports from locals and, when needed, a patrol or two on horseback.

    The Chinese in Korea had one big advantage Baner and his cronies don’t have — US command in Korea was convinced the Chinese wouldn’t intervene and didn’t really look for them. That kind of attitude on high can easily infect the actual observes, who then become inclined to confirm what they want to see.

    If the observers are thinking a movement is possible, even a reinforcement of Koenigstein could be noticed (tents in the courtyard, camp sign on the road to Koenigstein, etc).

    But mainly I think the general aerial recon is meant for Baner and von Arnim, who have big forces that will be more easily seen. ‘Exact’ scouting of Koenigstein will be a particular mission, when Jeff is ready to move.

  14. Doug Lampert says:

    @11 Arguably the “Modern” configuration of the USS Constellation (1854) would be better than the Constitution. She’s smaller and cheaper to man and crew, faster to build, and a more recent design. She’s also more than adequate to fighting anyone else’s wooden sailing ship.

    And Grantville was close enough to Baltimore that Constellation models and designs are likely more common than Constitution models and designs.

    @12 There were practical flat trajectory explosive shell naval guns in 1824 (high trajectory explosive shells got back much much farther). In the 1860s the USN was STILL building “timberclads”, and using them to engage ships and forts with explosive shell guns.

    An iron steam ship could close to point blank range and fire shells directly into the hull of a wooden ship, but that only applies if the HULL of one ship is iron and it’s up against a timber ship. Otherwise the engagement ranges make wood quite survivable.

    Wooden ships were still being built and manned for decades after we had shells, I see no reason why they should instantly convert wooden hulls to a “slaughterhouse” in 1635 when they failed to do so in 1862.

  15. PeterZ says:

    @12 Since Simpson hasn’t begun construction on steam powered ships, so there are considerations that haven’t been discussed. Top of my head that may have something to do with the propeller design. If Simpson isn’t comfortable designing one, who else would be? Second on the list may be the supporting infrastructure to actually manage construction requiring large amounts of steel/iron. Quantity and quality tradeoffs. They can build significantly more frigatesque ships in a year than steamed powered ironclads. Those frigates will have both greater endurance to patrol a wide area as well as the guns to penetrate an ironclad’s armour. So the logistics question would be how many frigates is one steam powered second tier ironclad worth in terms of building resources? Right now, an ironclad probably takes more resources to build than the amount of respurces to build the number of frigates to destroy that ironclad.

    With their current ironclads and woodclads, no other navy will be able to project enough force to defeat the USE’s ironclads or woodclads. That being the case it may be a better use of resources to build many more but less powerfull sailships. Those ships can run and scare up the ironclads or enough other frigates if they run into heavies and beat on anything less. Right now dominating the largest possible area may be more important than making a smaller area (beyond the Baltic which they already control) completely inaccessible to other navies.

  16. Matthew says:

    @13 I still think that our intrepid heroes are making a lot of bold assumptions about who will and who won’t intervene and on which side. Provincial armies, Bohemian kings, Austrian emperors, these past few snippets have gone through 20+ people who could still act unpredictably. Ox and bad Wettin aren’t that stupid. Ox knows he won’t have an air force come civil war time; he will have planned for that. He’s got some capable generals. Some of them have already figured out how to negate that, some of them have figured out how to lie to it. Hiding an army from the air to make it look like it’s moved. Moving an army unobserved but making it look like it’s still there. Properly managed the enemy recon planes are a great way to feed them destructive and conflicting disinformation.

  17. Todd Bloss says:

    @15 -How come Simpson can’t design a ships propeller, but Jesse Woods could design an airplane propeller? -I’d think the plane propeller would be harder.

  18. Mark L says:

    @11 They have the lines of Constitution. We know that because in 1633 it mentioned that the Four Musketeers had copies of Howard Chapelle’s books, and sweedish naval architects pouring over them. That said, if you were going to imitate anything in Chapelle’s “History of the American Sailing Navy” it would more likely be one of the Gradual Increase frigates designed after the War of 1812 or perhaps the second Congress (the one sunk by CSS Virginia). Those were better designs than Constitution and her sisters. (It would be analogous to the difference between a B-17 and a B-29.)

    One of the finest wooden frigates in the USN was designed by Geotrge Steers — USS Niagara. Steers was the man who designed the yacht America (of America’s Cup fame) as well as numerous clippers. So a clipper hull is not unlikely.

    That said, having the lines of a ship is not the same as having the capability of building it successfully. One of the secrets of the large frigates of the 19th century was the use of diagonal riders. Even Constitution had them. Those do not show up on solid hull models or the lines in Chapelle’s books. OTOH Simpson would know about them because he would have learned about that at Annapolis. He certainly would know how to make a longitudinally-framed ship (as opposed to the transverse framing used on ships through 1800). But naval architects that lacked that piece of up-time technology would either look at Chapelle’s plans and say “this is impossible” or build ships using them — and discover that the hulls hog and sag alarmingly.

