A broadside is the side of a ship, or more specifically the battery of cannon on one side of a warship or their coordinated fire in naval warfare, or a measurement of a warship's maximum simultaneous firepower which can be delivered upon a single target (because this concentration is usually obtained by firing a broadside). From the 16th century until the early decades of the steamship, vessels had rows of guns set in each side of the hull. Firing all guns on one side of the ship became known as a "broadside". The cannon of 18th-century men of war were accurate only at short range, and their penetrating power mediocre, which meant that the thick hulls of wooden ships could only be pierced at short ranges. These wooden ships sailed closer and closer towards each other until cannon fire would be effective. Each tried to be the first to fire a broadside, often giving one party a decisive headstart in the battle when it crippled the other ship.
Since ancient times, war at sea had been fought much like on land: with melee weapons and bows and arrows, but on floating wooden platforms rather than battlefields. Though the introduction of firearms was a significant change, it only slowly changed the dynamics of ship-to-ship combat. The first guns on ships were small wrought-iron pieces mounted on the open decks and in the fighting tops, often requiring only one or two men to handle them. They were designed to injure, kill or simply stun, shock and frighten the enemy prior to boarding.As guns were made more durable to withstand stronger gunpowder charges, they increased their potential to inflict critical damage to the vessel rather than just its crew. Since these guns were much heavier than the earlier anti-personnel weapons, they had to be placed lower in the ships, and fire from gunports, to avoid ships becoming unstable. In Northern Europe the technique of building ships with clinker planking made it difficult to cut ports in the hull; clinker-built (or clench-built) ships had much of their structural strength in the outer hull. The solution was the gradual adoption of carvel-built ships that relied on an internal skeleton structure to bear the weight of the ship. The development of propulsion during the 15th century from single-masted, square-rigged cogs to three-masted carracks with a mix of square and lateen sails made ships nimbler and easier to maneuver.
Gunports cut in the hull of ships had been common practise as early as 1501. According to tradition the inventor was a Breton shipwright called Descharges, but it is just as likely to have been a gradual adaptation of loading ports in the stern of merchant vessels that had already been in use for centuries.Initially, the gunports were used to mount heavy so-called stern chasers pointing aft, but soon gun ports migrated to the sides of ships. This made possible coordinated volleys from all the guns on one side of a ship for the first time in history, at least in theory. Guns in the 16th century were considered to be in fixed positions and were intended to be fired independently rather than in concerted volleys. It was not until the 1590s that the word "broadside" in English was commonly used to refer to gunfire from the side of a ship rather than the ship's side itself.
The main batteries in 20th century battleships tended to be powered gun turrets which could swivel 180 degrees or more to establish wider firing arcs around the entire vessel.[ citation needed ] Although this could allow at least some of the main guns to be focused directly forward or aft, battleships still relied on broadsides for maximum firepower, as structures such as the bridge tower in the middle of a battleship would prevent guns in the aft portion of the ship from firing forward, and vice versa. Additionally, directing the guns to the port or starboard side projected the massive muzzle blast out over the ocean, while firing the guns too close to the deck could cause damage to the ship.
When the term is used in this way, it can be calculated by multiplying the shell weight of the ship's main armament shells times the number of barrels that can be brought to bear. If some turrets are incapable of firing to either side of the vessel, only the maximum number of barrels which can fire to one side or the other are counted. For example, the American Iowa-class battleships carried a main armament of nine 16-inch (406 mm) main guns in turrets which could all be trained to a single broadside. Each 16-inch shell weighed 2,700 pounds (1,200 kg), which when multiplied by nine (the total number of barrels in all three turrets) equals a total of 24,300 pounds (11,022 kg). Thus, an Iowa-class battleship had a broadside of 12 short tons (11.0 tonnes), the weight of shells that she could theoretically land on a target in a single firing.
See list of broadsides of major World War II ships for a comparison.
