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1898 Hispano American war The Crimean war
Royal navy during the crimean war

THE ROYAL NAVY OF THE CRIMEAN WAR

This chapter is after the world biggest navy in the world. From its outstanding military success against the Napoleonic and Spanish fleets under Nelson command, the Royal Navy grew constantly as well as the Empire. It was in 1820, and remains until 1850, a massive, unrivalled force of 130 ships, with at least twenty three deckers. However, despite the success of its civilian steamships and its pioneering role in steam history (Archimedes, the first screw steamship, SS Great Britain, the first iron hulled liner, etc..), the navy was -by nature- conservative.

The arch-enemy, the french, under Napoleon III, seems to have never seriously considered a war with Britain. However, the Crimean war gave the British the sight of new technological advances, which could change naval tactics and were to be considered. The first step was the French Napoleon, showing in 1854 that the steam was not only fit for gunboats-class ships. But as early as 1852, the screw ship of the line, 92 guns HMS Agamemnon, was launched, entering service in 1854. Many other followed or were converted. In 1862, they were no less than 56, built as such or converted while on the stocks, outnumbering the french by two to one. (The objective then was to built a navy able to cope with both French and Russian fleets). This force was added to a fleet of 10 active sailing ships of the line, 9 guardships/blockships, and 27 more still in the effective list (among them, three 120 guns), giving a grand total of no less than 91 two and three-deckers ships.

hms Duke of Wellington

The Duke of Wellington The biggest British screw ship of the line ever, and shortly before arrival of the Ironclad era, the biggest warship afloat ever. The DoW was a former sailing ship, converted while on the stock in 1852. She was even bigger than the French Valmy.
And this fleet counted no less than two screw 130 guns, five 120 guns, two 110 and six 101 guns flaghips. They were second rate as well as third rate (90 to 60 guns). Fourth and fifth rate were now an obsolete classification. The Carronade, a scottish (than British) discovery, was still largely used on brigs and corvettes in 1852, and Paixhans shells were massively produced. The french armoured batteries that reduced the Russian forts in rumbles were noticed as a curiosity. But in 1859, the French Gloire stirred the press in Britain, although the admiralty was less impressed. Plans for a much more powerful iron hulled ironclad were already drawn, and by 1860, the HMS Warrior was built. (See the franco-prussian war for the Royal Navy in 1870). To summarize the Royal Navy during the 1853-55 campaign in Crimea, a handful of ships were given the task to cover the landings, and neutralizing the Russian forts. Many blockships, originally made to deal with the ever-lasting threat of a French invasion, were given some rigging and used succesfully as bombardment ships in Crimea.
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British empire naval forces, order of battle :
- Screw three deckers : HMS Wellington (131 guns, 1852), Conqueror (131 guns, 1855) Marlborough (131 guns, 1855), Royal Albert (121 guns, 1854), St Jean D'Acre (101 guns, 1853), Waterloo (120 guns, 1833-converted 1854).
- Screw two deckers : 18 two-deckers from 1852 to 1855, ranging from 72 to 91 guns. Some were sailing ships converted in 1854-55.
- Screw frigates : Unknown.
- Screw Corvettes : Unknown.
- Screw guard ships and blockships : nine old 74 guns, dating back from 1809 to 1822 and converted from 1837 to 1855. None fought in Crimea.
- Paddle frigates : Unknown.
- Paddle corvettes : Unknown.
- Screw sloops : Unknown.
- Paddle sloops : Unknown.
- Screw gunboats : Unknown.
- Sailing ships of the Line : 10 ships from the first to the third rate (120-74 guns), dating back 1821 to 1844, and 27 other waiting to be cast from the effective list.
- Sailing Frigates : Unknown.
- Sailing corvettes : Unknown.
- Brigs : Unknown.

See also :