  19. Sean Maxwell says:

    G2A’s future navy is already in canon, in _1633_, Chapter 28:

    “The flush-decked U.S. Navy sloop-of-war upon which the design was based had been one hundred and forty-eight feet long between perpendiculars, with a beam of just under thirty-nine feet. That meant her hull was about thirty feet shorter than the ironclads Simpson was building in Magdeburg, but since she was going to have a bowsprit over sixty feet long, Eddie suspected no one would notice. And whereas Simpson’s ships were going to be ugly, boxy vessels, with an uncompromising brutality of line and form, Gustavus’ ship retained the graceful lines crafted by her original 19th-century architect. The only real change the emperor’s builders had made in the enlarged builder’s draft Grantville copiers had produced from Chapelle’s carefully redrawn plans had been to increase the height of the bulwarks from just under five feet to approximately seven. Once the armor plate being produced in the local rolling mill was bolted to the outside of the hull, that would provide head-high protection for her gun crews. Of course, hanging that much iron plate on the outside of the hull was going to add about two hundred tons to her weight, so even with the reduction in her broadside armament, she was going to draw close to twenty-four feet, which was a bit deep but manageable for the Baltic.”

  20. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @16 Well, they did assume the Poles did not have radio in the last book, and look where that got them :-)

    So you are right, the aerial scouts could get fooled. But it’s just as big a mistake to think they will *always* get fooled as to think they will always get it right.

    More likely is that aerial recon is just one part of a comprehensive intelligence system, in which each part gets info that is sometimes accurate and sometimes not, and the guys processing the info build their pictue out of all of the little bits. All depending, of course, on the skill and committment of the people who are getting the info and putting it together from all the sources.

  21. Captain Button says:

    One factor to remember in the naval design discussion is Mike Stearns’s plan to abort the transatlantic slave trade. For that I’d think you want a lot of fast oceangoing ships that wouldn’t need to be that heavily armed, since they would basically be commerce raiders.

    (What you do with a ship full of slave once you’ve seized it, I don’t know.)

  22. Doug Lampert says:

    Hmm, Constellation (also a Sloop-of-War) had:

    Length: 176 feet (between perpendiculars)
    Beam: 40 feet, 6 inches (molded beam)
    Draft: 21 feet
    Displacement: 1,400 tons
    Armament (1862): Gun Deck (Main battery): Sixteen 8 in. chambered shell guns, four 32-pdr. long guns; Spar Deck (Pivot guns): one 30-pdr. Parrott rifle at the bow and one 20-pdr. Parrott rifle at the stern; three 12-pdr. boat howitzers

    So GA is building a scaled down version. I seriously doubt that anyone in Grantville had drawings and models for any sloop-of-war OTHER than Constellation.

  23. Butch Clor says:

    Folks, it appears that outside of one respondent here people have forgotten the extensive discussions on the 1632 bar, on this subject. With the existance of Chapelle’s book being canon we will see a variety of ships from the periods of 1803-1850. The drawings and form plans are there as well as fittings and gun carriages.
    Simpson’s big guns are limited production models. Tne majority of weapons for these ships will be on the Dahalgren,Parrott design concepts.
    Also in the weaponry designs are those for Pivot mounts which was used beyond the ACW. The later corvettes and sloops were the design models for the mixed steam and sail sloops and frigates of the ACW.
    Remember the ACW 90 day steam and sail gunboats built for the blockade of the South. These vessels had a rifled bow chaser, 2-3 12-24lbr SBML broadside guns per side, and a pivot gun using a 32lbr-9″SBML pivot gun.

  24. robert says:

    Has everybody looked at the Forthcoming link on Eric’s Home Page. A lot of questions about future books are answered, if you read all the way through it. Even the future collaborations with David Weber are mentioned, if briefly.

    Are all of Baen’s mainline authors so committed for so far in the future?

  25. Todd Bloss says:

    @20 -During and after the Civil War, US ships raided slave ships, burning or taking them as prizes and releasing the captured slaves (most were offloaded in Liberia).

  26. Stanley Leghorn says:

    19: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on ME.”

    I think Mike will be more attentive to ALL his info inputs due to his missing the obvious possibility of the Polish radios.

    As to ships, I suspect a lot of people are building ships not seen OTL for 200 years.

  27. Stewart says:

    @17 — difference between an aircraft propellor and a ship’s screw is the torque they encounter and the size of the shaft driving them — ex-CVN-65 “the screws may stop, but the shafts never do” ;

  28. dave o says:

    #14 Doug. Haven’t you read Baltic War? Slaughterhouses are precisely what Simpson’s ships turned the Danish/French ships into. Most naval battles prior to WWI were fought at pistol shot ranges or closer. The timberclads built in the Civil war didn’t do real well against fortifications. They couldn’t accomplish anything much at Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston SC, Wilmington NC. Wood hulled and steam powered ships could run past fortifications, they couldn’t damage them to any considerable extent. You use the term “high explosive”. My understanding is that gunpowder was the only propellant/explosive available until the middle of the 19th century.