A carronade is a short, smoothbore, cast-iron cannon which was used by the Royal Navy. It was first produced by the Carron Company, an ironworks in Falkirk, Scotland, and was used from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century. Its main function was to serve as a powerful, short-range, anti-ship and anti-crew weapon. The technology behind the carronade was greater dimensional precision, with the shot fitting more closely in the barrel thus transmitting more of the propellant charge's energy to the projectile, allowing a lighter gun using less gunpowder to be effective. Carronades were initially found to be very successful, but they eventually disappeared as naval artillery advanced, with the introduction of rifling and consequent change in the shape of the projectile, exploding shells replacing solid shot, and naval engagements being fought at longer ranges.
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed during the Age of Sail from the 17th century to the mid-19th century. The ship of the line was designed for the naval tactic known as the line of battle, which depended on the two columns of opposing warships maneuvering to volley fire with the cannons along their broadsides. In conflicts where opposing ships were both able to fire from their broadsides, the opponent with more cannons firing – and therefore more firepower – typically had an advantage. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying more of the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time.
An ironclad is a steam-propelled warship protected by iron or steel armor plates, constructed from 1859 to the early 1890s. The ironclad was developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells. The first ironclad battleship, Gloire, was launched by the French Navy in November 1859 - narrowly pre-empting the British Royal Navy.
The 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 – United States Naval Gun is the main armament of the Iowa-class battleships and was the planned main armament of the cancelled Montana-class battleship.
The Nelson class was a class of two battleships of the British Royal Navy, built shortly after, and under the terms of, the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. They were the only British battleships built between the Revenge class and the King George V class, ordered in 1936.
The Nevada class comprised two dreadnought battleships—Nevada and Oklahoma—built for the United States Navy in the 1910s. They were significant developments in battleship design, being the first in the world to adopt "all or nothing" armor, a major step forward in armor protection because it emphasized protection optimized for long-range engagements before the Battle of Jutland demonstrated the need for such a layout. They also introduced three-gun turrets and oil-fired water-tube boilers to the US fleet. The two Nevadas were the progenitors of the standard-type battleship, a group that included the next four classes of broadly similar battleships that were intended to be tactically homogeneous.
The Kearsarge-class was a group of two pre-dreadnought battleships built for the United States Navy in the 1890s. The two ships—USS Kearsarge and USS Kentucky—represented a compromise between two preceding battleship designs, the low-freeboard Indiana class and the high-freeboard USS Iowa, though their design also incorporated several improvements. Their primary advances over earlier designs consisted of new quick-firing guns and improved armor protection, but their most novel feature was their two-story gun turrets that consisted of a secondary 8-inch (203 mm) gun turret fixed to the top of their primary 13-inch (330 mm) turrets. The ships suffered from a number of problems, however, including a tertiary battery mounted too low in the hull and poorly-designed turrets, though the latter were attempted again with the Virginia class in the early 1900s, also with negative results.
Turret ships were a 19th-century type of warship, the earliest to have their guns mounted in a revolving gun turret, instead of a broadside arrangement.
Naval artillery is artillery mounted on a warship, originally used only for naval warfare and then subsequently used for shore bombardment and anti-aircraft roles. The term generally refers to tube-launched projectile-firing weapons and excludes self-propelled projectiles such as torpedoes, rockets, and missiles and those simply dropped overboard such as depth charges and naval mines.
A gun turret is a mounting platform from which weapons can be fired that affords protection, visibility and ability to turn and aim. A modern gun turret is generally a rotatable weapon mount that houses the crew or mechanism of a projectile-firing weapon and at the same time lets the weapon be aimed and fired in some degree of azimuth and elevation.
A salvo is the simultaneous discharge of artillery or firearms including the firing of guns either to hit a target or to perform a salute. As a tactic in warfare, the intent is to cripple an enemy in one blow and prevent them from fighting back.
Sailing ship tactics were the naval tactics employed by sailing ships in contrast to galley tactics employed by oared vessels. This article focuses on the period from c. 1500 to the mid-19th century, when sailing warships were replaced with steam-powered ironclads.
