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November 19, at pm. Tichy says:. Local concentration of force and so on… On the other side of the bond, Admiral Sir George Rodney did beat Comte de Grasse decisively already in 12 April would make the stagnation, or decisive victory argument moot. That said, it is interesting topic.
John Smith says:. November 24, at pm. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required.
Search for:. Create a free website or blog at WordPress. Post to Cancel. Fifth and sixth rates were never included among ships-of-the-line. The middle of the 18th century saw the introduction of a new fifth-rate type—the classic frigate, with no ports on the lower deck, and the main battery disposed solely on the upper deck, where it could be fought in all weathers.
Sixth-rate ships were generally useful as convoy escorts, for blockade duties and the carrying of dispatches; their small size made them less suited for the general cruising tasks the fifth-rate frigates did so well.
Essentially there were two groups of sixth rates. The larger category comprised the sixth-rate frigates of 28 guns, carrying a main battery of twenty-four 9-pounder guns, as well as four smaller guns on their superstructures.
The second comprised the " post ships " of between 20 and 24 guns. These were too small to be formally counted as frigates although colloquially often grouped with them , but still required a post-captain i. The rating system did not handle vessels smaller than the sixth rate. The remainder were simply "unrated". The larger of the unrated vessels were generally all called sloops, but that nomenclature is quite confusing for unrated vessels, especially when dealing with the finer points of "ship-sloop", "brig-sloop", " sloop-of-war " which really just meant the same in naval parlance as "sloop" or even " corvette " the last a French term that the British Navy did not use until the s.
Technically the category of "sloop-of-war" included any unrated combatant vessel—in theory, the term even extended to bomb vessels and fire ships. The rated number of guns often differed from the number a vessel actually carried. The guns that determined a ship's rating were the carriage-mounted cannon , long-barreled, muzzle-loading guns that moved on 'trucks'—wooden wheels. The count did not include smaller and basically anti-personnel weapons such as swivel-mounted guns "swivels" , which fired half-pound projectiles, or small arms.
Vessels might also carry other guns that did not contribute to the rating. Examples of such weapons would include mortars, howitzers or boat guns, the boat guns being small guns intended for mounting on the bow of a vessel's boats to provide fire support during landings, cutting out expeditions, and the like.
From , however, the most important exception was the carronade. Introduced in the late s, the carronade was a short-barreled and relatively short-range gun, half the weight of equivalent long guns, and was generally mounted on a slide rather than on trucks. The new carronades were generally housed on a vessel's upperworks—quarterdeck and forecastle—some as additions to its existing ordnance and some as replacements. When the carronades replaced or were in lieu of carriage-mounted cannon they generally counted in arriving at the rating, but not all were, and so may or may not have been included in the count of guns, though rated vessels might carry up to twelve , or pounder carronades.
When carronades became part or in some cases all of a ship's main armament, they had to be included in the count of guns. By the Napoleonic Wars there was no exact correlation between formal gun rating and the actual number of cannons any individual vessel might carry. Also some of the guns were removed from a ship during peacetime service, to reduce the stress on the ship's structure, which is why there was actually a distinction between the wartime complement of guns and men and the lower peacetime complement—the figure normally quoted for any vessel is the highest wartime establishment.
Since not big enough to stand in the line of battle, were often called frigates, though not classed as frigates by the Royal Navy.
They were generally classified, like all smaller warships used primarily in the role of escort and patrol, as "cruisers", a term that covered everything from the smaller two-deckers down to the small gun-brigs and cutters. Only the larger sixth rates those mounting 28 carriage guns or more were technically frigates. From c. It was a rough measurement of cargo-carrying capacity by volume, not displacement.
Therefore, one should not change a measurement in "tons burthen" into a displacement in "tons" or "tonnes". In February the rating system changed.
From February all carronades were included in the established number of guns. Until that date, carronades only "counted" if they were in place of long guns; when the carronades replaced "long" guns e. There was a further major change in the rating system in From that date, the first rate comprised all ships carrying guns and upwards, or the complement of which consisted of 1, men or more; the second rate included one of HM's royal yachts, and otherwise comprised all ships carrying under guns but more than 80 guns, or the complements of which were under 1, but not less than men; the third rate included all the rest of HM's royal yachts and "all such vessels as may bear the flag of pendant of any Admiral Superintendent or Captain Superintendent of one of HM's Dockyards", and otherwise comprised all ships carrying at most 80 guns but not less than 60 guns, or the complements of which were under but not less than men; the fourth rate comprised all frigate-built ships of which the complement was not more than and not less than men; the fifth rate comprised all ships of which the complement was not more than and not less than men; the sixth rate consisted of all other ships bearing a captain.
Of unrated vessels, the category of sloops comprised all vessels commanded by commanders; next followed all other ships commanded by lieutenants, and having complements of not less than 60 men; finally were "smaller vessels, not classed as above, with such smaller complements as the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty may from time to time direct". Rating was not the only system of classification used.
Through the early modern period , the term " ship " referred to a vessel that carried square sails on three masts. Sailing vessels with only two masts or a single mast were technically not "ships", and were not described as such at the time. Captains commanded rated ships, which were always ship rigged — meaning they had three square-rigged masts. First Rate ships were the biggest of the fleet with their gun batteries carried on three decks.
They were generally used as flagships and fought in the centre of the line-of-battle. The Second Rate ships of the line were also three-deckers, but smaller and cheaper. They mounted between 90 and 98 guns, and like the First Rates fought in the centre of the line-of-battle. Generally around the ton mark, they had a crew of about Unlike the First Rates, which were too valuable to risk in distant stations, the Second Rates often served overseas as flagships.
They had a reputation for poor handling and slow sailing. The most numerous line-of-battle ships were the two-decker Third Rates with 64—80 guns. They carried a crew of about men.