  29. dave o says:

    I took some time out to check my facts. The first “modern” warship was the Royal Navy’s Warrior, laid down in May 1859, and completed December 1860. It was the first iron-hulled, iron plated warship armed with breech-loaders built. It was 380 ft long, originally armed with 40 68pdrs. It was capable of 13 knots under sail, 14.5 knots under steam, and 17.5 knots under sail and steam combined. Thus considerably bigger than the sloop of war mentioned in #18, but it was thought of as a replacement for line-of-battleships.

    Naval design in the 19th century was undergoing probably the most rapid changes ever. Naval battles were few and far between in the period, so there wasn’t much experience to go on.

    #16 and others. I don’t think any general, no matter how smart, will know how to react to the possibility of air reconnaissance without having experienced it. Even Turenne didn’t realize it until he was overflown.

  30. Bret Hooper says:

    I have long wondered how to pronounce Becky’s family name. Since Abrabanel was said to be a prominent Jewish family, I eventually thought to ask Rabbi Rami Shapiro (author of many good books) next time I managed to get to MUF on a Sunday when he was giving the sermon. For the benefit of anyone else who may wonder, it’s a-brah’-va-nell.
    BTW, I saw a review of Richard Armour’s hilarious THE CLASSICS RECLASSIFIED on Amazon that cited one of Armour’s questions on Ivanhoe, “Honestly, how could Ivanhoe have married that dumb blonde Rowena, instead of Rebecca?” and noted that in another alternate history, Eric Flint’s 1632, the hero did have the good sense to marry Rebecca. I heartily agree with Armour’s question and with the reviewer!

  31. Willem Meijer says:

    Building ships based on enigine power implies that fuel is widely available. I doubt that coal mining in the 1630ies is so developed that there can be bunkering stations in the major ports of Europe. Sail uses wind, which is free.

  32. frederic says:

    @27 ; you seem to forget that the french were there first.

    Check the ‘La Gloire’ laid down in may 1858, launched in november 1859



  33. frederic says:


    For going toe to toe against fortifications, I give you the Devastation class armored floating batteries (and deriviated), laid down in 1854 and lauched in 1855.


    La gloire and Warrior pupose was to fight in the high seas; devastation’s was to destruct shore fortifications. That makes quite a difference

  34. ChrisD says:

    HMS Warrior, the first ocean-going ironclad (“La Gloire” was mainly a coastal design) was a fast ship under sail as well as under steam, with both in operation she was “Clocked” at 19½ knots in the Channel and at 11½ knots under sail alone.

    3-masted and a long, lean hull brilliant design and can still be seen as restored.

  35. PeterZ says:

    @5 Doug, the Beckies are essentially a call option on Mike’s victory. Offering them to his own troops at a heavy discount to the dollar does a couple of things. 1) it increases their circulation immediately thus making more people invested in Mike’s ultimate victory and 2) it offers liquidity (currency to engage in transactions) when it appears that Ox et al will be tightfisted in trying to manage a revolution on a strapped budget. That means a lot of confiscated and destroyed wealth and the only source of new funds will come from him. A recipe for a depression if I ever heard one.

    I doubt Eric will spend too much time on this, but Beckies may turn out to be the only source of liquidity available to the common folk in any contested area or Ox occupied area for that matter. The only source of stored wealth/savings that won’t likely be confiscated by the Ox and Wettin. So the wise commoner/tradesman would accept a goodly amount of Beckies if for no other reason that to diversify his wealth. I doubt the discount would be as high as Mike or Jeff would offer to their own troops, but at some discounted rate the Beckies would hold value until Mike actually lost, was executed and burried.

  36. PeterZ says:

    @ ChrisD, Sail under strong wind conditions. Steam for calmer conditions. The risk is trying to fight Warrior without her engines in calmer conditions. Conditions that aren’t so calm that an unarmored ship with 1 or 2 powerful rifled guns firing shells could still manouver, but too calm for Warrior to do much except for lumber about. Only under the most powerful winds would the Warrior have full advantage under sail alone, where her weight allows her to carry more sail and her smaller opponent must reduce sail. That advantage would ebb and flow with the power of the prevailing winds. Sweet design, yes, but no gauranty to dominate all comers.

  37. frederic says:


    (”La Gloire” was mainly a coastal design

    Do you have a source for this?

    Because that’s not the impression I get from the french online sources (‘les qualités nautiques et militaires de ce bâtiment sont indéniables’) or from the service records of La Gloire and her sisterships Normandie and Invinvcible. In fact, I’ve always read than La Gloire was the first ocean-going armored ship and that Warriors and Black Princes were the RN answers to her.