The König class was a group of four dreadnought battleships built for the German Kaiserliche Marine in the early 1910s. The class comprised König, the lead ship, Grosser Kurfürst, Markgraf, and Kronprinz. The design for the ships was derived from the preceding Kaiser class, using the same basic hull but with a rearranged main battery of ten 30.5 cm (12 in) guns in five twin-gun turrets to improve the guns' firing arcs. Instead of the staggered wing turrets used in the Kaisers, the Königs placed their main guns all on the centerline using superfiring pairs fore and aft. Budgetary constraints and the need to begin construction quickly to compete with Britain in the Anglo-German naval arms race prevented any more radical changes. Diesel engines were planned for the ships, but they could not be readied in time, so all four vessels reverted to steam turbines for their propulsion system.
Naval artillery in the Age of Sail encompasses the period of roughly 1571–1862: when large, sail-powered wooden naval warships dominated the high seas, mounting a large variety of types and sizes of cannon as their main armament. By modern standards, these cannon were extremely inefficient, difficult to load, and short ranged. These characteristics, along with the handling and seamanship of the ships that mounted them, defined the environment in which the naval tactics in the Age of Sail developed.
HMS Monarch was the first seagoing British warship to carry her guns in turrets, and the first British warship to carry guns of 12-inch (300 mm) calibre.
The Ekaterina II class were a class of four battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the 1880s. They were the first battleships built for the Black Sea Fleet. Their design was highly unusual in having the main guns on three barbettes grouped in a triangle around a central armored redoubt, two side-by-side forward and one on the centerline aft. This was intended to maximize their firepower forward, both when operating in the narrow waters of the Bosphorus and when ramming. Construction was slow because they were the largest warships built until then in the Black Sea, and the shipyards had to be upgraded to handle them.
The casemate ironclad was a type of iron or iron-armored gunboat briefly used in the American Civil War by both the Confederate States Navy and its adversary, the Union Navy. Compared to the turreted ironclad warships that became standard, the casemate ironclad did not have its individual cannons encased in a separate armored gun deck/turret, but instead had a single casemate structure, or armored citadel, on the main deck housing the entire gun battery. As the guns were carried on the top of the ship yet still fired through fixed gunports, the casemate ironclad is seen as an intermediate stage between the traditional broadside frigate and the modern warships.
The dreadnought was the predominant type of battleship in the early 20th century. The first of the kind, the Royal Navy's HMS Dreadnought, had such an impact when launched in 1906 that similar battleships built after her were referred to as "dreadnoughts", and earlier battleships became known as pre-dreadnoughts. Her design had two revolutionary features: an "all-big-gun" armament scheme, with an unprecedented number of heavy-calibre guns, and steam turbine propulsion. As dreadnoughts became a crucial symbol of national power, the arrival of these new warships renewed the naval arms race between the United Kingdom and Germany. Dreadnought races sprang up around the world, including in South America, lasting up to the beginning of World War I. Successive designs increased rapidly in size and made use of improvements in armament, armour and propulsion throughout the dreadnought era. Within five years, new battleships outclassed Dreadnought herself. These more powerful vessels were known as "super-dreadnoughts". Most of the original dreadnoughts were scrapped after the end of World War I under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, but many of the newer super-dreadnoughts continued serving throughout World War II.
Chesma was the second ship of the Ekaterina II-class battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the 1880s. When the ship was completed she proved to be very overweight which meant that much of her waterline armor belt was submerged. Russian companies could not produce the most advanced armour and machinery desired by the Naval General Staff, so they were imported from the United Kingdom and Belgium. Chesma spent her career as part of the Black Sea Fleet.
A gunport is an opening in the side of the hull of a ship, above the waterline, which allows the muzzle of artillery pieces mounted on the gun deck to fire outside. The origin of this technology is not precisely known, but can be traced back to the late 15th century, with the appearance of artillery in naval warfare. Ships featuring gunports were said to be pierced, since the ports were cut through the hull after the construction.