My bold. That's an urban legend. While it's true about the sand, Bulwarks were painted bright colours to create contrast with the horizon. They were just as commonly painted, yellow ochre, pale green and powder blue as they were dark red.
Also, there's not much point painting the bulwarks to hide blood if your crew usually spends its mornings holystoning the decks to a nice snowy white.
6 pounders were used on small ships. Remember that fleet consisted not only ships of the line and frigates. There were also hundreds of sloops, cutters etc.
For example sloop of war HMS Speedy (1782) had 4 pounders and brig HMS Chatcham had 3 pounders (1788).
Fair enough, I realised that you were replying to the wood comment - I just didn't want people thinking that the French sank her!Thank you, exactly what i meant.
Wooden ships fairly obviously sink left to their own devices, otherwise the ships carpenters
I actually completely agree - the way the research has been presented (by the media I think) is almost ridiculous - the question isn't 'could cannon balls sink ships', it's 'how many did it take'.
Considering the experiments that have been done already (e.g. the Royal Armouries experiment with a replica gun from the Mary Rose herself), I'm amazed that anyone is surprised that a cannon ball of 300 years later could penetrate that thickness of wood. I'd have been far more surprised if it hadn't.
I think in the test they used fresh pine planking as well rather than aged and seasoned hardwood which will effect the splintering. Oak was a popular building material for hard wear and longevity but its splintering effects were highly lethal.
Pine doesnt splinter but its too light and wears out fast. The only war ship i can think of that used pine (or at least fir) is HMS Pallas which was famously light, manouverable and combat effective and is mostly remembered for this
The Admiralty imported oak from Germany and it was known as “Stettin
Oak”, but ships built of it lasted only a quarter as long as true British oak.
Teak was a suitable alternative until it was found that splinter wounds from
teak always festered with dire results. In 1806, the Frigate H.M.S Pallas, built
of fir instead of oak, taking full advantage of the extra speed and
manoeuvrability that came with the lighter wood, fought a superior force to a
standstill. When she tried to board the French three-decker Minerve, a surge
threw them together. The difference was seen between the light fir timbers of
the Pallas and stout Adriatic oak of the Minerve, which took no injury from
the collision. The Pallas lost her foretopmast, fore and topsail yards, all her
forward rigging, and all the forward ship-furniture, including her cathead and
bower anchor. The Pallas retired in ignominy wondering just how much her
construction had lost in prize money.
Just for clarity, the article is presented by a science website (media) but the findings were printed in archaelogical journals and were an academic attempt to answer some unknowns, experimental archaeology i believe it is called. Evoking the "media skewing things" argument is not really valid in this case as i think the experiment was done in a scientific manner and no specific agenda was forwarded.
the question " could cannonballs sink ships?" was forwarded as there was some doubt that the thickness of the timber could be breached by a cannonball, a simple question that when answered adds to the knowledge pool of the field, a hypotesis was put forward and tested, pure and simple.
Keep in mind they were working with replicas and scale miniatures.
i find it interesting that people feel the need to argue about the validity of the article even though they agree with the findings, i think it says more about the arguers than the article.
Just in case anyone's interested, when I was down for Tallships there is a fella who I know who re-enacts a ships surgeon of the 18th & 19th centuries. He has a full surgical kit and had a mini-surgery set up in addition a replicated ship splinter. I'll upload these to this thread if anyone wants to see them.
Not that I'm aware of, but he does give one hell of a lecture about the "Perils of the Scurvey" lol.