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701 hits since 6 Mar 2017
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 11:08 a.m. PST

…Ironclad Stonewall/ Kôtetsu.

"When thinking of the ocean-going navy of the Southern Confederacy in the American Civil War the image immediately comes to mind of fast, largely unarmoured vessels such as the Alabama and the Florida, general similar in construction terms to commercial vessels, albeit strengthened to carry heavy armament. The corresponding image of a Confederate ironclad is, by contrast, an armoured, improvised, steam-propelled raft intended for service in rivers and coastal waters. It is therefore somewhat of a surprise to learn that the Confederacy's last "Blue-Water" naval vessel was a heavily-armed ironclad, well capable of sinking any major Union warship she encountered. Completed late in the Civil War, only the end of the conflict brought her potentially devastating career in Confederate service to an end only just as it was starting. This was however to be just the prelude to spectacular battle-service in a newly created navy on the other side of the world.

The ship that was to become the CSS Stonewall was one of two ironclads constructed in France, personal approval for the project being given in 1863 by the Emperor Napoleon III, who was sympathetic to the Confederate cause. The objection that French neutrality would be compromised by delivery of warships to either the Union or to the Confederacy was neatly side-stepped by circulation of the rumour that they were intended for delivery to the Khedive of Egypt – the appropriate names of Sphynx and Cheops were allocated to them. A further element of confusion was added by ensuring that the armament would come from Britain. The seagoing ironclad concept was a new and revolutionary one at the time – France's Gloire and Britain's HMS Warrior, the first of the type, had been launched in 1859 and 1860 respectively – so the Confederacy was betting on acquiring cutting-edge naval technology…."
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The G Dog Fezian Inactive Member06 Mar 2017 7:13 p.m. PST

Nice read!

The adventure of the Stonewall is a fascinating tale. The hypothetical action pitting the Stonewall against USS Niagara and USS Sacramento is a good naval game. I've seen each side emerge victorious.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 9:30 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friend!. (smile)


CampyF Inactive Member08 Mar 2017 4:45 a.m. PST

There were major flaws in the Stonewall. One was her crappy construction, as stated. Another was her paucity of weaponry. Remember, this is an age when naval weapons had little range and very slow rate of fire. The Stonewall mounted three guns. Would the slow-firing 400 pounder done any better than the Japanese 12.6 inchers at Yalu?

The Niagra was a large ship with a broadside of 5 modern rifled guns. The Sacramento was also well armed. It would indeed have been an interesting engagement. I would probably split the two Union ships and rake the Stonewall from two directions. Split up her sparse battery.

I used a primitive set of rules with these ships decades ago. The Niagara fired her first broadside at 1500 yards. She scored a deck hit. The Stonewall caught fire and blew up minutes later. Not sure that would have worked in real life.

I might try my hand at this again, with more modern rules. Time is my enemy.

The G Dog Fezian Inactive Member08 Mar 2017 7:23 p.m. PST

CampyF, it can't be worse than the first time I played this and watched the Stonewall ram and cut in half the Sacramento and then do the exact same thing to the Niagara.

With barely a scratch from those Union guns.

The refight was almost the exact opposite with Stonewall ramming and fouling with the Niagara and then being reduced to a hulk by short range gunnery of the two Union ships.

Hussar123 Inactive Member10 Mar 2017 8:53 a.m. PST

One of my favorite Confederate "could of been"!

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