Early Athenian Ships II

Planks Pegged And Sewn The system of construction made a strong hull that could withstand severe shocks. Only after the hull was pegged and stitched with linen—or, as an Athenian would have said, gomphatos and linorraphos—did the builder insert the curving wooden ribs. And should a rock or an enemy ram punch a hole through […]

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Early Athenian Ships I

Athenians had been seafarers since earliest times, but their ventures were always overshadowed by maritime powers from Asia Minor, the Near East, and the rest of Greece. Legend claimed that even in the days of the first king of Athens, Cecrops, the people of Attica had to contend with raiders who terrorized their coasts. Several […]

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Imperial Lessons

Alexandria, July 11, 1882. The British fleet under the command of Admiral Seymour bombarded the city. Featured warships “Sultan” and “Alexandra”. The first successful attack by self-propelled torpedoes. The Turkish ship Intibah is destroyed by torpedo boats from Velikiy Knyaz Konstantin torpedo boat tender. A painting by Lev Lagorio. During 1877–8 the Russians had been […]

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NAVAL WARFARE IN EUROPE, 1500-1600

A painting by Agostino Tassi or Buonamico (1565-1644) shows a ship under construction at the leading Tuscan port of Livomo. The painting illustrates the large quantities of wood required for shipbuilding, and the immensity of the task posed by the construction of large warships using largely unmechanized processes. The capital investment required was formidable, but […]

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Royal Navy Warships at Chatham Shipyards I

The Launching of HMS Trafalgar at Chatham 26 July 1820, 1836 (pencil and watercolour), Whichelo, C. John Mayle (1784-1865) / Private Collection / Photo © Christie’s Images / The Bridgeman Art Library In total, the Royal Navy at Trafalgar assembled a winning fleet of twenty-seven ships of the line. Many of their names, including Victory, […]

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Royal Navy Warships at Chatham Shipyards II

A contemporary depiction of the 98-gun HMS Temeraire by renowned marine artist Geoff Hunt. Geoff Hunt RSMA/Art Marine, UK. The Temeraire started life in the ancient shipyard of Chatham in 1793, costing a staggering £73,241 (£4million today). However, the inadequacies of Chatham were clearly demonstrated at this time. In September 1770, when a controversy arose […]

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Seppings truss system

THE CONWAY “The strength of a ship. Let its construction be what it may, can never exceed that of its weakest parts.” Sir Robert Seppings, the ship’s designer and constructor in 1814. These ships were phenomenally strong transversally with 13″ square frames spaced only a couple of inches apart and clad inside and out with […]

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Submarine Rescue

The US Navy’s Mystic docked to a Los Angeles class attack submarine. Rescue operations and escapes from sunken submarines have made up an important part of this history of underwater disaster, and rightly so. For it is man’s steadfast fortitude in the face of impossible odds that gives purpose to what would otherwise be no […]

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American Civil War Ironclads

At the outset both sides were militarily weak. The North did have a clear advantage at sea, although its widely scattered force of 80 warships was totally inadequate for what lay ahead. On 19 April Lincoln proclaimed a blockade of the 3,500 miles of Confederate coastline. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles launched a major […]

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