Friday, June 01, 2007

Forty gun ships

As I have written before, the strongest Dutch 40 gun ships in 1652 to 1653 were 128ft long. The striking thing, for me, was to see just how many 40 gun ships, built by Amsterdam, were only 125ft long. One page that I received yesterday shows the the Zon and the Maan were of this length. The Zon (or Son) carried more 12pdr guns than the Maan and fewer 8pdrs. They both carried a few 18pdr guns to give them more punch, in the 16th Century style. I have wondered if the larger guns were carried on the broadside, or if they were "in chase". Frank Fox had indicated to me that the Dutch style was to have the larger guns at the ends of the lower tier, so that they could be turned to fire through extra, more forward, lower ports, or through the stern ports. The Elizabethans actually mounted the larger guns to fire forward, as they would fight "end on". They were constantly firing and turning. Only later did ships fight so that they sailed in line and fired broadsides.

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