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Fast screw ships of the line (70 guns)

SEBASTOPOL class (cancelled 1858)

SEBASTOPOL class fast screw ships of the line (70 guns)

Displacement: 4000t
Dimensions:Draft 22ft 0in mean, 23ft 0in max.
Same, meters:6.70, 7.00m
Machinery:650nhp. 12kts. Coal 520t
Hull material:wood
Armament:GD 16-36p, 16-22cm No.1 shell; UD 32-30p No.2; SD 2-50p, 4-30p No.4.

Name          Builder    Laid downLaunched Commiss. Fate         
SEBASTOPOLCherbourg------Canc. 23.3.58
DESAIXRochefort------Canc. 23.3.58

Class. These two ships were ordered 24.10.55. They were successors to the old 4th class ships of the line but were rated as 3rd class under the new classification system of 1855. The creation of this type was probably motivated by the impending disappearance of ships of the line of modest dimensions and relatively shallow draft (the old 74s). The Crimean War showed that larger ships were often unable to carry out missions against the shore because of their excessive draft and revealed the need for "scout battleships" able to approach the coast at will. Economy and a shortage of large timbers were also motivations.

The data above are taken from specifications decided upon in 9.55. Under these, the length would have been around 234ft 3in wl, 238ft 2in deck and the beam around 50ft 6in (71.40, 72.60 x 15.38m). They would have had the sail rig of a 74-gun ship. All seven plans drafted in accordance with these specifications were rejected in 6.56 and a new set of specifications was adopted in 7.56, including an increase of horsepower to 700, maximum draft to 23ft 5in, and crew to 740. Four sets of plans were examined in 1.57. A decision was subsequently made not to create this type of ship because its draft as modified was only slightly less than that of a modified Napoléon then on the drawing boards and because it was becoming apparent that the advent of rifled artillery would require future capital ships to be armored.

Copyright © Stephen S. Roberts 2004-2015.