  38. frederic says:

    addendum ( again. sorry about this).

    I know that wiki is not a fully reliable source, but even the english versions defined La Gloire as ‘the first ocean-going ironclad battleship in history.’


    That’s in line with the french sources I have, either paper or on-line.

  39. robert says:

    Does anyone need more than one hand to count the number of ship-to-ship battles since the American Civil War. Okay, maybe an extra finger or two, but I can only think of three during all of WWII. All the rest of the sea battles were carrier based aircraft vs. enemy ships and their carrier based aircraft. So the military use of aircraft, which has come in Eric’s series, has already got the potential to completely change naval warfare. Does Simpson realize this. I bet he does.

    Actually, the cruise-type guided missile will likely have an even more significant, if not devastating, impact on naval warfare, if such a thing survives in other than submarine form. Nothing to look forward to! Look what a little Exocet did to HMS Sheffield in the Falklands/Malvinas (or, as the Argentines call them, The Fucklands). Imagine lots of missiles flying around over the Persian Gulf.

  40. Sean Maxwell says:

    @30: Armour’s a genius.

    His take on IVANHOE is even thematically consistent with _1632_, since Brian de Bois-Guilbert’s interest in Rebecca was (paraphrasing:) not about marriage, but instead something of a more temporary nature.

    I _really_ need to go back and re-read THE CLASSICS RECLASSIFIED.

  41. frederic says:

    @39 : that’s even more interesting when you know that the exocet which hit Sheffield malfunctionned due to poor maintenance. The charge didn’t explode. Sheffield was sunk by the fire started by the Exocet rocket engine. That’s a case where’s Sheffield’s modern design worked against it. The aluminium hull was vulnerable to such a fire. A steel one wouldn’t have been.

    OTOH, proper doctrine for exocet would have been to use them in batches of half a dozen or so and not one by one. The RN was lucky that the french blocked on the airport the argantinian order of 60 brand new exocets ( or the argantinian were stupid not to wait to have them before invading; take your pick), leaving them with only 6 old ones.

    How would that translate to the 1632verse? It’s sure that rocket engine fire is a deathknell to any wooden ship hit, especially in case of multiple hits, even leaving aside warheads. But when the foe has metal hulls, then the rocket engine would no longer be preponderent. However, there may be a window in which rockets will be more dangerous to ships because of their engine that because of their light warhead.

  42. dac says:

    For some great reading, go to google books and look up
    Sailing warships of the US Navy, By Donald L. Canney

    Great stuff, lots of info on the “gradual increase” frigates

  43. Doug Lampert says:

    @39, yes. Spanish-American war, Russo-Japanesse war, Jutland & various WWI actions in the mediterananian, actions near the Falklands in both world wars.

    I can keep going, but that’s from memory and hits more than 5 actions and counts only major wars. There were far more than 5 naval gun battles in WWII alone.

    But I can get naval gunfire sinking ships in carrier actions specifically. At Lyete gulf the USN lost a carrier to gunfire, and had other carriers hit Jap ships with naval gunfire off their deck guns.

    @28, the Baltic war is iron ships vs. wooden ships, the shells are almost irrelevant since the range is close. But the FACT is that people built AND FOUGHT in wooden ships for decades after a tech you claim make them impossible was deployed. Shells don’t make wooden ships into slaughterhouses unless the shells are fired from iron hulled ships. But iron hulled steam ships can kill wooden ships with rams or solid shot also, the key their is the hull.

    Just WHO is going to be building iron hulled ships to fight against USEN wooden ships on the high seas? Even USE navy doesn’t have wooden high seas ships?

  44. dac says:

    With the outbreak of World War II, Constellation was given new life. Initially serving as the relief flagship of the US Atlantic Fleet, Constellation became the flagship in early 1942. For the first six months of that year, the Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll, commanded the US Navy’s war against the German Kriegsmarine from the ship’s eighty-eight year-old decks. In the summer of 1942, the ship reverted to its reserve role when Ingersoll transferred his flag to USS Vixen.

    Now that’s crazy – a wood hulled sailing ship – active duty, WWII


  45. Willem Meijer says:

    @43 and @39 The battle of Lissa (1866) between the Itallian and Austro-Hungarian Navies? Where the ramming of one warship by another (unintentionally, the steering was damaged) led to warships being built with a ram for the next 50 years.

  46. Willem Meijer says:

    @45 Quite useless rams by the way

  47. Willem Meijer says:

    @45 strike the unintentional bit, I was wrong there. Been reading up again on the battle and somehow I must have mixed in the damaged steering and the deliberate ramming.

    Lissa: the battle with a point-blank broadside where the Itallians forgot to load the shells into the guns.

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