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"Side-wheelers or Stern-wheelers?" Topic

22 Posts

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05 Feb 2018 7:35 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Naval Gaming 1898-1929 board
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1,630 hits since 17 Jul 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2012 12:27 p.m. PST

From a purely aesthetic point of view do you prefer stern-wheelers or side-wheelers on your steamships?

Caesar Inactive Member17 Jul 2012 12:41 p.m. PST

I like side-wheelers.

richarDISNEY Inactive Member17 Jul 2012 1:00 p.m. PST


Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2012 1:12 p.m. PST

I prefer propellers, followed by sidewheelers. Center-wheelers are pretty cool, too.


CSS Louisiana

Dogged17 Jul 2012 1:14 p.m. PST

Side wheelers. I like wheels to be covered so stern wheelers make for strange views. Side wheel ironclads are great looking; center wheel ones are impressive though.

Edit: Just what John the Greater said. I see you're a fan of CT Ertz's paper models too?

CeruLucifus17 Jul 2012 1:18 p.m. PST

From a gaming standpoint aren't side-wheelers the most interesting? With one wheel damaged don't they tend to go in circles? That could make for challenging maneuvers late in the game, probably hilarious.

Texas Jack17 Jul 2012 1:43 p.m. PST

stern for me please

Anton Ryzbak17 Jul 2012 2:28 p.m. PST

side wheelers for warships, stern for civilian vessels

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2012 2:31 p.m. PST

I'd never seen center wheelers before. Were those actually built or did they never make if off the drawing board?

I thought side-wheelers were more militarily useful because they avoided a blindspot in the rear. I'd never running in circles, but I've never read of it actually happening either. Are there instances where that actually happened?

MadDrMark Inactive Member17 Jul 2012 2:48 p.m. PST

If I'm putting a fleet together, I'd like a variety. I've always counted the steam ships of the ACW as "ugly but fascinating" with a seemingly endless variety of solutions to the problems of propulsion and armament. Why stick to just one flavor when you can get the variety pack?

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2012 2:54 p.m. PST

The "Louisiana" never worked right but the US "City" class ironclads, the backbone of the River fleet, had their paddle wheels almost in the center with guns behind and ahead. As to the original question, I like the look of sidewheelers. Most rams were sidewheelers so they may have had some manuverability advantages.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Jul 2012 3:30 p.m. PST

Sternwheelers. The ol' Becky Thatcher, may she rest in pieces …

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2012 5:54 p.m. PST

Wow, never seen a center wheeler. Fort the best ironclads money can buy check out Jim Brokaws 10mm models, they are the best around.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2012 6:13 p.m. PST


Sidewheelers always seemed to me to be a big – fragile

Startroop Inactive Member17 Jul 2012 7:42 p.m. PST

I have built several in 15mm both stern and sidewheelers. I like the look of the stern wheeler better.

Agesilaus Inactive Member17 Jul 2012 9:47 p.m. PST

The C.S.S. Louisiana propulsion system seemed like a good idea because the double paddle wheels were protected from enemy fire. The problem was that the wake from the forward paddle wheel swamped the aft paddle wheel and the ship didn't move.

Attila the Pun Inactive Member17 Jul 2012 11:25 p.m. PST

There is something of an oxymoron here in referring to stern-wheelers in a question about steamships. Stern-wheelers were strictly for rivers and lakes too small to have major waves; and they are properly referred to, therefore, as steamboats, regardless of how large. I am not aware that anyone ever tried to apply stern-wheel propulsion to a seagoing ship. Occasionally a stern-wheel riverboat made a quick coastwise passage at sea when being transferred to a new operating area, but being caught in even a moderate storm tended to be disastrous, as they were too lightly built to stand much stress.

bsrlee18 Jul 2012 4:40 a.m. PST

I believe some centre wheelers were use on the Murray River in Australia in the 1800's, mainly because they were more resistant to damage from snags and similar obstacles.

Side wheelers were indeed more manoeverable, at slow speeds able to turn in their own length. Two wheel also meant that they could make some headway with one wheel damaged if they still had a functioning rudder.

Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member18 Jul 2012 6:07 a.m. PST

So far I have a side wheeler and a screw type. I plan to build a stern wheeler. Just haven't gotten around to it yet.
I'm using them on rivers and lakes as my games in this period are in the Sudan and Nyasaland.
So to directly answer the question I like them both plus one.

Captain Crunch18 Jul 2012 2:19 p.m. PST

I like side wheelers-- that is until one of mine gets rammed from the side.


donlowry Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2012 4:13 p.m. PST

From a practical standpoint, sidewheelers are more maneuverable, and dont block guns firing astern, but the wheels are very vulnerable. Stern wheelers wheels are less vulnerable, so long as the boat is facing the enemy.

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP19 Jul 2012 12:01 p.m. PST

This may be a silly a question, but given the number of experimental ships in the 19th century maybe not: Were any ships made with both stern and side-wheels every built?

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